A Quaker prep school in Pennsylvania has a novel approach to sex education: it’s co-ed, respectful of the students, and sex-positive. The full semester of curriculum almost makes you think that the school wants the kids to have good sex — safe, emotionally fulfilling, and pleasurable — when they’re ready, and no sooner. What an idea. I knew I liked something about the Society of Friends.
The PhD factory
Nature notes that the world is producing more PHDs than ever before. And asks it time to stop? Graduate education isn’t like a pyramid scheme, it is a pyramid scheme. And like all such schemes, it will eventually end in ruin for most of the participants. Something has to change. Why not sooner, and pro-actively, rather than later and in shambles?
I say to you that we are full of chemicals which require us to belong to folk societies, or failing that, to feel lousy all the time. We are chemically engineered to live in folk societies, just as fish are chemically engineered to live in clean water—and there aren’t any folk societies for us anymore. (Kurt Vonnegut)
Wolfgang Pauli apparently once said of a student’s work: “This isn’t right. This isn’t even wrong.”, to deride it for being unfalsifiable. Grad school isn’t quite that bad. We’re all running the experiment together every day. We can tell whether or not it’s working, at least in theory. But only if we’re willing to look. I’m looking; I say it’s not working, at least not for graduate students, not on average (mean or median, pick your poison).