Friday, November 14, 2014

Yanning Dust

To look at your teacher with a straight face while cobbling together a pile of what's essentially nonsense in an effort to appear to have done work and understood-- this is what it is to yan dust. It's a lot like laying railroad tracks in front of a speeding train-- very difficult to do successfully but producing an amazing feeling if you pull it off. One could go so far as to say that yanning dust is like extreme sports for academically-minded people.

For example:*
Teacher: How did the Thirty Year's War change European politics?
Student: Well, of course, the European states were at that time mostly fragmented based on factors such as religion and the recent Reformation. These conflicts were brought into light by the Thirty Year's War as the various nations struggled in a competition not only for disputed land but for socio-political influence on a continental scale.

*this represents an unsuccessful yan

There is, of course, no substitute for actually learning things, but once in a while, on a busy day perhaps, it is a possible option to simply skim the philosophy reading, go to class, and yan like a champ.

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