The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Friday, February 18, 2005

a hard bastard

all this guff about Scholarship Chemistry. I haven't really been following it all, been a bit busy and not always able to keep up with the blogs or the news (in that order).

But when I did some dry runs for Schol Chem, last decade, it was really a hard bastard. It was so hard that you were considered brilliant if you got over 30%. Schol Chem was legendary for failing duxes and dunces alike, year after year.

This incredibly smart chap that I went to school with got 17% in a practice run, and he later went on to do very well in this Engineering degree at UOA. In the end I didn't actually sit it as the prospect of doing worse than my prelim mark was a bit offputting. I was quite happy with 15% thanks very much!

In contrast the arts Schols that I sat, English and Classical Studies, were miles and miles easier. They were a very different type of exam from Bursary, with questions you couldn't predict, but it wasn't too hard to get marks not far off my Bursary marks.

Clearly moderation between subjects has been a problem for a long time.

last day of an old life

Today I left my old job. It was my first grown-up job, although I've always thought that I got it more because of who I know than what I know. But I did ok. My boss said at my leaving do that I've left a legacy. I just hope it lasts.

I'm sad about leaving Erst behind, especially as Rude is coming with me to the new place. I've made so many friends in this place, as well as strengthened some old relationships - but will I get frustrated with their obssession with the place, an obssession borne out of the trauma of working there. I hope not. I hope I can listen and support them as they supported me.

It was strange that I didn't feel like I was leaving until I was the last person in the building, coding the last pesky files. I really hadn't realised that I Am Not Going Back, except as a visitor. At least for a few years anyway. So much has happened in the last month that I haven't been able to stop and think about it. I don't think it will hit me until I'm on the plane tomorrow, doing something different, going somewhere different.

An odd way to end a big part of my life.

Monday, February 07, 2005

net nanny

Well I'm trying to read Other People's Blogs from The Man In The Comfy Chair's work puter and many many of you are banned by Web Marshall.

About Town had too much swearing and not enough medical talk to overcome that (cussing gets negative points, medical terms get positive points). The Whig was just all negative. DPF and Bhatnagar are ok.

Just something to keep in mind.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

tending towards the extremes

Media bias is a common topic on the nz political blogs, and no doubt overseas. The left think it is biased to the (usually) big business owners, protecting the status quo, property rights, etc. The right consider particularly state owned media to be heavily in favour of the left, and journalists, regardless of employer, to be closet socialists.

I tend to think that the privately owned media has a centre-right pro-establishment editorial line, and that state owned media probably has a reasonably neutral management and editorial line, but is less likely to stamp on left-leaning individual journalists.

But what I'm starting to realise is that on the whole our mainstream media isn't consistently left or right, but instead tends to the extremes. Coverage is frequently biased, and that bias is not always for an ideological reason, but for a financial one - ratings, sales, profit. (Although a financial motive strikes me as fundamentally right-wing.)

Sensationalism sells papers, it brings in the audience, it enrages them into calling that dodgy 0900 poll.

Not only is sensationalism more vulnerable to becoming biased one way or t'uther, it is also a hotbed for shoddy journalism that tends to confuse or mislead rather then illuminate and inform.

Maybe if we took the profit motive out we'd get more balanced reporting...