Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading Edward Teller's Memoirs.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Post-Literate Society

Today an administrator sent out a request that faculty fill out a survey as part of some study involving educational fads.  Since I love to be the fly in the ointment I naturally took the survey as soon as possible.  Among the questions on the survey were a few about whether/how frequently we use videos in our classes.  The context strongly implied that assigning students to watch videos is considered a good, progressive thing to do.  Reading assignments did not receive commensurate attention.

Mark 2016 as the year that one of my "superiors" openly embraced the post-literate society.

Alternative is back in style, so I said "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?"

The editors of Nature deign to notice reality:
Alternative career paths should be celebrated, not seen as a compromise.
Do go on.
...but young scientists have more reason than most to be disillusioned when things do not go to plan. Almost all have completed a PhD. And almost all would have been told that the qualification — and the effort and dedication involved — was the first step on the ladder to a permanent academic position. 
Nature and others have long pointed out that this is a lie. There are simply too many PhD students and too few senior posts. Hence the purgatory of the postdocs: trapped in transition and trying to accrue the necessary credit to move on.
Well, I'm not sure how "long" they've pointed it out.  Their link is to 2011.  If they'd pointed this out in the 1970's I'd be more impressed.

Up next:  The editors of Nature suspect that these newfangled desktop computers might have an effect on how people do science.