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If you want to make sense of who I am, then this institution is central: hamptonschool.org.uk I got a government-funded scholarship, and spent 7 years there (11-18). It's one of London's (and UK's) top private schools, but without "posh" brand of somewhere like Eton or Harrow.
I come from a working class background. My father left school at 15 with no qualifications, barely literate, and his mother just died. He went into the Navy, who raised him up, then 34 years as a maintenance engineer at British Airways fixing broken 747s and smelling of kerosene.
My mother was a store clerk & court typist. She was raised on a farm just outside of Haverfordwest in Wales, which lacked mains water and electricity right into the 1960s. My childhood was filled with visits to the farm, and many summers spent shelling peas and runner beans.
Both me and my younger brother went to Hampton School. Next door is a similar private school for girls. Together they suck in many offspring of the technocratic elite of West London. It's unpretentious, but aggressively high-achieving and academically intensely competitive.
My father made only one demand of me in return for the sacrifices they made to put us through that educational experience: that I get five "pass" grades at my "O" levels (exams aged 16), so I wouldn't find myself at the bottom of the social heap where he began. I exceeded this :)
Myself and my brother went to Oxford (both attending Pembroke College). We are in agreement that the real transformative experience was Hampton. It's where I was trained how to think. A maths & computation degree from Oxford is icing on the cake, but you need the cake first.
Why am I telling you this? A lot of "deplorables" are looked down on by Ivy League types. (The worst are those with PhDs, in my experience, and who work in places like MIT or Stanford.) My message to you is: NEVER be intimidated by someone "pulling rank" on you academically.
We're in a battle that combines "book smarts" with "street smarts", and those who have lived lives isolated from the grittier side of life are often in a bubble that makes their intellectual prowess worse than useless in discerning who the sucker is in power games of deception.
My friends range from professors to prostitutes (with those in roughly equal number!), and I am equally comfortable doing High Table at my Oxford college as comforting someone who is getting a raw deal in life in dingy and dirty surroundings. If anything, the latter comes easier.
I've worked at the very bleeding edge of computer science for many years. I'm only one person, but I've done the research and reasoning work when it comes to #QAnon, #MAGA, and #TheGreatAwakening. I've got your back covered: nobody can ever pull a "philosophical fast one" on you.
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