Thursday, July 31, 2014
It's not just academia, it's true throughout the economy. As a result, we're on the edge of a crash in the birth rate. Things are going to be pretty ugly in another 20 years.
Affordable day care is nice, but who provides the day care? Other women with the same problem! Parental leave is nice, but is it paid and does the promotion clock stop for good? The latter can be fixed, by the way, but not easily.
When I was thinking about the transition from millenia where a hunter and gatherer group easily moved from place to place, or when family members all worked in the same place (a farm), I realized that large cities provide a similar environment: employment mobility without moving. That might be one of the real reasons behind the flourishing of major cities, as mentioned in your recent "location" column.
One of the cures for this problem is of course to start charging for WiFi access, which will supposedly drive the utilization rate downward to more manageable levels. But this will certainly anger many students, since they will now have to pay for something that was previously free. Yet another conspiracy to get more of their money.
But WiFi access is not free, and somebody has to pay for it. Some sort of throttle needs to be provided, to prevent the WiFi networks from getting completely clogged. Currently, a lot of mobile device users go onto WiFi networks to get around the caps that their mobile network providers impose. Perhaps caps need to be imposed on WiFi network users as well. But how does one do this without a whole bunch of unintended adverse side effects, in which, for example, a professor suddenly finds that his or her students can no longer access his online course material without paying an extra fee?
It would be nice, for example, to be able to charge for recreational and entertainment access to WiFi (music, gaming, downloading movies, etc), but still provide free access for educational uses. But how do you distinguish between these two types of activities, without getting a whole bunch of people angry with you? The alternative is to do nothing, and let WiFi networks get so clogged that no one can use them.
But I guess this is what we pay administrators for—to be able to make these tough calls:-)
The biggest draw on bandwidth is video and it's hard (from a network perspective) to tell when it's educational or not. There are a lot of educational videos on Youtube, including all of Khan Academy, but there are a lot of cats and twerking Stormtroopers as well.
"The birth rate among U.S. teens and young women dropped to record lows last year, while the rate among older women hit highs not seen in a half century, according to government statistics released on Thursday."
People still have kids; what happens is that women simply lose their careers, just like they always have. We just feel differently about it now.