Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Enabling students to cheat


Right from the horses mouth. Someone who wants to be a writer so bad they will choose to write papers deceptively. But this person asks us to overlook this minor indiscretion in favor of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is WHY students request this service:
An education system that somehow failed?
A lazy student who couldn't be bothered to do any work?
Or rather a student who did more work prepping the cheater to be successful so they could be free of this hassle?

"It is my hope that this essay will initiate such a conversation. As for me, I'm planning to retire. I'm tired of helping you make your students look competent."

Thanks. Conversation initiated. I am glad you are retiring. I also hope your business has not been passed on.

I don't believe you were ever asked by teachers to make our students look competent. Rather we expected to our students to WANT to be competent. That want is motivation. But that alone is not enough. At some point you have to DO. You have to strive to achieve that which you are not capable of doing now, or capable of doing without help.

We ask beg our students to seek help when they need it. The best professors always offer help and guidance. We have not enabled them like you have. We have demanded improvement, self motivation, commitment, and LEARNING. As I demonstrated in one class, knowledge is not served on a silver platter for the taking. It is acquired, over time, with work and practice.

You gave them an alternative. An easier alternative albeit expensive. You enabled them to be lazy.

I have no qualms with pointing fingers at our education system. Part of it is institutional involving "teaching to the test". Part of it may be the teachers (some old that don't care, some young that don't know how, some that are not passionate, and some that have no choice but to be a glorified teen-sitter). part of it may be generational (tried and true teaching methods may no longer be working in the age of internet "knowledge" ... "I can just look that up why do I need to remember that fact").

Convenient that he can not remember the clients' name. Perhaps revealing who these people are might help the "conversation" you have started. It might help to explain why some of them are in leadership roles who can't lead, bosses who are idiots, or prevent real thinkers from advancing into roles where they can be most useful.

It only gets worse when you contribute to the problem and then leave it for someone else to clean up. Thanks for the legacy. Release the names of your clients. Post it on Google. Thesis titles too please. I know those are easy to look up.

The generational divide is causing more problems than I know how to fathom. The problems are non-linear and cumbersome and difficult to divide and conquer as is. Enabling is a symptom of this. Your lack of perspective and moral consequences will be remembered. Most importantly, don't be confused. You are no scholar. A scholar would be concerned with ethics because the process and the work are important.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Changing thinking

I have been recently obsessed with TED talks:

From Elizabeth Gilberts' nurturing creativity to Jill Bolte Taylors' stroke of insight to Malcolm Gladwells'  tale of Spaghetti Sauce.


They all have a unique perspective that transforms the way they view the current culture of thinking. In essence, they adopt the opposite point of view of the currently held belief (for lack of a better term). This isn't fair to Jill since she had no choice and neither was it fair for Elizabeth since she was pestered into a corner.

The people that make the biggest gains in thinking seem to be able to critically observe what we do now and evaluate if that model fits now. Observe is the operative word. Like a good joke by a comedian. "We" get so used to doing things one way that we start choosing to do things incrementally in that same way. (Yin and Yang) Until someone looks around and changes the game instead of changing the rules.

Which leads my strange mind into the last TED talk about what leads to success. Which if you need a link you really aren't that motivated to hear the talk. Being smart was not one of the 8. So I decided to be clever:
Good Ideas Persist. Focused Work Serves. Push your Passion.
Passion Pushes Good, Focused Ideas with Persistent Work to Serve.

So, take a step or two back and look around.

My line of thinking did not include saying incremental science is bad. rather, incrementally, the science improved to the extent that it could before it required a new direction. Often it seems these transformations in thinking are natural ... but "we" have no way of comparing these transformations to the changes in thinking which went nowhere.

Monday, November 1, 2010

From hurricane to weak storm: Tomas

Tomas weakened rapidly as "shear" tore it apart. It became obvious this wasnt upper level shear but rather midlevel shear as the mid-level vortex decoupled from the low-level vortex. Animations of this period show a very strong band of convection to the southeast actually develop its own outflow signature. This area of convection persisted even as Tomas' CDO  decayed to reveal the low level swirl this morning. The upper level shear probably did change as Tomas excellent outflow was virtually absent in the southern quadrant. Deep convection refired late in the morning but was pretty ragged and the HH aircraft found Tomas significantly weakened and disorganized.

hard to know what may have actually happened, but I am stuck wondering what role the SE area of convection played in Tomas demise, more specifically how that area of convection established its own outflow and how that interacted with Tomas. Also, what was the decoupling mechanism and how vertically confined was it to shear the vortex apart and only briefly stall deep convection?

Anywho, this is not my area of expertise. I am interested in where Tomas goes and how it interacts with the cutoff cyclone in the Gulf by Saturday.

 The GFS takes the upper level low into the gulf where it rapidly weakens in 18 hours, though the effects of the low may be felt very far south as a cold surge. Though cold might be a relative term. The GFS is rampant with parameterized convective rainfall and that could be one mechanism for the destruction of PV aloft. The other mechanism for not leaving the cutoff over the gulf is another disturbance on the dynamic tropopause that crosses the ridge  and helps keep moving things along.

Either way how things play out with Tomas and the cutoff low is rather interesting from a predictability standpoint, for all the individual elements (TC, cutoff low, cold surge, and heavy rainfall for Florida, Cuba and Haiti). Expect some impacts from this entanglement. In the meantime I need to look closely at the GFS ensemble.