Life Inside the Snow Belt

After having cleared out our driveway, Tuesday morning it was already partially filled right back in from another blizzard.  That’s what makes winter so difficult in the snow belt.  It’s easy to shovel yourself out once, but winter starts to wear on you when you have to redo it again and again and again and again.  No complaints this year, we’ve managed to escape the brunt of it by hiding out in the south.

I’ve lived in North Carolina and Maryland where things shut down when there is a decent snow, but in the north this is a regular occurrence and things just have to keep going.  So that’s what we did, drove to Boston on I-90 at about 45 mph through snow covered roads.  To top it off, it was so cold that the nozzle for the windshield anti-freeze was frozen over.  Each time a large truck drove by it would kick up mud and salt from the road making it near impossible to see.  Just another day on the road in the snow belt.

Mom, Shannon, and I passed the long drive to Boston with some great debate.  Is intelligence genetic, or do we all enter this world as empty vessels?  My personal thought is that just about all, if not all, of who we are is a result our environment.  It got heated at points, but before you know it we arrived.  We pulled up to the hotel in Boston at about 1:00 AM where I broke out my computer and started blogging.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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19 Responses to Life Inside the Snow Belt

  1. jean loughran says:

    Intelligence is hereditary, what we do with it is environment. You were raised right. Your mom wins the argument.

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this blog. You’re doing a fantastic job living the best life you can make. I think you’ll like the hardtales article when you see it in print.

  2. Cousin Mike says:

    Brett, allow me to settle this point once and for all. Look at our family cousins… Ryan–doctor. Aaron–hotel administrator. You–nuclear engineer. Jeff–mechanical/electrical engineer. Me–gym teacher. I’m sure nature plays a part, but I’m big on nurture and environment. There was something else I wanted to say, but I have a headache from being hit by a dodgeball.

    • Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

      Maybe you wanted to mention your intelligent sister…….

    • bhoefen says:

      Cousin, cousin, cousin…you picked a profession that perfectly matches your great personality and amazing ability to teach. One of my favorite high school track meets and memories was at Livonia. I had never pole vaulted in my life, but thought it looked fun. Decided to try it for the first time at the meet and not only qualified but managed to get over a few successive heights with the coaching and encouragement of my cousin Mike. From your list of professions all that I see is that you were the only one with the foresight to pick something that would be fun. By the way, watch out for those kickballs, that’s where my trouble all started.

      • Cousin Mike says:

        Well, see that’s where my expertise comes in. You see, in kickball it’s a widely misunderstood fact that only MIKAN red rubber 8 psi kickballs are approved by the IKA (International Kickball Association). For awhile they were going with the blue synthetic rubber Gladiator 4.0 but that was a total joke.

  3. Mom says:

    Here is one interesting google response…
    First are you referring to intelligence or diligence?
    Intelligence, as what is measured in intelligence tests to give you your IQ score, is genetic. If you test a child with the child version of the IQ test and then retest the child later when they are an adolescent with the adolescent version, then the same person when he is an adult with the adult version, the IQ level will be the similar with a very slight deviation from original score. So intelligence is inherited.
    However, environmental conditions also affects the development of the brain especially when the person is young. Not enough mental stimulation for a child that is 2 to 6 can cause mental retardation and slow down the development of the brain. This is also true for poor nutrition during the same stage of development.
    On the other hand, you can improve your intelligence quotient through constant reading and other mental stimulation. However, this will only increase your intelligence quotient slightly. However, diligence is another matter. A person can work very hard in their studies and over achieve from their actual IQ score. However, this is not intelligence. Intelligence would mean that a person would easily understand a concept while a diligent person may need to think about the same concept longer to grasp the idea.

  4. Jeremy Button says:

    Tabula rasa?

  5. The brain and intelligence are two things I like to think about as well. My take is that intelligence is the default setting when you are born. You have no experiential knowledge of how to do deal with the world so you are giving the capability to parse it as this base cognitive or reasoning ability. But cognitive thought as judged by IQ isn’t really that useful. There are plenty of smart people who don’t accomplish much.

    So to me the question is really about problem solving. It could be how to screw in a light bulb to the imaginative games Einstein played to come up with Relativity. And that is where nurture comes in. Good problem solving needs creativity and that resides not in cognition, but in emotion. Has the person been raised with an open mind and trained to harness their perseverance?

    Plus, if it was simple heredity then we would still believe the sun revolved around the earth – there are many of these unquestioned truisms in the world to this day.

    We all have one fate, but the rest of it is for us to determine.

  6. HP says:

    Nerd alert!!!

    Loving this debate and the differing perspectives! The nerds amongst us/you may also be interested in knowing that this issue of the interplay between genes and environment is gaining increasing attention here in the funding world and in the scientific enterprise more broadly. Although this dialogue has focused on g x e (i.e., “g by e” or “gene by environment” interactions) in intelligence, there is a lot of work going on now to look at g x e in a variety of other health issues including things like obesity. Very interesting stuff…

    And here I thought all you were debating en route to Boston was whether it was possible for me to gain weight merely by reading about your food adventures on this blog… 🙂

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