Humanities teach students to guess. Where would we be without them? | Francine Prose

Following announced funding cuts in US universities, is it altogether paranoid to wonder if humanities are under assault since they are enable students to guess?

Humanities departments in America are once again being axed. The reasons, one hears, are economic rather than ideological. Its not that schools dont am worried about the humanities they just cant afford them. But if one looks at these institutions priorities, one determines a concealed ideology at work.

Earlier this month, the State University of New York( Suny) Stony Brook announced a plan to eliminate several of the colleges well-regarded departments for budgetary reasons. Undergraduates will no longer be able to major in comparative literature, cinema and cultural analysis or theater arts.

Three doctoral programs would be cut, and three departments( European languages and literature, Hispanic speeches and literature, and cultural analyses) would be merged into one. Not only students but faculty will be affected; many untenured educators would lose their jobs, and doctoral nominees would have to finish their studies elsewhere.

This is happening at a time in which high salaries are awarded to college administrators that dwarf those of a junior or even senior faculty member teach in at-risk departments. That difference can only be explained through ideology. The decision to reduce education to a corporate consumer-driven model, providing services to the student-client, is ideological too.

Suny Stony Brook is expending millions on a multiyear program entitled Far Beyond that is intended to rebrand the colleges image: a redesigned logo and website, new signs, flags and flags throughout the campus. Do colleges now care more about how a school looks and marketplaces itself than about what it teaches? Has the university become a theme park: Collegeland, churning out workers trained to fill particular niches? Far beyond what?

The threat of cuts that Suny Stony Brook is facing is not entirely new. In 2010, Suny Albany announced that it was get rid of its Russian, classics, theater, French and Italian departments a decision afterwards rescinded. The University of Pittsburgh has cut its German, classics and religion analyses program.

This problem has parallels internationally. In the UK, protests greeted Middlesex Universitys 2010 decision to phase out its doctrine department. In June 2015, the Japanese ministers responsible for education sent a letter to the presidents of “the member states national” universities of Japan, suggesting they close their alumnu and undergraduate departments in the humanities and social sciences and focus on something more practical.

Most lately, the Hungarian government announced regulations that would basically make it impossible for the Central European University, funded by George Soros, to function in Budapest.

These are hard times. Students necessitate chores when they alumnu. But a singular opportunity has been lost if they are denied the opportunity to study foreign speeches, the classics, literature, dogma, music, theater and art. When else in their busy lives will they get that chance?

Eloquent defenses of the humanities have appeared essays explaining why we need these subjects, what their loss would entail. Those of us who teach and analyse are aware of what these areas of learning provide: the ability to think critically and independently; to tolerate ambiguity; to see the two sides of an issue; to look beneath the surface of what we are being told; to appreciate the ways in which language can help us understand one another more clearly and profoundly or, alternately, how speech can disguise and falsify. They help us learn how to think, and they equip us to live in to sustain a democracy.

Studying the classics and creed teaches students where we come from, and how our modes of reasoning have evolved over time. Learning foreign speeches, and about other cultures, enables students to understand how other societies resemble or differ from our own. Is it solely paranoid to wonder if these subjects are under assault because they enable students to think in ways that are more complex than the reductive simplifications so congenial to our current political and corporate discourse?

I dont believe that the humanities can stimulate you a decent person. We know that Hitler was an ardent Wagner fan and had a lively those who are interested in architecture. But literature, art and music can focus and expand our sense of what humen can accomplish and generate. The humanities teach us about those who have gone before us; a foreign language brings us closer to those with whom we share the planet.

The humanities can touch those aspects of consciousness that we call intellect and heart organs seemingly absence among lawmakers whose opinions on health care indicate not only zero compassion but a poor understanding of human experience, with its crisis and setbacks.

Courses in the humanities are as formative and beneficial as the class that will replace them. Instead of Shakespeare or French, there will be( perhaps there already are) college class in how to trim corporate spending courses that inform us to remove frivolous programs of analyze that might actually teach students to think.

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The AI That Makes Halloween Costumes Is The Singularity

This woman is a certifiable evil genius. Her Halloween garb building robot appears to have been harmless fun, but this machine is going to take away endeavours … more importantly, my undertaking as a slapstick writer.

If I got an assignment to come up with funny Halloween attires, I’d likely go with “a hydrant get whizzed on by a dog” because I’m emotionally bankrupt. This Halloween-o-Matic-5 000 has endless stamen and can stimulate 20 funny garb ideas in the time it takes me to unwrap the chocolate bar I need for “creative fuel.”

In the AI’s infancy( it was still learning) it came up with “Sexy Por Man, ” “The Ran Spean Sexy Sexy Pon Sexy Dander, ” “The Gull Wot, ” “Sexy Purbie Lampire, ” and, “Poth Rat.” It’s not even in proper English and yet it constructs so much sense. I don’t know what a “Purbie Lampire” is, or how it is feasible to sexy, but it’s funny and I require that costume. “The Gull Wot” is nonsense, but I can somehow painting it being played by Danny DeVito.

And those are just the things it came up with as a baby robot. It accommodates. It learns. As a toddler, it generated dress such as, “Farbat of the Cower, ” and “Ging Butter.” Still babble, and still funnier than anything I could think of with my inferior meat brain. But as Halloween-o-Matic-5 000 learns, its comedy becomes even more sophisticated. The Shark Knight.” Oh sweet mom Mary of Jesus. The robot simply punned . “Vampire Big Bird.” “Professor Panda.” “Count Drunk Doll of Princess.” “Skeleton Ginsburg.” “Saxy Pumpkins.”

Well, there runs my job security and my good night’s sleep. Skeleton Ginsburg . It’s perfection beyond what human comedians are capable of. I may soon be replaced by a robot, forced out of the lucrative slapstick business and into an embarrassing chore like doctoring, but damnit I’ll still laugh at their gags. “Bearley Quinn? ” Yep, that’s it. We’re done. It’s the singularity.

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