Education is not entertainment

This tweet reminded me of a pet peeve of mine:

I do want to make this clear: I am in no way attacking this teacher or attacking the idea that “cool science tricks” aren’t fun….they can be and they do have a place for learning.
What I am attacking is the idea behind this:

““Teachers who make Physics boring are criminals”” (typo corrected…and yes, all of us make these on occasion)

There seems to be an idea that physics would be popular if only there were more cool tricks in class or that somehow cool tricks lead to the learning of concepts. Color me unconvinced: my guess is that what is remembered is the trick itself.

This also brought to mind a discussion I stumbled into. People were saying that they were considering a second career as an astrophysicist ….though..they’ve never even had calculus. I cannot tell you how hard I rolled my eyes.

That is the danger of too much pop-science and cool tricks.

Think about it: to be any sort of physicist, you need to learn some quantum mechanics. And you can’t learn that until after 3 semesters of calculus, some calculus based probability theory, linear algebra, differential equations, partial differential equations, and Fourier series and that is just to start! And while the conclusions can sound interesting, learning the details can be mind numbing and, yes, involve some drudgery.

And keep in mind, I am talking about undergraduate quantum mechanics, not graduate level particle physics.

Some late May politics and social issues…

Will the House impeach President Trump?
I still think that Fareed Zakaria raises some good points. But as the Muller Report gets digested and summarized..

More and more Democrats (and a Republican) in the House are clamoring for impeachment. I had wondered if there were enough votes, given that there are about 30 moderates representing reddish CDs. Fivethirtyeight thinks that there *probably* are.

Note: Nancy Pelosi is probably wise to slow-walk this.

I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. Note that Trump admitted (albeit, probably unwittingly) that Russia helped him win.

What I find interesting is that so many conservatives are fine with Trump praising a ruthless dictator who executes even his own officials. One was just recently executed.

And I admit that I am disgusted with Trump’s relationship with the military and how there seems to be little push-back (this is about the Navy, at least at first, trying to ensure that Trump didn’t see the ship name “John McCain”. Talk about a “triggered snowflake.”

Other issues

Thank you, Meryl Streep, for pushing back on this “toxic masculinity” nonsense.

Political correctness on campus: yes, some students ..AND FACULTY..will reject science if they think that the science in question runs counter to what they think “ought” to be true. Biology catches this from several angles: religious nutters can’t deal with evolution, and the woke can’t deal with the fact that humans aren’t blank slates.

I think that online discussions aren’t helping matters. I wonder if overuse of Twitter is leading me to stat thinking in slogans and catch phrases. There is some research that suggests that Twitter could make you dumber.