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High school students are getting a lot of computer instruction, but not much computer science instruction.

In education, classroom time may not matter.

Workplace hierarchies are kind of important, contrary to the belief of some.

Nikil Saval writes about the importance of Office Space. It is unfortunate that a lot of the affection for the movie is reduced to one-liners, as it’s truly a movie of the age.

Natalie Dicou looks at the movement to ordain women in the LDS Chuch.

Bob Somerby weighs in on equal pay, looking at the 77% figure and adjustments for relevant factors.

With the internationalization of space travel, diplomacy can be tough.

Researchers whose work was cited to justify the EU’s more onerous regulation of ecigarettes say that they have been misinterpreted.

Reddit has become a location where men can more safely talk about girl-on-guy rape. Does anyone remember that episode of Picket Fences? It was pretty brilliant.

According to studies, circumcision’s benefits outweigh the risks. We don’t plan to circumcise #2 if it’s a son, though I’m open to the evidence.

New Jersey’s Attorney General’s office has unionized! Under the banner of… the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. (Via CGHill)


Category: Newsroom

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6 Responses to Linkluster Days After April Fools

  1. Φ says:

    The article on computer science instruction was kind of a mess.

    In the early 80s, I learned to program in BASIC on a TI-99A. IIRC, there were 5 or 6 of us in the class, a good 15% of the high school at the time. Learning to program in BASIC was pretty much what taking computer science in HS meant back then. It may not sound like much, but it taught us the fundamentals: variables, arrays, logic, control structures, conditional statements, etc. Everything but pointers.

    Sometime later, in the early 90s perhaps, I remember reading an article about how schools should teach computer skills other than programming, since very few students would ever have occasion to program. This made sense to me at the time, but the current generation of students have been using computers before they could read, and probably don’t require much “introduction to computers” in HS.

    So the author of this article notices that the kind of people who learn computer programming in HS tend to do well in life and concludes, “We should teach EVERYONE to program! Then EVERYONE will do well in life!” But also, “Make it accessible (i.e. easier) for URMs!” Sorry, but those goals are in obvious tension with each other. You can’t make this or anything else easier and more rigorous at the same time.

    • trumwill says:

      I agree about the contradiction between making it more “accessible” and also wanting to confer the advantages of those who can program to those who cannot. I’m skeptical of increasing “accessibility” more generally, unless we’re saying “an object-oriented option” in addition to the strict text-based languages.

      I do think, though, that kids who can do it should be encouraged to do so. And most people can probably do some of it. It may not confer the benefits of those that now do it, but I think it’s still one of the better things to learn. Not for job skills, but because it’s a way of learning to think through things. My wife took it in college and considered it valuable for that reason.

      I mostly linked to it because I’ve been asked why, if I have a computer background and an interest in teaching, I don’t try to become a computer science teacher. The answer is that the market for it is actually quite limited, for the reasons discussed here.

      I’d also add that while kids do learn computers on their own, there is still value in taking a class on computers. My impression is that their knowledge is actually quite shallow. I also think that while they learn a lot about computers, they don’t necessarily learn a whole lot about, for instance, office software.

      And, I wonder the extent to which they learn as much as they used to about the underpinnings of a computer because OSes have become simpler and it is less likely that you need to know them. I mean, I am astonished at what my wife doesn’t know, and that was before such a lack of knowledge was a hinderance.

      • Φ says:

        That’s a good point, and if the AP numbers are any guide, a lot more students could be learning programming than presently are.

        But isn’t MS Office easy enough for students to pick it up in the context of other subjects?

  2. Φ says:

    There was much to appreciate about the vocativ rape article. It’s a travesty that we’ve developed a legal culture where the threats against men recounted in the article are so credible. And the article didn’t even get into the issue of paternity suits in these situations.

    But . . . I know this will seem uncharitable, but when I read the misadventures of “Charlie”, I couldn’t help thinking: #whitepeopleproblems. That’s not to say that what happened to him was okay — it wasn’t. But it is to say that, if you had asked me around age 25, I would have volunteered to manage those risks in exchange for managing the risks I felt myself stuck with.

    I’d like to meet Charlie. I’d like to see the kind of person that kind of stuff happens to.

    • trumwill says:

      Been pretty busy and my time to respond is a tad limited, but this may actually warrant a follow-up response.

      To clarify, what risks are you referring to that you felt you were risked with? Being accused of rape? Never getting a date? Something else?

      • Φ says:

        The risks I felt then were never sharing attraction, never having a relationship, never getting married. At 25, I would have bet that if I were as attractive to women as Charlie apparently is, then what I actually wanted would be easier, the added risk of non-consensual encounters notwithstanding. Now, that might have been a foolish bet — I’d have to meet Charlie to know — but at 25 it would have looked attractive.

        And while I’m at it, I’d like a look at Charlie’s social environment. I’m pretty sure these episodes weren’t happening after the Wednesday night Bible study.

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