Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Except on this blog.

January 2, 2014

Funny that I enjoy these tests now that they mean nothing.  Also funny, how they do not represent my actual use of grammar on this, or other, blogs.

I embedded the second image from the site.  If it does not have a working link, try this.

grammar guru


Click image to open interactive version (via Staples.ca).

Wye Marsh, April 29, 30

April 30, 2013

I have fairly big news: Surprises Aplenty is now employed!

 

Some time ago, I described my situation, moving back to Canada as leaving a job I love to find one that I can tolerate and earn enough to care for the family.  Well, I am lucky to have another job I expect to love but I don’t think it is one to keep the family in rice and kimchi.

 

My new employer, the Wye Marsh is an outdoor education centre that, well, have a look at the sorts of things I’ll be doing and working with.b DSC08352 This beaver was walking across a field near a canoe launch point.b DSC08358

These red wing black bird are everywhere.b DSC08362

For the first time in at least five years, an osprey is using the purpose-built platform for nesting.b DSC08365

These pitcher plants live on nutrition-poor ground and supplement their fertilizer with insects drowned in their pitchers.b DSC08370

This Canada Goose mother is guarding her nest.b DSC08371 I was told the names of both flowers – the yellow ones are not dandelions.b DSC08373

This snapping turtle was in such a hurry its legs blurred as it waddled.b DSC08374

Our first week in Canada

February 11, 2013

Here is a brief look at our first week in Penetang, Ontario.  I am on my mother’s computer and don’t want to take too much time on it so a lot of this post will be terse to the point of being cryptic.  I am writing this post more for my memory than for international scrutiny.

Just before coming to Canada, I had one last hike on a small, local mountain and finished the hike in my T-shirt. The day before leaving, The Little Guy (TLG) and I rode our bikes to Eulsookdo.
last mountain

 

Jan 31: Long slow drive home – often terrible visibility.  Went to sleep early, up at 3:30 for the day

Sat Feb 1: Midland winter Carnival.  Candy cannon and dog-sled ride

 

winter carnival saturday (4)

 

Here, re-enactors fire the Candy cannon, much as the originals would have done to fight the Americans in 1812.  Britain had access to sugar cane and so worked to rot the American’s teeth.

Sun Feb 2.  Visited the Wye Marsh where my mother volunteers.

 

feb 3 (10)

 

feb 3 (28)

 

Mon, Feb 3: First day of school, chose a cat

 

big snow (3)

Tues, Feb 4: picked up cat “Colino7” from the SPCA.  Colino7 is a four-year-old neutered cat that apparently lived outside for a month or two before being brought in to the SPCA.  I say apparently because the volunteer at the pound pointed out that she only had the drop-off person’s word to go by and that wasn’t always trustworthy.  The cat is amazingly laid-back and has quickly adjusted to living in our home.  TLG, who loves the number seven, named the cat.

catWed, Feb 5: I drove to Toronto to Korean Consulate, and Barrie Drive Test for Ontario drivers licence

Thurs, Feb 6: Vet checkup for cat. All good

All this week, TLG watched a whole lot of TV – Treehouse channel

Fri, Feb 7: Big snow, buses cancelled but TLG went to school -only 20 students total.  Lots of fun.  We met Alex’s teacher, Mrs D.  She called TLG “Brilliant” regarding math.  She repeated that he helped his classmates on the math problems.  She had started him on Grade one spelling, which he is motoring through.  I thought it strange that he learn those words at a slow rate -I considered pushing him in that regard -but they are the basics of letter sounds and phonics.  I guess she knows what she is doing.  He has a good friend in class, Tyson, but is quiet in speaking to the full class.
skiing feb 7 (4)

feb 3 (1)b

 

 

Saturday, Feb 9: Big tobogganing day at Midland’s little lake park hill.

snow fort (8)

 

  TLG dressed in his hanbok and we recorded a bow and new years greeting in korean for YN and family.

 


lunar new year facebook (2)

 

 Made a snow fort and played inside.

 

Sunday, Feb 10, played in snow fort.  We shopped for Valentine’s Day card stock and a ‘ministick’. This is a tiny hockey stick that the kids use at recess at his school. Full size sticks should not be brought to the school but similar sticks are available for gym class. TLG was surprisingly quiet and cranky at the time.

He is still watching a lot of TV -no friends to visit or evening activities organized yet.  Perhaps due to the move and the changes, Alex needs me to hold him and sing lullabies to put him to sleep.
TLG has been uncomfortably interested in death and pets.  His questions have put my and Nana’s faulty memories on display.  We have told him about the cats Little Man, Blackjack, Tailor and Mums and the dogs Midnight, Misty, Buddy, Kingkong, Mr Mugs and Snoopy and I am happy to relive the good memories of these pets.  Still, he has asked how long these pets lived and how they died.  As I noted in our last visit to Canada, he asks similar questions many times possibly to ensure he knows all the details and understands them clearly.
Now that he has a pet of his own, he seems to be preparing for that time, probably when he enters university, when his cat will pass away.

What am I teaching my son (mostly about driving)?

August 19, 2012

My son is at the age now where he asks reasonable questions; ones that show he has been thinking about the subject a little himself.*

We have been spending a lot of time in the car and he is curious about driving and traffic.  His mom recently got her driver’s licence so the subject is relevant.

Man, driving is a tough thing to explain.  I am not talking about physically driving and maneuvering large vehicles, but the rules and how and when they are ignored.  I’ve driven significant amounts in Canada and Korea.  I would like to think Canadian driving etiquette and behaviors fit some western standard but I don’t know.  Canadians take speed limits as mere suggestions but are scrupulous about obeying stoplights.  We use our turn signals almost every time.  Koreans are similar in their speeding habits but shockingly different in their acceptance of stoplights.  They also use their hazard lights at every opportunity while Canadians have to search out the button when they want to use their hazards.

(Image found here and not from my son.)

There are a lot of great drivers in the family I have married into and also my father was both skilled and knowledgable.   I myself, am only a fair driver.  I think I know my limitations so I can work around them but there are lots of better drivers than I out there.

Anyway, I think I have been, not deliberately, teaching my son that speeding is okay but that stoplights must be obeyed and that speeders might be good people but those who run red lights are jerks (I have forgotten he was in the car a few times and used stronger language).  I think my father would agree but are these my prejudices that I am training into my boy?

Most of the time I see drivers run red lights, they have slowed and clearly seen that the side streets are empty and no pedestrians are around.  Many times I see people running red lights after dawn -so the lighting and visibility are good- but so early that few people would be expected to be around.  I generally persist in thinking these drivers are bad but at the same time I wonder if I have been conditioned into accepting these delays that serve no purpose.

Now, readers who have heard the stats on traffic accidents here -it is a widely accepted assertion that Korea has the highest accident rate of any developed country and I believe it, but I haven’t seen any studies – might want to mention accidents they have seen.  I, too, have seen a few accidents.  One driver, running a red light, was screened from seeing the whole crosswalk by other vehicles and slowly rolled through to hit a bicycle – luckily being walked across and the rider was unharmed.  Running a red light during a busy part of the day on a busy street is freaking stupid.  Even on streets and at times that are usually quiet, running a red light is risky.  Still, treating a red light at as a simple stop sign in those conditions doesn’t seem irrational.  Waiting, as I always do, and always remind my son (who won’t be driving for about ten years or more), is the correct thing to do but also often unnecessary.

Here in Korea, where breaking the law was once seen as a form of revolt against Japanese oppressors or domestic dictators, a long history of law abiding behavior has not formed.  Here, in my room, I can abstractly consider the flexibility of thinking I see in Korean drivers – flexibility missing in other situations.

My grandfather lived long enough that his opinions on race, once mainstream and possibly even liberal, aged into mild unpleasantness.    My son is seven years old while most of my friends my age have teenagers.  I am eager to teach my son to swim and ride a bike and all those other value-neutral things but I am concerned about teaching my prejudices to him.

————————

*When he was younger, I guess he asked reasonable questions as well.  As I recall, he would frequently ask about things that were new and needed to be sorted out in his mind.  When he was four, we were in Canada and discussing a friend’s properties.  The man owns a house and two apartments and was in the process of selling a house.  On one weekend, I was asked perhaps five times, “Ron owns four homes?”  One of these times was immediately after he had woken up, so clearly his sub-conscious had been working on the problem as well.

Serious issues spoiled by incoherent ranting style

July 17, 2012

Child Abuse camp as advertised on the Democratic United Party blog and protected by corrupt police soon to be exposed

By [name redacted] and translated by Surprisesaplenty

My ‘translated by’ claim above is snarky, but I am starting from the man’s Facebook claims and following other links.  His writing is … challenging.

A sample from various locations (1,2) on Facebook (these are from large groups on Facebook so I don’t think they are private utterances.  The latter link is to “Every Expat inKorea” which sounds like it should be considered a public space):

“Korean Conman with no degree is touted as professor on the Korean Democratic United party blog, that also names his business that prior to that time had been in the papers (Korean Herald) for human smuggling US citizens with fake visas to work for free in his illegal unlicensed English camps the Jeju City Office of Education yet again has filed more changes against this week.

The full truth is not in the 1000s of newspaper report about this illegal business 제주국제영어마을 – that it includes pedophile activity and stupid foreigners who profit from job ads saying they get bonus money for working their kids, which should have been a know brainier that that is against the law.”

A “know brainier” indeed.  These 100+ words  in two sentences were separated in the ellipses by a citation.  Oh, alright, here it is: As seen On KBS News and 제주가 보인다 2012.2.1.

Still, [redacted] is passionate about his claims; so much so that I had to dig in and try to understand them.

Okay, I’ve looked into the claims and they are too hot – criminally hot – for me!

At 3 Wise Monkeys is a good description of the problem.  Giving real names and identifying businesses , even if the claims made are true, is considered libel.

The Korea Herald has reported as much as it dares here.  Dare I say it, the reporting is as well done as it could be without risking exposure to libel.

A second problem with discussing [redacted]‘s problems are their variety.  3WM and the Herald discuss (1)immigration and contractual issues, but [redacted] also claims (2) sexual abuse of the students, corruption among the (3) police (The Herald article looks at this) and (4) a political party and (5) death threats he has received*.  They might all be true but if too many claims are stacked like this, why not add one more: “(6)And he cancelled Christmas!”

I feel there is something wrong here and that [redacted] has been mistreated, possibly criminally, but I am honestly afraid to write further.  Korea’s libel laws are clear.

This is a serious issue and I feel for [redacted] but at the same time I must retreat into snark again and say that if his writing is a good example of his English communication skills, I would not much want to hire him either.

* Search for information from 3WM… You can find this claim if you wish.

Creationists in Korea: They’ve hit the big-time!

June 6, 2012

Updated again: Ask A Korean has looked into the changes and feels, as Gord Sellar does (below), that the changes are more cosmetic or for purposes of updating the texts.

The group that represents these creationists, called Society for Textbook Revise (STR), has attempted to attack the references to evolution in Korean science textbooks in any manner possible.

What STR did manage to pull off with three textbook publishers was this: STR convinced those publishers that two diagrams in their books — one about the evolution of horses, and the other about archeopteryx — and the text accompanying them were scientifically incorrect. Notice the claim here:  the claim was not that the diagrams were against creationism. The claim was that the diagrams were scientifically incorrect.

Updated: Resistance to the proposed changes has emerged:

Conflict between pro- and anti-evolutionists has escalated half a year since several major publishers were approached by a local organization to delete or revise examples explaining the process of evolution from science textbooks for high school students. 

In turn, the dormant evolutionists and biologists here have mobilized. On Wednesday, academics and researchers from the Paleontological Society of Korea and five other scientific associations gathered for the first meeting of the Committee to Promote Evolution to debate the issue in question, which is whether or not the archaeopteryx, a prehistoric bird from the Jurassic Period, was a transitional species between reptiles and birds. 

————–

Two weeks ago, I wrote about changes to Biology Textbooks in Korea.  At the time, I was of the opinion that the changes were merely updates: one example of evolutionary change being replaced by another.

Gord Sellar recently wrote about the changes and earlier errors – were at least partially the result of conservatism among the publishers.  The industry receives five-year contracts  and if a publisher has won such a contract, it won’t want to make any changes beyond what is required.

The problem, as a friend explained Miss Jiwaku, is that a lot of Korean biology textbooks have outdated material when it comes to evolutionary theory; the explanation of horse evolution was so old that it had actually been badly needing updating. This, of course, is a deadly situation when you have religious nuts around fighting a holy war against science.

So they struck. Sometimes it’s embarrassing how ignorantists can be so coordinated, so organized, so clever about this stuff.

…[big ellipsis here]…

textbook companies normally do not take risks when it comes to content and their potential inclusion on the Ministry of Education’s textbook lists for public schools. They are, indeed, so risk-averse that they will publish outdated material just to avoid being left off the list. This is because exclusion from the list means a loss of billions of won (ie. millions of dollars) of revenue

Well, this morning, my Google Newsreader was full of international attention to the subject.

The Friendly Atheist:

The National Center for Science Education isn’t surprised by the move — acceptance of evolution in the country is relatively low compared to other countries… (excluding the U.S., because we’re full of science denialists)

The Sensuous Curmudgeon (quoting from Nature) (SC added the bolding):

The campaign was led by the Society for Textbook Revise (STR), which aims to delete the “error” of evolution from textbooks to “correct” students’ views of the world, according to the society’s website. The society says that its members include professors of biology and high-school science teachers.

The relationship between Korea and the journal Nature is an interesting one.  I wonder which report is more embarrassing for Korea: This or the Hwang Woo-seok cloning scandal?

privileges for varsity athletes

June 4, 2012

I talk about myself a lot in this post so I should start by clarifying a few things.  I was an athlete while at high school and university and a fairly good one.  I kinda-sorta reached the national level of competition during a few years of university.  I once qualified to try out for the Olympics but knew my chances were so low, I went on a biology field trip instead of Olympic Trials.  In the world of competitive swimming, I was very good, but definitely not great.  Now, to talk about great athletes:

In Canada, I don’t recall receiving many privileges in support of my athletic training.  At university, my competitive swim training was entirely free and if I missed a class due to a competition, my professor was obliged to allow me to make up missed tests or  assignments or the like in another way.  Nowadays, athletes at university have to pay for some of their training.

There was a quiet scandal at my university about an American basketball player who had joined our school and basketball team.  Reports were, he wasn’t attending class nor handing in assignments.  The guy was only there to play.

Here in Korea, university students are not required to attend classes or take tests and have other benefits.  The Korea Times recently published an article on the subject -the first of a series.

“Recently, a professor talked indirectly about the privileges for athletes when he raised an issue over figure skater Kim Yuna’s teaching practice, arguing that as a senior at Korea University’s physical education department she lacked the qualifications to participate in teaching practice. The professor was threatened with a lawsuit by Kim’s agency and was overwhelmed by a Yu-na-supporting Internet mob.”

First let’s look at this specific situation.  If she were teaching physical education, then I argue that she has had more first-hand knowledge of teaching and coaching than almost anyone on the planet.  From the example of her own excellent coaches, to the lessons of anatomy she received with therapy from multiple injuries, she doubtless has the background to coach most sports.  At my high school, phys. ed. teachers also taught sex education and I can’t say one way or the other whether Kim Yuna would know what to say there.  In the US, sex ed is so politicized and regimented that proper training is probably unnecessary.

Second, let’s look at the general situation.  I have had many athletes who skipped classes with the university’s blessings and I don’t think many of them went to the Olympics.  Kim Yuna probably speaks English well, having trained abroad for many years.  My students, whom I only saw on paper, couldn’t string three words together.  I think the unnamed professor in the quote above has a point.

“In addition, the members of the 2002 World Cup squad including Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung, and Korean baseball players participating in the improvised World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2006, had their military service waived after each side got out of the group stage for the first time in history and reached the semifinals. Both exemptions were hurriedly established exemptions, which raised voices against the extreme favor.

In Korea, all able-bodied men over 20 are required to serve in the military for about two years under the country’s mandatory conscription system.”

“…”

“Looking back in history, there were some renowned sportsmen who joined the military, fought in wars and even lost their lives during their heydays. Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams, the last player in MLB to bat over .400 in a single season, was called up to serve in World War II and Korean War, while Pat Tillman, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals in the National Football League (NFL), enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 after turning down a contract offer of $3.6 million (4.25 billion won), only to be killed by friendly fire during his service in Afghanistan in 2004.”

There is a huge gap between the quotes above.

I don’t know much about Williams although I have met a pitcher who struck him out, but Tillman was a volunteer.  The whole argument over conscription is more important than that of a few privileged athletes but not one I don’t intend to get into now.

My main concern here is that the age of conscription is also the age of peak performance for many athletes.  For a competitive swimmer, losing two years to the army would require at least two years to return to that form.  The army training would keep the guy fit but all the subtlety of technique would be lost.  So a twenty-year-old, nearly-Olympic-level swimmer would join the army, then at age twenty-four would be in the same position.  Four years is a lot.

“But Park said there is no leg[al] evidence that medalists improve the national brand or glory by winning medals at international competitions.

“Who remembers where the gold medalist in canoeing at the Beijing Olympics came from?” he asked.”

I didn’t remember and so looked it up.  Still, I think the world knows that Korea is the home for Olympic violence (if it could be used to hurt people, Koreans win medals at it).  I think Park is likely correct but he has also carefully chosen his example. As a competitive swimmer, I had some tiny degree of recognition at school, but the team sport players on the basketball and hockey teams were far better known.  If Park had asked about the Olympic Gold medalists in Hockey, baseball, soccer or basketball, more people would have answered.

At the same time, Park Tae-hwan is famous among swimmers the world over.  If Park had asked canoeing enthusiasts, he would probably have gotten the correct names.

“Another problem is that medalists from the Olympics or Asian Games are awarded monthly pension money after they reach 60. Amid escalating negative comments on the system, the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) is set to take an action to revise the current law.”

Wow.  This is something I would like to have waiting for me.  Rising to the level of Olympian is hard on your body.  I have already pointed out that I was nowhere near that level, yet I have some minor knee and shoulder problems now.  Perhaps Olympians or Asiad medalists don’t need assistance so much as everyone does at that age and a more universal care package should be arranged.

—————

Updated: The day after I posted this, I had a final exam with a student who is also an athlete and permitted to skip classes and homework.  The student, very correctly and responsibly, had informed me early about her training schedule and inability to attend classes.  We made arrangements long before the exam and I commend her planning.

The exam was terrible.  It was an oral exam and I ended up speaking more Korean than she did English to try to elicit any answers from her.  At the end of the exam, I wished her well, saying, “I hope you’re a good [sport name redacted]”.  Two coworkers overheard me and remarked on the backhanded remark.

This student presumably does well in her sport and her sport is a very competitive one in Korea.  If she had made it to the Olympics, she could have used that name-recognition to find work afterwards.  As she has not qualified for the Olympics, she is merely strong in her field but weak in background sports theory.

It reminded me of a student from a previous university who was permitted to skip my classes for most of the semester but somehow lost her protected status and suddenly needed to catch up on homework and prepare for an exam.  The outcome was not a good one for her.

Encouraging creativity in your students

May 31, 2012

I recently gave a talk at the 2012 KOTESOL National Conference entitled “Creativity in the classroom”.  My presentation slides are here and Jeff leBow at Koreabridge recorded the talk.

I think I gave an excellent 80 minute speech: it is a shame I gave it in 50 minutes.  Indeed, my voice is high-pitched enough you might think I just spoke that much faster.

 

What obscene acts is this man doing to keep his job as a journalist?

April 4, 2012

Jake Nho has an article up at the Korea Times and it is a doozy, even for the Times.

Here is part of his bio: He has written numerous articles on various environmental issues for over 20 years.

It appears the article is one of a series (currently up to 16) on “Earth in Danger”.  Now I see I need to read more of these articles – for entertainment value if nothing else.

Now, lets look at a few excerpts from the article with my commentary added.  I have quoted Nho in Orange and my research in blue.  I hope it is not too garish and felt the variety of color would better differentiate the different voices.

His article is titled: “Does the Earth really need our protection?” and he starts by discussing the alarm over damage to the ozone layer:

It sounded as if everyone was going to die of skin cancer because the ozone layer was no longer going to be there to protect us. Do we talk about the ozone layer now? Did a majority of the Earth’s population get skin cancer? Not by a long shot.

This is just an opening analogy and not his main point, but lets dig into it. Australia has the highest skin cancer rate in the world and Ozone layer depletion is a key part of why.

Australia’s problems aside, the recovery from depletion of the ozone layer is one of the great (and few) success stories of the environmental movement.  Fridges no longer use freon or other CFCs as they cause so much damage to the ozone layer.  I learned this in school and confirmed it for this post.  Bloggers should not be doing more research than professional journalists.

Next paragraph:

There are streams of reports in the media (again) about yellow sand blowing into Korea from China. This is scientifically true. But when was the last time you had to go to hospital for exposure to the yellow sand? Hard to remember, isn’t it?

Yes, as a healthy man in my prime, I haven’t suffered too badly from the yellow dust.   Here is what the US military says about the dust.

Long-term health effects known are problems such as reduced lung function and the development of chronic bronchitis in people who have lived for many years in areas with high particulate matter levels.  Also, increased heart attacks and arrhythmias have developed in persons with heart disease who have short-term exposure to high levels of particulate matter, and Asian dust events have been associated with an increase in deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory causes in persons with advanced cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

The Environmental New Network quotes the Korea Environment Institute:

The state-sponsored Korea Environment Institute said the dust kills up to 165 South Koreans a year, mostly the elderly or those with respiratory ailments, and makes as many as 1.8 million ill.

I guess Nho is thinking, “Screw you” to those 165 people who die from the dust (in Korea alone) per year.

But the fact of the matter is that while all this would indicate that the global population should be shrinking at an alarming rate and it is not. The last time I checked, the global population was increasing with absolutely no signs that we will head in the opposite direction.

In fact, many people are concerned that the world population is increasing too quickly. If the global environment is so terrible, why would this be happening?

I shall time myself. One minute, twenty-five seconds. From Life’s Little Mysteries:

Sex is a way of coping with stress, explained one Haitian journalist. “In those fragile situations, people are slowly trying to rebuild their lives,” Fredrick Jean Pierre said. “There are women who give themselves to a man to benefit from his protection inside the camp. Others sell themselves so they can get food and water. Sometimes it is their only means of access. This is happening quite often.”

This is not the most substantial of links or meatiest of content, but previous readings on the subject have suggested the same thing to me.  Humans have some control over their reproduction, but the evolutionary urges don’t plan for the future, they plan for now. Traditionally, tough times meant having more children as insurance for the future.  Wealthy people, confident of their future needs, don’t have large families.

Finally, the meat of the article.  Global warming:

Let’s look at the facts. According to the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, global temperatures have increased by 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 30 years. If this is true, temperatures have increased by 0.6 degrees Celsius in 30 years.

When you ask a meteorological center what the temperature is going to be tomorrow, it will say, for example, 10 degrees Celsius but it turns out that it is 15 degrees. That’s a difference of 5 degrees in a single day based on information from people who do that for a living. How does that compare with 0.6 degrees in 30 years, if in fact that is correct?

... Climate changes every day whether or not you do anything about it.

Is this guy really confusing climate with weather?  The weather changes everyday, but the climate?  Not so much as it is an average. I think Weather WizKids is the right level of difficulty for this guy.

Climate is the average weather usually taken over a 30-year time period for a particular region and time period. Climate is not the same as weather, but rather, it is the average pattern of weather for a particular region. Weather describes the short-term state of the atmosphere. 

Back to Nho and more misunderstanding of basic science:

Let’s assume that they are intelligent people and that their assumptions are true. That change of 1 degree will affect the sea level and exterminate species. So what? The animal kingdom has reigned on the Earth for millions, probably billions of years, and we are still here.

I do admit, the “Save the Planet” banners are misleading.  The planet Earth will not be destroyed by global warming.  No matter how extreme you imagine the temperatures could get, this Pale Blue Dot will continue to circle the Earth for a long time to come.

On the other hand, the extinction event of 65 million years ago destroyed the dinosaurs and allowed mammals to take over the planet.  Even if there is great change in temperature, the animal kingdom will remain, it will simply be very different.  We are not the animal kingdom, we are only one part of it.

After all this, he then discusses ways to protect the environment as is he had not just spent more than half his essay claiming there was no need.  This guy needs to be considered for the Brian in Jeollanamdo award, last given to Kang Shin Woo.

three laws of future employment

February 9, 2012

Daniel Jelski at Newgeography discusses his three laws of future employment.  What I got from the article was ‘more of the Red Queen problem’.  Everyone is running faster so you have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place.

Let’s start with the three Laws of Future Employment. Law #1: People will get jobs doing things that computers can’t do. Law #2: A global market place will result in lower pay and fewer opportunities for many careers. (But also in cheaper and better products and a higher standard of living for American consumers.) Law #3: Professional people will more likely be freelancers and less likely to have a steady job.

He goes on to discuss how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are not good bets for the future.

Laws #1 & 2 predict that there will likely be fewer STEM jobs in the future – they are both easily computerized and tradable. People will always be employed in STEM disciplines, many of them highly paid, but they’ll be paid for smarts rather than education. The disciplines will be much more competitive, with older and less talented workers left on the sidelines.

So if computerized, tradable skills won’t create much new employment, if any, what will? Clearly, it will be non-tradable skills that can’t be computerized. At their most valuable these jobs depend on human-human interaction – empathy. Counseling (of any sort: psychiatric, financial, weight loss, etc.), sales, customer service, management, and personal services all rely on empathy, as does waitressing. While much teaching can be computerized, what remains will depend more on empathy than anything else. “They don’t care what you know, but they will know if you care,” is a maxim future teachers should take to heart.

I’ve already quoted extensively.  Please read his conclusions.

You could also read Tabarrok’s response (He is quoted in the article) at Marginal Revolution.

My own concern on the subject -without disagreeing with him- is that the service industry is not profitable.  Wait staff can earn significant amounts in tips but (I admit I’ve been away for a while so I could be wrong) not that many people receive tips.  Service jobs do require more empathy  than skills jobs, but fewer people can perform the skilled work.  I fear the end of any sort of middle class and a sort of hereditary nobility and serf class.


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