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David White is a software/firmware/marketing professional and a long time investor. He has worked in the networking field, the semiconductor equipment field, the mainframe computer field, and the pharmaceutical/scientific instrumentation field. He has bachelor's degrees in bioresource sciences... More
  • Some Are Challenging My Veracity Re A Grade Challenge In College. 17 comments
    Dec 18, 2012 12:59 AM | about stocks: SPY

    Some gossip seems to be using an old grade challenge in College (U.C. Berkeley) to try to say I am not truthful about my stock calls, etc. Hence I think I need to clarify this.

    I challenged about 20% of a full professor's answers on one final exam. To support my claim I got a letter from an expert in the field of each question. One letter came from one of the editors of a book titled "The Kidney". He was widely regarded as an expert on the kidney; and I talked to the biggest expert at Stanford too, who agreed with him. Another letter came from a UCSF professor who was doing research on the exact topic of the question. I located him through a highly esteemed full professor in Biochemistry at U.C. Berkeley. In other words some professors at U.C. Berkeley agreed that I deserved to win my challenge. That UCSF professor later became head of the UCSF Biotech Center. It would seem he was really an expert. A third professor did not fully agree with me on another question. However, she did think I had sufficient reason to challenge my grade. She did seem to believe that my grade did not reflect the actual level of my knowledge. I later heard a rumor that she started a research project to investigate my contention. I heard she end up proving me correct. I heard some comments about my advancing medical science to get my grade changed. Much of the rumors about the third case above was just rumor, as I have stated. However, there is probably at least a 75%-80% chance that what I heard happened exactly as I have stated.

    I further point out that I did not get my grade changed based on these disagreements. I only got the three professors involved (one especially) to agree that my test was not a fair test of my knowledge or performance. My argument was: the professor could not possibly have taught me how to answer the questions correctly, if he could not answer them correctly himself. I thought then and I think now that this was a fair argument.

    I won the right to take another test. I had to wait until the class was taught again to make it a fair situation. I got my grade changed to reflect my performance on that test and on the previous two test in the original class. I ended up with an A-. It was only that low because I didn't realize exactly what the professor was asking for on a large question on the second test. I had actually known all of the things the professor wanted me to write down. However, I did not understand that he was asking for all of that data. I gave what many would consider a stock answer to that question. That's the way it goes sometimes.

    At least two of the professors were very amicable throughout this process. They even seemed a bit grateful to me for updating some of their course material, although they were not grateful for all the extra trouble. I would say we were generally on good terms after this was all over.

    David White

    Stocks: SPY
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  • macombet
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    The days of college are gone - thank goodness! The professors I found was someone to yell at in my youth. There wasn't a day that they did something right! Four years later, that was enough mental torture. Still can't believe - but someone has to give them a job!
    23 Jan 2013, 04:06 AM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Some are now apparently saying I just kept complaining until they gave me a grade I was satisfied with. There is probably some truth to that. However, as I see it, my claims were all justified.

     

    Further my dean told me almost before I started, that the department in question had managed to ignore just about everyone who had made complaints in previous years. Hence my strategy of getting written opinions from people who were really the foremost experts in the US in the subject of the question they were providing an answer for. When the next step in the complaint cycle is a complaint to the Academic Senate of the University, not many professors would want that to happen, if the complainant has letters agreeing with his complaint from the foremost experts in the country.

     

    I also point out that there were many other people in the class who did not complaint. It was my impression that they did not know enough to want to seriously question the professor's answers. The fact that I did would tend to indicate that I did know what I was talking about.

     

    In fact one of the more friendly of the three professors involved asked me how I was so sure I was correct (before I potentially made a fool of myself by asking true experts for their opinions). I answered him honestly. Apparently some students had heard of my complaints success, and they then wanted their grades changed. There were clues in the course and elsewhere that indicated the professor's answers were wrong. However, I do acknowledge that the cases involved were "wrong" due to leading edge scientific development.
    21 Dec 2013, 10:53 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » There now seem to be some who want to say this isn't so. However, the experts who wrote me the above cited letters are still around; and they are honest. The clear implication of these new rumors is that somehow they "GAVE" this to me. However, I probably knew more than the main professor involved about several aspects of the course. I went to the next iteration of the class in case the material changed as part of the process. During that time, I had more than one student tell me that they thought I knew the material better than the professor teaching the class. I think it is safe to say that I deserved the grade I got, when I got it. In fact, I probably would have gotten a higher grade except that I did not realize the professor wanted as much detail on one question as he apparently did. Such things happen, and there is little one can do.

     

    I would also point out that the University dismantled that department not too long after this. They spread out the professors in other departments. I know of at least one that left. I am sure part of this was due to fact that many of the professors in that department reached retirement age at about the same time. I also believe that there was some outrage from professors in other departments, who had had their good students have trouble in that department. These "good and concerned" professors had really known that there was some "cover for the other professor regardless of whether a student gets hurt" behavior going on. When my complaint pointed out clearly that these professors had been correct, I am sure they were more angry. Keep in mind that some professors were actively helping me. These professors may have had a hand in the eventual disbanding of this department.
    12 Apr, 04:43 AM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » I should also point out that people should not always focus too much on GRADES in such cases. If I proved 20% of the professor's final exam answers wrong, did the people who got A's deserve to get A's? How did they come up with wrong answers to match the professor's? I tend to think the professor fed the answers to the known good students in his department. This would explain why professors from other departments with good students in that class and other classes in this department seemed angry at this department. Of course, this last is just supposition on my part. I can only guess that the department's reply to their anger was likely that the courses were just harder. That must have made those professors just that much madder.

     

    As for other classes, I took another in this department in which the professor described one process 5 different times. He gave one description 3 times, and another incompatible description 2 times. He was one of the older professors. Some students taped his lectures, and they agreed with this dichotomy. There were a lot of areas for confusion in the lectures. When you add in that many fewer processes were not well understood at that time, there was even more room for confusion. In other words, the professor could not have accurately described some of the processes given the current knowledge available at that time. Yet students were expected to answer questions on them on the tests.

     

    I should mention that the Provost Dean of Letters and Sciences attended all of this last professor's lectures a few years after I took that class. I had little to do with that. I assumed, since the Provost Dean was a very busy man, that he was attending in order to assess a variety of different complaints about the lectures. I attended a class near that one, so I did personally see the Provost Dean going to the classes myself.
    13 Apr, 11:26 AM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » The rumor mill in reply to this has in some cases said that I am just mad that the last professor did not feed the answers to me.

     

    I was and am mad; but not for that reason. I am mad that he was feeding them to anyone. I was working very hard both in and outside of school at the time. Therefore I was mad at being treated to some poor and confused lectures. I should clarify that many professors at CAL do give good to great lectures. I was madder that the professor beyond the first week or two just refused to answer my questions. I at first thought this was just a personal dislike, especially when he started insulting me to other students. I later realized (a couple of years later) that he was in all likelihood just scared of my questions; and he was trying to scare me away by hazing me. I was mad that he seemed to be suffering (in my estimation and I have seen a lot of alcoholics) from acute alcoholism. I was mad when a couple of my friends who were pre-vet (and had jobs at the nearby horse racing track) told me that he was spending a lot of his time at the track. So yes, I was mad.
    14 Apr, 05:23 AM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Further rumors talk of two twin sisters I referred to a specialist. First they were friends of my sister (and to some extent my friends). They were very beautiful. There was some talk of one of them dating me. My sister felt I should know about a family trait that caused them to look less good later in life. Since I had been studying that recently at CAL, I knew that the problem could be solved; and I told my sister to explain the whole thing to them (I explained it to her). I referred them to a doctor at UCSF Medical Center who specialized in that medical problem. She had been a guest lecturer in one of my classes; and I was impressed with her knowledge of the subject, etc. From the recent rumors, they are still beautiful as a result.

     

    I also have heard that all I did was hang around the gym then. This was true to some extent when I got my first degree. I played on a varsity athletic team. However, during the time I was getting my second degree, I spent little time in the gym, although I still worked out a little. This situations above both occurred during the second degree period. Any slur implying that I just "played" is a completely FALSE slur. I was a full-time student (and I generally did very well). I worked part time; and I did volunteer work on top of that. I consider implications that I was lazy in any way at that time to be complete slander. There may still be a connection to the gym. In the first degree, the team I played on won a Western States Championship. Therefore my picture was still hanging in the gym for many year afterward. The university tends to display championship team pictures for a long time. If people recognize you from the gym (your picture), it does not necessarily mean you are there all the time. It was partially my impression that this professor did not like guys who were smarter, better looking, and college athletes on top of all his other problems with me.

     

    The main other professor in question was more athletic and I think good looking, so these things did not seem to be a problem with him.
    16 Apr, 04:54 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Now apparently some are wondering why the beautiful women did not find out what I told them from their own doctor. There are several likely explanations:

     

    1. At that time the treatment for the problem was relatively new. A lot of doctors probably did not even know there was a solution. The class I took was a semi-advanced endocrinology course. About one third of the lectures were given by expert specialists (MDs) in specific fields from UCSF Medical Center. Apparently the professor did not feel expert enough to teach them (or perhaps he intended to use their material the next year).

     

    2. When you go to see a doctor, there is usually a patient history chart to fill out. Esoteric problems like this one do not normally appear on such history questionaire charts. Therefore most doctors who see their patients for very short periods of time would not know there was anything wrong with what would appear to him/her to be a beautiful and healthy female. The doctor would simply not know there was anything that needed treatment unless he did a very comprehensive history. Most times this would not happen unless a patient complained. If that patient thought there was nothing that could be done about it, the patient would be unlikely to complain. I had the advantage of my sister trying to warn me that the woman I might date might not be as beautiful all of her life. Therefore I knew something was wrong. Due to my education, I also knew it could be treated effectively. Therefore I referred them to a specialist who could do so. I am happy I was able to help. They are both very beautiful and very nice women.

     

    3. Since this was relatively new science at that time, it is very possible that many doctors did not know what I knew. Therefore such doctors would not have known that it could be cured.

     

    This is not the only instance where I have done something like this. For instance, my uncle was arranging a trip of a group of doctors to the Philippines one time. I heard him tell one of the other doctors going (over the phone) to take chloroquine to the Philippines with him. This is an anti-malarial drug. Since I had recently taken a course in parasitology, I knew that there was 10% chloroquine resistance in the Philippines. I had the most up to date information. I suggested to my aunt that they actually take mefloquine. This was a new drug -- a chloroquine analog -- which had the same mode of action. However, the malaria strains in the Philippines were not resistant to it at that time. I believe they took my advice. This was many years ago. Apparently most doctors were not familiar with this drug yet. I like to think I prevented one or more doctors from coming home with malaria. The bottom line is that doctors are human beings. They don't know every new development as soon as the knowledge becomes available. Hopefully they keep learning; but that requires effort on their part that they do not directly get paid for. Some are better at continued learning that than others.
    16 Apr, 08:44 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » I should add in case there is any question, these two identical twins were two of the most beautiful women I have ever seen (at least at the time I last saw them). Each one could literally make Miss America look bad.
    16 Apr, 10:39 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » I should also add that CAL could easily screen for the type of behavior that I believe the "hazing" professor was practicing. They could get their computer science department to write programs that would be able to easily correlate GPA data, whether the student was in the major or not, and performance in a class. If no low GPA students in the major did well in a class, that would probably be a tell. If the non-major high GPA students did considerably worse than the high GPA students in the major, that would be a tell. The professor would in all likelihood be feeding answers to good students in the major. If this happened in many of his/her classes, the odds of "feeding the answers to students" would increase dramatically. In other words, with the current computer technology, CAL has no excuse for not preventing the type of behavior I have described. The exams are supposed to be FAIR to all students in the classes, not just easy for the ones the professor decides to favor with his/her benevolence.

     

    If they want to decry me for what I have said, they can. But they are then only really insulting themselves by failing to admit that this is probably still happening in some cases (and consciously covering it up).

     

    For the "hazing" professor, I was aware that he was checking grades for many students. In fact the few times I was in the head of the department's office (where the departments grade records were being kept then), he came in an inordinate number of times in order to inspect people's grades. I am sure the department head saw a lot more of him. For her to claim that she had no idea what he may have been doing is extremely hard to believe (if not impossible).
    17 Apr, 12:17 AM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Some are apparently saying that all I did was make those professors worse. However, I am not sure they could have gotten much worse in how fair (unfair) they were to many students. Some of the professors were actually good professors, if some of their material was a bit out of date. They did give good lectures, and they were generally fair. However, virtually all of the professors in that department did seem to cover for a professor who made serious mistakes, and/or mistreated students, and/or fed answers to the "higher GPA" students in their department. Then too there were many times exam questions that were very vague. Some other answer made perfect sense to the questions; but the professor would accept only the one he had come up with. In other words they were sloppy about what questions they asked and about how they asked them. Yet they expected their exact answers to be provided by the students (perhaps easy if you were fed the answers). Many students, especially those not fed the expected answers, were hurt by this.

     

    My general take on the one who did the hazing of me (and fed answers to the "good students in his department") was that he got "experts from UCSF Medical Center" to guest lecture for his class. Then he used those same lectures in future classes himself. The problem with this was that he seemed to have only a surface level knowledge of the topics. This likely accounted for his sometimes confused lectures. It likely accounted for him not wanting to answer questions that required a more "in depth" knowledge of the material. I ended up concluding that this was likely the reason for his hazing and shunning of me, although one time he did turn beet red at one of my few questions during a lecture (revenge?). He had been unable to answer this question, and he was apparently embarrassed. This was perhaps more embarrassing because he was nearly bald. His whole head turned beet red.

     

    I hadn't early on tried to be anything, but pleasant to him. Naturally when he started hazing me, my opinion of him fell dramatically. However, it took me some time to realize what the likely explanation for this was. When later my pre-vet friends told me he was spending a lot of time at the track, I thought my conclusions about him were even more likely to be true. He was not just betting. He was spending a lot of time around the stables trying to get tips from the various people working at the track. This level of betting takes a lot of time.

     

    I also heard that some of the professors at UCSF and Stanford that I talked to about the second professor's test would not talk to the professors in that department. I had nothing to do with this. That was entirely their issue. I had my own friends at UCSF and Stanford. Plus one of the biggest experts, I "cold" called. I did not know him. I had never met or talked to him before, although I did like him right away.

     

    Further a couple of friends did volunteer to write letters for my complaint. However, I asked them if they considered themselves experts in the field. They did not. Therefore I kept searching for "true experts". I was satisfied that the people I eventually got to write me letters were in fact "real experts". My impression was that the CAL professors thought my selections were experts too. They were a bit embarrassed by my having spread their questionable behavior to other schools, although this was never my intent. I was merely searching for "real experts".
    21 Apr, 12:56 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Apparently some people are now saying the department could have just abused me more the second time because they had nothing to fear. I guess I am just one of those people whom you can only push so far. My next step would have been to appeal to the Academic Senate of CAL; and I think they would have ruled in my favor. I could really prove a significant portion of the professor's expected answers to his own test were wrong. Second I may not have had much money at that time; but I knew a lot of lawyers (even a bunch Harvard Law School educated lawyers). Some were my parents age. Some were people I knew from playing tennis and squash. Some were friends from other areas. I even had a semi-local relative or two to call. I am fairly sure that one or more of them would have been willing to sue for me on a contingency basis. If some person or persons want to believe there was nothing to worry about, that is their prerogative. However, that person or persons is almost certainly wrong. With the case I had (and the kind of lawyers I knew) I almost certainly would have won a lawsuit. I just chose not to sue if I didn't have too.
    22 Apr, 03:34 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Now I hear comments about whether or not exam question material was contained in the lectures. It was not in the cases I contested. I had the Black Lightning notes, which were a verbatim record of the lectures provided by ASUC to those who bought subscriptions. In some cases the 20% wrong professor apparently thought he was asking made up theoretical questions. However, his answers to these questions were not contained in the lectures. They were not for the most part contained in the book. Then how were students supposed to answer them. Perhaps only by talking to the professor (being fed the answers by him). As it turned out, things he expected to be theoretical were actually not theoretical. People had done research that he was not aware of; and his answers were largely wrong. I am sure the people who got A's by being fed the answers were happy. However, their answers were wrong along with the professor's answers. In one case I was directed to new research by an eminent biochemistry professor at CAL to a professor at UCSF, who was doing the research on the topic. The CAL Biochemistry professor is a reviewer for PNAS. Perhaps that was part of the reason he was aware of it? I knew a particular part was wrong due to something I had learned from the Biochemistry professor in his class. In another case I cold called a guy at UCSF who was one of the most eminent people in his field in the country (top 5 by my estimation). Another very eminent guy at Stanford agreed with him completely. Virtually no one would think the CAL professor (who gave the test) knew more than either of those guys, much less both of them in agreement. They both agreed with my general thesis on the question, although I was not 100% correct. I at least had the major idea correct, which was something the CAL professor had failed completely at. The CAL professor again had not presented correct or comprehensive coverage of this area in the lectures or in the books. He had even presented some lecture material which directly disagreed with his own exam answer to the question. In still another case, the question was very much in question, although I mentioned a research project above. I do not believe this question should have been on the exam at all. The lectures did not cover material that you would need to answer the question. The book (to me) made you think that an answer other than the professor's answer was the correct answer. Presuming the above mentioned rumor about the new research project outcome was correct, the book would have led you in the right direction. This would have disagreed with the professor's answer.

     

    In none of these cases was material presented in the lectures which would lead you to the correct answer. The professor was being "cute" -- too "cute". He thought he could just wing theoretical junk out there that no one could challenge. It wasn't as theoretical as he imagined. I resent that he likely fed the answers to the people who got A's to start with. I am not sure how else those students could as a group have come up with the answers they did, since the professor's answers were in fact WRONG.
    23 Apr, 06:34 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » The latest complaint is that the professor who had so much of his exam wrong was teaching the "current science" of the time. This may be his claim; but it is not so. One kidney question was dramatically wrong. My answer was correct in a gross sense; but it missed on a few details. The professor's answer was completely WRONG. I had the question answered by the head of the nephrology (kidney) departments of both UCSF and Stanford Medical Schools. The CAL professor was more of a reproductive endocrinologist by specialization. There is simply no question his "current science claim" is just propaganda on his part. In another case the CAL professor made a glaring mistake in a Biochemistry/Molecular Biology area. The eminent professor in Biochemistry who helped me in this area knew that I would know this was wrong, since he had taught me why a few years earlier. The guy at UCSF that was doing research on that exact topic eventually became the head of UCSF's Biotech Center. He also knew much more about Biochemistry issues than the CAL professor who wrote the question. Another question that I noted the rumor about the new research about just should not have been on the exam at all. If my arguments spurred new research, that means to me that the answer was not known adequately for anyone to answer the question well. Further the CAL professor did not cover the topic in his lectures (I had verbatim notes from ASUC). That is was on the exam at all was a travesty. According to the rumor, the answer that I espoused caused the "expert" I talked to at UCSF to start a research project to investigate it. According to the rumor I heard, she proved me correct. Regardless, if it wasn't in the lecture notes at all, it shouldn't have been on the exam. Again this was an area that was not in the CAL professor's specialty area.

     

    It should be obvious why I think he winged it with supposedly hypothetical questions. It should also be obvious why I think he fed the answers he expected to the "good students" in his major. How else would they have been able to reproduce as a group answers that were wrong? If they did not do this, how did they get A's when they got 20%+ incorrect answers on the final exam. There is simply no way the professor in question did a good job on this test. In my mind there is no way he was not feeding the answers to quite a few students. I consider this a completely unfair way to conduct classes and exams. CAL should be ashamed; and the dismantling of that department (at a later date) would seem to indicate that CAL as a whole was unhappy with how that department was conducting their business.
    24 Apr, 02:41 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » I have heard more than one person accuse me of lying about my GPA as a result of this grade change. The class was a 4 unit semester class; and a large grade change can have a significant effect on a GPA. This was actually applied to a 2nd degree that was only 2 years worth of courses, so the effect was even bigger. The reality is that I have not been the one lying about my GPA. Rather those who have accused me of lying (and asserted some lower GPA) have been the liars (or slanderers to be more technical).
    13 Jun, 10:54 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Apparently some people are still trying to debate whether the head of the nephrology departments of two of the top medical schools were correct about the kidney question. I actually talked to several MDs before I got to either head of nephrology. Every one of them agreed with my contention that the kidney would regulate in that case. Among the list of people I talked to is the now world famous diet and wellness guru, Dr. Michael Roizen. He has written numerous books, etc. He is now the chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. He and the perhaps more famous Dr. Oz have partnered on books. The Cal professor was quite simply wrong.
    3 Jul, 10:18 PM Reply Like
  • David White
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    Author’s reply » Apparently some are now trying to discredit me by saying I shouldn't have been admitted. However, I was an honor student at CAL. This above problem was a problem of faculty abuse. It was my problem. I think such attacks are misplaced.

     

    I have known successful professors (who made a lot of money). They then seem to think badly of anyone they know who does not become extremely rich (or at least follow the path to ever higher learning). I spent a lot of time in universities (some of the best). I admit I could have gotten higher degrees. However, I have seen too many people with high degrees that were almost meaningless. My cousin's husband used to joke that he had more degrees than a thermometer.

     

    My overall take on all of this is that CAL expects me to become hugely monetarily successful. I am a higher profile graduate than many. Therefore I have more expectations on me. Perhaps I will eventually become as rich as they seem to want. However, at this point I am interested in enjoying the journey. Perhaps part of my problem is that both of my parents died fairly young and generally unhappy. I enjoy the markets. They are fascinating. I like to think I help other people make money in them.

     

    I think some people resent my philosophy. They want to see me fail because I do not conform to their "you should work hard to be miserable" philosophy. Perhaps I am gifted enough not to want to do that. Perhaps they are not as gifted? When I see the news about prostitution increasing in the Silicon Valley, I think I am glad I left. The philosophy seems to be that they are too busy earning money to have time for relationships. When a likely psychotic prostitute allegedly kills a Google executive with drugs, you have to wonder what is going on. The woman is thought to have killed others. You have to wonder just how sane the Google executive was to pay to spend time with the psychotic woman.
    17 Jul, 05:26 PM Reply Like
  • macombet
    , contributor
    Comments (129) | Send Message
     
    David the only problem I have with you is that you live in California, JOKE
    18 Jul, 09:41 AM Reply Like
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