My education podcast with Can Olcer

#7 Tyler Cowen (GMU) on less homework, Swiss science culture, and low university completion rates

In this episode with Tyler Cowen we talk about a broad range of topics. For example, why it’s important that students have less homework, the Swiss science culture, and the low university completion rates.

Here is the link, here is Can on Twitter.  Can currently runs Kosmos School, a K-12 science school realized through Virtual Reality.

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Needs a transcript, or at the minimum a way to increase playback speed to 2x.

Working on the transcript. The podcast is available on all major podcasting platforms, so you can just use your favorite one where you can increase playback speed.

How about a link to simple, downloadable podcast (mp3 format) of the episode?

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"why it’s important that students have less homework": what, irrespective of how much they get at the moment?

Doesn't less homework equate to less learning/knowledge?

Learning is a relatively permanent change in long-term memory, homework should help with that task. Hardly anyone knows how to do it.

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In my country school was a preemptive prison for young people. If you didn't do your homework they didn't give you double prison and if you didn't make trouble they generally left you alone. So I never did it. It didn't do me any harm. Except perhaps for may inability to plan for or even mentally comprehend any task that takes more than 45 minutes.

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... the many excessive years that kids spend in schools is the real problem; k-12 "education" years could easily be reduced by half.

Most things "Taught" are unnecessary cr@p ... that students do not retain in long term memory.

Homework is unnecessary -- it's a crutch for "professional" teachers who can't even teach when they have captive students all day/all week.

Interested to listen when on podcast. First thought is that homework is a way to build the skill sets needed by many for college where most learning and practice will happen outside the classroom in the form of readings, problem sets, and research essays. Also a good way to start socializing kids to adult life where work never really stops when you leave the office. I imagine the smart kids don’t really suffer since they can probably finish most homework on the bus or in home room or just copy from the smart-ish kids who did the home work at home. Plenty of time to pursue passion projects or extra curricular things.

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The 3 Swiss nuclear power plants are inside the triangle among Luzern, Basel and Zürich. All the electricity is used here for industry. There's a small reactor in Bern but it's being decommissioned on the next December.

Also, most of the area inside the triangle is Kanton Aargau. Thanks Tyler for calling Aargau one of the places where the action is happening. Indeed, a lot of applied technology industry around here. I work in engineering consulting. Other Swiss describes this place as the Texas of Switzerland, or people with not as woke opinions as Zürich.

Aargau is cool, cheap rent, low taxes, and you can still drive an 8 cylinder car without people asking you why you did not get an electric car instead =)

Come to think of it:

why are Tyler and Alex not treating us (yet) to the topical concern of how electric car owners are faring in the PG&E-engineered blackout besetting those ingenious Californians?

Enormous mismanagement issues on the parts of our esteemed Cognitive Elites merit at least a little attention.

(Technogenic Climate Change seems to be no issue here: Californians' REFUSAL to manage their drought-prone forests seems the only issue.)

Sounds like they need multimode (hybrid) solar inverters so they'll have power during blackouts. (They have solar panels, right? One third of homes here in South Australia do. Queensland as well.) Or they could install a Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery system. It won't pay for itself, but it will provide full backup. (Note it allows the car to charge from the solar panels. Charging a battery from a battery is a waste and should be avoided.)

blackouts, battery systems, full backup? That sounds like century ago. Interconnectedness and a reliable distribution network may be better.

It would be interesting to estimate how many billions were spent in solar panels in individual homes instead of being spent solving the root problem: poor distribution network.

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Today, our government has officially reneged its most solemn promise to sponsor Brazil's induction into NATO and the OECD. It is preposterous that we butter Red China up while backstabbing our closest ally. The moment has come when I felt that Trump's government must die that the nation might live. Impeach the president.

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During the discussion about encouraging Americans to study STEM, Tyler suggested increasing high-skilled immigration.

If such immigration is targetted just towards STEM, wouldn't that be an anti-libertarian government policy of picking winners and losers?

Love it. Somebody is thinking here and asking good questions.

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That part of the podcast of STEM being perceived as "hard" was really awkward.

Medicine is hard. Being successful in professional sports is hard. Becoming a famous artists is even harder, almost as improbable as winning the lotto. All these challenges don't make people stop trying in sports and art.

I work in STEM and the lack of attractiveness is because it's almost impossible to become rich in these field. Rich in the sense of living in a 1000sq. m home with a garage larger than my apartment. The top STEM salaries are 2x my income, and the bottom 0.5x my income. Solid middle-class life, no more. If you're into it because of nerddom, it's quite rewarding.

I think that's the problem with STEM, it's a dead-end for more ambitious people, it's simply boring. The teenager son of my boss looks down at me because I work for his dad.....he dreams about becoming a football star with all the perks and features of a 10+ million a year income.

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Can Olcer...what a painful sounding name.

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