Slate looks at what happens to the clothes that get donated. Most of them aren’t even good enough for Africans, who thanks to the Internet have higher expectations of fashion. That most donated clothes go to waste is not news to me, but it is nonetheless one of those things that gnaws at me. I just don’t like the idea of things that are perfectly useful going to waste.

I have to confess that early reports of the Microsoft Surface are making me wonder – just a bit, mind you – if I jumped the gun on my tablet purchase. They look pretty sweet. Will Microsoft start developing smartphones next?

A critical look at New York’s taxi medallion system.

Paying students to learn can be effective, you just gotta know how.

Matt Yglesias argues that the anti-trust scrutiny we gave Microsoft looks smart, in retrospect, because it saved Apple and opened the door for browser competition.

Marvin Ammori makes the case that we ought to be teaching public school students how to code, once they’ve figured out multiplication. I’m on board. I firmly believe that coding doesn’t just teach you how to do something, but makes you smarter. Much, much more useful than higher algebra, to be perfectly honest about it.

Frank Bures writes on the fall of the creative class. I still believe that the entire concept was built around infrastructure improvements that help the people supporting them under the guise of being “good for the community.”

Ever wonder why spam is so transparently absurd in its content? Turns out, it’s intentional.

How community colleges can spur economic development. I worry about all of the emphasis on college, but community colleges have a real role. They’re a relatively straightforward and non-frilly way to do what colleges are primarily supposed to do: educate and train.

Category: Newsroom

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6 Responses to Linkluster 117

  1. Scarlet Knight says:


    Sounds good to me.

  2. Ω says:

    The problem with teaching coding in the public schools is that it will probably take the place of math courses for some of the students, even bright students if they are unmotivated. All of the major pure and applied sciences other than biology require some knowledge of math beyond basic algebra after the level of undergraduate intro courses. Physics and engineering majors must have math beyond even basic calculus to have a chance at surviving the major. Advanced computer science, particularly at the elite schools, also requires higher math. Even some aspects of biology require math, and in certain fields it can be quite intensive, e.g. population genetics and biophysics. Giving up on math during their early high school careers will limit the future options of the students who do so. If they’re bright, that’s a tragedy. Granted, they may be inclined to slack off in high school, but a lot of people are more inclined to get their act in gear when they are faced with college and career preparation.

    Another issue to think about is that universal knowledge of coding will reduce demand for professional coders. I would think that someone like you who works in the IT field would want to protect his turf.

  3. trumwill says:

    At our school, at least, there was nothing mutually exclusive about programming and math. I took four years of math and computer science. I only needed three to graduate, but needed four and two computer/business courses to graduate on the “advanced plan.” (I chose CompSci, though could have avoided it if I’d wanted.)

    I didn’t make it beyond basic calculus, though that had nothing to do with computer science and a lot more to do with having been tagged a mediocre student way back in middle school.

  4. Ω says:

    You wrote in a prior post that you attended an “upper class” school. Even if it was in reality only an upper middle class school, that says something about the average quality of students, social environment and instruction to be found there. Probably almost everyone was on a college track, even the less academically gifted. Move to poorer environments, and some of the sorting will be socioeconomic. A bright kid from a poor family who has to work after school might be tempted to choose one or the other. Since coding appears more vocationally suited, he is more likely to choose that. Granted, my hypothesis could be wrong and certainly isn’t universal as your experience proves, but there isn’t much empirical data to work from.

  5. trumwill says:

    Omega, the question is… if they aren’t on the college track, or at least not the difficult one (say their best trajectory is a business degree), are they better taking pre-calculus or coding? I’d actually argue the latter. Pre-cal you can do a lot just by memorizing some formulas, whereas coding relies on a more thorough understanding of logical sequences. It would be great if people had a more thorough understanding of logical sequences.

  6. SFG says:

    And puts more coders out of business? Nerdy types have enough problems because of our lack of social skills in a business environment that places a high premium on them and general culture that places increased value on sensitivity. Why flood the already-flooded CS market with more coders? I know you’ve got a sugar mama now and need not worry about these things, but… 😉

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