Morning Ed: Education & Speech {2017.12.14.Th}

Will Truman

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

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102 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    Chris Beck seems to miss the point* of an organisation like the ACLU. It is an organisation that exists as an outsider. It intervenes in local cases where the group whose civil rights are at risk of violation lack the resources to defend themselves.The ACLU, whether you agree with them or not, are consistent in their principles.

    *Either this or he operates on the principle that groups he likes should be defended by the ACLU while groups he doesn’t can have their civil rights violated if they are unable to defend themselves.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Murali says:

      Most people on the American liberal-left side are no longer free speech absolutists and have a I guess what you call a more European approach to free speech where hate speech laws are not seen as bad. Based on LGM, they also believe that is deeply irresponsible for civil institutions to give platforms to haters. While hate speech can’t be banned outright in the United States, they don’t believe expressing it should be made easy.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Murali says:

      I also think he poorly understands the Skoki incident. It’s not the number of unpopular demonstrators that was the issue (which wasn’t predictable anyway), it was that a parade of people wearing NAZI uniforms with NAZI flags was going to wind through a Jewish suburb where thousands of concentration camp survivors lived, as well as their friends and family. Maybe in the context of location, one might describe the symbolic injury a force-multiplier. Still, no heckler’s veto.

      (The ACLU lost members and financial support as a result of the Skoki matter, so I assume that aspect will not be different here)Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw says:

        I think the town in Illinois is spelled Skokie and not Skoki. Its not really surprising that the writer underestimates the Skokie incident. He was probably not even alive when it happened or too young to remember it. His faction of the Left also really doesn’t anti-Semitism the same way that they perceive other hatreds. Its a lesser threat than other forms of racism because Jews aren’t quite unprivileged people in their cosmology.Report

        • PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

          You’re right, it is Skokie. More generally, I think it would be worthwhile for people to be more familiar with the Skokie background because it is a pretty extreme set of facts, including medical evidence that the parade would aggravate PTSD. Also, people should read the klan rally speech protected in Brandenburg v. Ohio, which is also as close to inciting violence as one can imagine. The free speech rights for demonstrators are close to absolute; the ACLU isn’t going to be taking difficult cases in this area, they are going to be taking cases a lawyer in the community won’t take because of community blow-back.

          And today’s progressives are far more statist than liberals were in the 70s, when memories of the march on Selma and the war protests were still fresh.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw says:

            I don’t think that liberals today a more statist in then liberals were in the 1970s. Both have aspects of the government they like, universal healthcare, public education, and mass transit, etc. and parts they hate, police brutality, war, and state surveillance and persecutions of unpopular minority groups and dissidents. The balance seems about equal.

            What I think is different from Skokie in the 1970s and Charlottesville today is that most liberals during the 1970s saw the virulent white racists and nationalists like the KKK or Neo-Nazis as basically dying. While work needed to be done, most white liberals at least probably believed we were well on our way to a non-racist society and defending some dinosaurs because of an abstract commitment to free speech made sense. Liberals of today generally believe that really high levels of white racism are really ingrained into American life and pose a threat to minorities. That’s why vigorous action against hate speech is needed.Report

            • PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I probably should have stuck with the leftist/liberal distinction. I think leftist by definition are pro-government action, whereas liberals are more concerned about creating a free and equal society. The ACLU is a classically liberal organization that wants the government to follow the same rules for everybody, while the leftist in the linked piece sees this as the ACLU taking the side of neo-confederates, which the government should destroy.

              But I think surveys have shown most college-educated people who describe themselves as Democrats side with the ACLU on Charlottesville and similar types of issues. I just think they have a larger voice in the blogosphere.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Imagine marrying someone who disagreed with you on important things. You’d divorce them, right? Well, this is just helping protect you from having to get a divorce.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        More seriously, go back and look through the lens of “Social Justice Calvinism”.

        As a Southern Babtist, I was regularly told the verse 2 Corinthians 6:14 and told to take it into consideration when I started dating. Let’s do it KJV style:

        Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

        That’s all this is. You shouldn’t be unequally yoked with someone who isn’t a Southern Babtist. If you find yourself with a Methodist, sure, it might be fun to make out with them but you’re eventually going to find yourself at a crossroads and you don’t want to marry someone who isn’t also standing on solid rock.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

          I really wished I had a way of copyrighting Social Justice Calvinism the way that Cleek’s law and Poe’s Law became a thing. It could be known as Lee’s Calvinist Principle. It stands for the proposition that at its most dogmatic social justice or any other movement is indistinguishable from vulgar Calvinism. As far as I know, I’m the first person who came up with this phrase and on this blog none the less.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I hope it gets out there into the wild. I will do my part.

            In any case, I was thinking about this as I drove to work. Nobody would disagree with the larger statement of how you and your spouse need to agree on the really important things. Like the whole issue of “have kids/don’t have kids”, for example. If someone really wants kids and someone else really doesn’t want them, it’s probably not going to work and assuming “oh, they’ll come around, they don’t *REALLY* want what they say they want, if they *REALLY* loved me, they’d come around” is *MONUMENTALLY* unfair to the other person and someone in that situation is being set up for a fall.

            But there are things that are less really important than stuff like that.

            “Oh, you prefer Star Wars to Star Trek? I’m sorry. This just isn’t going to work out.”

            Now I’m pretty sure that I’m not qualified to judge what is really really important, really important, merely important, or just not very important but when I read that interview list of questions to ask on a date, it reminds me of nothing so much as a catechism in its desire to be comprehensive.

            When everything is really really important, nothing is.

            (But I also have it on very good authority that the Everyday Feminism website contains enough low-value content in the first place that it has reached the point where just talking about what it recently said is, effectively, trolling. So pay no attention to Everyday Feminism!)Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

              I hope it gets out into the wild with proper attribution.Report

            • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

              I figure that what’s really really important will differ from person to person, couple to couple. There are those for whom every item on that list is unimportant. There are those for whom at least some of them are crucial to knowing that their partner sees them as fully human.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Well, this strikes me as a fundamentally disjointed article in the first place.

                “Here is a list of things that your date needs to agree with before you swap spit with them” is a very intimate and personal list and I imagine that most folks already have one. “Here’s a list of things that you might want to add” is usually a fun exercise but, at the end of the day, it’s the person who wrote the list projecting and pretending that they aren’t.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                Everyone has deal-breakers. If you’re just casually dating, it’s not necessary to bring them up, but if you’re looking for something serious, by all means you should let the other person know where you’re coming from.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

                Yeah but if I tell you “hey, you should add these dealbreakers to your list” and start including stuff like Palestine, I’ve started engaging in some, pardon me, weird shit.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:


                As much as the very words “Everyday Feminism” put me on guard for very weird shit, I think the “you should” there is a little different than you think it is. I think these are things that intersectional feminists of a certain (quite youthful) age are literally a) not going to even have occur to them someone would disagree with them about and b) when it does happen on a date they will freeze up and be like “WHAT DO I DO NOW AAAAAAAAAA” instead of being like “psh, go away, dealbreaker” or sounding the person out further.

                Or at least that set of people seems to be who the writer is talking to.

                I don’t actually KNOW anyone in this set of people, other than as “an imaginary audience for the writers that Everyday Feminism likes to reprint,” and as a suspicion about a very tiny minority of millennials who are friends/frenemies of friends, not actual friends of mine, so I find the article pretty strange.

                But taking it as a literal purity test or something seems off as well. She’s assuming there’s an audience that needs to learn the lessons she needed to learn about how completely different other people’s opinions can be from her/their own, and that one has to develop rules and boundaries to protect oneself from dating some person of whatever gender who makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little, and trying to teach that group by example.

                Think of her as the Dr. Laura of intersectional feminists, perhaps. “I dated a *gasp* pro-Israeli so you don’t have to!” is the genre of this article.


                Stupid Everyday Feminism.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                I think these are things that intersectional feminists of a certain (quite youthful) age are literally a) not going to even have occur to them someone would disagree with them about

                They don’t make feminists like they used to.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird Note my comment that I think this audience is a lot smaller than the people who write for it think it is. Most of the young feminists I know are not like that. Vastly most.

                Mostly people go to Everyday Feminism to a) complain about it and roll their eyes, b) nutpick, or c) comb through the many many dumb articles in search of the occasional gem.

                I have no trouble believing that the site has generated 4.5 million views due to that combo, but I really doubt that it’s some kind of feminist exemplar.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m probably just thinking selfishly. If I heard this stuff on the first date it’d save me some time. I don’t know about anyone else, but I typically try to convince myself that the first date went well enough to ask for a second one. This advice would make it an easy fold.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

                It’s one of those weird things where I had to tell myself “don’t talk about religion… don’t talk about politics” on dates and something like this would be a boon for me.

                You want to argue about capitalism? And Islam? And colonialism? And Israel? And sex work? Okay, the sex work is a little weird… but this is the best first date I’ve ever been on! Let me tell you about capitalism…

                And *THEN* I could find myself saying “what the hell happened?” 10 minutes later.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                Ten minutes later? For me it’d be 5 seconds. She’d ask me what I think about sex work, I’d say “ok, how much is this going to cost me?”, she’d storm away, I’d end up dying alone, and it’d be totally worth it because I got to use a funny line.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

            You can be the Hobbes to my Social Justice Calvin.Report

          • Maribou in reply to LeeEsq says:

            @leeesq Were you using it in written or recorded form before July of 2015? Perhaps you were, and I just don’t remember.

            If not, I think the social justice non-calvinists have a prior copyright claim. (Or perhaps the defunct cuchulainn account was you? that’d be cool.)

            (PS Before someone pedants me, no, I don’t actually think ideas/brief phrases are copyrightable. Though I do think the term could be trademarked, in theory, not that I’d advise it.)Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There’s a balance point here.

      You and your mate should be on the same page about important matters. You should share critical values about life and priorities and morality.

      You should also be able to communicate with one another on matters about which you disagree, in a way that is respectful of one another. Which includes listening to one another. Because you’re going to disagree about something. If you can’t respectfully communicate and listen, then bad things are going to happen.

      Inherent in that second concept is accepting that there are going to be some disagreements. If you never ever disagree you will never ever figure out how to navigate those disagreements. Learning how to do that is an important relationship skill. And let’s face it, politics is frequently an arena where differing opinions aren’t really likely to have a lot of immediate, tangible effect on day-to-day domestic life. Like, maybe you boycott a product or something like that. Okay, that’s not likely to be a big deal, really.

      So I’m bristling at the concept that you and your mate need to be in lockstep on a broad spectrum of political issues. You should be in harmony on most things. The article suggests a high degree of ideological mirroring than seems either realistic or even desirable.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    ES3: It always amazes how so many allegedly normal people seem really badly socialized. Like it should be a no-brainer that a white middle aged interviewer for a university shouldn’t hit on or attempt to flirt the young women they interview or make comments about their dress. Likewise, upper class interviewers should know not to make patronizing remarks to lower-class or non-white applicants. This isn’t rocket science.

    I think a lot of nerd range at alleged nerd range is driven by this. Nerds, especially nerdy men, are frequently bullied for an alleged lack of social skills and not adhering to social norms. It gets really difficult to take these things seriously when you see so many flagrant violations by alleged normal people go unpunished or even rewarded.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      If the violation is by a ‘normal’ person, I find it’s a safe bet that they aren’t making a mistake, they are knowingly tossing the rules aside for their own benefit.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Aren’t many interviews done by random alumni? I only remember one and it was some random lawyer I think who lived in my area.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

        I think it depends on the school.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Kazzy says:

        I remember being interviewed for a scholarship by an alumnus, but not for admission.

        (I remember it SPECIFICALLY because he asked the meaning of a word I used in my essay, and I could not tell for sure if he thought I didn’t know the word – which I did, and used it correctly – or if HE didn’t know, despite his attorney-dom and Phi Beta Kappa key proudly displayed.)Report

        • dhex in reply to fillyjonk says:


          hi me again

          “Aren’t many interviews done by random alumni?”

          random, no. well…let me elaborate – should not be random. they should be pre-screened by advancement (for several reasons) and then again by admissions (for several reasons unrelated to advancement reasons). by the time they get to contacting students, most of the work has been done for them.

          you will invariably get alumni flakes. you will invariably get students who flake. sometimes they both flake. generally speaking you should not get someone hitting on hs students because holy hell what is wrong with people.

          that said, i’ve helped promote programs like this and i’ve said no thank you to programs like this because the investment in time and reputation (because this can make or break a student’s interest in your institution) are very steep. unless you’re working with a good advancement group (who understands more than future giving potential from that alumni pool is at stake) and you are picking high-affinity students to work with, you’re going to run into more problems than it’s worth.

          from the admissions office pov, you cannot control the alumni’s behavior or the student’s behavior. there’s a lot to be gained from a candid and balanced view of one person’s experience. and also a lot to be lost, as some people understand candor to mean “saying whatever crazy junk comes to mind” or “talking about myself the entire time” or “being totally bonkers and inappropriate”.

          short version is, as with all things, “it’s complicated”.

          (i had a very good and candid interview with an alumni and alumna from washington and lee as an hs senior. and then i went and it was all hella conferate-y and said nooooooooooooooo thank you i will stick with the guidos. also the football coach was a ding dong during our meeting.)Report

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    Es1: Perhaps I am just one of the 24%, but fractions are one of the few bits of math I ‘got’ right away, so I’m curious as to why it’s difficult to learn.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I got fractions fairly easily. But there’s ‘getting’ them, and ‘being so comfortable with them you pass up the opportunity to not have to use them’.

      Given the choice, I’ll stick with decimal systems of measurement and currency. It makes my life that little bit easier when I can.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I prefer to think of my self as just one of the 6/25th.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I was really struck by the article’s allegation that American teachers aren’t very good at explaining fractions. That seems like a reasonable cause for the problem, and one with a straightforward solution.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Pinky says:

        Not that straightforward in application. People get up in arms when their kids are taught math a different way from when they were kids. Back in the day the debate was over “New Math.” Nowadays it is over “Common Core.”

        New Math was a pedagogic disaster. I see Common Core in what my kids are being taught. It seems to be oriented strongly to understanding concepts. So if the problem is, e.g., 24 + 37, Common Core will have the kid drawing circles for tens and lines for ones, totaling up five circles and eleven lines, then converting ten lines for one more circle. All well and good for teaching the concept, but a terrible way to actually solve the problem once you understand the concept. My younger kid, in second grade, intuits math well. She can just write down “61” and doesn’t want to go through drawing circles and lines. And she is right. The curriculum then moves onto solving the problem the sensible way, writing the numbers vertically, totaling up the ones column, and carrying over to the tens. My concern is that in the meantime all this circles and lines will just put her off math. So while I don’t think Common Core math is a disaster, I think it needs a lot of individualization.Report

        • bookdragon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


          My kids are pretty good at math, as are their parents (we’re both engineers). I didn’t mind the lines and circles that much since the concept teaching aspect was clear, but the way multiplication and long division was taught in later grades was ridiculous. As a “Here’s a way to think about it and check your work” it could have been okay, but as actual method to solve the problems it was horribly tedious and SLOW. (It’s no wonder that kids who learned that approach had lower scores on the state and national math tests than previous students. They barely had time to finish the tests!) Worse, the school forbade students from using any other method. It was terribly frustrating and I think lead to my oldest disliking math despite getting A’s in subsequent honor’s level math courses.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to bookdragon says:

            I’d be annoyed as hell if a method meant to demonstrate a concept was regarded as a process for solution. That tells me the teachers don’t understand the pedagogy at play.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          It’s important to note that Common Core isn’t really a ‘thing’. It is a set of standards but ultimately up to states to decide how they will meet those standards. So, depending on which state you live in, your experience may really vary.

          The standards themselves are pretty good. And the emphasis on conceptual understanding and problem solving in math is a particular improvement on some prior approaches. But the state implementation has been all over the map.Report

          • Maria in reply to Kazzy says:

            Yes! So far I have been impressed with the way my daughter’s school is approaching math. She is in 1st grade, so we will see how things go 8n the later grades. I think, overall, California has done a better than average job of working toward the Common Core standards in a creative and sensible way. That doesn’t stop parents from freaking out, and some districts have better approaches than others, but at this point I am impressed.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          I don’t know of any field where people re-fight the same battles as much as education. People take every opportunity to insert their favorite approach into the latest bundle of reforms. In the next round of reforms, all bathwater and any babies are thrown out.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Pinky says:

        The idea of fractional values was easy to grok, as was the addition rules. The multiplication rules were a little trickier, but once I related fractions to decimals in my head, and I understood how decimal multiplication worked, then fractional multiplication (and division) made perfect sense.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Pinky says:

        One thing that has changed over 40 years is far more kids are taking Algebra in 7th and 8th grade and have been given permission to use calculators. There are some arguments about whether all kids will necessarily be able to do algebra at that age and need more years to consolidate arithmetic skills. Here is a possible description of today’s eight grade population:

        1/3rd are in their second year of algebra and doing well, but might miss a few fraction questions because they are used to using calculators or haven’t done fractions for awhile;

        1/3rd are in algebra, but struggling and one of the most difficult parts of Algebra is the rules for solving equations with fractions,

        1/3rd are simply not good at math.Report

        • Maribou in reply to PD Shaw says:

          @pd-shaw 25-30 years ago in Canada, algebra was a 5 year project … started hinting at it a little before that, in 6th, but then 7th-11th grades, algebra was the main focus (not the only focus) of math classes. (We also had a separate-but-equal Geometry class in 10th or 11th grade.) This left Trig and Calculus to be all squeezed together in 12th, but it had the advantage of giving us plenty of time for algebra to be digested.

          (Way too much time for me, actually, such that I ended up working ahead on my own, testing out of 10th grade maths and into 11th, and spending a fair amount of time tutoring other students who were struggling more – but that was to the good, educationally, rather than the bad, so I can’t really complain.)

          It would never have occured to me that algebra could be squashed into middle school such that the hardest parts would have to be tackled then. Blind spot uncovered.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Maribou says:

            Separate but equal geometry? Send it to the back of the bus! I always hated geometry.Report

          • PD Shaw in reply to Maribou says:

            I noticed hints of algebra in my daughter’s first grade math class; I believe there has been a concerted effort to speed-up the progression of math to allow more kids to take calculus in high school because STEM. In my kids’ school, the upper track students will have the opportunity to take two years of calc, after they complete a year of geometry and a year of pre-calculus in high school.

            Googling around I see that some schools have recently pulled back from a more aggressive approach, so an equilibrium probably hasn’t been reached yet.Report

            • Maribou in reply to PD Shaw says:

              @pd-shaw Interesting.

              We spent our entire first grade year on theory stuff. Even sets / Venn diagrams. And understanding all kinds of concepts like commutation, distribution, association etc, by name, and writing them out as … I dunno if it was algebra but there was some kind of variable notation. (And with tactile block decimal thingers and block pie piece thingers (for the fractions) so we could play with examples of things we were learning, not just memorize them.) Stuff that didn’t come up again for me (by name) until we were doing algebraic proofs and graphing in high school, although obviously it was useful and it’s implicit in most arithmatic algorithms that kids learn.

              We didn’t do any of the rote/memorizing that people talk about Common Core getting kids away from until later, though obviously in the course of figuring out various arithmetical and set things with our blocks we got to the point where a lot of the more common stuff we just happened to memorize. (I don’t anymore but I had the Fibonacci sequence rote-memorized as a kid, more or less by accident because it kept coming up in different contexts.)

              Apparently it was some kind of weird pilot program because none of the other kids except the other 2 french immersion classes in that one particular elementary had learned math that way. And the next year we went back to standard elementary school curriculum textbooks. I think it gave us all a leg up though.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Pinky says:

        Something that the article didn’t mention but I think is the biggest cause of “teacher inability” issues:

        Fractions are a subject that’s almost always taught by multi-subject elementary teachers. They’re sort of the last big topic that’s addressed in that setting, rather than in a separated math class taught by a subject-specialist teacher.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I understand fractions well but I’m not sure I see any benefit they offer over decimals. Maybe multiplication is easier from a mental math standpoint if you have the algorithm memorized (multiplying 1/4 by 1/4 really only requires that you know 4×4 whereas multiplying .25 by .25 is something most people don’t have memorized and which they’ll struggle to do mentally) but it seems like all the other confusion they cause isn’t worth that. But I’m open to being convinced.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

        Please completely express 22/7 as a decimal.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy says:

        Fractions with numbers teach all of the basic skills that will be needed to handle rational functions somewhere down the road.

        I admit that this is a complicated matter. Math is essentially open-ended at the top and depends on mastering the things lower down (it is astounding how many of the wrong answers students get in Calc I aren’t because they don’t understand the calculus part, they’re because the students’ algebra manipulative skills suck). Anyone who is going to go as far as Algebra II and rational functions has to learn fractions, even if they are no longer practical for solving day-to-day numeric problems.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Good point!


          Solve ( (1/x) + (2/y) )Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain says:

          WE should absolutely teach fractions. But our everyday lives should be measured in decimals.Report

          • aaron david in reply to Kazzy says:

            I am not sure I agree with that. Both are very useful and in people daily life are used. People are rarely going down to the thousands place in common measurement or counting

            “No, I want something half as long” is another way of saying (1/2X). This is how people talk, day in and day out. But at the same time, in scientific or some technical work, it is easier to use .5 or 0.14285714 etc.Report

            • Maribou in reply to aaron david says:

              @aaron-david I also find it easier to estimate 1/2, 1/4, 1/8th, 1/3rd, 1/7th etc than I do 1/10, 3/100th, etc. (Visually or tactilely or “weight”-ly? I forget that word.) Most of the time in daily life fractions are sharing problems and it’s very handy to be able to guestimate them accurately. “divide this into 5 parts mentally now clump 3 back together” is easier than “divide this into 10 parts mentally now clump 6 together”.

              It’s only the fractions whose denominators are bigger than 10 that aren’t regularly used in daily life. Even then some of them (like 1/64th, 1/27th, etc) are kinda convenient because if you’re pretty good at “a half” you can just keep halving… etc.

              Er, all this to agree with you, not cause I think you don’t already know that.Report

            • dragonfrog in reply to aaron david says:

              Sure, significant figures are a thing. Most things we do are important to about two significant figures.

              How often do you care about 1/64 or 1/128 of a quantity? How often do you care about .01 of a quantity? (At a guess – probably somewhere in between how often you care about 1/64 and 1/128 of it).Report

              • Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

                @dragonfrog But I care about 1/3 of a quantity quite a lot more often than I care about .3 or .4 of it.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Maribou says:

                Personally if I have 1/3 of a quantity here and another 1/4 of that quantity there, I’m going to figure I have a total of 0.58 of it, rather than 7/12 of it.

                Your Liters-per-100-age may vary.Report

              • Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

                @dragonfrog I’m mostly sharing things among groups of people and/or cooking. So my denominators are set by different standards than they would be in other contexts. My point was just that both are useful in daily life, as Aaron said.

                If I have 1/3 here and a 1/4 there I’m going to go with “somewhere between 1/3 and 1/4, just over half” and call it good. Hence “estimating”. 😀Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy says:

            So about half of one, and 50% of the other?Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

            There’s got to be some reason that all the countries of the world have decimalized their fractional currencies, and none has ever fractionalized its decimal currency…Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

        To me they’re in the same realm of difficulty. You have to know the method in both cases.

        1/4 * 1/4 you have to know that numerators are multiplied together and denominators together. This is a more useful piece of knowledge if your tape measure has markings for 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 of an inch.

        .25 * .25 you have to know that the number of digits after the decimal are added together. It’s also a more useful piece of knowledge if your tape measure has markings for .1, .01, and .001 of a meter.

        Both are useful things to know, and we should help as many children as possible to have both pieces of knowledge.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to dragonfrog says:

          I recognize that.

          I’m talking less about the math skills we teach children which should be comprehensive.

          But I think most people would be more comfortable interacting on a daily basis with decimals then with fractions, especially since most of their mental math is probably addition and subtraction. I mean, we already do this with money.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

          My tape measure just has whole numbers and 16 tic marks between each whole number.

          My scale only has whole numbers as well, even if some of the faces have 10 marks instead of 16.Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Come to Canada! Your tape measure will have 16 tick marks between each whole number on one side, and 10 littler tick marks between each whole number on the other side!

            (Well, you can buy tape measures in either system, or both. You’ll always be grabbing the wrong one for whatever it is you want to do, and the two-system one will always have the unit you want on the side away from what you want to measure. Even when you made sure to get them in different colours).Report

            • Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

              @dragonfrog FWIW All my American tape measures and rulers also have this (but the version with the graduated tick marks – so 1/2 is bigger than 1/4 is bigger than an 1/8, and .5 is bigger than any of the other .’s). Though I will concede that may be in part because I refuse to use any that only have one or the other unless I’m completely stuck.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:


              Personally I am metric all the way, but it is still important to understand how to work with fractions mathematically, unless you somehow manage to avoid any kind of algebra in your daily life.

              We might be able to live and die without algebra, but in a world that is increasingly technical, kids will need to know how to use them.Report

  4. Pinky says:

    Es7 – “It isn’t fun to have a white nationalist spew racism on your university campus. It upsets students, reflects poorly on the university itself, and sometimes draws far-right activists who can be dangerous and violent (as well as counterprotesters, who, while in no way morally equivalent to white supremacists, can also be dangerous and violent in their own right).”

    Does this imply that sometimes far-right activists show up at events and cause violence unilaterally? If so, does anyone know of such a case?Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Pinky says:

      Not including the many terrorist attacks by far-right activists that weren’t preceded by demonstrations, you mean?

      The problem with demanding examples of fascist demonstrations that involved violence in the absence of counter-demonstrations is of course that it only gets you the demonstrations that were sufficiently sneakily planned as to avoid any attention from anyone who dislikes fascism. Which is a very small sample size.

    • switters in reply to Pinky says:

      charleston – round about June 17, 2015Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to switters says:

        That’s what I was getting at – there are lots and lots of examples of far-right activists getting violent without someone first getting up in their face when they weren’t first marching and carrying banners and shouting hateful slogans.

        There are not so many cases of them (1) marching and carrying banners and shouting hateful slogans, (2) nobody getting up in their faces, and (3) their turning the verbal violence up to physical violence without outside help – but that’s mostly because there are few instances of (2), as people tend to get up in their faces at that point. The recent sample size of (1) and (2) is too small to tease out statistically significant results for (3) vs. (not 3).

        Which I’m fine with. I like that they get challenged.

        I guess KKK rallies back in the day have a good sample size of both conditions (1) and (2), and some of them had lynchings or other mob violence at (3) and some didn’t. And, you know, Kristallnacht and whatnot.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

      This was in reference to campus free speech. The author was saying, as near as I could tell, that right-wing campus speakers draw right-wing violence, and incidentally may draw left-wing violence (although that is less morally repugnant and less violent). I can’t think of a case in which a right-wing campus speaker drew right-wing violence except in those cases where left-wing activists were at least threatening violence. That sounds to me like license plates cause car accidents, and incidentally may cause cars.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Pinky says:

        That is exactly what I’m saying.

        Campus speakers who call for violence against Muslims and Jews and all the filthy people who aren’t white and the right kind of god-botherer, tend to draw people who are opposed to such violence. Sometimes passionately opposed. Sometimes so very opposed that they get in fights with those who are in favour.

        I don’t see a reason to think that, if nobody showed up to oppose the callers-for-race-violence, that those in attendance would have a jolly little rally, and then walk home past all the Muslim and Jewish and black and gay students, give them a polite nod, and get on the train home without causing problems.

        The fact that you have to go back a fair way in history to find race-hate rallies not being opposed by anti race-hate protestors – that’s a good thing. And, when you do go back that far, you find that the unopposed race-hate rallies often did have immediately following race violence, where the attendees went out looking for people of the hated race to whom to do violence, since they’d failed to show up at the rally for the greater convenience of the violence endorsers.

        I don’t know that it’s a worthwhile experiment to see whether maybe race hate rallies have turned a corner and would now, if left undisturbed, result only in some hateful letters to the editor or something.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Or to put it in more blunt terms-
          Far right groups don’t engage in unprovoked violence, because they know they can’t do it unopposed.
          History shows us that once the threat of counter-violence goes away, they would.Report

          • dragonfrog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            They engage in plenty of unprovoked violence. They plan and carry out numerous terrorist attacks in which the opportunity to provoke them is removed. It’s just when they present the opportunity for people to confront them, that they get some claiming the violence was “provoked” because both sides are equally bad or whatever.Report

          • veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I’ve had my ass kicked by racist skinheads a number of time. So, that seems like “unprovoked violence” to me.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Campus speakers who call for violence against Muslims and Jews and all the filthy people who aren’t white and the right kind of god-botherer, tend to draw people who are opposed to such violence.

          Not ‘tend’….are designed

          There are other places where right-wing speakers could talk. Yes, a lot of commercial places, and a lot of the non-profit community centers, would back away, but I doubt it would be impossible to find locations where they could meet that.

          At the very least, you would think some of the dark money flowing into them would have resulted in some ‘not-anti-Nazi’ corporations buying a warehouse or two near some of the larger cities, and allowing those people to rent it for meetings. That some of the rich people that we keep catching funding them would instead just set up such a company to do that.

          But that’s not where they want to meet. They want to meet somewhere where their enemy is within easy fighting distance.

          Or, possibly, they are incredibly incompetent and I’ve thought of something in two minutes that they haven’t thought of in decades. I know we should assume Nazis are blathering morons, but ‘Hey, why don’t we just own a building, or have some supporter of ours own a building that groups like us can rent, so private companies we rent from don’t kick us out and we don’t have to keep suing the government to end up on the college campuses that hate us?’ seems a bit obvious even to them.

          Hell, the real Klan is smart enough to hold Klan meeting _on the property of members_. It’s usually some pasture way out in the middle of nowhere for the large meetings, with probably some informal stuff in people’s houses, I dunno, but the Klan figured this out and aren’t trying to rent public facilities for rallies. (They do marches, but those are mostly designed to show they still exist. The marches are provocative, but not intended to result in violence, as far as I can tell.)

          The only reason for these far-right people to be forcing those rallies onto college campuses is, again, to make sure there is conflict with everyone.

          …man, it is a weird post when I end up calling the Klan the smart and/or non-violent ones.

          And, when you do go back that far, you find that the unopposed race-hate rallies often did have immediately following race violence, where the attendees went out looking for people of the hated race to whom to do violence, since they’d failed to show up at the rally for the greater convenience of the violence endorsers.

          This is literally what happened in Charlottesville. The rally was shut down, and instead of either going home, or just sorta gathering there in the streets(1), the people at the rally decided, for some completely mysterious reason, to wander around the town into residential minority neighborhoods.

          1) And honestly, if they had refused to disperse and just stayed there, that might have actually gained them some sympathy. ‘Look, we followed all the rules, we have a permit, and the massive protesters made things unmanageable and as a result the police say _we_ have to stop? Hell no. We will not be silenced. We’re going to stay here and continue our speeches.’

          Except that’s not what they did. They broke up into angry chanting groups and wandered the town, many of them holding weapons.Report

  5. Marchmaine says:

    [Es4] Asians and Farmers UNITE!

    Maybe the worm has turned… true story, my son just got a paid internship at a NoVa tech company as a 1st semester freshman; on his first day they told him and this other kid that the only reason they hired them, despite having other older and much more qualified applicants, was that because they had experience on the farm* they knew that if they told them to do something, they’d do it. Now, that seems to me a pretty low bar, but hey. What they didn’t know was that the two kids they hired from Ruralia were best friends and roommates from the same home-schooled community. The third kid was from Georgetown.

    *calling us farmers is an insult to farmers… but nonetheless we do have several ongoing for-profit projects that can at least be called agrarian. That’s what he put on his resume upon my recommendation. I felt like Mr. Miyagi as it started to dawn on him that all those days milking goats and felling trees might have actually had some sort of point.Report

  6. Marchmaine says:

    Dear The Nation,

    The words I think you are looking for are, Thank you, Mr. Barkley.Report