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I’d like to say it’s been a pleasure having you. Warning: this post contains humour

#1 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-March-13, 05:10

"I'd like to say it's been a pleasure having you." My mother would sometimes say as she waved goodbye to visitors. I learned from a young age that my mother was not entirely trustworthy. The same is true of many adults; teachers in particular.

In Washington, it's called plausible deniability. Unfortunately, it seems to have come round and bitten America on the AKx.

Here are a few things that teachers say: and what they really mean.

  • Your son could work harder: Your son is bone idle, disruptive and driving me nuts. He should go to military school.
  • Your daughter has a lot of potential: your daughter is incredibly lazy. Please take her elsewhere.
  • Your son is a stable genius: your son can walk, but can barely talk or read and has reached the absolute limit (stable) of what he can achieve because of his complete inability to listen to what others say to him and you will need to care for him for the rest of his life. He is a danger to himself and others. Military school is the only option.
And if you think this just applies to children, watch what happens when a comedy crew interviewed people on the street about things like "what's the religion in Israel", or "how many sides does a triangle have". Then ask yourself again why Trump got elected. To be fair, I once heard someone unable to spell ACDC when answering a quiz on a radio station. So I think the problem may be universal.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; Schämen sich Roboter, wenn sie lügen?
J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots
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#2 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-March-13, 09:25

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-March-13, 05:10, said:

watch what happens when a [/size][/font]comedy crew interviewed people on the street about things like "what's the religion in Israel", or "how many sides does a triangle have". Then ask yourself again why Trump got elected. To be fair, I once heard someone unable to spell ACDC when answering a quiz on a radio station. So I think the problem may be universal.

To be fair, comedy bits like that are edited so we only get the dumb answers, you never see the people who give sensible answers. The world is full of idiots, it's not that hard to get a handful of them to say stupid things on camera.

#3 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-March-13, 15:57

View Postbarmar, on 2020-March-13, 09:25, said:

To be fair, comedy bits like that are edited so we only get the dumb answers, you never see the people who give sensible answers. The world is full of idiots, it's not that hard to get a handful of them to say stupid things on camera.


I would like to think that what you say is true Barry. But it isn't. Very little editing is needed.

The participation rate in American elections has always been poor. When Trump was elected only 55.5% of the eligible population turned out to vote. Incredibly, Trump became President despite losing this election by 2,868,686 votes. To put this in context, the following year only 2,813,503 people in America died (data from the CDC).

How stupid is the world you ask? Here are the facts.
  • 40% of Americans don't know what Auschwitz was.
  • 49% of millennials cannot name a single concentration camp or ghetto.
  • More than 50% of Americans believe that Hitler came to power in a coup rather than being democratically elected.
  • More than one-third of Americans believe that fewer than 2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
  • More than a third of Americans cannot name a single right protected by the bill of rights.
  • Only a quarter of Americans know all three branches of government.
  • More than half of Americans believe that undocumented immigrants have no constitutional rights.
  • 25% think the Earth orbits the Sun.
  • 34% of Americans reject evolution entirely.
I laughed until I stopped.



non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; Schämen sich Roboter, wenn sie lügen?
J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots
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#4 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-March-13, 18:58

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-March-13, 15:57, said:

I would like to think that what you say is true Barry. But it isn't. Very little editing is needed.

The participation rate in American elections has always been poor. When Trump was elected only 55.5% of the eligible population turned out to vote. Incredibly, Trump became President despite losing this election by 2,868,686 votes. To put this in context, the following year only 2,813,503 people in America died (data from the CDC).

How stupid is the world you ask? Here are the facts.
  • 40% of Americans don't know what Auschwitz was.
  • 49% of millennials cannot name a single concentration camp or ghetto.
  • More than 50% of Americans believe that Hitler came to power in a coup rather than being democratically elected.
  • More than one-third of Americans believe that fewer than 2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
  • More than a third of Americans cannot name a single right protected by the bill of rights.
  • Only a quarter of Americans know all three branches of government.
  • More than half of Americans believe that undocumented immigrants have no constitutional rights.
  • 25% think the Earth orbits the Sun.
  • 34% of Americans reject evolution entirely.
I laughed until I stopped.





You run the risk of being hoist with your own petard for using the common tactic of using rather misleading language to desribe outcomes from surveys - where questions are often designed in order to achieve misleading results to drum up unfair accusations and make arguments and points through media or other means

There may indeed be things called facts but there are many different ways of misrepresenting people's knowledge of facts. Hopefully those in academe are more careful about doing so than the broader media and survey organisations

You can get any answer you want from surveys and you can use surveys to push any argument or agenda

I stand on the side of facts (whatever they are) along with you but....
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#5 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-14, 06:39

Are we not all woefully short of knowledge? And just which things we know depend on many things, but a great deal on our age. I will say without looking it up that North Korea began its invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1050. I was 11, reading the newspaper, and this is the sort of thing that would excite an eleven year old. Germany invaded Poland a little before my first birthday. Don't ask me to name the date. I am (slightly) embarrassed that I do not know but I don't. And if you expect me to say anything intelligent about, say, the Russian revolution forget it. Something in 1905 I think, and then in 1915 [Correction, 1917 of course]. There were the Red Russians and the White Russians. Trotsky ran afoul of Lenin and got sent off to Mexico, Anastasia either did or did not survive. And Laura had an affair with Dr. Zhivago.

I deliberately didn't look up any of the above, so very possibly even this much is off. But that's my point. Knowledge is important, we all have huge gaps. I was in my teens before I heard of Winnie the Pooh.


Ken
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#6 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-March-14, 07:32

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-14, 06:39, said:

I will say without looking it up that North Korea began its invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1050.

Macbeth made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050. I had to look that up, though B-)
Pretty sure the Russian revolution was 1917 however.
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#7 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-14, 08:32

View Postpescetom, on 2020-March-14, 07:32, said:

Macbeth made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050. I had to look that up, though B-)
Pretty sure the Russian revolution was 1917 however.


Yes, I was thinking as I wrote it was maybe 1917 rather than 1915, but I decided to leave it be to illustrate my point. And yes there was a 1905 revolution, or at least uprising, as well. It surprises me not at all when I am wrong about such things.


What we learn in school depends very much on time and place. The history of WWII was not all that well covered in my education. How can this be? Well, I started kindergarten abut three months after D-Day [Correction, it was nine months before D-Day]. It takes a while to get these things into the textbooks and the curriculum, although you would think maybe by 1952, when I started high school, that would have been done. My high school civics teacher made sure we knew the basics, including telling us (a surprise to me) that in the 30s some people, more than a few, in the US were supportive of Hitler.

And focus changes. When my granddaughter was in middle school she was studying the war in the Pacific by reading excerpts from letters soldiers had written about the hardships of war. I asked her if a place called Pearl Harbor had come up in her lessons. No, it hadn't.

What should we learn? Everything? Not possible. In high school, in St. Paul, I drove, not far, to the University of Minnesota to hear free lectures on physics and mathematics. But then I also wrote my assigned book report in English class for A Tale of Two Cities by reading a Classics comic book. I thought physics was a far, far better thing that I did.

Anyway, we all have gaps, some are chasms.
Ken
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-March-14, 10:05

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-14, 08:32, said:

And focus changes. When my granddaughter was in middle school she was studying the war in the Pacific by reading excerpts from letters soldiers had written about the hardships of war. I asked her if a place called Pearl Harbor had come up in her lessons. No, it hadn't.

I somehow suspect a place called Hiroshima did not come up either.
Not that our school even got beyond the first World War, come to that, and it was only thanks to individual initiatives of history and geography teachers that we knew anything at all about politics and economics.
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#9 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-15, 05:19

I am usually more interested in thought processes than I am in knowledge. It's a little before 7 here and I woke up thinking "Wait!, I started high school, that's 9th grade, in 1952. Kindergarten is 0th grade, 9 years earlier, that would be 1943. I guess I must have started kindergarten 9 months before D-Day, not 3 months after." Yep. I was born in 39 and started kindergarten when I was 4, so it was 1943 not 1944.

Who on earth cares? No one, of course. But in discussing knowledge, there is a point to be made. Often we do not remember specific dates, or at least I don't. My mother perhaps could have told you what year I started kindergarten but I had to connect the dots.

Similarly with the Russian revolution. Of course it was 1917. The Russian losses in WW1 were a precipitating cause, that war started in 1914, and these things take time to precipitate. No reason to memorize 1917, but if I think about it I get it right.

The more general point is that we should go very easy on judging the intelligence and knowledge of people. More generally we should just go easy on judging people. Knowledge often comes in a context, and context varies. Example (I see you are Italian, I hope this example is ok):
The Axis powers in WW II were Italy, Germany and Japan. I have known since my very young days that Italy was the first to give in. How did I know this? Every Halloween, at the playground down the block, we had a huge bonfire. On top were figures of Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini. But then one year, near the end of the war, we only burned Hitler and Hirohito. We kids were disappointed, we wanted to be burning three figures. Or so I remember it, and I think correctly.

Of course as we get older we should learn a little more deeply about such matters. But it's a big world out there, and we all learn just a bit. I am currently reading A Gentleman in Moscow. I like it a great deal, but it has historical references I am unsure of, and for that matter it has words that I have to look up and references to wine and other drinks that I have no understanding of. The Gentleman of the title was brought up to know such tings, I wasn't. I relax and enjoy it.
Ken
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#10 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-March-15, 15:36

Ken, you will be relieved to know that I find it much easier to remember the 15th February 1971 than bigger things like the Gulf War. And that in England (only half Italian) as kids we scorned Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini and continued to burn the anarchic traitor Guy Fawkes. I am busy reading Balkan Tragedy by Susan Woodward, a complex analysis of the causes, history and outcome of the first war in Europe in half a century. It is a sobering read.
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