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Pattern recognition skills  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
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While attending a Joel Salatin masterclass, Joel joked about needing mensa chickens for his systems... He went like: You know Mensa? The genius organisation? Well in order for my chicken systems to work you'll need very smart chickens!

Shortly after that masterclass I met several humans (not chickens) that are members of mensa, the high IQ society. They let me see a mensa test, and in that test I recognised a pattern, all the test questions where pattern recognition puzzels! And thats what permaculturists do right? recognize patterns... so would there be any truth in thinking that for permaculture we don't only need gifted chickens but gifted humans too?

I mean I don't want to insult anyone, especially not people from my country (the Netherlands) and the likes of them in wich there is an enormous taboo on giftedness, its like a lot worse then being a bisexual transgender immigrant... I'm just looking for learning opportunities that might help with the world domination plans....

I mean while a mensa test is not a complete IQ-test it is designed to measure general intelligence, and that is something you cannot raise a lot by training, I mean you can of course develop potential, but that potential is something you're pretty much born with according to the scientific near consensus...

So what do we learn from this, things like making a (bigger) distinction between cookycutters and geeks while developing teaching materials? Other things? Anybody got any ideas?
 
Mother Tree
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So does Joel actually have a special breed of genius chickens?

Or does he get 'normal' chickens and expose them to a system which allows them to develop and use their innate intelligence?
 
Maranke Spoor
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@Burra Maluca, I know Joel has a very special bread of rabits his son raised them over many generations adjusted to his systems. I do not know exactly what hes done to his chickens though.... I'll have a look at my notes later and if I find something I'll let you know here.



 
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He has a chicken school where his chickens are trained in seven different disciplines. It's difficult to ascertain the effectiveness of the training, though, as the results are all obtained via standardized testing.

[/joke]

I'm of the belief that with rare exception people can learn most anything they need. People can also teach anything they know. Unfortunately, the right people need to be together for one to be able to teach the other worth a darn. It's very difficult to isolate genius, because it's not extracted the same from each person which can lead to it being overlooked.

Also, very often the genius meal comes with a pretty hefty side dish of crazy.
 
Maranke Spoor
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Grin!
 
Maranke Spoor
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More seriously I'm trying to find out if and how "neurodiversity" needs more attention.

I have questions like: Can celebrating neurodiversity help with Pauls plan for permaculture and world domination?
 
Burra Maluca
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I'm certain it can!

We have an interesting thread here on personality types, which I know isn't quite the same thing but it was interesting to see how 'we' differ from the general population.

I feel that permaculture needs dreamers and innovators, and a lot of people who want to test ideas out and report things back, and then an awful lot of people who are more mainstream to 'just do it'. And I think the mindset of those different people is going to be very different, but all are important, just like all the different plants and animals in an ecosystem or a diverse polyculture. As for pattern recognition, I think it comes more easily to the dreamers amongst us, but it's incredibly hard to teach, in my opinion. Not helped by the way most of us are educated, which seems to be more geared to memorise rather than innovate. But I'm pretty sure that it *can* be learned, and I'm also pretty sure that IQ test scores can be improved by practice. It won't change the innate intelligence, but it will help develop what is there.

How to teach pattern recognition is another matter however. I'm going to go through Geoff Lawton's videos on the subject again and see if I can pick up any tips.
 
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I am a firm believer in training chickens.

I have removed Raccons, Possum, a large great horned owl, etc. from my chicken pens this year.
I have gotten very good at netting and caging great horned owls for relocation.
Those birds that are killed by predators fail. Those that are not pass.
I work to keep the losses to a managable level but still allow totally free range.
To give you an idea of my area my nieghbors live trapped 36 raccons in 2013!

In my area a dump free ranged bird is a dead free ranged bird.
However, I have been able to maintain my flock which I breed each year since the late 90's
 
master steward
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First, I wish to point out that when it comes to pattern recognition, I wrote about this about twelve years ago for the software engineering industry. It is very short: http://www.javaranch.com/patterns/


Within the world of permaculture, my opinion is the same: patterns are great for improving our vocabulary, thus improving our communication. Changing a design for the sake of adding more patterns is, in this one person's opinion, an anti-pattern. So, patterns are a great thing, but some folks are tempted to turn them into a not-so-great-thing.

I have never administered an IQ test. But my understanding is that the test is to measure "how fast your processor is running?" rather than "how much memory do you have?" The idea of the puzzles is to solve the puzzles which you have never heard of before. So as much as you might be able to game the test by solving puzzles for a few years, I'm not sure how that might apply to permaculture.

Of course, there is one thing that the IQ tests do that i really like. They will be very picky about the use of the english language. Getting good at that would (I think) force a high quality of communication - which is especially good for something that is currently uncommon (like permaculture).


So what do we learn from this, things like making a (bigger) distinction between cookycutters and geeks while developing teaching materials? Other things? Anybody got any ideas?



Fill your memory with bits of permaculture knowledge! Including patterns. Experiment!


As for chickens: I think there is a lot to be said for breeding a chicken that is a better forager.
 
Maranke Spoor
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Thank you all for your interesting replies!


I agree that pattern recognition is incredibly hard to teach, thats also my experience, maybe thats why I got intrigued by it while I couldn't care less about brain processor speed or the amount of data that can be put in a head...

===Why teaching pattern recognition skills might be (nearly?) impossible===
From http://www.intelligencetest.com/report/pattern-recognition.htm

Pattern recognition intelligence score

Out of all mental abilities this type of intelligence is said to have the highest correlation with the general intelligence factor, g. This is primarily because pattern recognition is the ability to see order in a chaotic environment; the primary condition for life. Patterns can be found in ideas, words, symbols and images and pattern recognition is unlearned and untrainable. Pattern recognition is a key determinant of your potential in logical, verbal, numerical and spatial abilities. It is essential for reasoning because your capacity to think logically is based on your perception of the logic around you.
 
Maranke Spoor
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I also agree with @PaulWheaton that clear communication is extremely important!

In a training for permaculture teachers, Andy Goldring thaught us: "When you think your clear, try beeing clearer!

So I will try beeing clearer now. When I think of Pattern recognition skills I per example think of things like reading the landscape, recognizing patterns in the chaos that is the landscape... that's where I saw a link with permaculture.

I didn't think of a series of recipes that connected together are also called patterns... I just didn't think of that.


Unfortunatly the mensa test I've seen did not test any communication skills, hardly any words, 99% drawings of pattern recognition puzzels, that can according to the scientific near consensus not be gamed for more than 10%, not even after years of practice.
 
pollinator
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I probably should educate myself more on this topic before commenting, but I did take a Mensa test once. I was very disappointed by the test and flabbergasted that I qualified for membership... which I didn't pursue. But what caused me to do this was a radio ad for Mensa, that said members were characterized by 'endless curiosity'... and I really wanted (and still do!) to find folks who are as inquisitive as I am. So, maybe it is the exceptional curiosity that is common to permies, which passes for 'intelligence'.

Btw, I admire the Dutch disaffection with 'giftedness'... it is a divisive tool in US schools, in my experience. And there are many kinds of gifts...perhaps the real (and rarer) 'gift' is the ability to see and appreciate variety :)
 
alex Keenan
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A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction is a 1977 book on architecture, urban design, and community livability. It was authored by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein of the Center for Environmental Structure of Berkeley, California, with writing credits also to Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel. Decades after its publication, it is still one of the best-selling books on architecture.

One can lean to understand both patterns and anti-patterns.
This has been done in many areas such as information technolgy, architecture, biology, etc.
Much of patterns has to do with relationships and functionality.
For example people made hill side terraces to grow rice. Why go through all that trouble? Because if you have 8 acres of forest draining into one acre of paddy you have a system that can restore itself.
Timeless pattern have developed over centuries of use.
Eco patterns have evolved based on relationships of plants and animals.
Mankind has used patterns for centuries, it is not a new discovery.
 
pollinator
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Our world communicates with patterns. She will tell you everything you ever wanted to know if you can recognize the pattern. That's why patterns are so important to permies, because they are the instruction manual to the Earth.
I am autistic(highly functioning). Since we tend to see patterns everywhere, I think you will find that many permaculture designers are at least slightly autistic.
In the 2nd grade, I was tested and told that I was "gifted". I was separated from my peers and advanced through school at an accelerated rate until I was a 17 year old college dropout. I think it may be better to recognize all kids as special and gifted, not just the ones who could potentially make great engineers, etc.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Regarding neurodiversity, you might want to check out this thread on Permaculture and Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Asperger's

I've been thinking about teaching pattern recognition, too. There does seem to be a bit of a consensus that it can't be done, which I think is a bit self-defeating. I think we could approach the problem from a different perspective and ask things like 'How could we teach it?' or 'How can we show how useful it is to people who don't seem to get it?' we might start to make progress. We do have a few threads scattered around permies, including one in the Design Manual Study Group section.

I wonder, seeing as Bill Mollison seemed to be of the opinion that study of pattern is so vital to permaculture, if we should create a new forum to discuss pattern and bring all the scattered threads together where the ideas in them can start to coalesce and maybe crystalise into something a bit, er, prettier?
 
steward
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Seeing as how pattern recognition is an important and lucrative (think social media ads) branch of computer science, it stands to reason that if we can teach machines to recognize patterns, we should be able to teach one another the same skill.
 
Maranke Spoor
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The more I focus on this subject, read your interesting replies and things like that... I start thinking that "neurodiversity" needs more attention. Yes also within permaculture circles! Of course a great thing about permaculture is that it has a love of diversity as its core... but still we are only human. Within myself I recognized that I started disliking my intellectual side, and value practical things like planting trees a lot more... and of course that kinds of things are very important, maybe even more then ever... but how should that be a reason for a lack of respect of neurodiversity. Sometimes I even think that lack of respect for diversity is the root of all evil...

And lets face it, learning about permaculture/ecology... is a bit more challenging and or different than learning how to grow corn on a large scale, and its totally different things you learn to...

Last year my colleague and I spent the better part of 9 months to translate Mark Shepards Restoration Agriculture into Dutch... and we got a whole lot of very positive comments to that...And it is a great book isn't it?

But the comment that we learned from most was a comment from a farmer we know a bit better because she is a former student of mine. She has a 50 hectare veg growing business and had been a boardmenber of a farmers union. She said "I love this book, I already tried to read the english version, but now I've got a well translated Dutch version I read all of it. It's great it gives me confidence that I can apply permie stuff on our big farm. And then she said but I doubt that all my colleagues can read this, even if it is in Dutch... you nearly need a higher education degree to be able to understand it! And lets face Mark Shepard is a intellectual turned farmer.... didn't he use to teach ecology before he started new forest farm?

What can we learn from this? Stop saying that permaculture is not for cookiecutters, something a heard quite often, also from my own mouth... but start embracing that there are more differences between people than we usually want to admit... stop saying that everybody can learn everything? And instead that ever person has a different (not good or bad but a different) set of thing that (s)he is good at, and that that is absolutely fine and we should adjust to that?

 
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