What I Think is Wrong with America

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by geologyrox, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. geologyrox

    geologyrox New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mystery Squid @ Aug 12 2006, 10:57 PM) [snapback]302394[/snapback]</div>
    Hmmm.... I don't know about being scared of anything outside the scientific method, but I definately strive for rationality - possibly in a way that resembles some religious people striving for their personal goals. The scientific method is the most familiar logical path for me, and I think it's the discipline that's easiest and most applicable for students - fshagan makes me wonder if it couldn't be just as easily incorporated through other . I don't always make the rational choices, and I don't expect others to act rationally - you're right, it'd be awfully boring. I do think it's important to give people the ability to use logic, though, whether they choose to use it or not.

    As fshagan noted, the critical thinking skills that I attribute to the scientific method can be learned any number of ways - I had been trying to refer to the wider picture of logic, but caught myself up with the trees instead of the forest. I still think that science is an optimal way to teach the skills needed to evaluate data and formulate reasonable conclusions without bias, but it's the 'critical thinking' skills themselves that I think we need to emphasize.

    ...guess I should have let it perk in my head for a little while longer, I still don't feel like I've got quite the right words.
     
  2. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    Did you read any of the Lance studies? They're based on improvements in test scores. Math isn't scientific enough? They've been done in different states and cover every demographic. No matter how rich or poor, gender, culture or race, the results are the same.

    The average teacher's salary in the U.S. is approximately $45,000
    CDE.gov

    And please note the beginning teachers salary. 50% of new teachers leave teaching within the first five years. The average beginning salary is around $35,000. The reasons they cite for leaving are low salary.
    CDE.gov

    Those that stay get masters degrees. A large percentage of teachers have masters degrees. 57%.
    National Teacher DayHow many other professions have such a large percentage of masters degrees? How many with equivalent salaries? That needs to be considered when comparing apples, oranges and lugnuts.
    Are teachers overpaid?

    The cost of living in California is way above the U.S. average. Our gas is more expensive. Our electricity, water, sewer, food and especially our housing is more expensive. . It costs 52% more to live in San Jose, CA than in Austin, TX. cost of livingShouldn't a teacher in San Jose make 52% more than a teacher in Austin? In order to equal the paycheck of the Austin teacher the San Jose teacher should make $60,760. But the average salary is $56.283. So even though the California teacher has the highest salary in the nation, they are still underpaid when compared to Texas because of cost of living.

    Aren't statistics fun?

    "In San Francisco earlier this year, for instance, an income of $223,576 was necessary to purchase a $705,000 home, the median, or midpoint, at which half of sales are above and half are below, the report said. Using a different set of federal data in 2003, the group found $176,718 was required to buy the median-priced home, which cost $567,000.

    An elementary school teacher in San Francisco makes about $53,478 a year, researchers found, up from $51,100 in 2003"
    SFgate

    Look at the top 10 least affordable cities for buying a house. How many are in California?
    1) San Francisco, CA
    2) Orange County, CA
    3) Santa Cruz, CA
    4) San Jose, CA
    5) Salinas, CA
    6) Santa Barbara, CA
    7) Oakland, CA
    8) Santa Rosa, CA
    9) San Luis Obispo, CA
    10) San Diego, CA

    In the top 50 least affordable paycheck to paycheck comparisons of cities for home ownership, 42% were in California.

    NHC

    But hey, just because you have a masters degree and a steady job working 60 hours a week doesn't mean you're entitled to the American Dream of owning a home or anything.

    It's not enough to just say, oh, California teachers have the highest salaries in the nation. They also have the highest expenses. And it not like they can commute from Nevada or Arizona. They have to live within a reasonable distance to where they work.

    Let's look at the relationship between salaries and the cost of living. Least affordable cities:
    # New York, N.Y.

    # San Francisco

    # Stamford, Conn.

    # San Jose, Calif.

    # San Diego, Calif.

    # Santa Barbara, Calif.

    # Bakersfield, Calif.

    # Los Angeles, Calif.

    # Fresno, Calif.

    # Boston, Mass.

    salary.com

    Wow. 70% are in California.

    So it's not enough just to say California teachers make $10,000 more a year than the average teacher nationwide. You also have to include other factors.

    So, what does all this have to do with those test scores?

    We have no idea what any of the factors were in comparing the test scores of our students to other countries. There are too many variables. When you leave them out, you lie with statistics. I doubt there are any reliable studies that could compare our schools with other countries because there is no standardization. There isn't even standardization from state to state within the U.S. They've been working on that for decades and we're still not there.
     
  3. Schmika

    Schmika New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AlphaTeam @ Aug 12 2006, 01:13 PM) [snapback]302161[/snapback]</div>

    Sooooo, saying "Bush crime family" and using generality of "Joe six-pack" promotes the ideals of "critical thinking".
     
  4. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Schmika @ Aug 13 2006, 09:18 PM) [snapback]302784[/snapback]</div>
    I think you just make AlphaTeam's point

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AlphaTeam)</div>
    Or they are nitpicked for grammar, spelling, syntax or language.

    Or they are personally attacked.

    Or the message is misdirected in some way.

    Like criticizing word choice.
     
  5. Schmika

    Schmika New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 13 2006, 10:28 PM) [snapback]302792[/snapback]</div>

    YOU misinterpreted my point. If you are going to argue in support of using critical thinking, or even civility, then you must practice what you preach. THAT was my point.

    BTW, I agree that what is wrong with America is generally ignorance and the lack of civility and critical thinking.
     
  6. Sufferin' Prius Envy

    Sufferin' Prius Envy Platinum Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 12 2006, 08:09 PM) [snapback]302400[/snapback]</div>
    DANG!!!! I knew I was cheated in my education! If only I were educated in Niger! :rolleyes:

    Ranked #1 in Public spending per student > Secondary level by country . . . yet somehow ends up being ranked 202 of 202 in Literacy > Total population. :huh:

    If I made it through more than their six years of compulsory education . . . I would have been considered a freakin' genius in Niger!!!

    Likewise, I am thankful I wasn't educated in the following countries which spend less per student > Secondary level by country . . .

    #52 New Zealand
    #54 Netherlands
    #58 Germany
    #64 Norway
    #67 Japan
    #74 Greece
    #86 United Kingdom
    #90 Australia
    #102 Poland

    . . . because . . . as we all “know†. . . since they spend less on education, the quality of education must SUCK!!!! <_<
    Yet, somehow, each of these countries have a higher literacy rate than that of the USA. :huh: :eek: <_<
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_lit_...otal-population

    Education in Niger ain't lookin' so hot now, is it.

    Yep, lies, damn lies, and statistics.

    Throw money at it, that will solve the problem!!!! <_< :angry:
     
  7. fshagan

    fshagan Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 13 2006, 01:52 PM) [snapback]302651[/snapback]</div>
    You crack me up. I remembered the California number pretty well at about $55k, and I missed the national average by about 10%. Not bad for not looking it up.

    Do you want to address the comment that teachers don't earn more than Walmat cashiers? Its obviously not even close to the truth. And here's a comment you won't like but is absolutely true: teachers get paid what they are worth. Just like every other worker.

    There are plenty of teachers, and plenty to fill up those spots of the ones who leave in the first 5 years. They all voluntarily take those jobs, and half of them stay in those jobs. If they were worth more, they would be paid more by the marketplace. If teachers were not as plentiful, they would be paid more, because schools would have to pay top dollar to get them. That's Econ 101 ... hey, that's scientific too!

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 13 2006, 01:52 PM) [snapback]302651[/snapback]</div>
    That's not the way economies work. While I understand your self interest is wrapped up in this, try to step back and look at it logically. If California had trouble finding and hiring teachers, the state would have to pay more than "just" a 25% premium. That 25% differential is the amount the state had to come up with to recruit and retain teachers in the marketplace. Do you think other industries or occupations have that differential? Only if they have to. And yes, I pay my employees about 15% more than our company pays comparable employees in Philadelphia. What you, the teachers, have proven is that the 25% differential is indeed enough to account for the differences between teaching in Austin and California.


    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 13 2006, 01:52 PM) [snapback]302651[/snapback]</div>
    Godiva ... then move. If Austin looks so much more promising, move to Austin. We have plenty of people willing to take your job at the current rate of pay. And no, you are not "entitled" to the American Dream. You have to work for it, and sacrifice for it, and if that means moving away from family and friends, that's what it means. Its your choice what to do, just as it was your choice to become a librarian.

    I always find it ironic that those most passionate about learning never took the time to learn what their chosen profession paid, and then want us to feel sorry for them. Teaching has never been a highly paid profession. If money is so important to you, why did you become a teacher?

    Of course, you could always marry well into a political family and become a First Lady someday <G>.

    Most of the teachers I know, and my future-teacher daughter, all say its the non-monetary rewards they are after, and money is secondary. I applaud them, and respect them greatly.
     
  8. Mystery Squid

    Mystery Squid New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Sufferin' Prius Envy @ Aug 14 2006, 12:33 AM) [snapback]302847[/snapback]</div>
    :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  9. Denny_A

    Denny_A New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 13 2006, 12:09 AM) [snapback]302400[/snapback]</div>
    Actually I have. I counted 11 citations for the info I highlighted. What's your standard? So, if the source is not approved by your standards it's not admissable? I am an 85th percentile Libertarian and do approve of the source. Essentially I support vouchers for EVERY student, as long as EVERY taxpayer must pay for the education of all students whether he has children or not. Vouchers introduce competition, which elevates the quality of education based on merit, not inertia. Once hired never fired! I'd prefer if public education were ended completely and all education became a function of the free market. Won't happen....but....

    Here's another source regarding the decline of learning as the years in public schools pile up:

    "Education Dogmas
    by Thomas Sowell (July 18, 2005)

    There have been many bitter complaints from teachers and principals about the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" act -- and more specifically about having to "teach to the test" instead of doing whatever teachers and principals want to do.

    Now the results are in.

    Not only have test scores in math and reading shown "solid gains" in the words of the New York Times, young black students have "significantly narrowed the gap" between themselves and white students. All this is based on official annual data from 28,000 schools across the country.

    What is especially revealing is that it is the young black students who have made the largest gains while older minority students "scored as far behind whites as in previous decades."

    In other words, the children whose education has taken place mostly since the No Child Left Behind act show the greatest gains, while for those whose education took place mostly under the old system, it was apparently too late to repair the damage."

    Read the complete article. Thomas Sowell, the noted author and economist.

    Education Dogmas (Thomas Sowell)

    Look - you can run out all the self serving statistics you like, but the bottom line is that the US public education system is a failure and will not improve as long as teachers "see themselves as facilitators of learning who enable their students to learn on their own"'[Ibid].
     
  10. Mystery Squid

    Mystery Squid New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(geologyrox @ Aug 13 2006, 03:55 PM) [snapback]302636[/snapback]</div>
    See, this is the neat thing about this forum, I'll be doing something throughout the day, contemplating a variety of topics, when shiat like this suddenly pops into my head... :lol:

    I think for me, more important than the "scientific method", is to look at something from numerous perspectives. Problem with SM ( :D ), is like you said, it tends to be sooo damn logical, you can easily get caught up in looking at the trees... I think most scientific discoveries weren't made because of the actual SM itself, but rather what would be considered at the time "irrational", UNscientific, ideas... So, I tend to place emphasis, or place the following "methodologies of thought" ( :lol: ) in this order:

    1. Ideas. The more IRRATIONAL, the BETTER
    2. Perspectives. Look at something from as many angles as possible, then make some up!
    3. "scientific method"

    ...more or less... :lol:


    Nope. I'm in that boat all the time. Getting words to match thoughts accurately is much tougher than most people can imagine. I've often thought the English language is extremely limited in this respect. It's sort of like this message board, only after hundreds of posts, if not thousands, do you get a real idea of what someone is like. There have been times at work where I will spend days (and in some cases, close to 100 drafts) "wordsmithing" what may only be, ultimately, several paragraphs of highly specific text.
     
  11. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Denny_A @ Aug 13 2006, 11:58 PM) [snapback]302855[/snapback]</div>
    I see. So when statistics don't support your position, they're "self-serving". Or inaccurate. Or misleading. Or maybe...liberal. The U.S. public education system has never been and is not a failure. That is another lie that has been repeated until it seems like the truth. Sorta like election propaganda.

    Bracey Report

    "This study does not support the view that schools of the 1970s and 1980s have deteriorated in significant ways with respect to the schools of the 1950s and 1960s in their instruction in mathematics and verbal/reading skills. Moreover, it suggests that schools have made significant progress in decreasing inequalities between minority and nonminority students. —Rand Institute on Education and Training, 1994"

    Reagan and Bush the first suppressed Sandia and screamed about failing public schools in order to push vouchers. The GOP has continued the myth ever since.

    And good news about education continues to be suppressed or downplayed. Because it does not support a certain political agenda. Certain people have continued to scream about failing public schools for their own reasons. (Vouchers and privatization come immediately to mind.)

    Did you happen to catch this in July? What? You missed it? Can't imagine why. Oh....it was released on Friday. Dead news day.

    "The Education Department reported on Friday that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools."

    Ooooo, heresy! No wonder. It didn't get much fanfare:

    Public Schools perform as well as Private Schools

    And guess what? They always have, nothing has changed.

    But....that doesn't mean education doesn't need improving. It does. We cannot continue to teach as we have because students today aren't the same as students in the past. We cannot teach the same way we did in the past or we'll be preparing our students to be successful in a world that no longer exists.

    Research shows that on average we recall:
    5% of the content of a lecture (That would be the way you and are were taught)
    10% of what we read
    20% of the content simultaneously using two or more media
    50% of content that includes interactive discussion (That would be Socratic method)
    75% of content that involves practice by doing
    90+% teaching others or the immediate application of learning (This would be where teachers want there students to be)
    Jukes, I., & Dosaj, A. (2004, June). Understanding digital kids: teaching and learning in the new digital landscape. Retrieved May 6, 2006, from http://www.infosavvygroup.com

    I got news for you. Teachers are not walking talking encyclopedias. They are not answer machines. Teachers *are* facilitators of learning who enable their students to learn on their own. That is the very definition of what a teacher does. Look up "Socratic method".

    (Unless you were born after 1980...you're a Digital Immigrant. Today's students are Digital Natives. And school instruction needs to change to reflect that.)
     
  12. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mystery Squid @ Aug 14 2006, 01:05 AM) [snapback]302859[/snapback]</div>
    it's well known that rational drug design by and large isn't as effective as making as many derivatives of a compound as you can and testing them all. "irrational" drug design if you will.

    however, from a general problem solving standpoint the "sm" as you put it ;) does hold a lot of merit. for example, when presented with the original problem that developed into my thesis topic, i had to look at where there could be differences in two systems and rule out ones that had either been previously characterized as not different or where it was known that the change i thought of was not possible (ie, no transcriptional variants, etc) it led me to my current path of research where (if i could get my head on straight lately) i have what seems to be a solid and interesting discovery on my hands.
     
  13. Denny_A

    Denny_A New Member

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    Shall we note that correction of your comment, re. citation of references, was not acknowledged in the below reply? Nor did you acknowledge the Thomas Sowell bit. I shall assume it stands accepted.
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 14 2006, 03:45 AM) [snapback]302903[/snapback]</div>
    "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity" , John Stossel, Ch. 5, “Stupid Schools”, 2006.

    “America’s decision to have its public schools run by a government monopoly is stunningly stupid. Having a union-dominated monopoly run them is even stupider. Unionized monopolies create ossified, bloated bureaucracies that don’t serve people well. Little improves in monopolies. ……

    “Competition gives us better TV’s, homes, cars [Hybrids?], food, phones, and well, everything. …… Competition inspires people to do what we didn’t think we could do.

    “So why don’t we harness it to teach our kids?

    “Myth: Educating children is too important to be left to the uncertainty of market competition.

    “Truth: Educating children is too important to be left to a government monopoly. ……

    “…..If people got to choose their kids schools, education options would be endless. There soon could be technology schools, cheap Wal-Mart-like schools, virtual schools where you learn at home on your computer [already done in WI], sports schools, music schools, schools that go all year, schools with uniforms, schools that open early and keep kids later, and who knows. If there were competition, all kinds of new ideas would bloom.”


    This also from the Cato Institute: The School Choice Movement’s Greatest Failure
    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2006/07/16/...eatest-failure/
    Article which responds to both Public vs. Private school performance and school vouchers. [email protected] deals with the multitude of potentially flawed assumptions in study you cited, “Public Schools perform as well as Private Schools”.


    Your air of condescension and superiority is duly noted. I have my own copy of Plato’s “The Republic”, thank you very much. It took about 400 pages, employing the “Socratic Method” to decide what constituted “Justice” and what constitutes a “Just” man. Aristotle was the real genius. Too bad so few pay attention to “concept formation” as the means of learning, but rather chase after outcome-based education (Socratic “discovery”). [In case you are not familiar with "The Republic", Plato, the author, employed Socrates as his main character.]

    Tragi-Comedy “Educators”, Thomas Sowell, Barbarians Inside the Gates, 1999.

    “Recently I received a letter from a school teacher, asking for an autographed picture for his class because it would “ultemetly” help his students to have me as a “roll model”. Atypical? Let us hope so. But a few years ago a study showed the average verbal Scholastic Aptitude Test score for aspiring teachers to be 389 out of a possible 800.

    “With American school children repeatedly finishing at or near the bottom on international test comparisons, the response of the education establishment has been to seek even more non-academic adventures to go off on. Among the latest of these “innovations” a magic word in the wonderland of educational Newspeak - is something called “outcome-based education.” Like so many of the catch phrases that come and go, it means nothing like what it seems to mean.

    “Education based on outcomes might sound to many people like finally creating a bottom line for schools, teachers and administrators to be judged by. Nothing of the sort. It is yet another way to get away from academic work and indulging in psychological and ideological indoctrination. This is called advancing beyond “rote learning” and teaching children to “think”. [Digital Natives?] Many in the media gullibly repeat such phrases, without the slightest investigation of what concretely [emphasis added] they mean.

    …… “Recently, I got a first-hand dose of …stereotyped responses when addressing a class of students who are being trained for careers as teachers. They seemed disconcerted by the questions I put to them.
    “Suppose you are wrong? How would you know? How would you test for that possibility?”
    The very thought that the dogmas they were repeating with such fervor might be open to question or subject to evidence seemed never to have occurred to them. This was a far more ominous sign than their merely being wrong on particular beliefs. How can they teach anyone else to think if they themselves have not reached this elementary level of logic?”

    How does that old saying go? Something like: They say those who can, do - and those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, indoctrinate! :lol:
     
  14. RichBoy

    RichBoy New Member

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    well if you just go to work, pay your taxes, obey the "social PC rules" of todays society and get your information from the TV and major newsmagazines like youre supposed to , you wouldnt need to worry so much. work and spend, thats all youre supposed to understand. Dan Rather and Katie Couric will inform you of what you need to know. P.S.,,dont travel abroad either, everything you need is right here ! ;)
     
  15. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    There are programs in work to adress these concerns. I'm currently reading a book called "Ecological Literacy" Educating our Children for a Sustainable World. It is quite good and a few of my professors were very interested in it after reading a small portion on our last field study :)

     
  16. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    John Stossel. Now there's an authority.
     
  17. geologyrox

    geologyrox New Member

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    Wish I had a little more time right now, because the thread went in a bunch of directions that are all part of the point I was trying to make...

    As for creativity, I REALLY don't mean to suggest that you have to choose between it and logic. We'd still have pretty small brains if someone way back down the line hadn't thought "Hey, check it out, this sharp rock rips up stuff a heck of a lot better than my fingers!" My point wasn't meant to be that we should all favor rationality and logic, but just that it's really, really important to teach people how to weigh information, come to reasonable conclusions, and formulate new starting points using the new data. A new idea or theory is USELESS if it's just plain wrong and you go on believing it anyway - you have to replicate and test and rinse and wash and repeat. What good does it do you to have brilliant, off-the-wall ideas if you don't have the ability to tinker around and make it work? Why would you allow yourself to believe something that can be easily and definatively proved wrong?


    The statistics brought up are a perfect example. Nearly all statistics can be made to say just what you want them to say - the source has to desire the truth above their own personal hopes and hypothoses. Failing that, however, a person needs to know how to look at the data and figure out if the conclusions that someone ELSE drew are reasonable. Are statistics really applicable to the question? Is the conclusion valid given the data? Was the data collected in a way that skews the findings? I haven't looked at the studies referenced, but I will this weekend, FSM willing.


    My point was that people have too little interest in being right, and too much interest in their *cause* being furthered. To fix that, we have to teach them how to think, one way or another.
     
  18. hycamguy07

    hycamguy07 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mystery Squid @ Aug 12 2006, 10:57 PM) [snapback]302394[/snapback]</div>
    WOW Squid, that was great! You left out the part were the Goverment takes care of your every need ie healthcare, retirement , full compensation for natural disasters and you don't have to pay a dime in return. :rolleyes: :lol: Nice board dude.. ;)
     
  19. Denny_A

    Denny_A New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Godiva @ Aug 21 2006, 11:54 PM) [snapback]307280[/snapback]</div>
    At least you accepted the undeniable logic of Thomas Sowell and the [email protected]'s dissection of the Wall Street Journal's article. Two out of three ain't bad, inso?
     
  20. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Denny_A @ Aug 23 2006, 09:18 PM) [snapback]308614[/snapback]</div>
    Who says? I couldn't get past John Stossel as an authority. I'm still peeing my pants.
     
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