Thursday, December 28, 2006

Oh, for Pete's sake.

Now, I realise that I have spent most of my life, in university, hob-nobbing with the high-IQ set, most of whom are idiots.

However, I didn't realise things in the the UK were this bad.

There are around sixty million people in this little island (I have found around five of them to be worth knowing), and to quote this article:

About 14.9 million adults in England do not have the maths skills expected of an 11-year old and may have problems working out even basic deals like "20 percent off" or "buy one, get the second half-price", the Department of Education and Skills said.

There's a Department of Education and Skills? What on Earth are we paying them for, if they place the number of illiterate idiots at around a quarter of the current UK population? How many of this department's employees are stupid? Best guess: all of them.

Why not just let teachers do their jobs? Why not let teachers say to some pupils 'You are useless and always will be'. Some, let's face it, are. No, we now have to 'pass' all the morons who drag themselves through school. We have to reduce teaching to the lowest common denominator in the class, so the future nuclear physicist is taught no more than the future supermarket trolley-pusher.

Then we all get upset when our population lacks basic maths skills. No doubt they will work out how to sue the government (ie the taxpayer) when their reality-TV-addled brains finally shift into second gear.

It's not just maths. I have seen essays from students written in phone-text-speak, which to me is not a viable form of communication. I failed them, and was reprimanded.

'We don't say 'fail'. We say 'not achieved''.

They are failures. They are not improved by hiding this fact from them. Failures. They have a place in the world, but it's not in my classes.

Now we are bringing up a world of people who believe they can do anything and are impervious to criticism, because they have been told this is so. Weak, feeble people who will collapse as soon as they are faced with a crisis. Someone's invading our country? Sue them!

The brain is like any other organ of the body. Exercise it, it gets stronger. Ignore it, it turns to useless flab. Schools are set up to promote mental flabbiness these days, and our only ray of hope for the future is that they'll all be too stupid and flaccid even to become lawyers.

Don't blame teachers. They are doing what they can. Blame politicians, and most of all blame the Human Rights, Politically Correct, Brain Dead useless parasitic slugs that infest our current world.

I think some large beer traps are required...


Anonymous said...

or bear traps perhaps?

Romulus Crowe said...

Too quick.

Beer traps are a slow death for slugs.

We have to have time to say 'We told you...'

heyjude said...

Looking at the series of photos, there is a stairway to left. And another dooorway off screen. In 'the' photo there is a child's arm sticking out from behind the guy's legs, and his arm is off screen - possibly reaching for or trying to catch something. It seems likely to me that someone threw something and the camera caught a smear of motion

Southern Writer said...

I went looking for something for you that I blogged about in my old blog, and couldn't find it, so this may not be precisely accurate, but it will be close:

It was spring, and as I was entering the local grocery store, there were garden plants on sale. They were blister packs of tomatoes, I think. Each pack had six plants, and the sign read 2 packs / $2. When I went through the self check-out, I scanned one pack, and it rang up at $2. I turned to the cashier who monitors the transactions and told him, "The sign says these are two packs for two dollars. I scanned one, and it rang up at two dollars." He had to get a pen and paper to figure out how much to take off.

Enough said.

Romulus Crowe said...

SW- doesnt it just make you wish you carried a frying pan with you at all times?

Jude - I wondered about that, but it's a flash photo, so if it was something thrown it shouldn't be quite so blurred. Besides, the child's arm can't have thrown anything at the camera from that position (the child can't see the camera) and the man in the picture is looking at something or someone on the stairs, not at the object.

The trouble with all such photos is that unless it's a perfect image of someone who can be identified as having been dead when the photo was taken (and you can prove there are no photographs you could have 'photoshopped' that image in from) it's impossible to say with absolute certainty that the image is supernatural.

It's always possible that it's not, but some are open to the possibility that they are, and those are the ones worth keeping.

Hopefully this shape will appear again in a different location. That would be very, very helpful. Ghosts, unfortunately, are not usually so cooperative.

Cheryl Mills said...

I'll keep taking pictures.

That's about all I can do.

Rom, what about a standard (like, ten-year-old 8mm) video camera? I've thought about setting mine up overnight, but do you think it would be worth it?

Southern Writer said...

Oooh. I can't wait to hear the answer to this question, Cheryl! Even if he says no, I want you to!

Romulus Crowe said...

If it's videotape - absolutely. If videotape draws a blank it can be reused. If it's movie-film, the type that has to be developed, invest in a videotape one ;). You can spend a fortune on film for one second's worth of interesting footage - if that!

I find the older video cameras have some advantages over the newer ones, not least in that most can be operated from the mains. So no worries about batteries.

Tapes are normally only 60 minutes, but some cameras allow you to set time-lapse (say, one second every 10 seconds) which makes a 60-minute tape last 10 hours. Naturally, you don't know what's happening for 9/10ths of the time, but one tape covers a whole night.

It's also much easier, with time-lapse, to see if any objects are moved. Slow, small movements are difficult to see in real time but are easier to spot in speeded-up time.

Without time-lapse, try hooking up the camera to a standard video recorder. A four hour tape on long-play gives you eight hours. Remember, you press 'record' on the tape machine - the camera is just the input device.

Time-lapse's big advantage is that you only have one hour of tape to watch, rather than eight.

If you have a DVD recorder, the same principle applies as with a video recorder, except it's easier to get DVD video into a computer.

There are ways to transfer tape to DVD, ways that currently have me snarling at various boxes of electronics, but I wouldn't worry about those yet. See what comes up first.

If you have the equipment and a likely location, the answer's always going to be 'Go for it'!

Southern Writer said...

I left a little something for you at the bottom of my December 30 post. Have fun!

tom sheepandgoats said...

Here in the States, we have the No Child Left Behind law, passed a few years ago. Think of it. What a concept.

My uncle was a hell raiser as a kid. Constant notes from the school. Finally, his dad said: If the boy won’t behave, pull him out of school. He was “left behind.“
I knew in the first week it was a mistake, he told me later. In time, he got his act together, and lived out the remainder of his years a productive person.

Can you really leave no child behind? Isn’t it like the bus driver who determines he will leave no passenger behind? So he waits and waits and waits until the last straggler finally shows up. It might not be the stragglers fault, there may be societal issues causing tardiness, things you ought to fix, but that’s little consolation for the other passengers, who all miss their appointments.

What if, many years ago, you had resigned yourself to leave a certain percentage behind? Make up a number. Say six percent. three percent of those would have done as my uncle did. And three percent would stay left behind. A very demoralizing thought. But it sure beats the fifty percent who have been effectively left behind by schools that cater to the most disruptive child.

Romulus Crowe said...

Years ago, the UK had two types of schooling from age 11. Grammar schools, and secondary moderns.

To get into grammar school you had to pass a test. If you failed, you went to the secondary modern. The terrible tales that came from those schools ensured we all tried our hardest to pass the exam. Looking back, I think the teachers made up most of the stories.

It made sense. Secondary schools knew they weren't teaching potential future Einsteins. They concentrated on practical skills, and turned out people with knowledge of a trade.

Some of those tradesmen now earn more than professors. Most are running their own businesses.

Now we have the combined 'comprehensive' system. Everyone goes to the same school. Academic teaching standards are lower, so the slower kids can cope. Teaching of trade skills such as woodwork, metalwork and so on is limited because no school can realistically afford to run all those classes.

Today we turn out media-study experts and administrators. Middle men, from a middling system. No Einsteins, and we're already seeing a startling lack of tradesmen.

These days, it seems children are taught that they 'can do better' than become 'just' a plumber or an electrician. Believe me, in terms of pure financial gain, you can't do any better.

The few plumbers we have left are doing very nicely, and the absence of the secondary school system ensures their numbers will continue to decline.

I don't understand why nobody in our government has made this connection. Oh, wait, I do know. It's because they're all administrators.

tom sheepandgoats said...

When we were raising our kids, I got to know a lot about the school system, or at least I developed strong opinions. It turns out that the college students with the lowest academic achievements are the ones (as a group) who go into education. What is that old adage? If you can do something, you do it. If you can't do something, you become a critic. If you really can't do something, you teach it.

So you really CAN blame educators for the present mess, at least in the US. Yes, politicians embrace and enshine nonsense, but it's the educators who come up with the foolish ideas in the first place.

Romulus Crowe said...

On the other hand, the less qualified end up in the lowest-paid jobs.

As long as teaching is a low-paid job, it won't attract those who would be really good at it.

Some still do it because they like it, but with the decline in children's behaviour there are fewer of those teachers around.

So we end up with dumber teachers, who can't control a class, so turning out dumber kids, some of whom turn into even dumber teachers...

Stone Age, here we come again.

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