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Author Topic: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt  (Read 2103088 times)

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Betelnut

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4845 on: September 17, 2012, 07:37:35 PM »

So I think a general framework is important, but that inexact knowledge of specific details is less important, except in one's own field.  It's an important part of being a good citizen, of having a knowledge of history that helps one make better decisions in the future, to hold intelligent conversations and be interesting to talk to, to discuss ideas and come up with your own, to influence others by expressing your beliefs with logic and reason, to be able to hold fast to your own principles because you know the basis for them and can defend it against argument, etc.

BINGO!

History grows old. (No pun intended ;D)

I mean that when I was growing up (born in 1960) we learned the old history of the US Constitution, revolutionary/civil war . . . these are important history lessons to anybody/everybody living in this country. The basis for freedom and all that.

But nowadays? How important is knowledge about WWI to our every day existence?

The college students that I know can easily go back 20-30 years. They can talk about the Vietnam war (which happened before they were born) and are able to liken/differ it to today's Afghanistan and Iraq. But they have no clue as to the Korean war and what that was all about.

They can talk about the impact of Facebook and what Mark Zuckerberg did for the computer networking innovation, but they have no clue as to when the first computer was invented.

I can talk about Lady Godiva and why WWI was started (not linking them together ;)) . . . but seriously, what does that knowledge do for me today?

You officially made my brain hurt!   ;D

Of course, "that knowledge" may not "do" anything for you today but it is certainly nice to know the context of our modern world.  It certainly helps you to be a well-rounded intelligent person to understand the past.  It also helps inform our future.  Plus, I'm a big believer in "knowledge is an end in itself, not a means to an end."  It is just cool to know.

Lots of stuff isn't important to know in our everyday existence--including who our grandparents were and how our bodies work.  But sheesh, I like to think that knowing something about our collective past (and our world) is what makes the human race so interesting, so different from other beasts.  We can read and write and thus remember what came before us and learn what others have experienced and learned.

BTW, WWI was a very, very important event (or series of events) in the 20th century.  As mentioned by other posters, WWII is hard to even understand without understanding WWI, but WWI is fascinating in and of itself.  During WWI, monarchies fell including the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire.  There was the Armenian massacre/genocide which still influences the history that region.  And on and on.  It is really interesting.

Native Texan, Marylander currently

dawnfire

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4846 on: September 17, 2012, 07:41:38 PM »
Today I walked into the Reception Room of my apartment to pick up (another) package. There was a woman behind the desk working on the computer and no one else in the series of rooms, but she didn't look at me when I walked in, she just continued typing. I said "Hi, could you tell me where to go to pick up a package?"

She stared at me for a few moments and then grudgingly said "Well, I guess I could help you even though I'm not technically 'at work' right now."

Really? You're just typing at the only computer in the office wearing your uniform, master key lanyard, and sitting behind the desk in the reception area? How could anyone possibly make the mistake of thinking you were at work?  ::)

maybe she was on an unpaid break and was using the computer for personal use.
Whittlesea Victoria

Shoo

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4847 on: September 17, 2012, 07:50:09 PM »
Today I walked into the Reception Room of my apartment to pick up (another) package. There was a woman behind the desk working on the computer and no one else in the series of rooms, but she didn't look at me when I walked in, she just continued typing. I said "Hi, could you tell me where to go to pick up a package?"

She stared at me for a few moments and then grudgingly said "Well, I guess I could help you even though I'm not technically 'at work' right now."

Really? You're just typing at the only computer in the office wearing your uniform, master key lanyard, and sitting behind the desk in the reception area? How could anyone possibly make the mistake of thinking you were at work?  ::)

maybe she was on an unpaid break and was using the computer for personal use.

Yes, but I doubt that would be anyone's first guess.

kherbert05

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4848 on: September 17, 2012, 08:07:34 PM »
There's an argument to be made that young people nowadays don't need to know facts anymore.  That's what the internet is for.  As several people have said, why take up valuable brain space with stuff that's irrelevant to your everyday life that can easily be looked up?


I actually had a professor make a similar argument. He was Korean, raised in Japan, taught in Japan for a while, immigrated to the US, and is an expert to the State Department on the Pacific Rim.


One of those "American's are stupid" tests/surveys came out. We asked him why he made the choice to teach in an US University, if American's are stupid.


He said that he preferred to teach people who might have to look up facts, but could argue creatively and would publicly disagree with their professors. He said that in Japan University students wouldn't question a professor the way we questioned him.


 At the time he was teaching the last group of (largely) Texas HS grads who hadn't had to pass a series of standardized test to get out of HS (HB72 that started all this passed the summer before my HS senior year) I always wondered if his opinion changed as Texas tried to imitate K - 12 education in Japan.


When I was in HS, Mother argued that we should be given, allowed to make a list of formulas for our Math and science midterms and finals. Because knowing when and how to apply the formulas was what was important. She argued that as a chemist in a research lab - she ALWAYS worked with the formula in front of her.  The reason a small math mistake could kill someone. She was given extremely toxic medication because someone messed up on a formula, and that story gave her argument some weight with the teachers. We were allowed to write out formulas we thought we needed to know on a note card and use that during midterms and Finals.
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4849 on: September 17, 2012, 08:24:59 PM »
I made my mother's brain hurt...and my best friend's at times, too.   I have a very, very good memory for some things but a rotten memory for others.  I'm good at remembering quotes from movies or who was in a movie.   My dad got irritated once when we were watching some movie with Nathan Lane in it, Birdcage I think and he asked "Isn't that the guy who played Timon in the Lion King?" I said "Looks like him."  He snapped "No, you mean "SOUNDS like him"

I looked up at him and said "I've seen Nathan Lane in other movies and heard how he speaks in them.  And I saw him doing interviews for Lion King, so I know what he looks like." 

But I have a horrible memory for dates in history. I like history, but ask me what year WW2 started and ended and I draw a blank. Same thing if you ask me the dates of battles. 

My mother used to say "If you'd free up all the space you use for remembering movie quotes, you could maybe remember your history dates better!" Um no, not really.  It's not that I don't want to remember those dates. Like I said, I like history, I wish I could remember, but I just can't.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

BB-VA

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4850 on: September 17, 2012, 08:34:26 PM »

So I think a general framework is important, but that inexact knowledge of specific details is less important, except in one's own field.  It's an important part of being a good citizen, of having a knowledge of history that helps one make better decisions in the future, to hold intelligent conversations and be interesting to talk to, to discuss ideas and come up with your own, to influence others by expressing your beliefs with logic and reason, to be able to hold fast to your own principles because you know the basis for them and can defend it against argument, etc.

BINGO!

History grows old. (No pun intended ;D)

I mean that when I was growing up (born in 1960) we learned the old history of the US Constitution, revolutionary/civil war . . . these are important history lessons to anybody/everybody living in this country. The basis for freedom and all that.

But nowadays? How important is knowledge about WWI to our every day existence?

The college students that I know can easily go back 20-30 years. They can talk about the Vietnam war (which happened before they were born) and are able to liken/differ it to today's Afghanistan and Iraq. But they have no clue as to the Korean war and what that was all about.

They can talk about the impact of Facebook and what Mark Zuckerberg did for the computer networking innovation, but they have no clue as to when the first computer was invented.

I can talk about Lady Godiva and why WWI was started (not linking them together ;)) . . . but seriously, what does that knowledge do for me today?

You officially made my brain hurt!   ;D

Of course, "that knowledge" may not "do" anything for you today but it is certainly nice to know the context of our modern world.  It certainly helps you to be a well-rounded intelligent person to understand the past.  It also helps inform our future.  Plus, I'm a big believer in "knowledge is an end in itself, not a means to an end."  It is just cool to know.

Lots of stuff isn't important to know in our everyday existence--including who our grandparents were and how our bodies work.  But sheesh, I like to think that knowing something about our collective past (and our world) is what makes the human race so interesting, so different from other beasts.  We can read and write and thus remember what came before us and learn what others have experienced and learned.

BTW, WWI was a very, very important event (or series of events) in the 20th century.  As mentioned by other posters, WWII is hard to even understand without understanding WWI, but WWI is fascinating in and of itself.  During WWI, monarchies fell including the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire.  There was the Armenian massacre/genocide which still influences the history that region.  And on and on.  It is really interesting.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana

Maybe as individuals, we don't need this knowledge, but as a society, we  DEFINITELY do.  It must be preserved and shared and taken to heart. 

"The Universe puts us in places where we can learn. They are never easy places, but they are right. Wherever we are, it's the right place and the right time. Pain that sometimes comes is part of the process of constantly being born."
- Delenn to Sheridan: "Babylon 5 - Distant Star"

snowdragon

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4851 on: September 17, 2012, 09:02:15 PM »

So I think a general framework is important, but that inexact knowledge of specific details is less important, except in one's own field.  It's an important part of being a good citizen, of having a knowledge of history that helps one make better decisions in the future, to hold intelligent conversations and be interesting to talk to, to discuss ideas and come up with your own, to influence others by expressing your beliefs with logic and reason, to be able to hold fast to your own principles because you know the basis for them and can defend it against argument, etc.

BINGO!

History grows old. (No pun intended ;D)

I mean that when I was growing up (born in 1960) we learned the old history of the US Constitution, revolutionary/civil war . . . these are important history lessons to anybody/everybody living in this country. The basis for freedom and all that.

But nowadays? How important is knowledge about WWI to our every day existence?


The college students that I know can easily go back 20-30 years. They can talk about the Vietnam war (which happened before they were born) and are able to liken/differ it to today's Afghanistan and Iraq. But they have no clue as to the Korean war and what that was all about.

They can talk about the impact of Facebook and what Mark Zuckerberg did for the computer networking innovation, but they have no clue as to when the first computer was invented.

I can talk about Lady Godiva and why WWI was started (not linking them together ;)) . . . but seriously, what does that knowledge do for me today?

  The unrest in the  middle east has its roots in the conflict with Israel, among other historical events. If you want to understand the anger in the middle east, the conflict and why the west is blamed ( especially the US) you need to understand when and why the modern state of Israel was formed and how it still affects the people already living there. WWII is very much present with us today.

PeterM

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4852 on: September 17, 2012, 09:33:25 PM »
Really? You're just typing at the only computer in the office wearing your uniform, master key lanyard, and sitting behind the desk in the reception area? How could anyone possibly make the mistake of thinking you were at work?  ::)

maybe she was on an unpaid break and was using the computer for personal use.

Yes, but I doubt that would be anyone's first guess.

And anyone who's on break really, really, really shouldn't remain at their "on duty" post if there's no one else around to help those annoying customers.

exitzero

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4853 on: September 18, 2012, 05:35:59 AM »

So I think a general framework is important, but that inexact knowledge of specific details is less important, except in one's own field.  It's an important part of being a good citizen, of having a knowledge of history that helps one make better decisions in the future, to hold intelligent conversations and be interesting to talk to, to discuss ideas and come up with your own, to influence others by expressing your beliefs with logic and reason, to be able to hold fast to your own principles because you know the basis for them and can defend it against argument, etc.

BINGO!

History grows old. (No pun intended ;D)

I mean that when I was growing up (born in 1960) we learned the old history of the US Constitution, revolutionary/civil war . . . these are important history lessons to anybody/everybody living in this country. The basis for freedom and all that.

But nowadays? How important is knowledge about WWI to our every day existence?


The college students that I know can easily go back 20-30 years. They can talk about the Vietnam war (which happened before they were born) and are able to liken/differ it to today's Afghanistan and Iraq. But they have no clue as to the Korean war and what that was all about.

They can talk about the impact of Facebook and what Mark Zuckerberg did for the computer networking innovation, but they have no clue as to when the first computer was invented.

I can talk about Lady Godiva and why WWI was started (not linking them together ;)) . . . but seriously, what does that knowledge do for me today?

  The unrest in the  middle east has its roots in the conflict with Israel, among other historical events. If you want to understand the anger in the middle east, the conflict and why the west is blamed ( especially the US) you need to understand when and why the modern state of Israel was formed and how it still affects the people already living there. WWII is very much present with us today.

And to understand some of  the reasons for WWII, you need to understand WWI.

Kariachi

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4854 on: September 18, 2012, 11:10:19 AM »
My dad and I constantly break my mom's brain. To set the scene, my dad and I will geek out over science at any time, day or night, my mom would rather sit through a three hour history lecture than a thirty minute science program. Example, a conversation we had last month.

Mom: Sometimes I worry about your father.

Me: Why?

Mom: Last night, he spent two hours watching a program about proteins on the Science Channel.

Me: They had a special on proteins? Cool!!

Mom:  ???

Actually, I guess this happens with all of us... Mom's a history and lit geek as well as a military and construction buff; Dad's into science, the military, and history; Sis is into monsters, cryptozoology, and culture; I'm into everything except history, pop culture, and current events (I can give you a basic overview of who was who among the Tuatha de Danann, but I can't tell you jack about the president).
"Heh. Forgive our manners, little creature that we may well kill and eat you is no excuse for rudeness."

Sirius

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4855 on: September 18, 2012, 12:18:46 PM »
I made my mother's brain hurt...and my best friend's at times, too.   I have a very, very good memory for some things but a rotten memory for others.  I'm good at remembering quotes from movies or who was in a movie.   My dad got irritated once when we were watching some movie with Nathan Lane in it, Birdcage I think and he asked "Isn't that the guy who played Timon in the Lion King?" I said "Looks like him."  He snapped "No, you mean "SOUNDS like him"

I looked up at him and said "I've seen Nathan Lane in other movies and heard how he speaks in them.  And I saw him doing interviews for Lion King, so I know what he looks like." 

But I have a horrible memory for dates in history. I like history, but ask me what year WW2 started and ended and I draw a blank. Same thing if you ask me the dates of battles. 

My mother used to say "If you'd free up all the space you use for remembering movie quotes, you could maybe remember your history dates better!" Um no, not really.  It's not that I don't want to remember those dates. Like I said, I like history, I wish I could remember, but I just can't.

My 11th grade history teacher (very eccentric individual but excellent teacher) saw history as causes and effects rather than names, dates, and places.  While I've got a fairly good head for dates, I find that I have a better idea of what happened in history and can understand it better if I look at history as causes and effects. 

An aside about this teacher:  My older sister had him for a history class two years before I did, and she had written an essay to hand in.  Unbeknownst to her, my dad had balanced his checkbook on the back of her essay.  Since she didn't have time to recopy it she handed it in and hoped the teacher wouldn't notice the math on the back.

No such luck - when she got it back she found that the teacher had corrected my dad's math.  (She showed me, so I know it's a true story.) 

AfleetAlex

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4856 on: September 18, 2012, 01:14:04 PM »
Something about my school that always broke my brain: I went to school in the US in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Every American history class seemed to start with the pilgrims settling, through all the early presidents and the early wars...and quit sometime around WWII.

Now all of this is necessary learning, but after hearing it in the same fashion, for however many years, it got stale. AND I wanted to know what had happened in the 50s, 60s and 70s to better understand what was going on today. My mom had to explain the Vietnam War to me. But we never got to any of that in class, even when we were covering current events.

ETA: To correct dates. At first I made it sound like I only went to school for a couple of years.
I have a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4857 on: September 18, 2012, 01:17:18 PM »
Something about my school that always broke my brain: I went to school in the US in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Every American history class seemed to start with the pilgrims settling, through all the early presidents and the early wars...and quit sometime around WWII.

Now all of this is necessary learning, but after hearing it in the same fashion, for however many years, it got stale. AND I wanted to know what had happened in the 50s, 60s and 70s to better understand what was going on today. My mom had to explain the Vietnam War to me. But we never got to any of that in class, even when we were covering current events.

ETA: To correct dates. At first I made it sound like I only went to school for a couple of years.

This is still true when I went to high school in the 90s.  I was so frustrated at how long we spent on the early history to WWII, and then only spent a week or two on post-WWII stuff.  I wish they balanced out better throughout the year. 

violinp

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4858 on: September 18, 2012, 01:24:35 PM »
Something about my school that always broke my brain: I went to school in the US in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Every American history class seemed to start with the pilgrims settling, through all the early presidents and the early wars...and quit sometime around WWII.

Now all of this is necessary learning, but after hearing it in the same fashion, for however many years, it got stale. AND I wanted to know what had happened in the 50s, 60s and 70s to better understand what was going on today. My mom had to explain the Vietnam War to me. But we never got to any of that in class, even when we were covering current events.

ETA: To correct dates. At first I made it sound like I only went to school for a couple of years.

This is still true when I went to high school in the 90s.  I was so frustrated at how long we spent on the early history to WWII, and then only spent a week or two on post-WWII stuff.  I wish they balanced out better throughout the year.

I only got full post - WWII history in my Advanced Placement European History class when I was 17/18 years old. I seriously did not know what the Marshall Plan was until that class - and I had taken a US History class that covered from the Civil War to the present day. Somehow, my teacher thought showing us how Kennedy was assassinated was more important.  ::)
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


rashea

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Re: Exchanges with People that Make Your Brain Hurt
« Reply #4859 on: September 18, 2012, 01:33:56 PM »
Something about my school that always broke my brain: I went to school in the US in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Every American history class seemed to start with the pilgrims settling, through all the early presidents and the early wars...and quit sometime around WWII.

Now all of this is necessary learning, but after hearing it in the same fashion, for however many years, it got stale. AND I wanted to know what had happened in the 50s, 60s and 70s to better understand what was going on today. My mom had to explain the Vietnam War to me. But we never got to any of that in class, even when we were covering current events.

ETA: To correct dates. At first I made it sound like I only went to school for a couple of years.

I had a teacher tell me that some of that was a fear that people would have a hard time if a parent or other relative had died in those wars. I can understand why they glossed over Vietnam a bit, but not the rest of it.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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