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Excersus CXLVI: With Friends Like Khalibs, Who Needs Khalenemies?


This week we celebrated our 600th episode over at Frederick the Great with a grand love song of the utility of frivolity. So, that was good times. Personally, I find that so many of the things that I do that I think of as "important" are generally spurred into fruition and sustained in inspiration by things that I deem utterly "frivolous" so I find a hard time getting worked up over the supposed FRIVOLITY of Generation Facebook, because I have a steady belief that it will result in a ground swell of general inspiration and drive so great that we can't even comprehend its dimensions yet.

In slightly less cheerful news, I had the opportunity to chaperone my daughter's third grade field trip to the Chabot Space and Science Center today. In the past, they've gone to the equally cool Lawrence Science Museum, and I've taken my high schoolers down to the Tech in San Jose previously as well. So, this wasn't my first rodeo. But each time I manage to forget how much these visits let me down. Basically, you enter a room that has been meticulously laid out with all the best pedagogic know-how to engage the children in science that we can muster, and they will have NONE of it. To move to the next room, the kids in my group had to tell me at least one thing they learned in the one they had just spent 20 minutes in, a room stacked from floor to rafters with fascinating Science Stuff, and 80% of the time, they had absolutely nothing to say. Even when I stuck close to them and explained what was going on as they wildly pressed buttons and flicked levers paying no attention to any of the results unless forced to, it was an utter exercise in futility. It seems to me that the design of these things is heading towards a Good-In-Pedagogical-Theory hands-on-ness that is rendered utterly fangless by reality. If you design an exhibit like a video game shooter, the kids will come at it with a video game shooter mentality, and actively resent any attempt to reveal the core of good intentions underneath. The little group lecture, however, they loved and learned a lot from. That twenty minutes did more than the HOURS of barely contained chaos that followed to actually inspire the kids to give two poops about science, and there is something telling in that which is being totally thrown out the window in the push for Bigger, Flashier, More Like The Internet.

- Count Dolby von Luckner

Hate mail and notes of luscious thanks may be sent to The Count at CountDolby@gmail.com.