The Education-Industrial Complex – comprehensive computerized testing

I remember when daily interest banking accounts were introduced. Before that only the lowest amount in the account in any given month received interest. If you had a $200 in the account and then you paid your rent of $190 then the next day you deposited a check for $200 you only received interest on the $10. This was not due to any particular maleficence on the part of the banks, it was practical. Interest was calculated by a person. As computers gained power the banks were able, and found it competitively advantageous, to offer interest calculated daily.

The Education-Industrial Complex is ripe for change.   They have the computers and they could change but so far there is no compelling reason to do so. One of the areas where computers could make the most difference is student evaluation. Right now, when teachers test, they only test on a portion of course material because it is impractical to test for everything. They don’t want to mark 1000 question tests.

Every course has material that just must be known. In some cases, such as an anatomy class, probably all of the class material can be test for using a computer and multiple choice questions. In other cases, English literature for instance, I imagine computerized testing would be harder to do. Even here though the amount that can be tested by computer is not zero.

The advantages of comprehensive computerized testing:

  • Cheating becomes more difficult. All students already know what is on the test, everything. Because the students are being tested on everything there is no reason for all of the students to write the test at the same time so students can not copy from each other. The testing software can also be randomized so that there is no point in having a student tell a colleague that the answer to question one is (b) because every student would have a different question one. Having the answers to a couple of questions written on your hand does help much when the test has 500 questions.
  • The testing can be done at anytime. That means that the fast students can complete the material quickly and move on and the slower ones can take their time. Students can stay with their cohort. All students are automatically ‘socially promoted’. It just means that some students will be doing grade 3 math tests and some will be doing grade 10.
  • Students can take the tests many times. Testing is its self an educational tool. Taking a test over (and over) would help the learning process.
  • Students can be required to know everything before going on. There will be no passing grade 7 math without knowing fractions. Every student will know everything before going on.
  • Students can be tested on the same material later. No cramming and forgetting. Pass the same test a month later just to be sure. Spaced repetition is the key to learning.
  • The tests can be standardized across a school, a school district or a nation. This prevents lazy teachers from asking easy questions of their students to make up for their poor teaching.
  • The tests could be available online. This would help prevent teachers with an agenda from using their class for indoctrination. Yes there is a down side to this if one ideology gains control of the education hierarchy.
  • Individual treatment. If a student can not pass a test after 3 or 4 or 10 tries then maybe there is something else going on. Maybe the student has a learning disability. If a student does have a learning disability then work on that. I know about ADHD. If a student has ADHD then there are exercises that will help. Probably all learning disabilities have similar exercises. There is not benefit to pretending the kid is lazy or that he will grow out of it.  Computers have the ability to expose the weak mental muscle that is a learning disability. They also have the ability to exercise that weak muscle until it can pull its weight.

 

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Almost no Children in France Are Medicated For ADHD: This is How They Define and Treat it – Annotated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that as of 2011, about 11% of the children in the United States between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Yet, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) claims that although only 5% of American children suffer from the disorder, the diagnosis is actually given in 15% of the cases.It is a fact that this number is continuously increasing, being 7.8% in 2003, and has jumped to 9.5% in only four years.

ADHD is a spectrum disorder. They all are. Imagine there was something called Height Deficit Disorder. How would you decide who has HDD. If your child were not HDD but close would you not try to get the same helps and accommodations that are available to the HDD child?

According to Big Pharma, parents and doctors should know that this is a common disorder in America and it should be medically treated.

It suits a certain mentality to blame big corporations for the foibles of human nature. Big Pharma is not to blame for people using ADHD medication use any more than big marijuana is responsible for marijuana use. The drugs work and people seek them out.

This opinion is not shared by numerous other countries, as they define, treat, and diagnose AdDHD much differently. For instance, the French doctors diagnose this disorder in less than 0.5%.

It is no coincidence that France was chosen for this comparison. France is known not for accomplishments of business or industry but art and leisure.

They maintain that it is not a biological disorder but a result of psycho-social and situational factors.

It’s biological. In their defense there are always a few cases where they are right. If a person has HDD and it is because he slouches and then you teach him to stand up straight then you have solved the problem without medication.

Namely, the child psychiatrists in France use a different system than American ones in the classification of the emotional p…………. imbalance in the brain. The definition of ADHD in France is significantly different than the American one, mostly due to the fact that because the pharmaceutical industry helped define ADHD in the U.S.

Blaming the Pharmaceutical industry again.

The methods of treatment are also dramatically different. Treatment Methods for ADHD Used in France As soon as a child is diagnosed with this disorder in France, doctors try to find out the underlying causes. P…..r even family counselling. Medications are almost never prescribed, as they are believed to be unnecessary.

Whether medication is necessary or not depends on your goals in life. If your aspiration in life is to be a manual laborer then medication is probably not necessary. However if you what to be productive, have stable relationships, balance your own checkbook stuff like that then the odds are good that medication will help a lot.

French psychiatrists also consider a patient’s diet when investigating the possible causes, as poor eating habits like consuming foods with artificial colors or flavorings, preservatives, sugars, and/or allergens might have a negative effect on the behavior of the child.

There is a myth that we really need to expunge from society. The myth is that there was some time in the past when everyone  ate perfect and lived long healthy lives. Not true. There is nothing inherently better about natural or inherently worse about artificial. Believing that something is bad for you because it is artificial in not scientific.

According to a study conducted in 2011, the amount of youth in France with ADHD may be as low as 3.5%.

Using ‘may be as low/high as’ is a way of making a claim that you are pretty sure is not true but you don’t want to be accused of lying later. Notice how often advocacy writers us that phrase(s).

According to the family therapist and author of A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic, Dr. Marilyn Wedge, this might be due to the cultural differences between the U.S. and France in when it comes to raising children. She maintains that French parents will often impose more structured l……nch parents to slap or spank children, or for the French courts to view such actions as acceptable under a customary ‘right to discipline.’

If you want a model of how to use discipline to ameliorate the effects of ADHD don’t look at the French, look at the Germans. Adrenaline is nature’s ADHD drug. Use fear and harsh punishment and many ADHD children will accomplish almost as much as the non-ADHD kids who have enough of their own neurotransmitters. The sad thing is the fate of the kids who are so ADHD that they cannot behave in class or complete their studies no matter how harsh the punishment. For them the harsh discipline is just cruelty. I favor drugs myself.

“ Yet, the effects of the treatment methods of ADHD in France are probably due to the holistic approach in considering diet and behavioral and social context. In the United States, the large pharmaceutical companies play a main role in defining ADHD and its treatment methods, as, for instance, the researchers and doctors have been paid to overstate the risks of ADHD and the benefits of the use of medications.

I am ADHD. I’m writing this out of the goodness of my heart. I get no check from big pharma.

People believe in their opinions as the information they receive is affiliated with well-known universities such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins. …..t profit from the drugs’ sale. Yet, it is a fact that these medicaments can cause various adverse effects and can be classified in the same group as morphine and oxycodone due to their high risk of abuse and addiction.

All medications cause adverse effects. By the time people become adults they learn that life is full of trade offs. If you want eat lunch you need to make a trade. You cantrade money for lunch. Or you can trade carrying food with you all morning for lunch. Or maybe you can trade prostituting yourself on the street for lunch – But there is no free lunch. Not since your mother made it for you.  The fact that a medication can be classified in the same group as morphine because it can be abused means nothing. It is just scary language.

 

According to Dr. Irwin Savodnik, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at th……FTMEA, and holistic approach to treating ADHD. This disorder should not be immediately treated with medications, as it is unethical, and damaging to a child’s self-esteem.

This paragraph reveals the writer as being part of the cult of self-esteem. Worshipers of self-esteem believe that more is better. Anything that brings down self-esteem is to be treated like the devil. Self-esteem is like a vitamin. If you don’t have enough that’s bad but too much is bad too. Speaking as a former ADHD kid and as an ADHD adult, self-esteem was never my problem. My problem was not being able to get my homework done. It is unethical to deny someone a drug that will make their life better because of your religion’s doctrines on self-esteem and things artificial.

Sometimes, the child might only be uninterested in the subject matter, emotionally traumatized, or with a heightened creativity and energy. Yet, there are also numerous American doctors who believe that ADHD should be treated in an alternative way, and they do not consider it to be a disorder. ….. ….etical orientations, tend to follow the DSM as instructed.”

To be fair, ADHD is not a disorder anymore than HDD is a disorder. HDD is great if you live in a place where food is in short supply, Less body mass to feed, Fewer cells to go cancerous etc. ADHD works well in a hunter-gatherer world. Think of squirrels. In modern society fewer and fewer jobs can be done by the ADHD person but that is not the whole story. Modern living requires things like being on time and looking presentable. These are difficult for the ADHD person.

Furthermore, the neurologist Richard Saul investigates patients who struggle with short attention spans and difficulty focusing his entire career, and he maintains that ADHD isn’t actually a disorder, but a set of symptoms that shouldn’t be considered a disease.

Call it whatever you want. There is a ‘something’ or ‘set of somethings’ that make it hard for a person to function in a modern society. Drugs can go a long way towards helping that person.

He also states that it shouldn’t be listed as a separate disorder in the A …… believed that the conventional medication should be a last resort in the treatment, and might lead to adverse effects.

Anything might lead to adverse effects including not treating with conventional medication. There are adult decisions to be made.

Instead, his method includes improved nutrition, zinc, iron, family counselling, increased sleep, and Omega-3 supplementation, positive social and behavioral changes,

Improved nutrition always helps, as does increased sleep. Omega-E probably helps, I take it. Minerals such as Zinc and Iron may help but don’t give them a pass because they are ‘natural’. Too much Zinc or Iron is bad for you also. The brain is very complex.

as well as alternative modalities like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy.

Don’t get me started!

There is a growing number of experts and doctors who believe that ADHD should be treated outside conventional treatments.

A growing number is a way of saying ‘not very many’.

The pharmaceutical industry is the main culprit for the misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis of ADHD in the U.S.

It is important to blame someone else. It’s not you, it’s them. Speaking from my own experience nothing good comes from blaming. Blaming is like a drug that makes you feel great even as you lay on a smelly mattress with a needle in your arm. The long term consequences are not good. I’ve found that my life is better when I take responsibility for my own actions and even for some part of events and situations that are not my fault. My self-esteem goes down but my actual conditions improve. As my conditions improve my self-esteem begins to climb and it’s based on reality not a delusion.

 Instead, they believe that there is a need for other alternatives to medications. The post appeared first on Healthy Food House.

This post appeared first on Health Food House. It figures. It just isn’t that easy. There is no magic food.

It’s telling that they never mentioned visual entertainment as one of the culprits for the increase in ADHD diagnosis. I think they are catering to human nature. It is easy to get people to blame big someone. It is relatively easy to get them to shovel supplements into their kids or themselves. It is not easy getting them to give up screen time (what we used to call TV but now includes many other things) that is just too hard.

Original source:  https://ehealthyfood.com/almost-no-children-france-medicated-adhd-define-treat/April 5, 2017

I deleted some of the material. You can find it at the above link.

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ADHD LIVES MATTER

1000 in the United States and 25 in Canada is the rough estimate of the number of people killed by police each year, according to professor internet.

• ADHD afflicts most of those killed and at least some of those doing the killing.

• ADHD means Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder but most people know that. In order to cut down on the acronyms ADHD also covers people who have attention deficits but are not hyperactive.

• ADHD people gravitate to jobs where they can trade their willingness to work unpleasant hours and do unpleasant things for not needing to do much in the way of paperwork. The job of criminal is suitable as long as it is not the white collar kind. Police officer also works as long as you are in a job or a department with a low paperwork burden.

• ADHD makes a person less able to control their impulses. They are more likely to give into their anger and fight with an armed cop or pull the trigger despite being a cop. It has been suggested that ADHD should instead be called Executive Function Disorder.

• ADHD usually has another mental health issue riding along. Professor internet says 40 to 60 percent of people with ADHD also have Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Needless to say, ODD and guns do not mix.

• ADHD makes its sufferers angry. ADHD leaves the intelligence intact. It only hinders the ability to focus that intelligence on tasks that are not immediately interesting, which is almost every task that someone willing to pay you to do. ADHD people often see their less intelligent colleagues promoted ahead of them.

• ADHD makes people a little clueless. The ADHD suffer often misses social cues because of not paying attention also the part of the brain that is smaller in ADHD people is also used for unconscious learning. Together this makes the ADHD person a little awkward and out of touch. This contributes to the feeling that people just don’t like them and that the world is against them.

• ADHD people often self medicate. Depression is co-morbid with ADHD though it may not be genetic. Having ADHD is depressing. When legal drugs are not strong enough the attentionally deficient may find themselves using, and then selling, the illegal kind.

• ADHD makes people poor witnesses. If an ADHD police officer says he saw you do such and such and you don’t believe that you did, the officer may not be lying. Don’t argue with her, she may be angry that after 20 years on the job she is still a traffic cop and she may lack the impulse control needed to not shoot you.

ADHD is treatable.

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Nature is not good

Before we can get to the land of science fiction we need to kill the idea that natural is by definition ‘good for you’ or ‘healthy’.  It is simply not the case.

If you are a creationist and also a nature-is-good-ist then you hold an intellectually defensible position. It stands to reason that if a supreme being created the world some thousands of years ago and pronounced it good then that world would have a certain divine harmony. It stands to reason but it is not necessarily so since it also stands to reason that the motives of the creator will be forever unfathomable by the created. The creator could just as easily have made an un-harmonious creation and then give the job of bringing creation into harmony some small part of that creation. It is hard to know without having a face-to-face with the supreme being.

If you are not a creationist but are a nature-is-good-ist then what are you thinking? There is no harmony between man and nature. Nature is chaos. Out of chaos, because of unusual circumstances and for a short time, there is intelligence. That intelligence is self-aware and seeks to use its advantage perpetuate itself for as long as it can before the lights go out. One of the things that that intelligence learned early is that almost everything in nature will eat it if it gets the chance. Early it learned to kill the large animals that were a danger. Later it learned how to kill the very small animals, I am speaking of bacteria, to keep them from killing it.

Today that intelligence has learned how that the chaos of nature extends into its own bodies. Life is precarious. Unless everything is just right death comes early and from within. Even if everything is at the natural optimum death still comes with age. The mere act of living is punishable by death.

The Future is bright. The day will come when people will use very un-natural methods to procreate. The genetic code of life will be altered and those alterations passed on to future generations. Gone will be the mistakes that cause such things as Huntington’s disease and cystic fibrosis. Gone will be the mistakes that cause humans to have a lifespan of a only 100 years. Inserted will be genetic enhancements. The ability to make vitamin C will be reactivated. Maybe the the appendix will be reactivated allowing humans to gain a greater percent of their nutrition from plant fibers. Maybe there will be completely new enhancements. What if humans grew a new set of teeth every twenty years or so? What if humans had greater control over such things as bowel movements or had the ability to direct their ears towards sounds. Speaking of sounds what if everyone had perfect pitch and for that matter what if the peak mental plasticity of childhood could be maintained into middle age. The future is bright but it will not come naturally.

 

 

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The Education-Industrial Complex – who needs it.

Below is a link to an article in The Atlantic on the future of College. It is about some innovations in the field of higher education. It can’t come soon enough. Of all things that can be changed by computer technology education has the most room for change.

Think of your local Discount big box store. You go in to buy a pair of socks. As soon as you purchase your socks the manufacturing plant that made them immediately knows to produce another one of that size and the yarn manufacturer immediately knows to make more of that yarn and multitudinous and complex computer programs adjust shipping schedules so that another pair of socks arrives at that Walmart before they run out.

Think of your local Discount Airline. You no longer use a travel agent you buy your own ticket online. If you talk to a person the odds are good that that person is in their own home talking over a dispersed system and not in some centralized call centre (Canadian spelling of centre).  Computers and telecommunications have driven more and more waste out of the system.

Now think of your local discount college. Educational institutions do not even provide a hard good. No socks, No airplanes. Almost everything that a college does can be done by computer and what can’t be done by computer can be done by a person an a telephone. The only person to person contact that we need is when it comes to testing and soon we may not even need that.

The rule of economics is that when the price comes down consumption goes up. If we can drive down the cost of education then more people will have access to education. I don’t see a down side.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/08/the-future-of-college/375071/

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High Speed trains still a bad idea

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/08/the-courts-speak-up-for-california-high-speed-railand-so-do-some-readers/375518/

I like trains but not as much as I like making decisions that make good sense in the long run.  I don’t live in California so it is not my business but since every now and then some Canadian politician proposes high speed trains for some high density corridor in Canada I’ll make it my business. It is an ideological version of fighting a foreign war instead of waiting for the war to get close.

Why do we need high speed trains.

Technology has mad high speed trains passe, so passe. (pronounced pass-eh). High speed is passe because riding public transport is no longer a jail sentence. As long as you are electronically connected to the world it doesn’t matter where you are. Being on a train or bus is the same as being in your office or bedroom.  Trains are passe because engines are small and light so we do not need to build special steel roads for them. Buses and trucks do what trains used to do and more efficiently with one exception and technology is now taking away that exception.

If you could magically take away the cost of building the special right-of-way that trains require they would be a good idea on efficiency grounds. A train can move cargo using less fuel and labor per unit that the equivalent moved by bus or truck. That is about to change.  Within the next couple of years trucks and buses will be equipped with the technology to allow them to convoy up. Imagine three trucks traveling between two major cities synchronized by computer so that they can tailgate each other. They become a three truck road train. The driver in front steers and controls the speed. The other two watch movies or sleep. The three truck road train gains efficiency because of aerodynamics. The road train also has the advantage of being able to split and go to three different destinations upon reaching the city. Mid-trip the trucks can change positions so a different driver is in front. The result is safer and more efficient truck driving. Needless to say the three truck convoy can just as easily be a twenty truck  convoy.

The same thing can apply to buses. Imagine a two bus road train. One driver is in control and the other one can rest. When the train reaches the destination city the cars can split off and go to different parts of the city or even offer door-to-door service. Think about it. This is not something that is decades off. This could happen in two or three years is we wanted to make the effort.

Why do we need trains at all.

Trains were invented because engines were inefficient and operating them was a specialized skill. The engines had to be made large to haul cargo which meant they needed special steel roads to hold the weight. The specialized labor meant they needed to haul a lot of cargo per worker to spread the cost of the labor. Compare that to a motor in a truck. The engine is small and while not simple it is reliable such that no specialized labor is required to operate it. The result is that the efficient cargo size is less. This is a long way of saying that trains are passe. No one would build a railroad if they did not already exist and no one should.

There is one advantage that still accrues to trains. They are fuel and labor efficient. Those advantages are not enough to overcome the disadvantage of requiring their own right-of-way but if the track is already their then use it.

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Climate Modeling that is worthwhile.

The world is getting warmer, the polar ice caps are melting and the oceans are rising so say the climate modelers used in the IPCC report. What is the Science Fiction Land solution? The Qattar depression in Egypt has a below sea level volume of 1213 cubic km. The surface of the ocean is about 3.6 X 10^8 square km. filling the Qattar depression therefore would take about 3 millimeters of of the level of the oceans. The math is simple, the politics are beyond complex, and this is what I really want to know. How would filling the Qattar depression affect the climate? The level of the ocean would fall but the surface area would increase. Would that mean more water vapor in the air. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas much more potent than CO2, would the climate warm in response. Would there be increased cloud cover and therefore would the climate cool. Would there be more rain in Egypt due to the increase humidity or would that rain fall in Saudi Arabia or even India? Would wind patterns change because of the cooler air over the new body of water and what would be the effect of that?

Speaking of changing wind patterns, What if we filled Death Valley in California with sea water. I’m not saying it would be economical just asking what would happen. Would the cooling of the new inland sea cause a low pressure zone that would steer rain, i.e. the pineapple express, into southern California? I think someone should model this. Anyone? Anyone?

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