I've had the first argument numerous times with people attending universities. They seem to think the U is some kind of tech school where they learn only their chosen field and nothing else. I try to explain that a UNIVERSity education is about obtaining a breadth of knowledge, a "UNIVERSE" of learning, not just a narrow band. I suggest to them that an unwillingness to be exposed to a variety of subjects, some of them admittedly obscure and irrelevant to one's chosen profession, might lend itself better to a community college or certification program. No, they want the university degree, just not the university program.
Bravo! Excellent post!
Anybody who can use jejune in a sentence and make it light up the page must have a passing acquaintance with the power of the written word; yet, as he admits, no one is going to bother reading it.
Seat Belts save 10,000 lives
The story then went on to relate how during the 90s there was a steady decline in traffic deaths of about 200 people per year. The first couple paragraphs described how modern brakes, better tire treads, better highway engineering of crash prone locations and stricter DUI enforcement all contributed to the safety improvement.
Then the final paragraph attributed the entire improvement in traffic deaths to seatbelts, totally negating the previous paragraphs.
As one who has been in P&C insurance all my adult life, first as a loss prevention and safety specialist, and now in management of the databases that have the raw data and the statistics the facts are clear.
One can find NO CORRELATION at all between seat belts and traffic deaths. Look at the timing of when each state passed voluntary and then primary seatbelt laws. Look at the published statistics on adoption rate by geographic or demographic group. Compare each those to the crash, injury and death rates. There is no correlaton. The two states with the weakest seat belt laws have the lowest fatality rates.
In contrast, with each of the other factors listed, DUI, highway engineering, anti-lock brakes, etc a strong correlation with specific factual proof to support the statistics can show that they were each very effective in saving both life, limb and property.
But things like seatbelts have become religious icons. To not believe in them is to be condemned to hell.
Sadly, I believe that he's correct. Excellent article; thanks for posting it.
The adolescentization of politics, begun in the 1960s, has given us the politics of gesture. A couple of years ago some 60-ish women of my acquaintance, as a protest of the Iraq war, went down to the beach and took their clothes off. This seemed to satisfy them, though as I watched the newspapers closely for days afterward I could detect no effect. We are increasingly countenancing an education of gesture, in which self-expression does not merely take precedence over but displaces that which is worth expressing...was made better, and sadder, by Milan Kundera in his (fantastic) book Immortality.
She walked around the pool toward the exit. She passed the lifeguard, and after she had gone some three or four steps beyond him, she turned her head, smiled, and waved to him. At that instant I felt a pang in my heart! That smile and that gesture belonged to a twenty-year-old girl! Her arm rose with bewitching ease. It was as if she were playfully tossing a brightly colored ball to her lover. That smile and that gesture had charm and elegance, while the face and the body no longer had any charm. It was the charm of a gesture drowning in the charmlessness of the body. But the woman, though she must of course have realized that she was no longer beautiful, forgot that for the moment. There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless. In any case, the instant she turned, smiled, and waved to the young lifeguard (who couldn't control himself and burst out laughing), she was unaware of her age. The essence of her charm, independent of time, revealed itself for a second in that gesture and dazzled me. I was strangely moved.