Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Up Front Guide to Parenting

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  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    Hang on, let's get back to the most important point.

    "...I could no longer explain the difference between different kinds of infinity..."

    Different kinds of infinity - blow my mind! When did that happen? I know I got my long service award in the Arts, but surely somebody could have told me there was more than one infinity.

    Is there an endless number of infinities? Does infinity have a pural - if so, what is it?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh George, my degree is in South East Asian History. What a shame you didn't do it 20 odd years ago, when Leonard Andaya was the resident AU expert. Supreme man.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I bet you're army of giant robots probably looks a lot like something out of some artist's manga .... otherwise it wouldn't be cool

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    oh there are probably several different types of infinite numbers of infinities - you'll never see one in the real world though - except for the ones hawked by that Xeno guy - you step over them every day

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2031 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Who would you have preferred to have designed the plane you are flying in?

    Umm... someone who has worked in the field for several years and has built multiple planes all of which have consistently failed to fall out of the sky?

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Robots and planes, you say..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    a prestigious international conference on, oh, lets say 'Joan of Arc imagery in Vichy France'

    Touche, old chap. Touche. :)

    Here's my answer to your question: the engineer can design the plane and go home, and I'll have an entertaining, conversational dinner with the arts graduate. Sorted!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Robots and planes, you say..

    Yes, that's what I associate with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Not 'Angelina Jolie with an eyepatch'. Another problem with my arts degree, I suppose.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm just about to complete a Masters in Unemployability (History)

    Try English instead -- if that doesn't make you wish your eyes would explode in your head, you can endure anything. Says the double major in Politics and Classics -- which only leaves me qualified to be the Pope. Perhaps.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I should have posted a Gwyneth warning, really.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge,

    George:

    I'm just about to complete a Masters in Unemployability (History)

    Danielle:

    George, I'd like to be the first to welcome you to librarianship (me)

    Quite. I once worked in a science library where three of the five permanent staff had this same degree (including me). At one point I was sorely tempted to cross the road to the old History department and amend its career path poster accordingly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Jeremy Elwood, before he made a career of his comedy, had a line about the Arts. He'd done the same majors as me - Theatre and Philosophy, so

    ... I'm unemployed, but at least I know why.

    Different kinds of infinity:

    From memory (I think of a PHIL paper, though it could have been maths), it's things like:

    {1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... } is smaller than
    {2, 4, 6, 8, 10 ... }

    You can add them together and stuff.

    Fear the higher maths. Doing first year calc (and phil), encountering imaginary numbers made me decide that actually all numbers were imaginary. Thing was, until I recanted this I was unable to solve any of my calculus exercises.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Helen T,

    I'm doing an Open University degree in Politics, Philosopy and Economics. I'm already unemployable but I thought I'd compound it *g*

    I did actually do what my parents wanted at Uni, for a month. It ended spectacularly badly.

    Yorkshire (West if you're… • Since Jun 2009 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    MA in History here. I find I can usually get by okay if I just talk about the research skills and other transferables I got out of it - if I get to talking about what I actually studied people's eyes almost instantly glaze over...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    "Different kinds of infinity:

    From memory (I think of a PHIL paper, though it could have been maths), it's things like:

    {1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... } is smaller than
    {2, 4, 6, 8, 10 ... }

    You can add them together and stuff."

    Thanks Lyndon. Still sounds a bit of a cheat to me: kind of like Infinity plus 1, Infinity plus a million, Infinity times a million. Those sort of antics never cut the mustard at my primary school...

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    The head of philosophy at Oxford in the Edwardian era used to tell his students that nothing they would learn would be of the slightest use to them in life, except the ability to work out whether someone was talking "rot".

    Admittedly that was before post-modernism, but it is still not a bad description of what a good philosophy degree should do.

    And I don't think you need to go to uni to learn that: the two best detectors of 'rot' I've ever known (both journalists) have never darkened the door of a tertiary institution in their lives, at least not as students.

    My own parents were profoundly ambivalent about me attending University - no-one in my family had done so previously, and although they were assured I was bright enough they had the uneasy conviction university was a haven of Silly Things. And since I already had an attraction towards numerous things in that category they weren't too sure I should be encouraged.

    The relief when I was accepted for journalism, at a good old fashioned down to earth Polytech, was pretty strong.

    I later went to Uni, and pursued many Silly Things, not all of them female students.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    If, at year nine, your child has indicated a preference for a career like dentistry or architecture that would require them to go to a particular university, move.

    If at year nine your child dreams of being a dentist, of course you need to move. As far away as possible from the child.

    Which reminds me, and apologies if somebody has linked to this already... Top educator delivers stirring "Stop chasing your dreams, learn a marketable skill instead" speech. Stupidest fucking thing I've read all year.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Top educator

    Director of agriculture.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer,

    Different kinds of infinity:

    From memory (I think of a PHIL paper, though it could have been maths), it's things like:

    {1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... } is smaller than
    {2, 4, 6, 8, 10 ... }

    You can add them together and stuff.

    No. {1, 2, 3, ...} is smaller than the reals (i.e. decimal numbers), but the same size as {2, 4, 6, ...} or any other infinite subset of the integers.

    For that case in particular, clearly {2, 4, 6, ...} is included in {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ...}, so it can't be bigger. You can transform one into the other by doubling or halving every element, so they must be the same size. That infinity is called aleph-zero.

    The real numbers are uncountable, meaning they can't be matched one-to-one with the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, .... Their infinity is called 2^(aleph-zero), and it's distinct from aleph-zero itself. It may or may not be the same as aleph-one.

    Virtually any infinity you might encounter outside of mathematical theory is the same size as one or other of those. There are infinitely many other infinities you can reach by transforming those, and also some others that are qualitatively different and less common. Outside of mathematics it doesn't really matter which one you have though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Sayana,

    The only student worse than an Engineering student is a Performance Voice student.

    On behalf of my best friend, hey! And also, possibly, fair point.

    In my defence, when I finally became a Performance Voice Student I was a responsible, studious and dedicated student who averaged an A throughout my degree.

    Back when I was doing my BA/LLB in Maths and Law that turned into a BA in Linguistics and Literature but was halted due to an Extensive Study into Bastard Gin, Actual Gin and Stupid Relationships, not so much...

    And from start to finish - BA/LLB to BA to BMus (Perf) - it was only 9 years. There was a little break in between.

    Since Sep 2008 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer,

    All of which was a bit handwavy, but the gist of it is that yes, there is more than one infinity, and they are meaningfully different in some situations. Not cheating; the distinction between countably infinite and uncountably infinite really is important.

    The rest of the infinities are less practical.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    To which all I can say is: "To infinity, and beyond."

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Thanks, Michael: I was afraid I might have to have a go at explaining the Alephs myself! And it really has been a long, long time...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    A two-year survey by researchers at Peking University found over 20 percent of 140,000 high-school students interviewed said they had considered committing suicide. And 6.5 percent of the students surveyed said they had made plans to kill themselves.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    I've had some fairly interesting conversations with people who couldn't understand why I'd send my daughter to the local decile 7 school, when there's a decile 8 school only a kilometre further away. "Because we can walk to it more easily and her friends go there" isn't what Good Parents do, apparently.

    A little bit like stories my London based brother tells me about their friends who are going to church for the first time in their lives so that they can get their children into church run public schools.

    Of course all you unemployed degree holders could become teachers. It's what you do when all else fails! :)

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

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