Thursday, November 17, 2011

Technology and Stupidity

It is 2:05PM. It is Thursday. It is November 17th. I am sitting in a lab at my place of employment learning about all of the bagillion web-based tools that I am supposed to be using to educate my students. I do not own a cell phone, I have never been on Facebook, sent a Tweet or posted a Youtube clip. I still shop for VCRs at garage sales because I think they might make a comeback. I use Rand McNally instead of a GPS. To me a bluetooth is something you get from drinking a Slurpee.

I spent 1984-1991 in college. Back then, my professors had a piece of chalk and I had a book. There was no Power Point, no nothing. We used the inter-Library loan when the university library did not have a book. If we were lucky, our professor used colored chalk on occasion.

Funny, but I managed to learn a tremendous amount in this primative setting. So did others I went to college with.

When I became a professor I still had chalk and a book. Maybe a room had a t.v. and VCR but that was it.

20 years ago, 75% of my students passed my classes with a grade of A, B or C. 25% made a D, F or dropped the class. Today, in our world of ....hold on, he is teaching us about Camtasia, Jing, Tubechop, Flickr and other stuff....

O.K., I am back. Today, in our world of endless technology, 25% of my student make an A, B or C. 75% fail or drop my classes. I am a better economist today then I was then. The Law of Diminishing Returns is still years away for me. Yet, my students are dumber than ever.

How can this be? Why do my students who fail no longer make a 50 or 55 when they fail but routinely make grades around a 20 or 25?

I think we have destroyed students with technology. Public schools are a joke. We all know that. But access to free market technology has taken poorly prepared students and given them an entertainment option that takes away valuable study time. In the meantime, professors like me have to spend hours and hours learning about all of the tools we should be using to entertain students. I learned today that by going to I can make animated movies of my lectures!

Give me some chalk and I can teach the world. Give me animated movies and I can add to the silliness that has made the world stupid.

It is now 2:16PM. I have 44 minutes of my life yet to be wasted before I can go home.

Goodbye for now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

No more Stupid Texans.....PLEASE!!!!!!

In case you missed it, Rick Perry, his 2.22 GPA, Texas drawl and all, had one of the major mental meltdowns of all-time a few nights ago while debating his Republican counterparts. He insisted, if elected President, that he would abolish three government agencies. Then, he started naming them. The only problem is that he was unable to count to three. He got Commerce and Education. He looked at Ron Paul for help, but Ron told him there are five agencies that need to be axed. Someone suggested the EPA. Yes, thats it! Uh, no....that was not it. He struggled and stared and then said Oops.


We have had two other oops moments with Texas Presidents. First, there is Lyndon B. Johnson - my candidate for the second worst president in our nation's history. He gave us "The Great Society" which historians will some day point to as a key variable that ended the United States. He gave us the acceleration of the criminal war called Vietnam, which gutted our credibility around the globe. And, of course, since he is from Texas he gave us an arrogant, "I know everything" big mouth to go along with his policies.

Decades later we got to have 'W' as prez. It would take more words than I have hours this weekend to write about the failures of this relatively unbright Texan who managed to do even more economic and foreign policy damage than LBJ while walking and talking with the same "Everything is Bigger in Texas" swagger.

Now we have another....dare I say....idiot running for President from the Lone Star state. We actually have two, but Ron Paul is actually a bright guy with a big dose of humility in his being. The other fellow - this Perry guy - may be dumber than LBJ and 'W' combined with even more arrogance, since he is the prettiest of the three.

There is a reason Perry could not name three agencies and it had nothing to do with the pressure of a nationally-televised debate. It is because the man does have the core conviction of a Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. He is a used-car salesman with feathered hair and a nice face who appeals to that component of America that uses "American Idol" standards to judge politicians.

Thankfully, his run is now over as he becomes a YouTube sensation.

Hopefully, no more Texans - who act like Texans act - will be in the running again anytime soon.