Song of the moment: My Black Widow People in Planes
I fell in love today, blogorealm.
Well, in so much that I am capable of doing such a thing.
I was reading the US LHC outreach blog today (as I do every day, because I’m a geek), and today’s blogger was… incredibly entertaining.
His name is Philip (nicknamed Flip). He’s adorable. He’s a particle physics PhD student at Cornell.
As I said before, I am in love.
Of course, I’m just kidding (mostly). One thing dear Flip talked about in today’s little post on television and the scientific community was about the return of Doctor Who. Which startled me into realizing that the 5th series begins at Easter. Which is right around the corner.
Matt Smith, your time is coming. Prove yourself worthy of the shoes you are filling.
On a completely unrelated note, I hate Rush Limbaugh more than words can ever say. But you know what I hate more? I hate conservatives who blindly latch onto Limbaugh’s words.
While not a Republican, I have no problems with an educated individual sharing differing beliefs from my own. So long as they’ve done their research and know their shit, they can have whatever opinion they want. I’ve never said mine was right, it’s just what I believe.
What I fucking cannot stand are blind believers in their political parties (Republican and Democrat alike- I say Republican here because they are the ones I’m dealing with more regularly at the moment). People who don’t actually know two shits about politics, government, or how the world operates, but who happily follow whatever their party’s candidates say. Fuck, they don’t even know the platforms these candidates are running on.
While we have two primary political parties in our system, that does not mean every candidate within a party believes precisely the same thing. They have similar overarching ideals, but the details can vary enormously. I have absolutely zero respect for people who come out preaching to me and shoving their views down my throat when they don’t actually know what those goddamn views are. They don’t know what their own words mean. And these people are voting and running for office.
How fucking terrifying is that?
It’s funny- in the advent of the digital age, with all this information at our fingertips, I’m starting to feel people are dumber than they ever have been in the past. Access to such a wealth of information leads to a lack of actual learning.
You’d think it would be the opposite. That access to material would lead to increased knowledge and wisdom in the populace. In an ideal world, this would be the case. But here in reality, we’ve forgotten how to learn. As a whole, we don’t actually know how to learn.
Now that’s more terrifying than anything.
We keep “raising the standards” in our education system, but what does that really mean? On the surface, it sounds lovely. It sounds like we’re bettering our education system and doing a better job of teaching our children information that will serve them later in life.
But we’re not, are we? Forcing students to memorize pages of notes is not teaching them to learn. The only students who are getting anything substantial out of lectures are students who already know how one acquires knowledge. The students who want to know things, because they’ve discovered the intoxication of discovery.
Despite what people seem to believe, the ability to learn is not limited to academics. Our ability to learn is what drives our culture. It’s how we succeed in life. Our ability to learn and grow is what helps us to not repeat mistakes.
In the long run, it is through learning that we achieve any semblance of meaning in this life. So the fact that we are stunting that development is detrimental on more fronts than we can easily imagine.
You see it all around you. Every day. Let’s take a simple example. How many people do you know that honestly hear/read a word they don’t know and go and look up the definition? If you are answering truthfully, the answer is a very small percentage.
But instead of looking these words up, people the world over accuse the speakers of these words of “muddying the issues” and “misdirection.”
What the fuck? They aren’t deceiving you- they are actually clarifying their point better than you realize. See, there’s a reason we have such a myriad of choices when selecting our words- it allows for shades of meaning. “Pretty” and “beautiful” mean similar things (that something is appealing or desirable), but calling a girl beautiful is not the same as saying she’s pretty. There are levels of meaning within each cluster of words.
So when you refuse to learn your own goddamn language and then yell and scream that nobody makes sense, you are actually destroying that language and the finer points of communication. Because the folks you are hollering at will eventually “dumb down” what they are saying, choosing less adequate words to try to convey to you what they are saying. And the words that mattered, the words that meant exactly what they originally intended, are lost in the aether.
And this only leads to greater and greater miscommunication because the clarity the right words bring has been lost.
Way to go, people. Way to fucking go.
So… I really didn’t intend to rant here. I was just going to declare my love for good ol’ Flip and be done with it. Sorry about that.
Here’s some Left4Dead humor to make you feel better. It’s been some time since I tossed some zombie goodness in here.