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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Common Risk

Quite possibly the most helpful skill I have is being able to make connections.  I begin the year telling students that anyone can come up with A=B=C, therefore A and C are equal.  This is not mentally challenging.  But life, in its infinite randomness, doesn't follow an easy to follow linear pattern.  Information comes at you from multitudinous places and directions.  Training your mind to see these connections can help greatly.  Finding common threads can be stimulating and useful.  Something I enjoy is finding the most disparate sources espousing the same idea.  This can be "intellectually neat".

I don't think that it's possible to find two people more different than Sheldon Adelson and Alan Moore.  I found Alan Moore first - as I was a voracious reader of comic books for about 15 years.  Luckily for me I was able to buy Alan Moore's "Watchmen" of the rack, as well as Batman's "The Killing Joke".  He was the reason I realized that it is the story, not the art, that makes a good comic book.  (Graphic novel, if you are so inclined...).  This was a step toward maturity.  Sheldon Adelson hit my radar via a Charlie Rose interview - a show that plays the role of the House Organ of the Establishment.  Despite Adelson's odious political views, his entrepreneurial skills are otherwordly. 

What could these two incredibly different people have in common?  They both speak eloquently about RISK.  Moore puts it in an artisic way.  He explains that your actions that will be the most pure, the 'work of the universe' so to speak, will be the actions where you take risks.  He decided to change his dead end existence (he mentions a job he had cleaning toilets in a hotel), and become a comic book writer.  This was not a safe choice, as a comic book writer was possibly the most anonymous and least lucrative choice at the time.

Adelson, in an article at, speaks the same way about risk.  He speaks about  the necessity of risk, both as a person trying to live a full life, and for the purposes of starting a successful business.  "This is the nature of entrepreneurship. It's the willingness to take a risk," Adelson said. "It's a willingness to do things a little bit different."  As an example of lifes valuable lessons, this common thread presented itself to me via two categorically different people.

Here is Alan Moore's film.  I found it fascinating, and have watched it twice:

Here is Adelson:

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Free Market and Education

I think this is the future format of education. It will lead to the collapse of the accreditation process, and the dropping of prices. This is good. This is an example of how the free market always wins.

Harvard and MIT are joining forces to put content online for free. This will offer the best materials that the two best universities on earth can provide . . . for free . . . anywhere.

Think about this.  How will Average U., or for that matter, Indoctrinate U. compete at any price, with such a phenomenon?  They can't.  Well, they can, but it will send prices spiraling down.  If Harvard and MIT (and soon others no doubt) are free, then how can Local Community U. offer ANYTHING at a high price?  It can't.  You don't just get talking heads either: "Online tools developed for edX will also supplement the lectures, seminars and labs available to MIT’s and Harvard’s own students, and will provide detailed data about how well different parts of lessons are understood and what areas may require further explanation."

What you see here, plus things like Khan Academy, will make the brick and mortar indoctrination centers that teach kids how to (insert your guess here) become obsolete - faster than you think.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

John Lott - More Guns

John Lott destroys MSM's Chuck Todd on the 'Stand Your Ground' debate. The MSM talking head uses fallacies, false assumptions and appeals to emotion to try to 'convince' you that you should be unarmed and helpless. I noticed M. Bloomberg prattling on in the video. Ask him about his ARMED guards. The hypocrisy of the average politician is astounding, but Bloomberg takes the cake.

Chuck Todd also asks a fallacious question about the lack of an 'epidemic' required to pass a law such as the "stand your ground law" present in many states.  Lott should have responded with the MLK quote "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere".  An epidemic is needed to pass a law?  Since when?  

Since I started studying logical fallacies, I've seen the utter ridiculousness of our political speech.  I can also see why they've been taken out of the curriculum, along with the Trivium.  All of this lends more credence to (one of) my new mantras.  'Only with a totally dumbed down population could anyone pull off this impossibly brazen nonsense'.

Here's the best take on 'political language', courtesy of George Orwell.
"Politics and the English Language"