April 16th, 2015

Joint Regulation: that's gotta be a pun, right?

http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2015/04/16/rotterdam-klaar-voor-proef-gereguleerde-wietteelt/

I realize that from Stateside, the Netherlands has appeared to be a haven of legal weed for, basically, ever. But it just isn't that simple. Their policy was really more one of non-enforcement than it was of Yeah, Ok, That's Actually Legal. And AFAIK, it never extended to cultivation, leaving the entire trade in a grey zone that's sort of hard for a country with a huge early input from a bunch of literal text reading theocrats to wrap their brains around (<-- little reference to the whole Puritan thing).

Not too long ago (in fact, recently enough that I think I saw earlier coverage go by), several towns/cities in the Netherlands petitioned the government to either legalize/regulate weed cultivation or allow for local experimentation. The petition was known as the "Joint Regulation". And that is not a translation. Which leads me to believe that it was an intended English-language pun.

Weirdly, it seems that the Netherlands, Washington State and other states in the US will all arrive at a complete regulatory scheme (from cultivation to consumption, with quality control and regulations designed to discourage criminal activities at every step) at more or less the same time.

Sometimes I Think Everyone Has Autism

Today's example: http://smallpondscience.com/2015/04/13/in-which-k-12-teachers-assign-students-to-contact-an-expert/

In this blog post, a scientist who routinely is contacted by K-12 students fulfilling a school assignment to "contact an expert" complains that they ask simple questions they could easily have answered via wikipedia (say). This scientist frames the problem in several different ways (class issues, elitism, bad assignments, etc.). _IN FACT_, and as one of the commenters sort of edges up to, what is actually happening is that the teacher is trying to get the student to "interview an expert, record it and then write up the interview". The actual content of the interview or the expertise of the expert is largely irrelevant.

Now, IT IS TRUE, that this is a drag on the time of a bunch of people who maybe don't want to be doing random interviews with random children who send them random emails. And that is fair. Just say no.

But honestly, what the teacher is teaching is pretty easy to understand, and an important skill, and, like all learning exercises, necessarily DOES NOT INVOLVE NEW CONTENT. So all of the scientist's complaints along the lines of hey, look it up ya fool, are entirely missing the point in an extremely autistic way.

Sometimes I think everyone has autism. They don't. They just have completely failed to take perspective, and got hung up on a literal understanding of a request and missed cues in communication that should have told them the request was not meant to be understood literally. Which happens with autism -- but also happens with humans in general.

Also, this is really weird:

"These students, in the upper social class, are learning a wholly inappropriate lesson – that publicly-funded professors are there to answer their basic questions about science in lieu of going to the trouble of opening up a goddamn book."

Doubtful. They don't ever come back and do it again -- they only did it when ordered to. The kids know this is inappropriate behavior. Altho if you framed it this way, maybe it wouldn't seem so inappropriate: "These students are learning that publicly-funded professors are accessible to the public to explain their work in advancing human knowledge." Probably the teachers should pre-arrange a list of experts who are willing to serve this purpose, and inflict the kiddos on them, instead. Or maybe just round up all the parents and have the kids interview the other kids parents. Or whatever.

h/t Nate over at Ink, Bits & Pixels in Morning Coffee.