Tag Archives: Stupid and Evil

No, You Don’t Have a “Learning Style”

I wrote about this before here. The Federalist has an article here.

While nearly 90 percent of Americans think people have unique learning styles — the best known are labeled auditory, visual, and kinesthetic — cognitive research has steadily debunked the idea over time. To mark Brain Awareness Week this month, 30 internationally respected neuroscientists, psychologists, and educators issued a public letter asking teachers to stop wasting time with it.

Is there a way you’d prefer to learn? Sure. But the original Learning Styles theory was based upon the notion that Johnny learned using physical actions like dancing or creating, and Jaimie learned best by listening, while Jerome learned best by reading.

I doubted this was true but noted that there were no studies which proved it was true. That’s how science is supposed to work.  Develop a theory, test it, and then apply it.

In teaching, we skipped the testing step. We do that a lot.

Of course the Learning Styles notion was useless for complex concepts like nouns, verbs, polynomials and just about everything.

A recent survey about education myths pins both teacher training and the media for popularizing “learning styles” memes, which include the concepts of “right brain versus left brain,” “multiple intelligences,” and “reasoning versus intuitive.” These all make for fun TV segments and lots of moolah for pop psychologists like Malcom Gladwell, yet not only do not benefit learners through opportunity cost they keep people from doing something more useful with their thoughts and bodies.

[FYI: I actually am a right brain learner, plus I favor my left ventricle, right testicle and large intestine. — Dave]

I know some people don’t like learning from a book, and others can’t stand lectures, and others like building and making things. Each of these strategies is task specific, in my opinion. I don’t want a surgeon who has only learned it all from a book, or a mechanic who only has read the manual. On the other hand, I don’t really want a doctor who has merely learned where and how to cut, but understands nothing of the why. 

If your brain is so highly specialized that it cannot take in material at all in multiple ways, then congratulations. You’re autistic. Or disabled in some way. This is a really, really small percentage of people.

Update: The North Carolina teaching evaluation contains a requirement that teachers consider Learning Styles. In other words, pseudoscience:

Learning Styles.png


Bill Schmalfeldt is Afraid of John Hoge Knowing His New Address

Bill Schmalfeldt is obligated to inform the court handling John Hoge’s lawsuit of any change of address. Here are Mr. Schmalfeldt’s own words on the subject:


There are reasons I am very reluctant to give my personal home address to WJJ Hoge III of Westminster, Maryland. They revolve around issues of personal security and safety based on the fact that each time I have revealed my home address, Hoge has promulgated that address to his network of slime-covered operatives who use the information to stalk me and endanger my life and safety.

Yeah, so it was not so long ago that Bill Schmalfeldt didn’t feel hesitant to publish my address, employer name and a picture of my house. [Remember, Tweets read bottom to top.]

That’s my house. That’s me.

My crime? I spoke critically of him. He couldn’t find anything really nasty that I’ve said and still can’t.

My response at the time, and is to this day…no.  

Posts about this are on Hogewash!, Thinkingmanszombie and BillySez.


Not the Real President

Are judges deciding these immigration cases this way because they somehow think of Donald Trump as ‘not the real president?’ If so, the greatest threat to the United States might not be poverty, debt, Islamic radicals or the failed educational system.

The greatest threat might be from judges, protesters and elites who don’t give a damn about what is right. They care only that by raw power, violence and fear that their will be done.  

From the blog Lawfare (h/t to Eugene Volokh)

It goes, not to put too fine a point on it, to the question of whether the judiciary means to actually treat Trump as a real president or, conversely, as some kind of accident—a person who somehow ended up in the office but is not quite the President of the United States in the sense that we would previously have recognized.

That is exactly what the rest of the shadow government – the bureaucracy – has been doing. Just to reiterate: Donald J. Trump is the Commander in Chief, and folks who don’t get that are living in a fantasy world.

During the election, many folks doubted Trump’s candidacy, even after he secured the nomination. There were many formerly rational people who supposed the Republican Party was prepared to ‘step in’ and prevent his candidacy. Later, others figured an Electoral College revolt could correct this ‘mistake.’justice_SRB 1

Similar fantasy scenarios also played out with Hillary Clinton.

Fact is, votes matter.  

He’s in the White House, and yes there is a fellow trailing him with a nuclear football. Folks gotta deal with the reality.

Perhaps everything [Judges] Blackman and Margulies and Bybee are saying is right as a matter of law in the regular order, but there’s an unexpressed legal principle functionally at work here: That President Trump is a crazy person whose oath of office large numbers of judges simply don’t trust and to whom, therefore, a whole lot of normal rules of judicial conduct do not apply.

If that’s what they think, they’re no longer serving the Constitution. They are undermining the framework of the country in a way in which Donald Trump has not.

Imagine if the military took that position.

The judiciary actually has greater domestic influence. Frankly, I fear the judges more.

(Update:typo fixed.)

Darwin Awards, National Division

The Daily Caller:

North Korea is suspected to be building a nuclear bomb much larger and dangerous than anything it has ever tested.

Commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site shows extensive tunneling for a test of a nuclear weapon with extremely high explosive yields, reports 38 North, a research site run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. While there is the possibility North Korea is simply taking extra safety precautions, the North could also be preparing to test a 282-kiloton nuclear bomb.

North Korea’s last nuclear test had an explosive yield of only 20-30 kilotons.

“The nuclear test which the North is trying to conduct at the Punggye-ri test site will break the country into two pieces,” Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected last year, explained to Voice of America.

I take no pleasure in reporting that North Korea overestimates the size of North Korea, or that it doesn’t know what a really big nuclear weapon can do. 

That guy needs to be kicked out, the two Koreas unified*, and the free market to make food available to all.

*I have the same hope for the two Dakotas.


Quote of the Day

In modern Britain, affirmative action is bigotry by stealth. The statement it makes is that whoever is hiring has such low expectations of women and minority groups that they don’t believe such applicants will be able to get a job on merit. The left likes to throw around accusations, so let’s follow suit: through employing affirmative action the BBC is racist and sexist. Its bigotry extends, through a combination of pat-on-the-head box ticking and point blank exclusion, toward everyone—men, women, any of the other 31 bathroom-commandeering genders, and all the races on EarthSam White, discussing the BBC, but also modern British and American liberalism


New Lynch Mobs

Once again, violence is apparently the answer if a college speaker is “controversial.”

Eugene Volokh quotes a Vermont paper:

Middlebury College Professor Allison Stanger was injured by protesters Thursday evening as she was escorting a controversial speaker from campus. She was treated at Porter Hospital and released….

As Stanger, [Charles] Murray and a college administrator left McCullough Student Center last evening following [Murray’s speech] they were “physically and violently confronted by a group of protestors,” according to Bill Burger, the college’s vice president for communications and marketing.

Burger said college public safety officers managed to get Stanger and Murray into the administrator’s car.

“The protestors then violently set upon the car, rocking it, pounding on it, jumping on and try to prevent it from leaving campus,” he said. “At one point a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. Public Safety officers were able, finally, to clear the way to allow the vehicle to leave campus.

“During this confrontation outside McCullough, one of the demonstrators pulled Prof. Stanger’s hair and twisted her neck,” Burger continued. “She was attended to at Porter Hospital later and (on Friday) is wearing a neck brace.”

Murray wrote The Bell Curve, a book which suggested there may be differences in intelligence between racial groups. Which is to say, he actually studied a topic which he knew would get him branded as a heretic, then published a book of his findings. I have no idea if he’s right.

As folks know, I teach. I know brilliant kids of all races, and children who are given lesser academic skill. That second category includes all races as well. Murray might be all wet, but apparently he wasn’t even planning to talk about this at Middlebury. 


He might have been right or he might have been wrong in that book, or in whatever else he was going to speak about; I don’t know enough about those questions to speak confidently about that. But the point of universities, of public debate more broadly, and especially of debate about science is to discuss whether these sorts of scientific assertions are right and wrong, not to assume that one view is right and then shout down or physically attack those who disagree with it.

A note to the campus idiots who did this:

You overpriveledged, arrogant twits have no reason to resort to violence to shut down a speaker. You’ve made yourselves the fascists, jackbooted thugs in the service of orthodoxy. If someone strays from the path, proposes a notion which you cannot process, then apparently you figure beating them, pulling their hair and sending them to the emergency room is the answer.

Have your teachers never taught you to listen to opposing views? Have your parents not taught you compassion? Does it not occur to you that a huge number of people in this world disagree with your ideas, and that one day you might be targeted with violence just for holding a controversial view? Are you prepared for that kind of world?

You are the lynch mobs. You are now Bull Connor, ordering water hoses to be used against those who hold opposing views. You are one step away from being James Earl Ray, aiming a weapon at someone whose ideas scare you. You’re wearing the brown shirts now, hoisting a beer and planning to break a few windows.

Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Rosa Parks and all of your supposed heroes would have opposed this. I oppose it. You should be ashamed, but in your life you’ve been sheltered from that notion.

You are wrong. 

Giraffe Cam Cut Off For Completely Logical Reasons




The Animal Adventure Park posted to their Facebook page that the stream was suspended for “nudity & sexual content. They said “Animal Rights Extremists” were responsible.

I have been watching the live stream of the eventual birth of a giraffe from April, the giraffe (that’s how these things work.)

WFAA is now hosting the live stream, which shows a giraffe milling about in a cage.

Let me report that I can see the giraffe baby kicking. No baby yet. I do not see any nudity or sexual content.

I’m told the first signs of childbirth in giraffes are usually subtle.

h/t Ace.