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Everything should be made as simple as possible - but no simpler.
    - Albert Einstein

Is it just me, or is there a backlash in North American education against historical and cultural awareness, being well-read, and generally being thoughtful and reflective?

Of course, the above is a leading question. Perhaps I'm confabulating two things: the generation gap and a real trend toward dumbed-down vocabularies. I will talk more about the latter at a later time. Where I'm coming from is that when I was a child and young teen, I would go out of my way to use big words. I stopped doing that (or so I thought) around the age of 15, but lately, students' standards of "big words" has changed from four syllables to two.

Edit, 11:25 CST: As zengeneral pointed out to me in a private conversation, I may also be confabulating historical and cultural awareness. e.g., "What self-respecting person of discipline X never heard of so-and-so?" is historical, while "What X-ician doesn't have a working knowledge of language L?" is cultural. To me, it's a fine line.

What I wanted to talk about today is that I also see an alarming decline in cultural awareness within technical fields. For example, I get a lot more blank looks when I refer to things that "once upon a time", ever computer science major in the USA knew, not just the "hardcore geek".


  • Famous computer scientists: Dijkstra, Knuth, Hoare, Turing, Hopper - this one really surprises me, as I don't think my colleagues have been lax about educating people about such things

  • Famous mathematicians and "hard" scientists: Just about anyone you care to name, though to be fair, I guess this is because I'm in a CS department.

  • Famous computing and computer science research: Garey and Johnson's study of NP completeness; the Enigma project; NCSA Telnet and Mosaic

  • Fundamental ideas in mathematics, CS, engineering: stochasticity (randomness) of processes, decision theory, metrics and figures of merit, sequent calculi, computability (huh?), linear independence (WTF?)


Similarly with popular culture:

  • The "greats" of SF: late greats such as Heinlein, Asimov, Lieber, Norton, even Tolkien; new greats such as Orson Scott Card, Julian May, Dan Simmons

  • Classic games: Sid Meier's Pirates!, pre-Civilization turn-based strategy games (I was shocked recently to learn that "Empire-style" and "Roguelike" are no longer recognized terms)



Did I just get old? Did a new generation of we-think-we-invented-everything kids spring up while I wasn't looking? (Yes, I realize that this is a continuum, and that every cohort of children are generally like this.)

Or are people trying to get dumber? I hate to sound cynical (I really do), but it feels like an assiduous, fashionable, and self-justifying trend. I just don't want to have the next two decades go down in history as the American Cultural Revolution. And of course, I could just be overreacting to the backlash against classical knowledge in CS/IT, or in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), but it's eerily familiar sometimes.

--
Banazir

Comments

( 107 comments — Leave a comment )
yahvah
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC)
I was always proud to use big words, too. And I may have already told you this or you may already know about it, but Donald Knuth wrote a book called 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated that I want to read. He talked about it in another book of his that I did read called Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About.
yahvah
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I can't really comment at all on the topic of the post or I would have, because I haven't really noticed any such trend. I suspect that has something to do with me not being a university professor, as well as being somewhat hermit-like. ;)
Lucky hermits - banazir - Jun. 7th, 2005 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Knuth and the 3:16 Project - banazir - Jun. 13th, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Knuth and the 3:16 Project - yahvah - Jun. 13th, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
ixzist
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC)
well, if our president is a role model, i would say our children are learning that passionate speech is preferable over thoughtfulness and precision.
banazir
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
Blame it on the Boogie: ignorance as a virtue
Well, I would say "I feared it was so", but it's all too easy to blame the administration. Much as I would like to impute the cultural tenor to our current president, I think there's got to be more to it.

OTOH, I think that decrying violence in films and video games, the downslide (that I perceive) in cultural mores and public television, even a decline in educational standards, is too pat an answer.

What I suspect is more insidious: we have people (and not just those in power today, there's the rub) who are themselves well-read and intelligent, who seem eager, even determined, to make "dumbing down" a positive thing. It's the Inner Circle phenomenon of 1984 writ large, and I've been trying but not yet succeeding to put my finger on it.

Ideas?

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
IM'ing - miyeko - Jun. 8th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Even I who has? - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Quotable quote - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:23 am (UTC) - Expand
IM and grammar deterioration - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Twice the pride, double the fall - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: Seen in a channel near you... - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gondhir - Jun. 7th, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Thou sayest - banazir - Jun. 7th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ixzist - Jun. 7th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
President as lowest common denominator - banazir - Jun. 7th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: President as lowest common denominator - angharad - Jun. 8th, 2005 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crypthanatopsis - Jun. 7th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
You has a point - banazir - Jun. 7th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
mom_counsel
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
i hope you don't mind my making a comment as i accidentally came across your post by hitting zaimoni friends page, but, i am in total agreement about the dumbing down statement you made. it is not you, and it is not us, it is in truth fact, we as a nation, and young people in general, are dumbed down. i have a nephew, who is a high school teacher of biology, and science, and complains, about the parameters he has been put in as a teacher to pass these kids along, even though they are dumber than a box of rocks, as he says. he is very frustrated with the public school system and this passed spring nearly lost his job, for being so verbal about it to anyone who would listen.

he also teaches college kids at night, and he compares the latest batch for freshmen college level knowledge in these kids, as that of a sophmore level in high school.

this is not your imagination. it is so. have also, talked about this to others as well, in fact i get on a soap box occasionally and rant, but, that is about all..
thanks for the post, i enjoyed it...and share your feeling.
marcia b.
gondhir
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think part of the reason it may seem we are "dumbing down" is the near-universality of higher level education. Even a college degree is now almost required for any kind of job above the level of a fast food joint. However, there are some people out there who just aren't cut out for school. Just naturally, there will always be some people who are good at and like school and others who aren't or don't or just don't feel like putting forth the effort.

It used to be that such people either dropped out, didn't apply, were kicked out, or never accepted. But today people feel required to go to school (not to learn, but just to get hired at a basic job) and those in charge feel that it would be an incredible disservice to deny someone their "education". Someone who has a piece of paper saying they were "educated" (even if they remember little or nothing of it) automatically gets a better job than someone who is self-taught their whole life but lacks the piece of paper.

Ironically, the increasing emphasis on "education" has resulted in a seeming lowering of the quality of education that the process produces. However, I think this is more a factor of an increase in the numbers of people attending school and an inclusion of the "lower" intellectual levels than it is an indication that the general level of education has fallen. Those at the highest intellectual levels (regardless of their "official" education) know far more than they used to. The same is true of those at the middling levels and to a lesser extent even with the lower levels.
(no subject) - yodge - Jun. 7th, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
"If it had been up to me" - banazir - Jun. 9th, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: "If it had been up to me" - yodge - Jun. 10th, 2005 05:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mom_counsel - Jun. 7th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Starship Scholars versus Ersatz Academia - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Starship Scholars versus Ersatz Academia - gondhir - Jun. 8th, 2005 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Top 10% of the class - banazir - Jun. 9th, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Top 10% of the class - gondhir - Jun. 9th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dumbing down - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Dumbing down - mom_counsel - Jun. 8th, 2005 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
penguinicity
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
s/North American education/North America/

I'll propose a date, at least in CS: 1997-98, all based on one bit of antecdotal evidence. Fall of 1997 is when I entered the CS program at the University of Colorado. Note that this was coincident with the dot.com boom. During our orientation, the very first slide we were shown consisted of a single number, the average starting salary of CS program graduates.

There was a distinct cultural shift during my time there. The department had a great student lab. It was a huge set of catacombs of connected rooms in the basement of the engineering building, full of various UNIX workstations. It was also full of geeky paraphanelia - nerf guns, legos, etc. There were all sorts of geeky and CS in-joke cartoons posted. There was also a snack room that operated on the honor system, and it worked. The place was full of people who, mostly, were there for the love of the craft of working with computers and complex systems. People would go there just to hang out, even if they didn't have much homework to do, because it was a fun place, and that's where their friends were (and usually most of them had little personal side projects going that they wanted to work on. A chunk of OpenBSD was written by a student in his spare time in the lab, for example.) Of course, there are obvious academic benefits to having ones peers hanging out in the lab to ask questions and bounce ideas off of.

Fast forward a couple years. There is now a significant portion of students who are in the program because of the starting salaries of graduates. They don't hang out in the lab, except to do homework. They're concerned with learning exactly what they need to learn to get the grade, and no more. There's no love of the craft. The atmosphere in the lab changed. People don't talk to each other any more, because they're concerned about "staying a step ahead of the competition." They've had to close down the snack bar because people were stealing money from the honor box. Nobody went there except to do homework - goodbye collaborative atmosphere and joy of figuring things out. It was depressing.

I saw the same thing in class. In group projects, there was a distinct shift from people who cared about learning the material to simply getting the right answer. (That's kind of odd, actually, since you'd think I would have travelled along with the same cohort - although many of the classes could be taken in any sequence). I took theory of computation from a professor who was brilliant but simply could not communicate. His solution was to basically give everyone an A if they showed up and could remember the answers to homework questions to repeat back on the tests. I was very disappointed since I wanted to actually learn the material (I went home and coded up a Turing machine to play around with to help with the homework, for example) - most of my classmates, on the other hand, were thrilled at getting such an easy pass on the dreaded theory course, and thought I was slightly crazy.

On the other hand, I check out the department and lab webpages every so often when I feel nostalgic, and it seems to be bouncing back. As the money dried up, the opportunists have moved to other majors, and it seems that it's back to people who are in it for the love of the craft.

Sorry, this turned into something of a rant rather than a reasoned response. You set off one of my personal hot buttons, though :)
zengeneral
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
aye
... tis a shame, cs departments being used as a condom. As are many departments, your reasons are similar to why I had to graduate with two degrees (CS and Math).
Talk about a disturbing trend - banazir - Jun. 7th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Talk about a disturbing trend - zengeneral - Jun. 7th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Talk about a disturbing trend - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 12:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Talk about a disturbing trend - gondhir - Jun. 8th, 2005 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Condoms - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: Condoms - gondhir - Jun. 8th, 2005 02:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Condoms - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 03:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Condoms - gondhir - Jun. 8th, 2005 02:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Eejuts - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 03:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Condoms - zengeneral - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Pimps and Prostitutes - banazir - Jun. 9th, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Pimps and Prostitutes - zengeneral - Jun. 9th, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Christopher League on CS teaching as whoredom - banazir - Jun. 11th, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Condoms - zengeneral - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:48 am (UTC) - Expand
discoflamingo
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
"I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is
always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is
wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the
old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks
it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid."

--- G. K. Chesterton
banazir
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
"I know you are, but what am I?"
Very true and very apropos.
In which category would you place me here, though?

--
Banazir
Re: "I know you are, but what am I?" - discoflamingo - Jun. 7th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: "I know you are, but what am I?" - discoflamingo - Jun. 7th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: "I know you are, but what am I?" - discoflamingo - Jun. 7th, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
sed/vi-isms - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 01:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Young and old - banazir - Jun. 7th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
rsmit212
Jun. 7th, 2005 04:51 pm (UTC)
A few things:
"Knuth, Hoare, Hopper"
As a professional, ie non-academic, computer person, who? Knuth sounds familiar but I'd have to look it up. I think that is one of the issues that you are running into. I'm seeing two major changes in the education system. One, we're creating professionals to go into the work place. The collegiate system is taking cues more and more from the ITT's of the world and teaching how to use the software, not the theory behind it. The second I'll get into in a bit.

"Famous computing and computer science research" Just adding Bitnet and DARPA into that. ;-)

The second thing I would point out is that we are graduating people from different high schools with *vastly* different education levels. All university and college systems must educate *from* the lowest common denominator.
banazir
Jun. 13th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
Donald E. Knuth, Sir C. A. R. Hoare, and the late Adm. Grace M. Hopper
A few things:
"Knuth, Hoare, Hopper"
As a professional, ie non-academic, computer person, who?


Don Knuth (kuh-nooth, second syllable rhymes with "Bluth") is an American computer scientist best known outside computer science for creating the TeX ("tech") typesetting language. In general CS, he is known for the first three volumes of a planned 7-volume series called The Art of Computer Programming. The sorting and searching volume is still popular after more than 30 years, while he is working on Volumes 4 (Combinatorial Algorithms, an expansion from his graph algorithms monograph) and 5 (Syntactic Algorithms, a treatise for compilers and natural language processing). Theoretical computer scientists know him as one of the first major contributors to analysis of algorithms (for which he received the 1974 Turing Award), the co-inventor of the KMP (Knuth-Morris-Pratt) string matching algorithm, and the co-author of Graham, Knuth, and Patashnik, Concrete Mathematics (which I gave to zengeneral for Christmas and highly recommend, BTW). Knuth is lately retired from Stanford.

His Wikipedia page is not yet complete.




Sir Tony Hoare is the inventor of Quicksort, the most popular sorting algorithm in use; less famously among general CS/IT people, he is a major contributor to the foundations of programming languages with his work on concurrency, especially Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP). He recently retired from Oxford after spending the latest 25 years of his career there.

I first heard of Hoare when reading about Quicksort c. 1989 (probably Cooper and Clancy's Oh! Pascal! or Horowitz and Sahni's Data Structures book) and encountered CSP around 1991 when taking Amy Zwarico's PL theory course.




The late Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was one of the first women computer scientists, credited with coining the word "debugging" and known for being one of the architects of the USN Mark I, the UNIVAC I, and testing standards for COBOL and FORTRAN. She is one of the progenitors of modern validation and testing. Along with Lady Ada Lovelace, she is one of the role models held up to young women who are considering a career in CS, IT, math, and engineering.

(continued)
zengeneral
Jun. 7th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
being well-read
If it wasn't for me (and you), then the book industry would be hosed. If (and I hope never) textbooks ever go online, then... expect problems.

generally being thoughtful and reflective
What? ThE NeW l33t AMERICA is GoinG eXTREEEEEMEEEE... or so, Doritos are teaching the youth. Besides, being thoughtful is... so yesterday.

I would go out of my way to use big words.
I am a fan of smaller words (an English major would point out Hemmingway, but, oh well). Example:
Version 1: Those two objects are juxtapose.
Version 2: Those two objects are adjacent.
Version 3: Those two objects are next to each other.
Version 4. Those two objects are close.

They all convey the same message, so is there failure? Not really, its style and more importantly rhythm. If I could control the world, I would reduce the language to that of 1984, but sigh…

Dijkstra, Knuth, Hoare, Turing, Hopper
History is good, but not a requirement. However, more history -> more skill...

sequent calculi
301 and 705, yo

linear independence (WTF?)
Are you serious???



Oh, Side Note: At ESSI, I kept asking "What is an algorithm?"... blank... *sigh*... I ( as well as my friends ) knew that in elementary school. And no, my elementary school didn’t have a CS program… *sigh*
banazir
Jun. 8th, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)
Stupid is as stupid does, Part 1 of 2
But this can't just be "us versus them".

"Sure it can," I hear you saying as you plot your genocide, but seriously, short of implementing a sea change (heh) in human demographics, this trend will continue. It will worsen, and we will have a lot of fan tong (rice buckets, what you call monkey meat or some such).

being well-read
If it wasn't for me (and you), then the book industry would be hosed. If (and I hope never) textbooks ever go online, then... expect problems.
You hang a lot of hope against the inevitable.
What I see as the problem is going to be exacerbated by online textbooks (which I tolerate, use, and have even planned to develop myself). It cannot be solved by the absence or presence thereof.

generally being thoughtful and reflective
What? ThE NeW l33t AMERICA is GoinG eXTREEEEEMEEEE... or so, Doritos are teaching the youth.
What exactly does that mean? Culture has been reduced to taglines, jingoism, and colorful advertising? Well, yes, but how do you respond to it? You could take the archconservative stance and decry Foolish, Selfish Kids Today and their Accursed Loud Rock MusicTM, or you can be Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos's character in Stand and Deliver - which, BTW, I highly recommend).

Besides, being thoughtful is... so yesterday.
Yeah, yeah, yeah... people have been saying this since Babylon. They probably said it in the Indus Valley and at Macchu Picchu. Thoughtless kids have not yet brought down the apocalypse (yes, yes, I know, you're THE Thoughtless Kid). Present company excluded, I don't think they are going to.

I would go out of my way to use big words.
I am a fan of smaller words (an English major would point out Hemmingway, but, oh well).
Papa Hemingway was skilled and mindful in his use of small words.
I have no problem with that.
I have a problem with small words being used to express concepts so inaccurately that floggings are earned, and instead of being given these floggings, the authors are praised for "clear and simple" writing. This does not help humanity. It gives humanity a black eye.

When the aliens come (or when your droids turn on you), they will have a choice whether to end humanity or keep us around for historical amusement. The above is a strong argument for a rapid disposal.

Example:
Version 1: Those two objects are juxtapose.
Version 2: Those two objects are adjacent.
Version 3: Those two objects are next to each other.
Version 4. Those two objects are close.

They all convey the same message, so is there failure?

No, they don't, and yes, there is.
Proximity and adjacency are similar, related, and sometimes synonymous concepts. I can give you several easy graphical examples of "close" objects that are not "next to each other"/"adjacent".

Juxtaposition means placing objects side-by-side (e.g., to compare them). If I used "juxtaposition" to refer to two natural groves of trees that happened to grow next to each other, or even to houses built adjacently, I would be guilty of using big words to show off, and deserve flogging. If I used "the presentation placed Bluetooth next to 802.11g and compared them" or "the last five minutes of this week's episode of ER {contrast | compare | set side-by-side} life and death", I would be guilty of pandering to the Dumb and Dumberer crowd, and deserve flogging. Don't use a 50-cent word when a 10-cent one will do, and don't use a 10-cent one when a 50-cent one is needed for precision; doing either is equally stupid. Instead, use the words that apply. See how that works?

Not really, its style and more importantly rhythm. If I could control the world, I would reduce the language to that of 1984, but sigh…
Newspeak is an example of what I mean.
If you like Lojban, fine.
But Newspeak was developed as a totalitarian application of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: induce representation bias by removing "criminal" expressions from the lexicon. "Doubleplusungood" is doubleplusunsmart.

(continued)
Stupid is as stupid does, Part 2 of 2 - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
auriam
Jun. 7th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
Humans are getting more specialised. Just a side effect of knowledge becoming so much more complex and voluminous...
banazir
Jun. 8th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC)
Specialization of human knowledge...
... is all well and good, but I don't see deterioration of general vocabulary and scholarly ability as a "side effect". Would you care to elaborate on that?

--
Banazir
Re: Specialization of human knowledge... - auriam - Jun. 8th, 2005 05:57 am (UTC) - Expand
George Jetson: Proto-Morlock of the future - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Overspecialization and the death of sapience - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
The Feeling of Power - banazir - Jun. 9th, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The Feeling of Power - auriam - Jun. 9th, 2005 10:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Tête-à-Tête - banazir - Jun. 11th, 2005 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
auriam
Jun. 7th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC)
Oh and BTW, I didn't forget about sending you that "map" of thought I had... I looked at it again and it's rubbish.
banazir
Jun. 8th, 2005 02:54 am (UTC)
Map of thought
LOL, OK... just out of curiosity, what were the basic premises?

--
Banazir
Re: Map of thought - auriam - Jun. 8th, 2005 11:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Introspection: pros and cons - banazir - Jun. 11th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Introspection: pros and cons - auriam - Jun. 11th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
spoothbrush
Jun. 7th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC)
At times I wonder if dumbing down is intended deliberately intended to promote equality.
kauricat
Jun. 7th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC)
I agree. I believe that, at least sometimes, this is the motivation behind acceptance and encouragement of the "dumbing down" of material in our classrooms and elsewhere (don't even ask about classes I've taken at work). It has become politically incorrect for anyone to be made allowed to feel intellectually inferior. Instead of accepting that higher education is not a good fit for everyone, classes are frequently reduced in speed and depth in order to accommodate people who don't have a true desire (or even ability) to absorb what should be taught.

In my old high school, we used to have a Valedictorian and a Salutatorian. I graduated second in my class, earning the title of Salutatorian, and gave a speech at the commencement exercises. Three years later my sister also graduated second in her class, but the school decided to choose three "honor students" instead of having the Valedictorian and Salutatorian titles any longer. It was felt that those titles were too exclusionary and that they made lesser students feel badly about themselves.

Frequently children who participate in competitions are all given "achievement" medals, rather than only rewarding the top competitors with recognition and medals. What does this really teach the children? Does it prepare them for real life (where rewards are usually based on performance), or does it foster an expectation that no matter how poorly they perform, it will be acceptable?

I find this trend disturbing. Everyone cannot be the best at everything, and superior performance should be rewarded over lesser achievement. Mediocrity should not be praised and failure should not be glossed over.
(no subject) - gondhir - Jun. 8th, 2005 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
My experience of the trowel - banazir - Jun. 7th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: My experience of the trowel - gondhir - Jun. 8th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC) - Expand
All you battle droids look alike to me! - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Vietnamese eople ARE from China! - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Vietnamese eople ARE from China! - gondhir - Jun. 8th, 2005 11:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Humans are from Africa... or ARE we? - banazir - Jun. 9th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Humans are from Africa... or ARE we? - gondhir - Jun. 9th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
angharad
Jun. 8th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
American culture at large has, for the last two hundred years anyway, been anti-intellectual. It does seem odd, though, when scholars (or at least students of technical disciplines) have not heard the basic historical names in their own field.

Also, I'd never heard of Pirates until somebody "lent" me their copy of Civilisation 3 a couple months ago and I went looking for strategy guides online. I did play Civilisation back in the day, on a PC, though. I am not familiar with the term "Empire-style". I do know "Roguelike", and indeed still occasionally play such a thing, but only because I was around (in the waning days of) when that was still a going concern.
banazir
Jun. 9th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC)
Culture and Games
American culture at large has, for the last two hundred years anyway, been anti-intellectual.
Hrm, more on this later, when I can dig out my friend Stefan's analysis of parallels between the 21st-centuring USA and 18th-century Poland.

It does seem odd, though, when scholars (or at least students of technical disciplines) have not heard the basic historical names in their own field.
Exactly. Even the fact of CS both aging and burgeoning with new names, which my advisor pointed out, doesn't explain the meta-ignorance.

Also, I'd never heard of Pirates until somebody "lent" me their copy of Civilisation 3 a couple months ago and I went looking for strategy guides online.
Addictive, innit?

I did play Civilisation back in the day, on a PC, though. I am not familiar with the term "Empire-style".
Have you heard of Empire? Strategic Conquest (Mac)? Pax Imperium?
There are many turn-based, tile-base strategy game clones.

I do know "Roguelike", and indeed still occasionally play such a thing, but only because I was around (in the waning days of) when that was still a going concern.
Exactly!
And that it waned should say no more than that Akira is a thing of the past.

--
Banazir
Anecdatum - angharad - Jun. 9th, 2005 09:12 am (UTC) - Expand
miyeko
Jun. 8th, 2005 06:19 am (UTC)
Those Kids Today with Their Hair & Their Clothes
Did I just get old?'

In a word, yes.

LOL. Sorry, it just had to be done! (^_^)
banazir
Jun. 8th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
And for that, you get...
RplthrplthbpbthrplththrpltbbhththbhtbhhtbhhtbhbbhtbbpphthhTHBHTBPHHTHBBTHHHTH!

--
Banazir
Re: And for that, you get... - miyeko - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Good relations with the Gungans, I have - banazir - Jun. 8th, 2005 06:38 am (UTC) - Expand
masteralida
Jun. 10th, 2005 06:45 am (UTC)
You know my complaints with the educational system in place. . .
banazir
Jun. 10th, 2005 08:33 am (UTC)
Your complains, ma'am?
Only partially. I know you feel curricula are too simple for the kids sometimes, and that encouragement of the gifted such as DarkDragoness isn't always up to par. But how do you think this ties to dumbing down in the long run?

--
Banazir
( 107 comments — Leave a comment )

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