School Time

Despite the fact that I have tons of stuff to do at work and school during the weekends, I knew I had to place this somewhere. What can I do? Some things are just too good to leave forgotten among the wilderness of cyberspace. I guess the fact that I’ve decided to go for a postgraduate degree’s the primary culprit here.

Anyway I’ve encountered an English instructor’s rambling take the form of an article. There he writes of the difficulties of teaching Adult education to students who decide to pursue higher education in the United States. Everyone who lived long here in the Philippines have heard in one way or another the degredation of the quality of education here as manifested in the quality of a lot of recent university graduates. Reading a certain Professor X’s piece however, I got a glimpse of other facets of the educational issues–this time in the setting of a developed country.

The first thing that came to mind upon reading the article is a post by leelock sometime ago in highfiber. There she writes of the difficulties she encountered from irate parents when she fails a number of students from a certain university. It’s one of the issues included here as well as the author writes:

…There seems, as is often the case in colleges, to be a huge gulf between academia and reality. No one is thinking about the larger implications, let alone the morality, of admitting so many students to classes they cannot possibly pass. The colleges and the students and I are bobbing up and down in a great wave of societal forces—social optimism on a large scale, the sense of college as both a universal right and a need, financial necessity on the part of the colleges and the students alike, the desire to maintain high academic standards while admitting marginal students—that have coalesced into a mini-tsunami of difficulty. No one has drawn up the flowchart and seen that, although more-widespread college admission is a bonanza for the colleges and nice for the students and makes the entire United States of America feel rather pleased with itself, there is one point of irreconcilable conflict in the system, and that is the moment when the adjunct instructor, who by the nature of his job teaches the worst students, must ink the F on that first writing assignment.

Yup. Everyone’s all for higher learning but it seems not everyone’s prepared to face the realities that come with its pursuit.

Finally just a couple of items more:

  • A coincidental but unrelated bit in what seemed to be a pun at the said article, X-Men’s Professor X (Patrick Stewart) becomes a real professor at the Huddersfield University.
  • I’ve never been much of a Chemistry guy but I give credit where credit is due. In an effort to provide a very substantial and effective reference, the guys at the University of Nottingham put up a Periodic Table of Videos. Though I don’t appreciate what it’s for much, I have to say kudos to the effort and creativity in coming up with something that’s supposed to help hold the chemistry student’s attention for a few more seconds at the very least.
  • Tons of free e-books at Burgomeister’s Books. Be sure to read the disclaimer though.

The Sky’s Falling!

I know a lot of people who anchor a sense of disgust over the tendency of mainstream media to sensationalize news in a number of established institutions’ practice of reportage. The great exaggerations and tendency to stick to poor journalism practices tend to earn the ire of those who expect media people to adhere to sensibilities when it comes to their craft. That general sentiment is a lot of times aimed at TV news broadcasts.

I for one know people who have that sense of disappointment over how news is delivered by the two largest television networks in the country. In some situations, I find myself among the flock of detractors though. I hate it when I encounter good sense and better judgment breached during the few times I catch glimpses of news on TV. In that sense therefore, I can say I don’t blame those who cuddle such sentiments really.

That’s why I found Nathan Robinson’s tirade of Fox News stemming from his frustrations in his attempt to stick to the network entirely for 24 hours rather amusingly candid. Nowadays the tone of alarm seems to be a much needed ingredient reporting that the articles author had essentially captured in writing:

Greta Van Susteren introduced one of her news stories this way: “It’s real, it’s terrifying. All the horrible details coming up next.” And I think that captures the FOX philosophy fairly well. The message of the network seems to be “It’s a scary world out there. You’re going to need a gun and some deep-seated prejudice if you’re going to make it out alive.”

Well if it’s any consolation though, it seems a lot saner here given the fact that they have a lot crazier things to report on in our coasts.

Where We Are in the Downward Spiral

People would give a lot not to find out what’s in the news already. A break from the nitty gritty of citizenry in this country is the mode nowadays. It’s the only thing that a lot of people, at least those around me everyday as I walk streets, commute and go about as a bare iota in the urban landscape, dream of. Some of whom do so for good.

While the same collective won’t bother to do so, some actually do and in the case of a Foreign Policy report on the Failed States Index, have actually identified crucial issues that contribute to the deterioration of certain societies. Such issues are broadly classified among “12 social, economic, political and military indicators.” Further Information on the study can be found in the FAQ and Methodology page and Fund for Peace’s Failed States Index 2007 page.

This year the five most critical states are Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Chad and Iraq out of a total of 177 countries. As for the Philippines, it ranked 59th as 5 indicators which turned out to matter most were given as:

  1. Delegitimization of the State
  2. Factionalized Elites
  3. Uneven Development
  4. Security Apparatus
  5. Human Flight

There’s a slight improvement really as the Philippines ranked 56 among the failed states last year.

So while there are people busying themselves trying to get off the sinking ship to try to board elsewhere or fighting off domestic adversities along the social, cultural, economic and political spectrum, someone actually bothered to try and define the issues. For the cacophony associated with citizenry here, I find the ranking of the indicators worth another look, (though I’m undecided on the presence of the second one there.) I find the fact that all other 4 indicators there weighing that much over all other indicators in the model plausible though. The model’s relevance is another matter for me though as I’ve still got tons of to-do’s to strike out and a handful of other stuff to start on while the world goes on with its business.

Finally you gotta credit the work put into that Rankings page though especially the sortable columns. In the same vein as the most influential intellectual results were shown previously, the presentation of the portions of the report are again just as effective. Sorry had to let that one out as it’s really hard not to notice for an IT guy who’s had a decent share of web development.

Just a Readability Check

No this is not about a programming language criterion.

I found the Blog Readability Test over leelock‘s blog worthwhile. Guess I really need the reprieve from the Sisyphean routine I’ve subjected myself to. After all I found it curious as to how I changed over the years in terms of writing. So I went there and took a quick peek.

Here’s what the test has to say about the stuff I managed to pile up here so far:

blog readability test

And since I’ve got a little less than 5 minutes left to spare, I tried two other samples. Since it’s pretty convenient for me to get the blog links from the last two comments here.

So as far as Larry‘s blog goes:

blog readability test

And finally that of Chelsea‘s:

blog readability test

How’d that happen, I don’t know. I’m confused too… :))

A Video and Cake Hence

It seems a lot of geeks can’t get enough of the firefox 3 download day gimmick and as a consequence of the social surplus getting more and more out of people’s time these days, a video at YouTube now presents a parody of microsoft’s supposed predicament on the mozilla phenomenon:

Not bad for the first video I get to post here. The cake is shown here and thanks to minor of highfiber for the stuff by the way.