Entering the third day of captivity. Were it not for the inherent perverseness, from our human perspective, of Nature, that captivity would have ended today but instead, yesterday’s meltings were converted to hard frozen overnight reducing the roads once more to the domain of bumper cars.
Both my aft porch electronic thermometer and ForecastFox agree that the exterior temperature is approximately -7 degC, 20 degF for the bogs. Somehow 20 sounds warmer than -7 but physically both are the same. Perhaps I should think of it as 266 degK which makes me want to break out the sun screen and turn up the air conditioning.
Some of the punditry has been about how this mess is a consequence of climate change aka global warming. I cannot agree or disagree with confidence. I did examine the historical record and it seems that we have winter storms like this in Nawth Alibam with a mean of about 25 years and a standard deviation of about 4 years. So this storm is statistically consistent with what the order statistics would predict based on the two previous storms. At issue, as always, is whether all variable have been properly considered – the answer is a resounding NO! – and if the data aggregation is righteous – the answer is a resounding HUH?
The outside world is still there, and despite what the news readers would have us believe, not all of the planet is stormed under or rapt in mystic mumblage over political assassination. Human existence continues and mostly at a level orthogonal to the advertising of manufactured stercus by people who say the stupidest things in some adult version of Art Linkletter.
One of the currents in the articles that have been coming in has been about college students, which seems a bit displaced. Should this not be occurring at the end of summer? But happily it is anticlimactic. The first piece is about some work at Ohio State U. Researchers there advance that their sample of college students exhibited a greater affinity for self-esteem than food, ethanol, or gratuitous reproductive activity.[Link]
I fear this one falls into the ‘ain’t no surprise’ pile although given that it is academic research we might expect the perfessers to be oblivious to the reality short of getting publication credits. Point is, most college students have very low self-esteem for some very good mechanical reasons. This was the situation in my day and it is more so now.
Let’s start by considering these students when they graduated high shul. When I graduated the message was that we had learned some but there was a lot more to be learned in college, for those of us fortunate enough to go to college, which unlike today was not everyone since there were no Yankee government guaranteed student loans. Nowadays, students are told all through primary and secondary shul that they are wonderful just by being there and regardless of whether they learn anything or not.
Then you got to college. In my day we had been told we had a lot to learn and we discovered that part of our education was accurate. Freshman year started with us being overwhelmed with our ignorance – except, of course, for the jocks who came to college to get paid and the debs who came to college to get husbands – and continued throughout. And it kept heaping as each semester we got told in first class by some new perfesser (to us) that the baby stuff was over and we had to bust our organs to learn the ‘real stuff’ in his course. After a couple of these you figured out the ‘real stuff’ was infinitely regressive. Then, just when we thought maybe we had gotten to a plateau starting our Senior year, we found out about graduate shul. And then in graduate shul we found out about being self-teaching and lifetime learning.
Needless to say, the general state of the student psyche in this environment was of some Greek tragedy myth of eternally pushing a rock up an infinitely upwards slope. Self-esteem was rarer than hen’s dentition in the dorm cafeteria. In fact, the only real sources of self-esteem were how good was the food, how well did you hold your ethanol, and how recently had you engaged in reproductive activity. Ayeh, good grades helped but they were transitory and ultimately meaningless. Because as soon as you aced one course one semester there was another course in another semester.
But as bad as this was for we “Children of Containment”, as one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, refers to us, it is much more pronounced for the current crop of helicopter parented, Every-Child-Left-Behind students. They have been told that they are marvelous because thy metabolize, and intellectual activity is irrelevant. We were told before we got to college we were ignorant; these kids haven’t and they are lower than coprolites. So it is no wonderment that some Yankee academics would find out that these kids prize self-esteem, because it’s something that is in very short supply.
I shall refrain from any blame throwing for this. But I will invoke a second article[Link] that tells us that college students deep into undergraduate majors are incompetent. It seems that while the students may have memorized enough to pass exams, they haven’t learned the thoughts of their majors. And they are still thinking like pond scum.
The authors lay this at the feet of the perfessers. After all, these kids have been dumbed down by the educationalists all of their lives so there should be no obligation now for them to understand anything, much less learn and internalize. So when the perfessers assume the students have grasped what was taught in previous courses, they are in error. And that error is their fault.
Sorry, I don’t purchase this.Back when I was a student there were things in every course that I didn’t get right away. Heck, there was one course in math methods at U Illinois that took me 30 years to grok. But we learned enough that we weren’t lost next semester when the pile got higher. Evidently one of the characteristics of contemporary students is that having been told by the educationalists for twelve years that they don’t need to learn anything to be wonderful, they now don’t or can’t learn at all. Yes, they can memorize but that is a long way from learning.
And I shan’t even remark on the contemporary custom of never retaining any textbook from previous courses.
Now I’m going to bind up my feet in MalWart galoshes and do something productive – feeding the critters.