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

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

4 Mar 2015 /
  • Celebrities showing off their post-baby bodies
  • Anyone who asks for privacy by issuing a press release through their publicist
  • Anyone with a go-to karaoke song

Teaching Computer Science: Ski Week

3 Mar 2015 /

Skier

Corona del Mar High School doesn’t just take Presidents Day off . . . they take the whole week off and call it Ski Week.

It’s a total non sequitur in terms of paying tribute to our nation’s greatest leaders. George Washington didn’t ski. Abraham Lincoln didn’t ski.

“How do you know Abraham Lincoln didn’t ski?” a student asks.

“He was too busy writing the Gettysburg Address.”

“He wrote that in 20 minutes.”

“There was the whole Civil War thing going on. He didn’t have time for ski trips with his buddies.”

It’s hard to think of a notable historical figure who also a skier. If you want to accomplish great deeds, you have to give things up. You can’t get bogged down in nonsense.


Let it be known: I did not fall from grace. I leapt to freedom.

Posted by on 2 Mar 2015

No Class Today

2 Mar 2015 /

http://ktla.com/2015/03/02/teacher-reportedly-found-hanging-in-classroom-at-high-school-in-placentia/

— via KTLA


Teaching Computer Science: Lessons Learned

1 Mar 2015 /

We did a programming lab in class . . . before we started, I mentioned several times that Java code that would be useful for the lab was posted on the class website.

So it surprised me that several groups got stuck during the lab when they got to the part where the sample code would have been useful because they didn’t go to the website and download the sample code.

Going forward, I will preface important announcements by saying “I cannot emphasize this strongly enough . . .” while pounding my fist on a solid object.


When is Diversity Not a Dilemma?

26 Feb 2015 /

I just read yet another brief — Solving the Diversity Dilemma — regarding lack of diversity in the STEM workforce.

If members of Group X are underrepresented in some professions, they must be overrepresented in others. For example, I used to work with a nursing organization . . . women far outnumber men in nursing but for the five years I worked there I never heard anyone talk about the shortage of men in nursing being a dilemma, crisis, etc., or suggesting that anything be done to change it.

I work in a STEM field. It’s a good job me but not for everyone. My son (age 21) for example, never showed any interest in it and I don’t think he’ll be any less happy in life because he’s not working in STEM. There are pluses and minuses like any other profession.

Simple but possibly valid explanation for STEM demographics: Not everyone wants to work in STEM.


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