The Earned Versus the Given

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Sunni's picture

Bill Gates to finally get Harvard degree, says the Seattle Times. Makes it sound like he’s been finishing his requirements for the sheepskin, doesn’t it? A more accurate representation comes out in the second paragraph of the story [emphasis mine]:

Bill Gates is finally getting his Harvard degree -- 32 years after he walked away from campus on the path to becoming the world's wealthiest person.

Gates, billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Corp., philanthropist and Harvard dropout, will receive an honorary degree in June when he delivers the university's 356th commencement address.

All such pieces of paper are becoming less valuable these days, but all the same, there is still a world of difference between that which is earned, and that which is merely given.

earned and given

just goes to show that money can but everything. i think that what you know about what you know is more important than who has given you a degree, except when it's the third degree. Ask people the right questions and we can tell the depth of what they know - up to the point of our own depth in the topic. The continuum, however, must be maintained throughout perspectives, so anything i tell you in chemistry has to jive with what you know in confectionaries. which means that perhaps we can do the exchange dance the next time you have caramels.
what's your spin on the liberty coinage issue?

Dancing chemistry!

Jump up one level and shimmy until you lose energy, then fall back to a more stable state ... sounds like something the snolfs would enjoy. Hmmm.

We can most certainly do the exchange dance, at your convenience. I have not yet imported my email archive from my old machine, though, so you’ll need to email me first.

By “liberty coinage issue”, do you mean von Nothaus’ lawsuit against the feds, or something else? I’ll confess I haven’t been keeping up with news.


that's the issue - does the banking system have a monopoly on the monetary system? Or can we just use leaves as a medium for exchange? I'll weave threads into fabric by saying that presto does make a good call, but we are watching the grasping at straws portion of the ultimate ponzi game. The next two years can be considered high theatre as we go through the charade of electing a god/king one more time. Who says the decider is going to voluntarily give up the reigns anyway? But by the end of the race - there should be no value to the dollar, and some sort of global currency will be proposed. So why not use von Nothaus' coin as tender and mint money on a community basis. I'll rethread this cloth at the zone. :-)


It amazes me that the less you need something, the more likely it is that you will be given it. It's an interesting commentary on society. My suspicion is that there is something they want from him. The William Henry Gates III Computing Lab? Donated generously by the Gates Foundation, perhaps?

Giving away - or selling - degrees

Nowadays, with so many coursework 'professional doctorates', many available over the internet, there is a great risk (and indeed a perception held by many)that titles and higher degrees might simply be handed out to those who can afford the fees. But to the person in the street, generally, a 'dr' title is a 'dr' title, despite the huge difference in the road to getting a professional or mainly coursework doctorate, and a research PhD.

And as for honary doctorates or degrees...

Dubious honor.

I think Presto cuts to the truth of the matter driving the dispensing of honorary degrees. It seems a silly sort of bribe to me ... but most folks don’t share my perspective, obviously. And it rankles a bit to see recipients using their empty titles – it’s false advertising.