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 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 Ciro Santilli's ideal university system. It is a system that actually lives up to the name "Open University":
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, 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 ;-)
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.
  • 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.
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). 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.
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: 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.
The "Truth and Beauty" motto hugely coincides with Ciro Santilli's ideas.
Truth is easier somewhat as it is more subjective.
Beauty, like all arts, sometimes you achieve, sometimes you don't.
Searcing beauty is a painful thing. You just keep endlessly looking for that one new insight that will blow your mind.
The key missing point would be "usefulness". See also: Section "Art".
The other major university in the Bay Area (and basically in California itself) besides a few University of California places.
The heart of Silicon Valley.
Ciro Santilli really likes this dude, because Ciro really likes simulation.
Video 1. How to build a computer model of a cell by Markus Covert (2020) Source.
The closest site of the University of California to San Francisco. Berkeley, California is a small town on the East of the San Francisco Bay.
The second one of the University of California after UC Berkeley.
The third one of the University of California after UC Berkeley and UCLA.
Ciro Santilli studied there for a few years starting in 2007.
In retrospect, doing electrical engineering (and likey the other engineering degrees) felt like taking a trip to the 60s in the United States, due to both the subject matter, and how old the concrete buildings were!
This does not need to be a bad thing. It is in that era (and earlier) that much of the exciting foundations of the field were set, and there is great value in there is value in tutorials written by early pioneers of the field. Not that they were amazing at excting history lessons as they should be. But the course outline suggested that intent.
But that point of view must also be accompanied by the excitement of the great ongoing advances of technology (and impact they had in the past). And on that, they failed.
One day, one day, we will fix that.
Semi-comical student website to review the toilets of the University of São Paulo. Some of the toilets had a reputation for being terrible.
One is reminded of Crushbridge.
While in Brazil, Ciro Santilli used to walk through the outskirts of a small favela to get to university every day, the Favela de São Remo.
To the left, the outer walls of a large police station, with concertina wire on top and all.
To the right, dudes selling drugs on the entry of a small corridor street, presumably to which they could easily escape to in case of need.
The cops could have identified the dealers with binoculars if they actually wanted to!!!
The drug sellers did keep the peace in their business area, and Ciro never got robbed, and would come back from university parties on foot late through the favela.
But Ciro's friends did say that things got much worse after Ciro left, for example a flash kidnapping was reported in 2015.
Wikipedia says that this favela started in the 60s and 70s as settlements of the builders of the University, and that many of the people there still work for the University.
This is consistent with the terribly old buildings Ciro saw when he was at university. They even had the building skills to build their own homes.
The state just has to either legalize those people, or give them houses somewhere else nearby. A world class University is the most important thing a poor country can have, and its image cannot be jeopardized like that.
The existence of that favela, right next to one of the most important universities in Latin America, puts Brazil's surreal social inequality into perspective. Especially considering that before extremely heavy university entry quotas were added, basically all students of the university (or at least of the courses that lead to high paying jobs) had attended private schools, and therefore were not of the poorer classes (see passage about 10 out 500 passage from Section "Free gifted education").
The janitors of the apartment block Ciro lived all lived in the favela. Yes, in poor countries lives are worth nothing, and some poorer people work by watching the entrance of buildings of less poor people 24/7 to guard it from other even more desperate poor people who might want to rob the not so poor inhabitants. They also do janitor jobs like cleaning common areas in parallel.
They were incredibly nice hard-working people, and Ciro spoke often with them. If only given the opportunity, those people could be amazing engineers or scientists obviously. Ciro was also glad to be their friends, and sat down with them quite a few times for several minutes after coming back from University parties, partly because he felt bad about them having to work at that time, but also partly because he just liked them. And they were always up to date on who had come back with a girl to the apartment or not. Ciro imagines that if it had been him, it would have been a perfect bragging opportunity ;)
They had "nothing" but were still happy. This is true wisdom, and a good reminder that all our non-transhumanist technical goals are nothing.
We must destroy social inequality.
No, they are basically not-for-profits, more like what the United States more sensibly calls "private universities". But if they take government funding (directly or indirectly through subsiding enrolment fees?), they have to follow some government rules, and all major ones do it seems.
A similar confusing naming pattern appears to apply to Public school.
In the University of Cambridge for example, all MA degree holders or higher appear to have some voting power: (archive)
This adds an extra layer of difficulty for the average taxpayer to make changes to university policy, e.g. making universities publish all material with Creative Commons licenses. At most, voters could require this indirectly through the government funding requisites. It is a mess.
Not even the Open University seems to be very open!
Nice, nice place. Natural sciences only, no bullshit.
Not really dedicated to open source course material, nor to free courses...
The "Open" in its name only made sense in the 60's, when it was founded, nowadays, there isn't much about this institution that is very different compared to traditional Oxbridge. "Cheap more online university" would be a more adequate name for it.
A system that would truly live up to the name "Open" in the year 2020 is the one described at the ideal university by Ciro Santilli.
Wikipedia even says that the initial focus was on broadcasting learning material on television and radio, so what happened to that now that we have an even more powerful on-demand tool called Internet!
They even created their own MOOC website, FutureLearn. But mentions:
The course content is still free to access, but it’s only available for the duration of the course, and for two weeks after it ends.
OMG. God why.
A few open sources at: The 5-hour course on particle physics says it all. What's an Open University Degree Like? by Luke Cutforth (2021) mentions that it is more autodidactic/online, and it encourages part time learning. Open University - How does it work? by Matt Greg Vlogs (2017) shows that they do have their own custom institutional material. And it is not open???? Please. mentions that there is no entry exam, and you can change your courses at any time, that is good at least.
Israel apparently also created their own version in the 70's inspired by the British one: Open University of Israel. Same story it seems.
Their only undergraduate courses that matter:
Their "open" video material: A somewhat small part is Creative Commons, but most proprietary. Despite the name "podcasts", they do contain video, it is just a relic. contains actual Creative Commons only it seems.
Talks: Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) subset:
As of 2022:
  • gives study fees. Almost all courses are about 9k pounds / academic year. Courses take minimum 3 years, with an optional 4th year masters. The costs of masters can be higher however, though most aren't much.
    It is funny to note how Public Policy is comically priced at 45,890 for a course without laboratories, how can a country be so corrupt? :-) It was later brought to Ciro's attention that the reason is that those courses are not usually paid by individuals, but by their employers...
    Another eye popping one is Mathematical & Computational Finance MSc for £36,370.
  • gives living costs, an average 12k for the usual 9 month period
  • there is the Crankstart scholarship: which gives 5k/year to students whose families have less than 27k/year income, and values decrease from there to 60k/year income where they become zero.
    It is funny to note that the scholarship was previously named after a Welsh billionaire who studied there and donated and his wife, Michael Moritz and wife Harriet Heyman. It is actually the Welsh who are creating those scholarships for the English! It is so funny to see. His background is quite amazing, from historian to journalist to venture capitalist.
    It was later renamed Crankstart after the Crankstart Foundation, presumably to help gather funds from others, but it is just still led by Michael.
    It does appear that most/all of the natural sciences ones are reasonably priced, perhaps they are subsided.
The median household income at the time was 31k[ref]. Clearly, putting one child through university with that income would be basically impossible, you would pay 19 - 5 = 14k/year, almost half of your income. Two children would be impossible. Remember how each family needs to have two children minimum to perpetuate life?
This book series appears to be the one: A mere 250 pounds+ each.
Video 1. History of Oxford University by Chris Day (2018) Source. A large part of the video talks about how the insane system of colleges of the University of Oxford came about organically.
  • at the University of Bologna, the original system was for students to decide what they would learn, and hire and fire teachers as they decided. This is opposed to the system of the university of Paris, in which teachers make the final decisions. He mentions that this is the system that the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge use: the "congregation". He mentions that Oxbridge are one of the few universities that maintained this structure (as opposed to having funding sources select the final decision makers)
  • mentions the quadrangle architecture which served as the basis of the Colleges: make a closed square with everything students need: Chapel, Hall to eat, classes and accommodation. This is based of course on monastic cloisters.
A good explanation of how this insane system came up is given at Video "History of Oxford University by Chris Day (2018)".
As if it weren't enough, there are also the 6 Halls: permanent private hall.
The colleges are controlled by its fellows, a small self-electing body of highly successful scholars, usually in the dozens per college number it seems. Each college also usually has different types of fellows, e.g. see he university college page: (archive)
The college system does has its merits though, as it instates a certain sense of "belonging" to a certain group, so it might help students get better support for their learning projects from older students, or through the tutoring system. Of course, all such "belonging" feelings are bad, the correct thing would be to make great online tutorials for all, and answer questions in the open. But oh well, humans are dumb.
This functionality is somewhat related to fraternities and sororities in 2000's United States.
Similar to a college, but led by religious denomination leaders rather than fellows.
For students (who are paying for the university to start with...), they will not claim tutorials linked to courses. But a tutorial that shows university laboratories, it is unclear: (archive) This likely includes graduate students, who are also not paid by the university.
For faculty, the university owns everything it seems, to be confirmed.
The course outline is given in a "handbook", a one or more PDF files that contain what people will learn and other practicalities.
At there's a paywall, but Google found the PDF it anyways. in theory links to all handbooks, but some are likely paywalled. But Google can generally find them anyways.

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