September 06, 2005

Heinlein Meme - Human or Insect?

Eric came up with a great Heinlein-themed idea. First, list Heinlein's examples of the accomplishments that distinguish a [generalist] human from a [specialist] insect. Then identify the ones he has actually done. He solicited comments, but I thought this would make a great "meme" game.

First, the original Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I have taken the list, as broken out by Eric, and bolded the items I have actually done (with explanatory notes in most cases).

I'm gonna tag Robert, The Maximum Leader, Chan, Lynn, and Ted with this one but relieve them of any expectation to pass it along further, unless they want to.

Posted by JohnL at September 6, 2005 09:53 PM | TrackBack

John said: "Did great with basic calculus, but foundered upon the rocks of the 8:00AM Differential Equations "weed-out" class at UT-Austin"

When I took Diff EQ at CSU, Sacramento, on my first test I scored a 67, the worst math test score I ever had. I thought I was done in the engineering program for sure. Then I found out that I had the third highest score in the class. Diff EQ is THE weed out class for engineers. Mostly, you just have to hang tough. It's brutal, no doubt. Ugh, just remembering.

Posted by: Eric at September 6, 2005 10:01 PM

You've got a dog, but never pitched manure?

The idea behind setting a bone is easy: immobilize the fracture, and the joints above and below it. Doing it, well, that's a little tougher, but not impossible.

Comfort the dying: it's about them, not you. Obvious, but hard to keep in mind sometimes.

Posted by: owlish at September 7, 2005 02:46 AM

Eric, it's the main reason I didn't pursue any math/engineering studies after the first semester of my sophomore year. It definitely weeded me out.

Owlish, dogs leave shit, not manure. Same for babies, or else I would have counted the hundreds (thousands?) of diaper changes. I think the original "pitching manure" quote went more to doing physically hard agricultural work, which I haven't.

I have also hung sheetrock and paneling, but don't count that as "building a wall" since I think that goes more toward a major stone/brick structure.

And, G-d willing, I hope I don't need to comfort the dying anytime soon, though I'm sure I can.

Posted by: JohnL at September 8, 2005 08:26 AM

Ok, makes sense. Come to the Tiny Texas Town sometime and you can achieve this important milestone in your life.

Posted by: owlish at September 8, 2005 10:31 AM

I haven't forgotten this, just been busy. Soon.

Posted by: Ted at September 12, 2005 11:35 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Save This Page