Linky Friday #140: Criminal Ed


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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133 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    File under: historical rulers that make Westeros look like actually a reasonable, functional place to live.

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Best detail/aside:

      There was even an ice statue of an elephant that spouted water from its trunk. The elephant could also bellow in a realistic manner because a man sat inside it blowing a horn. (The number of terrible jobs in old Russia are absolutely endless, and the revolution was completely understandable.)


  2. Avatar Damon says:

    C2: Oh, I’d hit that. Scarred for life. Sure.
    D1: 100% Beta move.
    D4: Think you got the wrong link there.
    A2: Reminds me of the Columbia River Valley in spring when the Lupin bloom.
    A3: Ah, nice. The PR gov’t crafts a law to allow them to spend money they don’t have, then when it’s convenient, they declare the law unconstitutional. Smooth. Just man up and default. Same thing.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      Re C2, its the subsequent pregnancy scare that scarred him for life.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        It seems to me that the underlying issue is that she was a supremely manipulative piece of work. (A characteristic I suspect to be disproportionately common among adults who sleep with kids.)Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          The publicity is probably never going to help, either (and yes, I realize he’s not being named in media, but I guarantee you everyone in his school and neighborhood and social circles knows who he is).

          You’re going to have one set of people seeing you as a victim forever, and another set trying to backslap you; and frankly, that kind of spotlight attention on what should be a personal, private matter (one’s sex life) is probably psychologically-warping, even if the sex was in no other way wrong (that is, an age-appropriate, non-manipulative coupling that received that kind of widespread attention for some other reason, would probably be nearly as scarring. Would you want a bunch of people to know a bunch of details about the first 50 times you had perfectly-legal, normal, run-of-the-mill sex? I wouldn’t.)Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          Damon’s reaction is not too uncommon sadly when the story is about an older woman sleeping with a teenage boy. There is a school of thought that teenage guys can’t be sexually abused because teenage guys are all filled with hormones and want to have sex all the time and the ultimate goal is to have sex with a woman in her 20s or early 30s. A lot of guys will enforce this idea strongly whenever there is a story about a woman arrested for sexually abusing a teenage guy.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Just because something is natural doesn’t make it right.
            Girls of a certain age often develop crushes on somewhat older guys.
            Guys of a certain age often develop crushes on somewhat older girls.

            To have someone who is no longer even a student take advantage of this, is just that, immoral and wrong.Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            Actually my reaction is “she’s younger than me. Old men like younger women, so yes, I’d hit that. Hell I WANT to at my age now.” At his age, yes, I’d sleep with her, and I wouldn’t think I’d been taken advantage of. Yes, technically I might, but….

            Is the kid really scarred for life or is he just playing the sympathy card? Can’t say from the article.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              The converse is also true, older women like younger men.
              see my comment to Saul above.

              Human nature is freaky, dudes.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Oh, no doubt, which is why I take with a grain of salt of the women’s profile who say “if you’re the age of my adult kids, don’t email me.”.

                Yeah, under the right circumstances, you’d hit that too.Report

            • Avatar Guy says:

              Why the flying fuck would he “play the sympathy card”? If he wants to get out of it, he could get out of it with much less drama via the Kimmi method. You don’t have to presume “that person meant to hurt him”, but why not assume he’s honest enough that “I was hurt” is believable?Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                I have no idea why he claimed he was scarred. Attention, sympathy, something else. No idea. He even might actually be scarred, but I never said he was saying he was scarred to get out of any repercussions directed towards him.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          This is why statutory rape laws exist. There are many times when sexual relationships that are the very least highly inappropriate are difficult to categorize as rape as commonly understood. Adult-minor relationships where the adult uses a lot of emotional and mental manipulation to get what they want is one of them. To deal with this situation, you create a bright line rule for the age of consent and prosecute those that break the law. It isn’t a perfect system and has plenty of well-demonstrated pit falls but it does come in handy.

          Even without the teacher becoming pregnant, recent studies show that getting seduced by an adult can have some serious consequences on a young man or a young woman. They develop trust issues and have difficulties forming relationships latter in life.Report

    • Avatar Guy says:

      C2: Oh, I’d hit that. Scarred for life. Sure.

      Sure you would. How old are you? 25? 30? Age of consent in England is 16, so this kid is at most 15. He was having sex with someone at least twice his age, on her terms, and based on the description in the article being groomed to marry her, and then she told him she was pregnant (implicitly with his child). That’s his first sexual relationship. It’ll be a long time before he can trust anyone who wants sex with him, and longer (if ever) before he can make decisions about who he dates without a voice in his head screaming, “she’s tricking you into this!”Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Kid’s an idiot (probably picked for that). All he has to really say is, “tell and you’ll be in big trouble” and then walk away, scot free.

        Of course, if she didn’t have mental issues of her own, that could have actually been the end of it.Report

  3. Avatar Kim says:

    C3: I know someone with pretty poor automatic facial recognition skills. But he’s got an excellent memory (“photographic” as they like to say), so he can recall pretty much any scene he’s ever seen. He’s decent at the task in question, as it’s a higher-level task. This is the problem with assuming that everyone who’s good at a task is solving it in the same way.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      C3 was interesting to me, since I’m legit faceblind, so thinking about folks who are super-face-not-bling is interesting. What would that be like?

      Being faceblind kinda sucks, it turns out. Like, I can a lot of trouble with comics and movies.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        I’m not faceblind, but I learn faces incredibly slowly. Once I’ve seen you several times, I start to be able to recognize you, but if the first few times I meet you, it’s just gone. I couldn’t even vaguely describe you to the police. If I was a witness to a serious crime, I’d just have to bail on the suspect’s description. What I saw him do? Totally fine. What he looked like? Not a chance. Not even to pick him out of a lineup.

        I’m also basically unable to imagine visual scenes that I haven’t seen before. When I’m reading a book, I don’t even bother trying to imagine the setting or characters as described. I just can’t. There’s just nothing there. Not sure what’s up with that.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          That could still be faceblindness. Like, I can recognize my ex-wife and my g/f. I can still learn to recognize faces, but I do it the same way I might recognize my apartment building or a tree. Anyway, there are a number of good online tests.

          I tend to score as mildly faceblind. I can recognize some faces, but not others. I have wicked-bad-brained friends who like score “3 points out of a 100” on the tests. I assume their experience is world’s apart from mine.

          I’m meh at visualization, but I can do it. But still, I tend to not even bother trying to picture characters in books. I experience literature more in terms of social relations than physical presence.

          That said, the utter lack of any physical immersion in (for example) Jane Austin drives me batty.Report

  4. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    RAND link is deadReport

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    E6: Historically universities started off as places to train theologians/priests, doctors, and lawyers. Very quickly thereafter, the elite began sending their sons to university as a kind of finishing school along with a really bright scholarship students. Isaac Newton was a scholarship student at Cambridge (they were called subsizars back in the day). IIRC this began changing during the 19th century and the Industrial revolution and really further changed during the 1960s. In the 19th century, Harvard’s President declared that he was tired of “educating the stupid sons of the rich” and sought to modernize Harvard and teach more modern subjects like science and engineering and research. Harvard didn’t award their first PhD in history until the 1870s. Johns Hopkins was the first American University on German lines and stressed research. Yet many universities still kept educating people who were mainly from the Anglo-Saxon elite and had strict quotas on minorities. This began evaporating in the 1960s, much to the dismay of Buckley but not completely.

    I think the answer can be both. Elite universities can offer a more rigorous education than other schools but they can also provide a leg up on the job market because they are perceived as or actually do have a more hard-working and achieving student body. The whole debate contains too many subparts including the persistence of everyone thinking “Other people signal. I am sincere.” Also tribalism. The right wing loves that Ben Carson went to Yale and Ted Cruz went to Princeton-Harvard. They will bash the hell out of any liberal who went to those places for being elitist. No one ever accuses MIT and CalTech students of signaling because they went to MIT and CalTech instead of the New York Institute of Technology. Yet choosing to go to a SLAC is all about signalling in certain quarters it seems. Yes, I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about being accused of signaling because of where I went to undergrad (and it was my first choice) and being a theatre major.

    The job thing is more complicated because there are subsets in the elite school area as demonstrated by the famous “Cornell and Brown are second tier” article from a few years ago. Cornell and Brown students are largely going to do more than fine even if they don’t get into the top firms right away or at all. As difficult and frustrating as my career path has been at times, I think having a degree from a name-recognized school has made it easier.

    There are a lot of complicated questions. No one can deny that elite universities exist even if it is only a perception but how do you get rid of them? There is someone I used to know in SF who was a 30 something paralegal and living with three roommates. Recently I found out she was a 1L in law school. The LGM crowd thought she was silly for going to law school based on the whole Campos studies but my view is that she was probably tired of being in her thirties with roommates and wanted to advance. Do we want to live in a society where people just need to accept that they will always have jobs with mediocre pay or do we want people to have opportunities to advance? I don’t understand the point of being liberal if you are going to take the stance “Lots of people have bad jobs and that’s okay.” My view of being liberal is that you need to provide opportunities for maximum advancement to the greatest number of people. You can’t do that by telling people “just accept that you are always going to be a paralegal with roommates.”Report

    • Avatar Guy says:

      Your first paragraph has only the most minimal relation to the rest of your post. According to it, top universities are either finishing school for rich kids or places where the best and brightest are educated, depending strictly on which class of students we’re talking about. You then abandon that framework and go back to the original article’s framework.

      My framework is this: universities and engineering/science schools are (or should be) primarily the first opportunity for smart kids to get involved in research in fields that interest them and see what it is like to actually advance those fields.* Secondarily, if there’s space left, they can be finishing schools for whoever (currently “whoever” is the upper class plus a random smattering of other people, mostly middle class). This doesn’t mean they’re a pipeline into pure research/academia, but they should point people towards places where their fields are moving – academia or directly related industry, where the companies have genuine R&D divisions and/or are building new products. That students aren’t getting skills needed to do a job that is not intensely mathematical/research oriented/otherwise requiring four years of prior training is a failing either of the employers for refusing to do on-the-job-training or the American public school system for failing to provide a real education.**

      I have no opinion on the humanities*** and don’t understand what those students gain from their classes or from their interactions with their department. I certainly gain massively from interacting with my department(s).

      You’re probably not going to get rid of the elite school perception, and I’m not sure you should but it should be reshaped. Schools should probably specialize, as that’s better for researchers and therefore will produce better departments for interested students to become involved with. Thus I think there should probably be, say, schools where lots of top CS people gather, or top physics people, or top chemists, or top bio-med people, or whatever. Research opportunities are a practical benefit of school reputation that accrues to undergrads, but they’re department specific. They should definitely be publicized to graduating high school students; it matters a lot more for the kind of things that I’m talking about than raw name strength, and there are more schools with good departments. Depending on sub-discipline, a physics student at, say, UC-Boulder will be super happy, and will do fine compared to the MIT/CalTech/Berkley students. In general, super-elite schools tend to have lots of good-great departments, but you can usually find top schools in a given discipline that are indistinguishably good in that area. It’s just that the smaller name schools won’t have as many excellent departments, and may have a number of truly crappy ones (or just fewer to pick from).

      Oh, parents: your kids should take a gap year and do anything other than go to college after they graduate from high school, assuming that is an option. When they finish that, or at least are close to finishing it, they will have a better idea of what they want to do, which will let them pick a school better, pick from a wider range of options, and eventually wind up with better (mostly non-material, but still) outcomes.

      * People who pick fields strictly because the median starting salary is high honestly kind of piss me off. In my experience, they tend to be more obnoxious and either less hard working or less competent than students who pick fields they like. They do tend to be good at conveying an impression that they think they know what they’re talking about; I pity the people they will eventually manage and the customers who will have to use the things they make. This may be because of the university I chose to attend; I specifically avoided the large state school that was otherwise similar-tier, where my experience with majors-for-the-money may have been different. On the other hand, it’s possible only the obnoxious/incompetent kids brag/talk about how they picked their field for money, and the rest are just doing their work, in which case I sincerely apologize to those who work hard and know what they’re doing and will do well and am still really annoyed at the people who are obnoxiously incompetent and unwilling to improve but wish I had some other way to recognize the latter.

      ** American pre-college education is awful and our curricula are some surprisingly weak sauce; this is a widely known problem where there is quite a lot of space for a solution to (apparently) college-level problems as well, but nobody ever talks about it in the context of college issues.

      *** I am a huge science/engineering snob. On one level I am really sorry for this and wish I could understand where humanities people are coming from, but on another this is who I am and what my perspective is, and it’s going to be really hard to change that.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Something else that gap year is good for, let the kid burn through the whole, “I’m free & no longer living under mom & dad’s house rules!” phase before they have to buckle down & work.Report

        • Avatar Guy says:

          And any number of other issues that might come from suddenly not being a high school student, frankly. Also a good time to acquire some 9-5(ish) work experience, as opposed to typical seasonal-and-super-part-time work that high school students can get. I know a guy who interned with a cooking show. Got him some money and fun stories to tell.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        How are you going to get employers to go along with this? A lot of non-technical work can probably be done by high school graduates even in fields like investment banking. Getting employers to switch to an apprenticeship model rather than we require a BA to work here model is going to be difficult. Employers hate having to train new employees. As long as a college degree is going to be required for every remotely decently paid job, your going to have people go to college.

        As for the humanities, people study the humanities because they like learning about history, literature, philosophy, political science, or numerous other topics the way you like learning about science and engineering. If college is necessity, you might as well study something your interested in.Report

        • Avatar Guy says:

          I don’t know what should be done about non-technical fields, but I think the answer does not start with college, and we shouldn’t (broadly) subsidize college for fields unless we can demonstrate that it’s necessary in order to learn the field. I’m pretty sure the fix (in so far as there is a fix) lies in improved pre-college education. It probably doesn’t cost $150,000-200,000 to train someone to be an investment banker or HR director or communications specialist and we should be unwilling to pay that cost. To the extent that rich people want their kids to hang out at Brown for four years before getting a job, whatever. It would be nice if they didn’t use premier research institutions as social clubs, but it’s frankly a tolerable practice as long as they keep out of the way of important work.

          On the humanities…I love a lot of things. I’m studying the fields I’m studying because it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’m basically getting job training (in something that I like, but still). In the past three years, I’ve learned four or five (or maybe six, depending on how you count them) programming languages and picked up basics in three more, learned enough higher math to function in a math-heavy environment, learned about two thirds of the physics I know and picked up reference-level knowledge of maybe half again as much in the field, gotten lab experience, learned standard industry methods and practices in programming, and got experience as a sysadmin. Now, not all of that is necessarily going to be useful, especially because I’ve got two majors in there and if I pick a career built on one I’ll probably not use much from the other (that note only goes one way, though), but it’s still a heck of a lot of training. In something I like doing, but, well, it’s still there.

          Meanwhile, I’m taking some writing courses because I enjoy writing and I need distribution credits, and … I don’t think I’ve learned anything from them. I’ve practiced my writing, and gotten a bit better because of that, but all the classes really provide is a series of prompts and a motive to write. I agree that if you need a degree you should study something you like, and if everyone needs a degree we need things that anyone might like, but I don’t think everyone should need a degree, and I think a lot of the skills humanities courses purport to train should be taught at a high school level.

          I don’t think the soft sciences (sociology, poli sci, history etc) should go necessarily away, but I’m highly suspicious of courses that consist of reading some set of materials and then forming opinions on them, largely because I can do that already. People who will do that and continue to do so do it on their own, and people who aren’t shouldn’t be forced to. Maybe there’s a gap group that would continue if they tried it, but you don’t need college to capture that group. All you need is real high school classes on those topics, and robust resources for self-education.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            The elite universities were social clubs for wealthy people long before they became places for serious science and other technical work. The wealthy people could make an easy and good faith argument, that your in the way or at least the side attraction and they are the main show. I feel that your proposed changes are not going to work and will cause the most harm to non-wealthy people who do not have a math or science inclination. Corporations are still going to want a college and university degree for hiring. Your ideas will simply rob many people of the chance of getting a degree and hindering their ability to get at least somewhat decent work. You can’t start by ending subsidies or student loans to for non-technical fields to colleges. You need to change the way hiring is done by employers first and foremost.Report

            • Avatar Guy says:

              I’m not suggesting we start there. I mean, that’s a thing I think might be necessary at a college level eventually. The solution for nontechnical stuff lies outside college, and increasing subsidies does not solve the root problem. It just changes who’s paying.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        It’s interesting how there are people who say “college is important because higher wages are tied directly to holding a college degree!” and there are other people who say “college is important because it makes you a well-rounded educated critical thinker!”

        And the kind of colleges that these two people are thinking about are not really compatible with each other.Report

        • Avatar Guy says:

          I’m not trying to say either – I’m saying that colleges actually work pretty well as a pipeline into research/science fields and we should keep doing that and be more explicit about it. I think production of good citizens (“well-rounded critical thinkers”) is the job of the free public education we offer to all of our up-and-coming citizens, and I think colleges should only be important for wage increases to the extent that high wage jobs require the training provided by college to do them (which is much less than the current economy would have you believe, in my view, especially if we handle the first part of what I’m saying). I don’t know how compatible my preferred type of college would be with the first type you mention, but given the in-it-strictly-for-money folks I’ve met I’d prefer it be rather incompatible. And I think the second type you mention can and should be rendered redundant to a high school education (though it isn’t now).Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          I actually think it is both, college is a place where you can become a well-rounded educated thinker or . You can do the “well-rounded educated critical thinker” at the high school level. There isn’t any real reason why you can’t have high school students reading philosophy, more serious history and literature, economics, and doing harder science experiments besides politics and funding; which are actually two big issues. Since we don’t teach critical thinking in high school, college.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I was just giving some historical background.

        I largely agree with your second paragraph but there is a lot into what makes someone smart. A person can be intellectually curious but erratic and unfocused as a student and/or not interested in hitting the books. I spent a good part of high school reading what I wanted to instead of what was assigned. For a variety of reasons including luck, things turned out okay for me. I was born in a baby lull and this made applying to college a bit less competitive. If I was born 3-5 years later, things would have been much tougher.

        There are also people who might not be intellectually curious but they know what is expected of them and they are very good grinds. It took me until grad school and law school to figure out how to grind.

        There is also the unfairness of economics. I don’t doubt that there are a lot of not-so bright rich kids who get into school because of family fortunes and connections.

        The impossible thing seems to be creating universities that are exclusively about intelligence and potentially about finding the oddballs with intellectual curiosity but perhaps not the grinding.Report

        • Avatar Guy says:

          Oh yes, searching for intelligence is hard. I don’t even know if it’s a good idea; I just think that it seems to work reasonably well at the level of assembling a department of professors, and high school seniors should be told that things are a lot more (though certainly not perfectly) egalitarian department-wise than in terms of raw school name.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’ll tell this story again: I’ve a dear friend who is middle-management at a place that is somewhere on the cusp between unskilled and skilled labor. He has said that he would rather hire a person who has spent the 4 years after high school as an assistant manager for Pizza Hut or Domino’s or McDonald’s or something than a graduate from a 4 year college.

        He knows the assistant manager knows how to shower, how to dress, how to show up on time, how to deal with crazy customers, how to deal with co-worker drama, how to deal with issues where three people call in “sick” on a Friday night when there is a party. “All I know about the college graduate is that s/he can outdrink me.”Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      “Living in SF” is relevant. There are plenty of good reasons to live in SF — affordability is not one of them. She could undoubtedly do better in Minneapolis or Durham, both of which regularly make the lists of top cities for a combination of above-average income, low unemployment, and modest cost of living. At an extreme, Omaha’s unemployment rate has dropped below 3% and her share of an SF apartment might rent her a small townhouse there. Admittedly, you do give up a lot of things moving from California to Nebraska :^)Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        Agreed but if someone spent most of their adult life in one area and has friends and family in an area, it can be very hard to move.

        People seem to think it is easy to just up and move or it is the first thing that should be considered.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Then you have to be a paralegal with roommates. Choices often have costs baked in that you can’t wish away.

          You seem to pity your friens and her situation. Are you sure she wants that?Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Absolutely. I have in-laws that hang on desperately in the dying small town where they seem to be related to half the population. My wife is unusual in that she left. On the cost of living thing, you can sometimes live in an old farm house for free there, because the owners just want someone living in it to keep an eye on things. OTOH, in my family, in my parents’ generation and mine, most of the time none of the siblings lived within a hundred miles of one another, or their parents. Seems to be a tradition — in the part of the Cain family tree that I know anything about, each generation moved another few hundred miles west from the previous one. Farthest I’ve traced that is to a Solomon Cain in eastern Kentucky in 1820.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      Does respect for the “elite” schools still exist? In my experience, that respect has fallen significantly in recent decades, and I find it hard to believe that that trend won’t continue. There have been too many public failures from those quarters. There’s usually a wide range of quality between the programs in any school, and between the teachers in any program, so I don’t see how an outsider can judge the quality of anyone’s education by the name of the school. Also, I’ve found that people assign value to schools they’ve heard of, which means that a prominent football or basketball program carries a lot of weight.Report

      • Does respect for the “elite” schools still exist?

        It does in hiring, which is why there’s so much effort made to get into them.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I think the answer is complicated.

        Mike is right that going to an elite school generally makes finding employment. HYPS grads generally are recruited in very nice ways by top employers. The employers come to campus, fly the students out on their dime, wine and dine them, etc. These also tend to be the employers who offer the most perks and have the best policies.

        I also find that people perk up when they here my undergrad alma mater is Vassar even if they only say, “I know that school!” There is also the humble brad of saying “I went to school in Connecticut.” Generally this is code for “I went to Yale.”

        There is always going to be backlash. There might be assumptions made that the kid who went to University of North Carolina comes from humbler stock than the kid who went to Princeton. But I would say employers generally give a leg up to people with a known school on their resume. The variances come because some schools are always elite and other schools might be elite for specific functions and fields. A Purdue degree isn’t going to get you a job at McKinsey probably but it will get you a good engineering job.Report

        • Avatar Guy says:

          Right, which is sort of what I was saying – if you focus on the things that colleges do best (train scientists and engineers), suddenly the playing field is much flatter. If you go subject by subject, it flattens again. If you can get your high school students thinking about what subjects want, they’ll have a much easier and cheaper time getting an education. If you can get the things that don’t need to be in college into high school, it gets even easier.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            The idea that colleges should basically exist to train scientists, engineers, and other technical sorts is really radical. I can see a number of big problems that can come out of it. Elite employers are still going to want to only hire elite students. So rather than going to HYPS, they will go to elite prep schools for their apprentices or resurrect the Old Boy’s Network.

            Another issue is that colleges and universities are not going to want to refit themselves to only focus on science, engineering, and related fields. Its going to seriously reduce the number of students going to them and close lots of universities and colleges to close. Your going to have to force this on them.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              “The idea that colleges should basically exist to train scientists, engineers, and other technical sorts is really radical. ”

              It’s why land grant colleges were created.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                To a certain extent but land grants were not intended for the wealthy and quickly added a lot of courses in the humanities to be more like a traditional university. Most of the people who went to the land grant universities also did not go into scientific or technical fields either even in their very early days.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                “Most of the people who went to the land grant universities also did not go into scientific or technical fields either even in their very early days.”

                No, that’s not correct, unless you have better research than the cursory one outlined below.

                From Clemson: Clemson

                The first graduation was held in December 1896 with a graduating class of 37 students– 15 in agricultural courses and 22 in engineering courses.”

                From Virginia Tech

                The first degree of any type presented by VAMC was the bachelor of arts to two students, W.J. Havener and R.J. Noell, in 1883. The degree was discontinued in 1886 after six more students had received it, and it was not presented again until 1966. The second undergraduate degree, mining engineer, was awarded to two students only – one in 1885 and one in 1886; the degree was later offered on the graduate level. A bachelor of science for completion of a four-year general science program was awarded to two students in l887, two more in 1889, and one in 1891. The first of the present bachelor of science degrees was awarded in 1892 to five students majoring in specific curricula: applied chemistry (1), civil engineering (1), horticulture (1), and mechanical engineering (2). Only one Bachelor of Scientific Agriculture was awarded (in 1888). One mechanical engineer degree and one civil engineer degree were awarded in 1889 on the undergraduate level; both were later offered on the graduate level

                From tOSU

                Professorships in the disciplines literally mandated by the Morrill Act – agriculture and mechanic arts – as well as those in related fields – math, physics, chemistry, geology, zoology, botany – sparked no debate. Three proposed liberal departments – English language and literature; modern and ancient languages; political economy and polity – barely survived.

                The Land Grants were overwhelmingly science and engineering focused (and agriculture, at the time, the practical fusion of the two disciplines) Hence, all the “Agricultural & Mechanical” in their names.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Also, the fact that the schools weren’t for the wealthy is exactly the reason the graduates had to go into the ‘real world’ to earn a living with the skills learned in their education. (vice the networks obtained).Report

            • Avatar Guy says:

              Universities already have plenty of science and engineering. They did the refits decades ago to access grant money. And again, I’m not saying that we should start by cutting general and/or nontechnical stuff – we don’t have a replacement for it, so it would be a strict reduction, which is almost certainly a terrible idea. We shouldn’t cut it at all until it’s completely redundant, at which point it will ideally cut itself. But we do have a thing that works, so we should increase resource allocation there, and do things that we’re pretty sure will make that thing more successful at essentially no cost (ie, tell precollege students how the academic and academic-adjacent pipeline works, so they can make the decision somewhat informed).

              And if the elite firms in nonspecific industries really demand that their students have perfect pedigrees to such a degree that they’ll find proxies no matter what we do, well then that’s where I get really radical: fish them, we can take the engineers and the scientists and everyone who wants to participate in reality and we can build a genuine society without them.Report

              • Avatar Guy says:

                Simply: I guess it’s right and proper that new money for college education be spent on STEM, but it’s a mis-allocation of resources to be spending substantially more on college education at all in my view. Most of that money should go to pre-college education, which is where we are truly failing to educate people. What should be spent on college education should mostly be on outreach noting how to pick a school for its departmental reputation, rather than its global reputation. What we should focus on is rendering college as redundant as possible for high school graduates, such that it is simply not worth it for employers to demand a degree. I just don’t think we can achieve that redundancy in STEM fields; I don’t think there is enough space to truly pull, say, the fundamentals of a physics education into high school. The best we can do is make it so that an undergrad can actually get a good survey of the field in four years. (currently a physics major will have at least a few notable gaps that really shouldn’t be there, and they won’t have time to really begin a subfield)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I think a lot of this goes back to a basic question: what is the purpose of a college education attending college?

                For example, there’s an important distinction to be made between attending a university and receiving a degree, and the type, extent and utility of the education received there.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Teach algebra in 7th grade, you’ll have plenty of time to hit freshman physics, e&m and mechanics.Report

              • Avatar Alan Scott says:

                you’ll mostly just have a bunch of kids whose academic path is completely warped by the fact that they were expected-but failed to-learn algebra at age 12.

                Hell, there are serious problems trying to teach algebra to most 8th graders–that’s why Common Core pushed it back to 9th grade.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      The whole debate contains too many subparts including the persistence of everyone thinking “Other people signal. I am sincere.”

      The whole point of a signal is that it is too expensive to fake if you don’t mean it. Signals are therefore definitionally sincere.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I was thinking more how people use the term singal in the lay sense which even people who know better can fall into. Signal in non-technical terms seems to have socio-economic war components and seems to be most frequently used against urban liberals for liking urban liberal things. No one ever told an engineer they went to MIT because of signaling. People will say it to anyone who went to a small liberal arts college and took a humanities major.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Signal in non-technical terms seems to have socio-economic war components and seems to be most frequently used against urban liberals for liking urban liberal things.

          Comments like this one are why people criticize urban liberals, Saul: that group is comprised of the most privileged of all socioeconomic groups (well, except for the truly massively wealthy, I guess), yet you’re playing the victim card here. “Why won’t people believe my love of theater is more than mere signalling???!!!”Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            Urban liberals are “most privileged of all socioeconomic groups (well, except for the truly massively wealthy” Wha huh? That doesn’t make sense. So a 20 something intern in NY is more privileged then a upper middle class homeowner in the suburbs. Urban doesn’t make one privileges neither does liberal. Money and race and class can get you privilege but equating that to be a UL is weak.

            I actually think Saul is correct here. I dont’ hear the signaling argument made at guys who wear camo to the market as just a way to show off how many and tough they are. Signaling is almost always an argument made at liberals for liking certain things. Yeah Saul has been correctly faulted for the way he argues sometimes, sorry saul, but he has a point.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              greg, if the term “urban liberal” includes the types of people you’re suggesting, then impoverished inner-city blacks and hispanics are part of the designated group. I don’t think Saul was intending to include those folks. (Edit: Could be wrong!)

              Alsotoo, I’m lumping suburban folks into that grouping cuz from a cultural pov the distinction between urban and suburban doesn’t really make any sense to me in most cases.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    M3: I have a general observation that the upper-middle class come in two camps when it comes to giving their kids messages on education and college majors.

    Camp #1: Tells their children that they are bright and smart and to major/study something that they are really interested in and things will work out because employers and others will see that their children are bright, smart, and hardworking.

    Camp #2: Tells their children that their future is not secure and stresses practicality in education and this often leads to business field majors, pre-med, and STEM undergrads.

    I have no idea how people end up in either camp. There is perhaps some signalling. My parents were sort of inbetween both camps but strangely supportive of me being a theatre major. They were also dead set against business-field majors because they did not see that as an education.* I think there was probably signaling here along the lines of saying “My son Saul is a theatre director” sounds more interesting and cool than “My son Saul works as a currency trader or an accountant.”

    My anecdotal observation is that immigrant families tend to stress practicality to their children (the American dream) and the children and grandchildren of immigrants tend to move into camp #1. My other anecdotal observation is that Asian-American parents tend to stay in Camp #1 longer.

    Also parents can generally give advice based on what they do. My dad was able to give advice on law school and being a lawyer because he is a lawyer. I’d say at least half my law school class had a lawyer parent or parents. I know a lot of doctors whose parents were doctors. Engineers whose parents were engineers (or otherwise in science), etc. This goes up and down all socio-economic levels. A lot of the clients at my firm are people who worked in trades. Unsurprisingly many of them had fathers and uncles who were in the trades. A lot of them can say that their dad was their first foreman.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I think you mean that Asian-Americans tend to stay in Camp #2 longer. What is kind of interesting about Asian-Americans and education is that they seemed to avoid going to law school in numbers for a long time. There were always Asian-American lawyers but the preferred middle class professions were something in business, medicine, or a technological field of sorts. As far as I can tell, very few decided on law as a career until people in our generation became old enough to go to law school.Report

    • Avatar Guy says:

      Hard science/engineering guy here; my parents and most of my family are humanities people; my dad regretted not going to architecture school and wound up with a masters in non-profit management and my mom picked up an MBA early in her career in le government. My paternal grandfather was a high school math teacher, though. Not that it really came up during my childhood. I don’t think too many of my peers are just doing what their parents are either; I can think of two exceptions (one physics, one CS).Report

  7. Avatar notme says:

    Mountain View, CA: Google self-driving car pulled over ‘for driving too slowly’

    • Avatar Guy says:

      Ha! (but they should probably up the internal speed limit a bit)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I see several of those things every day (both the small SUVs and those little tiny smart-car thingies). They ride through my neighborhood (I live near the Google campus, so they come through in bunches in the morning, and then tool around all day into the evening) and through a place where I shop regularly. In both places I’m perfectly OK with the internal speed limit as it is, though I’m generally walking, not driving, when they’re around.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      I would totally love to be on the internal working group that figures out which laws the cars have to break so that it doesn’t confuse other drivers’ reactions and make situations even more dangerous.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    The author at Reason states that Germany can afford to provide college free of cost because so few attend it.
    So few attend it, he continues, because of their wonderful robust apprenticeship program.

    This could not possibly work in America, he concludes, because it requires a large bureaucracy which Americans would oppose.

    This opposition, he implies is a good thing.

    Of course, we are left to imagine why the American educational outcome, with its. presumably smaller, more efficient educational bureacracy, is somehow preferable to the German outcome.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      IIRC our Trade Unions are supposed to be offering apprenticeships. If they are not, or are not offering enough of them, we should wonder why not.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        So you’re saying we need more robust Trade Unions.

        I’m fine with that, but that’s definitely not what the folks at Reason are saying.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          They don’t need to be more “robust” (whatever that is) to do that. They could do it now if they were so inclined. Perhaps you could tell what is stopping them right now?Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “If you support vocational training then why aren’t you supporting trade unions?”

          “That’s like me saying to you that if you support abortion rights then you should be encouraging pregnant mothers to drink.”Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Gotta agree with notme, most trade unions are pretty robust as it is. Perhaps, if they were more proactive about apprenticeships, they would be even more so. I mean, remember that story some months back about the Pipefitters Union offering training as part of a gun buyback? It was less about the gun buyback & more about “Holy Cow, the Pipefitters are offering to train people!”Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            OK, so now the solution to our educational woes is to press for public policy which will support and expand labor union apprenticeship programs, as a way of siphoning off the excess demand for colleges which doesn’t need to be there.

            Again, I am wildly enthusiastic about this. But also again, I am not getting a sense that the author of the Reason piece is suggesting this at all.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              I’m not responding to the Reason article, I’m responding to the idea we need government to create an apprenticeship system. Unions wanted that niche, and they technically still have it, so why isn’t it siphoning off the demand?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Well, I was responding to the Reason article, or more precisely, the circular logic contained in it.
                As to why our unions are not filling that role, I honestly don’t know, but given that they are but a shadow of their former selves, I would suggest that as a starting place.

                I mean, suppose you are a young person interested in video game design, or programming, or network design.
                What labor union would you turn to in order to get apprenticeship?
                Would Apple or Google or Microsoft support a labor union that attempted to organize their workers to supply apprenticeships?

                What corporate entity in America would support unionized apprenticeships? Which political party?
                What policies would we need to have in order to support them?

                Every other thing we do from primary and secondary education, to patents and intellectual property development, arts and culture, to physical infrastructure, to business development, has some sort of government or legal structure developed specifically to make these things happen.

                So how would America foster unionized apprenticeships?

                Assuming, of course, that unionized apprenticeships are the preferred alternative to tuition-free college, which was the origin of this thread.

                Because if we are going to throw out a bunch of reasons why unionized apprenticeships cannot work, should not work, then hell, lets just go with the idea of tuition free university.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Or alternately, a system in which those who accrue the benefits of a college degree pay for said college degree in the form of loans to be paid back.

                Not that I would object to low tuition rates in exchange for selectivity.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                That expands my internal definition of apprenticeship, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t work.

                The trick would be avoiding the worst offenses of Trade Guilds, which is why I think there aren’t more Union apprenticeships (labor supply control).Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                I mean, suppose you are a young person interested in video game design, or programming, or network design. What labor union would you turn to in order to get apprenticeship? Would Apple or Google or Microsoft support a labor union that attempted to organize their workers to supply apprenticeships?

                Why unions? Some states simply say “Practicing profession X requires a state license, or that the work is done under the supervision of someone with a state license.” For some types of engineering, in most states, you can’t hang out a shingle to practice as a professional engineer without a state license.

                It’s not that states haven’t tried doing this for more contemporary technical fields, though, like electronics and software. Within my working career, the state of NJ had hearings on legislation to require just that. The heads of Bell Labs and RCA Sarnoff Labs went to Trenton to testify. What they told them was basically: (1) our currently unlicensed staff are inventing the things that you’ll be testing on in five years. Or if you’re not testing on them, then your tests will be meaningless because our stuff is what people will be using. (2) We recruit nationally; adding a requirement that people can’t do useful work until they obtain a NJ license to design circuits or write code kills that. (3) Given (1) and (2), we’ll relocate the whole damned business to another state before we’ll do it your way.

                Here’s an interesting mental exercise. Imagine a world where, if you want to change a formula in a spreadsheet, you have to hire someone from the union or call in one of the apprentices from over in IT. In the latter case, you can’t actually use the changed spreadsheet until the guy with a license signs off on it. Things can get almost that ridiculous. When my tech organization moved into a building still under construction in NJ, under union contract rules, we had to go get one of the union electricians to supervise while we plugged a piece of equipment into a different outlet. I took the site foreman out for a drink after work one day and said something like, “My folks are tired of annoying your people, and I’m sure your folks are tired of being annoyed. I understand you have some apprentices on site studying for their next-level exams. If I provide them with a quiet well-lit study area in our lab, is that enough supervision for us to unplug equipment?”Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                See: Worst Offenses of Trade GuildsReport

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Aye. You can have guilds, and you can have giant corporations, but I’m pretty much sure that you can’t have both at the same time in the same system.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Don’t forget your HIPAA review!Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Please. I haven’t had supper yet.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Yeah, this line of logic always confuses me to. The group of people who keep beating the drum and saying that “college isn’t for everyone” or reminding us that Americans can’t have free college because too many people attend university in the United States are also the same people who are routinely opposed to implementing programs that would make it possible for fewer Americans to go to college. Things like more vocational education, apprenticeships, welfare policies like mandatory vacations that would reduce the worse socio-economic discrepancies between the college bound and the non-college bound.

      Its like the want the worst of the American and Continental European systems with the advantages of neither. This reeks of wanting a winner take all hierarchy where a few people on the top reap the rewards and everybody else has to make do with what they can get.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Hey! If it’s good enough for our healthcare system (although the ACA sanded a few edges off), it’s good enough for our education!

        We real Americans take pride in combining the worst aspect of multiple systems and suffering under it needlessly. Provides moral fiber.

        We aren’t descendants of Calvinists and Puritans for nothing, you know.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      The apprenticeship program, of course, is also free of cost.Report

  9. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    [E1] if you aren’t going to indemnify administrators and teachers against charges of racial bias, then Zero Tolerance is what you’re going to get.

    That is, of course, if you feel that you can trust administrators and teachers not to act in a racially-biased manner, and the history of student discipline before and after Zero Tolerance policies suggests that this is not the case.

    Sure, I can find examples of the class valedictorian going to jail because there was a butter knife in her car. I can also find examples of black students getting handcuffed while white students get a sit-down and a severe talking-to.Report

  10. M2: Isn’t this what’s called a Slatepitch: uncritically accept the other side’s arguments and then claim to be bold and contrarian?Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      “If you really care about American poverty, you’ll make sure the poor people stay elsewhere” is not a particularly progressive argument, either.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Her argument is essentially conservative (in the worst sense of the word) in that it is a baldfaced Lifeboat argument.

      There isn’t enough wealth to go around, she says, so we need to ration it to the truly deserving citizens.

      This isn’t progressive in any possible manner.

      The framing that assumes the perpetual existence of a world in which everyone except America is a dystopian nighmare is itself unprogressive- that framing makes any other outcome to hoarding and self-interest impossible.

      Wy can’t there be a vision of a generous and abundant world, where Mexico and Central America are peaceful prosperous places?
      As with the discussion about globalism, the North American nations have jointly decided to partner on trade, and open their borders, and have a thousand interdependent rules and laws which crisscross the various borders.

      Her framing wants to have open porous borders to trade, but not labor; goods, but not people.
      She wants the sweet benefit of cheap Mexican labor and goods, but doesn’t want to deal with the socio-political consequences of what the devaluation of Mexican labor brings.Report

  11. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    M1: Rush Limbaugh called celebrated black image activist and feminist Michaela Angela Davis, “a mixed-race little orphan Annie.” The statement was shockingly ugly, a blatant reminder from the court’s self-appointed king that, even in 2015, the intermingling of races would not to be tolerated.

    This kind of thing is exactly the reason that one of many, many reasons why Gawker is such a complete and utter joke. After listening to the clip and Googling for a picture of Davis, I see exactly what Limbaugh meant: She looks like Little Orphan Annie. Except Little Orphan Annie was white, and Davis is mixed-race. Nothing in there implies any sort of disapproval of racial mixing.

    Gawker: Where if you’re not trying to foment racial hatred, you need to get with the program or start looking for a job at a less yellow media outlet.Report

  12. Avatar notme says:

    Playwright told Clarion University to cancel play over student actors’ race.

  13. Avatar Kolohe says:

    M2: “I hadn’t realized that most of the movement on the issue has been towards restriction.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. Jus Soli citizenship is pretty well entrenched, and appeared to be unquestioned until about a decade or so ago. So ‘any movement’ on this issue, logically, would be towards restriction, as we’re close to a theoretical maximum of ‘unrestricted’. (unless do you mean a movement to make things easier for family members of birthright citizens to become citizens themselves by virtue of their family ties?)Report

  14. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    D5: Michel Houellebecq was right. Free love has the same problem as the free market. There are no better alternatives but it would kind of be nice if people can acknowledge that the current system has big winners and big losers. A lot of the angst among many heterosexual men is that they seem to be stuck in the 1890s while others get to indulge in practically everything. Its like being a starving person being made to watch people stuff themselves while not being allowed to eat while at the same time getting lectured on how they don’t have any right to food.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Yeah, its articles like Alana Massey’s that make me grateful to be happily married.

      I read her article and nodded along, as she described the boorish louts who crowded her Tinder inbox, the sad foolish men baying like hounds for sex. Yep, that’s us, alright. I recognize my own foolish dating behavior there.

      But I also noticed, beneath the neo-Austinesque clever quips, that undercurrent of brittle rage, the disdain for these sad creatures among who she so relentlessly searches.

      She creates and maintains a Tinder account, not to search for her husband and life partner, but for casual sex. But then she wonders why the men seem so rabid, so singlemindedly fixated on…casual sex.
      Why can’t they comb their hair, she complains, why can’t they speak in coherent sentences, why can’t they approach women with wit and sophistication instead of rude rutting hunger.

      You call for the beast, you get the beast.

      No, its not like there was ever a golden age of romance- her writing does remind me very much of Austen, who was as icily critical of the foolishness of the dating scene.

      And while I wouldn’t presume that the dating scene in Regency England, Victorian America, or any other period before or since was somehow superior, I am not seeing Tinder as anything other than what the cad Mr. Wickham would have used, and something that Mr. Darcy would have scorned.

      So as Jane herself might have noted, you won’t find Mr. Darcy by searching at Mr. Wickham’s address.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Love this comment!Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        I have mixed feelings. I love to see a woman unafraid to express her power, but the phrase “Dick is abundant and low value” is kinda shitty, mainly because here “dick” is metonymy for men, but who would want to come right out and say “Men are abundant and low value”?

        I mean, douchebags, ninnies, and sadsacks are commonplace, but there are better ways to talk about that.


        On the other hand, a phrase like that can really prepare women for the meat market. One can see it as a tool that women need, to keep their own values at the forefront, to help them avoid falling into the arms of the first clumsy, abusive dicklord that happens to send her a picture of his pecs.

        On this:

        She creates and maintains a Tinder account, not to search for her husband and life partner, but for casual sex. But then she wonders why the men seem so rabid, so singlemindedly fixated on…casual sex.

        Why can’t they comb their hair, she complains, why can’t they speak in coherent sentences, why can’t they approach women with wit and sophistication instead of rude rutting hunger.

        You call for the beast, you get the beast.

        That’s really unfair. It’s not her fault (so many) men are pigs. The desire for uncomplicated sex should not necessarily open the door to every crass, boorish lout who never quite socialized.

        I mean, if you are right, then this says something about men. Perhaps they are, well, abundant and low value. Hmmmm.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          This is more of a “I want uncomplicated sex. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Not *THAT* uncomplicated!” situation.

          It’s easy to find uncomplicated sex.

          Sex that is just complicated enough?

          That’s complicated.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


          I always get the impression that when people write these articles, what they want is utopia. They want to exist in a world where they are only contacted by people who they are sexually interested in. This is of course an impossibility.Report

          • Avatar veronica d says:

            @saul-degraw — That seems remarkably unfair. Nowhere in the article does she say anything remotely like that. In fact, quite the opposite. These are strategies for women to deal with the shitshow of dating.

            I mean, look, I was sexually assaulted last night by an aggressive man on a dance floor. It wasn’t anything big. He groped my breasts. Then he pulled me into a kiss — and maybe I wouldn’t have minded if he didn’t go from 0 to tongue-down-my-throat in 0.02 seconds. So ewwwwww yuck!

            This was the second man last night who made an awkward play for me. So yeah. The dancing was great anyhow. I went home alone and was happy to do so.

            Anyway, I would love to have godlike power to determine who is attracted to me, who approaches me, and so on. Who wouldn’t? But I don’t, so I deal with the men I encounter according to their measure.

            I see articles such as this one acknowledging a basic reality: if you’re a halfway attractive woman playing the dating game (or even if you’re not), you’ll be confronted with an endless parade of clowns and chucklefucks competing badly for your attention. We can discuss why this happens and whether it is fair, but any one woman can only do so much to change it. Meanwhile, we have a profile and an inbox and we have to deal with what is there.

            The message for women: This is not your fault. You deserve better. You can have better. So we say, “Dick is abundant and low value.” Sad but true.

            The second point of the article seems to be that, with some good strategies, a woman can shape her dating environment to where it is palatable. First, use Tinder, where randoms cannot bug you. Swipe left a lot. Guys who seem like douchebags are probably douchebags. Guys who seem insecure are probably insecure. Among those you choose, when you chat with them, be quick to cast them aside if they “red flag” out, or if they are just annoying.

            This is a smart strategy. Once you’re in a bad relationship, it can be damn hard to get out. Once an aggressive, possessive man (who are as common as dirt) has “locked” on you, he can be damn hard to shake off. (This easily gets scary.)

            And the message for men? Well actually, these articles are not for men. Figure out your own shit.Report

  15. Avatar Mo says:

    M2: “Raise your hand if you believe that is what our founders and subsequent lawmakers had in mind when they were defining what it takes to be an American.”

    OFFS. We didn’t have any immigration restrictions at the time of founding and it wasn’t until after the Civil War where we had any sort of immigration restrictions. We had some naturalization restrictions relatively early on, but they were basically, “Don’t be a criminal,” and later tacked on, “or Chinese”.Report

  16. Avatar Glyph says:

    The creator of the “Amen” break finally gets paid.Report

  17. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Ordinary Timesperson Emeritus Brother Russell Saunders wrote an essay about homeopathy.

    It made me immediately wonder at some of the stranger interactions I’ve seen (or had) that can be summed up in a recent Weekend! thread where someone mentioned that they’d had a very rough week. Someone else responded with a variant of “here are some blankets, ice cream, books”. The person who had had a rough week said “Thank you! Maybe I do need more girlfriends. My guy friends just try to fix the problem, which can’t be fixed, and give advice that is not helpful”.

    And then I had the thought that there was an analogue to Modern Medical Science vs. Homeopathy in here.

    But that’s one hell of a tightrope and I don’t have the skill to walk it.

    But I do have some soft feelings toward homeopathy (even if it doesn’t work) in the face of Modern Medical Science because it pretty much comes out and says “I need more hope and I need more kind bedside manner” but all they’re getting is more Modern Medical Science.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      I got a message the other day from our daughter’s school gauging interest in bringing in a homeopath to actively fail to dispense effective flu vaccines.

      That kind of set me off – I did not respond, mostly because anything I said would probably have just alienated me from the school community. And we did somewhat know what we were getting ourselves into, sending the kid to hippy school.

      Anyway, that emphasized just how under-vaccinated her school is likely to be, and kicked my butt into gear to get our flu shots after school yesterday. Everyone at the clinic was friendly and welcoming. The nurse who gave us the actual shots was particularly charming. Of course she had to actually discuss possible side effects, which I guess could constitute an alienating bedside manner if you’re already terrified of vaccination.Report

  18. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    [D1] For God’s sake, man up and just ask her to marry you.Report