Why Do I Need Clean Pennies?

26 Mar 2015 /

Clean pennies


Three is Enough

25 Mar 2015 /

Dalmatian dog looking at dalmatian fish

One of the neighbor ladies is over talking to my wife while Lightning and I entertain two of her three daughters, ages 3 and 7.

“I want a dog like Lightning,” the 7-year-old says. “We just have boring fish.”

“What does your mom say about that?” I ask.

“She says having a dog is a lot of work.”

“It is a lot of work.”

“She says the three of us are enough work already.”


Why Writers Make Incredible Friends

22 Mar 2015 /
Why Writers Make Incredible Friends infographic
Courtesy of: Global English Editing

Teaching Computer Science: Incentives (or Lack Thereof)

22 Mar 2015 /

According to this article on TechCrunch, “Every California high school must establish computer science courses as part of its core curriculum.” From the same article: “Most California teachers have little or no training to teach computer science.”

Do you see the problem there?

I’ve been a programmer for many years . . . I’d be glad to teach computer science to students, teachers or anyone who wants to learn it if there were even a modest incentive to do so. Which there isn’t.

One way to measure how much people want something is how much they’re willing to pay for it. There’s no shortage of people talking about teaching programming and computer science, which is free (the talking, that is), but without the incentives ($$$) very little is going to actually happen.


Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Trains 2, Fitness Experts 0

20 Mar 2015 /

Two months after fitness expert and reality TV star Greg Plitt was killed by a Metrolink train in California, another personal trainer was struck and killed Tuesday in Georgia by a freight train.

Achilles Williams, 30, a popular Atlanta-area personal trainer, was skipping rope near the train tracks filming a YouTube workout video when he was sideswiped by a speeding freight train, a spokesperson at the Fulton County coroner’s office confirms to PEOPLE.


Carjacking Diversity

20 Mar 2015 /

Female carjacking suspect

Carjacking is like STEM in that it’s a profession in which women are seriously underrepresented so I celebrate this woman as a champion of diversity and inclusiveness.


This Photo of A Guy Tap Dancing in a Pink Floyd Shirt Explains a Lot

20 Mar 2015 /

A Wall Street Journal article on college students, the weak job market and high debt loads is illustrated by this photo of a guy in a Pink Floyd t-shirt taking a tap dancing class.

The crazy thing is that not only are these kids running up debt and killing their job prospects, they don’t even appear to be having a good time doing it . . .

Tap dancing


EppsNet Book Reviews: Hotel World by Ali Smith

18 Mar 2015 /

Happy is what you realize you are a fraction of a second before it’s too late.

Hotel World takes place in and around a hotel in London, hence the title, but Hotel World is also a metaphor for life: people check in and people check out.

It’s about remembering to live, remembering that you won’t live forever . . . it’s about love, not romantic love, but a mother’s love for her daughter, sisters’ love for each other . . . and it’s about how close people come to really understanding one another, which is not very close at all.

Rating: 5-stars


With a Little Bit of Luck

16 Mar 2015 /

Venn diagram

A colleague shows me a Venn diagram like this one and asks would it be possible to succeed with only two of the three elements.

I say, “I suppose you could have fun dreaming big and get other people to do all the hard work.”


There are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both. — Kierkegaard


We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness. — Schopenhauer


Big Fishes in Small Ponds

14 Mar 2015 /

Big fish, small pond

A colleague and I are discussing an article about too many kids quitting science because they don’t think they’re smart, in which Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, says, among other things:

Being a good parent has become synonymous with giving out ability praise. Parents still think this is the greatest gift they can give to their children, and as a child gets more and more insecure, they give more and more of it. And, by the way, a lot of employers and coaches have said, “My employees cannot get through the day without accolades and validation.” Even professional coaches have said they cannot give feedback without these people feeling that they’ve crushed them. We’ve created several generations now of very fragile individuals because they’ve been praised and hyped. And feel that anything but praise is devastating.

My colleague mentions Malcolm Gladwell‘s book David and Goliath, in which Gladwell claims that while the worst STEM students at, say, Harvard may be as smart as the top third at a lower ranked college, the Harvard kids feel stupid and unsuccessful because they compare themselves to their Harvard peers. Gladwell then goes on to recommend attending non-elite institutions — to be a big fish in a small pond — in order not to have your dreams and confidence crushed.

“Why don’t kids just forget about four-year institutions completely and attend their local community college?” I reply. “They can test their mettle against classmates with no academic qualifications whatsoever. That should provide a much-needed confidence boost.”


Joan of Arc

10 Mar 2015 /

A colleague tells me, apropos of nothing in particular, that she’s sure she can finish a challenging assignment because she’s a descendant of Joan of Arc.

“Yes, I thought I saw a resemblance.”

Joan of Arc


Bonified?

9 Mar 2015 /

From LinkedIn:

Decision Engineering is emerging as a new profession. | LinkedIn


Overheard

6 Mar 2015 /

“Why is that old guy wheeling a golf bag down the sidewalk? . . . Oh wait, that’s an oxygen tank.”


At the Piano Studio

5 Mar 2015 /

piano

There’s a new woman at the front desk tonight when I go in for my piano lesson . . .

“I need to pay for March,” I say.

“What is your child’s name?” she asks.

“Casey. But he’s not taking the lessons, I am.”

Tags:

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

5 Mar 2015 /
  • Men who schedule haircut appointments, especially men who schedule haircut appointments for weekday afternoons.
  • Men who use the word “diva” in reference to their cat.

Teaching Computer Science: Pro Tips for Finishing a Project

5 Mar 2015 /

Woman teaching geometry, from Euclid's Elements.

  1. For many (most?) students doing an object-oriented development project for the first time, this assignment is too difficult to do without a lot of guidance. Therefore: ask for help early and often.
  2. If you wait till the night before a checkpoint, you won’t have enough time to finish and we won’t have enough time to help you effectively. Therefore: ask for help early and often.
  3. I’m seeing students struggling to write code that we’ve already given you. That’s not a good use of your time. Know what we’ve given you and use it.
  4. This is what your program needs to do: [Feature list goes here].
  5. Pick a feature and try to implement it (or part of it). If you can’t do it, come to class tomorrow and ask a question.
  6. Repeat Step 5 until done.

One Who Lives Alone

4 Mar 2015 /

English: Painting of Gautama Buddha

I will tell you how to achieve complete solitude. In the solitude that I am talking about, Thera, all that which is past must be relinquished. All that which is in the future must be relinquished. Desire and lust in the present must be fully mastered. This is the way, Thera, that the true ideal of solitude can be completely realized. . . . The sage who overcomes everything, who knows everything, who is attached to nothing, who is completely free because he has renounced everything, who is without thirst — he is the true sage. This man I call “one who lives alone.”

— Buddha, Theranana Sutta

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