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Academic Assholes

2013-02-21 16:16:24.961594+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2013-02-22 16:18:37.917833+00 by: Dan Lyke

Something I've noticed from academics, that I think relates to your #1 and #3, is this notion of holding an abstraction so securely that any notions of how to implement portions of that abstraction that don't solve the entire system at once are dismissed as "not that".

I ran into this in the transportation work, where there were a number of competing abstractions for what the transportation system of the future might look like, that seemed to have historically been revised so that they were not whatever was currently implemented. This seemed primarily done in order to keep the funding channel open: Apparently bureaucrats had good vibes with the brand (or had developed the brand as their own in the first place and sold it to their higher-ups), and any actual implementations beyond delivering more reports would have shown in a very concrete way just how absurd these notions had become.

I'm seeing similar things in the "Personal Clouds" space: "Well, implementation X fulfills all the requirements but Y, so therefore it's not part of the Personal Cloud." "Okay, how do we solve Y?" "Doesn't matter, because X isn't part of the Personal Cloud."

Which I think relates to your #2.

So, yeah, you get this huge spew of paper, and a lot of academic wankery, and then when someone else actually goes out and implements it there's this "wasn't I so smart!" hogwash.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-02-22 03:47:19.363426+00 by: ebradway

Three aspects of the academic community that have driven me away from a career in research:

  1. Discourse around many topics of study are based entirely on the foundation of non-understanding. That is, if you claim to understand the topic, you are excluded from discourse on the topic, because you obviously don't understand the topic. If you understood the topic, you'd know that you cannot understand the topic. Therefore your claim of understanding is invalid.
  2. Many times "discourse" is really a contest of seeing who can poke the most obscure holes in your reasoning. Not that the holes have any basis in reality, but your inability to explain away the holes means that your reasoning is invalid.
  3. Topics worthy of academic discourse are purely abstract. If your topic has any practical application it is unworthy of academic discourse. And if you can explain your topic in simple terms, it is obviously not nuanced enough to be worthy of academic discourse.