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August 2011

From the American Chair Mensa South Africa

Welcome to the new look Mensa Chronicle! We hope you enjoy this edition and invite you to send us any suggestions as to how we can improve upon future editions. The Chronicle is open to contributions by members of Mensa South Africa. Contributions, comments and suggestions can be forwarded to and/or Looking forward to your emails! Editor

Flying sphere goes where humans fear to tread

Divine madness Timeout Too many stars National photo competition winners

Intelligence gene: how your parents determine half your fate

Left handedness and intelligence The first section of the Chronicle comprises articles from the Mensa International Journal (IJ). You can download the IJ and IJ Extra at, the Chronicle can be downloaded at

Mensa celebrates 65 “Brilliant!” years in 2011. In 1946, our founders, despite their foresight, could not have imagined how their ideas would evolve into the organization we know today. M o r e t h a n 11 0 , 0 0 0 m e m b e r s worldwide? Mentions of Mensa in films and TV shows? Celebrities touting their membership of Mensa – authentic or not? Dr. Ware and Roland Berrill would certainly be surprised. One area of our work though I think they would approve of is our commitment to continue to envision a bright future for Mensa. Thus, we have a strategic plan that provides continuity through changes in the International Board of Directors and changes in national group administration. With a similar focus, we all can build on a strong foundation while welcoming innovations (such as the Internet, social media, etc. – what would our founders make of those advances?) to carry our mission forward.

We are awaiting preliminary reports from Jacqueline Bonkenburg (Mensa the Netherlands), Thierry Brunel (Mensa France), Isabella Holz (Mensa Germany), Zabeda Hamid (Malaysian Mensa), Vesper Burnett, Ben Nemenoff, and Heather Booton (the latter three from American Mensa). Six months later, after their initial reports, the 2010 participants were asked again how being part of LEP helped them in their individual Mensa groups. Jay Menon (Malaysian Mensa) wrote that his national group has now incorporated similar leadership modules into their programming, and he has offered to take an outreach presentation “on the road” to Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Lori Norris (American Mensa) broadcast how LEP works at several local U.S. gatherings and has written about her experience in international and national publications.

Karin Kaill (Mensa Sweden) volunteered as development coordinator in her group. She published an article, “Future Progress of Mensa Sweden,” in her national magazine. Increased self-confidence helped Beth Anne Demeter (American Mensa) chair one of the U.S's largest annual events, HalloweeM in Chicago. Beth Anne became involved in the selection of 2011 LEP candidates in the U.S. Jeroen Komen (Mensa The Netherlands) promoted LEP at several gatherings in his country. Tomas Kubes (Mensa Czech Republic) says he experienced a flurry of “inspiration, feedback, and examples” that he could utilize in his country. He writes that “motivating, nurturing, and satisfying volunteers” are key elements for attracting and retaining members. The final U.S. participant, Greg Kontz, has given many lectures on LEP and other topics of interest to Mensans at gatherings and universities. At home he gave three radio interviews, wrote articles, and met with university professors to promote a Mensa Student Group on campus. Greg, Jay, and Jeroen all served on the international LEP committee to select the 2011 participants. We are looking at evaluations and reviews from the first class of future leaders and anticipating similar reports from the class of 2011 by the time the IBD comes together for their annual meeting in October in Sofia, Bulgaria. It will be time then to consider LEP a permanent part of IBD's plans to encourage, guide, and mentor new leaders. As one 2010 leader said, “Leadership must be passed on …it is up to me to encourage and nurture our future leaders.” Brilliant! - Elissa Rudolph

The Chronicle | August 2011


IJ August 2011 issue number 551

In concert with moving Mensa into its next decade of progress, the IBD approved a pilot program in 2009 to search for, encourage, and mentor future leaders. The Leadership Exchange Program (LEP) provided the means for a global exchange of seminars, solutions to local challenges, and opportunities for new leaders to forge bonds with each other. Seven Mensans carried out the LEP mission in Dearborn, Michigan at the U.S. annual gathering (USAG) and at the European Mensas Annual Gathering (EMAG) in Prague, Czech Republic in 2010. Now in the second year of this program, another seven Mensans have completed their initial programs.

“Creativity is defined as the production of something that is new and valued, while madness is defined as self-destructive and deviant behavior.” So how does this description coalesce and meet in one individual? Three years ago, I wrote an article for the Mensa International Journal entitled Creative Genius or Psychotic? I have learned a great deal in my research on creativity and concepts of intelligence in the interim and it is my pleasure to share a bit of what I have learned with you. It is widely-held belief in scientific circles that creative people have low levels of latent inhibition, or, as it is frequently defined: an animal's unconscious ability to ignore stimuli that experience has shown to be irrelevant to its needs. (Change 'animal' to 'human in the previous sentence and you have it in a nutshell.) Latent inhibition is as essential to the creative individual as is prone to fantasy. Indeed, latent inhibition is a key factor in defining the creative individual. Those afflicted with any one of several types of mental disorders are also prone to fantasy and possess low levels of latent inhibition. Could there be a biological basis for creativity linked to mental illness…? Psychologists at the University of Toronto and Harvard University have identified one of the biological bases of creativity. They contend that the brains of creative people are more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment than are their noncreative counterparts. The noncreative individuals may shut out this same information by means of high levels of latent inhibition. The U n i v e r s i t y o f To r o n t o - H a r v a r d University research teams have shown that, by means of psychological testing,

creative individuals had low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional latent inhibition while the nonflexibility in thought might predispose creative subjects in the study showed one to mental illness under some high levels of latent conditions and to inhibition. The creative accom“The normal person creative subjects plishment under were more in tune to classifies an object, and others.” external stimuli and used the extra When an indivithen forgets about it, information from dual has a schitheir environment even though the object is zophrenic break constantly. with reality he or she may have much more complex and According to feelings of deep psychology proinsight, mystical interesting than he or fessor Jordan knowledge or Peterson of the she thinks. The creative o t h e r s i m i l a r University of experiences. person, by contrast, is Toronto: When this occurs latent inhibition always open to new virtually dis“The normal person appears and classifies an object, possibilities.” chemical chanand then forgets ges occur. Latent about it, even inhibition and fantasy-proneness are though the object is much more two traits psychotic individuals have in complex and interesting than he or common with creative individuals. And she thinks. The creative person, by they go hand in hand with each other! contrast, is always open to new Latent inhibition, a certain degree of possibilities.” intelligence, and a proneness to fantasy, all factor into a theory of how Openness to external stimuli might creativity and psychoses are lead to originality, especially when intertwined. combined with high IQ. Previously, scientists associated failure to screen Auditory and visual hallucinations are out stimuli with psychosis only. That symptoms of fantasy-prone people in is, the psychotic individual alone general- and not only schizophrenics possessed low latent inhibition. and manic depressives. Some researchers concur that the link Jonathon S. Byrd of the Rochester between genius and a small Institute of Technology contends “[…] percentage of schizophrenics boils there is a strong positive correlation down to a particular gene called associated with creativity and traits DARPP-32: dopamine and cyclic associated with psychoses.” Shelley AMP-regulated phosphor-protein Carson, psychology lecturer and lead which works as a neurotransmitter and author of the 2003 University of the links genius to madness. Three Toronto-Harvard University study quarters of any given population inherit group noted: “Scientists have a version of the DARPP gene which wondered for a long time why enhances the brain's thinking activity madness and creativity seem linked. by improving the information It appears likely that low levels of cont. p3

The Chronicle | August 2011


IJ August 2011 issue number 551

by Thomas Hally

processing of the prefrontal cortex. It orchestrates thoughts and actions. Doctor Daniel Weinberger of the United States Institute for Mental Health believes the DARPP gene translates into a hindrance during a severe schizophrenic episode. In both schizophrenic and bipolar disorders creativity may backfire, bringing tragic consequences. Such was the case of Sylvia Plath (pictured above), a gifted bipolar poet who had a topsy-turvy life. It was cut short in 1963 when she ended it at the ripe old age of 30. Vincent van Gogh committed

suicide when he was 37. It is speculated that he, too, was bipolar. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also a manic depressive. Both beat-generation poet Jack Kerouac and Nobel Prize winning economist and mathematician John Forbes Nash (pictured right) fall into the schizophrenic diagnostic. No one would question whether the aforementioned individuals were geniuses. Mild mania and hallucinations can engender original thought processes and can even elevate one's IQ score. Paranoia in a mild form and moderate depression operate as checks to

excesses in thought and action. They can also be powerful tools in bringing an individual to a high level of creative accomplishment. The Classical Greeks believed that creative inspiration (afflatus) was achieved through altered states of the mind. This creative inspiration is commonly called “divine madness.� Creative minds and some pathological minds tend to follow the same cognitive pattern. When very high intelligence and low latent inhibition coalesce in an individual - voila! - Thomas Hally

too many stars NASA's Kepler space telescope is a world finder. It is designed to look for planetary systems where the star is regularly eclipsed by one or more companions. It has found quite a few of these - 57 planetary systems, 445 stars with planets, 531 planets confirmed, according to my JPL desktop widget. One strange system has six planets, five of which are closer to their star than Mercury is to our sun, and some of them seem to be hot gas giants the size of Neptune. A planet named Kepler 10 B is 20 times closer to its sun than Mercury's 46 million kilometersits surface must be hot enough to melt rock.

The Chronicle | August 2011

Kepler's method isn't the only way to find planets. According to Science Friday on National Public Radio, (Podcast dated 5/20/2011) Gravitational microlensing can also show that an object has passed between a star and the observer. This observational technique, carried out by researchers at MIT, University of Heidelberg, and Osaka University in Japan, has found ten planets that do not seem to belong to any star. Getting back to Kepler – the mission is being called one of the most successful space telescopes ever launched. In fact, it is too productive. Kepler was designed to find planets and is not funded for other research. So, its discoveries of exotic suns doing incredible things cannot be pursued as part of the mission. To date, Kepler has generated more scientific papers about stars than it has about planets! - John Blinke


IJ August 2011 issue number 551

(cont. from p2)

IJ August 2011 issue number 551

Log into the International website at during September and vote in the Members' choice category of the International Photo Cup competition

23-25 September Asian Mensa Gathering, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (followed by an island holiday September 26-28 , 2011). Details will be published on

4-6 November Australian Mensa Conference in Australia's national capital, Canberra (pictured at right).The Marque Hotel on Northbourne Avenue is just a 5-minute walk from the CBD. Info: Email

Advance notice of International meetings IBD meeting 2011: The 2011 IBD meeting will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria from 13-17 October. (Keep an eye on the calendar at for further details.)

Chair: Mr Willem Bouwens Trompenburgstraat 6-G, 1079 TX Amsterdam The Netherlands Tel: +31 (0)20 661 2718 Director Admin: Ms Sylvia Herbert 16 Farley St, St John’s, Worcester, Worcestershire WR2 6JD England Tel: +44(0)1905 422231 Director Development: Ms Bibiana Balanyi Mensa HungarIQa, H-1426 Budapest 72, Postafiok 99 Hungary Tel: +36 209 135175 Treasurer: Cyndi Kuyper 2606 Henderson St, West Lafayette, IN 47906-1537 Tel: +1 765 463 1393 Cell Phone: +1 765 714 2272 Dir. Smaller National Mensas: Mr BjÜrn Liljeqvist Hon. President: Dr Abbie Salny 407 Breckenridge, Wayne NJ 07470 USA Tel: +1 973 305 0055 SIGHTCoordinator: Mr Richard Kingston Int. SIG Coordinator: Mr Markus Schauler Ombudsman: Mr Martyn Davies Editorial Staff: Ms Kate Nacard 407/23 Corunna Rd, Stanmore NSW 2048 Australia Tel: +61 2 9516 1024 Science: Mr John Blinke, Books: Mr Tom Elliott, Feature Articles: Mr Thomas Hally, Executive Director: Mr Michael Feenan, Slate Barn, Church Lane, Caythorpe, Lincolnshire NG32 3EL, UK Tel/Fax+44(0)1400272 675

The Mensa International Journal (MIJ) is produced under the auspices of the Mensa International Board of Directors. Pages 1-4 of each issue of the MIJ must be published in every national Mensa magazine. Publication of pages 5-8 is recommended but optional. Opinions expressed in the MIJ are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or any official Mensa body. Submission Guidelines: Language: English only. Text: MS Word (Windows), .rtf (Word/Mac), plain text, PageMaker (Windows). Length: 500 word limit. Send by e-mail, fax, snail mail to the Editor. The Editor reserves the right to include or edit submissions for space and content considerations. All unoriginal submissions must be accompanied by written permission for publication from the original author. Permission is granted for MIJ articles to be reprinted in any Mensa publication provided that the author, MIJ and MIJ's editor are acknowledged. Permission must be sought from the MIJ editor for reprinting of any part of the MIJ in non-Mensa publications.

The Chronicle | August 2011


OF THINGS PASSED This photograph was taken a few years ago in Wilderness. I was driving around after a day at the lagoon with two of my best friends. I think that even with this photo one cannot fully seize the richness of the scene – the elegant seeping of the clouds into a soft blanket, the sea breeze whispering in our ears, the comfort that comes with the company of life-long friends. I tried to capture a piece of the extraordinary coupled with my personal trinket of remembrance – the canoe and paddle-ski you see protruding from the side. What each person takes from the photograph will obviously vary, but to me, Of things passed is a moment dedicated to a memory of youth and friendship. - Ryan Lamb

1st place - Of things passed Ryan Lamb

2nd place - Evening fire Phillip Bateman

EVENING FIRE I photographed this directly into the setting sun one evening in the Drakensberg Mountains, Natal, South Africa. The lowlying sun's rays set the river water and reeds on fire with their brilliance, painting an extraordinary picture. - Phillip Bateman

3rd place - Flying ants in motion Jon Paul Parker

The Chronicle | August 2011

See all entries at 2011?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJSuq4uo_JCuMA&feat=directlink


“Some researchers claim that we are more intelligent and eloquent that our right-handed counterparts. In tests conducted by Dr. Alan Searleman from St Lawrence University in New York, he found that left-handers can be considerably more intellectually gifted. There were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people - which is the "genius" bracket. This is perhaps why there are more "lefties" in creative professions - such as music, art and writing - and more lefthanded astronauts and leaders than would be expected.” - Source:

What follows here are excerpts from the initial survey results that investigated a link between being left-handedness and the choices people make in work and other activities. You can read the full article at ts.html. Also visit to complete the survey.

Background We started this survey on Left-Handers Day 2002 to find out whether there is a link between being left-handed and the choices people make in work and other activities. We wanted to answer questions like: Ÿ Are there some jobs where lefthanders have advantages or disadvantages? Ÿ Are there some jobs where there are more or less left-handers than average? Ÿ Do people think there is a direct link between these two? We have received over 2,000 completed surveys so far and these results are based on an analysis of those responses.

Are there advantages to being lefthanded in some groups? We asked whether people thought there were advantages or disadvantages to being left-handed in their group or whether it was the same for left and right-handers. Nearly a third thought that left-handers were at some disadvantage in their groups. Bearing in mind that 91% of the people were left-handed themselves, right-handers may just put this down to general minority group moaning! However, left-handers are generally a very adaptable lot and used to putting up with inconveniences, usually without moaning. Also, we asked WHY they were at a disadvantage and got some very interesting comments (see below). The disadvantages relate mainly to practical issues like equipment and workplace layouts that are difficult for left-handers to use. It is also interesting that 16% of all the people thought they actually had an ADVANTAGE from being lefthanded. Closer analysis (see below) shows that these advantages are generally thought to arise from the creative / artistic / intelligent / right side of the brain which is dominant in left-handers. They are also related to a fairly narrow range of jobs and professions. Are there more or less left-handers than average in some groups? We asked people whether they thought there were more or less than the average 10% of left-handers in their groups. Where possible, we asked them to give us the total numbers of people in the group and the number of left-handers and provided a form for people to complete to verify the information.

As most people completing the survey were left-handed themselves, and we DO tend to notice other left-handers around us, our feeling is that people's assessment of the numbers should be fairly reliable. Following on from the initial conclusions of this survey, we hope to encourage a closer and more formal look at the numbers in some of the exceptional groups. Average number of lefthanders in the group: 26% More than average: 34% Less than average: 39% If left-handedness DOES NOT affect career and other group choices, we would expect to have most people saying that there were an average number of left-handers in their group. As only 26% said that, the implication is that there IS some link between handedness and life choices. If that is the case, and as most of the people in the survey are left-handed themselves, we would expect them to have chosen groups where lefthandedness is an advantage and therefore mainly say that there were MORE left-handers than average in their own group. Indeed, 34% DID say that, but surprisingly 39% said they were in groups with LESS than the average number of left-handers. Maybe this is not as simple as we thought! To get to the bottom of this, we have to look more closely at the data to see if there is a match between groups where people think there are advantages or disadvantages to being left-handed and whether those same groups have more or less than average numbers of left-handers. cont. p7

The Chronicle | August 2011


(cont. from p6)

Do left-handers choose groups where they have an advantage? We analysed the data to cross-match people's views on whether there were advantages with whether there were more left-handers in their group. [Chart 1] shows the data, with the height of the bars representing the number of people for each cross-match. The blue bar labelled "Bar 1" shows that a large proportion of people who thought there were ADVANTAGES for left-handers in their group also thought there were MORE left-handers than average in their group. Conversely, the red bar labelled "Bar 2" shows that a large proportion of people who thought there were DISADVANTAGES for left-handers in their group also thought there were LESS left-handers than average in their group. This seems to support the idea that there is some direct link between handedness and job choice. How does this apply to specific groups? We summarised all of the hundreds of individual job and other group titles you gave us into some broad areas to get an overview of the answers you gave us. [Table 1] shows those broad groups and whether they were picked out as having advantages / disadvantages and more / less left-handers. Where there is a correlation such as advantages for leftChart 1

The Chronicle | August 2011

handers AND there actually being more lefthanders than average, the "match" column show "yes".

Table 1 Group Administration Business Finance Management Professional Government Services (forces, police etc.) Sales Information Technology Technical services Media Arts Music Sport Trades Manual Health Education Mother / housewife Students

We can draw some interesting (and some worrying!) conclusions from this summary: Ÿ There seem to be some clear matches between perceived advantages and career choice in some fields. These are generally those we would expect, where rightbrain dominance gives and advantage and people have a free choice of the career, for example in arts, music, sport and, not quite so obviously, information technology. Ÿ In some areas that are generally accepted to have more lefthanders, such as the media, our survey confirms the expectation in terms of numbers, but the people do not see themselves as having any particular advantage in that area. Ÿ In administrative and manual jobs, people see disadvantages and there are indeed less left-handers as well. Are they deliberately avoiding awkward work setups, tools, machinery etc.? Ÿ There are some worrying groups, such as health, education and housewives, where people see clear disadvantages and difficulties but have to put up with them to continue with their chosen vocation. Ÿ The biggest worry is the match in the students group between perceived disadvantages and actual lower numbers. 45% of our student respondents thought there were disadvantages for lefthanders and 50% thought there were less left-handed students than the population average. Are students actually giving up their studies because of the difficulties they face as left-handers?


Dis X


Less X X

Match Yes





Yes Yes Yes X




We can get some more insight into these conclusions by looking at the detailed comments that people made about WHY they thought there were advantages or disadvantages in their groups. (section omitted) Conclusions so far Ÿ There is clearly a lot of interest in






this survey and we will carry on collecting data and analysing results. There DOES seem to be a link between left-handedness and the career choices people make. Nearly a third of left-handers think they are at a disadvantage in their work and have comments to make about it! 16% of left-handers thought they actually had an advantage in their work, although this only seems to be in a limited range of jobs such as the media and arts. Some areas of work are more affected than others and further work is needed to study certain jobs more closely. Left-handers DO seem to be adaptable and to put up with inconveniences and disadvantages in the workplace, but should they really have to?

Sources: lts.html


(Reuters) - Its Japanese developers call it the "Futuristic Circular Flying Object" and it's designed to go where humans can't. The radio-controlled sphere, roughly the size of a basketball, was built for search and rescue operations: to fly in and out of buildings weakened by earthquakes or other natural disasters, using its onboard camera to transmit live images of whatever it sees.

Fumiyuki Sato, at the Japanese Defense Ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute, invented and built the vehicle for roughly 110,000 yen($1,390) with parts purchased off the shelf at consumer electronics stores. "Because of its spherical shape, it can land in various positions and tumble to move around the ground," he said of the prototype.

The black, open-work ball looks like a futuristic work of art, but it can hover for up to eight minutes and fly at 60 km (37 miles) an hour - although it does slow down for open windows.


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The Chronicle | August 2011


mind over matter

what’s that phrase?

Break the code to discover the missing letter. Hint: A-Z = 1-26

e.g 24 H in a D: 24 Hours in a Day














? C




5 S of G


4 S of the Y




2 H of a C


4 (b) P of a C


8 N in an O


32 P (A) T


6 is H a D


7 C in a R


24 F P S


4 S and C in a S


101 K on a S K


2 P of a M


25 P is 1 Q


6 is the S P N

word wheel abc


Each line, across and down, is to have each of the letters A, B, and C, and two empty squares. The letter outside the grid shows the first or second letter in the direction of the arrow.

A2 A1









B2 C1 A1 B2

The Chronicle | August 2011


See how many words you can make in this word wheel puzzle. You must use the centre letter in every word. There is at least one nine letter word to be found.


About half of the differences in human intelligence derive from variations in genes, according to a new study. It is something of a truism that intelligence runs in families, and previous studies involving twins and adopted children established a correlation between genes and IQ scores. But the new study, published in the journal Molecular Psychology, found that at least a thousand individual genes each exerted a small influence on a person's IQ. "It has been getting clearer and clearer that any genetic contribution to traits on which people differ - like height and weight - comes about from large numbers of gene differences, each with very small effects," said professor Ian Deary of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research on intelligence. "We thought that was one possibility for cognitive ability differences, and our results are compatible with that."

By performing two tests on 3,511 patients -- one using vocabulary to measure recalled knowledge and the second gauging problem-solving skills -- researchers found that 40% of the variation in knowledge and 51% of the variation in problem-solving skills has a genetic root. The finding re-enforces the notion that intelligence results from a confluence of different factors, both inherited and environmental. The genetic component results from a complex interplay of many genes working together, and scientists are still not certain which genes are at work. And since the test concluded genetics account for only half of the intellectual pie, the nurture factor is still fundamental. "The findings leave a lot of room for environmental influences and for interactions between people's genes and their environment," Deary said. "It is a start to understanding the

2 September: Bloem: Japanese SIG 3 September: JHB TESTING KZN: AGM 4 September: Jhb: Hiking SIG 7 September: Jhb: Libertarian SIG 15 September: Jhb: Hagen Engler, FHM editor 17 September: BLOEM TESTING DBN TESTING Jhb: Parents' SIG 20 September: Jhb: Civitas SIG 26 September: Jhb: Music Appreciation SIG 27 September: Jhb: Art Movie SIG

The Chronicle | August 2011

relationship between people's thinking skills and outcomes in life and to understanding why some people cognitively age better than others." The study also suggested that scientists will be unable to isolate specific genes that cause intelligence, given the complexity of a constellation of different genes working in concert. That would stymie attempts to target specific genes in an effort to boost intelligence. "Based on these data, it seems unlikely that we will identify one or two genes that make a very big difference in intelligence," Dr. Julio Licinio of Australia's National University Canberra told WebMD. Source: 09/intelligence-gene-genetic-intelligenceintelligence-tests-genes-genes-iq.htm

Chairman: Cinzia Busi Secretary: Beverley Potgieter Treasurer: Peter Allen Membership: Tim Knights PR: Louise Steenekamp Regional Chairmen Free State: Nicolette de Lange Johannesburg: Douglas Shaw KZN: Derek Weightman Pretoria: Reyaan Uys Western Cape: Lorraine Steyn Remote members: Peter Allen Magic: Cinzia Busi SIGHT: Meg Cowder-Lewis The Chronicle: MariĂŠ Altintopi