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charlie, computer cat

April 2019



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charlie, computer cat

You may be amused/horrified by this poll about conditions on the moon - follow the link from there and read the thing about what inspired him to ask the question!


Particularly liked this bit too:
A telling comment on the issue of fairness in teaching elementary physics: Two students asked if I was going to continue asking them about things they had never studied in the class.

My gran used to be a maths teacher and one question she asked her class (I think they were about 14 or 15) was 'if one side of a triangle is 10 inches long and another is 12 inches long, what is the maximum length in whole inches of the third side?'. Loads of them got it wrong and compained bitterly about how unfair it was to ask them things they hadn't been taught. She also asked my dad (eldest of three) and his two brothers - the youngest got it right in a flash, the middle brother struggled and got it wrong (I think) and my dad struggled and got it right eventually. His comment at the time was that he didn't understand how anyone who hadn't been taught trigonometry would be able to answer. But of course it's just a matter of logic and simple arithmetic - the third side can't be 10 + 12 inches long otherwise it would be a line not a triangle, so it has to be 10 + 12 - 1 inches long.

I have no idea if I would get that if asked without knowing it - I've always known it as a story so never had to figure it out "without being taught it"...
Bad memories of an RE exam where I had memorised everything we had been taught about the life of Theodore Herzl (to this day i can remember he was born in 1860 and died 44 years later, 44 years before the founding of Israel, which was considered at GCE level to be "happily ever after"). The question was something like "Write about Zionism" and I replied "We weren't taught that" assuming it was something like Zoroastrianism because I'd never heard that word before and it had never been used in the lessons.

On reviewing the exams I had an exchange with the teacher and even though half the class agreed with me that we shouldn't be expected to have known the stuff we were not taught (and they had also skipped that question) she still wouldn't take the blame.

fair or unfair

I think where it's a question of jargon then it's fairer than otherwise to say that you weren't taught it and there was no reason per se that you should have known that Herzl was a Zionist. If it was a current affairs question then I think maybe they could reasonably expect you to pick up stuff from wider reading that wasn't necessarily right in front of your eyes and given to you as a spoon-fed thing.

* ie I think you are right to pick up on the specifics of not having heard that word used in the lessons, and it is not something that is self-explanatory.

Feeling superior -> happy now -> critical faculties to "off"

It's a rec.humor.funny classic from 1992. May well be true, but IMHO the enduring replication through flesh-based meme-funnels is nearly as interesting than the story itself!

Re: Feeling superior -> happy now -> critical faculties to "off"

Huh! Of course that was well before I got an internet connected computer, so I wouldn't expect to know :)