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Old 07-08-2011, 07:16 PM   #21
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Yeah, because we're so smart. All in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:44 PM   #22
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I wouldn't say most people are dumb. But I would say that for some common sense is very very difficult to grasp.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:29 PM   #23
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Even the brightest will have areas that they are ignorant. I believe that people are getting "smarter", as in more educated, though. My grandfather's generation were lucky to get a grade school education. My father's generation were doing well to graduate high school. They did the best that they were able, given their opportunities, and did well. People today have more opportunities than ever.

From Wikipedia:
The increasing rates of school attendance have been reflected in rising proportions of adults completing high school and college. Progressively fewer adults have limited their education to completion of the 8th grade which was typical in the early part of the century. In 1940, more than half of the U.S. population had completed no more than an eighth grade education. Only 6 percent of males and 4 percent of females had completed 4 years of college. The median years of school attained by the adult population, 25 years old and over, had registered only a scant rise from 8.1 to 8.6 years over a 30 year period from 1910 to 1940.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the more highly educated younger cohorts began to make their mark on the average for the entire adult population. More than half of the young adults of the 1940s and 1950s completed high school and the median educational attainment of 25- to 29-years-olds rose to 12 years. By 1960, 42 percent of males, 25 years old and over, still had completed no more than the eighth grade, but 40 percent had completed high school and 10 percent had completed 4 years of college. The corresponding proportion for women completing high school was about the same, but the proportion completing college was somewhat lower.

As bad as we think people are doing, we are doing better than ever.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:26 PM   #24
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You're assuming that everyone currently in office act as one regime, regardless of party.

If you're mad because government is not regulating the banks enough, and that the wealthy are not paying their share , it does not make much sense to vote Republican against your incumbent Democratic congressman.

The Republican is almost guarrenteed to do exactly the opposite of what my father is looking for from a politician.

It's not that he is pragmatic. It's that he isn't paying attention.

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Sounds like your father is a pragmatist and you're an ideologue. "Throw the bastards out" means, if the current regime is not getting good results, it's time for a change, regardless of whether they're doing things (what you think is) the right way.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:37 PM   #25
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If you're mad because government is not regulating the banks enough, and that the wealthy are not paying their share , it does not make much sense to vote Republican against your incumbent Democratic congressman..
The opposite of the "throw the bum out" approach seems just as silly. Here in Chicago, buddies who are loyal Dems bitch about the well known graft, corruption, patronage, ballot box stuffing, etc., of the local Dem Machine. Yet they've never voted anything but straight Dem all their lives and will continue to do so.

Automatically voting against the incumbent is no worse than always voting a straight ticket.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:17 AM   #26
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Automatically voting against the incumbent is no worse than always voting a straight ticket.
In the right circumstances I think the absolute most rational voting pattern is to vote the machine that you are part of. If I or my son or daughter or father or mother were getting patronage jobs, I'd happily vote for Lucifer.

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Old 07-09-2011, 12:29 AM   #27
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My grandfather's generation were lucky to get a grade school education. My father's generation were doing well to graduate high school.
Maybe, but when I compare the level of work that they did to the current equivalents where to avoid hurting student's self esteem most things are graded very generously and math problem sets have been vastly dumbed down, I don't think the comparisons are as clear as they seem.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:45 AM   #28
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If all the dumb people got smart and did LBYM, who would be left to help pay for all the social entitlements?
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Who would need them?
Financial Advisers?
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:11 AM   #29
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Maybe, but when I compare the level of work that they did to the current equivalents where to avoid hurting student's self esteem most things are graded very generously and math problem sets have been vastly dumbed down, I don't think the comparisons are as clear as they seem.
Agreed. Quantity is not quality.

Education is not getting better, it is merely getting longer.

When I talk to 20-21 year old college students today, I'm surprised to learn they're taking classes in "calculus" that covers things like integration by parts and integration by substitution. I'm surprised because this level of calculus was something I learned at age 16 in high school. I'm 35 now, so this is only 19 years ago. In addition, when I was in college back in the 1990s we would sometimes get question sets from the 1970s. These were materially more difficult than the contemporary ones.

As more people are let into college, the material is dumped down to maintain the passing percentages. Just putting a person in a classroom unfortunately does not make that person more intelligent. Our longer educations are simply a function of a richer society that can afford to keep more people from doing productive work. College is a good place to put unproductive workers, so there ...
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:48 AM   #30
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A lot of people think that things keep getting worse, or diluted. Eg my education was better than now, todays youth are lazy or whatever, politics is degenerating, inflation is destroying our society, ie we miss " the good old days" As far as i'm concerned the good ole days are right now. We have (generally) never had it so good at least from my albeit non representative experience.
As an aside, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be a genius (and by definition they have always existed) say a million years ago? I try to imagine how they would have felt or acted. How would they have used their intelligence?
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:54 AM   #31
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I don't know about a million years ago - it doesn't look as if our ancestors were truly human, yet - but 100,000 years ago, the genius probably became the tribe's wise man/woman/shaman, and got the tribe to take care of all their needs for them...A.

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As an aside, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be a genius (and by definition they have always existed) say a million years ago? I try to imagine how they would have felt or acted. How would they have used their intelligence?
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:54 AM   #32
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I view life as a series of events with continous improvement for every action or experience. Learn from your mistakes and experiences. In finance this approach works great with LBYM, reduce spending and maximize saving and returns on those saving/investments. In other areas it reduces wasted motion and time on projects and every day tasks. I know what task/subject I am ignorant about through lack of experience and at least try to do a little research before and always after the fact when the results are not to my satisfaction.

In general I think most people do not use their previous experinces to their benefit.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:00 AM   #33
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I don't know about a million years ago - it doesn't look as if our ancestors were truly human, yet - but 100,000 years ago, the genius probably became the tribe's wise man/woman/shaman, and got the tribe to take care of all their needs for them...A.
Agree about the time line said that just for effect. tribes would have been pretty small, mostly family probably. I wonder what the genius would have thought? How they would have gootten people to do their bidding without well developed language? is intelligent even relevant without language skills? How would intelligence be of use in such an environment?
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:01 AM   #34
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In the right circumstances I think the absolute most rational voting pattern is to vote the machine that you are part of. If I or my son or daughter or father or mother were getting patronage jobs, I'd happily vote for Lucifer.

Ha
Couldn't agree more Ha. As a lad, I grew up in a family where my dad, his brother, his sister's DH and several cousins all worked for the city of Chicago. They all held blue collar jobs that paid at least double what they would have earned in the private sector, plus nice bennies. We had a pic of Richard J Daley on our living room wall and I spent many an hour working for the precinct captain running errands, delivering plain brown envelopes and passing out packs of cigs (with voting instructions) outside of polling places.

But I'm flexible. When dad retired I backed out of doing my "political hours." When my uncles retired shortly thereafter, I noted the pic of Daley was gone. When my cousins retired, and by then I was older, I felt the thrill of voting a split ticket for the first time!

Voting rules such as always voting against the incumbent or always voting a straight ticket (over a lifetime) need to be tempered with a little flexibility!
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:03 AM   #35
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As an aside, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be a genius (and by definition they have always existed) say a million years ago? I try to imagine how they would have felt or acted. How would they have used their intelligence?
IMO life long ago was divided by people with good eye sight and people with bad eye sight. Think of all the tasks people would be poor at. i.e hunting, defending yourself, moving around, etc. Without glasses I would probably have not lived much past when my parents stopped looking out for me.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:56 AM   #36
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but 100,000 years ago, the genius probably became the tribe's wise man/woman/shaman
Probably only if their intelligence was the right sort, or coupled with the social and emotional skills to make something like that happen. Even now, we waste most of the genius caliber intelligence that had potential but doesn't fully develop for many reasons. Not to mention that problems with eyesight, physical coordination, running speed, resistance to infection and good luck not to break any bones would have been required for just survival back then too.

No child left behind and most school metrics focus on reducing the gap between high performers and low performers or insuring that all low performers meet a minimal standard. Almost no schools seem to be measuring how high the high performers can go, or nurturing individual genius. This looks like a system designed to produce lots of interchangeable parts in a large population of willing workers, not a system to encourage brilliant innovation or breakthroughs. We do reward that to some extent but mostly as winner take all economics of scale not as a systemic part of developing talent, so a very few get outsize rewards, but very many get nothing or fail to develop to their true potential.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:09 AM   #37
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Intelligence is always a tricky question.

I've written before here about "Ronnie and Carol" the couple whose financial house of cards continues to implode. (At the height of their folly they were $700k in debt.) Yet she is by all accounts an excellent math teacher, and he's a carpenter who is always in demand and backed up up six months or more. Customers will wait a year for him to build a deck or cabinetry and pay a premium price because he does such excellent work. So these people are not stupid and certainly have the education and math skills to realize they're going to lose all they have, but do nothing about it. The behavior is very puzzling.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:12 AM   #38
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Here's what happened to the genius during prehistoric times according to Saturday Night Live back in 1980: SNL Transcripts: Steve Martin: 05/17/80: The Hominids (no YouTube of this, but Steve Martin played "the strange one"--genius, Bill Murray played Oakna the caveman):

Quote:
Oakna: You are smart. But I am swift. And I am..

Strange One: [ finishing his thought ] Strong.

Oakna: Yes. I am strong, and I am swift!

Strange One: Okay, you are swift and strong, and I am smart.. and, together, we can improve our lives. Perhaps, we can even stop wandering, and build permanent dwellings and domesticate animals. Why, we could then have leisure time to develop a system of symbols, and to record events and communicate ideas, creating a civilization beyond our wildest imagination.

Oakna: You are smart. But it is late, and we must sleep, so tomorrow we can begin on this work.

Good. We must sleep. Yes, let's hit the dirt. We did good.

Strange One: Yes.

[ everyone spreads out on the ground and falls asleep ]

Oakna: [ sits and watches the Strange One fall asleep behind a rock, then picks up a bigger rock and holds it over the Strange One ] I am strong! [ pounds the Strange One with rock, killing him ] And now, I am smart [ smiles happily, and dumbly steps into the fire once more, burning his foot ]
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:30 AM   #39
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So these people are not stupid and certainly have the education and math skills to realize they're going to lose all they have, but do nothing about it. The behavior is very puzzling.

Hey, if you're smart you do things the "right way." And the "right way" is obviously my way.
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:30 AM   #40
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Here's what happened to the genius during prehistoric times according to Saturday Night Live back in 1980: SNL Transcripts: Steve Martin: 05/17/80: The Hominids (no YouTube of this, but Steve Martin played "the strange one"--genius, Bill Murray played Oakna the caveman):
thanks. never saw that before. i guess other people have wondered the same thing. Kind of points out that intelligence can only take you so far.
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