Education Fails

The same teacher who informed my kid’s class that “a white person killed MLK” now found it necessary to give a presentation on the global warming. As a result, I had to spend two days turning it from a high-anxiety topic to something non-disturbing for my kid.

These are very small children. They feel helpless around big issues that they can’t comprehend. All it does is make them scared and upset.

This teacher is new at the Christian school, so she hasn’t yet abandoned the public school mentality. I’m getting increasingly annoyed with these forays into adult topics when almost nobody in the class even reads fluently yet.

This whole idea – which is very present in higher ed, too – that you should propagandize and convert instead of teaching your own discipline in which you are educated and credentialed is wrong. If your profession is early childhood education, what the flying ef are you doing, plunging into environmental sciences or race relations history in which you are not qualified?

A few days ago, a colleague who is a professor of chemistry was chewed out publicly for saying, “I teach chemistry. I don’t lecture about race in my classroom.” Fifteen minutes later, he was chewed out again for having high fail rates in chemistry. But still, he’s supposed to give valuable class time to spout inanities about race relations.

My First ChatBot Experience

So I finally did try out the ChatBot for myself. Here are my takeaways:

  • the algorithm is extremely basic
  • the output is the definition of generic
  • it isn’t anything remotely resembling a search engine because it doesn’t search for information. I gave it my full name and full title, yet it didn’t figure out I’m an existing person.
  • any professor who gives assignments that can be done by this program deserves to be fired
  • I gave it an acronym and a link where it’s explained, and still it returned a mistaken version of the full title
  • however, there’s a positive side. It can churn out large amounts of completely generic text on administrative subjects. I’m doing an annual report, and it gave me a long very rough draft. If you are working in a bureaucratic system where you want to drown people in a tsunami of meaningless bureaucratic sentences, it can be useful.

Policy or Personality Cult?

Biden just gave a State of the Union speech whose key themes and most enthusiastic riffs could have been lifted—albeit with more Bidenisms and fewer insults—from Trump’s populist campaign.

Ross Douthat, NYTimes

Absolutely. Only blind partisanship can prevent people from seeing this. The moment we free our brain from personality cults it becomes clear that the Biden presidency has enormously more in common with the Trump presidency than, for example with Obama or Bush Jr times.

Obama was Bush Jr version 2.0 and Biden is Trump version 2.0. Yes, the rhetoric is completely different and so are the slogans. But surely we are smarter than the incompetents who take slogans seriously and confuse them with action?

I feel sad for people who are so in thrall to slogans and personality cults that they can’t see the obvious similarities between Trump and Biden administrations.

Let’s Talk about Fast Food

Yesterday I was driving home and saw a very long line of cars queuing for something. This brought back all the bad memories from the lockdowns when people would line up to the Starbucks window in order to relive the memory of driving to work and stopping for some coffee. I did it a couple of times, too, to feel like myself again.

I wondered what people could possibly line up for in the absence of a lockdown. What can be so attractive on a freezing February afternoon?

Turns out that a Chick-fil-A opened in town and people are going cuckoo-bananas with joy. I never understood the love affair people have with Chick-fil-A. My niece comes over from Canada, desperate to go there. Locals sit in their cars for an hour. Why? It’s one of a million fast food places. OK, it’s better than Arby’s but then partially digested concrete would be better than Arby’s.

I don’t get it.

By the way, in case anybody is wondering, my favorite fast food in the US is KFC. That shit is irresistible which is why I never go.

In Europe, my favorite fast food is at those shawarma carts you can find everywhere. Wonderful stuff!