[lpi-discuss] Press: Linux the focus of new Australian Masters degree

Bryan J. Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Thu Jan 26 21:25:28 EST 2006


"G. Matthew Rice" <matt at starnix.com> wrote:
> You guys are reminding me of a quote I saw recently:
>     "We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science
>      and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything
>      about science and technology."
>                              -- Carl Sagan
> And, I think that we'll all agree, it's getting worse.

Carl Sagan is full of insights.

He was a brilliant researcher (and never stopped being one eithe) who
was belittled by his colleagues for "wasting his time" bridging the
gaps to the common man.  He wasn't "wasting his time," he just
changed the way people appreciated astrophysics and other aspects. 
People learn in different ways just because someone doesn't learn
academically doesn't mean they can't learn and appreciate the same
concepts.

Sometimes I think some of the backlash from the majority is deserved
because of such arrogant attitudes combined with the issues with an
academic-focused education.  Many people were turned away from
academic math and/or science because of issues outside of their
ability to learn.  In fact, people who have very high IQs find math
and science tedious and never learn the basic concepts why learning
such tools as algebra are important, not tedious and wasteful.  So
forget even calculus, which itself is just another tool that anyone
can learn.

Just because you didn't have calculus academically doesn't mean you
can't appreciate what it allows to be understood.  Same deal with any
concept of physical or social systems.  Everything is a system with
variables that change and impact each other.  Although it is ideal to
stop and understand and learn how to describe a system quantatively,
which engineers do exclusively with calculus, you don't have to in
order to understand the basics of a system.  In fact, I often don't
find myself irrated by someone who attempts to rationalize all the
factors in a system and describe it non-quantitatively, but someone
more educated by half-bakes an income algebraic set of equations and
arrogantly acts like they are indisputable (e.g., don't get me
started on environmental engineers v. environmentalists ;-).

One of my favorite movies (well, favorite movies based on a better
book) is Carl Sagan's Contact.  Most people hated much of it as well
as the ending.  I loved it, especially the ending.


-- 
Bryan J. Smith     Professional, Technical Annoyance
b.j.smith at ieee.org      http://thebs413.blogspot.com
----------------------------------------------------
*** Speed doesn't kill, difference in speed does ***



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