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One of the causes Ciro Santilli care the most about: motivation.
Ciro Santilli's view of the ideal teaching method: how to teach.
A list of complaints against education: Section "Education is broken".
How to improve education? Simple:
Once Ciro was at a University course practical session, and a graduate was around helping out. Ciro asked if what the graduate did anything specifically related to the course, and they replied they didn't. And they added that:
One has to put the bread on the table.
Even though Ciro was already completely disillusioned by then, that still made an impression on him. Something is really wrong with this shit.
Other people that think that the educational system is currently bullshit as of 2020:
Video 1. Peter Gregory from Silicon Valley shows his hate for university in a fake TED talk. Source. Key moment: someone from the crowd cries:
The true value of a college education is intangible!
to which the speaker replies:
The true value of snake oil is intangible as well.
IMDb says it's not a cameo. It really looked like one, good acting, but what a missed opportunity. Imagine a Xavier Niel appearance.
Video 2. David Deutsch on Education interviewed by Aidan McCullen (2019) Source.
Key quote that hits the nail:
[...] the existing assumptions behind educational systems are that the purpose of education is to transmit valuable knowledge faithfully from on generation to the next. From people who already have that knowledge, to people who don't.
So the knowledge is conceived of as a kind of valuable fluid, which you pour from one generation to the next, pour it into their brains.
So right... the purpose of education is not to teach facts. The purpose of education is to propose ways of thinking, which students themselves must try to apply and decide if it suits them! And use the patterns of thinking that are useful to reach their goals.
Like Noam Chomsky, he proposes education has been a system of indoctrination more than anything else e.g.
All compulsory education, "tough" or not, "love" or not, in camps or not, and whether it "traumatises" or not, is a violation of human rights.
At another good quote by Churchill:
Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never yet been invested.
The same video also mentions in passing that john Wheeler used to be Deutsch's boss, but I can't find a reference for it very easily.
Video 3. Quote selection by Charles Bukowski (2016) Source.
Generally speaking, you're free until you're about 4 years old. Then you go to grammar school and then you start becoming... oriented and shoved into areas. You lose what individualism you have, if you have enough of course, you retain some of it... Then you work the 8 hour job with almost a feeling of goodness, like you're doing something. Then you get married like marriage is a victory, and you have children like children is a victory... Marriage, birth, children. It's something they have to do because there's nothing else to do. There's no glory in it, there's no steam, there's no fire. It's very, very flat... You get caught into the stricture of what you're supposed to be and you have no other choice. You're finally molded and melded into what you're supposed to be. I didn't like this.
Whenever Ciro Santilli walks in front of a school and sees the tall gates it makes him sad. Maybe 8 year olds need gates. But do we need to protect 15 year olds like that? Students should be going out to see the world, both good and evil not hiding from it! We should instead be guiding them to the world. But instead, we are locking them up in brainwashing centers.
Video "The Purpose of Education by Noam Chomsky (2012)" puts it well, education can be either be:
He has spoken about that infinitely, e.g. from when he was thin:
If school weren't bullshit, 99% of students would be in gifted education for what they truly love and are good at.
What is sad about many programs is that they are exclusivist and non scalable, selecting people some how and non scalably educating them. We need a more "here's some projects let's do them whoever can" approach to things, maybe like Google Summer of Code.
Basically the same remarks as for university, just 10 times more useless, see also: Section "Motivation".
Basically schools that follows Ciro Santilli's ideas as shown at how to teach.
Video 4. Aprender em Comunidade by Prof. José Pacheco. Source. In Portuguese. Title translation: "Learn in community".
Amazing self-directed learning direction:
The pupils have a parents' evening coming up but instead of their teachers giving an account of their progress, it is a "student-led conference" at which they must present a portfolio of their work, explain what they are most proud of and discuss where they need to put in more effort. mentions that the founder was inspired by other schools: High Tech High and Expeditionary Learning.
Lots of focus on showcase student work.
The founder Gwyn ap Harri is quite dirty mouthed, which is also cool.
Ciro Santilli tried to contact them in 2021 at: and on website contact form to see if we could do some project together, but no reply.
This one has students must have a flexible choice of what to learn on the name! Sounds interesting!
A fantastic sounding full time 4-year course that any student could transfer to called that teaches various natural science topics, notably mathematics, physics, chemistry and molecular biology.
Many past students Ciro talked to however share a common frustration with the course: in the first 2 years at least, the "basic cycle", you have infinitely many courses, and no time to study, and no choice of what to study, it is only in the latter 2 years (the advanced cycle) that you get the choices.
Also, if you get low grades in a single subject, your out. And exams are useless of course.
Here's a Quora question in Portuguese about the course:, the only decent answer so far being: Very disappointing to hear.
On the advanced cycle, you have a lot of academic freedom. You are basically supposed to pick a research project with an advisor and go for it, with a small ammount of mandatory course hours. Ciro was told in 2022 that you can even have advisors from other universities or industry, and that it is perfectly feasible to take courses in another university and valiate the course hours later on. Fantastic!!!
Students from the entire University of São Paulo can apply to transfer to it only after joining the university, with the guarantee that they can go back to their original courses if they don't adapt to the new course, which is great!
Not doing it is one of Ciro Santilli's regrets in life, see also: don't be a pussy.
Around 2007, they were in a really shady building of the University, but when Ciro checked in 2021, they had apparently moved to a shiny new entrepreneurship-focused building. Fantastic news!!!
This place has one of the best changes of spawning the first Brazilian Nobel Prize or unicorn.
One of the Brazilians who came to École Polytechnique together with Ciro was from this course. The fact that he is one of the most intelligent people Ciro knows gave further credit to that course in his eyes.
No teachers, no courses, no tuition fees. Yes please!!! By Xavier Niel.
Sometimes Ciro Santilli regrets not having done a PhD. But this section makes him feel better about himself. To be fair, part of the merit is on him, part of the reason he didn't move on was the strong odour of bullshit oozing down to Masters level. A good PhH might have opened interesting job opportunities however, given that you don't really learn anything useful before that point in your education.
The "real world" is full of people who couldn't make it in academia.
Video 5. I failed in academia by Andy Stapleton (2021) Source.
Video 6. 6 Dirty Tactics Found In Academia & Universities by Andy Stapleton (2022) Source.
Video 7. Rise to the Top: The Habits and Mindset of Top 0.1% PhD Students by Andy Stapleton (2023) Source.
Figure 1. Profzi scheme by PhD Comics.
A Ponzi scheme that trains people in new skills is not necessarily a terrible thing. It is a somewhat more useful version than standard exam based education.
Perhaps the problem is "forcing" 35 year olds to go down that path when they might also want to have boring stuff like families and security.
If people could get to the PhD level much, much sooner, it wouldn't be as obscene: Section "Students must be allowed to progress as fast as they want".
Video 8. The broken system at the heart of Academia by Peter Judo (2023) Source.
One of the world’s most cited scientists, Rafael Luque, suspended without pay for 13 years
The prolific chemist, who has published a study every 37 hours this year
You can't apparently fire someone in academia!
Rafael Luque, has been suspended without pay for the next 13 years
One is reminded of Nick Leeson.
One things must be said: the root cause of all of this is the replication crisis.
This is why he managed to go on for so long.
People felt it was normal to have to try for one or two years to replicate a paper.
Video 9. The man who almost faked his way to a Nobel Prize by BobbyBroccoli (2021) Source. Playlist:
Video 10. What they don't tell you about academic publishing by Andy Stapleton (2021) Source.
Video 11. The publishing scandal happening right now by Andy Stapleton (2023) Source. TOOD get the name of the academic who quit.
Ended up under Springer in 2015 after a massive merger.
Publications by the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
Notable papers:
Belongs to Springer, so you can still find papers under paywalls on their website.
You are nothing but useless leeches in the Internet age.
You must go bankrupt all of you, ASAP.
Fuck Elsevier, fuck Springer, and fuck all the like.
Research paid with taxpayer money must be made available for free.
Researchers and reviewers all work for peanuts, while academic publishers get money for doing the work that an algorithm could do.
When Ciro learned URLs such as log you in automatically by IP, his mind blew! The level of institutionalization of this theft is off the charts! The institutionalization of theft is also clear from article prices, e.g. 32 dollars for a 5 page article.
Key physics papers from the 50's are still copyright encumbered as of 2020, see e.g. Lamb-Retherford experiment. Authors and reviewers got nothing for it. Something is wrong.
Infinite list of other people:
  • by Robert Važan:
    Scientific journals are perhaps one of the most damaging IP rackets. Scientists are funded by governments to do research and publish papers. Reviews of these papers are done by other publicly funded scientists. Even paper selection and formatting for publication is done by scientists. So what do journals actually do? Nearly nothing.
Video 12. Academic Publishing by Dr. Glaucomflecken (2022) Source.
Part of the motivation letter required by some American universities explaining how amazing of a teacher you are, e.g.:
Short for Doctor of Philosophy, it's how some weird places like the University of Oxford say PhD. In Oxford they also analogously say MPHil.
Magazine of the Institute of Physics.
They do two things:
Exams as a prerequisite for a degree are useless. Exams as part of a degree must be abolished. And degrees must be abolished. Ultimately the only metrics that really matter are money and fame. See also: motivation.
The only thing exams should matter for is as a screening tool to select people with specific abilities that you care about as an employer or principal investigator. If:
  • you have no idea about what the content of specific exams are (and you don't because they are all ad-hoc university secrets)
  • or don't have a way to machine learn what grades correlate with your desired performance (you don't because where's the data?)
then exams are useless for your purposes. then might as well just go by interviews (basically what all employers do already, though not PIs). Degrees are too course grained to mean anything to anybody. Employers and PIs likely only care about very few specific subjects.
Once the question of an exam has been formulated, the usefulness of the problem is already been completely destroyed, because formulating the problem that matters is the most important part of things. And any problem with an answer, is useless to put effort into: give answers.
Furthermore, preventing people from searching for answers while answering an exam, AKA preventing "cheating", also makes absolutely no sense. In the real world, we want people to find answers as quickly as possible! We should be teaching people how to "cheat"! What we should teach them instead is what a fucking license is, and what you have to do to comply with it.
And if you pass the exam, you pass the course, without any further time requirements.
And those exams must be applied by professional test application companies to ensure no cheating and to factor out the anti-cheat work, while still making the tests available to people anywhere.
A quote from Richard Feynman present in the book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman chapter O Americano, Outra Vez!:
You cannot get educated by this self-propagating system in which people study to pass exams, and teach others to pass exams, but nobody knows anything.
You learn something by doing it yourself, by asking questions, by thinking, and by experimenting.
The only metric that matters is "to feel that you've satisfied youre curiosity". When one studies for that, it can take a lot more time to actually learn everything, because it is sometimes not as clear when you should stop. But it is the only way to go deeper.
A person's understanding is the most illiquid asset that exists, to judge that based only on standardized exams, is a certain way to fail to identify top talent.
This is Ciro Santilli's name for the idea that we should not have structured degrees at university that require entry exams, only tests that anybondy could take, likely for free, and then they would just have proof that they know the stuff for e.g. teachers that care about a subject while selecting students to work with them in research.
We just need control rooms where someone can watch students for cheating. Multiple different exams can be taken in the same room of course, students just have to sign up in advance. The exams should happen regularly depending on demand. E.g. extremelly common subjects should happen every month, and highly specialized ones every 6 months or 1 year.
Questions should be always taken from an open question pool which also contains answers, thus allowing anyone to effectively study for it.
How many questions can you actually come up with about a given non research subject, right?
We then make an API available, so that students can grant access to specific results to anyone they choose, or even make the results public for anyone to see. This way the people that care about the exams can just machine learn what exams correlate with their desired performance.
See: exam.
There are two types of people:
  • those who are autodidacts
  • those who didn't really learn
Some possible definitions:
  • learning without a gun pointed at your head
  • learning from an e-book or video rather than from a talking head 5 rows of chairs in front of you
    How that is different from a video, you tell me.
Inferior compared to self-directed learning, but better than the traditional "everyone gets the same" approach.
Video 13. Project SOCRATES at Illinois University Urban-Champaign (1966) Source. It is 2020, and we are not there yet. God!
Video 14. Learning Approach Uncollege by Dale Stephens (2011) Source.
Bezos Academy is building a network of tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.
During his childhood and adolescence, Freire ended up four grades behind, and his social life revolved around playing pick-up football with other poor children, from whom he claims to have learned a great deal. These experiences would shape his concerns for the poor and would help to construct his particular educational viewpoint. Freire stated that poverty and hunger severely affected his ability to learn. These experiences influenced his decision to dedicate his life to improving the lives of the poor: "I didn't understand anything because of my hunger. I wasn't dumb. It wasn't lack of interest. My social condition didn't allow me to have an education. Experience showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge"
OMG so nice.
Ciro Santilli's definition, key characteristics:
There is just one key gotcha: the project has to be useful.



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