Saturday, September 6, 2008

We Live in an Exponential World

Mad props to The Queen for sending me the link to this fascinating compilation of statistics about the world we live in, and the world we are entering.

I think Bill and Ted said it best when they said: "Whoa, dude!"


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. So Ms. Pirate, think John McCain should see this, considering he hasn't grasped the ability to email effectively?

Dr. Virago said...

Ugh, I have a knee-jerk reaction against that thing because one of our lamest trustees sent it around (in its lamer, PowerPoint version) to the administration and faculty senate with a message that said something like "So this is why we must change everything we do at the university!" No, this is why we should continue to teach students to *think* and *create* so they can deal with rapid change.

Also, point of information, it suggests that Britain no longer has a high standard of living - or at least not as high as in 1900. Actually, they have a *higher* standard of living than the U.S. now. And they *still* have world-class universities. The US particularly competes madly with the UK and Canada for attracting fee-paying foreign students.

And what's with the creators' inability to deal with the concepts of percentage and per capita? India's and China's college grads are a much tinier percentage of their populations than the US's. That's meaningful, imho.

Just saying there are some now inaccurate statements in there and others that suggest questionable conclusions or rest on questionable assumptions. And being the stuffy academic I am, I'd like sources for all the rest. :)

The Pastry Pirate said...

anon: i'm staying away from revealing political opinions other than to say that the republicans touting palin's geographical closeness to russia as evidence of her foreign policy experience have got it all wrong... my god, russia used to be attached to alaska... she could have come over from there! she could be the leader of a commie sleeper cell!!!!

on a more serious note: DrV, i see you've had your caffeine this morning. the funny thing is, as i was watching the video, i guess because i am someone who had the benefit of an education that taught me to think, i was fascinated because i wanted to know their sources, their agenda, why they excluded other statistics and ignored entire continents...

what was running through my mind while watching it was the old adage that you can get stats to say anything you want.

at the same time, i know so many people who don't ever think about any of these things, even incompletely (like the baker i worked with in vegas who came up to me on a regular basis with question such as "pirate, you've traveled. why does every country hate the USA? why is everyone so jealous of us just because we work harder than they do?"

uhm..... because some of us ask stupid questions like that?

i think the vegas baker and other people i know/have met might benefit from learning a fact or two about "the other," even highly selective facts such as those in the video.

anyway, i can understand your knee-jerk reaction given your sitch and some of the dunderheads probably plotting to turn the rare books room of the library into a corporate-sponsored career center/cyberlounge, but hey, i was just throwin' it out there.

The Pastry Pirate said...

ps - i meant to add a wink after noting i had an education that taught me to think, precisely the kind of education so endangered now. that's another reason i'm voting for obama... i want someone in the white house who has read "the republic." (that he also prolly can sing "fight on for victory ever more, while the sons of knickerbocker rally 'round..." is also a plus)

maybe mccain knows plato (or knew him, when they were both youngsters, lol), but in his speech thompson made him sound like less than a serious student at annapolis. i have my doubts.

pps - a final note on the video... i also found the music mesmerizing, especially when played backwards because you can hear an eerie voice saying "don't bother trying to read beowulf... just watch the awesome movie with a naked angelina jolie!"


Dr. Virago said...

Knickerbocker...funniest name ever. Hee hee. We had one weird fight song, eh? Although not as weird as the fight song of a Quaker college a friend of mine went to -- it was something like "Knock 'em down, beat 'em senseless, fight them 'til they reach consensus!" I'm not making that up. Freakin' hilarious!

Seriously, though, and back on topic, you know I know I was preaching to the choir(=you), on the problems of this little video, right?

McCain knew Plato..heh heh. Funny.

On McCain's less than serious student status -- yes, he finished fifth from the bottom of his class, 894 out of 899 (p. 31, Paul Alexander, Man of the People: The Life of John McCain, John Wiley and Sons, 2004). Make of that little statistic (from the *authorized* bio, no less) what you will.

On a completely unrelated note, though related to the UK's higher standard of living (based, btw, on one of those indexes that takes into account per capita of home ownership, median income vs. cost of living, and those sorts of things -- heard it on NPR earlier this year, but don't know who *their* source was), I thought of you recently when your minim-deprived evil twin on the western coast said she wanted to emigrate to the UK. Seems they have categories similar to NZ that makes it easy for certain skilled people to emigrate. Thought I'd pass along the knowledge,(I can send you links, too), knowing that London is your favorite big city in the world.

And one last *completely* unrelated note: Bullock and I watched Ratatouille last night and thought of you. Not only does it take place in the culinary world, but there's a German dude who threatens to kill people with his thumbs.'

And now I will stop hijacking your comments.

The Pastry Pirate said...

you are welcome to hijack my comments anytime. at least i know someone cares... (cue pathos-laden gesture of back of hand to forehead).

re: ratatouille, i've seen it, and of course my fave moment is the thumb bit.

re: emigrating to the UK... been there, done that... at least in the sense of going to their website, taking a quiz on how "attractive" i was as a candidate and receiving a rather snippy message that said "you are not qualified. good-bye." go figure. so mazel tov to my evil twin (...did you ever think she's the good twin??), but i apparently don't make the cut.

of course, the quiz did not include the question "does the beauty of your lamination make grown men weep?" so i was at an immediate disadvantage.

Dr. Virago said...

Dude, Ann Robison of Weakest Link also detemines emigration eligbility? That explains *so* much!

And you and your evil twin are *both* evil twins. There is no good one.

The Pastry Pirate said...

And you and your evil twin are *both* evil twins. There is no good one.

Aw, shucks. I think that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me.

tommy said...

Do neither of you have e-mail accounts?