Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why fix it, it ain't broke?


Considering the results that have come from previous issuances of bonds, I'm pretty sure what Bernanke, Geithner and the rest of the banking cabal have in store for us is even more unemployment, wouldn't you say?

I just had an epiphany; Dead tree types of learning will have to be resorted to in the near future. Useful stuff like math and science will have to be taught and learned the old-school way.

Got good texts for teaching your kids?

Me neither.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure I've got good paper texts!

- Jacobs Algebra and Geometry, with answer books and teacher's supplements.

- "No Fear Shakespeare" versions of "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

- "Sentence Diagramming: A Step-by-Step Approach to Learning Grammar Through Diagramming"

- High resolution scans that I made of "The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments" from an original edition that I borrowed via inter-library loan.

- The original "Our Friend the Atom" book from Disney in the 1950s

1:42 PM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

Pretty good stuff, there.

I'm also thinking of things like welding (I have that!), metal working, and possibly casting using more primitive methods.

Math, of course, is the key to the universe, so it'd be worthwhile to have, say, some trig tables for helping find angles (presuming that all solar calculators went Tango Uniform). Stuff like that. Calculus is another story entirely, but very useful in finding things like fiber bending stresses and shear loads for building useful stuff.

Chemistry might come in handy too.

Lotsa stuff to think about teaching and passing on.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Mark B. said...

My wife collects that kind of stuff anyway so we've got boatloads of old textbooks, most of which were written back when brute-force memorization was the pedagogical method of choice. Not like the touchy-feely crap they teach in schools now -- "other-enabled" spelling, can't-flunk math and all that shit.

And I have almost all my old textbooks from college too, which amazingly I've found useful from time to time. But then my course of study at The Cow College Up The Kaw wasn't exactly Underwater Basketweaving, either.


9:06 AM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

"...my old textbooks from college too, which amazingly I've found useful from time to time."

I've been there myself, and more than a few times.

I'm often found doing some sort of load calculation on, of all things, electrical circuits (for the home, not professionally; we hire a licensed engineer for that), so as not to trip the breakers on the box. The Watts, Volts, Amps and impedance associations are extremely handy, and easy to learn, I think.

Come to think of it, I have at least two projects that need more attention soon, and I think I need, and coincidentally have, three slots left in my breaker box.

I need another 200 amp service run to the house in the next couple of years, it seems.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tangentially related to this topic of educating kids in practical things, I've got a kid that seems to be interested in architecture (plays around a lot with Chief Architect Home Designer). Do you have any advice?

8:56 PM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

Tell your kid to turn and run.


If that doesn't work, then, by ALL MEANS, tell your kid that it's ENGINEERING that they should pursue, and not architecture. There is more to it than picking out colors and drawing pretty pictures, and the pay for what you are responsible for as an architect is on the low end of poor. Architects can make decent money, but it's always later in their careers, and honestly, I'm more looking forward to spending my later years doing some traveling instead of working my ass off some more.

Don't let perceptions of the Starchitects of the world (Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid [love her work, BTW], or any of the multiple conglomerates the world over) rule what the profession actually is. Not that it isn't rewarding, occasionally, but it's both easy to get stuffed into a pigeon hole, and disgruntled at both the pay and tedious work involved before a career reaches a point of development where one can truly do their own work.

Course of study is something that can not be constrained, either. Architecture is an expansive subject, with implications on every facet of other area of study or art. Becoming literate, and being able to communicate effectively, both in word, spoken and written, as well as graphically, is of the utmost importance.

Studying all aspects of humanity, as well as reviewing technical requirements and then being able to design a structure that is both purposeful and hopefully meaningful, is difficult and challenging.

Study hard science and math. Literature and Philosophy too. The tools that are being used (your reference to Chief Architect) is, at best, of tangential importance to the subject, as I've always believed. We use a broad array of software to do what we do, but I truly don't care to become a master of unlocking the potential of any of the software that I use on a daily basis. It's not important; merely having a base proficiency is enough.

Architecture, in the broadest sense, is the physical manifestation of each society that built it, which reflects what each society was in breadth and depth, covering all facets of technical, philosophical and religious beliefs. History shows this to be the case and there are any number of epochs to explore, and a geography to cover that is expansive. The Western Civilization slant to my formal education in history was terrific, and important, but somewhat limited in ways...nothing that can't be studied independently and rigorously, for sure.

Does that help answer your question?

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you, that was a very thoughtful reply. She's seen "The Fountainhead" with Gary Cooper, and is aware of the need for paying your dues in the early years.

I wonder if the rigid career strata that you described is at all going to be broken up by the internet. It's now very easy for anybody to put up a website with a portfolio of photorealistic renderings. Thanks again.

2:30 PM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

"...I wonder if the rigid career strata that you described is at all going to be broken up by the internet..."

Not likely.

Chalk it up to inertia if nothing else. There is in place, a highly defined path that is a sort of right-of-passage that the establishment will not let one deviate too far from.

Once the formal education is complete, there is a minimum of three years of on-the-job training, more like the apprenticeships of years past, all documented, then an examination of certain skills and knowledge, broken into seven different, yet interrelated, subjects to test problem solving in both graphical and written conditions.

The online portfolio "review," is something that might make more of a difference at getting admitted at, say, Cooper Union, but probably not at your state or regional land-grant university.

3:00 PM  

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