Wise beyond her years: Dayaal Kaur earned a score on her I.Q. test that was close to Einstein’s—on her fourth birthday.

A four-year-old girl who learned the alphabet by the time she was 14 months old has become one of the youngest members of Mensa.

Dayaal Kaur, from Birmingham, took the test to join the society for people with a high IQ when she was three and was accepted on her fourth birthday. Her score revealed she has an IQ of 145, putting her in the top 1 percent of the population.

Intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a measure of reasoning ability tested by asking people to answer questions using information and logic under timed conditions. The “average” IQ is 100 and two thirds of Britons have an IQ of between 85 and 115. Members of Mensa must score at least 132, which puts them in the top 2 percent of the population.

Its validity as a measure of intelligence has been challenged, however, with critics arguing it fails to recognize broader definitions, such as creativity and emotional intelligence.

Dayaal was able to count to 20 before she was 16 months old, according to her father, Sarb Singh, 39. Mr Singh, a health and well-being pastoral leader from Great Barr, Birmingham, said: “I knew she was an exceptional child. I am biased, but it was crazy how quickly she was able to learn the alphabet and read.” He added that her social skills and sense of humor were as “breathtaking” as her intelligence. “I could have a proper conversation with her when she was only two,” he said. “I am privileged to be her dad.”

Good genes: Dayaal with her baby sister, dad, and mom at home in Birmingham, U.K.

Mr Singh and his wife, Rajvinder Kaur, 32, encourage Dayaal by buying her books on her favorite topic, space. “She says things all the time that I have to google,” said Ms Kaur, a solicitor. “She is fascinated by space, so she is always asking me things like ‘Why does the moon orbit the earth?’ Often I don’t know the answer, so I have to find out — I want to help her learn.”

Dayaal gets along better with young teenagers than children her own age and does not tend to watch cartoons. Mr Singh and Ms Kaur consulted a psychologist, who, after assessing Dayaal, recommended she move up a year at school, something “she said she rarely does”, Mr Singh said. He is concerned that Dayaal will become frustrated if she is not pushed at school, adding she is “way ahead of other children in her year.

“She shouldn’t be squeezed into a conventional educational system when she is progressing at such a rapid pace,” Mr Singh said. “Already, if she is not challenged enough, she will get frustrated.

“She’s not from this planet.”

A great spotted woodpecker manages to get its beak around a whole acorn.
Raise the roof: William Davies, at work crafting 3D models of his customers’ homes.

A movie animator has launched a business building picture-perfect replicas of customers’ houses in painstaking miniature.

William Davies, 28, spends up to 14 hours a day crafting the 3D models out of cardboard, Styrofoam, sponges, wood, old plastic bottles and even bits of Biro. He uses photographs of people’s houses, taking approximate measurements and making rough sketches to help him turn the 2D pictures into a 3D replica.

Mr Davies works from a room at his parents’ house in Chichester, West Sussex, and everything is made meticulously by hand. First he makes a wood base and inside frame of a model, then cuts the walls from a specialist cardboard material which he lays over the frame and paints. The bricks are usually then cut and glued on individually, and the same for the roof tiles. An ‘uncomplicated’ house can take a week but a more challenging property can take much longer.

He uses objects such as chicken wire for TV aerials, bamboo skewers for drainpipes, lichen for greenery, fillite filler powder as the pointing and Biro tops for chimneys.

The idea for ‘Home in Miniature’ formulated when the freelancer was working at Gigglefish Animation Studios on a children’s film called Strike three years ago, but he only set up his bespoke service earlier this year. William said: ‘I began making miniature sets and props for stop motion filming when I was studying animation at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham.

It’s all in the details.

‘I had the idea of starting a model-making business when I was working on Strike but it was only [last] year that I had the idea of making model houses. I thought the idea of owning a model home, which could be passed down to future generations, may appeal to homeowners. I had made houses for my own films, as scenery, so I already understood the process of making them. I learnt a lot about model making working on animation.’

He added: ‘It also seemed like a sensible business idea because it is something I can do at home, without being affected by lockdowns. I really enjoy the process of creating flint onto a model by carefully introducing paint from a toothpick onto the surface of the building. It means I can reproduce flint in various shapes and with all the irregularities that exist in the real material.

‘Each building is bespoke so I try to avoid using machine-made materials and methods, everything is done by hand. I take my approximate measurements from photographs of houses, which means I have to interpret the dimensions of a 3D model from a 2D image. This is probably the part I find the most challenging.

‘I keep a box of plastic which I can sometimes utilize when making my models, such as pen lids and inner components of old pens.’

Mr Davies said he takes ‘considerable satisfaction’ in finding alternative uses for everyday items, making chimneys from sawed chopstick ends and drainpipes from barbecue skewers. He continued: ‘Houses with lots of visible bricks take the longest to make as each one must be cut individually.

‘I try to include any weathering and decay that appears in the photograph for extra realism. The model should look like it belongs in its environment and is “lived in”, which is a totally different approach to making doll’s houses that have to be pristine and brightly painted.’

The miniature houses cost from $480.