Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Schools for Diplomats

We see a pun of sorts in the title, in that "diplomats" were simply "those with diplomas" who seemed therefore more civilized and therefore better able to get closer to the court. Having higher degrees was roughly equivalent to having a powdered wig or top hat, if male, and able to lord it over others in some high horse manner (possibly literally, as equestrians tend to wear head gear for safety, much as cyclists wear helmets, while many motorists literally encase themselves in metal armor).

In a more modern context, the diplomats in question might be the speech and debate teams of my previous post, multiplied and cross-pollinated around the world to create a more even sense of a spherical playing field. These exchange student circuits do not undermine long established demographics however. There's not much a handful of outsiders might do, to tip any big scales. These are not the invading hordes. Just because your community hosts a few Africans or Asians or Americans or Australians, doesn't make you a "sell out" or a "shill" for some competing continent. That's just too stupid a game to merit our diplomats' talents. They've got bigger (and better) fish to fry.

In recent storyboards, I'm back to eying those former USAF and USN bases in the Philippines, thinking how "girl scout math" could gain a footprint in that ecosystem. This is a variant on the GIS / GPS intensive curriculum elsewhere called "off your duff" math, and involving geo-caching. I've got a couple new essays in this genre on tap at Math Forum: Of Backpacking and Sphere Packing, and Of Mathematics and Outdoor School.

Speech and Debate Meetup