Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Saturday, 2017.12.16
Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines
to execute.

		Abelson & Sussman

2007.10.31

A Peek Through University of Delaware’s Fish-Eyes

Just about any dissection can be a grisly, unpleasant endeavor and the dissection in this post of the University of Delaware’s statement of support for it’s ideological reeducation camp approach to “free” thinking is no different. Hold your nose and let’s get started…

UD’s response to FIRE’s report begins:

The University of Delaware residential life educational program has been misrepresented and its goals distorted in a report generated this week by an advocacy group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

When looking through a fish-eye lens, the world certainly looks distorted, unless you’re the fish. No doubt, UD really, really, really believes they’re the good guys and that thing we all see as bendy is, in their mind, quite straight, correct and as it should be. In typically Higher Irrelevance fashion, they really, really, really “know” we all got it wrong.

“The central mission of the University, and of the program, is to cultivate both learning and the free exchange of ideas,” said Michael A. Gilbert, vice president for student life at the University. “Far from stifling free speech, the residential life educational program seeks to encourage free speech.”

“Vice president for student life”? Does someone actually HAVE that title? This program is about as far from promoting free speech as a drowning person is from calling for help. Fish-eyes.

Students who choose to participate in the residence life educational program are not required to adopt any particular points of view but are presented with a range of ideas to challenge them and stimulate conversation and debate so that students can reflect on various topics, including diversity.

Ha! It would seem the only choice they had was whether or not to attend UD. After that, not so much choice. Meta-model time, big shots. Which “range of ideas?” Challenging how? Stimulate what specific kind of conversations and debate? Diversity for whom?

“Our goal as educators is to expose students to ideas and to engage them in self-examination of the roles they hope to take in society once they leave our campus,” Gilbert said.

“Expose students to ideas and engage them in self-examination…” Ug. Please, UD, keep the trench coat closed, for all our benefit. Here’s an idea: work to make your students better engineers, scientists, or what ever else you claim to offer as professional training.

Students in residence halls are not forced to participate, and certainly are not forced to agree with any particular point of view. Students are faced with questions, but the answers to these questions are their own. There are no “correct” answers.

Just be sure to leave your answers with the man behind the curtain on the way out of the interrogation exam question room.

“The notion that students at the University of Delaware can be coerced into any one point of view does a great disservice not only to the institution but also to the student body, which is bright, creative and represents a wide array of thought,” Gilbert said.

Patronizing fish-eyes. Let’s hope UD’s students are bright enough to see this for what it is. Apparently, I benefited from a public education which actually did promote critical thinking (although the Ward Churchill fiasco years later suggests CU has slipped a bit in this regard) and so has made UD’s shameful reeducation endeavor an easy read. From UD’s own reeducation camp material:

“[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.”

Just what is it about such a statement represents a “wide array of thought”? That statement is itself racist. The author (or authors) of that statement is the racist. Fish-eyes, baby. Fish-eyes.

The residential life educational program, which has been developed with the express intent of helping students think critically and analytically, has had the input of student leaders, faculty and administrators and is continually assessed through feedback from individuals and through focus groups.

And finally, UD contends the program is “continually assessed through feedback from individuals and through focus groups.” What we need to know…and I do mean NEED…is which individuals SPECIFICALLY. Which focus groups SPECIFICALLY. Reveal ALL details pertaining to this process so that it may, in the interests of CRITICAL and ANALYTICAL thinking, be evaluated by independent observers. ANYTHING less than this is smoke and mirror bureaucracy.

Further commentary from Michelle Malkin, LGF and additional documentation at FIRE.

[Edit History]

2007.11.23

Fixed typo in title.

Repeat After Me…Them…Us…Them…Us

What happens to you if you are a religious zealot bent on making those whom you deem non-human? If you’re…well…just about anywhere in the Middle East, you’ll enjoy State support for you bent thinking. But in the land of democracy, freedom and liberty, you can be brought to justice and be held accountable for such twisted thoughts when they are acted upon:

The brokenhearted father of a Marine killed in Iraq won a long-shot legal fight today after a federal jury in Baltimore awarded him nearly $11 million in a verdict against members of a Kansas church who hoisted anti-gay placards at his son’s Westminster funeral.

The jury’s announcement 24 hours after deliberations first began was met with tears and hugs from the family and supporters of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, whose March 2006 funeral was protested by members of the Westboro Baptist Church with signs including “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

Snyder’s father, Albert, won on every count of his complaint, as well as $2.9 million for compensatory damages and $8 million for punitive damages.

Sweet. Although I know from a bit of experience that this does little to ease the pain for Lance Cpl. Snyder’s family. It’s also likely the fight isn’t not over.

H/T to LGF. More coverage by Hot Air and Michelle Malkin.

2007.10.30

Project Valour-IT – 2007

It’s time again to contribute to Project Valour-IT (Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops). Like last year, I’ve kicked in $100 and joined the Marines (gotta support the boots on the ground) lead by Soldiers’ Angel – Holly Aho.

This is a good use of technology. The voice recognition software is quite impressive and continues to improve.

Please note:

Division among military teams is purely for the purpose of friendly competition. Any blogger may join any team and all money raised supports the wounded as needed, regardless of branch of service.

2007.10.26

When Jerks Attack

More from Bobby Caina Calvan

“I am new to blogging and it was meant to be a diary of my experiences — and as a way to avoid writing individual e-mails to friends and family wanting to share in my experiences. Yes, I realize — and am embarrassed by naivete — that nothing is private on the Web.”

Wow. That a reporter, a purported professional in the information industry would not understand the very medium within which he works, is telling enough. Even more striking is the glimpse he revealed, and then withdrew, into the bias at the root of all his reporting. He may be embarrassed at his naiveté regarding privacy on the web. If he had any awareness about the larger story to his revealing blog post, he would be pained by the shame he now carries for having utterly failed at is profession.

While I don’t see fit to foist as high an honor upon Mr. Calvan as Michelle Malkin, I do regard him as a pushy, arrogant little boy. Bad day for Mr. Calvan. Perhaps this Calvin’s words will be helpful to Bobby:

You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help. – Calvin

[Edit History]

2007.10.26

As apologies from the MSM go, this one is pretty good. At least, I, the consumer of his post and his reporting, wasn’t accused of “misunderstanding”, “misinterpreting” or otherwise “taking it the wrong way.” Refreshing. Let’s hope he’s a better reporter for having had this experience and figures out how to report the facts in a dozen languages rather than…er…as his bio at the Asian American Journalists Association – Sacramento Chapter states:

At last count, he also knows how to offend people in at least a dozen languages – the list is growing.

2007.10.10

Nose Rings And Trusted Sources

Very interesting article at the American Thinker by Randall Hoven (H/T: LGF). “Media Dishonesty Matters” is a list of 101 incidents of false and misleading information from sources generally considered trusted. It’s an enlightening list and worth reading the whole article. The preamble to the list contains this comment:

I did receive a few complaints for not having “conservatives” on the list. There turns out to be a good reason for that: there just aren’t that many who pass the criteria for clear dishonesty in the public debate.

It highlights why I tend to trust “conservatives” more than “liberals” or “progressives” – they tend to be less emotional and more rigorous in substantiating their arguments with facts. I’ve also noticed, the more thorough an individual is in vetting a particular issue, the more likely they are to be “conservative” on such issues. When approached in such a manner, it isn’t that the individual is “conservative,” rather the dispassionate, reasoned analysis makes them appear so. Mind you, I find them every bit as compassionate as those from other tribes. As a generalization, however, they are less emotional. That makes for better decisions in highly charged situations.

A word about facts is in order. I’m thinking of those things that can be independently verified, points of knowledge that can be tested, replicated and shared. Issues like global warming, finances and what caused the World Trade Center towers to burn and fall all can be reduced to verifiable facts. Abortion and stem cell research debates as generally framed by those from the “conservative” tribe fail on the matter of fact. What the Bible, Koran or Betty Crocker says doesn’t concern me in the least on these issues.

But facts require patience and too few people have what it takes to collect and consider the requisite critical mass for understanding of complex issues. And if they do, there is often a failure to consider context and consequence when using those facts to derive a decision. As Mr. Hoven notes:

While I provide a source for every item, a single source is not usually sufficient to prove anything. You might have to do some of your own searching if you remain unconvinced of a party’s guilt. Space is limited.

So is time. But it’s easy once you get the hang of it. It’s your choice. Be lead by a nose ring or find your own path. Either way, it’s your choice.

2007.10.09

Nothing Says “We Care!” To Your Customers Like A Good CYA Strategy

Saw this article on the front page of the September 7-13 dead tree edition of the Denver Business Journal: “Rising laptop thefts push prevention initiatives“.

It’s not enough simply to call in the IT people or have an expert run a “penetration test” of your company’s network, say lawyers who specialize in data security.

They insist that executives need legal as well as technical advice up front. They say companies face new data-security laws as well as evolving legal notions of what precautions they need to take.

That sounds really good. It’s a difficult task and requires a team effort. But hold on there…

[Bryan Cunningham, a principal of the Denver law firm Morgan & Cunningham] cites a key advantage to bringing in lawyers up front: “If you hire a law firm to supervise the process, even if there are technical engineers involved, then the process will be covered by attorney-client privilege.”

He noted that in a lawsuit following a data theft, plaintiffs usually seek a company’s records of “all the [data-security] recommendations that were made [before the breach] and whether or not you followed them. And if you go and hire technical consultants only, all that information gets turned over in discovery. [But] if you have it through a law firm, it’s generally not.”

So there you have it. Park the problem behind a lawyer straight away. But why stop there? Why not implement a corporate-wide strategy to shield all manner of mistakes, mishaps and negligence behind attorney-client privilege. Have attorneys supervise your employees and “consult” on safety issues. Cover the whole supply chain and service path while your at it. No more embarrassing or expensive issues falling out of discovery related to bad employee behavior, OSHA violations, service incompetence or product problems.

In actuality, this article is poorly titled. This isn’t a “prevention initiative” for data security, it’s a preemptive initiative for corporate irresponsibility.

This approach is a disincentive for businesses to provide adequate data security. It’s much more cost effective to pay a team of attorneys to “supervise” the data center than it is to implement and maintain a data security strategy (as the article notes, the threats are constantly changing and so must the security strategy.) What does a corporation care about 100,000 customer credit card records they let loose into the wild if they’re shielded by attorney-client privilege and not likely to be held accountable or responsible? Rather than caring about prevention, they will care more about squashing any news of such a loss. And this, I grant you, is a brilliant strategy for accomplishing just that.

[Edit History]

2008.05.26

Grammar fixes.


All content copyright © 1994 - Gregory Paul Engel, All Rights Reserved. The content or any portion thereof from this web site may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of Gregory Paul Engel. Queries may be sent to greg dot engel at javazen dot com.

No posts for this category or search criteria.