We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The newly formed Spokes Council claims to adhere to the “statement of principles” adopted by the New York City General Assembly, including “direct-democracy, non-hierarchy, participation, and inclusion.” The Spokes Council differs from the NYC-GA, however, in three main respects: the Spokes Council has the power to exclude new groups that don’t receive a 90% majority vote for admission; in the NYC-GA, everybody technically has the right to speak, whereas in the Spokes Council each Working Group has a spokesperson, who can be recalled only by a 90% majority; and the NYC-GA allows one vote per person, whereas the Spokes Council operates more indirectly, granting each Working Group one vote.
When I pointed out the contradictions these differences present to the Council’s stated principles, the leaders of Sunday’s teach-in insisted that the Spokes Council was the most participatory, democratic organization possible—the same slogan they repeated last month about the General Assembly. I felt like I was watching a local production of Animal Farm.
Now that was really interesting. I particularly liked how he pointed out the differences between such words as 'liberals' and 'conservatives'. It probably also explains why Theo quit posting 'local links' from Britain and started relying on American blog sites for headlines. He probably got tired of people complaining about those "All Conservatives Should Immediately Be Hung Claims Tory Leader" articles.
I also like the way this guy knew how to make a point:
And the "oh" with which he precedes the imagined rejoinder, incidentally, is classically British: the joke doesn't work in a country without a tradition of panto.
Since I have absolutely no idea what panto is, I'm guessing he's right.
Re: "Confusing an inner dialogue with speaking with God is never a wise plan."
I hate to speak up in defense of Obama, but isn't this a confusion that all religious people have? I don't know many people (not sane ones, anyway) who know the exact tone of God's voice, or can be sure that a certain thought or message comes purely from Him. If you know the proper way to distinguish, immediately, God's message from your thoughts, please enlighten me (and Obama).
Pretty good read about science majors, but some hard truths:
1. Science made to look fun is not helpful. Bill Nye does more harm than good. Fun science gives way to reality. Moreover students are convinced they have a knack for it or they don't. I call it the Spock effect: if it isn't easy then you're not good at it. Give it up.
2. Talk about losing talent, in reality a lot of those students aren't that talented. Too much grade inflation.
3. Engineering is taught very poorly, too much like science. Had an old-time, award-winning, MIT engineer tell me that. Engineering is about running the engine, building from the experience; not wondering why the world doesn't work like it said in the book. There is talent lost there.
4. The monetary incentive works. Unfortunately, some colleges are actually charging students more to take engineering classes. Obviously the academicians have lost understanding of their purpose.
STEM coursework is hard, generally harder than other subjects. That's tough enough, but to work to pay your way makes it harder still. If there's a demand for STEM degrees, then incentivize those programs. Offer scholarships for classes passed.
Ah, science and students. I well remember my early years, struggling to learn math, physics and chemistry. While I can think in chemistry now, it was not always so. The 2 gazillion problems I did in order to pass freshman chemistry were not very fun, and almost never entertaining, but absolutely necessary to finally learn the principles I know well today.
It has always amused me to point out to excited educators that the flash bang sorts of demonstrations that are part and parcel of the science guy presentations, and kids get all excited about, are not at all a part of my reality as a practicing scientist. Only when I do something incredibly stupid in the lab do I get flash and bang! Even in wet chemistry, we mix white powders (usually) with another white powder, stir a bit, and isolate ... (if all goes well), ... a white powder. How exciting!!!
The wonder and excitement is abstract and unseen. The wonders of the universe in modern science are largely abstractions. We acquire and interpret squiggly lines in almost every scientific discipline I know of. That is not exciting to demonstrate, but it is the heart of modern science.
Abstractions are difficult to make entertaining in our visually saturated world. As a result, science will always be too hard for most people.