October 13, 2012

Math is Hard

The Kiplinger Business & Financial magazine has published a top ten list of "Worst College Majors for Your Career":

  1. Anthropology

  2. Fine Arts

  3. Film and Photography

  4. Philosophy and Religious Studies

  5. Graphic Design

  6. Studio Arts

  7. Liberal Arts

  8. Dream and Theater Arts

  9. Sociology

  10. English

One wonders if there's a high correlation between "Angry Radical Leftists" and "Folks Who Don't Get Math" ?

Posted by Robert at October 13, 2012 5:45 PM

now does anyone have info on what the OWS crowd studied? Any bets?

Posted by: denis at October 13, 2012 6:38 PM

Aside from English these are all soft skills, touchy, feely disciplines, whereas math is definitive and precise with no room for emotions. The left progressives hate indisputable facts and data, so they are not interested in true science and mathematics, ignorance is bliss and easy to control.

Posted by: Dennis K. at October 13, 2012 6:40 PM

Well silly me thinking that majoring in Aboriginal & LGBT Grievance Mongering was in the top. Ten.

Posted by: Fred at October 13, 2012 6:42 PM

Imagine the bragging I'm going to do about being number 10!

Posted by: wyatt ironbridge at October 13, 2012 6:47 PM

nah Fred.. those people get government jobs.

Posted by: max at October 13, 2012 6:56 PM

Wasn't Obama's mother supposedly an Anthropolgist?

Posted by: Robert of Ottawa at October 13, 2012 6:56 PM

Why the hell are most of these tax dollar funded degrees or majors anyway?
If you want to study for a hobby, read a book, on your own dime.

Posted by: Stan at October 13, 2012 7:11 PM

Occupier Finds Out that Expensive Degree in Puppetry is Really Paying Off

Posted by: Latitude at October 13, 2012 7:46 PM

I have a son who pursued a Fine Arts education but never finished - he is now a commercial pilot. That cost a lot more to accomplish but he has a job!

Posted by: Aviator at October 13, 2012 8:00 PM

After reading that list to my wife all she could say was "well, duh." I agreed.

Posted by: paulinmordor at October 13, 2012 8:23 PM

What Max said.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at October 13, 2012 8:46 PM

Hey, I got my BA in English Literature and it didn't hurt me. Not after my MS in Accountancy, anyway.

Posted by: Mitch at October 13, 2012 8:56 PM

As with most things, higher education is about "expectations". If the expectation of a college degree is a high financial reward, then a degree in business, marketing, or related fields is probably the way to go. If the expectation is a "good job", then probably the hard sciences such as chemistry, medical biology, or computer science. But if the expectation is simply knowledge and understanding then there are many fields of study, including english, philosophy, anthropology, history, social science, et al .... but you'd better be well off financially or marry well. The trick is to understand your expectations. Alas, few college student do.

Posted by: David in Michigan at October 13, 2012 9:03 PM

Mitch, you win the thread. Heh.

Now for a terrifying memory from school..."Consolidation Accounting".

Posted by: Bruce at October 13, 2012 9:06 PM

Posted by: ken at October 13, 2012 9:18 PM

Me: B.A. in Philosophy. Currently co-founder of a growing software startup. Many of the people I hire have non-STEM degrees. I only care if you're smart, literate and able to learn.

Posted by: Steve Macdonald at October 13, 2012 9:19 PM

Bah. Math has nothing to do with it. Not really. The differential calculus may be beyond most art majors, but they're well aware the big money goes to the engineers. They don't care. They'd just rather spend their days drinking and hopping from bed to bed than get an honest job (or find a husband with a stable job and disposable income). Actually finding the money to pay their bar tabs and penicillin is what their mammies and daddies are for.

Scratch a leftist, find a useless, spoiled little parasite who didn't get spanked enough as a child and never had to lift a finger around the house. There's a cure for that, and it's not sums. It's a father's belt, to be administered early, liberally and often, until the child figures out his father's house is not a hotel or a homeless shelter, his mother is not the maid, his father is not an ATM, and the world does not revolve around the little rotter.

Posted by: Dick Slater at October 13, 2012 9:22 PM

Believe or not this is true story

when I was 13 I become number one in math test in my city my math teacher hug me for my grades and board of education insisted that I must go to gifted school for my grade point average was 3.9 out of 4 with our standard too

I love math physics and chemistry and techonology and love learning every day since then learning in new thing make me so happy as my hobey but you can be good learner but not good teacher though

There is two problems when you grow up reasonable by math test that 1 + 1 is 2 you can not live among dumb people or work with them sometimes you suffer of pain people can get through and you can not help them

second problems gifted student are not easy to understand in so many areas and may see the world and problems differently that others and people may laugh or make fun of them

gaining likeable character and being smart gifted girl also get more abused that among male dominated places they like to bossing them around and not take order from them seriously

Posted by: ok at October 13, 2012 9:35 PM

I'd be surprised if the "Occupy Everywhere / Protest Everything" crowd would even have time in their so busy schedules to attend any classes.

Posted by: robw at October 13, 2012 10:12 PM

ok..nothing from nothing leaves nothing..

Posted by: syncrodox at October 13, 2012 10:16 PM

I really like this one:
10. English

I totally agree English is a waste of time.

Posted by: Quebecois NDP separatiste at October 13, 2012 10:26 PM

I learned English in grade one.

Posted by: foobert at October 13, 2012 10:33 PM

You would NDPQ...What language do you suppose the air traffic controllers use in Paris?

Posted by: syncrodox at October 13, 2012 10:34 PM

Humbug. Anthropology, philosophy, art history, graphic design all lead to good careers for those with talent and luck.

Many are called but few are chosen, as used to be said of Protestant ministers. That's tough.

I mean, folks, who the f****** h*** do you think devises advertising and advertising campaigns? Do you think that they materialise out of the f****** stratosphere?

Philosophy is good for training students to reason precisely in plain English (the French and German traditions are different, definitely). Only bloody maroons think otherwise.

Posted by: John Lewis at October 14, 2012 12:09 AM

I did a degree in #2 with a major in #3 and a minor in #10.

Somehow the experience made me even more hardcore conservative.

Posted by: jeff at October 14, 2012 2:24 AM

And if you have kids in University, just ask them who the angriest students are, and they will tell you most of these courses have the angriest bitter lefties above all. And in your case Kweebec Froggie, it was a waste of time, but the transfer payments from Alberta are I'm sure written out in french so even a welfare bum like you can read them as you live in Canada rent free..

Posted by: bartinsky at October 14, 2012 2:27 AM

I have an undergrad science degree and it has allowed me to earn a good living.

Still, I regret to some degree all the snarky pokes I have taken at humanities and liberal arts over the years. The study of history, philosophy, language etc. has a place and is important.

Victor David Hanson wrote an entire book decrying the decline of the study of Greek wisdom:

Cheers, Bart

Posted by: Bart F. at October 14, 2012 2:34 AM

David in Michigan nails it as it's unrealistic expectations that are the problem. I happen to be intellectually omnivorous, and, if I had the financial resources to do so, would be happy to spend a couple of years doing art. I took figure drawing courses in medical school as a way of learning anatomy.

After a long 12 hours at the hospital tonight, I was thinking how weird it was to be paid to do something I enjoy - hacking meatware. Hacking has been the one constant in my life except I spend most of my time playing with meatware now instead of hardware. It's nice to be at the point where every patient can be approached as a malfunctioning complex system and one looks for the neat hack that will fix the problem. (In the past I was accused of subconciously putting bugs into my programs so I could enjoy finding them).

If one is not after money, then by all means study one of the 10 subjects listed. I still remember my philosophy profs response when I asked him what one could do with a philosophy degree. It was "become a philosophy professor at a university". That was at a time when I was so enamored by his philosophy class that I seriously thought of changing my major from biology to philosophy. Fortunately, elementary mathematical skills rapidly allowed me to calculate the ratio of philosophy students graduating yearly to the number of openings for philosophy professors. Thus, philosophy has been a leisure time pursuit for me.

The decision to go into medicine was taken when I got totally fed up with the process of writing grant applications so I could continue to have a job. I worried at first that I would have to give up hacking when I became a doctor, but I found that my hacking skill set easily translated into hacking human physiologic systems. Even though it's often exhausting, I still view hacking meatware as play; it was no different when I was programming and had to spend many sleepless nights trying to find the last bugs in a program that had to be finished on time.

I think the root problem is the innumeracy of a large fraction of the population. Only an idiot would go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt to get a puppetry degree. The best thing for someone to do would be to refine the ability to learn new fields very quickly thus allowing them to switch from job to job as required. This is somewhat more difficult now with the cancer of credentialism but I have no doubt in my abilities to being able to handle a large number of non-medical technical fields if it became necessary. The key is to be interested in everything and be curious.

Not everyone can do that and I'm distressed at the number of people who assume that learning stops once they've become a (insert occupation here). Perhaps scientists and jacks of all trades are neotenous humans as they carry the curiosity of childhood with them all of their lives.

Posted by: Loki at October 14, 2012 3:24 AM

NAMBLA isn't a study?

Posted by: Justthinkin at October 14, 2012 7:15 AM

Another vote in favour of David's post. All of the disciplines on the list are worthy of pursuit, but the student who chooses one of them must take responsibility for economic consequences that follow from their choice. There will always be a certain call for anthropologists, graphic designers, etc., but the demand will likely always be smaller than the supply, so those who expect to earn a living need to be very good at what they do (or very lucky).

I was one of the lucky ones able to make a decent living from my degrees in history, but even at a time when it was quite uncertain that I would be able to do so, I understood that the study of history had enriched my life and understanding of the world immeasurably.

Posted by: Roseberry at October 14, 2012 8:28 AM

Here's the math/chemistry ok used to study at the masadra:

Ahmed is travelling from point A to point B in a Boeing 747 loaded with 10 tons of amonium nitrate at a speed of 500 mph.

Yousef is in a Russian built Tu-144 going from B to A at 600 mph with a one ton Soviet tactical nuke.

Solve for: how many virgins will each recieve after contact, factoring for humidity and wind.....

Posted by: Eskimo at October 14, 2012 9:08 AM


Potato / po-tah-to

Posted by: Eskimo at October 14, 2012 9:16 AM

The decline of several of these are technologically driven, not ideologically. Film and photography, Graphics Design, especially have had to bear the brunt of "desktop publishing" and the Iphone generation. Photographers especially, have been impacted significantly by the willingness of pedestrians to give their images away for 15 sec of fame on the nightly news or the evening paper, and the editors are happy to take their images for free... Notwithstanding the tremendous uptick in techno advantages in image making, image quality on the street has never been worse.

Fine Arts is history; some care some don't. None of the list, except sociology and its uptown cousin, Anthro, are the exclusive enclave of the leftist. But even in Anthro, there are some hold-outs, witness ET for example.

Posted by: Skip at October 14, 2012 9:45 AM

To get to the premise of the list - yup, making a living at many of these has become more difficult, partly because of technology, partly due to the fact many of them can't make enough money for the venture capitalists who used to fund the work.

Posted by: Skip at October 14, 2012 9:48 AM

Yeah, I've got a degree in English too, and it has done nothing but help me. There's nothing like telling an engineer that what he's written can be interpreted two ways, and one of them leads to a major lawsuit. I get a lot of, 'you mind taking a glance at this for me?' precisely because of the skills I developed in English.

Conservative blogs are fond of ragging on 'useless degrees' but doing so is both short-sighted and harmful to the long-term cause of conservatism. I know that it's difficult not to snicker when someone tells you they're doing a four year degree in interpretive dance or aboriginal studies, but whenever the right abandons a field, the left moves in and makes things worse. We need to start filling these vacuums, wherever they occur.

Consider the state of education in this country. Does anyone think our public schools are producing better students than they were fifty years ago? Thirty years ago? All of the things we complain about: the lack of discipline and personal responsibility, the lessening of standards, the touchy-feely, everyone gets a trophy, non-competitive atmosphere, the not learning "facts" but rather "process" --how do we fix this? We fix it from the inside with teachers that insist, no...if you *can* actually fail this test/course/year. We fix it with teachers that are willing to call bullshit on all the lefty propaganda that gets shoveled down our kids throats. Look at BCF's blog. We put an end to nonsense like he's exposed by having more right-wing teachers, then administrators, school-board members and local politicians.

But the first step is the classroom. A kid spends 200 days a year (more or less) for thirteen years in public education. You want their teachers to be raving lefties forever? Keep running down degrees like English, Liberal Arts and Fine Arts. Because these are the degrees the majority of teachers have (either as majors or minors). Maybe it would be wiser to encourage conservatives to join the fight and do a degree in a 'teachable' arts subject, and then help fight the commie hordes in public education.

The average conservative isn't going to run for office, come up with a brilliant policy idea, or create a blog with a huge readership like Kate has. But nearly every educated conservative could be a teacher and have a far greater effect on our society than any of those listed above. Just imagine if within ten years half of your kid's teachers were conservative. Running down 'useless' degrees won't help this happen.

Posted by: (the other) James at October 14, 2012 10:57 AM

I have a BA in Anthropology. It has been exceptionally useful as the intellectual foundation for my further studies in physical therapy.

As a way to make money its a dead loss.

Posted by: The Phantom at October 14, 2012 11:35 AM

Thanks, also, to (the other) James for his points about improving the quality of the teaching force. It is, however, an uphill battle. First, with some exceptions, the brightest, most inquisitive and critical graduates do not choose to qualify for teacher's licences.

Second, in the very best teacher education programs (and there are some good ones), about half of the courses a student will take are shallow or unbalanced. The practice teaching experience, which most students and people outside of education regard as being the only *useful* part of teacher education, is, as often as not, merely a transmission of the bad habits and blind prejudices of the classroom teacher.

Third, those good students who survive teacher education with their critical faculties intact (and, again, there are many of them) tend to be the least likely to appeal to the hiring committees of local school boards, and,

fourth, should they, miraculously, be hired, they are quickly frustrated and demoralized by the system in which they work.

Having worked with public schools for decades, I have come to the conclusion that they cannot be "reformed". Ministries of Education are too heavily invested in the current system; teachers unions are too heavily invested it it; and parents are, according to all surveys in Canada, quite happy with their children's schools and teachers.

Posted by: Roseberry at October 14, 2012 12:51 PM

Math is hard only for people who has no reason and not able to analyze the facts

for example

1 plus 1 is equal = 2

you can not say no it is equal 4

based on fact

study history of such as Muslim and know thier social study and philosophy of thier ideas and background detail to relgion and analyzed and able to communicate in language understand between two cultures and using film and media and draw a graph of step by step of trees family or draw of directoin lead to more peace among world nations
is need professional who spend time and know so much detail and put all puzzle together
to solve problmes today old big mistake of old fashion politician

as an example the change and refomr need among muslim and nonmuslim countires both to link people


I noticed US and all world by their order and Israeli order put big sanction against Iranian rejim

now this sanction can get motivation to start new war israeli put seeds to grow it with Reupblican

and must have right intention

Iranian has believed they do what thier prophet asked them to do they are muslim and allow do and donot do in certain job

and they have different justice system run in thier muslim country

and muslim can not accept abused from nonmuslim

and their law is based on thier prophet muhamad order

in history they fight jos who want to bother them or treat them

Posted by: ii at October 14, 2012 5:14 PM

I agree with Steve Macdonald.

The value of any specific liberal arts degree is negligible, unless you're planning to do extra-ordinary original research in the field or teach it, which only a small fraction actually do. Liberal arts is not supposed to be vocational training, like community college courses in auto mechanics or running a TV studio.

As I've posted here many times, the value of any liberal arts degree is the skills you supposedly learn/hone while earning it, to wit: the ability to read and comprehend what you've read, the ability to follow, and then create, logical arguments, and back them up with evidence, and finally, the ability to synthesize new thoughts and ideas from what you've read. Those skills - just like the art of selling something - should be transferable, with a bit of study, to virtually any field.

I'll be the first to admit that, given the lousy nature of most arts faculty these days, these lofty goals are often not met. And I'll further stipulate that 'interpretive dance' or 'wymmyn's studies' are pretty much dead ends, regardless of how bright the student. But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Of course, I'm proud that my elder daughter, in her first year at U of T, is taking calculus, linear algebra, chemistry, and economics. No fool she.

Oh, and Dream and Theatre Arts? That's a new field to me.

Posted by: KevinB at October 14, 2012 6:03 PM

Sorry for feeding the head hurts now.

Posted by: Eskimo at October 14, 2012 6:35 PM

American people all need to take history course and review thier action right vs wrong and see who is behind it and how to not let them run their country to hell again

US system and law need reform seriously!
US people really need help
I am so sorry for them and their government

American need rather than put focus to any other country just take care of their inside country and stop fighting or help anybody else

because American are first country now need help

All of below film on youtube are made by American not by Muslim just see what part is wrong from right and go and fix yourself before fix Iran
or Muslim country

Posted by: ok at October 14, 2012 6:48 PM

So that's why I'm not rich. And why I hate my parents. On the plus side, as it were, new has worked out that 1 + 1 = 2. Another Islamic triumph.

Posted by: Black Mamba at October 14, 2012 7:05 PM

Black Mamba, I've always thought that that 1+1=10, but then there are only 10 types of people in the world: those that know binary arithmetic and those that don't.

When I geeked out on binary in my teenage years, I'd use my fingers to keep track of counts up to 1023 (base10). Always thought that unary arithmetic was wasteful of digits.

Posted by: Loki at October 15, 2012 6:36 AM


I've recently started giving out my age in octel.

I get more respect that way!

Posted by: KevinB at October 15, 2012 9:36 AM