Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Limping Onwards

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    If only there were some other venue for discussion and debate about, well - subjects like this! - other than a university classroom.

    So where are all the kids then?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    Finance majors have been my bitches for years. They're seldom aware of quite how dogmatically they are trained.

    And the country continues to have a glut of law and commerce undergrads, which have been going on for some years.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    And you’re ironically the very person Danyl is describing, the self taught savant. Fantastic when it happens, but aren’t you rather unusual?

    You would not be the first person to make such an observation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    sell Artificial Intelligence solutions to farmers

    Is that the system that bangs out Federated Farmers pronouncements on why they should be free to abuse livestock and pollute waterways?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Just taking the thread even further off-topic for a second, apparently Nabakov once set an essay question in the exam for his Russian literature paper at Princeton: list the contents of Anna Karenina’s handbag. (This information is not given in the text.)

    No it's not -- but anyone who'd bothered subject the set text to a close reading (a dying art, I know) should be able to must some pertinent observations about the symbolic and contextual importance of the small red bag Anna Karenin drops when she committs suicide (and bears to most of her squalid assignations)..

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Condoms?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Percy Flage, in reply to nzlemming,

    An English novel. Or a brick.

    Since Apr 2011 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    [Secretly triumphant that we are back to discussing novels!]

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Is that the system that bangs out Federated Farmers pronouncements on why they should be free to abuse livestock and pollute waterways?

    LOL no, I worked with milk collection, automation thereof. Yes, this had to be sold to the farmers even harder than it had to be sold to management (which was a doddle - bean counters are so fucken easy to sell technology to).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Danyl has already admitted to not practicing what he preaches.

    That is a little unfair. I was eighteen when I went to university and studied things like religion and ancient greek, and I'm now in my late 30s, so a little inconsistency is, I think, allowed - and unlike other liberal arts students in this thread who went onto diverse things, I didn't find myself quoting the original text of the Iliad in my subsequent IT career. It was not a brilliant investment of the taxpayers money.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    That is a little unfair

    You're killing me, Danyl.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I didn't find myself quoting the original text of the Iliad in my subsequent IT career. It was not a brilliant investment of the taxpayers money.

    It's colored your blog though, which I would suggest is actually a more important thing to New Zealand than your IT career, which is only useful to you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Many of them are broken going into first year. It’s a subset of the type attracted to the discipline: intellectually brilliant, arrogant, utterly incapable of interacting with other humans.

    Just catching up. Not sure how to put this as eruditely as others have. WTF?

    [Secretly triumphant that we are back to discussing novels!]

    I truly madly deeply need to read a book right now.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I haven't followed this argument at all, Danyl. So I beg your indulgence in butting in. Isn't the entire point of universities that they are first and foremost institutions of higher learning, and not training providers? And as taxpayers, is it not in our interest to have alot of diverse people with diverse interests and abilities to enrich our society? We are not all worker bees, and our world would be a very bland, and confusing place, if we were. I'd argue my point in more depth, but I've been misusing my art history/south east asian history degree by following a 3 yr old escapologist around all afternoon.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    It’s colored your blog though, which I would suggest is actually a more important thing to New Zealand than your IT career, which is only useful to you.

    Well, my IT career was also important to the financial companies I worked for in London and New York - so there's my great contribution to society right there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Sounds rather like mine. Was my purpose in life really to help fatten up J B Were so it could be sold off to Goldman Sachs, during which they made my wife redundant when she got pregnant?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    so there’s my great contribution to society right there.

    Actually, that's only your contribution to their bottom line. Which, being financial companies, they will have structured to pay as little tax as possible, and then they went on to wreck the global economy through the simple process of making stuff up and selling it, and so were bailed out with tax dollars.

    I'd go with the blog, if I were you. If you're thinking positive contribution...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Isn’t the entire point of universities that they are first and foremost institutions of higher learning, and not training providers?

    To me the point of a university is to train people in areas that require higher learning to master them, ie: people studying economics generally need to study history, lawyers or mathematicians may need to study philosophy etc, and there's been a huge amount of mission creep in which the subjects that were supposed to supplement an education become the purpose of (some peoples) education.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I didn't find myself quoting the original text of the Iliad in my subsequent IT career.

    There's where you went wrong career-wise, Zuckerberg used to recite ancient Greek.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    there's been a huge amount of mission creep in which the subjects that were supposed to supplement an education become the purpose of (some peoples) education

    If anything, the mission creep is the other way, subjects that are merely technical and can mostly be learned on the job have ended up being the only things a lot of kids have got out of their time at University. Those people would have been better off never going, and just working their way up in some firm. I usually feel a bit sorry for them because they seem to hit the glass ceiling fastest.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    . Isn’t the entire point of universities that they are first and foremost institutions of higher learning, and not training providers?

    As currently constituted, they are both. You can do an MA in Philosophy, or a highly career specific course such as engineering.

    If you want to make a career in many areas, you *have* to do a degree - there is no other option. Even if a poly education is theoretically possible, your career prospects will suffer as a result.

    So anyone wanting a career at a level above technician in most areas has to attend university. Should they also have to study subjects not directly required for their planned profession?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Neil Morrison,

    I didn’t find myself quoting the original text of the Iliad in my subsequent IT career.

    You mean you don’t know how to setup the Iliad unofficial toolchain? I’m disappointed.

    ETA: Reply fail. Quote within a quote.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Well yes, of course they are intended to be both, Rich. I did mean to say. But they also provide a much higher quality of discourse than other training institutions that really are just about learning a "trade". By way of example, teaching training providers - especially in the area of Early Childhood - are crazily different in their teaching programmes. My own experience as an Associate Teacher - one who assesses teaching students - is that those who do a degree at a university are often more philosophically suited to be teachers because the very nature of teaching, of course, is that one needs to be an avid and passionate learner. (This excludes the very fine Te Tari Puna/NZ Childcare Assoc which seems to attract incredibly able teachers.) Of course, economics do come into it in a very big way these days. But this should not preclude students being able to take more esoteric subjects. Learning is,and should be, for it's own sake. How many employers, after all, care about your academic record? They don't, of course. Do you have the qualification? is usually all they require to know. If you have the money - whether it be in the form of a grant, or taxpayer funded benefit, or your own savings - it would seem to me that whilst one is at university, one has an obligation to make the very most of it. And if that means taking philosophy, so be it. One always uses the knowledge one has gained in whatever career one has. I would offer myself up as an example. I have a BA - a very common degree - in History of Art and History. I'm a kindergarten teacher - one would think I would never use my degree. I do, every day. Not always the content of the degree but what I learned from sitting in hours of lectures, discussing ephemera with peers, knowing how to find out about stuff. I can shoot the shit for hours with a 3 year old.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to recordari,

    Looks complicated. I guess Homer predates autotools.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to James Butler,

    Mmmm, autotools…


    Is there anything they can't do?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

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