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    2015-FEB-15 [SUN]   17:40 (PMT) - WHAT'S THE POINT OF HIGH SCHOOL?
    2015-FEB-10 [TUE]   19:35 (PMT) - KICKING ROBOTS








          2015-FEB-15 [SUN]   17:40 (PMT)                 Table Of Contents
Picture of a stairs to nowhere
What's the Point of High School?
2015-02-15  05:40 PM PST

What is the point? Dave has an Associate's Degree, and he doesn't see any real major (big-time) difference between what he learned in high school and what he learned in college to get his degree, and a lot of that he already learned in elementary school. Sure, college goes into things a little more deeper than high school, that's true, but basicly you're learning the same stuff, one more time. So, he ask, why can't they just give you an Associate's Degree instead of a High School Diploma when you graduate high school?

Personally, I don't care one way or the other, but the way Dave described it, his idea does make sense on some levels.

It might even mean that more young folks finish high school, because then it would be really worth something, and then again it might just make an Associate's Degree as worthless as a High School Diploma almost is today, as far as getting a good paying job anyway. Or, maybe it could be the thing that kick-starts the future of high-tech employment here in the US. Who really knows for sure?

Unfortunately though, I don't really see the people, who make the most money off the current system, allowing that to happen. I think they'll fight like hell to keep it the way it is now. That's the major problem I see with Dave's idea.

And despite that problem, Dave's idea still isn't that bad an idea. As a matter of fact, on some levels, it was a very good idea. It's just too bad it won't be happening any time soon, but there are signs it's possible. Maybe not highly probable at this stage of the game, but still possible.

Just recently, Obama kind of offered his opinion on the subject, in trying to get the first two-years of college free for way more people than now get it today:

FROM: http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/01/obama_wants_free_two-year_coll.html

Obama wants free two-year college tuition, but cost may not be biggest obstacle to degree
By Brendan Kirby on January 17, 2015 at 7:00 AM,
updated January 20, 2015 at 2:49 PM

'President Barack Obama has proposed making community college free for many, but cost is only one - and not even the highest - hurdle between students and a degree, according to higher education experts... '

 

Since the article we linked to above is from an Alabama online newspaper, it makes sense that it would use Alabama as an example of all the other problems with the plan, and many of those involve expenses other than tuition, like rent, food, transportation, books, etc., etc.

All those problems would be solved if an existing system (a High School Diploma), that was already in place and paid for, automatically became an Associate's Degree after graduation from high school.

More people might even go get a Bachelors Degree, because that would now only take two years to get instead of four, and thus be cheaper.

One of the first problems, of course, would be that high school teachers would then want to be paid as much as college teachers, and that would mean teacher's unions would get involved, and who knows what'll happen after that gets all finished, but the federal government could help out here by making high school teacher's salaries exempt from income tax for four years, or more, while this was all worked out, and to also help give those same teachers time to upgrade their educational requirements so they can teach college courses.

Which brings us to the next big problem, the biggest granddaddy of them all problems, and that problem is a hurdle that needs to be jumped for Dave's idea to even begin to get off the ground and become reality, and that is the College Accreditation System.

While looking up "college accreditation" in Google, we ran across the following piece from the Wikipedia entry, "regional accreditation":

FROM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_accreditation

"Regionally accredited higher education institutions are predominantly academically oriented, non-profit, or state-owned institutions. Nationally accredited schools are predominantly for-profit and offer vocational, career or technical programs.

"Every college has the right to set standards and refuse to accept transfer credits. However, if a student has gone to a school that is only nationally accredited and not regionally accredited, it may be particularly difficult to transfer credits (or even credit for a degree earned) if he or she then applies to a regionally accredited college. A 2005 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that, in making decisions on credit transfer, about 84 percent of U.S. higher education institutions considered whether the sending institution is accredited, and many had policies stating that they would accept credits only from regionally accredited institutions. About 63 percent of institutions told the GAO that they would accept credit from any regionally accredited institution, but only 14 percent similarly accepted credits from nationally accredited schools. Regional institutions are reluctant to accept credits from nationally accredited institutions due, in part, to national accreditors' less stringent standards for criteria such as faculty qualifications and library resources. Students who are planning to transfer credits from a nationally accredited school to a regionally accredited school are advised to ensure that the regionally accredited school will accept the credits before they enroll.

"In general, the names of U.S. post-secondary institutions and their degree titles do not indicate whether the institution is accredited or the type of accreditation it holds. Rules on this topic vary from state to state. Regulations of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission require that post-secondary institutions in the state of Tennessee must be regionally accredited to use the word 'university' in their names, and that a school lacking regional accreditation may not use the word 'college' in its name without adding a qualifier such as 'career', 'vocational', 'business', 'technical', 'art', 'Bible', or 'Christian'. Tennessee rules also specify that only regionally accredited schools can issue 'liberal arts' degrees or degree titles such as Associate of Arts or Science and Bachelor of Arts or Science... "

In short, what I got from all that was that the important thing about college credit was the transfer. Will one college accept credits (or transfer credits) from another college, that can then be used to get the final credits for a degree at another college, without having to take all those credit courses again, and that's where the major hang-up will be as far as High School Diplomas being used as credit for college courses will be, and that is will colleges accept them as such? That's the big question.

I not only learned that the transferability of credit depends on accreditation, but also that accreditation depends on an institution meeting certain standards by either a regional or national accreditating agency, which brings up two questions. What are these standards and can most high schools, in general, meet these standards?

FROM: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg2.html

"Accreditation in the U.S.

"The United States has no federal Ministry of Education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions in this country. The states assume varying degrees of control over education, but, in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. As a consequence, American educational institutions can vary widely in the character and quality of their programs.

"In order to insure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting nongovernmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. Private educational associations of regional or national scope have adopted criteria reflecting the qualities of a sound educational program and have developed procedures for evaluating institutions or programs to determine whether or not they are operating at basic levels of quality... "

I still have yet to find what these standards for accreditation are, especially as it applies to the quality and kind of course materials that need to be offered by the prospective accrediting institution.

As of this writing, and even without knowing what the standards are for college accreditation, it's easy for us to see that the probabilities of it being attained by high schools are slim at best, but certainly not impossible. It just needs a few key people to take the idea seriously. Obama's proposal mentioned at the beginning of the post is definitely a good start in the right direction.

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          2015-FEB-10 [TUE]   19:35 (PMT)                 Table Of Contents
Picture of a Dog
Kicking Robots
2015-02-10  07:35 PM PST

I'm sure we've all abused our stuff, at least at one time or another. Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm not talking about that stuff, but your computers, TVs, keyboards, and other stuff like that. I definitely have hit my keyboard a little harder sometimes than I really needed to, but Dave tells me he has definitely abused his equipment, stuff that he owned. Kicked a TV, banged a speaker, and stuff like that. He says it's the first thing they teach you about electronic equipment repair was to bang it hard on the side a few times. That sounds so much like a load of horseshit to me, I almost laugh everytime he says it, but one time, and only one time, did that method actually work. He has never let me forget it ever since.

But, it makes him happy, and I still think it's funny, but... maybe someday.

Anyway, that's not the focus of this blog post. Let's agree that we've all abused our electronics, now and again, or maybe just once, so our question is, would you kick a robot, even if it looked like a dog, or a human?

FROM: http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/10/technology/google-robot-dog-spot/

Google has created a robotic dog, and it wants you to kick it.
By David Goldman

''Spot' is a four-legged robot designed by Boston Dynamics, a military robotics company that Google (GOOGL, Tech30) bought in 2013. Boston Dynamics says that Spot is a 160 lbs, battery-powered robot designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. It can scale stairs and navigate rough terrain... '

The article shows a video of someone trying to kick the robot over, and it does kind of resembled a dog, and it acted like one too, because the robot did almost exactly what a dog would if you tried to kick it over, with the legs kicking around to balance itself. It was really creepy looking, now that I think about it, and one of the creepy things was that the robot didn't try to bite you for kicking it. I half expected it to, even though I knew it didn't have a mouth to bite with.

But, would you kick it? It's really no different than kicking your TV. At least, that's what Dave says, but he admitted he wouldn't kick it, and I have to agree, I wouldn't kick it either.

It would feel too much like I was substituting the robot for my dog, and I would never hurt my dog. Never.

But, it is interesting to watch though, which brings up the next question, what if it looked like a human? Would you feel comfortable kicking it than?

And now it seems that some other people have picked up on this, most notably CNN:

FROM: http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/13/tech/spot-robot-dog-google/

Is it cruel to kick a robot dog?
By Phoebe Parke, for CNN
Updated 8:43 AM ET, Fri February 13, 2015

' ...But more recently, the conversation flared up again, most of it stemming from the video released this week showing Boston Dynamics employees trying to kick Spot over in order to show how robust it is. The video spread around the Internet like wildfire and raised questions about ethics, the future of robotics and Google's intentions... '

Maybe we should be thinking about how we treat our electronics nowadays. You know, just in case the uprising comes sooner than we think it will. Why take chances, if you don't have to.

So the next time you feel like pounding the living shit out of your keyboard or throwing your tablet against the wall, just think about that robot dog that was made to be kicked, if only for a minute, and just maybe that feeling will pass, and you'll be safe again... for now anyway.

ALSO OF INTEREST:

Stephen Hawking predicts robot apocalypse coming within 100 years
By TJ Dietsch May. 13, 2015 1:26 pm
http://www.geek.com/news/stephen-hawking-predicts-robopocalypse-in-next-century-1622734/
"If you thought the title villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron was scary: just wait, because one of the biggest brains on the planet thinks a robot takeover is likely in the next century... "

[ TOP ]

Could your next pet be a robot?
By Rowena Lindsay, Staff Writer
MAY 12, 2015
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0512/Could-your-next-pet-be-a-robot
"The next step in artificial intelligence technology may be robot pets, at least according to one animal welfare researcher at the University of Melbourne... "

[ TOP ]

Japan's Robot Dogs Get Funerals as Sony Looks Away - Japan
3/8/15 AT 2:34 PM
BY LAUREN WALKER
http://www.newsweek.com/japans-robot-dogs-get-funerals-sony-looks-away-312192
"In 1999, Sony launched a robot dog named Aibo in the U.S. and Japan that not only responded to external stimuli, but was able to learn and express itself. These capabilities, a press release from the time explained, 'allow each unit to develop a unique personality including behavior shaped by the praise and scolding of its owner.' And Aibo, short for 'Artificially Intelligent Robot,' quickly became a hit--especially in Japan... "

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LAST UPDATED: Sunday,  October 11, 2015