Tag Archives: education

After us, the flood

Medieval manuscript showing Noah’s ArcThe users of the internet seem to fall into two categories: the literate and the illiterate. I had hoped that the fact that most communication is by the written word would encourage literacy but it doesn’t seem to. Hopefully the increase in visible illiteracy is because the demographic is expanding to include people who can neither spell nor touch type, and not because we are in fact dumbing down.

I’ve been freecycling a lot of stuff recently, and I have to remind myself that just because someone replies to me thusly …

sorry its late but can pick up tomorrow or sunday evening many thanks shirley [phone number] if you ring me i will ring back to arrange pick up and address

… is no reason not to let them have my stuff.

I’ve been playing Travian for a couple of weeks, and browsing the forums. Travian starts off looking like a rural version of Sim City and ends up being an mmorpg war game. I’m not particularly interested in war games and will probably wander back here whimpering when my villages are destroyed by hormone-enraged 13 year olds who cannot spell.

I can’t work out whether the posters here intend to be as rude and arrogant as they seem:

I’m really confused!
I’m new to Travian so I need answers about this server restart business. I’m in server 4 so I don’t know if it affects me but when they restart the servers is everyone going to lose their cities and have to start all over again? Please help me!


wow, i’m in an answer stupid questions mood tonight….If server 5 restarts, it has nothing to do with server 4. server 4 just restarted like 3 or 4 months ago… if i’m not mistaken, the last game on server 5 probably already ended if its restarting at the end of the month


Today is stupid question night, but I guess we really shouldnt’ say anything about this guy because he is new… And it’s not in the manual or anything………


what about server 3?


wait.. nvm.. i see now.. server 3 won’t be affected ither..


Wow don’t get mad at me when you didn’t even answer my question… “when they restart the servers is everyone going to lose their cities and have to start all over again?”


I answered your question You asked:
I’m in server 4 so I don’t know if it affects me but when they restart the servers is everyone going to lose their cities and have to start all over again? Please help me!Ok. The server restart ONLY AFFECTS the restarted server. It doesn’t affect the other servers the tiniest bit! If the server is restarted, you lose everything on that server. But if your village is not on that server, then you don’t lose anything!


Alright thanks for your time.


wow, hot to not become mad when after a stupid question (that was answered few days ago and u can find it on the forum) you don’t mind even a little to read SirensMoon’s first post:Quote:
Today is stupid question night, but I guess we really shouldnt’ say anything about this guy because he is new… And it’s not in the manual or anything………Nothing will affect you. |
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that’s an answer


What A Noob Question


There are pages and pages of that sort of exchange. I cannot tell if the posters are:

  1. badly served by their own illiteracy
  2. writing abruptly because they are writing in a foreign language, (Travian was developed in Germany and is “set” in the Gallic / Teutonic boarder at the “time” of the Roman empire), or
  3. 13 and hormones and peer-pressure are undermining their ability to socialise or think

It worries me that illiteracy is a fashion and that the posters could in fact type perfectly sensibly if they chose to.

Then it worries me that this is the highest level of their written communication skills, and they are going to be unleashed into an economy where the blue-collar jobs are all done in China.

I don’t which worries me more. Maybe it’s just a noob question.

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Dumbing down: role models and the dangers of easy affluence

The grass is always greener and the past is always golden, (though in future the summers will be longer and hotter, but that just goes to show, doesn’t it?)

Where was I? Oh yes.

Attention spans are shorter these days, exams are easier, people are fatter and lazier, and we are all going to hell in a web-enabled Wii HDTV-ready handcart.

Three things I read recently and one thing I heard made me feel that this view could be true.

The history of Radio 3 and of its predecessor the Third Programme says that when it was founded in the late 1940s it was “very attractive to” 4% of the working class. Not a high proportion but still a large number of people, people who by their own accounts included Sir Peter Hall, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Harold Pinter. I was listening to Sir Arnold Wesker on Radio 4, talking about his working-class childhood in the East End, a childhood which was full of love, ideas, discussion and debate. These days when working class kids make good we get Victoria Beckham, Jade Goody and, goddess help us all, Ant and Dec.

Then I read these two blogs.

About half way through a post about something else, Diaphanous quotes article in Der Spiegel.

The main premise is that while a lot of people who are “poor” today have as much material as the middle classes of an earlier era did, they are poor in a different sense.

The modern-day member of the underclass is not hungry … it is not material poverty that separates him from others.

Rather, what stand out are the symptoms of intellectual neglect. The poor of today watch television for half the day. These days, television producers even refer to what they call “Underclass TV.”

But the main thing that sets the modern poor apart from the industrial age pauper is a sheer lack of interest in education. … He likewise makes little effort to open the door to the future for his own children. Their language skills are as bad as their ability to concentrate. The rising rate of illiteracy is matched by the shrinking opportunities to integrate the underclass.

When you read about poor people in times past, it seems like there was often an insistence by the parents that their children get more and a better education than they themselves had. When I see rural poverty cycling through generations today I don’t see that; instead I see one generation shoving over on the couch so that the kids can watch monster truck rallies. On cable – of course, they have cable. There’s no money for books or music lessons but there’s always money for cable TV or a satellite dish.

Diaphanous.

The eerie apricot says that that this is not just about low expectations and a lack of ambition at home, she says that schools like the one she teaches in are also responsible:

… it’s that all the adults in their lives … do not encourage them to achieve. When the students do only the minimum, we all shower them with praise and attention. Later, in advanced classes or the real world, when they are asked and expected to give one hundred percent, suddenly the students are overwhelmed and their self-esteem suffers. No one has ever asked or expected one hundred percent from them before. Every task becomes “too difficult” and they give up without a fight. We do a serious disservice to these kids …

How do we expect the children to learn to take things seriously when the school and the parents do not?

the eerie apricot

I urge you to both posts in full – the eerie apricot in particular describes the most shocking and depressing school concert I could ever envision.

I don’t have any answers but I am sure that both the eerie apricot and Diaphanous are asking the right questions. There are other questions of course.

Surely ambition needs you (a) to dislike where you are now, (b) to know that there is something better, and (c) to believe that it is possible for you personally to get from a to b? These days “something better” is celebrity rather than achievement. Young people now want to be famous. They don’t want to be famous for anything, just famous.

Education used to be the route out. The advantage of a meritocracy is that it rewards people who are able, and education is the quickest and simplest way to improve your capabilities. It is a system which rewards academic and sometimes artistic achievement. It isn’t quick and simple, but it used to be quicker and simpler and more likely that a working class boy would get a degree than, say, to marry an heiress.

Now we have a pulchritocracy, the rule of the beautiful. Why bother working at school when a pubic wax, a fake tan, a reality TV show and maybe an opportunist celebrity bonk can give you all the designer labels your bedazzled heart desires?

The spiralling ironies of the story of Chantelle Houghton illustrates this perfectly. She was a pretty but not a successful girl who got her 15 minutes on Celebrity Big Brother. She succeeded in fooling the real celebrities that she was a singer in a girl-band, even though she wasn’t. She looked vaguely familiar to them though because she looks like Paris Hilton. So what we are talking about here is a woman whose route to vacuous fame is being a cheaper and even chavvier version of Paris Hilton. The mind reels.

But if the problem is the fatuousness of the role models provided by our all-pervasive celebrity culture, what is the answer?

I wish I knew.


PS – in reading the Wikipedia entries I’ve linked to I found this:

[Jade] Goody competed in Celebrity Mastermind in 2006 for Sport Relief. Her specialist subject was EastEnders, but she was beaten by Chantelle Houghton, whose specialist subject was Coronation Street.

I am now speechless.