Chemistry as a gateway subject

2020 August 8 Saturday 19:30

Being on holiday, the joy of reading for pleasure can be realised. A recent issue of 'Chemistry World' contains an opinion article about the decline in university study of chemistry (only in the UK? Not sure; blog post by 'Doc Kristy' in further detail).

Whilst demand to study chemistry may remain steady as a "gateway" subject onto medicinal careers, local demand is an important factor. As Doc Kristy mentions, it is indeed time to re-activate the "not all chemists wear white coats" campaign. There is hardly any significant chemistry industry in and around London any more, so why should a youngster be expected to understand the value in the subject? RSC should promote chemistry for its inherently interesting (and challenging) aspect, but with a clear message that this respected subject and valued in many diverse (and financially lucrative) sectors. Chemistry combined with actuarial science, accountancy, business marketing, computer science will lead to employment in (re-)insurance, commercial trade, patent law, finance, software development, etc.. London is expensive; no point incurring thousands £££s debt to be a technician or indeed a teacher (they can do that later in life if they can escape the rat race).

Media obfuscation

In the early days of the internet, it was quite easy to do things via the command terminal, using tools of your own desire. These days (pioneered by bbc, it is laborious to do...

An example; wanted to listen to an internet radio station. Since the Mozilla Firefox extension 'noscript' is activated, had to select sequentially which script to allow; had to allow three out of six scripts in total to run (i.e. not Google (including Youtube), Twitter). Then had to reload the page, then activate the Firefox menu bar 'tools', 'web developer', 'dom' and finally read through the source code. Not over yet! Then found a 'div' "radioplayer-emp-container'. Buried in this nonsense (extract shown here, total character greater than 40000 which caused a web browser tab crash!:


is the radio stream url:

Still not successful, until the following typed into a command terminal (notice the need to truncate from the "escape" character question mark (?)

					torsocks mpv
When this nonsense end and the internet return to simplicity? Unlikely with the AMGAF monopolists (Apple, Microsoft, GeevilGoogle, Amazon, Facebook) and their associates out there destroying freedom of thought...

Morning after

2020 August 14 Friday 09:49

A furore for "fairness" after this year's gc(s)e results is inevitably more than normal. Looking at the gce a(s) results for the students taught by citc, the statistical model seems quite accurate. A mixture of teacher assessment and historic individual and school performance data as part of the statistical analysis is prudent and should perhaps even remain.

It is well known that teachers cannot be entirely trusted to give accurate assessments of students; socialist proclivities for equality (almost never equity), "martyrdom" prevalent in the profession, not to mention the various biases and "...isms" that many teachers are in denial, all contribute to the correct perception by government that additional metrics must be included. As commented previously, uk education refuses to accept the notation that consistent grade inflation (similar to perpetual economic "growth") is neither desirable nor credible.

It would be interesting to see what other countries have done, again for international comparison. Similar to a recent report just published, comparative judgements are a powerful method of review. Recommendation, please read before criticism and whining about "fairness", before then providing a robust alternative! :)

Discrimination in education

Reading an earlier article about racism in Australia it was apparent that the platitudes are by definition an indication of a preference in education to avoid any revolutionary change. It is always amusing to observe Europeans' collective and racist reluctance to make any collective, corrective action about precedent racism. Less words about what to be done, instead say nothing until you can report what you have done.

Ms Small makes a salient point about what could be the equivalent of "type-casting"; Africans (i.e. inclusive of those born/resident elsewhere due to enslavement/colonialism/migration) are only capable of discussions about racialism. Those choosing not to include Africans about other subjects are exhibiting racist doctrines. The blog post about the importance of nature is a fine example, although the subject matter does remind of a recent incident where an African cannot visit a city park without abuse of privilege (further reading about the incident both within the same newspaper and 'wikipaedia'). Personally, this manifestation of racialism is far more important, prevalent and insidious than the police violence that occurred simultaneous to this incident, but " we are where we are"...

Again, thanks to Ms Small, encountered a thought-provoking article about how to take action within the education sector, to minimise racism. Mr Dennis proposes the concept of "sponsorship" in addition to mentors and coaches in the (critical priority) equitable employment of people. Since citc has no personal experience of any of these support mechanisms, am curious to know: would sponsorship be open to accusation of personal bias and how to militate against this in the strategic aim to minimise "...ism"?

U-turn avoidance, open source style

2020 August 18 Tuesday 11:44

Every politician's nightmare is to be seen as weak, indecisive and worst of all to reverse a decision. How could the gce a(s) results debacle have been avoided? Although initially supportive of the ofqual, methodology, thanks to comments by others, have had to re-evaluate. Maybe similar to suggestion by the Royal Statistical Society, a wider number of experts should have been used; instead of the threat of non-disclosure agreement (pdf, letter from rss), there should have been an invitation to publish an open access methodology with a wider pool of experts. Reliance on teacher assessment is notoriously inflationary, which is not helpful long-term.

Watch-out, covid-19 consultants are about!

2020 August 23 Sunday 11:44

It had to happen. Those with influence, power, connections, are beginning to plan their agenda to use the alleged sars-cov-2 "pandemic" to profiteer.

It was amusing to read of recent creation of an imminent new business educational "charity" that according to a recent blog post, is now poised to act (private equity brass plate/investment vehicle/shell company style):

					Over the coming months the National Baccalaureate Trust will be discussing a range of ideas and mechanisms for getting this debate moving again at the level of policy and practice
A quick search of this entity (registration number: 1166126) via the uk charity commission web site reveals:
Mmm...No web site, no history in terms of the people involved, no explanation of the context that led to the formation of this entity, research articles (open access licence of course!), etc.. Who are the pilot schools? Where are these certificates? Furthermore, again from the aforementioned blog post:
					Along with others involved in the National Baccalaureate Trust – which has been lying low for a couple of years but is starting to gear up again
Mmm, why dormant yet able to issue "certificates" to students? Will look forward with interest to see how "to gear up" manifests in the form of those inaugural financial accounts

It is not understood why the extant IB programmes are not extolled; perhaps because British educationalists and edu-celebrities would be unable to profit and constantly "update" for personal gain?