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Comment: Re:One small way I try to help. (Score 1) 269

Not to be a pedant, but that article does nothing to contradict my earlier post. Of course, my original post may have been a bit pedantic, but the fact remains: the statement "earthworms are not native to America" is false. There are invasive species which are a serious problem, but that is a different statement.

Comment: Re:One small way I try to help. (Score 2) 269

[citation please]

There are earthworm species that are native to North America (see, for instance, Hendrix's Earthworm Ecology and Biogeography in North America). There are also exotic / invasive species. These species (as well as one or two native species with expanding ranges) are definitely a problem, but that is a different statement from "earthworms are not native to America."

Comment: Re:obvious (Score 0) 169

You are making an argument that I did not make. Your claim is that an American and foreign worker, by virtue of living in the same city, should be able to subsist on identical incomes and that Americans who refuse to take such jobs are simply demanding too much. I merely pointed out that there are variables that you are missing---for example, a foreign worker may be able support a family on an income that will not support an American worker and his or her family. You are comparing apples and oranges.

Comment: Re:obvious (Score 1) 169

by the phantom (#47525119) Attached to: For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs
They may not have the same expenses as an American. Let us suppose two hypothetical workers with very similar qualifications: one an American (A), and one from some place like India or Bangladesh (B). Assuming that A and B are both single, then you are correct---they have similar expenses. Now suppose that both workers have families to support. Worker A has to support their family in the United States at the going rate here, whereas Worker B may send remittences back to their family in their country of origin, where the cost of living may be significantly less. Hence it is quite possible that a foreign worker and the American worker both want to be paid well enough to support their families. The foreign worker has the advantage of needing much less in order to do so.

Comment: Re:Incomplete data (Score 1) 169

by the phantom (#47524455) Attached to: For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs
CS should not be considered engineering. Programming, which might be considered "applied computer science" might qualify as an engineering exercise, but a decent computer science program is going to be about formal logic, discrete mathematics, and algorithms (among other things). CS is about the theory of computation, not the hands-on of programming. As such, CS should be considered a branch of mathematics (in fact, until the 90s, most CS degrees were awarded by mathematics departments).

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by the phantom (#47517453) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

I am honestly very confused about what your point is. In response to another poster, Coryoth rebutted that the college was supposed to be about education, not vocational training. You incorrectly assumed that s/he was arguing that college was about creating well-rounded people. I responded that creating well-rounded people was not the point and that requiring students to take classes outside of their major was perhaps a historical anachronism (among other reasons, which are highlighted in, for instance, the article I linked above). You are the only person in the entire thread to have brought up the "well-rounded person" trope, and that was only to dismiss it. The only reason I replied was to point out that the well-rounded person argument isn't one that anyone with a clue seriously makes.

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by the phantom (#47511843) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Who, specifically, is making that argument? I don't think I have ever seen anyone argue that the primary goal of a college education was to create well-rounded people. Not even Coryoth, the person to whom you originally replied, made that argument. I often see it as a justification for requiring non-major classes, but I have never seen anyone claim that this is the primary goal. See, for instance, the The Chronicle of Higher Education's compilation of answers to the question. Most of the respondents argue that higher education is about learning critical thinking skills, building a foundation of knowledge for future work, and providing students with the necessary information to choose a career-path that is of interest to them.

My original point still stands: universities were first established to foster research. Students went to college to become academics and to make contributions to human knowledge. Over time, the emphasis has shifted towards more vocational or professional training though much of the curriculum remains the same (possibly due to institutional inertia). At no time was the primary goal of a college education to become a "well-rounded" person.

To be clear, I am not arguing that there is no merit to the observation that a liberal education produces well-rounded people, and I am not arguing that this is a bad (or good) thing. I am merely attempting to point out that the primary goal of higher education is not simply to produce such people, nor has it ever been.

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by the phantom (#47503557) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Yes, goals have changed, but I maintain that the goal of the higher education system has never been to create well-rounded people. In the early days, it was about training academics. Even today, many faculty and administrators at universities will claim that this is the goal of a university education. As I noted above, the university curriculum is still structured around the 400+ year old ideal of scholarship. In large part, students are required to take classes outside of their majors because that is the way it has always been done and because this system has produced pretty good results for a fairly long time.

Moreover, if you want to argue that there has been some period in time that people went to universities in order to become well-rounded people, I would invite you to describe that period. My understanding of the history of such institutions is that they emphasized training academics until the mid-20th century. In the post-War period during the coldest parts of the Cold War, a great deal of funding was put towards training engineers and physicists to design weapons and such, and as time passed people in industry began to realize that trained academics made pretty good employees, which is how we get to the modern idea that higher education should be a kind of vocational training. Do you dispute this history, or do you feel that I am missing something? When was the goal of higher education ever to produce well-rounded people?

Comment: Re:Bizzarre, Capt Obvious much ? (Score 1) 241

by the phantom (#47487315) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Does this guy actually have evidence of anyone seriously making the point he is refuting ?

Kun is responding fairly explicitly to Sarah Mei's post Programming Is Not Math, as evidenced by the link in the third paragraph of his post, as well as the copious quotes that he reproduces and replies to. Having also taken the time to read Mei's post, it would appear that (a) Kun is not misrepresenting her point of view, and (b) she is sincere in her opinion. So yes, I would say that Kun has evidence that at least one person is seriously making the point that he is refuting.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.

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