Saturday, December 14, 2013
  Fairlaning grades

A commentator on Bloomberg yesterday came up with an interesting idea on a very old subject.

The old subject: Grade inflation, which has been recently noted at Harvard. Nearly everyone at Harvard gets A's.

Bloomberg's new thought, probably semi-serious: Since grades aren't numerical like currency, we should introduce a new grade beyond A and let the existing five letters slide downward so D becomes failing and F disappears.

Basically Fairlaning the scale. Fairlane (along with Bel Air and Belvedere) started out as a special name for a top-level sports coupe. A couple years later it became the name for the entire top trim level. Then the top level acquired a fresh new name (Galaxie, Impala, Fury) pushing the Fairlane class down one step. And so on until Fairlane moved down to a dull compact then disappeared.

Neat idea, but wouldn't really work with grade inflation.

There are three ways to inflate a packaged product: (1) Raise the price (2) Shrink the size (3) Dilute or adulterate the substance. With food, the Pure Food laws make (3) difficult, so (2) is the most common technique. Most notably, toilet paper and candy bars have shrunk to near-microscopic size in recent years.

Bloomberg sees grade inflation as a case of (1), raising the price within a numerical range that has a strict maximum. (Monetary analogy: A price control limits cars to $10000, so all cars end up at $10000.) If that were the case, Fairlaning would work beautifully. It would remove the maximum and reassert a linear mapping of letters to underlying values.

Unfortunately, grade inflation is actually done by a mix of (2) and (3), plus another mechanism that isn't available with toilet paper. Colleges shrink the subjects, sticking to specialized facts that can be parroted in rote form; and they adulterate the content, replacing normal facts and logic with brain-mincing all-destroying toxic weapons like Climate "science", Economics, Critical Queer Theory and Hate Studies.

What's happening at Harvard can't be analogized to ordinary pricing. The "humanities" have already been through (2) and (3). Harvard's curriculum contains nothing but rote recitation of poisonous shit. Now Harvard can guarantee high grades by admitting only students who are preconditioned to parrot the poisonous shit.

I suppose the commercial analogy would be the Tesla "car" or wind "power". These objects have negative value in a strict mechanical sense. The Tesla "car" works only occasionally and requires tremendously costly repairs when it doesn't work. Wind turbines work only when they're not needed, and require costly coal-fired generators to maintain the fiction that the turbine is "adding" power. Any rational person would have to be paid to accept these objects. But because Western idiots have been preconditioned to consider Tesla and turbines as supercool, we gladly pay high prices for these worse-than-useless things.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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