Five Popular Posts Of The Month

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Why Zoom sucks for teaching and always will.


My two cents in the discussion about virtual education (an excerpt from The Confession Of The Creative Brain).

 
I wrote a lot about education, including the distant education. 
 
 
 
More on this page.

Here I want to point out at the useless but very active discussion how to effectively use Zoom for teaching. 

The answer is - you CANNOT effectively use Zoom for teaching. 

Zoom, Skype, WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or any other meeting software will never be good for teaching.

Of course, to understand and accept that, one needs to know what teaching is and is about.

In American culture, including the top educators, researchers and administrators teaching is not different from animal training, from training circus animals doing tricks.

BTW: one of the reasons for No sign for improving math education soon.

If teaching would have been pouring knowledge from a "knowledge storage" (a.k.a. a teacher) into an empty vessel (a.k.a a student) then Zoom would be sufficient. But teaching is not that. 

E.g.:



Teaching is the process of helping learners to learn. And learning is based on communication. If one-on-one communication would have been possible, then, again, Zoom would be fine. But that is not a case. Teaching requires an effective group communication. That requires a an ability to organize, manage and monitor communication between students. That requires s completely different technological instrument. 

A teacher needs to be able to see and not just all students, but the work of every (any!) student (and of course communicate with any student). And a teacher needs to be able to create and re-create collaborative groups and observe the group work and participate in that work. And this is just the bare minimum any teaching collaborative technology must do. Ideally, students should feel immersed in the same learning environment, and that means - use virtual reality. The need to do laboratory experiments brings even more demands to an effective distant teaching-and-leaning technology.

To my best knowledge, there is no company or a startup trying to develop that technology.

Hence, distant teaching sucks, and will continue to suck for years ahead.

Dr. Valentin Voroshilov 




For curious people - a reward!

No teaching technology can do any good if a teacher who uses it sucks.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of teachers in America sucks at teaching.  It is not their fault, though. America dose not have a system of teacher professional development (well, America does not believe in systems in general, and look what she got herself into).

E.g. this post, or this one (from many!). 

The roots of American decline - in all spheres, including education, starting from education! - is the extreme primitivism practiced by the managers of all levels.

America! The victim of the Primitivism.


 

How Stupidity Costed Trump The White House.


My first large piece on the matter of stupidity of the American elite was published in August 2018 and titled “The Degradation of White Male American Elite”. Even though that piece is more than two years old the vast portion of that post is still very much current.

 

Since then I have been returning to this theme many times, for example, read:

 

Knowledge Is NOT Power. At Least In Politics.

 

If Liberals Won’t Enforce Borders, Fascists Will (a word from and to David Frum)

 

Why Americans are Starting To Lose the World Race for Prosperity?

 

Greed - the American cancer that killed good management.

 

Monetary Feudalism, State Capitalism, or Why Does Putin Smile?

 

Why Do I Want To Vote For Trump?

 

China v. The U.S.: The Battle Of Strategic Thinking

 

Checking the Intelligence of Massachusetts Republicans

 

Why Americans are Starting To Lose the World Race for Prosperity?

 

The vast majority of my critique was aimed at the Democrats. There is no point to repeat it again, the main statement is very simple, no one at the top of the Democratic party has vision required for generating a single original idea, starting from 2016 election the only strong idea they were able to create and use was “Trump is bad!”.

 

A word to Senator Sanders, and other anti-Trump warriors

 

Why does Seth Moulton run for the President and what does it say about the Democrats?

 

Why Didn't Hillary Clinton Win The Race?

 

 How Smart Are You, Mr. Kennedy? The Test.

 

"Why Didn't I Win", by Elizabeth Warren (2020)

 

How and why the Democrats screwed up.

 

But the democrats are not alone in this sin, having no vision is the common trait of the whole American elite (fish rots from the head down).

 

You can find all my posts on this page.

 

The reason for this post is to add one more example of stupidity on the part of American elite, but this time on the part of Republicans.

 

I used to say that the Democrats are nice but stupid and the Republicans are smart but evil. Turns out – not so smart.

 

It’s obvious for me that the only reason Biden was able to beat Trump was the COVID pandemic. Actually, not the pandemic per se, but the way Trump administration handled it.

 

Or rather the way the top Trump’s circle handled it. Those few top Republicans who Trump needs to thank for losing the election, starting from himself.

 

If people would really liked the Democrats then they would put them in the state legislatures, in the House of the Representatives, in the Senate.

 

But they didn’t.

 

Trump’s team had a very good chance to beat Biden, if it wasn’t for their absolutely stupid pandemic strategy.

 

Instead of denying, diminishing, ignoring the epidemic Trump should have embraced it.

 

“America is at war with the invisible enemy” was the step in the right direction. The next step should have been “Let’s unite! Let’s beat the enemy! If you fight an enemy it is stupid not to use a helmet and a body armor! Our masks are our Kevlar, our protective gear!”

 

The vast majority of Trump supporters are either ignorant (poorly educated) or idiots (have some knowledge but cannot use it in new situations, cannot think). They would believe anything Trump would say, they do not assess the logic of his words, they just “drink” whatever he says. If Trump would have embraced masks, everyone in his cult would do the same.

 

But the inability of the top Republican circle to see the opportunity the epidemic gave eventually brought Trump’s presidency down.

 

Unfortunately, the top Democrats, including Biden, Obama etc., refuse to accept the fact that the only reason Bien won was due to the disastrous handling of the pandemic on the Trump’s part. Democratic Party has no people who have vision and can generate original ideas. That is why in four years the Democrats will be swept out of the American politics.

 

Stupidity costed Trump the White House. And in four years the Biden will repeat Trump's fate.


Obama's legacy is Trump. Who will be yours, Mr. Biden?

 

The roots of American decline - in all spheres, including education, starting from education! - is the extreme primitivism practiced by the managers of all levels.

America! The victim of the Primitivism.


 

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Why I'm quitting Amazon Prime.


I have an active internet life, starting from this blog.

 

But I also use Facebook and Twitter to promote some of my ideas.

 

And, as I say in the description of this blog, I use polemic language.

 

Some time ago Facebook suspended my add

 

Then Twitter suspended my account. The explanation was that I was using too many hashtags to attract audience. 

 

The whole superpose of Twitter is attracting audience to spits of your thoughts - otherwise no one would every be on Twitter! And with the limit on the number of characters it is only natural that I want to use all of them. One needs to be an actual idiot not to understand that. 


i appealed. My Twitter account was restored.

 

And now it’s Amazon.

 

I do not write many reviews, but sometimes I want to write one.

 

Recently I found that this option was removed from me.

 

Amazon made me voiceless.


I do not care much about writing reviews, but I got curious – why?

 

So, I wrote an email.

_____________

WTF??

Any SPECIFIC reason beyond unusual?
Wrong? Offensive?

Anything?

____________

 

After this email I had some additional email exchange that you all can read below.

 

My right to write a review has not been yet restored, and most probably will never be.

 

But that would be fine if Amazon could PROVE that I did indeed violate their policy. I believe in punishing the crime. Well, I also believe that BEFORE issuing any punishment one should be issued a warning (at least if the crime is not too anti-social, like, for example, just some unusual behavior). And I strongly believe that everyone has the right to get a SPECIFIC reason for the punishment.

 

However, Amazon (and, BTW, all other media) do not bother to gather an actual proof.

 

They say, basically, that they found you guilty, because, from their point of view, you were guilty. Period. 

 

-Judge, why did you send me to a jail?

- You may have violated some of the laws from my book.

- What law?

- Who cares. I say you're guilty.

 

N.B. Some young and active left-leaning politician (AOC?) should take on this. Or a right-leaning one, I don't care.

 

In the meantime, please enjoy my communication with Amazon.

 

You will see that the one of the reasons Amazon people are upset with me is that I called them idiots.

 

Well, I said that the were acting like idiots.

 

And now they take this whole thing personal.

 

And the main reason for that is that Jeff Bezos … well, I talk about this at the end of this post.

_________

review-appeals@amazon.com  

Hello,

Amazon has noticed some unusual reviewing activity on this account. As a result, we removed all of this account’s reviews. It is no longer able to contribute reviews, comments, customer questions and answers, and other content.

Why is this happening?
Customer reviews are meant to provide unbiased product feedback to help customers make informed purchase decisions. Our goal is to provide Customer Reviews to help customers make informed purchase decisions. Any reviews that could be viewed as advertising, promotional, or biased will not be posted.

This account can no longer contribute any content for one or more of the following reasons:
-- Elements of the account indicate a relationship to sellers, publishers, or other reviewers of the products you review.
-- Reviews were posted in exchange for compensation, such as gift cards to purchase the product, product refunds, review swaps, or free or discounted products.
-- The account requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews.
-- The account was created for the primary purpose of writing biased reviews.
-- An unauthorized party may have accessed this account to write reviews.

If you would like to learn more, please see our
 Community Guidelines (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=14279631).

______________

Right after I read this email I wrote my response (some typos were fixed).

 

Hi,


When you copy and paste a generic description of your opinion (as I just did with yours - see below) 

You have to provide PROOF(!)

or

everything you say is, JUST your PERSONAL opinion(!). 

You pretend that you are the God who doesn't need to explain your actions to peasants.

But you are not.

Your job is to demonstrate a SPECIFIC example when my review violated a SPECIFIC rule.

Any idiot can do what you just did - copied a generic response that was even prepared by someone else. 

What does Jeff Bezos pay you for? 

#IdioutsRuinedUS

www.Cognisity.How

____________________

 

Two days later I got this (try to find some substantial difference between this letter and the first letter from Amazon):

review-appeals@amazon.com

Hello,

Amazon previously sent an email about some unusual reviewing activity on this account. As a result, we removed all of this account’s reviews. It is no longer able to contribute reviews, comments, customer questions and answers, and other content. Thanks for contacting us. We have reviewed our decision and will not restore this account’s ability to contribute content.

Why is this happening?
Customer reviews are meant to provide unbiased product feedback to help customers make informed purchase decisions. Our goal is to provide Customer Reviews to help customers make informed purchase decisions. Any reviews that could be viewed as advertising, promotional, or biased will not be posted.

This account’s ability to contribute may have been removed for one or more of the following reasons:
-- Elements of the account indicate a relationship to sellers, publishers, or other reviewers of the products you review.
-- Reviews were posted in exchange for compensation, such as gift cards to purchase the product, product refunds, review swaps, or free or discounted products.
-- The account requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews.
-- The account was created for the primary purpose of writing biased reviews.
-- An unauthorized party may have accessed this account to write reviews.

If you would like to learn more, please see our Community Guidelines (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=14279631).

We cannot share additional information about this decision and may not reply to future emails.

________________

 

Of course I could not not to write back (see below, some typos were fixed).

 

Hi Amazon God-like feeling moderator.

you just sent me another email that says, basically, that you have no idea what specifically you punished me for, but you still insist that I was wrong, and you were right to do that.

This is the quote from your email (the fill version is below): 

This account’s ability to contribute may have been removed for one or more of the following reasons:
the grammatical structure of this sentence demonstrates that you may have didn’t know what was the actual reason for your decision.

In fact, in my previous email I asked you to provide a SPECIFIC example of one of my SPECIFIC reviews that violated one of your SPECIFIC rules.

You did not do that.

My assumption is that you do not have that SPECIFIC information, and your decision was based on a faulty algorithm.

That means your decisions are based on intrinsically faulty basis and you have no ability to prove the correctness of your decision.

Any court would agree with me.

Unless you CAN provide SPECIFIC proof - your policy is BASELESS.

At the minimum, this whole conversation goes to my blog.

Thank you for the material.

#IdioutsRuinedUS

www.Cognisity.How

_______________

 

The law does not require any media company to prove the correctness of the decision by providing a specific example of the violation of the policies. So, they can punish anyone for anything and do not have to bother about keeping the facts. This means that the policy has to be developed and sustained by the managers of a company. In this case, by the managers of the Amazon.

 

In his recent book Jeff Bezoswrites that he does not think anymore about day-to-day operations, he is busy to model the future, his thoughts are about what will happen three years from today.

 

Evidently, on some level in the Amazon administrative pyramid someone does not do his/her job. But that means that his/her superior does not do his/her job (hired a wrong person or did not provide the right training). But that means that his/her superior does not do his/her job (hired a wrong person or did not provide the right training). But that means … – you know where this all leads us to – to the top person, to Jeff Bezos. That means he does not do his job.

 

This is not a new situation in a business world. There have been multiple companies that downsized or even disappeared because their top management did not do their job (e.g. remember Blockbuster? Or check the history of General Electric).

 

All big-fish top CEOs surround themselves with lots of human filters. And that's natural; they have to limit the influx of information. But the issue is in the quality of those filters, meaning people who operate as information gateways. If those people would be as smart and intuitive and visionary and bold and lucky as their bosses, they themselves would have been bosses, not filters. A smart boss (not the same as a good boss) understands the limits of the people he uses as information filters and does something about that.


Until some politician will take on the policies of the big internet companies, they will not bother to change their policies.

 

There are only two things I can do about Amazon: 1. Share my experience; 2. Quit Amazon Prime.

 

This post is finished.

 

Now, it’s time to make the next step.

 

Dr. Valentin Voroshilov

 

More on American management:


Greed - the American cancer that killed good management.


Ignoring sloppiness: a sign of tolerance or mismanagement?

 

In Management Thinking Makes All The Difference

 

A case of a Dumb Decision. How IT Screwed us. Again.

 

 

Professional communication: a case study.

 

Was Mr. Jeff Bezos a visionary, is he still is, and will he remain to be such?


 

BTW: I have a lot of publications on the matters of management and politics.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Why Do People Have To Work? (part II)


Cont. from
https://www.cognisity.how/2020/04/WhyWork.html

I ended the first part of my explanation with these statements:

 

“In order to make a living one has to be able to satisfy someone else’s needs for – well, something, anything: cooking, delivering food, writing a code, etc.

 

If one cannot do anything – one does not deserve to live.

 

If no one needs anything from you - you are worthless.


If someone can be useful to one but a very rich person, or to poor but many persons, that someone climbs up the social ladder.

 

Otherwise, ...”

 

It is time to finish the last statement.

 

If you are useful to one but a very rich person, or to poor but many persons, then you will climb the social ladder. Otherwise, you will die in poverty.

 

This is just the current state of affairs.

 

This is the current social and economic rule.

 

There is one exception from this rule – a person who was born rich, who got sufficient inheritance and was smart enough not to waist it. But that’s that.

 

For everyone else, the rule says: “If you are useful to one but a very rich person, or to poor but many persons, then you will climb the social ladder. Otherwise, you will die in poverty.”.

 

In order to have a good living you need to be needed by people whose combined wealth is large enough to pay you good money.

 

Now we can ask two questions:

 

1. Is this fair?

 

and

 

2. Can we live by a different rule?

 

The answer to the first question depends on a personal history of cultural growth and developed life philosophy. But if we all would follow an idea that all people are created equal, we would have to state that the rule is not fair. As I described in part I, we are who we are and what we are and where we are mostly due to a vast set of random factors. Because of that not all people are created equal. Socially and economically disadvantaged people cannot be blamed for being  disadvantaged, it’s not their fault. And hence there is no ideological or philosophical reason to punish those people by keeping them in poverty. The only reason for keeping huge part of a human population in poverty is, well, was, not enough resources to provide everyone with good living. But with the current technological advances that time is in the past. Nowadays, the humanity has resources to feed and give home to everyone – if only those resource would have been used.

 

There are political forces that do not want share available resource to all people because as long as they control those resources they control those people. But that is a different conversation.

 

If one believes that the current economic and social state of affairs I not fair, one needs to answer “Yes” to the second question.

 

“Yes We Can!” live by a different rule.

 

But – what rule would that be?

 

This is my version of the new rule, it has three parts:

 

1. All people have the same right for having a decent life.

2. The purpose of a government, the mission of a government is to establish political conditions that would lead to establishing fair economic conditions that would lead to establishing decent standards of living for all citizens.

3. The number one criterion of the quality of governmental work is how many citizens live in decent conditions that provide healthy and emotionally positive (a.k.a. happy) life.

 

Well, technically, “healthy” includes “mentally healthy”, i.e. “happy”, but I think that “happiness” still should be explicitly stated as the part of the measure of the work of a government.

 

If we accept this new rule, then we have to make a conclusion, that, in general, in order to have a healthy and happy life people should not be required to work.

 

The rule does NOT have such a requirement as a requirement to work.

 

That means, that under the new rule, people do NOT have to work!

 

Why do people have to work NOW? => Because otherwise they will die from starvation, or will have a very bad, unhealthy/unhappy life.

 

But if the government takes care of good living conditions for everyone, then people do NOT have to work anymore.

 

Pure logic.

 

BTW: this logic is not new in anyway (I don’t want to pretend I am the first who said it).

 

And, of course, it has been heavily criticized.

 

The #1 counter argument is – if people do not have to work, then they will not work, and then since no one will work, the whole economy will collapse, and the society will fall into chaos.

 

Every argument is based on some assumptions.

 

The #1 counter argument is based on the assumption that all humans are intrinsically lazy.

 

Ask some big-fish CEO or an entrepreneur why dose he/she work? “I don’t work because I want money, I work because I love creating new things, products, practices, connections, …” –  you name it. And he/she always thinks “because I am so so special! But everyone else is lazy ignorant people who are lucky to have a job.”

 

Of course, as we know now, there is nothing special about any of those big-fish rich and famous – he/she is just lucky, and everyone else is just not so lucky (re-read part I).

 

I do not believe that humans are intrinsically lazy.

 

I have been teaching for decades and have taught thousands of people of different age, gender, profession, culture. And I know that people are not lazy, there is no natural tendency for laziness, and if someone does not want to act, it is not because someone is lazy, but because he or she has no motive to act.

 

Most people (parents, teachers, bosses, politicians, administrators, friends, psychologists) confuse laziness with the lack of motivation.

 

Intrinsically, by nature, most people are prompted to act – just look at infants, look at toddlers. However, if born and grew up in a wrong culture (bad luck) some people do not have developed internal motives to grow – as a person, as a professional. That is not their fault. And there are many examples that when placed in a right culture, people start thriving (Anton Makarenko).

 

Hence, the most important parameter that affects who people act (hence work) is the culture they grew up in.

 

The lack of motivation is the sign of the wrong culture one grew up in.

 

It’s not about people, per se, it is about culture they grow up in.

 

With the right culture, all people would definitely have internal motivation to grow – as a person and as a professional.

 

With the right culture, all people would work even if they did not have to.

 

The answer to question “why do people have to work?” is “because many of them grew up in a wrong culture”.

 

Change the culture – and even if all people will have a good decent life without need for work, they will work – to realize/fulfill their natural intrinsic potential – because that feels really good (if you know what I mean – I do).

 

Now we have to answer two more questions:

 

1. What is the right culture?

 

and

 

2. How should the right culture be developed?

 

The answer to the first question begs a new publication.

 

The answer to the second question though is “trivial” – the right culture should be developed via right public education.

 

That, of course, moves us to questions like “what is wrong with the current public education?”, “why the dismal state of public education has been there for decades without any significant improvement despite billions of dollars spent on a so-called education reform?”, and other addressed in multiple posts on the matters.

 

Homework: why humans are intrinsically naturally active, not lazy?

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V

 

Because otherwise humans would die out long time ago, there would be no humanity, because there is no survival without being active, survival and especially procreation demands activity. 

 

Dr. Valentin Voroshilov

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

American suicide, or “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

 


I am writing here about legalization of drugs in America.

 

Or, rather, about how it’s being done.

 

I want to say upfront, I am against bringing criminal charges to people who consume drugs just because they consumed a drug.

 

The law does not prohibit consuming alcohol and does not even set any limit on how much can be consumed. But if a drank person or a person who wants to become drunk brings some damage or harm, then the law punishes him or her.

 

The exactly same legal approach has to be used to ALL drugs.

 

On December 5, 1933, consumption of alcohol became decriminalized.

 

And now America needs to decriminalize consumption of all drugs, starting from marijuana.

 

One may say – but that is exactly what is happening right now!

 

Twenty-six states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis. One state (Oregon) legalized the use of hard drugs.

 

The problem is when the Prohibition ended, no one was promoting drinking as a good life style.

 

On the contrary, many media outlets and media personalities present smoking marijuana as a cool activity, natural for, and even expected from “cool people”.

 

There is a huge difference between “decriminalization” and “promotion”.

 

I completely understand the reasons why many left-leaning Americans want to decriminalize consumption of marijuana. The number one is that marijuana has been used to oppress/suppress African Americans and other non-white Americans. Even though the level of consumption is very much the same for white and non-white Americans, the level of criminal punishment is much higher for non-white population.

 

That is true. Although, technically, these facts are NOT related to consumption of marijuana per se, they are directly related to the way the police and the criminal system work. Instead of decriminalization of drugs politicians could have been initiating the police reform. For example, making sure that all events of the illegal position – for non-white and white Americans, equally – would be prosecuted in exactly same manner. Or, by enlisting more non-white policemen and making those policemen to patrol predominantly white neighborhoods.

 

But I also understand the reality. I know that my suggestions are not realistic. That is why I have no objection to decriminalization of consumption of drugs.

 

But I have a strong objection to promoting that consumption – in any way (starting from movies).

 

On the contrary, the process of the decriminalization of consumption of drugs must be happening in parallel with the process of  an active denouncement of any drug consumption. Money needs to flow into the support and promotion of anti-drug movements.

 

“Using is a danger for your health!”

 

“Using is not cool!”

 

Etc.

 

Unfortunately, what I see today is the opposite of that.

 

In result, I see (or rather feel, i.e. smell) a greatly increased number of people smoking marijuana – even while driving.

 

Smoking marijuana has to be regulated as smoking in general, because it affects other people, too. When someone drinks, it does not affect the health of other (unless the drunk is driving, or psychotic). But fumes travel in all directions, and a smoker puts in danger people around him or her.

 

But most importantly, drugs represent a threat for the health of the nation as a whole.

 

Without strong counter influence, more and more people, especially young people will be at risk of damaging their health. Young people will begin using drugs at an earlier age. And their children will have more health issues, including mental issues. Schools will have more and more intellectually disadvantaged students. Clinics will have more and more people with a poor health condition. The whole society will experience more and more strain.

 

As I wrote, I know the reasons for the strong push to support the legalization of marijuana.

 

And I believe that the number one is money.

 

There are people who have a lot of money and look for the ways to make even more. They want to open another venue for their investments. Marijuana can become a billion-dollar business. And those people do not care about any negative effect legalization of marijuana may have on the society. In fact, they have a strong interest in promoting marijuana as much as possible.

 

Hence, it is the people who care about the future of the country who have to step up.

 

Or America will be slowly killing herself.