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Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
#26

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
Quote:We've arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: 1995

Which is demonstrably true. 30 years ago 10% of the population owned a computer and 90% of them knew how they worked. Today 90% own a computer but only 10% know what goes on behind the keyboard. You give an average computer user an empty machine and Windows on a USB stick, they wouldn't have a clue.

A while ago my nephew (self employed joiner) was telling me how he went bust and nearly lost his house because the engine in his truck blew up. "The oil pressure light came on and before I could get to a garage..." He clocked me giving him the gamma ray's and stopped. "You stupid bastard!" Without oil pressure an engine will destroy itself in seconds. He then tells me, as though in mitigation, 'But it was serviced 4 months prior.'

I fucking despair.
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#27

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
A little counter point.

I would be very wary of anecdotes showing grade inflation and students now being not as smart as those from a few decades past. I would be especially wary of those provided by teachers like myself. The nostalgia effect is alive and well in everybody. We don't remember as keenly the failures of our students in the past than those which are much more recent and for those with very long careers can't even adequately compare their success and failure ratio by grades alone since school curriculum tend to change substantially every 10 to 15 years making such direct comparison rather difficult.

It's almost a tradition for old folks to complain about the stupidity, lack of discipline and work ethics of the younger generation. I'll offer an excuse to my pupil and say that if they are not as smart and educated as me at their age, it's my own god damned fault for being such a poor teacher compared to my forebearer. I personally take with a massive grain of salt any complaint about students being any significantly worst than they were in past. I'm more suspicious of the quality of the institutions that are serving them. The teacher-student ratio in most schools, college and university has increased over time. This, to me is probably the most likely culprit for lower grades and the illusion that students are worst than they used to be.
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#28

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
Few districts pay teachers what they are worth.  No wonder they flee the profession in droves.  Fewer teachers means more students for the ones who stay.

Capitalism at its finest, Epy.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#29

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
(12-29-2023, 04:39 PM)Inkubus Wrote:
Quote:We've arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: 1995

Which is demonstrably true. 30 years ago 10% of the population owned a computer and 90% of them knew how they worked. Today 90% own a computer but only 10% know what goes on behind the keyboard. You give an average computer user an empty machine and Windows on a USB stick, they wouldn't have a clue.

A while ago my nephew (self employed joiner) was telling me how he went bust and nearly lost his house because the engine in his truck blew up. "The oil pressure light came on and before I could get to a garage..." He clocked me giving him the gamma ray's and stopped. "You stupid bastard!" Without oil pressure an engine will destroy itself in seconds. He then tells me, as though in mitigation, 'But it was serviced 4 months prior.'

I fucking despair.

I find this argument by Carl Sagan to be extremely stupid. I suppose the man was a brilliant physicist, but an absolutely ridiculously bad historian or anthropologist. The very basis of any complex civilization (as in capable of building cities of over 20K inhabitant) is worker specialization. The more complex and technically advance a society is, the more specialized the people will be. It's completely impossible for any human being to have a working knowledge of all the skills and a base knowledge of every known science and humanities of any complex civilization and the more complex and technically advanced a civilization is, the more ridiculous this assumption means. Even if you could do such a thing. People forget rather quickly what they have been taught if they don't use it regularly; that's the whole point of specialization. We share the workload and rely on cooperation with one another to fill our needs. You don't need to learn how in install Windows on an empty machine by yourself if you are basically never going to do it yourself. You don't need to know how to do that to operate Windows competently either just like you don't need to know how to shave a sheep to wear a wool shirt or how to make pasta to eat them.

The idea of a humanist education based on learning a bit of everything isn't posited in creating people who are good at everything. The idea of such education is to allow students to have a taste for a lot of different thing and choose amongst them a domain where they wish to specialize later on based on their talents and interests. The idea of a general education is to make people free to choose their place in society instead of being assigned to one. It doesn't matter so much as to what they remember than that they have experienced it at least once. Specific knowledge and specific skills are also far less important in such basic education than transcending skills like creativity, critical thinking, research skills and reflexes, intellectual curiosity, etc.
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#30

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
I’m more concerned that there are professions that aren’t even known anymore, much less have enough graduating with degrees to fill these hidden professions.

I returned to college in my 30’s to peruse a degree in Medical Technology. ~%95 of hospitals would only hire Med Techs to work in the hospital lab. Over the years, fewer and fewer kids applied to a Med Tech degree and the majority of Techs were close to retirement with few to no applicants to fill the holes. Rather than making our salaries higher to attract new Techs, many hospitals began shifting to Medical Technicians to fill the holes…this is a two year degree rather than the four I did. For basic operations of equipment and entry level skills, this was fine. They did a good job.

The problem arises with new testing coming into hospital use. Many of these tests are considered “high skill” tests which the MLTs weren’t allowed to perform…and that’s not even considering the work ups needed to bring a test in house…also deemed “high skill” which it is. Yes, we pointed all the issues out to higher management and were ignored.

Suddenly…surprise! Administration was flabbergasted and panicking since they saw many workers in the lab but didn’t realize half of them couldn’t do the job on the high skill testing…and those are big money makers. When I retired after 27 years, my pay was good but less than a similar RN salary or CAT scan tech. In the last few years, MT and MLT salaries have risen dramatically but, it’s kind of late. After the pandemic even fewer kids wanted to enter any medical field.

I dread the day I’m hospitalized and need labs done. The error rates have grown (they used to be minuscule) and automation is supposed to compensate for fewer techs of any stripe. We were staffed bare bones when I retired…they’re in panic mode now and desperately trying to promote the field using paid education in some cases and large sign on bonuses…much more costly than if they had addressed all this back in my career days.

It’s not an easy degree…plenty of biology, chemistry, math, statistics, etc. that seems to scare off interested students yet essential skills to work in a hospital lab. I thought that STEM programs would help but there’s too many other sexy careers out there to attract interest in a lab job. Sigh…I know there are students plenty smart enough to become MTs or even MLTs but, it’s also an invisible career with no solution in sight.
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#31

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
(12-26-2023, 06:24 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(12-25-2023, 10:23 PM)brunumb Wrote: None of which is necessary for a degree in gender studies.

You don't know much about gender studies it seems (which highlights your lack of reading and critical thinking skills, but considering the poor grades of American students highlighted above, I won't hold it against you).

You know nothing of my reading or critical thinking skills so your response is little more than an ad hominem.

If a degree in gender studies means learning that one can change sex, that men can become women, that non-binary is anything more than a fantasy, then it is not worth the paper it is written on.  In that area the imbeciles are indeed winning, for now.
No gods necessary
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#32

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
(12-30-2023, 12:07 PM)brunumb Wrote:
(12-26-2023, 06:24 PM)epronovost Wrote: You don't know much about gender studies it seems (which highlights your lack of reading and critical thinking skills, but considering the poor grades of American students highlighted above, I won't hold it against you).

You know nothing of my reading or critical thinking skills so your response is little more than an ad hominem.

If a degree in gender studies means  learning that one can change sex, that men can become women, that non-binary is anything more than a fantasy, then it is not worth the paper it is written on.  In that area the imbeciles are indeed winning, for now.

This is exactly why I know about your critical thinking skills and why they are so poor. Not only did you not read a single word into what gender studies are, but you seem to be regurgitating more bad jokes and insults, but this time on transgender and non-binary people. These jokes and insults have been, of course, popular for about 5 to 6 years old and and were written, of course, by people who know nothing about either of these subjects. Gender studies is a specialty field, not a conclusion. The fact you still don't know that is a display of your poor critical thinking skills since a normal person, accused of not knowing anything about X and accused of regurgitating propagandistic slogans about X, would take a step back, read up upon it a little, and come back with some knowledge about it either to dispel the accusation of ignorance and save face or, should they be more virtuous and genuinely intellectually critical, to fill that slightly embarrassing gap in their knowledge and genuinely engage critically towards a subject.

Yes, I am insulting you. I am insulting you because you display a critical lack of both intellectual curiosity, knowledge in several areas all the while exuding some sense of self superiority and arrogance derived by this proudful and willful ignorance. I consider these traits distasteful and you may call me mean and cruel for such insults as these are, admittedly, not very tasteful nor compassionate either. You could have the best reading skills in the world, but by not using them you might as well be illiterate. You might very well possess and display fine critical thinking skills in other areas and perhaps an impressive wealth of knowledge in others, but it seems your contempt prevents you from using those skills when it comes to certain subjects. This is a severe defect in your education for what is the worth of a sharp tool that remains all too often in its box instead of in hand.
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#33

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
I don't read up on "gender" for the same reason I don't read up on "religion" - because every facet of all I've learned about the world screams from the rafters, to my ears, that both are contemptible, damaging myths/lies not worthy of investigation.
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#34

Looks Like The Imbeciles Are Winning
(12-30-2023, 05:41 PM)Dexta Wrote: I don't read up on "gender" for the same reason I don't read up on "religion" - because every facet of all I've learned about the world screams from the rafters, to my ears, that both are contemptible, damaging myths/lies not worthy of investigation.


You can hold any gut feelings you want and have prejudices over many things. There is nothing wrong per say about that. We all have prejudices of one nature or another and sometime revulsions about certain topics or ideas because they clash with our values and upbringing. I only have problems with people who can't seem to recognize the difference between gut feelings/prejudices/bigotry/anecdotal bad personal experience and actual informed critique. A person should be able to recognize the difference between those two and avoid statement of fact like calling something a dangerous, contemptible, damaging lie without investigating it. There is a difference between "I have misgivings and moral objections to X" to "X is immoral, lies and stupid". One engages with the emotion, but tempers it with reason and critical thinking skills while the other embraces it without reserves despite glaring flaws. 

What do you think? How do you engage with things on which you know that you don't actually know much if anything at all about and yet strike a nerve in you?
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#35

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Prompted by your post epronovost, I just ordered this book I've been meaning to read for some time. I doubt it will address the issues of children who identify as cats or wolves etc, but you take my point I hope. Should arrive tomorrow: https://www.amazon.co.uk/End-Gender-Debu...B086LHDYG1
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#36

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(12-30-2023, 08:38 PM)Dexta Wrote: Prompted by your post epronovist, I just ordered this book I've been meaning to read for some time. I doubt it will address the issues of children who identify as cats or wolves etc, but you take my point I hope. Should arrive tomorrow: https://www.amazon.co.uk/End-Gender-Debu...B086LHDYG1

If you want my opinion as a teacher, you are putting the cart before the oxen. This book is not bad. It's by an accredited researcher in the domain and this specific book of hers is not poorly researched. The problem with such reading though is that it's largely an opinionated book by it's very nature. It's thus a very bad book to read as an introduction to the subject of gender, sex and gender identity in general since it has for objective to invite a reader to adopt the same conclusion than the author. Every evidence, fact, research, critique and analysis is placed for that purpose. As such Soh's book has been criticized for being overly alarmist on the subject of teen transitioning for her mild defense of the "rapid onset gender dysphoria" myth and conversion therapies (for trans people not homosexuals) as well as how she uses and depicts the result of some studies she quotes. Do you intend to read and research any of her critiques too?

These types of books are best to be read when you have a good and solid basis of knowledge on the subject prior as it avoids imprinting the conclusion of the author uncritically. By reading these types of books without a prior good basis of knowledge on the subject discussed you expose yourself to be manipulated by appeal to authority, biased reading of studies, alarmist or placid bias and the rhetorical skills of the author. It can then taint the rest of your readings. I would recommend you read some basic text books on the subject before like Sex and Gender: An introduction by Hilary Lips (though it's a super expensive book since it's also used as a university textbook, but maybe you can find an older edition that's a bit less expensive even if lower quality; the current one is the 8th) and then proceed on to Soh's book and others of that kind to have a better appreciation of her arguments.

PS: of all the "anti trans" books out there (and there are a lot of crap written on the subject by bigots, grifters and idiots) this one is probably the most well researched and the least insane and alarmist though in my opinion, it does have it's weird moments and downright ridiculous moment like her entirely self serving rant on how pro-trans activists make research on trans people very difficult and dangerous (this despite the fact there is more research on the subject this last 10 years or so than in the last 30 prior to that and the fact there exist an extremely well funded and politically very influential anti-trans and "trans skeptical" movement) and she does play the fallacies of definition a bit too much in her myth 1 and 2 section, but she needs to to better drive her point home. 

PPS: I also note that the book you ordered seem to cater to your predisposition and opinions instead of challenging them or being neutral on the subject. I don't find this a particularly good practice or instinct when it comes to research and critical thinking. It feels to much, in my opinion, like searching for arguments to defend one's opinion instead of searching knowledge and trying to be critical and reasonable. That's of course if you don't intend to read books on the other side of spectrum.
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#37

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(12-30-2023, 08:38 PM)Dexta Wrote: Prompted by your post epronovost, I just ordered this book I've been meaning to read for some time. I doubt it will address the issues of children who identify as cats or wolves etc, but you take my point I hope. Should arrive tomorrow: https://www.amazon.co.uk/End-Gender-Debu...B086LHDYG1

Why would it matter to you if a child identifies as a wolf?
Unless you think that your grandma is at risk of being tricked in some way, it's not your business.

Why give a shit about how others live their lives as long as their actions don't impact negatively on others?
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#38

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(12-30-2023, 09:54 PM)SeaPigeon Wrote: Why give a shit about how others live their lives as long as their actions don't impact negatively on others?
Fuck me. Because I because I'm an empathic individual, you fool. If I had a daughter, I wouldn't want her healthy breast tissue cut away, for example.
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#39

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(12-30-2023, 10:00 PM)Dexta Wrote:
(12-30-2023, 09:54 PM)SeaPigeon Wrote: Why give a shit about how others live their lives as long as their actions don't impact negatively on others?
Fuck me. Because I because I'm an empathic individual, you fool. If I had a daughter, I wouldn't want her healthy breast tissue cut away, for example.

I took out a ten thousand pound loan for that exact purpose. If I hadn't I would not have a son today, I'd have a dead daughter.
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#40

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Do you know what pisses me off the most.
People with opinions who have absolutely no experience of this.
When it happens in real life it's like a steamroller running over you. Everything that you thought that you knew becomes nothing.

It's like a bereavement with no body to cry over. It took a lot of inward looking for me and my wife to realise that although we had lost our little girl we are lucky to have our son here still with us.

He's doing well by the way, getting on with his life and not causing any issues for anyone else.
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#41

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(12-29-2023, 05:31 PM)epronovost Wrote: A little counter point.

I would be very wary of anecdotes showing grade inflation and students now being not as smart as those from a few decades past. I would be especially wary of those provided by teachers like myself. The nostalgia effect is alive and well in everybody. We don't remember as keenly the failures of our students in the past than those which are much more recent and for those with very long careers can't even adequately compare their success and failure ratio by grades alone since school curriculum tend to change substantially every 10 to 15 years making such direct comparison rather difficult.

When I started teaching, there was always a substantial part of my calculus classes that could not add fractions. This got slightly better in the middle 1990's (I also moved to a different school) and then got much worse.

Long division is gone. While this was always an issue, it has also become much worse because it is far less emphasized in the elementary schools. The problem is that this deficiency leads to difficulties dealing with polynomials and the long division required for them.

When I started teaching, it was standard to have a discussion of conic sections in calculus I. Now, it is usually put into calculus III and often dropped from there. Before I started teaching, it was a pre-calculus topic.

Power series were a standard and substantial part of a differential equations class when I started. Now, it is typically dropped entirely. Why? Because it was the  part most students had the most difficulty with.

It is not simply anecdotal that substantial parts of the mathematics curriculum have been dropped entirely over the last 40 years. This has a consequence for later classes that is quite significant. Most of the material that has been dropped was the more challenging stuff, even if it is important for later work. Often that later work is simply dropped as well.

Quote:It's almost a tradition for old folks to complain about the stupidity, lack of discipline and work ethics of the younger generation. I'll offer an excuse to my pupil and say that if they are not as smart and educated as me at their age, it's my own god damned fault for being such a poor teacher compared to my forebearer. I personally take with a massive grain of salt any complaint about students being any significantly worst than they were in past. I'm more suspicious of the quality of the institutions that are serving them. The teacher-student ratio in most schools, college and university has increased over time. This, to me is probably the most likely culprit for lower grades and the illusion that students are worst than they used to be.

Oh, I agree. One of my favorite quotes is from Aristotle complaining about how the young people were not devoting themselves to their studies and becoming wild and irresponsible. This view has been going on for thousands of years.

And, again, there is a difference in the expectation of who will graduate from the university. But the simple fact is that a university degree does not mean the same level of knowledge today as it did 40 years ago.
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#42

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I remember that power series were at the very end of the semester when I took DE, and the presentation was quite rushed as a result. I don't recall using them since, but I only have a B Sc.

I suspect that the people who do well on those tests and in school are the ones to carry the nation forward. More and more, these people are immigrants. More food for the magats to feast on- immigrants "taking their jobs". In general, the magats aren't doing those jobs in the first place.
If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
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#43

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(01-03-2024, 03:54 PM)Fireball Wrote: I remember that power series were at the very end of the semester when I took DE, and the presentation was quite rushed as a result. I don't recall using them since, but I only have a B Sc.

In physics, they become crucial for solving some of the DE that arise (Bessell's equation, Airy's equation, etc). This becomes central when doing 3D quantum mechanics.

Quote:I suspect that the people who do well on those tests and in school are the ones to carry the nation forward. More and more, these people are immigrants. More food for the magats to feast on- immigrants "taking their jobs". In general, the magats aren't doing those jobs in the first place.

I suspect that this will change over time. As the US continues to decline and other places continue to improve, the benefit of immigration will lessen. This will make the US even less competitive.
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#44

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(01-03-2024, 04:42 PM)polymath257 Wrote:
(01-03-2024, 03:54 PM)Fireball Wrote: I remember that power series were at the very end of the semester when I took DE, and the presentation was quite rushed as a result. I don't recall using them since, but I only have a B Sc.

In physics, they become crucial for solving some of the DE that arise (Bessell's equation, Airy's equation, etc). This becomes central when doing 3D quantum mechanics.

Quote:I suspect that the people who do well on those tests and in school are the ones to carry the nation forward. More and more, these people are immigrants. More food for the magats to feast on- immigrants "taking their jobs". In general, the magats aren't doing those jobs in the first place.

I suspect that this will change over time. As the US continues to decline and other places continue to improve, the benefit of immigration will lessen. This will make the US even less competitive.

I vaguely recall Bessel functions. Haven't used them since, either. My last 14 years of employment, I was doing mechanical engineering. I see the US' star sinking, but I'm holding onto staying here. There isn't much better elsewhere, currently, at least not for me.
If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
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#45

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(12-30-2023, 08:38 PM)Dexta Wrote: I doubt it will address the issues of children who identify as cats or wolves etc...
You realize that is a moral panic; right?
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#46

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I have to say that I worry far less about children who think they are cats than I do about assholes like these.

[Image: star-wars-celebration-cosplay-14.jpg?aut...width=1200]


Children have the excuse of childhood.  These fucking idiots are grown ups.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#47

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(12-28-2023, 04:57 PM)polymath257 Wrote: I am not as familiar with the rest of the world on this. But I know that the US educational system has been on a downward spiral for a long time and this decline is finally reaching the upper levels.
I graduated from HS in 1974 and am an autodidact in the field of software development. I was already too busy making money to go to college for a CS degree. The programs open to me at the time were in any case useless ... still teaching about punched cards well into the 1980s for example; most of the universities in my area were at least 5 to 10 years behind reality and completely unaware of or at least dismissive of the microcomputer revolution.

More than once since, I have taken over troubled projects run by people with bachelor's or even master's degree in CS who could not program their way out of a paper bag. One guy was so butthurt by compiler error messages that I discovered he had spent the last six months twiddling the project and never compiled it ONCE. No wonder he couldn't finish it.

To this day, when interviewing people for my team, I am way more interested in any projects they worked on in the form of internships or open source efforts or in their employment history than in their near-useless CS degree. In any event, no one asks about one's degree 5+ years out because by then whatever skills they managed to pick up are stale anyway. You have to re-educate and re-invent yourself every few years just to keep up.

All this isn't so much a matter of higher education inflating grades (though that's surely in the mix now), so much as a mis-structuring of degree programs to solve problems no one actually has. You'd think that in all these decades, someone would have sat down with business and asked what they need? Well ... probably sometimes they did, but business of course doesn't know what it needs either, nor do they understand what they are hiring for; the Pointy-Haired Ones really believe degrees = skillful mastery of the craft, that's what they ask for, and that's what universities then provide.

This is starting to ease up somewhat and some of the "boot camp" programs are pretty effective and producing people who can hit the ground running, for instance. Although they usually teach a particular language / development stack and some of those folks can't make the transition to other tooling so sometimes they are a bit like someone following a formula rather than first principles.

Frankly I've had the best luck hiring people in mid to late career arc and just leaving the young un's to the Darwinian world of corporate programming. By the time I get them they know the value of a good project environment and are grateful for it.
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