Tuesday, June 15, 2010
What has happened to this (my) generation's music?
When you observe music trends over the decades, especially in the past century, you find that music has always fluctuated mildly depending on the age, influence, and other contributing factors of the times. For example, when Buffalo Springfield played "For What It's Worth", they were heavily influenced by the peace movements that had conquered America during the Vietnam War. And even those peace movements only occurred because of the influence of television and popular media, which made the Vietnam War publicly viewable. With this in mind, rather than ask what has happened to today's music, you should ask what has influenced today's music.
So, what has influenced today's era of music? In my opinion, it has to do with the growing realm of technology and electronic social networking that has stormed our generation by force. Children and teens spend more time online than ever, and chances are artists spend time online as well. (This can be observed through the increase in digitally-edited and manipulated, or Photoshopped, artwork.) From this influence of technology, the teen mind has been fundamentally altered: attention spans have shrunken and teen relationships have shortened accordingly along with other similar effects. Dealing specifically with the latter, relationships have grown much shorter as teens, specifically boys, have not been able to focus on one girl for an extended amount of time. This has led to teen girls striving for more intimate relationships that they cannot get from teen boys who have yet to mature. (This would explain why many teen girls expose themselves and earn the nickname "slut": because they long for the attention from teen boys that has been slowly diminishing.)
So to summarize: teens like technology, have shorter attention spans and teen girls long for love and more intimate relationships. Well, what is pop music? Songs that usually have to do with love, are short, and are sometimes manipulated electronically to give them a technology-like sound. Naturally, with the matchup of these three characteristics, teens love to listen to pop music, which is why we have seen an increase in this type of music. Please note that this entire explanation does not affect all teens: there are still many people who do not have shorter attention spans and do not experience these same effects, which is why many kids still like rock music (like myself).
What is the problem with America's high schools?
Well, the problem with high schools originates from colleges themselves. When a high school student applies to college, the colleges look for quantifiable information, such as test scores and advanced classes, to measure which students are up to par. Because of this system, many colleges do not take into account the fact that many students learn things outside of tests and advanced classes, even outside of school. High schools have noticed this trend, and in an attempt to get their students into better colleges, have focused on test scores and other quantifiable information. With students no longer focused on actually learning, the system corrupts. (Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with politicians wanting to improve their reputation by showing how awesome the schools are when they do great on tests; politicians are well aware that parents and students alike know tests are completely useless, and that making students get good test grades will not increase their reputation.)
Another problem with the system is the lack of teacher-student and student-student academic relationships. Dealing with the former specifically, students regard teachers as an authority figure, or somebody who will issue commands that the student "must" follow. Since teens are often in a type of rebellious phase when in high school, and since most work teachers give tend to be boring and test-oriented (as explained above), students naturally go against what their teacher says, primarily by not doing homework, not paying attention in class, and overall thinking they are too good to pay attention. The high school system needs to portray teachers as friends and peers, while still maintaining some level of authority. This means teachers should give one or two large mandatory assignments followed by three or four optional assignments. If the student does not do the mandatory assignments, a major penalty is taken out on their grade, but if they do not do the optional assignments, then they will just see a drop in their grade when they do bad on tests that specifically have to do with material on the optional assignments.
Also missing are student-student academic relationships. Sure, everybody has friends that they hang out with, but how often do you find two students tutoring each other outside of school, and doing so in a productive and serious manner? Some type of collaborative system needs to be set up so students can reach out to their friends for homework help and other assistance. The current major blockage to this system is the fact that many students are glued to the computer before, during, and after the completion of homework. If there was an online system specifically dedicated to facilitating academic student-student relationships, the students could set up a support system that, in the long run, would help them out. (In addition, teachers could give out more collaborative projects and presentations rather than individual homework and classwork.)
Which is better: object-oriented or procedural programming?
Well, the fact is that both have their advantages and disadvantages. In most cases, object-oriented is probably the better choice. This has to do with the fact that object-oriented programming follows the trend of electronics and computing itself: AND and OR gates are abstracted into machine code, which is abstracted into assembly language, and so on. Object-oriented programming follows this trend by abstracting different aspects of the program so they can be dealt with on a higher level, a level that is easier to understand and easier to expand.
However, object-oriented programs are usually harder to debug because you are no longer dealing with a few files that can be referenced by line. Different objects will be referring to different functions in different files on different lines. A stack trace on a simple error could yield an output longer than Richard Stallman's opinion on proprietary software. Furthermore, there are a lot of programs that so simple that object-oriented programming is simply not practical.