Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wanderers 2008.1.28

Lew Frederick
:: Lew runs a good meeting ::
Lew Frederick, long time Wanderer though rarely through, is regaling us with stories of the presidential inauguration (he'd joined the happy throng in the Mall), his history in the civil rights movement. He and Barack stood in line together in Chicago once, in another chapter, chatted a little.

Keeping it rolling requires previously disenfranchised individuals finding their new voice as power brokers, people with juice. I use these terms to keep it somewhat anthropological.

I finally developed a more up to date resume for the web, having coasted on this classic, which I've not taken down. The new one is a PDF and so easier to email to those "less webby".

There are nine of us present, in addition to Lew.

My thinking is tuition is really high at universities, growing faster than inflation, and yet private industry is desperate for technology skills you could learn in high school, a lot of them anyway (like some SQL for starters?).

So why not cap your high school career with some early college education, then have your employer pick up the tab for the higher education parts, based on actual needs for certifications?

That might sound like a death knell for the liberal arts, but who says companies don't want liberal arts people? Many good companies do, especially in top management where overview really matters. Overview includes knowing some history, some anthropology.

Why doesn't every high school have a debating team, provide training in rhetoric? USAers lose arguments too easily, resort to shouting on radio, sounding like losers. Challenge: engineers need the rhetorical skills of lawyers, when to comes to defending their coding projects (budgets in the balance).

Given Lew's long affiliation with Portland Public Schools, we chatted somewhat knowingly about Lincoln, Cleveland, Grant, LEP High... Winterhaven. I sampled my boosterism for Winterhaven, "Portland's geek Hogwarts" where I volunteered as a parent a lot.

Lew is rightly suspicious of any elitists thinking of others as "muggles" (or worse), themselves as God's gift (obnoxious brats more likely). However pride in one's school, team spirit, inter-school rivalry (as in debating?), is likewise encouraged -- a two-edge sword, this elitism business.

I say we need many elites (guilds, professional societies... sports teams). Speaking of which, Bill Sheppard is the now secretary for the Online Professional Electronics Association. Congrats Bill.

Shomar was acting a lot healthier today, got some great shots, thank you David. And it's yottawatt I was supposed to be chuckling about, used in my blog, not petawatt (not as funny).

My humor had degraded by several orders of magnitude.

I liked the Chinese fortune cookie: enjoy peace in your life, go along with what others would want. Sounds kinda wise.