[ExI] chain rule

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sun May 22 00:11:45 UTC 2016

Both Bills, Adrian, Anders, Rafal, anyone else following this perplexing
and critically important thread, with these considerations in mind, what
should we be teaching the next generation, when, how and why?  Do show your
work please.  spike

Of course, according to the Depts. of Education, I know nothing about
education or teaching since I have had no education courses.  It's not OK
to have people who are going to give people all the education most of them
will ever have take no education course, but it is OK for college profs to
have none.  Ever think about that?  I don't know what high school teachers
learn in these courses.  No idea.  I did see one course, 3 hours, on how to
run a projector.  But I have known college profs who should have not been
allowed to teach cats how to ignore people.  Would you fail a graduating
senior (except for your elective course) who had an average of 59?  I would
have burned his house down.

Hell, I gave a D to a music major who had failed psych 101 7 times, and he
had a 45 average.  I see no purpose in keeping a student like that in

Well, let's see - classically you need Latin and Greek, math, swordplay,
poetry (doing, not just reading!), music, art, horseback riding, an A+ in
your particular code of honor, and maybe more that I can't think of right

Anyone in the present who can do most of that is a Renaissance man for
sure.  We have people to do those things for us, especially the swordplay,
and so we are much freer than those in the past to define what it is we
need.  But you may object:  people in school often have little idea about
what they need.  Also, they know what they like now, but when they are 40?
Giving degrees to people who have entirely chosen their courses is stupid
and incompetent.

What we need before we even start are valid (thus predictive) tests at an
early age that can rule in or out certain abilities.  What we have now are
very crude, including IQ, the best of the bunch.

But knowing what you might really be good at tells us nothing about what
you will like, though we do tend to like things we are good at.

OK, let's get started:  History.  A de-emphasis on people, places, dates
and things you can easily look up, and an emphasis on the evolution of
ideas.  I hated history but loved the book Connections:  the invention of
the crossbow led to this and that etc.

Math - I will leave this one to you guys, but I am in full agreement with
Spike about the necessity of certain higher maths - or lack thereof.
Should be able to at least estimate values requiring addition, subtraction,
multiplication and division.  Rote memory not needed.  Common math
problems, inclu. taxes, interest rates, credit and debt (basically a course
in home finance, though not entirely)

Physics - I'll let you all deal with this one.  I don't see why you can't
introduce simple physics, like the lever, inclined plane, etc. in grammar

Chemistry - ditto.- but would include biochemistry of people.  Who gives a
dog's drool what table salt is made of?  Practical stuff for nonmajors,
like don't mix ammonia and bleach

English - a hard one.  I could not care less whether a high school graduate
knows the difference between a gerund and a participle, but should be able
to write and talk in the common tongue (we can tolerate a lot here, esp. if
a person is dyslexic - we did have a POTUS who said 'nuculer').
Literature:  some but maybe not as much as we require now (Mama the English
teacher is rolling over in her grave).  No emphasis on theories of
interpretation, like deconstruction.  Just learning what's out there if you
want to read for pleasure sometime.  All genres included!  Even romance
novels and comic books.  I taught my own classes how to attack a textbook.

Civics - how government from local to federal works and how to change it.

Philosophy - will leave most of this for Anders or whoever, but certainly
epistemology - how we say we know what we know.  Including philosophy of
government.  Different moral systems incl. religion.

Psychology - from genetics to gerontology - will interact with biology and
chemistry lessons.  When I started teaching psych 101 could not be taught
to freshmen.  But I taught it to high schoolers and they did fine.
Personality and Social, Statistics (a very different course than what is
taught in math dept. stat).

Biology - the usual?  Far less on just rote memory - more towards zoology
than botany, incl. some microbio, gene splicing

The arts:  starting in first grade - when I got out of grammar school I
missed singing in class.  I was never offered art anywhere except college.
Two things:  most of us don't learn if we could be good at any of the arts
or learn to appreciate those who are good (outside of TV and radio, that
is).  So, some art and music history for sure.  These you can enjoy all
your life (as opposed to civics, history.....)  Fourteen centuries of
classical music and most have never heard one note of it (except when TV
and movies steal some of it and not give credit).  Sad

Thinking:  courses in logic, errors in cognition, very practical content,
not symbolic - I am not particularly up in this area except for the errors

Phys. ed.   - yes! - incl. health (like understanding the difference
between viral and bacterial infections), drugs legal and otherwise, foods,
supplements, exercise, yoga and meditation, karate or ??, the usual stuff:
tennis, soccer etc.  Emphasis on a long term plan to stay healthy mentally
and physically

Speech - here's one that cannot be done online.  Ideas?  Real people need
to be present.

Choice of languages, incl. Japanese and Mandarin

Economics - for those interested beyond household finance

Business - ?? no idea here - a foreign language to me except for marketing

Internships, perhaps in the summer - emphasis on contact with the 'real'
world,such as bagging groceries, digging ditches, flipping burgers, or
whatever is entirely outside your experience.  No tests - just a paper
detailing what they have learned about themselves and others.  My grandson
wants to start a business but has never held a job of any kind.  He has no
idea what he is in for, how to attract customers, how to manage people he
hires, etc.

Other things, like for ex. social work, as extras, not required.  I would
require all of the above..

I know I have left stuff out, maybe important stuff, but I am sure you'll
tell me, so here it is for now, spike

bill w

On Fri, May 20, 2016 at 3:43 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On
> Behalf Of BillK
> Sent: Friday, May 20, 2016 12:02 PM
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Subject: Re: [ExI] chain rule
> On 20 May 2016 at 19:25, spike  wrote:
> <big snip>
> >>... Conclusion: Sal Khan has offered a free ticket out of the poverty
> > trap, for anyone who will stretch out and grab it...
> >...Spike, I appreciate your enthusiasm for educating your son and applaud
> it.
> (So please don't take my comments as criticism)...
> Hi BillK, I didn't take this as criticism at all.  On the contrary, it
> supports where I go with this next.
> >...The Sal Khan Academy is one extreme.
> Looking at education from the opposite extreme, I have read articles
> worrying about smartphones causing the dumbing-down of the population.
> With a smartphone, nobody needs to remember or know much at all.
> Google gives you any info you need. Apps do calculating for you, give
> directions, organise schedules, buy stuff, etc.
> That's why the younger generation are addicted to gossiping on their
> smartphones.
> There's not much else left for them to do.  BillK
> _______________________________________________
> BillK, I left everything in there again rather than trimming your post,
> since you know this is a topic near and dear.
> What we are seeing here is very important.  The cell phones and the OK
> Google functions are exactly why we are facing an enormous revolution in
> education, a fundamental rethinking of all our traditional notions, because
> technology has handed us the option of externalizing knowledge.
> Plenty of us here are engineers and tech types so you took calculus in
> college, and somewhere along the line you were asked to do the more
> esoteric stuff such as integration by parts.  OK cool, you did it, passed
> the test, congratulations, can you do it now?  If the answer is no, I am
> not criticizing anyone here.  I can, but I am a hobbyist in that kind of
> stuff.
> OK now, engineers and scientists (but not math teachers) this next
> question is for you please:  since you took and passed that test, have you
> ever integrated by parts (or did partial fraction decomposition, or did a
> LaPlace transform or any of that cool stuff) in your job, or even as a
> real-life analysis, even once, or used in the line of duty any of that
> stuff you learned how to do?  No criticism, I haven't either.  That isn't
> how real-world tasks are done, and this is remarkable, considering I was
> the office math geek, so when the other engineers needed some oddball math
> skill they knew who to see.  Oh I loved that.  However, in all those years
> in a really techy office doing really mathematical stuff being the local
> go-to geek, I never did any of that cool stuff in the line of duty not even
> once.
> OK then.  Why do we teach it?
> Next: you are aware (ja?) that you don't even need to know how the hell to
> integrate?  You can pull up Google, put in the search window Integrate
> {yakkity yak and bla bla} and Google will return the integral of yakkity
> yak and bla bla.
> If you are out somewhere, you can pull up Google on your phone, and you
> guys with OK Google, pull them out and try it right now.  OK Google, then
> Integral of {insert your favorite function}.  In some cases it will not
> only give you the answer, but Miss Google will tell it to you in her
> beautiful voice (and isn't that a turn-on when girls talk math? (oh my (it
> works on me even when she mispronounces the function names (and is rather
> hilarious (such as calling sine sin and cosine koss and secant seck (it is
> still major boner material (yes I know I am a sicko (but I like me that
> way.)))))))
> BillK, how does this impact what is worthwhile to teach calc students?
> Are we finally safe to go ahead and admit that we are asking them to
> struggle to master something they will neeeeever need in real life, unless
> they are math professors struggling to perpetuate the illusion that the
> math professor is at that moment struggling to perpetuate, hoping to
> continue perpetuating that same illusion perpetually?
> Think on it.  I will even give you time, since I am heading out on a
> weekend camping trip with no phone, no lights, no motorcars, not a single
> luxury.  Nature, red in tooth and claw, that sorta thing.
> Note in particular BillK, you cited the case of video gaming cell phone
> zombies, attention spans already dwindled beyond hope of mastering the more
> subtle arts and skills in Sir Isaac Newton's queen of mathematics.  I
> agree, but I am asking the next question.  Given we are evolving into a
> species with diminished attention spans, we already understand that some
> skills do slip away, and new opportunities present themselves.  How do we
> design the curriculum to be suitable in a world where integration
> techniques are irrelevant, where every integral in the table is as close as
> our cell phone, where we can externalize knowledge but still cannot
> externalize reasoning.
> As Adrian asked and I paraphrase: what if we can use current tech, some of
> the students can master the material in a traditional Bachelor's Degree
> curriculum by the time they are about 14, and they can sit down in front of
> a GRE and prove it?  What if the fraction who can do that is 10%?  Is the
> traditional bachelor's degree still meaningful?  Or do the cap and gown
> traditionalists get handed a diploma with a snarky "Are you as smart as an
> 8th grader?"  Is it still worth it for the rest of the students to shoulder
> a debt bigger than their own parents' mortgage to pay for that degree?
> What if the 8th grader still outscores the traditional robed Pomp and
> Circumstancers?  Wouldn't employers really prefer the 8th grader with that
> GRE-proven skill level anyway, reasoning she would be cheaper and more
> adaptable, as well as smarter?
> You guys who have known me for a couple decades know I am always screwing
> around here on ExI chat, but I am not on this topic.  Parenthood has a way
> of sobering a person, and finding oneself a parent of one with special
> talents can be especially sobering.  BillW, ja?
> You guys with the startups who hire people, your thoughts and opinions are
> warmly invited, requested please.
> Both Bills, Adrian, Anders, Rafal, anyone else following this perplexing
> and critically important thread, with these considerations in mind, what
> should we be teaching the next generation, when, how and why?  Do show your
> work please.
> spike
> _______________________________________________
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
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