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Friday, February 15, 2008

Alas, How Will I Win At Poker Now?

It must be confessed that boob power is not what it used to be in the halcyon days of yore. Once the mere mention of Hillary would cause the patriarchal power structure to flinch and fold ... now it appears that the Star of Womyn Ascendant is fading.

I can tell because of the anguished screams on Democratic Underground as the war between the Bamas and the Boobs continues to intensify. It's bad, folks. The primary discussion group now has a limit restricting members to 3 threads a day and group therapy threads are beginning to pop up. Once I believed that Democrats just couldn't stand losing to Republicans. Now I see that some of them just can't stand losing, period. I bet that came about right after they permanently lost their senses of humor, which no doubt occurred during their Communist dialectic training.

Hillary's supporters often do resort to accusations of rampant sexism, and I don't blame anyone for finding that irritating. I also find it amazing that DU'rs are posting about all the racists voting for Obama. I guess that's one way to preserve the meme of vast, racist Amerikkka.

I was honestly wondering there for a while what some were going to do, because I believed that regardless of which one won the nomination, it would force a recheck on the monolithic American racist or sexist society theme. But nah. Somebody's going to get to have their candidate without giving up their Whining Rights. One must admire the mental agility involved. It used to be hard to find this sort of thing outside mental institutions, but now I suppose it's gone mainstream.

Here's some sexism that I find bothersome. We'll start with the Chronicle article on how Smith College chose to "attract" women to engineering:
Today’s Christian Science Monitor profiles Glenn Ellis, a professor who helped develop Smith’s innovative engineering curriculum, which emphasizes context, ethics, and communication as much as formulas and equations.

Smith, the first women’s college to offer an engineering degree, graduated its first class of engineers in 2004, and since the program’s creation, in 1999, has attained a 90-percent retention rate. Much of the credit, colleagues say, belongs to Mr. Ellis, whose fun, hands-on approach to engineering includes staging mock alpine ascents in the classroom and having his students graph the function of a moonwalk.
Right. Uh, uh. I ran across the above at Stand Firm, which is an Episcopalian site following the ongoing TEC hysteria. Now one might wonder what Smith College's odd theory (eschew math) about how to teach engineering has to do with religion, but once your archbishop has proposed setting up Sharia law and your official church bookstore sells spell books, let's face it, all bets are off. Anything could be germane in the new, extraordinarily inclusive Episcopalian religion. The only thing that's definitely out is insisting that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, because that offends the Wiccan and Muslim Episcopalian clergy deeply.

Oddly enough one of the guys found it as offensive as I did:
My teenage daughter received the perfect 800 scores on the SAT Math section and on the SAT II Math level 2 test. She has been getting these kind of scores on standardized tests all through school. However, when she attended a special math day for girls at a local all girls school, the system was set up to reward creativity and math. She did not win any prize but other girls who are less gifted in math (and didn’t even get the right answers) did win prizes for “creativity” and “team work”.
My point is not to brag. It is that there are some girls with real math skills we should be encouraging. This idea of reducing the math content actually serves to discourage the girls with the real math skills. And sets up society for engineering disasters.
So we can see that the brilliance of the Smith engineering approach has spread. The new, mathless engineering does not bode well for the space program. I can't help but feel that all those racists voting for Obama and the sexists voting for Clinton might not be the ones with the actual problem, and I doubt Boob engineering is going to bear the fruits Smith expects.

I am also beginning to develop an aversion to the word "innovative". Innovative banking has been a bust. Engineering without math is a very frightening concept. If we're not careful we'll innovate ourselves right back to the dark ages in racist, sexist Amerikkka.

With a bland face and a good hand.Good Grief,why aren't smith Alumni screaming about this insult to women?Whil MOST women do not have the upper body strength for some jobs,and there are clear biologic/physical differences between genders (YAY!)everyone gets hurt when the rules and requirements are different based on gender.BTW navy Fighter Pilots have been fighting against women in combat primarily because there are few slots,women handle G-Forces better and women tend to have better hand/eye coordination.Why does a church bookstore have wiccan or spell books when that Twaddle can be found on Amazon? because your ArchBishop is a spineless eunuch.I have some Wiccan neighbours,nice folks,VERY different from the Black Witches I have met who were highly intelligent sociopathic sadists.As far as Hillary,she has had so much bad press for so long she may not be electable,however I would much rather spend an evening in her company than Obama's,Charismatic "Great Men" can get real tiresome,real fast.At least hillary has a wicked sense of humour.

It's not just Smith's at least open stance on math. There are universities I refuse to hire from due to the lack of math skills from their engineering graduates. The degrees these institutions are giving are outright frauds.

I've hired 28 mechanical engineers in the past three years. The lack of what I consider basic skills (math and English) is astounding. And I have 3 green card applications for every newly minted undergrad. I have a business to run, not a remedial education center.

It's bad. Real bad.

MC...I've often thought there needs to be a "buyer's guide" for hiring managers, with information on the rigorousness (or lack thereof) of curricula at various colleges. Sounds like you've done your own. Are you mainly hiring from a few colleges, or are you hiring sufficient people to assess most of the major ME programs in the country? Seems like it would require quite a large number of hires to do the latter.
Well, if it's not just Smith then we all need to look into cars that run well underwater. I think I will become bridge-phobic.

How infernally depressing.
"cars that run well underwater"...but you need real engineers to design those, too!

I can think of a few things that an engineering "lite" program might be useful for...say, people who want to be salespeople in a technical field--selling locomotives or robotics, for instance--but don't want to actually practice as engineers.

But giving people actual engineering degrees, and encouraging them to practice in this field, without also giving them the mathematical tools necessary to do so safely and successfully, strikes me as irresponsible.
I don't think I'd use a word as kind as "irresponsible".
10% is a mighty low washout rate for an engineering program.
Speaking as someone who has an engineering degree, I think any program that isn't washing out half of the pre-engineering students is dangerously slack. A lack of math skills might not get you in trouble for a while with a liberal arts degree but it gets people KILLED in the engineering disciplines.
John - yes, "danger" is more like it. Also perhaps "fraudulent".

I'm not sure how much of a favor anyone's doing by graduating an engineering student who can't hack the math. The only real beneficiary will be the professors and the institution, because they get the tuition.
Warm bodies for the univs. for full employment for staff for too long! Univs. are an outdated model.

Have wanted skills tested resume/folder for years.

Many would never get past, Unsatisfactory level or Need Improvement. (which could be a lifetime)
In my EE "101" (ethics, lab book and the HP calculator), the instructor told us that 2 out of 3 people in that class would NOT graduate as an engineer. Granted it was University of Texas and they are very active at weeding out students because they have too many but the weeding out was in valid fields. Some people couldn't hack differential equations. A friend of mine couldn't handle the assembly language class. My only real problem was a guy who took out his divorce on the class. (80% got a D or F. Next time I took the class with him, I got an A.)
When I stated a portfolio of of skills mastered also meant to include other skills needed for work environment. That includes pers. health habits around the work place , tested ethics, ability to get around a city on own, etc.

Would rate applied knowledge projects
or inventive workable projects in superior rating category.
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