Duhhh Best

Four Day. The petrol pipeline is supposedly, temporarily repaired/restored and the petrol situation should return to “normal” (a misuse of the term,) in a few days. So maybe by next week I can return to gym. 

This incident has reimpressed me with how corporations can vertically copulate people’s lives. They need to be controlled. 

But on the bright side I notice [Link] that Alibam is the 44th most educated state in the Yankee republic. 

That’s equivalent to saying it is the 7th worst educated state. And if you subtract out Madison County I’d suspect it rises to first or second worse.

So for once, Alibam isn’t automatically the worst at something. Other than Amerikan soccer.

Alibam politicians and capitalists like Alibam being uneducated. Makes for a more docile class of work serfs. Makes them more amenable to believing that things like unions and health care are BAD.

On the other hand, it is a bit nice to know I’m in the top few percentum of educational attainment. Which don’t mean much but every living creature has to have something satisfying about itself to keep living.

Besides, I’m too old to move. To sat nothing of convincing FD SCP. Maybe after the elections?


Freshman Weight Amassing

Four Day. End of gym week. Which has been unusual for the quota of Linux podcasts. Finished up that episode of “Linux Luddites” from last week on Woden’s Day and heard an Ubuntu podcast episode this morning. So all sort of thoughts about Linux but none mature enough for a blot. Film Whenever.

But I did run across as article [Link] entitled “Five Tips for Avoiding the “Freshman 15″” the other day and since this is off-to-college time and I have to mumble whenever that occurs, here’s one.

The tips are:

  1. Avoid snacking during class: 
  2. Skip the sugary energy drinks: 
  3. Use smaller plates in the cafeteria: 
  4. Make time for exercise: 
  5. Limit alcohol consumption: 

The article adds some dialog to this but if you want to read go visit the original. I cite and quote but try to stop properly short of plagiarism. And as claimed, I have to add my comments and memories. So here they are:

Avoid snacking during class: Snacking during class? Do you want to get kicked out? Absolutely no drinking nor eating in class. Double that for labs. I recall one guy, who like me didn’t get lunch because of a 1100-1200 class and a 1200-1500 lab came in munching a candy bar – this was before energy bars or even granola. If he had finished it in the hall he would have been fine but he walked into lab eating it and instantly got banned from the building. He ended up having to change majors, got drafted, and generally had a sad fate.

Skip the sugary energy drinks: The only sugary drinks in those days were everything: soda, lemonade, tea. Even coffee usually. But they weren’t billed as energy drinks. And while I knew people who drank soda, I didn’t. Well, maybe once or twice a term. To be sociable. Tea was another matter though. 

Use smaller plates in the cafeteria: Plates? College cafeterias were just that in my day. No salad bars. Lines. Pastel green plastic trays instead of plates. And the green hue made all the food look a bit nauseating. And the selection was limited to A or B and only if you were early on and all of the good choice had been gotten. More Later.

Make time for exercise: Exercise? Who had time? Oh yeah, the jocks and the goof-offs and a few smart guys but for me it was grind, grind, grind. My exercise was getting between classes. And scurrying in labs. I recall second semester fresham year I had labs every afternoon but Friday. And on Saturday you trudged to town to get necessities not sold in the supe store.

Limit alcohol consumption: Ethanol? Some in chemistry lab but it was denatured with methanol so if you drank it you went to hospital. And then Vietnam. To get drinking ethanol you had to know someone of age and a motorcar. I didn’t. So my celebrations we sweet tea or the occasional soda.

Now let’s grind on the Freshman Fifteen which is the weight – pounds are a measure of force – that a lot of Freshmen gain these days from being too sedentary and dissolute and overeating. My Freshman weight gain was a negative 28 pounds. Yep. Went home end of spring term 28 pounds lighter than when I entered the previous August. Too many classes back-to-back across lunch time. Miss lunch more days than you don’t and too many suppers with yuck cafeteria swill and racewalking from the liberal arts side of campus to the NERD side and you’ll drop enough weight to look a bit like a cancer or concentration survivor. The bad part is the panicked parents when they pick you up – no car, remember – and freak out that you’re discorporating of some horrible disease.


Diversity Dictatorship

I do not like diversity programs. I do like diversity. But almost always programs do not accomplish their desired end and cause more damage than construction. It’s the same as organized religion. No evil is too large to not be perpetrated in the name of good.

I get hit frequently with some pronouncement that some aspect of my existence and environment is not diverse. First of all, it isn’t supposed to be more than a certain amount diverse. I am not going to try to breathe vacuum, for instance. 

But I am continually told that there are not enough women, religionist, political, ethnic nerds in the group. The unsupported and unanalyzed assumption is that the demographics of the group should be a perfect replication of the demographics of the national or planetary population of homo sapiens.

I much preferred the ‘system’ when I was a young nerd, starting back when I began undergraduate schule. That was based almost entirely on individuality. An aspirant to inner nerdery failed or succeeded purely on their own abilities. There were prejudices, yes, but such can only be negated if recognized, not by some organized program. And yes the demographics were rather local and heavily slanted to nerds but since when do we want to waste STEM resources on Bogs?

Yes, there were some older members of the group, senior faculty primarily, who harbored deep views about women and other characteristics that they considered, from long experience, to be compromising. And yes, they did act prematurely on their prejudices sometimes but that was inherent in homo sapiens, something that was not fixable by fiat of organization. 

That’s part of modern denial. The denial that organization can do anything and we should quietly comply while society is destroyed.

But that’s another thing that people adopt when they get old: seeing the end of civilization and the species in the actions of the young.

But I did like things better when we were successful or failures on our own abilities and not the machinations of organization.

Academic Asininity

Seven Day. Still air. Not quite pleasant. So quickly home and into the joys of tab ‘hoggin’. And hence a bit of commentage.

First, a rather nasty (?) article [Link] on HuffPo entitled “Universities must enter the digital age or risk facing irrelevance.” The argument here is that the ant hill sociality of GEN Ys needs to be the mode in academies of higher education.

My initial reaction was disgust and horror: one more instance of the punishment and suppression of INTROs and the exaltation – mindlessly – of EXTROs. And it is that. But it is also fundamentally flawed in many ways.

First of all, the proponents have lost sight of the difference between training and education. Training is a social thing; Education is an individual thing. And what they are advocating is very much training and sociality and the eradication of individuality and education. These are the hallmarks of slave management. 

Education is an individual activity. Yes, it may be facilitated by group activities but ultimately it is about teaching the individual how to think and become a self-teacher. Not a member of an ant colony. Technology is part of this. Black boards were a major improvement over purely oral presentations. Powerpoint slides however, are detrimental to learning and education. They quite ignore that the focus is the individual. Colleges should not be factories.

This is pointed up by a second article [Link] entitled “Should Teachers Ask Students To Check Their Devices At The Classroom Door?” The author of this article has none of the cancerous delusions of the first. And what he does is take the growing body of information on how old fashioned – back to the beginnings of colleges – note taking is the cornerstone of college education. 

Not photographs, not Powerpoint slides, not slablet/lapbox notes. Old fashioned manual movement after information processing of ink onto paper. 

And definitely not group grope sessions in place of lectures.

Let us take these idiots out of the colleges and send them to the training factories of the corporate environment so that we may be assured their stupidity and poison will not destroy our future.


Political Poisoning

One day. Back to gym. Sparse again. Podcast passable, a debate on the merits of Canadian conscription during the Great War. 

Overall, I found the podcast worthwhile for reasons other than those put forward by the debators, both history academics. Seems that conscription was imposed on Canada by politicians for their own purposes of supporting a small subset of the citizenry. Rather like politicians today in Amerika. And thereby just as evil?

The other missing part was the utter revisionism of both debators. Both failed to separate themselves from later events. Yes, conscription made no difference in the war’s outcome but how were the decision makers to know that? Duhhhhhhhhhhh!

Speaking of which, I ran across a blot [Link] on the question of classroom learning and electronics. This is not the first such I have commented on but this one is particularly telling since it details an experiment performed by the Yankee army at Hudson High for Wayward Youth that rather convincingly indicated that electronics and learning are immiscible.

The problem unmentioned, except obliquely and in passing, is that learning is almost completely irrelevant in contemporary Amerika. 

Ah! The road to national failure.

Futile Openness?

Another milder morning. Once more to the park for constitutional, but I had to share the path and that rather upset my concentration. Not completely, but more than I should like.

We sit on the edge of summer solstice and it seems a strange time to be thinking about schule, but I ran across an article [Link] entitled “College courses without textbooks? These schools are giving it a shot.” I should comment that the title is rather a bit of the contemporarily usual journalistic stercus tauri. One of the things that was learned in the early days of universities was that the students learn better if there is a textbook for every one and not just a “lecturer” reading out of his copy while the students take down his reading. Of course, that was before Gutenberg did the technology and manufacturing development of printing.

We have deviated from this model and in recent years are reaping the punishment of it with a generation of students who were issued schule owned book that were recovered and reused at end of term. So these students have no appreciation of the inertia of textbooks and display it in their lack of knowledge in later time. Another incidence of politicians economizing to destroy civilization.

But the textbooks referred in the title are those produced by the textbook publishing corporations of Amerika. I had occasion yesterday to visit the Barnes and Ignoble site with a discount coupon and was shocked. The inflation of textbook prices since my undergraduate days is a factor of about 20! I looked at some introductory texts that I paid $10-15 for and all were north of $250! No wonder the students dispose of their texts at end of term!

A more accurate way of describing the alternative being explored is open source materials which may include texts. It is another bit of a program I have seen growing in recent years to offer alternatives to hideously expensive textbook and learning materials. I strongly support any such efforts. 

Sadly, I have been unable to find any support among my collegiate colleagues. They seem addicted to the bribes conveyed them by those publishers – outlines, syllibi, slides. They claim that the press of their duties precludes them doing a competent job of preparation. Evidently one more indication of the factoryization of college. 

I weep for the deprived students. They can no longer take notes for lack of cursive, thereby they cannot learn, the lectures are standardized and unengaging, and they discard their textbooks. No wonder they emerge from college as ignorant as they entered. We are out own enemy as Pogo sayith.

Old, I am.

I now have a new appreciation of OLD.

Stopped by the Campus of the Tennessee this morning to check out their newest building. As I was inspecting I realized that in my second year as a grad student I had a class in the previous building on this piece of ground. 

And that building was as new then and this one is now. 

And they tore down the old one because it was too hard and costly to maintain.


And, evidently, so am I.