Introduction

Anything you've been wondering about in science or the science in science fiction.

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Introduction

Postby admin » Sun Oct 30, 2005 10:37 am

It was a post to the religion in sf thread that gave me the idea for this forum. The poster said something to the effect that only professors understand science. Not true. This is a Canadian web page, and Canadian schoolchildren are taught science. It is only America that has committed "unilateral intellectual disarmament".

But, if you would like to know some science, and were shortchanged in school, this is the place to ask.
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Postby UrbanSpaceman » Mon Oct 31, 2005 3:10 am

Well it's good to know that Canadian schoolkids are au fait with string theory, 10-dimensional space and so on, but I still think the rest of us find it pretty hard to get our heads round the postulates of present-day science. And I'm not even American...
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Canadian kids

Postby hegemon » Mon Oct 31, 2005 8:10 am

Canadian kids use string theory in their yo-yos and play cricket in ten dimensional space.
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Science questions

Postby The Thunder Child » Sun Nov 06, 2005 1:31 am

Don't have a question at this time, but I'm delighted to see this folder. Hope it gets widely used!

I'm currently reading books on the history of geology and other sciences (and commenting about what occurs to me while I do so on my blog, Science and Sanity) - it's a lot easier to read about the history of various sciences and theories than to read about the theories themselves. Many things even Isaac Asimov couldn't explain simply enough for me!

It is certainly true that American education sucks. I blame it on parent's tendency to buy Game Boys for their children at an extremely early age. They spend six or more hours a day playing games, and 30 minutes on school work.

Yep, that's the way for the US to be pre-eminent in the fields of science!
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Good for you.

Postby admin » Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:38 am

Much of my interest in science came from reading Asimov.

The problem with American education is a failure of will, coupled with a totally local school system. We college professors are timid souls, who hate to give anyone a failing grade, and so people are passed who have no business being passed. Nowhere is this more true than in the colleges of education. The ed students have the lowest entering test scores, the highest grade point average of any department, and the lowest exit test scores. In short, our teachers don't know shit.

Then, if somebody does make an improvement, it is strictly local, because every school board is an independent power unto itself. Most people run for the school board because they want to keep taxes low.

The federal government has tried to help with their No Child Left Behind program, and it has done a tiny bit of good -- in drilling kids to answer questions on multiple choice tests. So, all of my college students know the names of the rivers in Mesopotamia and who invented the cotton gin, but many of them don't know their multiplication table and can't add fractions. And they don't know beans about science, and have a lot of trouble with agreement of subject and verb.
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Postby AlanStormCrew » Sun Feb 05, 2006 6:15 pm

really? :)
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Re: Good for you.

Postby SaintLucifer » Mon Feb 20, 2006 5:57 pm

admin wrote:Much of my interest in science came from reading Asimov.

The problem with American education is a failure of will, coupled with a totally local school system. We college professors are timid souls, who hate to give anyone a failing grade, and so people are passed who have no business being passed. Nowhere is this more true than in the colleges of education. The ed students have the lowest entering test scores, the highest grade point average of any department, and the lowest exit test scores. In short, our teachers don't know shit.

Then, if somebody does make an improvement, it is strictly local, because every school board is an independent power unto itself. Most people run for the school board because they want to keep taxes low.

The federal government has tried to help with their No Child Left Behind program, and it has done a tiny bit of good -- in drilling kids to answer questions on multiple choice tests. So, all of my college students know the names of the rivers in Mesopotamia and who invented the cotton gin, but many of them don't know their multiplication table and can't add fractions. And they don't know beans about science, and have a lot of trouble with agreement of subject and verb.


Ah yes, the terrible American education system with its Ivy-league schools. I am at a loss as to why so many citizens of other nations make it a point to attend such US colleges and universities. Perhaps you are missing something here? World leaders receive their education in US universities. When was the last time you ever heard of a world leader who received his education in Canada? Hmm. Why is that? The would prefer to be educated in either the USA or Great Britain. Once again are either you or I missing something that lies right before our very own eyes? We are missing the eternal truth that US and British universities are better than ours? US technology is second to none. How many Canadian individuals would kill to be given a chance to enter MIT? CAL-TECH? Need I go on? A Canadian does not brag about attending Carleton University. He/she brags about attending either Harvard, Yale or Oxford. Why?
I thank you for your attention regarding this matter. Contrary to your own views our education system is not better. Now shush.

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two tiers

Postby hegemon » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:20 am

American universities are still among the best in the world. The problem with American education is that there is one educational system for the well to do and a very different educational system for the lower half. For example, in the state where I live, Tennessee, in Washington county, a prosperous county in the Eastern half of the state, 98% of the grade school and high school teachers meet the state qualifications. In Selby county, in the Western part of the state, only about 30% of the grade school and high school teachers meet the state qualifications. The school system excuses the use of unqualified teachers on the grounds that they cannot hire qualified teachers for the salary they are allowed to offer. The Selby county school system is mostly Black, with most White parents either sending their children to private schools or home schooling.
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Postby jdalton » Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:37 pm

Once again, I agree with Hegemon. I am not an expert on universities but I have either attended or taught in schools in Canada, the U.S., Britain, and Taiwan. You could make a very good case that some of the best grade schools I've seen were in the U.S. and Britain. but on average Canadian schools are much better. The vast majority of them do not, for example, have unqualified or underqualified teachers, spend obscene amounts of time giving and preparing for standardized tests, or leave children to go hungry all day at school.

I can only assume that an Oxford or Harvard education is as high quality as it is highly valued. But nobody who had the choice would choose to attend Tower Hamlets College (a typical B-grade school in East London) instead of the University of Northern British Columbia (a typically B-grade school in Canada). I know which one I'd choose, anyways.

Besides, I've met plenty of foreign students attending Canadian universities. Generally they have chosen Canada because it is equally well regarded as the U.S., cheaper, and for some reason they believe it is a safer country (I'll reserve judgement on whether or not it actually is).

EDIT: Most of the best researchers into education, by the way, have always been American. if Canadian schools are better, it is only because they are more likely to use this American research when teaching kids.
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Re: two tiers

Postby SaintLucifer » Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:23 pm

hegemon wrote:American universities are still among the best in the world. The problem with American education is that there is one educational system for the well to do and a very different educational system for the lower half. For example, in the state where I live, Tennessee, in Washington county, a prosperous county in the Eastern half of the state, 98% of the grade school and high school teachers meet the state qualifications. In Selby county, in the Western part of the state, only about 30% of the grade school and high school teachers meet the state qualifications. The school system excuses the use of unqualified teachers on the grounds that they cannot hire qualified teachers for the salary they are allowed to offer. The Selby county school system is mostly Black, with most White parents either sending their children to private schools or home schooling.


Here we go again with the Black/White thing. Please understand that the US school system is PUBLIC. That means everyone is entitled to the same thing. You all have the right to the same education.If the US system is admitting teachers who do not even qualify that is their problem although I doubt this is happening. Define 'unqualified'. As for your mention of the Selby school system please remember that those whites PAID OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET for their children's education (private school or home-schooling). This is on top of the taxes they pay for the PUBLIC schools so in effect they are paying for the education of both their kids AND the black kids. The black kids should be thankful and not bite the hand that feeds them. Blacks have the same opportunity to send their kids to private schools as whites. Your argument is therefore invalid.

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Education - A comparison

Postby SaintLucifer » Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:27 pm

jdalton wrote:Once again, I agree with Hegemon. I am not an expert on universities but I have either attended or taught in schools in Canada, the U.S., Britain, and Taiwan. You could make a very good case that some of the best grade schools I've seen were in the U.S. and Britain. but on average Canadian schools are much better. The vast majority of them do not, for example, have unqualified or underqualified teachers, spend obscene amounts of time giving and preparing for standardized tests, or leave children to go hungry all day at school.

I can only assume that an Oxford or Harvard education is as high quality as it is highly valued. But nobody who had the choice would choose to attend Tower Hamlets College (a typical B-grade school in East London) instead of the University of Northern British Columbia (a typically B-grade school in Canada). I know which one I'd choose, anyways.

Besides, I've met plenty of foreign students attending Canadian universities. Generally they have chosen Canada because it is equally well regarded as the U.S., cheaper, and for some reason they believe it is a safer country (I'll reserve judgement on whether or not it actually is).

EDIT: Most of the best researchers into education, by the way, have always been American. if Canadian schools are better, it is only because they are more likely to use this American research when teaching kids.


I would suggest one thing. Go check with any of our Canadian universities. Ask them who is paying for the education of those foreign students you speak of. You will be surprised by the response. That would give you the REAL reason why they come here and it is not for our spectacular education. Money talks.

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who's paying

Postby hegemon » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:18 am

In the US, foreign students must pay tuition at a higher rate than US students. This tuition is usually paid by their governments, who realize the importance of an educated populace.

Going by your comment elsewhere, about the taxpayers whose children go to private schools not getting anything for their tax dollars that go to educate working class children, I think they are getting a lot, or would be if our schools were doing their job. They would be getting an educated work force.

On the value of an education, both to an individual and a society, let me recommend Higher Education, a science fiction novel by Charles Sheffield and Jerry Pournelle.
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Re: Education - A comparison

Postby jdalton » Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:21 pm

SaintLucifer wrote: I would suggest one thing. Go check with any of our Canadian universities. Ask them who is paying for the education of those foreign students you speak of.

I do not understand your statement. Most (if not all) Canadian universities charge three times the tuition for non-Canadian students. Literally three times, I did not make this number up. This still does not fully cover the cost of their education, some of the money still comes out of public funds, but for universities it is much more profitable to gut foreigners than take on extra domestic students. Money, as you say, talks.
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