Better Clever than Brilliant

It isn’t the brilliant people that get the best results,
It’s the clever people that do.
Brilliant, is what we are;
Clever, is what we do that is wise.
But, neither, is who we are,
Even though we might be brilliant and/or clever.

If you have to choose between the two,
Choose between the two:
To be both brilliant and clever.
Neither precludes the other;
For both can be learned.

What we do can make us look brilliant, or not so;
What we do is what makes our lives.

It is the job of parents to bring their kids up into cleverness;
It is the job of ‘education’ to help make everyone cleverer;
It is the job of him who can see ‘truthly’ to follow cleverness.

Where is the place for brilliance in life?
Where is the place for brilliance, or beauty, in a ‘good’ life?

Footnote:
I hope the sense of ‘truthly’ makes sense. What ‘normal’ word could’ve been sufficient?

How I think I learned English

There was a time, while growing up that I wouldn’t go to church because I wanted to watch TV; there was a time, in those days, that I listened more to/for what they had to say on TV than… And while acknowledging the contributions of my teachers and classmates in primary school to my ability to speak English, TV really made a difference. It was language learning by immersion; It provided all the examples we needed to build sufficient intuition for English, and without stressing the technicalities of the language. The child was immersed in TV.

Now, I may not recall most of the technicalities, but I speak like I know enough of them. Truly, and regardless or language, the explicit knowledge of the rules of sentence construction, grammar, meaning … is irrelevant to fluency.

What we had on television, then, was innocuous compared to today’s childrens’ and teens’ programming; even perhaps more helpful intellectually. This reminds one of the evolution of the swim suit and bikini.

So, sated with cartoons, series TV, and some network news, we grew.

These were some of my TV teachers (the regulars, not exhaustive, perhaps incorrect/misspelled titles):
Sesame street, Captain cave man, jumbo, jabberjaw, Scobby and scappy doo, Some mothers do have them, Knight rider, Inspector gadget, Dempsey and Makepeace, the love boat, Matlock, CI5, Jacko, The avengers, The new avengers, Jake and the Fat Man, Moonlighting, Jemima Shaw investigates, Tom and Jerry, Ovide and the gang, Superted, The ‘A’ team, Another life, Samurai X, Voltron, Thundersub, G-force, Speed the racer, Danger mouse, Atom ant, Allo allo, The wonder years, Hanna Barbera cartoons, The Adventures of tom sawyer, famous five, little women, Domby and son, The adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, Muppet babies, fraggle rock, ghost busters, family matters, the cosby show, the Jeffersons, a different world, the fresh prince of Bel-air, Roger Ramjet, Different strokes, Fawlty towers, Chips, The Amazing Spiderman, Dukes of hazard….

Nigerian:
Tales by moonlight, Cock crow at dawn, Behind the clouds, The new masquerade, Basi and company, Jagua, Ojo Ladipo theatre group’s Aluwe, The NTA news (of the time), Checkmate, Samanja ….

The functions of the university.

Wikipedia says that the word ‘university’ comes from a Latin statement that basically means ‘community of teachers and scholars.’ The idea of the university, as currently expressed, also existed millennia ago. The university of Babylon existed at about 600 BC, and they had a 3-year programme that taught language, culture, philosophy, law, justice, and administration. It produced civil servants. (Daniel 1, Bible.) The ancient Chinese and Indians were advanced in learning and thought and it may not be much of a stretch to consider that they might have had institutions of higher learning in the form that they exist today.

Developments in science and technology, evolution of commercial society, and confusions of morality and justice, are changing the times. These events are prompting the review of the university, its relevance, methods and means of instruction, and curricula. If we treat certificate awarding professional bodies as institutions of higher learning that promote homeschooling and alternative instructional associations, then, the place of the university (hardware, brick-and-mortar) becomes clearer in the mix of competing institutions and changing industry values.

You don’t need a university degree to become a certified professional in some industries (aviation, accounting …), but you need to have gone through a process somewhat akin to attending a university (residential or distance learning). They are all thus universities of different sorts in the mold of the institution of higher learning.

Let’s frame this question for ourselves to answer: why should the traditional university continue as it is now for another millennium (even with the evolution of instructional means and methods, and the changing perceptions of qualification and learning today)? To whom does this matter, and to what?

The following is a view of what universities are and do today, and why brick-and-mortar should continue. Nothing detailed.
1. Learning facilitation and knowledge transfer (teacher to scholar, and vice versa).
2. Certificate Authority (like Comodo, confirming a website is the website it says it is…). The university certificate affirms that a person has successful gone through a specific learning/training/development process, and by implication has specific knowledge.
3. Self/passion/vision/spouse discovery and character development.
4. Knowledge discovery and dissemination (Research and associated publications, and knowledge transfer to society, aka industry.)
5. Exclusive social and business network (from personal networks to student clubs/sororities/frats, and the alumni community).

Items 1 and 2 (and perhaps 4) may be regarded as the essentials. And we can arrive at the following conclusions about the relative importance of the functions availed some stakeholders:
The most important for the student (scholar) is item 1 above.
The most important for the lecturer is item 1.
The most important for society is item 2.
The most important for the university is item 5.

That students exist for teachers and vice versa is self-evident. The university exists for its scholars and teachers, itself, and for society. All of them beneficiaries of the system they make. The human, face-to-face, interaction involved in the above list and as created by the intello-socio-physical university environment is very important for students’ development, and for the university to continue brick and mortar.

The university performs academic, certification, and social/civic functions for the person and for society. Society may need or just want you to have your degree; either way, it benefits if you do, and it would assume you’re enlightened. It would gladly ask you, before granting you certain specified benefits, for your diploma (or other acceptable proof of successfully completing a particular course of study). The accredited or recognised institution delivers the proof on a piece of paper.

A continual flow of people go through universities with various hopes and dreams to become private/public servants and leaders/managers. Servants in that we all ‘serve’ (at least ourselves) in some capacity after the degree or diploma, and regardless of any correlation or otherwise with what we studied. This is perhaps a reason universities are (or should be) more than academics or research, for the teacher, the scholar, and the university administration.

After one steps off the campus (real or virtual) or signs out with that very important piece of paper, what should one have assimilated by that time? What should have happened to him (to build him), and what should he have happened to (or achieved). To create this atmosphere and learning process makes the individual a ‘better’, ‘selectively experienced’, and ‘richer’ person. This where the physical university experience (in contrast to distance learning) may have a niche as they necessarily provide valuable structured and unstructured physical presence interactions.

A rehash of Beer’s law

Beer’s law (1852 by August Beer):
It relates the absorption of light to the properties of the material through which the light is traveling. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambert-Beer_law). That is, how well a student absorbs academic material, per topic, per time, or how much alcohol the liver will take at any specific time.

Beer Lambert Law in Solution

Beer-Lambert Law in Solution

Specifically, it is the physical law that states that the quantity of light absorbed by a substance dissolved in a non-absorbing solvent is directly proportional to the concentration of the substance and the path length of the light through the solution. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Beer).

Beer's Law

A is the measured absorbance (of the brain or liver etc).
ε L.mol-1.cm-1 is molar absorpitivity. The wavelength-dependent absorptivity coefficient, a function of the level/rate of understanding and comprehension, focus, attention and distraction.
l cm is path length of the sample (material),  a function of volume, presentation and pedagogy.
c mol.L-1 is solution/analyte concentration, a function of frequency and/or material concentration.

Then a saturation (can’t take this any more) point might come, or the above law break down, like when a stretched rubber (stomach or liver?) refuses to go back to its original length having been overstretched, thus distended (re: Hookes law of elasticity).

 

PS:
Reference also made to the Android app, Techcalc, by http://www.roamingsquirrel.com/calculator.html

Pictures from Wikimedia commons (File:Beer Lambert Law in Solution.jpg, File:Beer’s Law.png).

 

What is mathematics?

Mathematics is a tool to discover, describe and explain reality in precise and logical terms. Our immediate reality is nature, its physics, its chemistry, and its biology. It is a terse abstraction and representation of perception—that is, of mathematical reality. It starts from the obvious and goes on to the non-obvious, searching the depths of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. Where there is perception, there is existence, however imperfect or otherwise.

Mathematics is a distinct language for expressing and communicating mathematical reality. This is perhaps where we might lose our way as we delve deeper into it—having to learn a new comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, semantics and syntax. If however we can cross this pond, we will more clearly see the art in its reality, where it is beautiful for what it represents, its simplicity or its intricacy. Through mathematics we can see and appreciate a little more of the genius of humanity, of the creation, and of all existence.