There Were No Women on Ashley Madison

Hey, folks, check this out. Ashley Madison was nothing but a scam, offering to millions of sad, lonely men an illusion that they might be wanted. In reality, though, there was barely a handful of women even registered (let alone answering messages) on the site.

Here is the ratio of male-to-female participation:

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Twenty million to less than fifteen hundred. This makes the “affair guarantee” sold by the website especially hilarious. It works precisely like the oldest con in the world where the shaman would guess the sex of your future baby, promising a full refund in case of a mistaken guess.

The question arises, then, how these 20 million suckers were duped into believing there were women on the website. Here’s the answer:

Ashley Madison employees did a pretty decent job making their millions of women’s accounts look alive. 

Read all the sordid details here.

Of course, if the 20 000 000 male users of the website strained their non-existent intellects the tiniest little bit, they’d know that these female accounts were all fake. Women don’t need to pay for sex. It’s easily available to them in amounts that are excessive even to the most sexually voracious. 

Projections

When I told N I didn’t understand Carter’s decision to undergo radiation at his very advanced age, N’s reaction was unexpected.

“Maybe his wife is still alive,” he said, “and he doesn’t want to leave her company even a minute earlier than is absolutely necessary.”

I’m very loved.

Even More on Common Core

The more I read about Common Core, the more I like it. Take, for instance, the way Common Core organizes the teaching of literature*.

Teachers get to choose the works of literature they want students to read. Nobody imposes the reading list on them (there is a suggested list but not an obligatory one). I believe this is perfect because there is hardly a point in every teacher in the country discussing To Kill a Mockingbird at the same point in the year irrespective of whether he even likes it.

Teachers are human, believe it or not, and we don’t teach every book with the same effectiveness. There are indisputable classics that I simply don’t like and shouldn’t be teaching. If I have no enthusiasm for an author, I won’t be able to fake it for my students.

Instead of the prescribed content, Common Core asks that teachers use the readings they prefer to teach students how to approach ANY text. Students learn how to analyze the readings, draw conclusios, and look for textual proof for their opinions. To me this sounds like a dream come true. If students come to college knowing that opinions need to be supported with evidence, what more can I want out of my teaching life?

The objections to this system rest on the belief that teachers are lazy cheats who will teach nothing but newspaper articles if nobody forces a reading list on them. (Here is a hugely popular education blogger who makes precisely this argument.)

Honestly, the bugbear of a lazy, irresponsible teacher who looks for any excuse to do as little work as possible is starting to get on my nerves. I can hardly think of another profession that is viewed with as much suspicion as teaching. Why we can’t just relax already and trust the teachers to come up with a good, solid reading list on their own is an absolute mystery to me.

The teachers I know are really dedicated, insanely hard-working professionals who wouldn’t short-change students by teaching them easy crap. Whether we support or detest the Common Core (and I have no dog in this fight, so I’m open to all arguments), I suggest we do so without demonizing teachers because there’s way too much of that happening already.

* I’m not pedagogically or intellectually equipped to discuss the teaching of mathematics so it’s useless to ask me.

Fake Borders

Chinese journalists were driven to a fit of hysterical laughter when they saw who is guarding the long border between China and Russia:

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The border is extremely long and there are no resources to guard it. As a result, scarecrow soldiers were placed on watch towers to fake a military presence on the border.

A fake border guard of a fluid border is the perfect symbol of the post-nation – state world. In Europe, Russia, the US border guards are powerless to stop migratory flows. And you know what that means: good-bye welfare state.

It’s interesting how all presidential candidates in the US promise to restore the illusion of a robust nation-state.

“I will magically make state borders not fluid again!”

“I will police your morality like in the good old days of the nation-state!”

“I will bring back welfare!”

“I’ll bring back the sense of commonality, of clearly defined us versus clearly defined them!”

“I’ll introduce an external or an internal enemy (Mexicans, banksters, anchor babies) for us to use as a prop in our collective identity building.”

If you take all candidates’ promises together, you’ll have the perfect definition of the nation-state. I understand why they are running on nation-state nostalgia. All we know is the past, and for the last 200 years, all we’ve known is the nation-state.

But here’s the question: might we be missing an opportunity to prepare for inevitable transformations as we indulge our understandable nostalgia for the nation-state? Isn’t this grasping of an illusion similar to the sad scarecrow of a border guard on a formerly relevant border?