OMGOMGOMG just in - got through the round of 200 for the TopCoder open, now I'm in the final 100, and next thursday get a shot at the top 48 who get to go to Las Vegas!! Oh...and the hrm...nice prize money associated with it ;) Anyway, I said I'd actually say something blog-ish this time, so here goes:
Recently, I heard about a Law tute which happened at Adelaide uni :: it was a group exercise, the tute was split up into smaller groups of people, and given 20 mins to work on a problem, to see how they interacted with eachother - sounds ok so far. Trouble is...the problem was the well-known logic puzzle of the Fox, goose and bag of beans (or whatever combination of objects you like...i think it was fox/duck/grain in this case. Now, being a well known puzzle with a simple solution {at every stage, you've only got one move which is not pointless or illegal, except one where you have two choices *both* of which lead to a solution} I wouldn't have thought it unusual for one group to know the answer, and finish right away. But no...the earliest group was done after 15 mins, and some hadn't even finished after 20. To compound things, groups didn't actually have to solve it, it was more their teamwork which was judged, and at the end they didn't have to say the solution, just whether they'd found one. What exactly is being taught here?
It's obviously not logic skills, or rational thought, because you have to look forwards at most about 2 steps to solve it. What's worse is that firstly they expect noone to know the answer {how can they judge teamwork if you don't even have to work} and noone minds if you can't get close to the answer, so long as you look like you can interact. Please, remind me to defend myself if ever I get into legal trouble...or at least test my lawyer using the fox/goose/beans puzzle first :p
Is this of much relevance? probably not, it just seems like the intelligence needed to do things is going down hill, and worse, being encouraged to do so. Anyway...the reason I brought this up was because it's election time here in South Australia! Now, my seat happens to be a safe liberal seat - it doesn't matter who I vote for, the result is going to be the same regardless, so I'll probably pick my candidate from who's name sounds the nicest {after excluding family first and one nation, naturally}. The sad thing is, the winner will be Isobel Redmond, the politician I told you about earlier, who apparently works 400 days a year. Now, if there was a candidate who: (1) didn't want to create jobs for the sake of creating jobs, (2) didn't want to give as much help to people who just don't try, and (3) stopped telling us where they're spending money and started saying where they're getting it from, then maybe i'd actually have someone I wanted to vote for.
To leave, another idea I had, possibly more controversial: If you do not finish the uni course you are in, or one you have transferred to, then you have to repay all the HECS help you have had previously. Harsh I know, but maybe it'd stop people from trying for one year or two years then quitting. Transferring is ok, postponing is ok {within reason} but you have to finish, or else the support you got is removed. Now...i know, this is mean for those who have to stop for external circumstances {maybe...have some special clause in there that dropouts are examined case-by-case} but there should be some way to strongly discourage people from dropping out because they cbf working at something, and maybe it would help some people realise the worth of actually getting an education {not just what their parents are paying}...oh, and it'd help raise extra funding which can be spent improving other things (see, I say where I get the money from ;p ) I'll update after next thursday, at least :D


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