A Well Rounded Education?

Mariner has been reading about the new movement in colleges that expresses empathy for individuals suffering any indication of racism, cultural suppression, campus abuse, and even offensiveness in comedy. On the good side, this is college students running things. On the bad side is a student mentality that appears to be over protective of even one student’s sensitivities. Several top ranked comedians like Jerry Seinfeld won’t do shows at colleges because of restrictions about their subject matter. Other campus speakers are screened before they are invited to speak at assemblies. (An earlier post recommended the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic Magazine http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ covering this topic)

What is disturbing about the student attitude is its tendency to foster cultism and isolationism in students who will leave the campus to step into the real world – a bit coarser than a campus. There are enough tea party folks to go around already. Will there be a generation of young people who reject the human condition and close their ears to reason, compromise and human frailty? The student attitude of purity or nothing is dangerous in a world full of turmoil, overcrowding, terrorism, and global warming. The students are opposed to negotiation right from the start. Nothing is more important in this century than teaching students the skills of negotiation, political reason and the pursuit of a better world for everyone.

The mariner understands their intent. The students are tired of racism and the enmity of cultural and religious bigots. They wish for a fair world where differences are accepted without turmoil. It may be a good thing that turmoil is not accepted but the real world, particularly at this moment, is not ready for piety. This is a hardnosed time when humanity must sort out conflicts affecting the entire world. It is a time when leaders must decide who will not die, who will not starve, who will not suffer genocide, who will not be sacrificed for a greater cause. The mariner suspects the students may not be fully prepared for reality. Still, things can change – the hippies of the 1960s became the capitalists of the 1980s.

On a second front, the gun-racist-terrorist sensitivity, the Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, confessed he is more afraid of white men with guns planning another mass shooting than he is afraid of a hidden terrorist among the Syrian refugees. See:


Third, for the last several days CSPAN broadcast from the Miami Book Fair. A Sunday broadcast presented the following:

Tracey Stuart, author of Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better, and Gene Bauer, author of Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day, present their thoughts on animal rights.

This is an upbeat, refreshing conversation about animal rights and our overdependence on meat in the human diet. Worth watching. While the reader is at the CSPAN video website, browse a bit; it is guaranteed the reader will find an interesting subject. See:


Finally, if you haven’t been following John Oliver’s television show, you’ve missed his scrutiny of your favorite complaint in life. This episode questions the legitimacy of televangelists asking for money to buy 65 million dollar jet airplanes. Accommodate some coarse language – it’s HBO. Check him out at:



It’s time to drag out the old thought experiment called Schrodinger’s Cat:

You have at hand a sealed cardboard box. Inside is a cat, an ion detector (like a Geiger counter), and a flask of poison. If the ion detector detects a radioactive particle, the flask breaks and the poison kills the cat. Seeing only the box and no outside clues, is the cat dead or alive?

Give this some thought. Could the cat be both dead and alive at the same time? How would that be possible? If you can resolve this paradox, you are prepared to study quantum mechanics! Not fair to use the Internet although you’re allowed to find it in a book you already have in your own library.

Ancient Mariner


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