Archive for May 18th, 2007

Must-see lithographs

May 18, 2007

At Neurophilosophy!

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Reading novels in schools

May 18, 2007

Here is an outrageous paragraph:

…why should any kind of a premium be placed on an interest in reading novels? It’s not tied to economic success in life and needn’t be inculcated any more than an interest in watching movies or listening to popular music. Leave kids alone to find out out what recreational activities enrich and satisfy them. Some may want to dance or play music or paint. Just because teachers tend to be the kind of people who love novels does not mean that this choice ought to be imposed on young people via compulsory education. Teach them about history, science, law, logic — something academic and substantive — and leave the fictional material for after hours.

I reached the page via Dr. Free-Ride who lists at least eleven reasons, some of which debunk the notion that (a) any kind of premium is placed on an interest in reading novels, per se, and (b) novel reading is not tied to economic success.

And, who said schools should not inculcate an interest in watching movies and listening to popular music? If anything, I would have expected her to ask for compulsory classes in dancing, music and painting–some of which, we did have in our schools (and, some of which might also be very economically rewarding later in life).

To say that novel reading is not academic and/or substantive is ridiculous (and/or arrogant). Well, just because some teachers tend to be the kind of people who love history, science, law, and logic is no reason for them to be imposed on young people via compulsory education.

Finally, she has added a note too to outraged self-appointed reading experts:

Message to the self-appointed reading experts who are outraged at what I’ve written: Ironically, you are not reading very well. I’m not saying reading shouldn’t be taught. I’m saying that the reading materials used in teaching reading should be nonfiction, so that students are absorbing information and practicing critical thinking while they read.

There is no irony here–my objections are about the reading material–what is so sacred about non-fiction? If Althouse thinks that reading fiction is not about absorbing information and practicing critical thinking–since I am outraged, I probably am justified in saying this–she does need some good fiction reading lessons!

Finally, here is Althouse’s penultimate paragraph:

If you don’t like this idea, but can do nothing more than call it stupid, then I can’t respect your opinion. My working theory is that you are either stupid, lacking in creativity (despite your affinity for fiction), or have some conflicting interest in the publishing or education industry.

I don’t like the idea, but, I do not know if I have done anything more than calling it stupid, though!

PS:- I probably can nullify the bad karma that I have accrued due to my linking to Althouse’s post by linking to this Les Miserables post of Rosenhouse.

Why is the sky blue?

May 18, 2007

Because of Rayleigh scattering, combined with the better absorption of blue rays by our eyes, in addition to a peak in solar radiation at the blue range!

Latin jazz videos

May 18, 2007

Thanks to Fabio, I now know what latin jazz is–wiki even links to latin jazz radio! Have fun!