A bit like a cult.
Many speakers are good. But especially in TEDx, we've had some notorious ones:
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. twitter.com/daviddeutschoxf/status/1406374921748496386:
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 twitter.com/DavidDeutschOxf/status/1051475227476185089 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: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVqMAlgAnlo
Bibliography:
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".
This actually happens in Winter. But they are so fucking euphemistic that winter has to be removed from the calendar.
This actually happens in spring. But because they are so euphemistic winter had to be removed from the calendar, it gets shifted a left.
Basically schools that follows Ciro Santilli's ideas as shown at how to teach.
www.mentava.com/
Mentava's software-based daily tutor gets students on track for college-level math and computer science before high school.
Login walls. Lol.
Video 1.
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.
world.hey.com/gwyn/no-excuses-bc4152fb 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: twitter.com/cirosantilli/status/1448924419016036353 and on website contact form to see if we could do some project together, but no reply.
Dan, if you ever Google yourself here, please contact Ciro Santilli: Section "How to contact Ciro Santilli" to do something with OurBigBook.com. Cheers.
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: pt.quora.com/Como-funciona-o-tal-do-curso-secreto-da-USP, the only decent answer so far being: pt.quora.com/Como-funciona-o-tal-do-curso-secreto-da-USP/answer/Victor-Soares-31. 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.
As of 2020, university has the following very important applications:
Or as Elon Musk put it:
I think college is basically for fun and to prove that you can do your chores, but they're not for learning
One major issue is that teachers don't have the right incentive to, nor are selected to, teach well. Thus the existence of Rate My Professors! But we can do better...
Which is why Ciro Santilli wants to destroy its current format with OurBigBook.com. He believes that we can find a more efficient organization to achieve both the social and research functions of university, by first doing as much as possible online
Ciro's university experiences are mentioned at: Ciro Santilli's formal education.
This is a version of free gifted education but more focused on university.
This is Ciro Santilli's ideal university system. It is a system that actually lives up to the name "Open University":
Related:
So far as of the early 2020's, the university that comes closest to some but not all of these principles is the University of the People. It's sad that it's such a crappy unknown thing, but it is what it is.
Related projects:
  • freeuniversitybrighton.org/
    Free University Brighton has been working since 2012 to provide an alternative and for the last five years we’ve been running ‘freegrees’. These are University level courses, open to all regardless of qualification. Our courses range from 4 week long introductory courses aimed at First Years (people who have never been to University before) to 12-week long Humanities, Social Sciences and Philosophy courses that rival anything in a ‘traditional’ University. We do this all with no money exchanged anywhere - no fees, no debt.
    Shut up and show us the courses.
Video 1.
Running a Charity like a Company by Sitare Foundation
. Source.
Unfortunately accused of sexual misconduct: www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/11/google-executive-payout-harassment-amit-singhal. But one can still do good despite our defects:
Pitched OurBigBook.com to him:
Idea: make all Sitare University materials open, and allow students to write the content
Also, allow anyone to take the exams without enrolling (possibly for a fee if they don't have scholarship).
This is the way to go if you really want to increase your impact/dollar and do something truly innovative that ill make a mark. Why just mirror existing university models that haven't yet caught up to the Internet Age?
Online and free. Pay only for exams, i.e. exam as a service. Almost perfect according to Ciro Santilli's idea.
You just have to spend a few minutes with students until they complain about the courses or teachers. And you just have to spend a few hours with teachers until they complain about the students or broader system.
University is broken, and everyone knows it. The only question now is finding a viable, "political cash flow positive" path, into something better.
Bibliography:
medium.com/left-right/the-education-system-is-about-to-implode-5c95f774b523 The Education System is About to Implode by Nicholas Budny (2020)
Stanford, MIT, Harvard and Oxford are luxury goods in the same sense that a Mercedes-Benz might be, or the latest iPhone. They sell an aesthetic experience that provides the consumer with social status, similar to acquiring expensive clothes or a fancy house.
Video 1.
Bar scene from Good Will Hunting
. Source. This scene is way way overdone. But:
Hero: You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for $1.50 in late fees at the public library.
Bad guy: Yeah, but I will have a degree. And you'll be serving my kids fries at a drive-through on our way to a skiing trip.
The image of an university is basically their only real asset, which they extract money out of via undergraduate students in some countries like the USA, and by getting funding.
For this reason, universities will sacrifice basically any principle in order to give themselves a good image.
Although for profit companies also do this, it is simply on another level for universities.
As of 2020s and much earlier, Ciro Santilli believes that undergrad studies were fundamentally broken (considering the Information Age which completely changed what would be possible) because university had only two goals, with the exception of a few enlightened professors:
  • rank students from worse to best so they can get into PhD programs.
    For regular jobs grades didn't even matter as much compared the prestige of your university (and therefore, university entry exam grades) and your ability to stand the stress of exams to get minimal passing grade.
    In particular, being able to rank requires setting the difficulty level at a point where you can see a Normal distribution in grades, and not have everyone at either 0 nor 100%.
    Also, this split could be caused by either shitty learning materials/conditions, or by mere volume. It doesn't matter.
  • get money from the students. Of course, in countries where university is "free", this means reporting how many students you had to some government office so they can give you a corresponding budget. But you still have an incentive to enroll as many as possible.
As a result, most students, who would not go on to do a PhD essentially do a simple trade: all their time, and possibly some money, in exchange for embuing themselves with the incredible name of a respected institution so they can get better jobs later on.
Beauty, deep understanding, and learning awesome things comes basically as a second thought.
Besides of course sexual selection, considering in this section only "formal learning" activities.
Consider e.g. the 2020 University of Oxford, where many many people are taking courses without any laboratory work (and also without much use at all) like literature and history, and they are paying about 9k pounds/year for it: how much it costs to study at the University of Oxford?.
Basically all of this could be done online from books.
Laboratories are impossible however, because expendables of every experiment you do cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars, not to mention crazy upfront equipment costs.
For this reason, the brick and mortar aspect universities should focus exclusively on laboratories, and ensuring that the students with the most relevant knowledge (which can be readily obtained online) get access to those laboratories. Students should of course fully master every aspect of theory pertinent to their experiments. principal investigators should hand pick whichever criteria they want to select their students, possibly based partly on exam as a service if they find it a useful metric.
Furthermore, the use of laboratories should put great focus on novel research. A lot of laboratory instruction could be done from video of an experiments. As much as possible, we should use laboratories for novel research. Related: Section "Videos of all key physics experiments".
You can always learn pure theory later on for free or very cheap from books.
And above all, you can always learn software engineering later on for free, because the programming community is so much more open than any other so far, notably e.g. with Stack Overflow and GitHub, see also: Section "Ciro Santilli's Open Source Enlightenment (2012)". Ciro Santilli is trying to change that with OurBigBook.com, but don't hold your breath. But it is increasingly hard to understand why there isn't an university that forces teachers to publish all their notes and lecture videos (which should be mandatorily recorded) with a Creative Commons License, and then let anyone take whichever exams they want for a small fee or for free.
Actually, there is a good chance you will learn to program, like it or not, because chances are that you won't be able to find as decent a job doing anything else.
But there is one thing you cannot learn for free: laboratory work. Laboratory work is just too expensive to carry out outside of an institution.
Basically, if you don't do laboratory work in undergrad, you will very likely never be able to do so in your entire life.
Because laboratories are so rare and expensive, it is laboratories that put you in the best most unfair position at creating world changing deep tech startups, which is why when in doubt, choose the course that has the most experimental work. Yes, you won't be able to achieve those insanely concentrated equities of the early-Internet, as you will need more venture capital to run your company, but those days are over now, deal with it.
With CC BY-SA of course. Not the evil CC BY-NC-SA.
Any lectures must be recorded. But of course, text is cheaper than video.
Just fucking pay teachers a decent salary comparable to industry instead of basically requiring them to try and sell their knowledge to complement their income. They must get paid, and their knowledge must
We don't need that many teachers teaching the same subjects over and over. We just need a few good men and women who can truly teach the masses. And we must pay those men and women a decent wage.
The perfect platform for this will of course be OurBigBook.com ;-)
This is the actual main function of university for many people as of the 2020s. And it fulfills it quite well. A breeding ground.
In a closely related sense, university is simply a symbol of personal status. Not a place where you go to learn. And especially in the Anglophone world of fancy colleges, university also doubles down as a form of long term luxury hotel. Even if it ends up meaning debt.
There's nothing wrong with sexual selection. This type of natural eugenics is an important part of humankind. It is however just sad that any type of learning falls so much behind. A close second would be fine. But as it stands, it is just too far off.
After learning this term, Ciro Santilli finally understood that his actual major was MR, and not bullshit like applied mathematics or control theory.
For a critique/history of this insanity, see also: Section "Colleges of the University of Oxford".
Ciro Santilli's general feeling is that university should not own IP, it should belong to the researchers. Instead, university should help researchers make their startups, so they can become big, and then we can tax them and reinvest in the universities.
Of course, this goes through the nonprofit impact measurement difficulty. Maybe we could instead limit the IP to some reasonably small percentage, like 10%?
But still, as of 2020, if feels like universities are way too greedy.
  • youtu.be/ji5_MqicxSo?t=1406 Achieving Your Childhood Dreams by Randy Pausch (2007). At this timestamp he tells a story about how university IP issues almost ruined a collaboration he was passionate about.
In your normal 2020 broken educational system, it is the first time at which students get an official chance to learn something advanced, and possibly prepare to go venture into the PhD desert.
These are the most evil examinations society has.
They mean that until you are 18, you have to study a bunch of generic crap you hate just to get into university. Rather than studying whatever it is that you truly love to become a God at it as fast as possible and have any chance of advancing the field.
And then, if you decide that you want to change, which is not unlikely since you haven't really try to study what you signed up for before then, it can be very hard and time consuming, leading to a bunch of adults with useless degress they will never use at work.
With the invention of the Internet, all teaching material can be free and open source. Only laboratory space has any cost (besides the opportunity cost of participation in actual projects in a research team).
Per-country list: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_admission_tests_to_colleges_and_universities
archive.ph/GpyQv#selection-925.340-925.495 Reagan's OMB Director David Stockman told congress:
students are "tax eaters... [and] a drain and drag on the American economy." Student aid "isn’t a proper obligation of the taxpayer,"
and then:
In fact, voters were far more likely to punish lawmakers for raising taxes. Elected officials made the political calculus that it was safer politically to divert existing funds from discretionary costs to mandatory costs like health care, prisons and primary education, than raise taxes.
Utah's mormon-uni.
TODO where can all videos be found??
CC BY-NC-SA unfortunately.
Upload is actually optional, and it appears that teachers do retain their copyright: ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/global/MIT_OpenCourseWare_FAQs.pdf Hmmm, so how have they convinced so many teachers to do it?
Made huge advances in radar.
Notably, Isidor Isaac Rabi was a leading figure there, and later he was head at the Columbia University laboratory that carried out the crucial Lamb-Retherford experiment and the anomalous magnetic dipole moment of the electron published at The Magnetic Moment of the Electron by Kusch and Foley (1948) using related techniques.
math.mit.edu/classes/18.783, Wow, good slides! Well organized site! This is a good professor! And brutal course. 25 lectures, and lecture one ends in BSD Conjecture!
Not to be confused with the University of Michigan. Not confusing at all right!

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