Don't take it so hard.  I'm not trying to hate on the US, just trying to raise
awareness about some problems that get overlooked.  I actually am majoring in
poli sci, but doing so isn't any sort of shortcut to making a difference.  The
best way to do that is to talk calmly with peers about changes that need to be
made.  I realize the list has a narrowly defined purpose, but I'm willing to
risk annoying a few people for the cause.  This is our world to live in, so we
have to be clear about what we'll put up with and what isn't 
acceptable.  There
are a lot of smart and influential people on the list, and I thought you all
deserved to know the real story of life in the suburbs, and at a major
university, because these are really important issues that affect millions of
lives!  I don't want to sit back while people suffer - I want to raise 
my voice
about how easy it would be to fix so much.  I know that there are people from
many parts of the world on this list, and quite a few may be 
considering a move
to another place - they deserve to know what they'd be getting into.  These
aren't trivial things that I'm writing about.

Sorry to go off topic again.  I'll be more careful.





Quoting Corey Jewett <corey / syntheticplayground.com>:

> Geez. If our country is so despicably horribly why don't you just  
> pack your bags and move to some place more 'enlightened'? Amsterdam  
> perhaps? If that's too radical a change for you, maybe try one of the 
>  many other Western European countries you hold so near and dear.
>
> Or better yet switch to a PoliSci major and make a difference. Until  
> then take your meandering diatribe and pipe it to /dev/null next time.
>
> Corey
>
>
> On Dec 2, 2005, at 4:22 PM, Mike Schwab wrote:
>
>>>
>> Congrats on (nearly) finishing your preparations for college.  It's  
>> a great time if you do it at all correctly.  While I don't have any  
>> experience at universities in other nations, I want to caution you  
>> against moving to the US.  Our political screw-ups have a really  
>> sad effect on our day-to-day lives.  I'm not just talking about  
>> counterproductive drug policies and arrogant torture policy; the  
>> hypocrisy goes much deeper than you might realize.  Our cities and  
>> towns have been built in a way that favors cars so strongly that  
>> bikes are an uncommon sight in many communities, and drivers lose  
>> touch with their peers because they are always behind a thick layer  
>> of steel and glass.  This in turn makes it quite dangerous to ride  
>> bikes in such communities, because drivers aren't aware that you  
>> might be on the road as well.  So parents forbid their children  
>> from biking; social isolation mounts among those who are too young  
>> to drive or too frugal to own a car; the economy fails to provide  
>> any entertainment for those under 21 because they aren't mobile  
>> enough to be profitable; and the only diversions kids show interest  
>> in are alcohol and pot.  But these substances are forbidden and  
>> users persecuted, which doesn't reduce consumption but forces it  
>> into unsupervised situations, where it becomes all the more  
>> dangerous (especially because of the copious driving involved in  
>> this constant cover-up).
>>
>> College life is a wonderful escape compared to growing up in the  
>> suburbs, especially if you're at a school like mine that recognizes  
>> that alcohol is a health issue and not a disciplinary issue (sadly  
>> I don't know of any other US schools that have such an enlightened  
>> policy).  Still, the culture of substance abuse persists; and our  
>> national obsession with big-box sporting events also has a crappy  
>> effect because it drastically increases social segregation on  
>> campus (and essentially steals the lives, and destroys the  
>> cartilage, of those who are talented enough to be recruited).   
>> Great teachers are far between, as are students who unabashedly  
>> show an insatiable interest in anything.  Schools in other nations  
>> may not have the same social unity, but at least people know why  
>> they are there (to learn) and they value that opportunity pretty  
>> highly.
>>
>> Now, I know that people abuse substances the world over, but I am  
>> certain that the patterns of use in most places are not so  
>> pointless and boring as they tend to be here.  Go somewhere (like  
>> Canada) that has a drinking age of 19 or lower; you'll find  
>> yourself in a much nicer environment.  Personally, I am hoping to  
>> get myself to your part of the world by any means possible... I  
>> understand your regard for US schools, but I again caution you  
>> against leaving the warm embrace of social democracy.
>>
>> California is a bit of a different story.  Failing Europe or Canada  
>> that's probably where I'll end up, so if you make it there let me  
>> know!
>>
>> -Mike
>>
>>> And by then you'll be of legal drinking age in the US as well.
>>>
>>> Finally, I'll let my own nationalism slip through, and suggest  
>>> that you think about Canada as well as the US.  The University of  
>>> Toronto is a good school for CS and math, and is a great city.   
>>> Simon Frasier University near Vancouver is smaller, but has a good  
>>> reputation as well, and both Vancouver and Toronto are fantastic  
>>> cities to live in.  Canadian universities also generally cheaper  
>>> than the US, even when paying international tuition rates.
>>
>>
>
>