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State of the Union Address



>Hear that the State of the Union next Monday has a section on Internet -
>networks - critical infrastructure protection et al. Anyone have any
>details?

My bet is that it'll be the same as it always is. Klintonkov will rant about
how he wants to censor the Internet. Then he'll go on and on about how he
wants to connect every public school to the Internet and tax me to give
these kids censored feeds, all when the students are coming out of the
school system as complete morons. Some can't read, many can't do math, most
have absolutely no clue about basic science, and most have absolutely no
idea about the Bill of Rights and freedom of speech[1].

And of course he'll have to throw in a long diatribe about how Americans
need to surrender more of their freedom to the government. Maybe he'll even
mention how he doesn't remember screwing a reasonably attractive woman half
his age in the White House while she was a White House intern.

[1] Grab a totally random sample of 100 high school students. Haul the
    students out one at a time and ask them the following questions:

1) What is the acceleration of gravity at sealevel on Earth?

2) What are airlocks? What are they used for? How do they work?

3) How many chromosomes are in a normal, healthy human?

4) Joe is one of your classmates. He elects not to say the "Pledge of
   Allegience." Which of the following is true?
    a) He must say it because it is mandated by the government.
    b) He may not say it, but he must stand.
    c) He is not required to acknowledge it, except to allow others to say
       it if they wish to.
    d) He should be taken out behind the school and beaten with a
       sledgehammer. Afterwards his brains should be used to spell the words
       "Death to traitors!"
    e) He should be sent to the principal's office for disciplinary action.
    f) He should be expelled from the country.
    g) He must do so as long as he is a U.S. citizen.
    
5) Explain the equation 'f=m*a' and Newton's Third Law. 'f=m*a' is referenced
   in the context of Newtonian motion.

6) The First Amendment of the United States Constitution orders which of the
   following?
    a) Congress shall not restrict freedom of speech, the press, assembly,
       or religion.
    b) Congress shall not restrict freedom of speech, the press, assembly,
       or religion, except as ordered by the majority.
    c) Congress and private individuals may not descriminate on the basis of
       sex.
    d) Congress and private individuals may not restrict freedom of speech,
       the press, assembly, or religion.

7) What are the following government agencies and what are their function?
    a) FCC
    b) NSA
    c) CIA
    d) FBI
    e) DEA
    f) BATF
    g) NTSB
    h) DOJ
    
8) Your city passes a "teen curfew" law ordering criminal penalties for
   anybody younger than 18 who is out after 10PM on school nights. The law
   was passed by popular vote at this year's elections. Which of the
   following is true?

   a) This is a just and fair law, and is completely constitutional.
      Teenagers have no reason to be out past 10PM on school nights. They
      should be at home and asleep.
   b) This law violates the thirteenth amendment. 
   c) This law violates the first amendment. It violates freedom of assembly. 
   d) This is a constitutional law. Freedom of assembly does not apply
      because the people voted on this law and it passed by majority vote.

9) How many senators does each state have?

10) "What a piece of work is man; how noble in reason; how infinite in
    faculty, in form, in moving; how express and admirable in action..."
    Name the author.

11) Michelle mixes one gram of HCl and one half gram of NaOH. Under normal
    circumstances, what is produced and in what quantities?
    
12) (sin(9)^2 + cos(9)^2)=x. If this quantity can be determined, what is x
    equal to?

13) What is the square root of 256?

14) What is the fourth root of 81?

15) Given complete control of the environment, how could one cause pure 
    water to boil at 96 degrees C?

16) Explain possible problems with cloning of humans.

Analysis:

Keep in mind that I'm talking about high school graduates or people who have
almost graduated high school here, and these are people who have taken the
appropriate courses. 

Back in high school I made the mistake of making some comments and assuming
in class discussions that people had basic knowledge. I was wrong. Okay, so
I was naive. Eventually I gave up and stopped participating simply because I
was sick and tired of doing the school's job for them.

1) Most students probably won't have any idea. The value, of course, is
about 9.81 m/s^2. 10 m/s^2 doesn't work although that's given in the
mathematics books they give these kids. Most of them probably won't even
know what the question is asking.

2) I actually brought this topic up to a group of *honors* students. Think
of the expression "shove you out an airlock" for context. They boggled,
wallowed in their ignorance and were proud, and then went off to their think
tank. After confering with each other they came back with the breathtakingly
brilliant answer that it was a contraceptive device. Of course even after
explaining to them what it was they still didn't get the reference, had no
grasp of how such a thing might work, and had no idea what it might be
useful for.

3) This is taught in elementary biology which, at least down here, is a
required course. They had no idea. Actually, most of them had no clue about
basic genetics at all. Yes, basic genetics was covered in the course, and
this material was included.

4) I was "Joe" in this case. The people involved had already taken a
semester government course. Their answer to the question would have been
along the lines of option 'd'.

5) I made a big mistake assuming they knew this one. Oops. 

6) Most seemed to believe 'b' or 'd'. Maybe they knew it was 'a' and thought
that maybe people wouldn't notice.

7) I made the mistake of using designations like this in a political science
class during a class discussion. I regretted it when I had to start
explaining these agencies and what they were supposed to be responsible for.

8) No explanation required.

9) "You expect me to memorize that for all 50 states?" "Nevermind."

10) Shakespeare. It wouldn't be so bad if they hadn't had to read Hamlet,
MacBeth, and others in their English classes. Yipes.

11) "How am I supposed to know?" "Uh, you got out of chemistry with a B."
"Yes, but they never gave me problems like that!" Uhhh...

12) Most probably couldn't solve it without a calculator.

13) Ditto.

14) Ditto.

15) They'll probably look at you like you're nuts and explain that you
can't. Uh, right.

16) In an international relations class I took students picked a side and
tried to argue it. Mine was pro-cloning or, more accurately, pro-science. 
Most were anti-cloning. Why?
    a) "God doesn't like us to do things like that." Right. Let's go outlaw
       fields of research based on one religion and what followers of one
       religion think their god is thinking at that moment. This is 
       America, not Iraq.
    b) "How would you like it if somebody just came up and cloned you
       without you knowing and then made that person tell them information
       you refused to give them yourself?" Okay, I can buy the unwillful
       cloning part of it and could support a law on the grounds that it's
       theft of genetic material or for a variety of other reasons. As 
       for the rest of that...ugh.
       
Now maybe people on this list can't answer some of these either. That isn't
the point. The point is that you should have been taught this stuff in
school. Klintonkov wants to go blow millions (billions?) of dollars for
censored network feeds in the schools and they haven't even got basic
education down? And don't say "computer literacy" either. Most high school
graduates can barely type on the bloody things, and they can forget about
actually fixing a problem themselves. The *teachers* are blatently clueless.

When Klintonkov fixes these problems he can talk about "wiring our schools
for the 21st century." Of course then he'll want to censor the feeds or the
net at large, at which point we're back to square one and should spend the
money on something useful, like paying off the multi-trillion dollar debt the 
idiots ran up.

Here's the scariest part of it all: These people are voting! And we wonder
why we're in such a mess.

The war isn't the war between the blacks and the whites, the liberals and 
the conservatives, or the Federation and the Romulans. It's between the 
clueful and the clueless.