Episode-1362- Listener Calls for 6-6-14 — 32 Comments

  1. “Information sheets” are being at the collegiate level as well. Personal experience.

    • You used to see rice in salt shakers all the time but I haven’t seen that in years, I use a salt mill now days but it brought back good memories when Kieth said that

  2. Jack, I own a Marlin model 60, I asked for a .22 for Xmas when I was 6 years old and it has never failed me. It’s one of the best guns I have ever owned, I can’t recommend it enough. It would be cool to see what a custom after market stock would look like, mines just the old plain dark brown but I still love it.

  3. “Information sheets” are being at the collegiate level as well. Personal experience.

    Yes they are, although where I saw it most (in engineering and science classes) it actually always made sense to me. The goal of a fluid mechanics class for example is not to ensure that the student has memorized all the facts, equations, tables, etc. to solve the problem, but to establish that they can apply the information readily available to determine the solution. I can only think of one technical, math-heavy, class where we weren’t allowed a “cheat sheet”, and it seemed ridiculous as the tests became nothing but a demonstration of rote memorization of the relevant equations. I bet you not one of the 100+ students in that class remember any of the stuff they memorized from that class, but at least some of us know the principles at work, and how to find the information needed to analyze the problem.

    • I am in complete agreement with you. A reference card for a mathematics class makes sense in many instances. The contents of a reference card will contain mere factual recall type information, e.g., Pythagoras theorem, quadratic equation, etc. Stuff at the bottom of Bloom’s taxonomy. However, higher critical thinking skills such as identifying which equation to use, the variables, solving word problems, actually solving thdetermining etc cannot be contained on a reference card.

      The dynamic is very similar regardless if one is in fourth grade and determining if one needs to use the mean, mode, volume of a cylinder, whathaveyou to solve the problem, or if one is in a chemical engineering program and holding a reference card containing the mass transport equations while determining the appropriate boundary conditions to solve the differential difference equations.

      For mathematics and the physical sciences, a reference card actually enables the higher critical thinking skills.

      • This is complete horse shit, if a test is open book, open notes or is to come with some sort of a “support item” that is one thing. But “allowing my weakest students to use an information card” means flat the hell out I have legalized cheating for the kids I see as too dumb to learn like the others.

        What you are talking about is fine IF ALL STUDENTS ARE TREATED THE SAME, otherwise it is legalized cheating.

        Stop making excuses for this type of bullshit or simply you are part of the problem.

        • I’m pretty sure Jakevf and I were only responding to the individual who commented about reference cards in college. That was the context I was referring to, at least.

          Consistently allowing such a card for struggling students to give them an individual leg up would be inappropriate.

  4. Re: the gentleman who was inquiring about creating rifle stocks, I am an expert with the software he mentions and have 10+ years experience working as a design engineer designing and prototyping new products of just about all types. If he has any questions about how to do anything in Solidworks, or how to take something designed in solidworks and get 1-10 prototypes made or 10-10,000 production parts made, I’d be happy to share some of my experience and point him towards a few really good technologies and suppliers.

    He can contact me at my username (bold above)

  5. A number of years ago I stumbled across some old Roy Rogers tv episodes and watched one for curiosity’s sake. What a difference!! The whole attitude about responding to provocation is entirely different now, when it’s almost always confrontational, and any other reaction is implied as being weak and fearful. It’s easier and more dramatic to have guns blazing and things blowing up, no question, but hardly the best example for a society in which people get along in spite of differences, if the only (or supposedly best by far) option is whoever is biggest and baddest wins the dispute. Then we wonder why bullying is such a problem??

    About education…just watched an international competition for robotics..several thousand entrants to start, down to 72 today, when they live streamed the action. A couple of 15 year old boys who’ve been homeschooled all along, and who grew up in a community of about 300 people max, came in 19th overall. This in a competition against teams from India, China, Japan, Australia, Israel, other Canadian teams and multiple American teams – all sorts of countries were involved and almost all the teams were much larger than their 3 people. (A Brazilian team came first, a different Canadian team came second.) (As an aside, one team (from the US, actually) was publicly commended for the good sportsmanship they had demonstrated throughout the competition, which didn’t in any way suggest that they weren’t doing their damnedest to win!)
    Anyway, who says home schooling is never a good option!!

    My head was exploding along with yours regarding the teacher who gives her students cheat sheets so they will pass. That’s doing everyone a total disservice..aside from the kids NOT knowing the material that supposedly they need to know, the kids are very aware it’s cheating. So on top of everything else it’s teaching the kids that cheating is a perfectly acceptable way to behave. Put that beside the rule a lot of schools have now that teachers are not allowed to fail their students and you have to wonder why do the kids bother to go to school at all? No wonder the kids are lost these days.

    Mollison once told a group of students that they needn’t fear teaching or practising permaculture even if they weren’t entirely sure about everything they were doing; he said the challenge would be to NOT to be doing things better than anything else being done. Beginning to think the same about pulling kids out of most schools these days.

  6. I think information (cheat sheets) at the collegiate level which might offer a selection of choices as to which formulae were appropriate where and when might be ok. Telling them which and when is neither appropriate nor helpful and may the the reason we end up with such things as hospitals which have to be rebuilt even as they are being built because the elevators aren’t big enough for a stretcher to fit into and other such inept – and expensive!- nonsense.

    When you are talking about primary, elementary or even high school where all that is being tested is the ability to find an answer (which they were probably told to highlight some days before the test) it’s why so many kids can’t even make change unless a computer works it out or write a legible, understandable sentence. It’s a WHOLE lot easier for kids to learn this stuff when they are young than have to try to go back and pick it up later.

    • Context is always key is it not. The lady said, “I allow my weakest students to use an information card”, translation, only some can the rest must take the test without it.

      This is creating two standards not saying “hey at this level of math, it is quite reasonable to be able to have some formulas at your disposal, the key we want to see is do you know which ones and how to use them”.

      Hell I’d be fine with that, that wasn’t the case at all though. This was more,

      Well this is something everyone should be able to do and most can, those that I feel can must do it without this “information card” but those that I personal have chosen as weak get one.

      That is one of the most sad and pathetic attempts at education I have ever heard in my life. I would be like running a school on bike riding and having some people on training wheels for 5 years and saying they need that so they can learn.

  7. I don’t remember using “information sheets” in my engineering classes in college but we were allowed to used reference materials for formulas and standard data tables. I believe that reference materials are still being allowed for the Professional Engineering exam.

    Using cheat sheets in grade school or high school is exactly that….cheating. Not only that, but why on earth would a teacher think that it was OK for some students to use information that wasn’t provided to other students? When I was in the public school system I was fortunate enough to have some very good teachers who simply expected everyone to do their best. Now it seems that we are racing to the bottom with mediocrity at all levels.

    • Correct me if I am wrong but in your college courses and in your testing EVERYONE in the group was afforded the same support material correct?

      This is what I found revolting here, not that you might have a list of formulas in a math exam to work off of. And hell saying you can write down the formulas you think you need for this test, CHECKING that to be sure that was all they did or something, I find that preferable to GIVING IT TO THEM say printed on the test.

      But no, what was said here is what, “I allow my weakest students to use an information sheet”.

      Okay now say on the Engineers exam there were some things that say everyone was supposed to know without support items. Not specific load bearing formulas but perhaps something truly critical that you need to know without reference.

      Now say a bunch of students were “weaker” how would you feel if that group was granted access to support materials that you were not. Then their grades, certifications, promotions to the next class, etc. were all held as equal to your own.

      There you go, that is what this practice is.

      When one of these kids blows their brains out and everyone says “why” I already know. When you tell a person their entire life you are not as good as those around you, you need more help but you are also just as good, here is your gold star too, eventually they feel totally worthless and useless.

      This is the dividend of our current investment in our children!

      • Maybe it came across wrong but I agree with what you are saying Jack… head almost exploded also. You are also correct in your assumption that everyone in my classes had the same information available to them for the tests. Just allowing the weaker students to use cheat sheets is a disservice to all the students in the class.

        • Perhaps it was I that came across wrong, I was adding to your point, not rebutting it.

  8. Interesting and relevant rant on the information sheets.

    I mentor a 4th grade boy once a week at our local school and today when I arrived he was doing a geography quiz on the state capitols.

    He didn’t just have a cheat sheet he had a 16″x 24″ laminated map of the US with major city’s marked out.

    The only information it didn’t have was which city was the state capitol, but the quiz was various versions of multiple choice so through simple deduction you could easily figure out the answers.

    One question was match these 5 states with there capitols, you know with all the answers typed out and you just draw a line from the state to it’s capitol.

    I told him, “Man you got it easy, when I was a kid, the quiz was this, you got a blank map and they said fill out all the states and their capitols from memory.”

    Heck one time the teacher forgot to pull the classroom map up and we all had to take the test again, even though it was the teachers fault. None of us kids used the map to take the test, cheating was such a taboo we never even thought to look and see that the map was still visible.

    Oh and on the 70’s and 80’s TV show men’s honor I say, AMEN brother!

    Honor seams to be something that is rare these days. I know some grown boys that make there wives work. They have wives who want to stay home with the kids and they make them go work anyway…. I just don’t get that thinking.

    Now if she wants to go to work I can understand that, but if she doesn’t, if she wants to stay home with the kids…

    Be a man and go get a second job if you have to but freaking man up and quit being so self absorbed.

  9. Do you have yaupon or possumhaw holly? That would be cool if you had yaupon there. Privet makes fine goat fodder

  10. The Ingalls family didn’t stay in KS long; it was Imdian territory, and the US forced te settlers back off of the land. They went to De Smet, SD..and damned near starved (along with the rest of the town). Read “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Blizzards started in October, and lasted til April. The trains stopped running, as they were snowed under in MN. Charles Ingalls had a job at a store in town, and after the first blizzard he moved everyone into town. The town ran out of food, after slaughtering all the animals available, and going through the wheat bread made with their coffee grinders, the town was desperate. Laura’s future husband and his buddy, around 20 yes old, ventured 20 miles to find a wheat supply they hoped exist. This story is a prepping handbook, complete with unexpected weather, supplies, and some local businesses gouging prices on food. It is amazing how precious little they had as far as belongings, and how close they were as families. Laura looked back on this tough winter and recognized the danger, but focused on the good. Today’s tea cups (had they survived) would have been in therapy for years.

  11. Jack-
    Thanks for responding to my call regarding Mongolia. Certainly this is our decision to make, and it’s one that for all practical purposes we’re decided on (we’re just trying to uncover any details or potential pitfalls we may be overlooking). I figured though as both a businessman and someone who has a no-BS assessment of where geopolitics and economics are trending, your outside perspective would be valuable. And this is another time you’ve demonstrated that you definitely do your research!
    Regarding the ‘rat race’, it was a poor choice of words and I was trying to say that we’re tired of jumping through all the hoops of being an “employee” in today’s world, i.e. having less control and being subject to an employer’s whims, bad decisions, and dysfunctional policies. A good salary seems increasingly hollow when our income security, options for travel, and quality time with family are so limited by conventional employment. But you do raise a good point about crowding… Ulaanbaatar where we would be living (initially) is a fairly crowded city, where apartments are the norm and single family homes as we know them here are a rarity (at least nice homes). And true there are less protections for individuals there than the US officially has, but as you correctly surmised, on the whole people have more effective freedom and a less intrusive government than the US at least in part because the abuses of the previous government are still fresh in society’s memory (and the existing corruption tends to be limited to personal enrichment rather than control, with the small population and refreshingly free press limiting at least the extent to what politicians get away with). One part that bothers me some is not being able to own and carry a handgun there, but at least they have less restrictions on long-arms than most US states (as long as it’s not full-auto it’s ok). As you say, no place is perfect.
    Absurdly enough, the biggest obstacle to doing business there has nothing to do with Mongolia, but rather with the USA’s citizenship-based taxation as well as the FATCA policies making it increasingly difficult for Americans to bank and do certain kinds of business overseas. The IRS reporting is going to be a nightmare for us, but at least for the time being we’ll have the $97K foreign earned income exclusion and our banks there are still happy to have our business. And even if that changes, we’ll find a way to work through it.
    Anyway, it feels like a waste to not take a chance when it’s presented, and as far as gambles and sacrifices go it’s not nearly so great as the one my great-great-grandparents took settling here (or even my wife coming here 15+ years ago). There are no guarantees of success, but I’d feel like a putz if we never bothered to try.
    Thanks for the feedback!
    – Nick

      • Thanks, John! We won’t relocate until next spring most likely, but that just gives us more time to organize the stuff that is going with us and to prepare to hit the ground running when we get there. The last time we did an extended several months’ long stay there we only brought 2 suitcases a piece for our belongings… it’s not as bad or hard as it may sound, but still it’ll be nice to bring along a few more belongings and creature comforts.

  12. In re the “information sheets” given to the weakest students: I, too, was outraged at the unfair advantage, but not surprised at the failing result for the “weakest student”. Jack, you’re wrong to say the student should be challenged to work harder. That’s like saying a clinically depressed person just doesn’t work hard enough to be cheerful. When anyone experiences failure after failure eventually they become convinced they are incapable of accomplishment. They simply give up trying and no matter how many “helps” they are given it’s never enough. This happens with adults, too. Witness the phenomenon of discouraged job seekers who eventually give up even looking and thereby drop off the “official” unemployment lists.

    This teacher’s actions are typical of someone whose heart may be in the right place but whose approach to strengthening the “weak” is a product of her own education and training. Just as with discouraged job seekers, discouraged students need a reset, a totally different approach. Sadly, it appears that most teachers graduating today appear poorly prepared to do much more than read the Teacher’s Edition and try to keep the kids in the seats most of the time, nor is there time within the typical school day at any level to individualize instruction thanks to the factory method of education prevalent in this country. Add to this the fact that an education degree gives graduates NO other skills applicable to ANY other career paths so classroom teachers either kowtow to building administration/district/state demands to do whatever it takes to keep the butts in the seats (and passing) or lose their only means of livelihood; calling on teachers to buck the system is unrealistic. People who become teachers today are the products of the very same methods you decry, Jack. Asking the poorly educated to do a better job of educating others is impossible because one can’t teach what one doesn’t know.

    • Yes they should be challenged to work harder.

      In this case there are only three possible reasons for this child being “weaker”

      1. The least likely, a true learning disability. If this is the case the child needs specific help, should be removed from this class, given the help, training, therapy to adapt and either than return to regular classes or pursue and alternative course of education, based on what is best for the child. Again though true learning disabilities not as common as we are told and frankly most with them are very intelligent people.

      2. The middle option in regard to likeliness the child is just lazy don’t give a damn, doesn’t care and isn’t trying. Solution, child fails, child repeats the 6th grade or may be is demoted to 5th grade to catch up.

      3. Most likely, child hasn’t been challenged and doesn’t have a real desire to do well because of this. Teachers have been enabling this behavior with retesting, extra credit for raising your hand once a day (this happens) or allowing cheating for years now. Hence the child is in 6th grade without a 6th grade level education. Solution, admit our educational system is broken, get our children out of one size fits all bullshit compulsory state mandated education, which is little more than an 8 hour a day prison sentence with night and summer release rights.

      If challenging children to work harder, letting them fail and repeat grades and singling out and providing extra help to the few students that really need it won’t work (and it doesn’t) then the system IS THE PROBLEM.

      Monday I will do a piece comparing Prison Life (at a minimum security prison) to life in public schools. It will make teachers want to lynch me, but only because of how accurate it will be.

  13. I totally agree with your statement, “If challenging children to work harder, letting them fail and repeat grades and singling out and providing extra help to the few students that really need it won’t work (and it doesn’t) then the system IS THE PROBLEM.”


    I was a classroom teacher for many years. I have taught my own kid, hundreds at the elementary level, hundreds at the college level and tutored everything in between. I’m sure you have many TSpers with similar backgrounds. I’ve been forced to accept in my classrooms students with mental disturbance, mental disability, and learning disability to the serious detriment of all my students’ educational goals. Even so, I fought my students’ parents to insist upon high expectations and challenging the kids to actually master the material rather than just “covering” it. I also fought my principals over the same issues (at least until the first year’s test results bore me out). Fortunately, my principals were smart enough not to mess with success. (No, I never taught to the tests!!)

    I had two NON-education degrees before I chose to become a teacher and yet my teacher coworkers sniped that “anyone off the street” was being hired by my district. I then completed ANOTHER graduate degree in education (with a 4.0) and was shocked to learn how incredibly low the expectations were. (Frankly, I could have completed the graduate program as a high school student, but I digress.) Extrapolating to the undergraduate degree program expectations gave me insights into the caliber of expectations for folk who are trained in that system. No wonder the teacher certification test at that time also included a basic literacy test! (No joke – This was about 25 years ago.) I can’t speak to current conditions other than what I have personally observed and what I have read over the course of a lifetime; perhaps standards have risen in the interim.

    Do not read a blanket condemnation of EVERYONE who chooses to educate others in my comments. There are many, many highly intelligent , competent, caring people for whom teaching is a true vocation, a true raison d’etre, regardless of monetary considerations. But my observations indicate most educators (and perhaps employees in general) can be placed into one of three categories, Victims, Prostitutes or Lovers because it’s a sure thing that teachers are going to get it one way or another due to the system.

    Victims are those who are trapped in the career. They don’t like it, but they have no other skills, hence no other choices for work. Perhaps they even are trapped in a specific district because all their retirement funding is there. (Many teachers’ wages are not subject to SS; rather a state or district pension fund is the rule and those funds rarely, if ever, transfer to another funding entity.) These folks will NEVER buck the system; they’re too dependent. Days off, summer or holiday breaks, and another other time they don’t have to be with their students are like being paroled. In prison speak, they are the trustees.

    Prostitutes are those who may have other career choices, but they are too lazy and comfortable with the system the way it is. They put up with all the nonsense and just do the bare minimum to maintain their jobs. They may even fake enthusiasm if they think it will increase their profit. Every day on the job is spent in anticipation of the end of the work day. They enjoy all the breaks and make sure they take all their allotted sick days, training days, etc. They do not give one extra second of work other than exactly what they are paid for. These folks will NEVER buck the system; why should they?

    Finally there are the lovers. These folks are the true lights that give hope for better days. These are the folks who used to be called “dedicated.” These are teachers parents with any sense hope and pray will come into their children’s lives. There are extremely few of them, in my experience. Many are struggling to buck the system, at least within their own classrooms. The odds are stacked against them.

    When you speak of comparing schools to prisons, I’m wholeheartedly with you. They undeniably are modeled and run on the same principles. Even the appearance of most school buildings is eerily similar to prison compounds. I’m looking forward to your next broadcast.

  14. Another distinguishing factor between yaupon and privet is their leaves. Yaupon has a serrated edge (because it is a holly) while privet has smooth margins. Yaupon also has red holly berries in winter. Privet has blueish berries. The flowers of the privet are more fragrant as well, as Jack mentioned. Once you learn to identify the plant, it is pretty distinct. I was care not to describe it, because one should always look at multiple photos from multiple sources before foraging. Foraging texas is one of my go to’s. Hope that helps to rectify things. Jack seemed kinda upset that i didn’t mention the possibility of mistaking the two.

  15. Thanks for the great response about the gun stocks. I agree that the AR7 is a crappy gun. I just started there because my wife has one and wanted a less awkward stock. Maybe I’ll pick her up a model 60. I really want a 10-22 breakdown but it’s not in the budget this year. I like the idea about the lever-actions too. I have a marlin 30/30 I can work with and hoping to get a 45-70 someday.

  16. Information sheets, to me, are bogus no matter how they are used. I graduated high school in 2004 and college in 2007. As far back as I can remember, I have had teachers “legalize cheating”. To me, it doesn’t help anyone at anytime. If you need formulas or what not, it should be printed on the test for you. Tests are there to test you and your brain ONLY. But, I love learning and I take it seriously. I will always be a lifelong learner and it’s one of the reasons I went into IT. IT is always changing and therefore I need to re-skill all the time and learn new things. Teachers can’t help students love to learn. They can help fan that flame but the spark has to be within first and allowing an information sheet to anyone, smart or weak, is not helping.

  17. When I was first reading today’s questions, I got to the last and misread it as “peasants” rather than “pheasants”. I was like What!? Oh… Oops. 😀

  18. Two comments and one is a question. Would dry canning things like mushroom powder keep it from caking ? Read the ‘Little Britches’ series by Moody. That was a tough and very realistic boyhood. Someone already mentioned, ‘The Long Winter.’ by Ingalls. These books are a great resource if homeschooling kids K-6 and even older if you feel comfortable building on them. There is a homeschool resource out there called the Prairie Primer. In this you do everything from dissect an eyeball, making Pemmican, and hand sewing small items. This is a link to my favorite in Moody’s series. Our library carries all of these but we liked them so much we purchased them.