Good Addiction

Fawg! Real fawg! Not that stercus uttered by Weather Beavers when there is enough aerosol to see but the visibility is several miles. Real can’t see five point something football fields (American, that is) fer the white goop, not the red. Driving to the edge of Scant City, where it went away, was a lovely exercise in last-man-on-Tellus emotions. 

And the podcast! An episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” consisting of a lecture by A. C. Grayling on liberties.And incidentally, how the relgionists will always cheat and enslave us. But excellent mundane day fare. Which gave me cause to contemplate whence I go with with the new book.

Which led me once more to think about maths and bogs. In keeping with the old saying that “there is no royal road to learning”, there is no special maths escalator for bogs. Or anyone else. But I am entertaining the conjecture that the problem is that bogs are unable to embrace maths because that would make them not-bog and they are unwilling to abandon their current pathetic lives. I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Are we all really THAT BAD at math?” and immediately found a lovely case study of bog and maths. I was particularly taken with some of the article:

“Oddly enough, I got my best grades in math and science. It was mostly because I was a quick formula memorizer. I could plug and chug with the best of them. But there was very little practical application for what I “learned.”

Ask me how to calculate the cosine of a right triangle or, well, to do pretty much anything I learned in calculus, and I’ll give you a blank stare. Heck, just ask me why I would need to do those things, and I’ll give you a blank stare.”

Yes, there is no practical application because you haven’t learned enough. The memorization is inescapable. Until you can learn enough to actually work real problems all you are going to get is memorization and fake problems. That hopefully reinforce the memorization. Expecting to do anything with high schule maths is about like seeing a picture of a screwdriver and expecting to assemble a motorcar. Or a plasma cannon. 

So blame part of it on the constricted hose of high schule – public education in general – education. You aren’t going to learn much maths in high schule. Maybe the equivalent of one semester in college. And then, if you’re a bog, you’re going to avoid that. I forget how many bog seniors had deferred college algebra – a course most nerds place far beyond in college – and suddenly found themselves mousetrapped into a no-graduate situation. Several even offer pittances to take the tests for them.

The only way you learn maths is the way you learn anything. You have to go beyond. If you stick with what they teach in public schule then you are doomed to be an ignernt bog. And yes, that is maybe redundant. I find it amusing that bogs embrace athletics and practice (learn) for a lot more hours than they are in class. But ask them to put in extra hours on maths or science and they act like you want to neuter them. As if learning athletics is somehow exalting? Other than endorphins, of course.

So don’t cry to us when you fail, bogs. You did it to yourself. With help from your parents, who are just you a bit older and not wanting you to be better than they. And teachers who don’t know any more than they present – if that – and don’t want you to know more than they. And a schule system that is more interested in good order than good people. The only road to STEM is doing more than the system provides. Mediocre schules produce mediocre people. Bogs, in other words. And all schules – public at least – are mediocre. So it’s up to you. 

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