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May 17, 2022·edited May 17, 2022Liked by John Carter

Agree. I realize that when I was finishing my bachelor's degree, that they use students as canon fodder. I remained because I like science and couldn't picture myself working on other thing, besides I'm pretty stubborn and I still associate leaving as defeat. Now, more or less ten years later I am finishing my PhD, and still in the same conundrum, thinking what to do after that. Things have gotten worse. The corona nonsense is like the final nail in the coffin, academia is rotten.

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I hear you. It's a nasty situation. The one upside is that, having obtained a STEM doctorate, your job prospects outside the ivory tower are much better than the poor fools who studied the humanities.

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May 17, 2022Liked by John Carter

Yes, and the more you invest the worse the problem becomes. It's the classical sunk cost fallacy.

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Yep. Hard to walk away from something you've put so much of yourself into.

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May 17, 2022Liked by John Carter

Probably my greatest fear is to become part of the problem as many of my peers are being tainted by this system or show their true colors. It comes to my mind that phrase from a movie: ''You have allowed this Dark Lord to twist your mind until now... until now you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.''

I agree too on the fact that overproduction of elites is aiding to drive societal insanity.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7e2OLNmMaJY

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Apr 26, 2022Liked by John Carter

Great breakdown informed by real life, thanks. I'm asking myself - is the academy doomed and will be replaced eventually by something else, or a variety of different approaches? My guess is yes. There are just so many problems you don't even know where to start, ranging from stiffling paradigms (left-wingism, materialism, historical and philosophical illiteracy...) to unreadable prose and authoritarian-burocratic journal policies to vast amounts of corruption and wrong incentives...

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I'm gonna have to cover the godawful prose style of academic writing at some point. Sorry, I mean "the deleterious impact of third person passive will need to be discussed at some point in the future."

My guess is that in the immediate future, a number of different approaches will be tried. Eventually it's inevitable that a standard system will emerge and be formalized once we collectively figure out what works. I'll be writing about these topics in upcoming essays; first, though, I'm wading through all the problems with the current system, in order to motivate the reformation that's required.

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This is so so accurate and parallels post grad (residency) training after the cherished MD is obtained. Those who stay in-house remain and few really excel. Those outliers who break out and become competition for the academic center excel in so many different ways. Once leaving the “gown” fold and entering the “town” market they learn a whole new world. I went to a surgical meeting recently and there were several papers on the hand wringing of tracking RVUs (relative value units) simply stated - how many times last month did you go into operating room, scrub and actually do surgery and how complicated was it. ) i had to get up to mike and call out the academes and say “we private practice guys been doing this since day one because we have to pay our staff and secretaries and then maybe take enough home to eat and make a house payment. I pointed out the state of Texas gave university coffers 1.2 Billion dollars just from state owned oil wells last year. I didn’t have to say “Wake up boys and girls.. go to work and earn your state salary like we serfs who pay taxes!!!

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Jan 11·edited Jan 11Liked by John Carter

It's strange how Universities are full of Marxists raging about capitalism.

When the dysfunction of College is a great example of Communist failure:

1. Allocate massive resources to a government-defined aim (creating graduates) without an eye to supply and demand.

2. Create a bureaucratic system with diffused responsibility and an incentive to avoid accountability.

3. Measure success based on an ability to fulfil centrally planned quotas and measures.

4. Allow a parallel system of progression to develop, where ideological loyalty equals and surpasses competence.

Damn capitalism!

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Exactly.

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Excellent article.

Quite the blackpill.

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Well said. I was lucky in that the economics job market isn't quite so insane as the physics, but also that I had really unusual preferences, e.g. teaching position at a small school out in the middle of no where. Still got burned as a heretic, partially due to bad offer selection on my part (should have known better) but I at least had multiple tenure track offers to choose from. I was aware of the post-doc treadmill, and yea, I noped out of that process immediately. That way lies madness.

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It is truly a special kind of hell. Academics should be prohibited from training more students than their profession can absorb, when it comes to disciplines that have no utility outside of the ivory tower.

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May 1, 2022Liked by John Carter

"The free-wheeling, robust debates of the Internet of the naughty naughties, where trolling was an art form and getting Mad On The Internet"

I was always part of the geek community. We were the ones searching for alternatives on the Internet in the 90s. I was an early adopter of IRC and yes this was our "culture". Toxicity level was through the roof. My gaming community had a rule that anyone joining our chat room had to be abused and burned for the first few weeks to see if he/she is worthy to stay with us. Flaming, trolling was our everyday life. Anyone who sticked around was a strong member of our community. I met personally many of these 'nicknames' on LAN and offline gatherings. Many of them I still have as a connection on Facebook. All these toxic little kids were actually genuinely nice people in real life. This whole wild and free www had a genuine feeling and freedom to it with it's drawbacks.

Then as time passed more and more 'regulars' were joining. And they started to change internet to resemble real life. It just doesn't make sense. We don't need a second regulated boring platform in our world. (actually I think there's more thought policing now on the internet then in real life...) If I want to stay within our social boundaries there's real life. So this is the main reason I stopped using social networks.

"as a guy who's lived in a lot of places and rather enjoys that, pulling up whatever shallow roots you've grown, abandoning friends, and starting all over again every couple of years takes a toll"

I can relate to this 100%. Although I think everyone should live somewhere different at least for a few years to open up their minds and see their 'home' from another perspective.

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Living abroad is absolutely essential to broadening the mind. Only with the parallax this provides can one see one's home for what it is, both the good and the bad. I don't think it's accidental that the Mormons don't consider their young men to have grown up until they've spent a couple years as missionaries in a foreign country.

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I've got a theory that the intense hazing characterizing the old Internet (which still survives on 4chan to a degree) was a psychological key to the freedom of thought it enabled. It forced people to toughen their minds by burning away their intellectual taboos. It acted as a sort of initiation. On the other side of it, the emotional triggers that prevent ideas from being considered with ruthless dispassion were no longer operative. Hence the ideal of a mind that can engage in a troll war and remain completely unfazed, and the general understanding that those who let themselves get mad had lost.

By the same token, the imperative to make the Internet 'safe' has produced precisely the opposite effect.

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Troll attack begins when you are an intern... and lasts about a decade... until the master gives you a nod. You walk away having written 30-60 peer reviewed papers.. how do you thing these big shot surgical masters have 300-500 articles in literature? Residents wrote them

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Well said. The deconstruction of the deconstructed academy. where token mediocrity goes to be celebrated and promoted. because progress. I need to start using bugmen more. That really covers the whole spectrum of emasculated beta borg men.

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Bugmen is one of those rhetorical killshot phrases that defines itself so immediately and viscerally that everyone immediately understands it without it having to be explained. Whoever coined it was a dark genius of memetic warfare.

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Once you see them, you realize the f***ers are everywhere! https://twitter.com/MarkLevineNYC/status/1518589494659796992?s=20&t=VIBbce57oXpiVOtXOTmZiA

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Yep. It's a new human type.

Well. For certain broad definitions of "human".

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Apr 21, 2022Liked by John Carter

excellent writing, great explanation, thank you!

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Thank you!

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The other problem is that if you take the top 10% measured by -- well practically anything -- of society and stick them in a place where the question is 'can you function as a scholar/scientist' -- well, just the constraint to only interact with the top 10% will make things pop among the thinkers.

If you do not understand that this selection is what made the superior intellects shine in competition, but instead conclude that the university has magic pixie dust, which can make

the dullest mortal fly -- you turn your undergraduate university into high school. You tell your intellects to wait until grad school. or wait until they were postdocs.

But your best minds often cannot wait that long. Plus they do not get the training they wanted by running up against other brilliant souls with different ideas ... the sort of diversity that matters, not the diversity of skin colours.

I think the great success of the Harry Potter books is because children always want to go to Hogwarts. The education we are giving them, at all levels, fails this in so many ways.

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