Why bother asking?

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: Why bother asking?
By Reba616 (Reba616) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:09 pm: Edit

Hoping to have an intelligent discussion regarding this...

Since I began lurking on this board a couple of months ago, I have become more and more irked at people here. Each and every day, people with nearly the same exact stats post asking if they can get into Harvard, Yale, MIT, etc.

I think that getting into such colleges is a crapshoot. Nearly everyone who applies to Ivy Leagues and the like has 1500+ SATs, are valedictorians or close to it, have strong ECs - there is no way of telling whether or not they will get in.

This has become my conclusion over the last couple of months. I would love to hear your thoughts...


By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:25 pm: Edit

The show 'Reba' on TV sucks.

By Benedwodo (Benedwodo) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:30 pm: Edit

I like hats. Sometimes, I wear one to school and sometimes I dont. it depends, i guess.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:34 pm: Edit

Right now I'm taking notes on a chapter in my history book.

By Purgeofdoors (Purgeofdoors) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:40 pm: Edit

Pork is good.

By Reba616 (Reba616) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:43 pm: Edit


Did I insult you? Tell you something you didn't want to hear?

And yes, alimshk, the posts about you and your friends are what inspired me to ask this question.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:50 pm: Edit

Hey, they're my friends. They asked me to do them a favor and I did. I'm sorry if you felt you had to waste your time on a post about my posts.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:51 pm: Edit

Pork is bad.

By Reba616 (Reba616) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 05:55 pm: Edit

No time wasted, and I think it's great that you're doing that for your friends. This post was not meant to be snippy or directed at you, it's a conclusion that I've reached. I'm asking you seriously and civilly - how is anyone supposed to know if you or your friends will get into Ivy League schools when your credentials are nearly identical?

By Thenarrator (Thenarrator) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 06:01 pm: Edit

a guy walks into a bar. ouch.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 06:02 pm: Edit

I agree with you . . . what I should have asked was for some advice on things they should improve on to better their chances at an elite college. I'm sorry if my comment seemed a bit snip.

By Kylo (Kylo) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 06:03 pm: Edit

cum grana salis:

This forum is called "What are my chances?" It's for people to ask their chances of getting into certain colleges. Now, anyone concientious enough to browse a college forum like this is usually your typical assiduous student (/nerd). In that case, they're not going to ask: What are my chances of getting into __CC (community college), but instead would be in contention for a higher level school, eg. Harvard, MIT, Yale.

It also works to look at other peoples threads, but everyone's credentials are different.

Grades vary by state -- each curriculum is different -- and anyone (reasonably intellegent) can study hard enough to get 1500s on their SATs (not me... yet). This is a better reason to ask, "Why bother asking?"

By Drfunk (Drfunk) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 07:31 pm: Edit

"Nearly everyone who applies to Ivy Leagues and the like has 1500+ SATs, are valedictorians or close to it, have strong ECs..."

this is not a true statement.. sure many who are admitted have these stats but, sadly, not almost everyone who applies

From Princeton's website (yes i know.. you didnt mention princeton in your post) - "Of those applicants offered admission to the freshman class [of 2006] that just entered , 25 percent scored below 680 on the SAT I Verbal, 50 percent scored between 680 and 770, and 25 percent scored 770 or higher. On the Math SAT I, 25 percent scored below 700, 50 percent between 700 and 790, and 25 percent scored 790 or higher."

thats of admitted kids.. and thats supposedly the top 10% of the pool.

yes its frustrating.. yes sometimes people can be annoying but just wait for a few months and soon you will be done with the process and won't think about it for prolly another 4 years

By Rubenizm (Rubenizm) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 10:20 pm: Edit

pork IS good, you tree-hugging hippy. Oh by the i have read that there's like thousands and thousands of WILD animals die because of the combines when they pick up tofu and other vegatarian foods. And unlike the pigs and cows raised for meat, those were wild animals

Sure you may just be jewish then i look like a jerk.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 10:22 pm: Edit

Our system of admissions is very frustrating to students. Many excellent students who have done everything they have been asked to do, who score perfect or near to perfect on the college boards,who are at the top of their class, shirk no AP course,do their community service, have an impressive list of extra curriculars do not get into our top colleges. Unlike European and Asian schools where the results on the exams pretty much dictate where you go, our "holistic" approach makes predictativity difficult. Even legacy status, celebrity status, athletic status does not ensure entry. So how do the most selective schools in our country pick their classes?
Many of these kids have been told by everyone in their world that they are a shoo-in for Harvard, Stanford, MIT, CIT, Princeton. What more could they do? What is missing in their resumes? And as they get closer to the admissions process they start hearing the rumors. A 4000 SAT1 &2, 9 AP tests at 5 level,valedictorian is turned down by Harvard. Maybe they know the kid personally or their parents do. All of a sudden the best they could do, the best anyone could do is not good enough. Who is getting into these schools, and how? So this site gets the stats, infor and allows kids to blow off steam, hear some more rumors, get comforted and hopefully pick up a tip or two to enhance their chances. I know in lurking through this site I've learned alot. And I thought I knew alot having gone through the process with my kids, helped many other kids with the process and having friends in the admissions office relate their experiences.
The key word to getting into these schools is diversity. If there are too many of your type, and type can mean anything from major, highschool, religion, ethnicity,even favored status, some of you are not getting in. Yes, even qualified legacies are rejected if the legacy pool is too big and strong that year. Princeton has no intention of having an all legacy class which once upon a time many of these schools pretty much had. Believe me, the gene pool of these legacies is not weak stuff. They also are not going to take all engineering majors in a year. And if 50 kids from one school applies and all are qualified, all 50 are not going to get in. There is not a strict quota system in most schools, but they do watch to keep the class balanced.
The school also has its needs. It is no accident that Princeton always has a great distance swimmer. To field a football team, hocky team, squash team, you need bodies that can play the sport. Pretty darned well since many of the top schools are Division 1 in athletics. They want a great orchestra. they need to keep their physics and classics departments alive. But they don't advertise what they need. So it's tough that a great oboe player misses out on U Penn who is looking at oboists and 3 oboists are rejected by Brown who could care less that year because they are loaded in that area. Also some department heads, coaches and extracurricular heads are more aggressive and have more pull in the admissions departments than others. Gerogetown, for instance, doesn't care much for swimmers, whereas at George Washington the swim coach keeps his finger on the pulse of the admissions office regarding his prospects. We are applying in a black box, often times putting our eggs in the wrong baskets. So it is a crapshoot in more than one way.
One way to increase admission chances is to stand out from your crowd. All those Asian violin players standing in line for Stanford, when the marching band gets a special pass. Better those kids play the bassoon or the euphonium. Instead of 100 of them competing against each other for a piano concerto, some should try musical theatre or drama, areas where Asians are underrepresented. If you are a over represented stereotype, you probably won't get in. There are simply too many of you for a school that has made diversity its goal.
If academics are your strong suits, there are national competitions like the Siemans or the debate championships that carry alot of weight and stand out from the laundry lists of extracurriculars. There is a book about getting into ivy league schools that lists those competitions. Anything else is just fodder. List but don't emphasize. They don't really care if you made sectionals 3 year in a row for swimming if you can't make their swim team. They don't care if you a state finalist in music unless they need your instrument and you have made it clear you are joining their group. And alot of their orchestras and choirs require you to major and commit to performance or they can't use you. Yale has 2 full orchestras. One is for performance majors, the other for those who want to play in an orchestra but do not want to major in music. That second orchestra is really darned good. I heard them play and they are every bit as good or better than many music school orchestras. As for piano players, they can get one for 50 bucks an hour if they have to or just grab a student. So many kids are proficient in piano. So unless you are national material, it really does not make that much of a difference.
So I digress... But I am taking your inquiry seriously and hope I shed some light on your question.
Best wishes. Keep posting all of you

By Reba616 (Reba616) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 12:22 am: Edit

Wow Jamimom... you rule. Thank you for taking the time to write all that, it's all very interesting and logical.

By Magenta (Magenta) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 10:43 am: Edit

This is from Princeton's website?!

"Of those applicants offered admission to the freshman class [of 2006] that just entered , 25 percent scored below 680 on the SAT I Verbal, 50 percent scored between 680 and 770, and 25 percent scored 770 or higher. On the Math SAT I, 25 percent scored below 700, 50 percent between 700 and 790, and 25 percent scored 790 or higher."

Incredible as the stating of stats is rather unclear. For example, do the 790 math people count in the "between 700 and 790" group or the "790 and higher group" being that 25 percent score BELOW 700 and so it would seem they are using "between" to be inclusive of the numbers in the range OR they are leaving out people who scored 700 on the Math SAT I entirely, no?

But I agree with your point - that many people who apply do not have 1500+ SAT I type stats, and add that clearly neither do all those who are *admitted* - a far more important fact, seems to me.

By Magenta (Magenta) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 11:14 am: Edit

I agree that Jamimom gave some real good tips there, though I confess I sit somewhat uneasily with people picking their instrument, sport, etc. on the notion of getting into a school rather than a real interest in the given activity. It sort of reminds me of my mother (and how many others?) telling me it's as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man...it should indeed be easier in a way as money turns on most females, but I dated two rich men (one a self-made multimillionaire laywer, one who came from big money and graduated from Yale) and I couldn't make myself fall for either of them (one was too type A and the other thought the world revolved around him and was a control freak). I have been very happy for 18 years now having chosen the man I did, even though it meant going from a large custom home with a housekeeper, a Cadillac, and a red 1963 Vette to a a dinky (I mean DINKY, like mobile home size - just one tiny bath that had the stacking washing machine and dryer that didn't even work, so rather than have a housekeeper, I went to a laundromat to do laundry at the start of the marriage) home, rusty and leaky (as in when it rained, I got wet INSIDE the car) old Dutsun, and no working dishwasher other than the human kind of me and my husband (though that was quickly remedied as a dishwasher was tops on the list of what to buy with wedding money).

Anyway, my point is happiness doesn't always come from status - be in cars, homes, or elite college degrees. I really feel it comes from doing what you love (in my case, even if that's just rambling online!) and being with people you love. You have those and health and the rest is icing on the cake.

As another side note, studies have shown career success if FAR more correlation on one's SAT score than the college one attended. The 1500 SAT scorers who go to second tier state universities or even third tier "tiolets" actually do about the same given the same degree (i.e. computer science to CS or bio to bio, etc.) as those in the elite school, and if the student got the difference of tuition to invest rather than just be starting out the same at graduation, the non-elite college person would be hard to beat based on the overall market rather than just recent years.

My own husband attended what I consider to be a no-name second tier college, and while he was not at all what anyone would call "well to do" when we married, he's a smart guy and climbed the ladder in salary pretty quickly, earning six figures in his early 30's back about 10 years ago when six figure salaries were not as common as they are now, especially for those with no graduate degree of any kind. He had to work his way through college for whatever the scholarship didn't cover (his parents didn't feel they could contribute a penny here as they were struggling financially themselves in those days, though they are doing fine now and were able to put his younger sister through college and graduate school) and so it's not like he had the edge of a chunk of change hitting him for the difference between that education and one at MIT or the like, but he still has done just fine.

But this isn't to say people shouldn't go to top tier colleges. Those have some great advantages which don't have anything to do with career success...like just having similar intellects to bounce ideas off of and do things with, perhaps even finding a soul mate to marry (not that I encourage people to be going to college to get an Mrs. degree or anything, as I don't, but college often is where people happen to meet their spouse).

And back to interests, it just hits me that I wonder how much having interests which the college can't use but still make someone "stand out" from the pack helps...surely not as much as having an interest the college can use, but likely more than being one of hundreds of pianists applying. My son's activities prior to starting college included things like writing for a high school paper (but not being an editor, which is really what the colleges want to see, seems to me), taking tap dance (he's been doing it since age 6), being in a handchime choir (again, he was admitted to the choir at age 6), being in a computer users group of adults (only kid in it) and in a book discussion group with the other members all being professionals, and giving presentations at some prestigious venues like MIT and the White House and ACM for the Glenn Commission (his only close to "hook" as I see it, though his winning national essay contests and an international award for his volunteering could perhaps also be seen as helpful, just not a hook). I doubt stuff like that was anything the university saw as helping their campus much (I think in his case, it was his intellect that had them wanting him), but it did set him apart, I suspect (as did his age - he was only 8 when he applied). But this (and magic club and some other stuff) was the stuff he enjoyed, and I am just now wondering if universities might not see a list that isn't "regular laundry" and get the feeling, "Hey, now here's someone who wasn't just trying to be the model candidate by being the editor, football quartback, debate team president, class president, etc. but someone who followed their more unusual tastes. I like that." As I've said before, I am NOT a college admissions person, but I could see at least some of them feeling this way.

Okay, so there were some of my random thoughts. Jeff, you said you'd be glad to hear them, but were you really? :)

By Hopkinslax (Hopkinslax) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 11:15 am: Edit

I think Fish and Chips are the best

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 12:03 pm: Edit

Magenta, I don't think Jamismom is advocating selecting your interests according to your school but rather that you gauge where you apply according to what you can determine a school is looking for.

This is the old concept of finding the best "fit" as opposed to having an arbitrary fixation on a school.

I'm in complete accord about not having a regular laundry list of EC's. Even reading this board, I see so many similar lists that my reaction is "Boring!"

By Rubenizm (Rubenizm) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 03:01 pm: Edit

fish is good, but nothing beats pork. i like chips too but they're really bad for you and fatty and stuff.

By Magenta (Magenta) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 04:02 pm: Edit

Thedad, I might have misinterpreted Jamismom's advice, but the part:

"One way to increase admission chances is to stand out from your crowd. All those Asian violin players standing in line for Stanford, when the marching band gets a special pass. Better those kids play the bassoon or the euphonium."

certainly sounded to me like advice for students to choose an instrument (or whatever) to up their odds at a college like Stanford than picking a college with a good fit for your own particular interests, but I am certainly all for finding a college that is a good fit rather than trying to fit yourself in at a college.

And I can't stomach any seafood, but love almost all things fatty.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 04:12 pm: Edit

Guess I read that part from a musician's viewpoint - to be good enough to make any admission difference, it would take years of forethought. My boys made their instrument choices at the end of fourth grade - WAY before serious college choices ever crossed anyone's mind!

By Magenta (Magenta) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 04:24 pm: Edit

Momof2, I think you are *usually* right about the instrument playing to a point that makes a difference for admissions usually taking years of study, but there are exceptions, I think. Some people really do pick up instruments very quickly at a rather high level (my own father was a violin prodigy in NYC doing solos just a few years after starting the violin and he didn't start at 3 or 5 or anything) or pick an instrument that is somewhat unusual for applicants and thus as high a quality of performance might not be necessary for all colleges. But again, overall, I think you are right. :)

By Masamune707 (Masamune707) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 04:56 pm: Edit

lol this discussion is way cool =D

yes, i do feel that life in highschool nowadays is more hectic than it was say 50 yrs ago (in respect to the frenzy of building app's up, that is haha) but i do think now its the easier than ever to be able to get into college. it is, it really is. Think about it. All of us on this board are going to go to college. where we go is what we have been stressing over, rite?

i wish ppl would realize going to college is jus one step of the process of leading a successful life...if u think going to harvard automatically means in some yrs u will be making 6 figures...ur absolutely wrong. nothing in this world is guaranteed...however, ur success IN COLLEGE, no matter where u go, does play a large part in what ur future will be like.

i do someday hope of attending an ivy league school, however, i do realize that my chances are low...and i am ok with that fact. amen. lol hit me baq wit ur thots everyone

By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 05:48 pm: Edit

"Sure you may just be jewish then i look like a jerk."

Oh, so now it's okay to pick on hippies but wrong to make fun of Jews? Since when did hippies become your punching sack, eh?

By Magenta (Magenta) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 06:35 pm: Edit

Masamune707 (and what does your name mean, if you don't mind sharing?), my thoughts are in line with your stated thoughts. And you raise a good point about the Harvard degree not assuring a 6 figure income. The one parent I can think of who graduated from Harvard that I know of is someone who is struggling financially still, quite a few years out of Harvard...not as in on welfare struggling, but needing financial help for her child to attend a private school and not being able to do many things she would like (not just travel, but things like music lessons for her child, etc.). But I am guessing she is the exception far more than the rule. Also, many smart people really do NOT care about making big bucks...it's not where their priorities lie, and this could be another reason for some elite college grads not making big money.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 10:03 am: Edit

I absolutely do not advocate planning your life and activities just to get into college. Even those who do have to find the right college looking for the particular skill. However, if you find that you are following the herd too much in activities and are looking like one of many, it is not a bad idea to look at some different activities.
Our children did not think about college until late, too late in a few cases. They had other more pressing issues. But there are families out there who start from day 1 in planning these activities, not just to go to college but because it is just the way there crowd does things. I was invited to an ethnic dinner/gathering a few years ago. The kids there were the most brilliant group I'd ever seen put in one room. The parents were all understandably proud of their accomplishment as well they should have been. Their only pique is that they knew full well that these talented, academically perfect, kids were not going to necessarily get into the school of their choice. Why? Well, first they were all applying to the same schools. Second, they all had the same list of accomplishments. You literally could not tell kid 1 from kid 20. Even the "stars" in the group had the same resume. They were all competing against themselves! Of course any child does well to have a few years of piano background. And if he really wants to pursue it, I believe he should regardless of whether he is "good" at it or it it is "going to lead anywhere". The key phrase here is that the child wants to do it. He is not just dutifully going through the paces that mama has set out. Or he thinks it will help him get into college. But it does not hurt to check out some less common instruments too. How does one know if a child will excell or enjoy fencing, instance, if it isn't tried. 200 little boys play little league in a school district until all but about 20 get cut for the middle school team. Some of those guys would have been great dancers, gymnasts, fencers,etc. 50 kids in line for the few clarinet spots. Oboes get in with a nod. The audition line for violin goes around the block. They stop the auditions for the viola player who just has to play a quick ditty and say he can read C scale. Does this tell you something?
Kids in general join activities because their parents introduce them. All I am saying is that if you see yourself becoming a stereo type, you may want to look around a little more. If you are doing things just out of rote because everyone is doing it, take a breath and see if there are paths untaken. This is not for just getting into college, I feel , but for life itself but since this is a college forum, I can tell you it sure as heck helps you get into college. You have to stand out from your crowd. And in that room I referred to in the beginning of this post, there were a handful who were really passionate about their pursuits. Most were doing what their parents programmed them to do, not to say they were not nurtured,encouraged and helped along the way. Top level musicians and NOT ONE was applying to be a music major. All premed or computer science 0r engineering with 2 exceptions. Now you tell me if that time was well spent for all of them? I was specifically asked if colleges discriminate against their race (my husband works for a college). Why else would their superiorly credentialed kids be turned down for lesser numbers unless their was a bias in admissions? It was difficult to say that they all looked the same, and I mean on paper they all looked the same. There was not one varsity athlete in the room, no musical theatre kids out of the whole group. No one wanted to be a teacher ( they made a face at that) and it seemed alot of ECs were looked at only as value for college resume purposes. Do you really think admission officers would not see that?
No, I would never, ever advocate raising a child with getting into a selective college as the main goal. You miss out on too much that way. Other than starting a college fund, there should be other priorities starting with JOY. That JOY will carry through their lives in all activities and situations including the college process if you can truly instill it.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 12:34 pm: Edit

LOL on the viola and the C scale. My husband was "drafted" into a major college orchestra when he was attending law school there because they didn't have enough violas and didn't want to pay Union to an adult!

I DO see your point though. When I was in HS, our regional tryouts had 168 flutes one year for 12 spots in the first group. (It was the longest day of my life) My son #2 was one of 21 french horns last year auditioning for 6 spots. 95% sure he won't continue playing in college, but it teaches him more concentration and focus than anything else so far in high school.

As for standing out - well, his current writing style is reminiscent of Geraldo Rivera, but I'm not at all sure that is a plus. At least he has no trouble getting words on paper! Guess we'll just let this play out and see where it leads...

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 02:13 pm: Edit

Hey, the most enthusiastic pianist I know is my niece. She's had years of lessons, but more importantly she loves the piano. She loves composing on it, she loves playing tunes she hears. When she became an advanced student, she was dropped by 2 consecutive Russian master teachers who sniffed "no talent" and "waste of time". How wrong they are. The joy she has gotten from the piano is more than many who have won competitions, studied "seriously", etc. When we paid for lessons for her, bought her music, pianos, etc, we never asked how this would help for college or career. It was her passion.
She's in med school now and brings joy to many gatherings playing to anything. She truly can play anything but not "well" by strict music standards. But when you are belting out ballads or Christmas carols to a piano accompaniment at a party, you are not going to be judging the absolute quality. It never occurred to us that piano was not going to "pay off" for her because she loves it so much.
We have so diverged from the original question on this site--why are kids posting their stats and questioning their chances. It's a great place to see different viewpoints, share info and learn something. I just discovered this site after going through this process with a nephew, niece, and two kids, undergrad and med schools. I wish I'd seen it sooner. I have learned so much from both kids and parents postings. Even if I don't agree with some of the opinions here, I learn alot from just knowing people feel that way. Also having gone through the application grind 6 times with college and med schools and innumerous times with private schools---we moved 10 times in the last 20 years, I have learned alot and am happy to share my observations and opinions. I have another one coming up for private high school and then one for college, but both such different situations from my previous experiences, that it is great to find a site that
can help me out. My next child wants musical theatre and that thread is phenomonal, filled with info that I doubt I could have found anywhere else, and I know nothing about that field and how to apply in it. So any kids or parents with questions, I am happy to help if I can. I wish all of you luck. It is truly a different world than I had experience when I applied to college.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 02:40 pm: Edit

Jamismom, those MT threads are so phenomenal that I sometimes just lurk and read even though my kid isn't headed in that direction at all. One of the best resources on this site, imo. I've pointed some parents I know in that direction...will be interesting to see if they pop up.

I wish I'd found and spent a couple of days on this site back when D was in middle school, that is, assuming it had been in existence then. I thought I was pretty far ahead of the game on course schedule planning in high school but there are some considerations I've encountered here that I wish I'd had to chew on.

Which leads to a final point about parental involvement: parents almost have to be involved if they have high-potential students because, imnsvho, it's ridiculous to have the kids researching stuff about college when they're in 6th grade.

By Rubenizm (Rubenizm) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 08:14 pm: Edit

they're hippies, since when DIDN'T hippies become people's punching sacks? And jewish people are MUCH cooler than treehugging hippies. You know that whale they spent millions to free? I forgot his name(they named the whale), but for those millions they could have bought food and send it to starving african children....but noooooo....whales are more important that african children. Or better yet we could can all the whales and send THEM to africa. Seriously i couldn't care less about whales when people are starving. Hippies suck because they're tree-higging hypocrites. I used to like them but now i'm very disappointed in them.

By Magenta (Magenta) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 08:50 pm: Edit

I knew the whales were going to be suggested to be fed to the starving children before your post ended. Our son gave a talk a couple years ago in Germany at a global conference on feeding the world, so I am a little (just a little, but a little) in the know on this topic and actually, the kids aren't starving due to lack of food being given to their country with the purpose of feeding the people...there is plenty that has been shipped to them in Africa, but those who have positions of dispersing it over there are often selling it for cash or not getting it properly delivered (and the delivery over there is a huge problem as there aren't paved roads in many of these places and the "roads" flood easily) or whatever. Some problems in this area are more education based than food based, as many young children work the fields due to parents who have died of AIDS or whatever and don't have the time to go to school. So a program was put in place to PAY the kids IN FOOD for not working the fields all day but at least attending school part of the day. There are all sorts of issues here. It is not as cut and dry as cutting and drying whales and sending the food anywhere, trust me on this.

And it's sort of ironic that just last week, the photo of the whale our son adpoted over the summer arrived. He isn't a hippie. He just thought it would be nice to adopt a whale. Please don't shoot him. Thanks in advance.

By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 03:15 pm: Edit

You don't have to send WHALES to starving children. You can send something cheaper called BERRIES. Why don't those starving children just become cannibals if they're that hungry?

By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 03:22 pm: Edit

Whales are more important than starving African children. I could really care less about kids starving when there are CHICKENS HEADS BEING CUT OFF!

That's very admirable that your son is helping to save a whale. Right now, I think the lack of American forests is our country's biggest problem. Too many cheapo housing developments are being built. And we need to do something about the human population, like reduce it to one million! Why do we concentrate so much on the DEER population when deer are innocent and cute and HUMANS are overrunning the earth, consuming consuming consuming, and we have a population of SIX BILLION??????????? Babies having babies...that's what's happening.

By Magenta (Magenta) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 03:28 pm: Edit

Now that's an interesting question...why don't starving children become cannibals? Who can answer this? I was reading about the "Alive" story people just last week and there it seemed a personality thing - some people could "stomach" the idea of eating other people (they naturally started with the pilots, whom they both didn't know personally and rationalized got them into the mess they were in) and others couldn't, and those people became the food for the former people (survival of the fittest of a sort of unusual kind there). I suspected it was somehow more difficult to eat people you were close to and this might have also played a factor, though I am not sure which people ate whom and who ate nobody. I read after sharing that with someone about a tragic tale of a pilot doing an emergency medical run with a 14 year old boy (whose emergency couldn't have been all that critical as he lived 30 days following the crash) and his pregnant aunt and nurse. The aunt and nurse both died in the crash. The pilot had damaged legs and couldn't stand or walk. The 14 year old built a tent for the pilot and took care of him for the 30 days the boy lived, in the end even dragging the body of the aunt over to the pilot so he could eat. He could watch the pilot eat his aunt (or know he was doing it - not sure if he watched it), but couldn't eat human flesh himself. Had the boy made it two more days, he would have been rescued.

But I don't know the answer to your question and am curious if anyone does. It sure wasn't addressed at the global conference on feeding the world, I'll tell you that!

By Magenta (Magenta) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 03:50 pm: Edit

Wow, I couldn't even try to speculate on our country's *biggest* problem when there are so many of them. You have a big brain to be able to do that...out of curiousity, are you planning on going into politics? Maybe active in the Green Party? It would seem perhaps like a good path for you based on your passion, from what very little I know of you from this thread, admittedly.

I am guessing you are a vegetarian, or do you just not like chicken's heads being cut off as that isn't necessary to eat them?

The reason deer are being killed is because they haven't learned to steer clear of oncoming cars (I swear the ones around us purposely take up housing right by major highways...you should see them at night...tons of them all to the side of the road...it's so bizarre) and thus keep killing humans (inadvertently, I am sure...I don't think they have formed a terrorist group and are intentional here or anything, so yes, they are innocent creatures). Humans have an issue with being killed and I guess they see putting up fences along all roads to separate us from the deer as too expensive. Their helping in the spread of Lyme ticks likely isn't helping them any, either, even though again, they aren't intending to do anyone harm here. It's sad all around.

As for housing, is the cheapo stuff really the worst environmentally? I would suspect the spralling mansions where the 3 acre lot is unnecessarily cleared first is worse (my brother is on a 3 acre lot, but he bought the land himself and made sure the only trees cut were ones which really *needed* to be, so he is living in the woods, but the base of his house is about 2,500 sq.ft. so that is still wiping out quite a few trees for four people to live).

Basically, we are a pretty selfish species with mostly members who think and care far less about "issues" than you clearly do, which is why I suspect we will wipe ourselves out in some act of violence (be it bioterrorism, nuclear war, a new brand of killer bees that can fly to all continents and multiply at incredible rates, whatever). Unlike the dinos, we will be responsible for our own demise, I suspect. Rather than get super bummed about all this, I opt to just enjoy life while I have it. I'm not someone (as maybe you are) who can get all outraged about something and be happy simultaenously. When I learn about children being caged in closets (as I did in "Nature via Nurture" last night) or other injustices, it just makes me feel sick. Not wanting to feel sick and not feeling I can do much about these problems (you seem smart enough where you can do something, but I'm not), I just try to move on.

I'm thinking a million people is far fewer than the population needs to be trimmed to in order to not screw up the planet by consumption, pollution, etc. though I am no expert here by any means. I do agree we have babies having babies and that's not good (you have some solutions to the problem you'd like to share here?), just as many on welfare continue to have children (and here, I do have a suggestion to lessen the problem - Norplant for all females on welfare, as this form of sterility is easily reversible, and vasectomies for males on welfare, which is not always reversible, but often enough that I am comfortable with it being a fair trade off for people living off other people's contributions to the tax pot). For what little it's worth (and it is worth very little), I have opted to just have one child, thus decreasing the population by about one-six-billionth as mathematically, my husband and I are entitled to have two children (saying neither dies before us) as a couple and not add to a population growth problem.

By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 07:48 pm: Edit

I have the same ideas as you about the babies having babies problem...basically sterilization after one child, but I won't get into that.

I'm not in the Green Party. I sort of want to be, but then again, I'm the founder of my city's Young Democrats and I doubt that would go over well.

I'm a vegan, yes. Even drinking real milk contributes to the animal cruelty problem as milking cows are often treated badly-lots of websites about that! Just search in Excite "milking cow cruelty" or something and you will see. However I do eat eggs because I own the chicken that I get the eggs from.

By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 07:48 pm: Edit

I have the same ideas as you about the babies having babies problem...basically sterilization after one child, but I won't get into that.

I'm not in the Green Party. I sort of want to be, but then again, I'm the founder of my city's Young Democrats and I doubt that would go over well.

I'm a vegan, yes. Even drinking real milk contributes to the animal cruelty problem as milking cows are often treated badly-lots of websites about that! Just search in Excite "milking cow cruelty" or something and you will see. However I do eat eggs because I own the chicken that I get the eggs from.

By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 07:48 pm: Edit

I have the same ideas as you about the babies having babies problem...basically sterilization after one child, but I won't get into that.

I'm not in the Green Party. I sort of want to be, but then again, I'm the founder of my city's Young Democrats and I doubt that would go over well.

I'm a vegan, yes. Even drinking real milk contributes to the animal cruelty problem as milking cows are often treated badly-lots of websites about that! Just search in Excite "milking cow cruelty" or something and you will see. However I do eat eggs because I own the chicken that I get the eggs from.

By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 07:57 pm: Edit

Crap how did I post that three times?

By Magenta (Magenta) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 08:55 pm: Edit

Not sure, but you might still be able to edit/delete them if you want. I thought maybe your chicken was pecking the "Post Message" button over and over while you were out getting a drink of water. ;)

I've heard about the cruelty to cows during milking. I have never liked milk, and had an allergy to milk products for awhile in high school and college (rather sucked as I couldn't even eat pizza, a college students main food supply!). I'm not wild about eggs, either. Pretty much anything good nutritionally I don't like. :( I live off things like donuts and chips and it's amazing that I still fit into size 6 jeans (though honestly, those are now starting to get terribly tight). My heart has to look like it's about to explode like the guy in the Monty Python film who was given one thin mint (did you see that movie?).

Got to go - ironically, the dinner bell just rang (I am spoiled to have a husband who does the cooking).

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