Saturday, May 21, 2011

Is College Worth It?

A response to a post in a long line of articles regarding the value college:
For economic reasons, an undergraduate is worth it because you can't get a master's degree otherwise.  With an increasing number of people with 4 year degrees, and the growing divide between degreed and non-degreed, as well as the increased risk of off-shoring, a young person today needs to be more qualified than ever.  A master's degree is no guarantee of a job, but it certainly correlates with better outcomes.  A better question might be to ask if a master's degree worth it, and even that is often dubious.

As for the non-economic reasons, continued education correlates with many positive outcomes in life - with the awareness that some positive aspects are correlates of higher incomes and intelligence - and extending education as long as possible is a social good, particularly since modern life is more complicated than ever.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Does Facebook Help or Hinder Offline Friendships?

A response to an article in GadgetWise on the NY Times:

It enhances them, but my observations are primarily of introverts to middling like myself, in which relationships have been fostered and advanced, old wounds healed, and friends recovered. As for the others I don't know, the extroverts and the people that have 1000+ friends, or those that use it for business, I imagine they think life is better for it as well...

The Twitter Trap?

A response to an article titled The Twitter Trap:

First Post

It is how you use technology, and in that vein, how you teach your children to use it.

I find Twitter a fast way to get at authors that I read regularly, to reduce the advertising I would have to weed through scanning newspapers for good articles. I still read long-form articles and books, and have both an iPad and Kindle, but I typically use RSS an Twitter to scan titles and synopses for material to read. Can you see the value of scanning the top level before diving in, particularly with the profusion of material and sources?

As for the other values of Twitter, fun for the witty - brevity as the soul of wit - and diversity. You can come across others outside of your comfort zone, or wade into a lively round of repartee.

Second Post

The number of people remembering entire books was likely very small, since literacy itself is a modern phenomenon.  Progress really has made knowledge more accessible, and literacy greater.  Rather than lament the loss of a few 'freaks' ability to remember texts, one can appreciate that no one needs to do that any longer, no longer needs to waste enormous time and energy to store a single source.

My father had several slide rules for his works with computers in the 50's and 60's, but one should realize how few people could do those kind of calculations, and how inaccessible higher math was to most people.  Now almost all people can do the kind of calculations that at one time took an engineering degree.

This is progress.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is Your Religion Your Financial Destiny?

There are comments posted in response to a NY Times article correlating religion with educational and economic attainment.


Some of the correlation is related to immigration policy, in that many people are in this country partially because of the preference for educated labor, hence Hindu's and Buddhists high education level.  It likely also explains the high showing for Orthodox Christians, and even to some degree, Jews.  As a personal note, I work in technology, where much of the staff is foreign-born, hence large numbers of Indians (Hindu), Eastern Europeans and Russians (Christian Orthodox/Jewish/Secular), or East Asian (Secular/Buddhist).

Besides, there has always been a fairly strong inverse correlation between education/intelligence and religiosity, and particularly fundamentalism, and in this case, American Protestant Fundamentalism.


As for the lower-income, higher-education relationship, again, it is based on immigration policy, such that educated immigrants are paid less for the same level of education, and this may be related to a whole slew of factors. At a minimum, there are barriers to non-native English speakers and the ability to rise higher in organizations. My perception is that management is often composed of highly-educated native Americans, while staff is more often composed of highly-educated immigrants.

Out-of-Sync ‘Loners’ May Secretly Protect Orderly Swarms

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels Responding to an article in Quanta , Out-of-Sync ‘Loners’ May Secretly Protect Orderly Swarms : Was...