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Thread: US college enrollment is declining

  1. #41
    Super Moderator dday9's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Just like the housing bubble in 2007/08 it is inevitable that the college tuition bubble will pop. The Higher Education Act not only increased the cap on borrowing limits but it also loosened the term "in need"; according to the Department of Education, roughly 3/4ths of Americans attending college are now considered "in need".

    Because of this artificial "easy money" coming in, universities are incentivized to raise tuitions. Why would they continue to charge yesterday's tuition when they know that students are practically guaranteed loans for higher prices today?

    I would like to go back to college to earn my degree so that I can be proud of completing it. But I also have a longer time preference, I don't mind waiting until after the crash and tuition rates fall for me to go back.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    Or an apprenticeship, or some kind of mentorship, or join the military - that's what I did. No experience needed, all the training you need, and when you get out, you have experience - even if you don't have a degree. That's what happened to me. I joined the Air Force and got my experience that way. the only degree I have is a measly Assoc Applied Science which I got through the military since I'd get credit for my on the job training. I've thought about going back and getting a BS degree, but the cost is a major factor.

    -tg
    I don't know about software related BS degrees but my daughter is in the process of getting her BS online. It will take her about a year and I think it's @ $4,000 a semester. She has an Associates degree to start with. Nursing is strange in CA. She got her Associates and then went through the colleges 2yrs nursing program but it's still only a Associate degree. Of course it's a BS if you get your degree through a 4yr college.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    The thread topic is declining enrollment. But the perspective changes a lot once you accept that decades of prior increases were inflated and bogus.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Who got rich off the student debt crisis?

    A generation ago, Congress privatized a student loan program intended to give more Americans access to higher education.

    In its place, lawmakers created another profit center for Wall Street and a system of college finance that has fed the nationís cycle of inequality. Step by step, Congress has enacted one law after another to make student debt the worst kind of debt for Americans Ė and the best kind for banks and debt collectors.

    Today, just about everyone involved in the student loan industry makes money off students Ė the banks, private investors, even the federal government.
    It isn't that simple of course. We can't forget the university system's own stakeholders in the Education-Financial Complex.

  5. #45
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by dday9 View Post
    Yes, university and college typically interchangeable.
    I find that curious about American vernacular. It seems like "to go to college" generally means "to go to university" but I have seen instances where people strenuously point out that a particular educational institution is a university and not a college. It seem that "college" actually has a specific definition in this context but is commonly used to refer to universities and, possibly, ONLY universities by some. I just read this from the Boston College Wikipedia page:
    Although Boston College is classified as an R1 research university, it still uses the word "college" in its name to reflect its historical position as a small liberal arts college.
    I wonder how many people consider going to an actual college as not actually going to college.

  6. #46
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    or join the military - that's what I did. No experience needed, all the training you need, and when you get out, you have experience - even if you don't have a degree.
    I imagine that that is a less attractive option to many these days. That the US and its allies (including Australia) has officially pulled out of Afghanistan probably makes it less likely that you'll see active service, the fact that even many in the National Guard have apparently seen multiple tours of Afghanistan would make many very nervous about the military as a means to receive training and education.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    In the US, I would guess that the number is quite small. I've never encountered anybody who cared about the distinction.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Yeah, here it's "Where did you go to college?" The answer might be I went to such and such University. My favorite university is the one Bullwinkle went to "Wossamotto U", it's in Frostbite Falls, Mn

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    College may be a scam, to some degree (no pun intended - really, I'm adding this after the fact because I only just realised) at least, but that you would listen to anything Andrew Tate has to say is worrying in and of itself.

  11. #51
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    College may be a scam, to some degree
    It is and it isn't. It's not so clear cut. If you're doing anything in STEM or law, then I'd say it's not. If you're doing stuff like fine art, theater arts, philosophy, gender studies etc then you're getting conned. Some of this stuff is utterly useless and some you can learn on your own or from a mentor.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    but that you would listen to anything Andrew Tate has to say is worrying in and of itself.
    There are very few people worth listening to as of 2022, Andrew Tate is in my top 3 easily and I say that boldly!
    Last edited by Niya; Aug 12th, 2022 at 02:26 AM.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    The US vernacular is even more confusing for us Brits because College and University have very distinct meanings here. College is Further Education (aimed at ages 16 to 18) University is Higher Education (aimed at ages 18 to 21 although very open to mature students of any age).

    Personally, I went to Uni as a mature student at the age of 27. I spent my 20s trying to be a rock star but a complete lack of talent, looks and imagination really held me back so I mostly ended up working in factories and call centres. I was lucky enough to find myself in the position of managing the shared house I lived with on behalf of the landlord (i.e. finding new tenants, dealing with problems etc.) in exchange for not paying rent and that meant I could afford to put myself through Uni with a Student Loan and a part time job. Without that break there's no way I could have financed it. Honestly, my whole live has really just been a sequence of happy accidents.

    I'm curious to ask those who are saying that a degree is a necessity (or close to) in your area, is it really the degree or is it a qualified skill set? I personally believe that the trend through the nineties and noughties of pushing everyone into university at the expense of all other paths has created that sort of degree requirement bloat. I feel like government investment other paths like apprenticeships, vocational courses etc. are likely to bear more fruit, particularly if they're scoped to include mature students who are reskilling as well as young people still on their original academic path.


    If you're doing stuff like fine art, theater arts, philosophy, gender studies etc then you're getting conned.
    I disagree but I do recognise that their benefit is a lot less concrete than Stem subjects. These subjects have cultural benefits to our society but those benefits are hard to measure. That doesn't mean the benefits don't exist though.
    Last edited by FunkyDexter; Aug 12th, 2022 at 02:31 AM.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    It is and it isn't. It's not so clear cut. If you're doing anything in STEM or law, then I'd say it's not. If you're doing stuff like fine art, theater arts, philosophy, gender studies etc then you're getting conned. Some of this stuff is utterly useless and some you can learn on your own or from a mentor.
    So what you're saying is that college may be a scam, to some degree.
    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    There are very few people worth listening to as of 2022, Andrew Tate is in my top 3 easily and I say that boldly!
    The guy who moved to Romania because it had more lax rape laws is among your top three people to listen to? We can't be friends any more.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    The US vernacular is even more confusing for us Brits because College and University have very distinct meanings here. College is Further Education (aimed at ages 16 to 18) University is Higher Education (aimed at ages 18 to 21 although very open to mature students of any age).
    Australia is basically the same. We have TAFE (Technical and Further Education) colleges that are largely focused on vocational training but are probably more diverse offerings these days. We also had QIT (Queensland Institute of Technology) and ITS (Institute of Technology Sydney) that have since become QUT and UTS

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    I'm curious to ask those who are saying that a degree is a necessity (or close to) in your area, is it really the degree or is it a qualified skill set? I personally believe that the trend through the nineties and noughties of pushing everyone into university at the expense of all other paths has created that sort of degree requirement bloat. I feel like government investment other paths like apprenticeships, vocational courses etc. are likely to bear more fruit, particularly if they're scoped to include mature students who are reskilling as well as young people still on their original academic path.
    It's not a necessity. There's just not many middle income non degreed jobs available. The ones that exist are primarily filled through connections, that's what I mean by getting your foot in the door. I'm all for the other alternatives you listed but they don't exist, in any meaningful numbers. Colleges do exist.

    I will say, if your exceptionally driven or talented, you can make it out of poverty but you shouldn't have to be exceptional to do that. I've seen the average college student. They're not exceptional. lol
    Last edited by wes4dbt; Aug 12th, 2022 at 02:50 AM.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    There's just not many middle income non degreed jobs available.
    Would you say that's because those jobs simply no longer exist or because skilled jobs that previously didn't require a degree now require one? I definitely recognise the latter phenomenon which is why I tend to champion alternative paths like apprenticeships, vocational qualifications etc.

    E.g. Nursing has required a degree in the UK for about 20 or 30 years now (not sure exactly) which has always felt wrong to me. I mean no disrespect to nurses (quite the opposite) and I don't think the level of knowledge and rigour required of the profession is any less than that required for degree.
    But the nature of the work feels to me like something that's best learned in a ward with real patients than in a lecture hall. To be clear, I don't think it matters much what we call the qualification that comes at the end of the training so, heck, call it a degree if that floats your boat, but the teaching of that subject should be in a practical rather than an academic setting. And if it is in a practical setting they'll actually be contributing so let's pay them.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Would you say that's because those jobs simply no longer exist or because skilled jobs that previously didn't require a degree now require one? I definitely recognise the latter phenomenon which is why I tend to champion alternative paths like apprenticeships, vocational qualifications etc.

    E.g. Nursing has required a degree in the UK for about 20 or 30 years now (not sure exactly) which has always felt wrong to me. I mean no disrespect to nurses (quite the opposite) and I don't think the level of knowledge and rigour required of the profession is any less than that required for degree.
    But the nature of the work feels to me like something that's best learned in a ward with real patients than in a lecture hall. To be clear, I don't think it matters much what we call the qualification that comes at the end of the training so, heck, call it a degree if that floats your boat, but the teaching of that subject should be in a practical rather than an academic setting. And if it is in a practical setting they'll actually be contributing so let's pay them.
    Nursing definitely requires college. It involves biology, physiology, micro biology, mathematics, drug interactions and ethics. You don't just blindly give an injection. You have to know the amount by need, weight, other drugs involved, how the age of patient affects the doses. There not drones that are just told what to do. My daughter worked in the critical care unit for 10+ yrs. The doctors do the surgeries and give initial orders but they leave, these nurses have to diagnose problems that happen and make action plans all the time.

    As for if previously skilled jobs now need degrees, I'd say that's not the main issue. But if your from a low income family, then you probably don't have a dad, mom or uncle in one of the higher paying non degreed jobs. So it's much harder to get into that kind of job. Their best path is through college. Also, it seems manufacturing jobs pay has been losing ground.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    But the nature of the work feels to me like something that's best learned in a ward with real patients than in a lecture hall.
    In Australia, as I expect it is elsewhere, student nurses do practical placements in their later year(s). If they did such placements early on then they would just be a hindrance to the real staff. By doing it later, they know enough of the theory that they can be trusted not not kill any patients and actually help the qualified nurses. I had a stay in hospital late last year and saw a number of student nurses and they were doing and learning things that they wouldn't have been able to if they hadn't already learned much of the theory.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Nursing definitely requires college. It involves biology, physiology, micro biology, mathematics, drug interactions and ethics. You don't just blindly give an injection. You have to know the amount by need, weight, other drugs involved, how the age of patient affects the doses. There not drones that are just told what to do. My daughter worked in the critical care unit for 10+ yrs. The doctors do the surgeries and give initial orders but they leave, these nurses have to diagnose problems that happen and make action plans all the time.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the amount of knowledge required isn't equivalent to (or even in excess of) a college education, I'm questioning how that knowledge is best taught/acquired.

    if your from a low income family, then you probably don't have a dad, mom or uncle in one of the higher paying non degreed jobs. So it's much harder to get into that kind of job.
    I agree. What I'm saying is there are ways we could open up paths into those jobs that aren't currently supported. Setting nepotism aside I guess I'm asking, are there still skilled jobs in your area that people could be theoretically trained into? I can imagine that a lot of those jobs may exist but have artificially had a college degree requirement attached due to a glut of college educated candidates - effectively forcing everyone to get a college education if they want to advance. If that is the problem then opening up those alternate paths and removing the artificial degree requirement would open up opportunities to people who aren't in a position to pursue a college education.

    If, on the other hand, those skilled jobs simply don't exist (or at least, not in sufficient numbers) then it's a much more difficult problem to solve. It means attracting businesses to the area which requires infrastructure investment, education investment, possible tax break, advertising... all of which is entirely prospective and may not achieve a decent pay off.

    it seems manufacturing jobs pay has been losing ground
    I don't doubt it. Probably a function of increased automation which tends to result in fewer jobs but somewhat more skilled. Globalisation may to blame but likely less so because manufacturing is actually quite difficult to move because they require transport and physical infrastructure (service based jobs, on the other hand, are a piece of cake to move abroad). Immigration may also be a factor.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Somewhat different but also similar.
    University reputation at higher rates is highly possible to get you a job, although people that go to those are either exceptionally skilled (thus getting a scholarship or get noted , picked up and accepted) or the are from a rich family or their parents have important positions. A perfect example is our prime idiot. His father was the prime in Greece (tho not and idiot as the current one, just traitor), so he was accepted to Harvard, given a degree without studying and set to become that idiot-moron-stupid-goat loving prime his is today (not for long bucko)
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    Australia is basically the same...
    You put the queen on your money, you're basically British.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by dday9 View Post
    You put the queen on your money, you're basically British.
    I even support England in cricket, but I was born in the UK.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    It is and it isn't. It's not so clear cut. If you're doing anything in STEM or law, then I'd say it's not. If you're doing stuff like fine art, theater arts, philosophy, gender studies etc then you're getting conned. Some of this stuff is utterly useless and some you can learn on your own or from a mentor.
    You can learn it ALL on your own or from a mentor. You can frequently find people who say that after N years, all you have learned in college is out of date, where N varies by who is saying it. I tend to agree. The genetics I learned in grad school are still valid....but the field has advanced so far that much of it is out of date. Even the fish names I learned back then aren't all the same.

    The point of college is probably not the information in the courses, primarily. That's all very nice to have, and some of it will remain relevant throughout your life, but it's probably more of showing that you can do the 'work', which is not necessarily courses, but all the rest. After all, once you get your first job, nobody really cares where you went to school anymore. Some schools will teach more of one thing than another, but that doesn't matter. It's just a question of, "do you have a degree?" So long as the answer is Yes, the box is checked off and experience becomes more relevant.



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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    I'm still trying to figure out how it is easy to get my hair cut or lawn mowed overseas. Well, that and how pushing a button takes more skill than making shoes without automation.

    But I guess I don't live over there on the other side of the looking glass where up is down and night is day.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the amount of knowledge required isn't equivalent to (or even in excess of) a college education, I'm questioning how that knowledge is best taught/acquired.
    You could make that argument for most professions. I don't know how things work in the UK but here, the first 2yrs of college include the non major classes like History, humanities, reading/writing skills, math. The last 2yrs are mainly specifically about your field of study, so in some ways the last two years are much like a trade school. As for me, at the time, I didn't like having to take history or humanities. But after graduating, that changed, I'm glad it's required. It may not be necessary for the job but it definitely helped me as a person.

    The point of college is probably not the information in the courses, primarily. That's all very nice to have, and some of it will remain relevant throughout your life, but it's probably more of showing that you can do the 'work', which is not necessarily courses, but all the rest. After all, once you get your first job, nobody really cares where you went to school anymore. Some schools will teach more of one thing than another, but that doesn't matter. It's just a question of, "do you have a degree?" So long as the answer is Yes, the box is checked off and experience becomes more relevant.
    I agree. There is no box that ask, "have you been mentored?"

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Setting nepotism aside I guess I'm asking, are there still skilled jobs in your area that people could be theoretically trained into? I can imagine that a lot of those jobs may exist but have artificially had a college degree requirement attached due to a glut of college educated candidates - effectively forcing everyone to get a college education if they want to advance.
    I don't see that as the problem. I'd say lack of jobs and the ones that are accessible no longer pay middle class wages.

    I don't doubt it. Probably a function of increased automation which tends to result in fewer jobs but somewhat more skilled. Globalisation may to blame but likely less so because manufacturing is actually quite difficult to move because they require transport and physical infrastructure (service based jobs, on the other hand, are a piece of cake to move abroad). Immigration may also be a factor.
    It seems LG, Samsung, Sony, Toyota, Honda .... have figured it out. I don't think I have an American made appliance in my house. I doubt any of my clothes are made here either. Do have a Dodge so, USA, USA. lol

    Edit - I should add, this is just an uneducated opinion. I've done no research, my opinion is just based on my what I perceive from my small little section of the US. I know there are areas of the US that are experiencing growth, so their job market probably is different. I know a few years back Boise was booming. Probably because people heard that Shaggy lives in Idaho.
    Last edited by wes4dbt; Aug 12th, 2022 at 02:11 PM.

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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    The guy who moved to Romania because it had more lax rape laws is among your top three people to listen to?
    Actually he stated himself that moved to Romania because he has easy access to corruption. You cannot access corruption in America unless you're a billionaire or your last name is Clinton, Bush, Pelosi etc. But in Romania, any old millionaire can access of levers of power in the country and pull it to their benefit.
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    You can learn it ALL on your own or from a mentor. You can frequently find people who say that after N years, all you have learned in college is out of date, where N varies by who is saying it. I tend to agree. The genetics I learned in grad school are still valid....but the field has advanced so far that much of it is out of date. Even the fish names I learned back then aren't all the same.
    Yes, but learning STEM fields in an environment where you have labs, vaults of artifacts and easy access to the relevant literature has a lot of recognizable benefits. Do I really need to spend hours in a class room learning about fine art? I could learn all I need in the field with an art dealer or something. But if I wanted to observe the reaction between Sodium and water, I can't exactly do that at home. I mean I don't have chunks of Sodium just lying around my house but who has this? A school lab.
    Last edited by Niya; Aug 12th, 2022 at 02:26 PM.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

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  29. #69
    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    I disagree but I do recognise that their benefit is a lot less concrete than Stem subjects. These subjects have cultural benefits to our society but those benefits are hard to measure. That doesn't mean the benefits don't exist though.
    If an asteroid were coming to strike the Earth and the powers that be built an ark to have the best and brightest rebuild on Mars or Titan, the guys that studied fine art and theater aren't getting on that ark first. The guys who can turn hydrogen and oxygen into water are getting on first. The guys who can build a tokamak reactor blindfolded are getting on first. The guys who can fix equipment malfunctions on the ark itself are getting on first. The guys who can pilot the ark are getting on first.

    When you frame things in terms of survival and absolute necessities, you can easily see what really matters.

    Here's an interest thought experiment. Try to come up with a high stakes scenario where someone who did gender studies or theater would get chosen over someone in a STEM field to help "save the day". I can't, but I'd like to someone else try.

    [EDIT]

    I completely forgot, there is another field outside of STEM that is extremely valuable when stakes are high, fields where one learns to utilize violence. Think Navy SEALs or Delta Force operators.
    Last edited by Niya; Aug 12th, 2022 at 02:49 PM.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. - jmcilhinney

    The threads I start are Niya and Olaf free zones. No arguing about the benefits of VB6 over .NET here please. Happiness must reign. - yereverluvinuncleber

  30. #70
    Super Moderator dday9's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    Here's an interest thought experiment. Try to come up with a high stakes scenario where someone who did gender studies or theater would get chosen over someone in a STEM field to help "save the day". I can't, but I'd like to someone else try.
    Picture this scenario: There's a gunman who a schizophrenic and threating to kill the person you love most. He will free the hostage and turn himself in if someone can correctly give the year that Maltaís government adopted the Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics Act.
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  31. #71
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    If a meteor where to strike be sure that the first in would be politicians.
    They would make a speech on how they will get to the meteor and talk some seance out of it so it will deviate course.
    While they are airborne they will flip the finger and laugh....
    Little will they know that the rocket is actually a nuclear missile with seats and that the meteor is just a rock with strings in front of the observe telescope.
    Once they leave the earth......BOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! Planet saved! Problem solved! A big world party will take place.
    ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
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  32. #72
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by dday9 View Post
    Picture this scenario: There's a gunman who a schizophrenic and threating to kill the person you love most. He will free the hostage and turn himself in if someone can correctly give the year that Maltaís government adopted the Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics Act.

    Google it?
    ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
    πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν·

  33. #73
    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by dday9 View Post
    Picture this scenario: There's a gunman who a schizophrenic and threating to kill the person you love most. He will free the hostage and turn himself in if someone can correctly give the year that Maltaís government adopted the Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics Act.
    Haha

    Quote Originally Posted by sapator View Post
    Google it?
    This would make for the shortest hostage movie ever lol
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. - jmcilhinney

    The threads I start are Niya and Olaf free zones. No arguing about the benefits of VB6 over .NET here please. Happiness must reign. - yereverluvinuncleber

  34. #74
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    But if I wanted to observe the reaction between Sodium and water, I can't exactly do that at home. I mean I don't have chunks of Sodium just lying around my house but who has this?
    That reminds me of a story my HS chemistry teacher told us. He says it was, "another teacher he knew" in the story, but....well, who WOULDN'T want to try this?

    There was a time, not all that long ago when you COULD get metallic sodium. I forget what it was used for, but you could get a jar with sticks of it immersed in oil (don't buy the kind packed in water, that tends to get messy, even if it is lower calorie). Unfortunately, metallic sodium becomes unstable over time to the point where even a good enough vibration can set it off in some fashion.

    What the teacher told us was that some little old lady called his friend and said that she had seen some show on the TV about how dangerous metallic sodium could become over time, and told him that she had a jar of the stuff in her pantry from way back. He went over and picked up the jar, took it home, went to a pond in his back yard, opened the lid, and tossed the jar into the pond. The result was spectacular, of course.
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  35. #75
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    If an asteroid were coming to strike the Earth and the powers that be built an ark to have the best and brightest rebuild on Mars or Titan, the guys that studied fine art and theater aren't getting on that ark first. The guys who can turn hydrogen and oxygen into water are getting on first. The guys who can build a tokamak reactor blindfolded are getting on first. The guys who can fix equipment malfunctions on the ark itself are getting on first. The guys who can pilot the ark are getting on first.

    When you frame things in terms of survival and absolute necessities, you can easily see what really matters.
    That reminds me of another story about a school that had a 'lifeboat' competition among the faculty to prove that their field should be included in the lifeboat. In that particular story, it was a philosophy professor who won the vote, but the reason had to do with everybody else playing politics rather than making serious arguments. The point being: If it actually came to pass, then places on the boat likely wouldn't be based on reason. There were plenty of Twilight Zone episodes that were making that point, as well.

    A couple other points about that: There was a point in time when two of the people who would likely have made the ship would have been Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The latter is now, of course, dead, so he wouldn't take up much space anymore, but at one time he likely would have. Both of those two dropped out of college, Steve Jobs doing so after only one semester. He wasn't a STEM student, and has credited a caligraphy course that he audited for some of the design choices made in the Apple.

    Frankly, who do you think would be making the decisions, and how do you think they would be making those decisions. Anybody who includes the guy who can build a tokamak reactor blindfolded is an idiot, unless that blindfolded guy has some skill that is actually useful. You sure aren't building a reactor from raw ore, and unless that guy has the parts to build the tokamak reactor, the skill is worthless. So, who is making the decision? Some kind of ethereal savant, or somebody with wealth, power, and people who can ask favors of them?

    When it comes to building a society, STEM is not necessarily all that useful.

    Here's an interest thought experiment. Try to come up with a high stakes scenario where someone who did gender studies or theater would get chosen over someone in a STEM field to help "save the day". I can't, but I'd like to someone else try.
    Any scenario that requires negotiating skill. Any scenario that requires investigative skill. Speaking as a person who has been in STEM, and surrounded by STEM people, my whole life, I think it no more than pure chance if somebody in these jobs could do a good job in either of those situations. Whether somebody from theatre or gender studies would do better....well, they wouldn't do worse.
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  36. #76
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    You will of course been needing someone to drive the Martians or Titans mad, so better negotiation of housing and material can take place.
    I wonder who drove everyone here mad the previous 2 years before the fabulous 3 immersed and threads where starting to be locked...Wink wink....
    Last edited by sapator; Aug 12th, 2022 at 06:16 PM. Reason: dr who
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  37. #77
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    The guy who takes to the English language like an egg beater takes to eggs?
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  38. #78
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    English?...
    Language?
    ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
    πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν·

  39. #79
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    If an asteroid were coming to strike the Earth and the powers that be built an ark to have the best and brightest rebuild on Mars or Titan, the guys that studied fine art and theater aren't getting on that ark first. The guys who can turn hydrogen and oxygen into water are getting on first. The guys who can build a tokamak reactor blindfolded are getting on first. The guys who can fix equipment malfunctions on the ark itself are getting on first. The guys who can pilot the ark are getting on first.

    When you frame things in terms of survival and absolute necessities, you can easily see what really matters.
    The word "really" is doing a lot of the heavy lifting there. Sportspeople, singers and musicians aren't going to help in that scenario either but they seem to get paid an awful lot of money, so someone seems to think that what they do matters. It's a fact that those in STEM fields are largely responsible for the way we live today in terms of technology but, as someone with 2.9 STEM degrees and who is very scientifically minded, I wouldn't much enjoy living in a world populated purely with people like me in that regard and no theatre or art. To me, those things really matter. I suspect that they do to you as well.

  40. #80
    Fanatic Member 2kaud's Avatar
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    Re: US college enrollment is declining

    Then there is procreation, raising children, dispute resolution, looking after the dis-functional STEM people. If all there were were top-of-their game STEM people, I would fear for the future of the human race. (I write as a STEM person).
    Last edited by 2kaud; Aug 13th, 2022 at 10:55 AM.
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