9 November 2009

Professors in the UK are required to act as police agents, Part II

Earlier this autumn, I wrote a post explaining how we, professors, are requirted to monitor students with visas and report back to the university who will report to the UK Border Agency. Another bureaucratic rule established means one more opportunity for the administrator to rejoice and one less opportunity for those of us who would like to engage in actual education and research, rather than bureaucratic meetings.

Rules, rules, and more rules is what will bring the university down.

But let's momentarily have a laugh about the whole thing by looking at some cartoons:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

What bothers me is not the rules themselves, neither the people who establish them. This is their job. They have to justify their salary, invent something, keep the wheels rolling. What bothers me is that nobody in the academic establishment talks about this. It is as if anything goes. Which raises the question: What if we lived in a dictatorship? Would everybody keep their mouths equally shut? (I'm afraid, yes...)

P.S. Thanks to Michael Fridman for the cartoon references.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant