[ RadSafe ] The good news about nuclear destruction

J. Marshall Reber jmarshall.reber at comcast.net
Wed Apr 2 09:28:39 CDT 2008

On Sep 1, 2006, at 7:05 PM, eth_jones wrote:

>  If parents realized how scientifically illiterate their children  
> were in regards to nuclear, they might demand that schools turn out  
> nuclear literate students.  As for the government promoting civil  
> defense, it will never happen.

This observation is so close to a discussion on another listserve to  
which I opined, I thought it appropriate to repost my comments here:

>> But I encourage you in all your experiments, this is how we learn.  
>> I often learn more from the experiments that don't work than I do  
>> from the ones that do. :-) When you theorize what should happen and  
>> it doesn't, then you usually have to devise other experiments to  
>> find out why.
> Although this attitude is highly recommended, especially for the  
> neophyte in order to develop good mental habits, it contains a much  
> more profound dilemma concerning the finiteness of life and the  
> incompleteness of understanding:  As one ages it becomes more and  
> more apparent that the level at which one can "tinker" a problem is  
> very dependent upon what others have learned in the past.  Ever  
> since Edison "invented" the large scientific laboratory fundamental  
> discoveries of how the universe seems to operate are more and more  
> dependent upon spending an apprenticeship to learn multiple ways of  
> observing nature.  This apprenticeship is neither short nor  
> effortless and is often eschewed by impatient youths.  Indeed,  
> pupils in many secondary schools in the USA , especially boys, would  
> rather become sports heros or rock stars than scientists.  At the  
> college level many of my science and engineering friends notice the  
> yearly decline of applications from domestic students and the growth  
> of foreign applications.  Just today the University of Massachusetts  
> has announced that in order to have sufficient students they will  
> start online programs for students in China.
> When I offered to assist anyone in a local, up-scale town's Boy  
> Scout Troop if anyone wanted to pursue the Atomic Energy Merit  
> Badge, I was refused with the admonishment that concerned parents in  
> that town would never approve of their children being involved with  
> learning anything about terrorist materials.  Imagine, from parents  
> almost all who have graduated from college!

J. Marshall Reber, ScD
165 Berkeley St.
Methuen MA 01844

Tel/Fax: 978-683-6540
Alternate Email: reber at alum.mit.edu

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