Both our major political parties are talking about education to fit students for jobs in “the new economy.” At the same time Our Coalition Government wants to give Company Tax reductions to large businesses. However, for large companies, increased company profits invested in expansion tend to lead to job losses.
It includes a quote from a former McDonald’s senior staffer : “It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries.”
The main item in the article is that 60 000 (probably OH&S nightmare) jobs have gone because Chinese factories invested in technology not humans – even at their pay rates the robots are cheaper.
These job losses are not just the semi-literate jobs. Consider the rise in expert systems, even self-reprogramming learning systems: the first white-collar job robots are already here, even doing work for lawyers: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/05/16/meet-ross-the-newly-hired-legal-robot/
(see John Gero on Creativity emergence and evolution in design concepts and framework
and https://www.jwtintelligence.com/2016/06/cannes-2016-creativity-and-machine-learning/ )
So why should the less bright and less creative struggle to learn the basics, if they are told education is “to get a job” and they know they are headed for love on the dole? (Read Greenwood’s book, or at least a detailed review, if you haven’t come across a film or play adaptation yet )
It is time for the meme of “education to be fit for work” to die. Move to “education to get tools to make more fun and happiness, or dodge trouble.” Start classes in “Learning something new without a teacher’s help, and demonstrating it to others,” “Comparing and testing health benefit claims,” “Bullshit detection,” “website reliability testing,” “effective complaints,” “Dealing with Bureaucracy 1: Completing a basic tax return so you don’t pay your refund to an accountant,” and “Dealing with Bureaucracy 2: Complying with Dole paperwork requirements.”
It seems it is the time of year for thinking about soups for those wanting comfort food after rotten viruses attack.
Per request from colleagues – this is public domain, so don’t put it in a copyright book!
(old family recipe with a spice mix which suggests it dates from middle ages, put in metric format)
250 ml = 1 cup, tsp = Australian metric teaspoon (5 ml)
500 ml dried yellow split peas (rinsed, soaked, and drained if possible)
2 litres water (plus 500 ml if peas not soaked)
750 ml chopped onion
750 ml carrot
250 ml celery
2 large bayleaves (fresh – adjust number if small or dried)
¼ (lumpy) tsp cloves (rounded if ground)
1 (rounded) tsp pimento
½ (rounded) tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt, or 1 hamhock (cheap at many major supermarket deli areas) criss-cross cut through skin, or about 200 – 400g bacon bones
Grind spices if not already ground. Pimento and pepper ground come close to the original whole spice volume. (Change the amounts to fit your tastes – the traditional measure is “enough, judged on the day in the curved palm of your hand,” and varies depending on the intensity of the spices on hand and the tastes of the cook.)
Add all to large pot (pressure cooker if available) and bring to simmer, stirring occasionally.
If pressure cooker, once it simmers,
seal pressure cooker, bring to spin, lower to murmur, cook 30 min (45 if not soaked peas).
put on low simmer for 1 ½ to 3 hours, stirring as often as needed to prevent sticking, until peas are very soft and vegetables are easy to mash. If ham hock used, much of the meat should fall off and the bodes should disassociate.
If you have time, remove bayleaves (and bones / large chunks of meat if any – a ham bone may separate into several bones and large chunks, you may wish to save (can freeze) 2/3 from this step to do a second soup) and stick-blend in pot (needs a sturdy blender such as Bamix, 2-minute limit types are too weak) or sieve to another pot if blender is kaput. Or allow to cool and blend in bench blender.
Put the bayleaves, (some) meat, and (some) bones back into the soup, add water if needed (but is supposed to be a very thick soup, sets to pudding consistency when cold.). Simmer, stirring, 20 minutes.
Serve plain or with crusty bread and butter (not margarine or olive oil – taste is just wrong.)
Some people like a little milk spiralled into the bowl.
Leftovers microwave well.
My verge is a mixed planting of herbs, vegetables, productive trees and things I like to see. It is a shared resource – many people know they are welcome to take some parsley or lettuce leaves or whatever else is in season. As a result, it has also produced chocolates and fruit I do not grow.
This week, it was raided twice.
The first time, half-way through the nut season, Carnaby’s cockatoos despoiled the macadamia and pecan. The infill building around the city has reduced the amount of food for them, so I was more pleased than irritated by the loss of produce.
The second time, and for the second time, someone dug out and removed an entire basil plant. Now that is both impolite and selfish. Had the person asked, I would probably have said yes, because I have several others – but they have removed a thing meant to be shared with other passers-by, and that rankles.
I think I will plant a sage plant where it was: the hole will make space for the soil enrichment sage needs.
Sometimes I do tell the Sunday Times of the writing I have found annoying. An example:
The Sunday Times
In your B+S supplement (and, too often, the abbreviation letters are appropriate) of 03 April 2016 page 3, one of the suggestions for a healthier life is “Swap this… book for iPad.”
Reading on, one learns that sleep quality is likely to be better if one reads a paper text rather than reading on a tablet. In Standard Australian English, if I swap this for that, I dispose of this and receive that; if I substitute this for that I use this rather than that. Your paper often uses these incorrectly. In this case, the heading should have read “Swap this … iPad for book.”
This is one of a string of errors and malapropisms which have made your newspaper a valuable teaching resource. I believe that, in your efforts to cut costs, you have outsourced editing to people who are not truly familiar with English. My occasional telephone complaints have been brushed off with “You know what we meant,” and my written corrections have not changed your performance. This shows the general public that “You know what I mean!” is a valid response to criticism of one’s English usage. So why should students bother to learn correct usage?
Although I appreciate the chance to let primary school children correct adults’ published texts – ego-boosting editing practice – I think it is time you spent the money to employ literate editors. THEN you could complain about the quality of teaching in Australia.
Once again The Sunday Times has provided Western Australian teachers with real-life examples so their students can have the opportunity to criticize adults’ writing. The best one this week is from the Editorial. (Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by the editor, Rod Savage, 34 Stirling St, Perth, Western Australia 6000 – do send him a letter of thanks!)
In the section headed “Keep Bullies at Bay” (Page 38, News, The Sunday Times, 28 February 2016) the Editor addresses controversy over the Safe Schools scheme, which – acknowledging that ignorance is often behind out-grouping – addresses the range of sexual orientations. The editorial’s final two paragraphs provide several topics for criticism and discussion:
“Everyone recognises the need to implement strategies to protect all children from bullying. And that must include students who are gay, lesbian, or transgender. We should not let these children down just because the scheme doesn’t sit comfortably with some politicians. We can’t ignore the real risks of suicide and self-harm. We live in an enlightened society and we shouldn’t incubate schools from that. Critics say the scheme has highly sexual content which is more about ideology than helping children deal with bullying.
By all means, review the content, but we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Remember, prejudice, fear and by extension bullying, stem from ignorance.”
- “… we shouldn’t incubate schools from that …”
In this case, the desired word is probably “insulate.” Mrs Malaprop had the habit of using fancy words in order to try to appear admirably educated, and (like Kath and Kim) showed her actual class by her incompetence – thus the literate reader’s derision of malapropisms. However, in the more Hemingway-driven style of the popular press, a technical term is often used because there is no simpler alternative, so the journalist who is not certain must not rely on the spellchecker. “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” is a marvellous tag.
- The first paragraph sentence order and sentence division
“Everyone recognises the need to implement strategies to protect all children from bullying, and that must include students who are gay, lesbian, or transgender. We can’t ignore the real risks of suicide and self-harm. We should not let these children down just because the scheme doesn’t sit comfortably with some politicians: we live in an enlightened society and we shouldn’t incubate (sic) schools from that. ” Is that a better order? Is it better to combine the first two sentences by using the comma before “and” instead of a full stop? Is the colon a better choice than a full-stop after “politicians”? Why, or why not?
- The paragraph break.
Would the final sentence of the second-last paragraph be better as the first sentence of the final paragraph? Why, or why not?
- Remember, prejudice, fear and by extension bullying, stem from ignorance.”
This is also worth a class discussion:
– Why does the author have “by extension” before “bullying”? – Would “as a result” be better than “by extension”? Do the answers to the following change if we use “as a result”?
– Would it be better as “… prejudice, fear, and (by extension) bullying stem …” or as “… prejudice, fear, and by extension bullying stem …” or as “… prejudice and fear and, by extension, bullying stem …” or even as “…prejudice and fear (and, by extension, bullying) stem …” ?
– Is the Oxford Comma the best choice here, and if not, why not?
– Why do the suggested alternatives remove the comma between “bullying” and “stem”? Should the comma remain? Why?
– Why do the suggested alternatives separate “by extension” from the surrounding “and bullying”? Is this necessary? Why?
Thank you, Rod Savage. Perhaps you could consider these questions before passing such items for publication?
Australian newspaper editors seem to have decided to follow the advice to journalists “to write at a 7th-grade level”
Unfortunately, they are printing works at the level of current 12-year-old average output, not at the level a 12-year-old might be expected to read. This provides weekly items to help teachers develop their students’ editing skills, including reading the surrounding text to infer the probable meaning and then discussing the choice of improved wording.
For example, in a piece on education (I did appreciate the irony) regarding Civics and Citizenship, Claire Dickers wrote:
Education Minister Peter Collier conceded the approach to teaching history had been “ad hoc” for generations.
But, he would be “very surprised” if teachers using contemporary examples within the classroom politics.
(The Sunday Times 21.02.2016, News, page 35)
I think it was supposed to mean “if teachers were not also using contemporary examples to teach the basics of Australian politics.” It may have carried some implication that the use of past examples in teaching politics contributes to students’ awareness of Australian history.
I would prefer “However,” to “But,” as a sentence beginning, particularly as it is a new paragraph. Had the author written “generations, but he …” I would not have complained about the conjunction.
Then, on the very next page, a photograph caption begins:
Fearless West Australian surfer Jarryd Foster has taken on, and defeated, a death-defying wave in Portugal.
(The Sunday Times 21.02.2016, News, page 36)
I do not think the wave had any inclination to defy death. The photograph suggested that surfing it might possibly be deadly, and to most of us would be terrifying – and riding it was certainly a death-defying act. The wave itself, however, seems to be (if one may attribute such things as attitude and awareness of its future to a hydrological event) merely going about its duties in an exemplary, even enthusiastic manner, with no attempt to evade the final cessation of the wave-form. Surely, the wave was (again, providing one accepts that it can have attitude and awareness) accepting rather than defying its death?
The dissection of a gruesomely malformed creature may be educational, but I would prefer not to have to see such things on a Sunday morning.
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. ” (King James version)
Just sayin’ .
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/02/ted-cruzs-interminably-long-iowa-victory-speech-annotated/ said “Ted Cruz won a big victory Monday night at the Iowa caucuses.” Most Australian media had American talking heads referring to a clear victory and Donald Trump coming second, with little talk of Rubio.
From http://www.iowacaucus.biz/, Marco Rubio took 23.1 per cent, Mr Trump 24.3 per cent and Mr Cruz 27.7 per cent of the vote.
Less than a 5% difference? In polling terms, that’s experimental error. In USA political terms, at the start of the long chain of preliminaries in other – less farm-based – States, this is neck-and-neck.
I think the media have not done a good job of reporting here. We have the right to feel insulted, and the responsibility to wonder about their hidden agendas.
Our Noble Leaders have started talking about “Australia’s Ice pandemic”.
I don’t think that word means what they think it means. I believe the internationally accepted definition of a pandemic is : ‘an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people’. (Last, J. A Dictionary of Epidemiology (4th Edition) Oxford University Press 2001)
Not crossing international boundaries. I think they could call it an epidemic – but not a very big one.
Then they talk about stopping it by “talking to young people about risks” and by law enforcement action. Not about changing the education system from “learn this stuff to get a job” to “learn this stuff to find and make fun and beauty you couldn’t understand without it, and so you will never be bored even if locked in an empty room.” Not about making risky activities like adult-sized versions of adventure playgrounds available in all suburbs. Not about social support (guaranteed shelter, food, health care, and safety needs in exchange for the dole cheque?) for the desperate. Even though these would mean that people would (like the rats in enriched cages) be less inclined to seek escape through crystal meth, alcohol, and other drugs.
I expect that the right-wing parties in Oz won’t talk that way, not for the next 20 years. After all, we know the source of their “Scientific” theories on how the world works. They don’t care about accuracy, and not just in abusing the word “pandemic.” For example our Federal Government’s Minister for resources and energy pronounces “nuclear” as “newcewlar.” Rational action to reduce the risk of youth turning to drugs? 5 years after the Republicans give it the OK they’ll consider it. Sigh.
The Standard English forms of spelling and grammar were set up partly to facilitate accurate communication, and the standardisation has led us to be able to share the thoughts of people who spoke dialects we would struggle to understand and who lived hundreds of years ago. We learn our individual forms of written English (as with all languages) through our lifetime’s experiences linking form with meaning.
Accurate (that is, adhering to the Standard form) spelling and grammar are a matter of peacock’s tail (display of energy beyond essentials for survival, thus good genetics) and also a matter of courtesy to the reader (we ought not have to guess what you meant to say.) I do not mind making allowances for those with a learning disorder, but would prefer to rewrite poorly constructed comments with standard spelling and grammar before putting them online. Why? Not mainly for personal display. Not just as courtesy to readers. Largely because online items are, for many students, the main form of reading and writing, and thus the main source of background awareness and practice of spelling and grammar.