Friday, 8 July 2011

How Things Work in the Real World

Let's say that we made a rule that you had to take the state driver's test every single year (all forty questions) and continue your progress as a driver.  Would you end up bribing the state test evaluator eventually or pay some guy for the answers?

Let's say that your church had a 10-question test once a month from the Sunday school plans, and you had to pass in order to maintain your membership in the church.  Would you end up bribing one of the deacons for a copy of the test eventually....just to ensure your continued membership?

Let's say that your Mason's hall had their secret membership test required on an annual basis, and you had to pass to ensure that you were kept on the Free Mason's membership list.  Would you eventually end up bribing one of the test control guys....just to ensure your continued membership?

Let's say that your house had to be inspected yearly by some county health and safety guy....and it had to pass or you'd be heavily fined.  Would you eventually end up bribing one of the inspection guys to ensure you avoided the hefty fine?

So let's say that some dimwit started some kid's program called no-student-left-behind and instituted every kid had to be tested at different phases of pass onto the next level, and you connected this success to the teachers involved and how they got their promotion or pay-raise.  Wouldn't you expect the teachers to eventually get wise and bribe an evaulator or perhaps give out portions of the test to the students to ensure they passed?

Years ago (actually 1978), I was signed up and mandated to take a skills test in Air Force construction practices.  In order to get my five-level....I had to pass.  For some odd reason...for the whole year before, this unit had serious problems in getting people to pass the 100-question test.  Three days before the boss came up and gave me his "practice test".  He said to study it carefully.  Test day came.  It was a funny thing over at the base education center....every single question from their test.....came from the practice test.  Somewhere around question 95....I felt compelled to screw up two or three questions because I didn't want a perfect 100.  A week later, the results came back....I made 97 on the test.  My boss, the superintendent, and the Commander were all happy.

When you sit awful high expectations and threaten to screw folks over or deny them their payraise....folks usually figure out what the real result of this game is.  So this week when folks got upset in Atlanta because teachers have been discovered in a cheating effort over these kid's educational comment is simple.  What do you really expect?  We all do it.  End of the story.

The Running of the Bulls

The running of the bulls started up in Pamplona, Spain on Wednesday.  I've had this thing for the event for two decades.  I've always wanted to go down and watch it....safely from a balcony.

As a kid, I annually attended the "running of the steers" on my dad's farm.  In the fall, there was this vaccination of year-old calves and they had to be run down a chute by myself and then put into a neck-brace to accomplish everything.  I was the runner.  Things would work out great unless the calf got smart and twisted around to run directly back at me.  So I had this momentarily threat like the running of the bulls occasionally.

I've known one American who went down to Pamplona and actually stood out in the street as the bulls ran by....not actively in the pack of idiots as some folks would be.  He admitted it was fairly risky....considering all the bulls have decent horns.

It's a curious event because you couldn't do things like this in the US.  The animal friendly folks would be all up in arms about this and you'd have folks pursue lawsuits against the town for injury if they got gored.  So it's an event that will forever be Spanish in nature.