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2004-02-16 2:08 p.m.

education, broadcast, the apprentice, and the end

I think I'm about to write a week's worth of entries in one shot. Bear with me.

On Educating the Masses

I was thinking about these kids I substitute teach and what it would be like to teach them every day, to be responsible for actually educating them.

I'm starting to think that might not be the job for me. It seems to me that in order to get kids to do the work and actually learn something, you have to understand why they don't want to.

One of the big reasons they don't want to, of course, is laziness. Laziness I actually understand very well, and I could probably come up with ways to get a lazy kid going.

The real problem, for me, is that a great many of these kids are just not interested in learning. They don't want to know; they don't care if they're ignorant.

This attitude is just totally incomprehensible to me. I have always, ALWAYS, as long as I can remember, been starving to learn as much as I can about EVERYTHING. It's been my defining characteristic my whole life. How can you say, "Eh. I don't care to know about that?" It baffles me. It seems totally unnatural to me to casually and consistently choose ignorance like that, but obviously the vast majority of humanity does. Maybe I'm the unnatural one. Though, especially in this information intensive age, it's the people who seek after knowledge as ravenously as I am inclined to who end up calling the shots...

But anyway, I am completely clueless as to how to motivate a kid who is just not interested in learning.

On Nemesis, Broadcast, and My Novel

So, I was up seeing Nemesis again recently, and she put in this CD, and immediately it sounded pleasing and familiar to me. I had a suspicion. I asked her what it was. She said it was Broadcast, and it all clicked into place.

See, there was this song on the Austin Powers Soundtrack that I absolutely LOVED, till death do us part. It was called "Book Lovers" by a band called Broadcast. I knew I had to get this band's album, but I couldn't find out any real information on them online or anywhere else (this was 1997). Eventually I just forgot about it, until I heard them again.

And then a copy of one of their albums came in at Nemesis's work, and she nabbed it for me. Cause she's awesome like that.

There's just something about this music that's very ME, somehow. I seem to really connect with things that are sort of subtle, spooky, and full of languorous yearning like that.

This in turn reminded me of my novel, and how I came up with the idea of making a mix CD, where each song accompanies one chapter. I'd distribute it to the people who agreed to be my peer reviewers (those who wanted it, anyway)... Several of the songs on this Broadcast album would make wonderful companions to some of the stuff in there.

I really need to kick my self in the ass and get that thing ACTUALLY finished. I'll let you know how it goes.

On the Dream of Becoming an Apprentice

I had a dream that I was on Trump's show, The Apprentice. You've seen it, right? My parents have been watching it.

I dreamed I was on it, and they made me team leader for that round. It turned out the assignment for that day was a competition to see who could catch the most rats in the Trump Tower.

I was a little nervous, because the other team was coming up with these fancy contraptions for snagging rats. My idea was much simpler: I got a really deep bucket or other large container and put some food in the bottom (lettuce, carrots, maybe even some meat). Then I got a two by four and set one end on the rim of the bucket in order to make a ramp leading up into it. The rat goes up the ramp and jumps into the bucket to get the food, but then it can't get out again. When I was a kid, this is how we always used to catch my hamster when he would get loose.

I felt pretty confident about my method, but I was a little worried at how low tech it seemed in comparison to what the other group was doing. So I called up my mother, who has an engineering background, and asked for her thoughts. She said not to worry because our family has always been famous for rat catching.

That's the dream.

Speaking of that show, here's a good article on it.

On the End of the World As We Know It

“If you think there’s a solution, you’re part of the problem.” -George Carlin

“It’s not the monuments that teaches us history. It’s the ruins.” -Carl Hammaren

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” -Walt Kelly

"If you can keep your head while all those about you are losing theirs, then perhaps you have misunderstood the situation." -Daniel Keys Moran

You remember when I talked about that article that really depressed me, enough to cause me to lose sleep and wonder if having children is a good idea?

Well, here's another one for you, courtesy of Mysteria and Methybeth.

Everyone knows the oil won't last forever. But how often do you really think about what the consequences will be when it does start running out? It's a lot heavier than just not being able to drive your car so much. That food in your grocery store ain't produced locally, and those buildings that surround you ain't built using telekinesis. It requires OIL. How often do you think about just how unprepared we are for it if and when it starts running dry? Do you realize just how inadequate all the alternative energy sources are? How often do you think about just how close we may actually be to disaster? Sometimes I feel like we're just a pack of rats merrily following the Pied Piper to imminent destruction.

Honestly, though, we don't really know how much oil is left. We may have more time than some would have us suppose. And coming from my background in biology and chemistry, I know that there are technological advances on the horizon that are beyond our wildest dreams. Assuming they get here in time, we may be alright. We'll see how it goes.

Whatever the case, we need to make big changes in our society right now. However, given the nature of our society, the stranglehold the energy industry has on the government, and the attachment of the average American (including myself) to their energetically gluttonous way of life, it's hard to see that happening.

Talking to my dad about this, he thinks we were closer to destruction in the 50s and 60s than we are now. We tend to forget just how serious the threat of a nuclear holocaust was back then. Dad's been studying a lot about the Atomic Energy Commission in the Eisenhower days for his job lately. Apparently there were quite a few people in the administration at that time who were convinced that a pre-emptive all out nuclear strike against the Soviet Union was the only safe course of action to take. It was pretty crazy there for a while.

But Dad, it's all well and good that we've managed to keep from eradicating ourselves so far, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. This is a fundamentally different situation from that which they experienced then, anyway, and the willful ignorance of the majority of the population concerning this issue doesn't make it any less serious.

Oh- while you're bathing in ice water, you might as well read this too, an article linked at the oil crash site. Note that this was written in 1997.

It seems like there was something else I wanted to discuss today, as well... Eh, it can wait, I guess.

Good luck, humans! You'll need it! Seriously!

“We’re circling the drain, and I just like seeing the circles get faster and shorter all the time.” -George Carlin

we will become silhouettes,