The Case of the Missing Tennis Ball

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The notion that humans are growing increasingly dumb has been around for millennia. Socrates, in his Unapologia, noted how his fellow Athenians didn’t know their "arse from an urn." And Desiderius Erasmus was equally appalled by the ignorance of his Dutch neighbors. Not only were they all going to hell, he said, but they would probably get lost along the way.

I’ve been saying the same thing to my lovely wife for years, but she has always dismissed my thoughts as more examples of my celebrated misanthropy. Now I can wave a new study in her face and say, "Ha!"

That is, I can once I figure out how to download the pdf. And, apparently, you have to be some kind of Einstein to print the damn thing.

The news might seem like a no-brainer, but some folks are skeptical. "How do researchers really know we’re getting dumber?" they stupidly ask. According to this article in Discover, over the past 20,000 years human males have lost a chunk of brain roughly the size of a tennis ball. (I would have thought a golf ball, since that’s the sort of thing we tend to lose most often, but I digress.) This will not be news to women, who have been saying the same thing for roughly 40,000 years. But before you gals get all smug, the same research says women have lost about the same size chunk o’ brain. And with each passing millennium, that tennis ball is starting to look more and more like a tennis racket.

It makes sense. Anecdotal evidence of our incredible shrinking brains is all around us.

SIGNS THAT WE ARE GETTING DUMBER:

  • The Dallas man who recently tried to cash a forged check for 360 BILLION DOLLARS.
  • Last year’s public school test scores.
  • This year’s public school test scores.
  • Warning labels on containers of rat poison: "Harmful if swallowed."
  • The fact that we are even talking about Jersey Shore’s Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.
  • The fact that we allow Oprah to choose the books we read.
  • Computer scientists create breakthrough technology and we use it to keep tabs on the Kardashians.

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