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lecture on excellent net-accessible graphing utility: watch the world getting better Five GoldenYak (tm) award- the auroran sunset

A 20-minute video of a talk by a real teacher, on understanding statistics, the improving world and the myth of equality.

The way he presents the statistics is both very clear, and pretty! He’s also quite funny.

From the following link, you can keep up to date with Gapminder.

The excellent graphing tools and associated data banks shown in the lecture can be accessed directly at gapminder tools.

Here is a link to the human development trends slideshows that are part of the video lecture above.

related material
index of information tables
world information resources

the web address for the article above is




interesting international comparative study of engineering students [Long document]

“Our interviews with representatives of multinational and local technology companies revealed that they felt comfortable hiring graduates from only 10 to 15 universities across the country. The list of schools varied slightly from company to company, but all of the people we talked to agreed that the quality of engineering education dropped off drastically beyond those on the list. Demand for engineers from China’s top-tier universities is high, but employers complained that supply is limited.”

At the same time, China’s National Development and Reform Commission reported in 2006 that 60% of that year’s university graduates would not be able to find work. In an effort to "fight" unemployment, some universities in China’s Anhui province are refusing to grant diplomas until potential graduates show proof of employment.[...]”

“ In India, the growth in engineering education has been largely bottom-up and market-driven. There are a few regulatory bodies, such as the AICTE, that set limits on intake capacities, but the public education system is mired in politics and inefficiency. Current national debates focus on a demand for caste-based quotas for more than half of the available seats in public institutions.”

“In the United States, close to 60% of engineering PhD degrees awarded annually are currently earned by foreign nationals, according to data from the American Society for Engineering Education. Indian and Chinese students are the dominant foreign student groups. Data for 2005 that we obtained from the Chinese government show that 30% of all Chinese students studying abroad returned home after their education, and various sources report that this number is steadily increasing. Our interviews with business executives in India and China confirmed this trend.

“The bottom line is that China is racing ahead of the United States and India in its production of engineering and technology PhD’s and in its ability to perform basic research. India is in particularly bad shape, as it does not appear to be producing the numbers of PhD’s needed even to staff its growing universities.”

    immigrants adding value to US economy
  • “In 25.3% of the companies, at least one key founder was foreign-born. In the semiconductor industry, the percentage was 35.2%.
  • “Nationwide, these immigrant-founded companies produced $52 billion in sales and employed 450,000 workers in 2005.
  • “Almost 80% of immigrant-founded companies were within two industry fields: software and innovation/manufacturing-related services. Immigrants were least likely to start companies in the defense/aerospace and environmental industries.
  • “Indians have founded more engineering and technology companies during that past decade than immigrants from Britain, China, Taiwan, and Japan combined. Of all immigrant-founded companies, 26% have Indian founders.
  • “The mix of immigrants varies by state. For example, Indians dominate in New Jersey, with 47% of all immigrant-founded startups. Hispanics are the dominant group in Florida, and Israelis are the largest founding group in Massachusetts.”

    “[...] Foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in 24.2% of the patent applications filed from the United States in 2006, up from 7.3% in 1998. This number does not include foreign nationals who became citizens before filing a patent. The Chinese were the largest group, followed by Indians, Canadians, and British. Immigrant filers contributed more theoretical, computational, and practical patents than patents in mechanical, structural, or traditional engineering.”

    “There is little doubt that there are problems with K-12 [kindergarten to 12th year, 12th year is ~to age 18] education and that U.S. schools do not teach children enough math and science. However, the degradation in math and science education happened over a generation. Even if the nation did everything that is needed, it will probably take 10 to 15 years before major benefits become apparent. Given the pace at which globalization is happening, by that time the United States would have lost its global competitive edge. The nation cannot wait for education to set matters right.”

the web address for the article above is

on them and us

An experiment:

“In a series of experiments, Miami University undergraduates were led to believe that they would view the faces of fellow Miami students (the in-group) and students from Marshall University (a perennial football rival, making them the ultimate out-group) on a computer screen.

“In reality, none of the faces, all of whom were white, were students at either university. By merely labeling them, however, the participants better recognized faces that they believed were fellow Miami students.”

And a stumblingly written article whose writer, at least, does think:

“Religion placed immortal supernatural beings at the top of the clan, thereby reducing everyday violence between adherents. Crusades, jihads, and bloody schisms were the price paid for this improvement, though in the grim context of human behavioral history, that was probably a bargain.”

“Some answers are: Because to pretend to be certain that such big questions don’t exist is to be dishonest. Because noticing what I’ll call "permanent mysteries" evokes wonder. And most important, because people are afraid to die, and they sometimes find hope in the unresolved status of the biggest questions. Take away that hope and you hand victory to whatever creep can give it back.”

The tribal gods become a conditioned reality to ever larger tribes. Wars between big tribes are a bigger pain than the wars between small tribes.

The human animal has evolved from social and hierarchical roots. How are they to be taught or learn to live in a rational world outside hierarchy? Certainly not by the looney, godless, socialist cultism.

How can people learn to live with the realities of uncertainties without irrational hopes of ‘closure’ and ‘answers’?. Humans are so inclined to frame facts into stories, filling in gaps with fictions.

the web address for the article above is

the current school and university exam system

The exam system is mainly a highly inefficient means of rationing. The exams are competitive.

At the top, the standards are higher than they ever were. After all, the science is rushing ahead. It is rushing to such an extent that the world of ox carts, well-digging and log tables, yearned for by fogeys young and old, is long gone.

Now we have machines to do the sums, just as we now have machines to plough the fields and dig the holes. And we have vastly more universities of knitting and pea-shooting.

You hardly expect to need 15 A*** passes at double advanced A-Level in order to get into the Poughkeepsie or the Wigan Institute of Highly Advanced Studies.

But the average peasant would much rather tell their mates they are attending the Wigan Institute of Highly Advanced Studies, than saying they are attending “the Wigan Keep-them-happy-and-off-the-street-until-they-are-over-25-years-old Happy Farm”.

And where exactly is the harm in that?

the web address for the article above is

the planet’s most advanced culture - by far

World top 100 universities

compare with

Top 100 Asian universities

Nobel prizes by country
Most Nobel Prize by Countries from 1901 - 2002

  1. United States - 261
  2. United Kingdom - 79
  3. Germany - 61
  4. France - 28
  5. Switzerland - 22
  6. Sweden - 18
  7. Russia - 11
  8. Netherlands - 9
  9. Denmark - 8
  10. Japan - 7

Most Nobel Prize by Countries. Last 15 years Only

  1. United States - 93
  2. United Kingdom - 9
  3. Germany - 8
  4. France - 4
    Japan - 4
    Switzerland - 4
  5. Canada - 2
  6. Denmark - 1
    Netherlands - 1
    Norway - 1
    Russia - 1
    Sweden - 1

the web address for the article above is

Anti-Darwin award nominee's blue van on the collapsed bridge. Image source: theage.auabelard anti-darwin award - now here’s a fellow who thinks clearly and effectively

Look at the blue van (lower right) crashed into the wall.

See the ramp down at the van’s side entrance.

The driver is a paraplegic, caused by an unsolved shooting seven years ago.

He crashed his van (his main means of getting about) into the side wall when he realised he was in trouble.
He watched as several others plunged off the breaking bridge.

Then he could not get out, for his wheel chair would have run off the ramp - so he waited for assistance. Cool under fire, no impulsiveness here.

related material
The Darwin Awards


Anti-Darwin award nominee’s blue van on the collapsed bridge. Image source: theage.au

the web address for the article above is

i cain’t say no - on child rearing

This is a very poor article and entirely misses both the selfishness of such parenting, and the immense psychological damage it does to the young.

The young respond to such parenting with a lack of self-worth, lack of confidence and often a life of failure as they cannot meet the requirements of adulthood.

The deep emotional response of a child treated ‘permissively’ is “nobody cares”, and they are fundamentally correct.

“You’ve got a generation of parents that does not believe in punishing their kids. They say ‘you’re grounded for a year’. And the kid cries and then they say ‘Oh all right, then!’ A whole lot of parents don’t know how to control their kids. The kids are in charge." Hammans certainly does know how to say no, and back it up. But her point was that what she said was far less important than what parents said and did. Hammans even described the extraordinary situation where parents were not attending parent-teacher evenings because "kids don’t want their parents coming up here".”

Marker at abelard.org

“It ain't so much a question of not knowing what to do.
I knowed whut's right and wrong since I been ten.
I heared a lot of stories and I reckon they are true
About how girls're put upon by men.
I know I mustn't fall into the pit,
But when I'm with a feller, I fergit!
I'm jist a girl who cain't say no,” [Quoted from stlyrics.com]

the web address for the article above is

on attention and concentration
on ‘empathy’
on errors of reasoning, including wanting closure and making assumptions

These three related items have been combined to create a new document, reasoning errors, empathy, attention and concentration

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