New Style Correspondence Courses

The day’s news (today is April 27, 2013) announced that one no longer needs to set foot on a college campus to get a college degree from the University of Florida.  Essentially, they seem to be setting up correspondence courses for some degrees using modern equipment.  There’s nothing new in the idea of correspondence courses.  There has long been suspicion about them for reasons such as academic accreditation, but the notion of a student far distant from a teacher (or even learning on his or her own) is not new.  If a given set of material is covered and understood, it doesn’t have to be done sitting in a classroom.  It’s just not been so readily accepted. 

Certain professors then will probably still have to have a lesson plan (and so forth) but may not need to stand somewhere making speeches.  Students who can’t afford student housing but live too far from schools to commute might have a better chance of getting degrees.  A lot of good things might result from the idea.  The social aspects of campus life would be much out of the picture for a totally absentee student, but a lot of those would be out for anyone with good sense anyway.  The whole idea, however, may put a serious crimp in a common notion that having a degree is some kind of an elite status and those conferring same are a superior class of people. 

It will be interesting to see how far and how fast the idea spreads.  It will also be interesting to see what the repercussions will be.  If the idea takes a firm hold on life, there will be less need for millions of dollars in academic buildings.  Even more important, the human resources departments (personnel offices) may someday just retire personnel directors who hire people on the basis of schools attended rather than on something like demonstrated ability or even interest.  In some places certain schools are given preference, but only sometimes is it with good reason.  Sometimes it’s because the company wants to be able to imply superiority. 

At times the future looks bright. 

Authority

Even a hermit alone in a wilderness is subject to an authority, namely he (?she) is subject to the natural order, i.e., laws of nature.  The hermit may ward off the laws of nature a bit by using other laws of nature as in warding off the effects of a downpour of rain by getting into a cave or even by building a sturdy hut.  In the end, however, the hermit will live by the rules or not live at all.  If the hermit has at least one companion, although two minds can have the same thought simultaneously, the chances are good one or the other will prevail, and thus is a second authority for the other.  If there is more than just one additional individual, then voting decisions may also be there. 

The point is that everything apart from that natural order, and even some of that, is subject to being directed by others; and, that which is so "directed" had best be cooperative.  And, what brought up the matter is a new refrigerator in the apartment that is underfoot that didn’t need replacing.  The apartment is in a building owned by a giant land company that saw a need to be replacing refrigerators.  Since that would surely cost a substantial amount of money (just the place at hand has over a hundred and fifty units to it), it was probably decided by some at least quasi-authority over the top management, like a legal office or an insurance company. 

Therefore, whether a new refrigerator was needed or not, if it was one that was old enough, it was scheduled for replacement.  The decision maker told the next in command which in due time told the building manager who told maintenance to make arrangements and sent word to "chosen" residents to get ready.  Empty out the refrigerator being a bit much in the case at hand, there was a thought to ask someone else to do it.  …Only, that day the help didn’t show up.    A slap-it-together event took place to get the refrigerator business re-arranged.  The so-called "bottom line" is very important in life, but the bottom of the list has no authority. 

Every day of life has new revelations. 

So, Will Something Be Done?

As has been noted, life is full of people in various stages of disintegration.  Some never even get a decent start.  Others may get a decent start, then something comes along and damages what was okay initially.  While that’s also true of plants and animals (and even the inanimate if you come right down to it) and is pretty much par for the course in existence, there’s a big difference between what doesn’t get a decent start and what is damaged along the way.  One can take something that isn’t too perfect and say life is what you can make out of it, and so forth, and that makes things okay.  When the being was in good shape initially, there’s the factor of loss. 

In the old folks’ home everyone is into deterioration, none of it willingly and much of it gradually, not something the person had at birth.  Every day something that was there is gone for good.  Trying to be positive under the circumstances can be a job.  As has also been noted in these pages, visiting the sick is an art also true of visiting the elderly.  And, it’s more so as someone who is "merely" sick can hope to return more or less to the way things were.  Being told a lung or something mysterious (pancreas comes to this mind) is gone is rather devastating even if not unexpected.  Life and habits are still there, they just can’t be carried on as before. 

Something (what isn’t really known) sparked a recollection of the point a few days ago.  It may have been news that someone was hospitalized, but there was no clear connection.  It doesn’t really matter because, given recent news events of people peaceably going about their business being injured and killed in a wholesale pre-meditated fashion means the thought is well worth mentioning again.  What’s lost is lost.  Those people will never be as they were before.  If there was youth and promise lost, it was more than a loss to a single individual or family.  Whatever might have been contributed to society is also lost.  A willingness to change things should exist. 

There’s an unhappy world out there.   

Modern Money Transactions

The government has decided it won’t send people money using paper checks as has been done with social security checks.  It’s going to "wire" money (called electronic transfer or the like) directly to someone’s bank account.  That should save some trees and whatever it takes to make ink to print checks.  It will cost some jobs somewhere as there’s no need for the likes of bank tellers to cash the checks or mail carriers to deliver any in the future.  It should also eliminate some government things and thus save taxpayers’ money.  It should be much safer for the recipient as there’s no check anyone can steal from someone … all on the assumption the old folks can handle it. 

One has to wonder if the old folks can handle it.  Surely some can all by themselves, and some can with the help of someone else.  That doesn’t cover all.  Some don’t have bank accounts, in which case they are supposed to get what is called a "debit card" (a bank account of sorts).  Actually, the debit card is a better way to go, if there is a bank account to receive money transfers.  The big reason for that is, there can easily be a reason to close out a bank account.  Anyway, casting thoughts down the hall of the old folks’ home to the folks in the apartments, the matter was assessed.  "That" one may have no problems at all as she was once a bank teller, but that other one…. 

While cash in hand is always preferred in the apartment underfoot, debit card instead of direct deposit was chosen.  The information says the bank the debit card operates on originated in Detroit and now sits in Texas.  There’s no going locally in person if there is a problem.  The thing is, if there’s moving to another area for some reason, and that’s always a possibility, the current banking would probably be closed out; and, seemingly there was some kind of a rule, at least in some places, that said a person could not open a checking account without having lived somewhere for six months.  The debit card’s a month old and there’s already been a problem. 

Some things take unexpected time. 

Pets

Human is inclined to build himself or herself a nest, in fact, many of them.  There is a nest — sometimes with no appearance of one and sometimes with an appearance that looks very remarkably like an animal nest — where someone works or otherwise operates.  There’s one where the human animal sleeps, often shared but not always.  There are big nests that house a number of little nests (a house is one).  Human has nest, and human can be very possessive about the nest, especially if it’s particularly meaningful or expensive.   If that is shared with another living being, chances are there’s some kind of a deal or agreement there.  It may be unspoken on contractual. 

Most often any nest-sharing deal is presumed to be between humans.  However, a nest-sharing deal is also between human and what some folks call "pets" and others call "animal companion."  One might indeed go to a pet shop or breeder, plunk down some money for a critter, take it home, etc., call it a pet and think of it in terms of an actual ownership (money was handed over for it), but there needs be a deal there between human and animal.  The human has looked over the critter and decided that there is use for it.  The animal adjudges the situation and may only figure out it can’t get out of the cage or fish bowl and it will have to make do and to an extent cooperate. 

The point here is, the animal has decided to cooperate with the human.  If it doesn’t decide to cooperate it will escape somehow at the earliest opportunity or fight back if it feels a need to defend itself.  If it finds things are worse beyond the human’s nest, it may come back.  That may even  happen several times.  If it willingly more or less stays around, it has decided to make it’s nest somewhere that the human allows it to do so.  Now, if the human treats the animal as a pet, but the animal isn’t happy (or at least satisfied) with the arrangements the human isn’t the animal’s pet person.  That does happen, whether some people realize it or not.  That explains a lot. 

The one no one wants may be the best of the lot.