Ah! Freya’s day. And after a hectic week it actually feels halfway soothing for a change. But I still have the nagging agony of tab disposaphobia. Take for example a report from the “Economic and Social Research Council” [Link] that Occidentals and Orientals see their environments differently. Evidently Occidentals tend to look at key features, the eye region of faces, e.g., while Orientals tend to take a more holistic view, the whole face, e.g., so that both are uncomfortable mentally around the other. And this behavior is cemented by entry into puberty.
Sadly, this pronouncement, which tends to explain a great deal about the oft noted differences between East and West, is not supported well on the causitive level. Is this purely environmental or does it have a genetic component? Why is it? And are these questions beyond the grasp of ‘social scientists’?
I cannot help but think that I had an Oriental as an adviser in graduate shule. This probably explains why he abided me.
Next, an article from the Economist [Link] about research at U Texas on how exercise is cannibalistic. Vision of the “worm who ate his own tail” emerge. The technical term is autophagy, which
“name is derived from the Greek for “self-eating”, is a mechanism by which surplus, worn-out or malformed proteins and other cellular components are broken up for scrap and recycled.”
Obviously the process is controlled in some fashion otherwise it would have run itself into complete destruction on myself and quite a few other people I see at gym. In which instance the image that may be more appropriate is the folks in a lifeboat after a sinking. Breadfruit anyone?
This seems to be a common theme in biology of organisms needing to prune themselves of badness and this capability deteriorating in old age and eventually resulting in discorporation.
I have to wonder if the same is true of social organisms as well? And is it time for us to prune the political parties?
And lastly, just when you think that the SOPAites are going to reduce the internet to a mindless pile of capitalist stercus, I read that the wonk shule on the Charles is going to offer free versions of their courses on the internet and certify the studious! In a sense this is not surprising because the cost is minimal and certainly provides them a leg up on becoming the internet college overlord but it also offers something else. The blatant, neon signage, arc illuminated searchlights across a cloudy sky, impact is an assault on the costs of second class education. This threatens everything from the internet diploma mills through land grant state colleges. If you’re too poor and/or dull to get into one of the ‘GOOD’ shules then why settle for second best? Admittedly, one will then miss out on all the official partying, tail-gating I believe it is now called, associated with not watching a meaningless collegiate athletic game, but one can always substitute a home brewed version and avoid the wasteful expenditures of tuition, books, and subsistence.
That is the second thing. The second, perhaps even third rank, of Amerikan colleges have degenerated into training factories run for the flow of Yankee currency rather than actual education since the Great Patriotic War. The internet colleges are blatantly about collegiate mercantilism. And now this is threatened at its rotten foundation. By offering second class access to its actual educational efforts, MIT is offering a choice between a second class, unvalidated education and a second class training program whose validation is increasingly irrelevant while socially intransigent.
Who knows, this may actually be where the next Einstein comes from. Tightly managed colleges have never been good at developing genius and colleges today are so tight they can get sweat out of a dime.
Never forget: education is about diversity of knowledge and integration; training is about depth and differentiation.