Saturday, June 21, 2014

Made w/ code

Much in the news, the past couple of days (example, Huffington), is Made w/ Code which is a Google initiative (project blog) which is trying to encourage, in part, more female participation in technology.

I had commented in another blog (thomasgardnerofsalem) that deals, in part, with technical issues. There, I mentioned that I had female cohorts all along the way. Some of whom were better than their male peers, in my mind.

The post here is motivated by seeing the post at the Computer Science Teacher site. It will be interesting, as Alfred wrote, to watch this unfold. If thrusts, such as this, can get people interested in computing, that will be a great step forward.


At one time, computer science was generally interesting to the younger folks. Let's say, a couple of decades ago.

Then, finance came to fore (to my puzzlement, at the time). That is, this was true until that last crash (do you remember?) brought reality back to everyone's mind. As things crashed and the dust settled (is still doing so), we all had a chance to look more closely at what went down. For instance, consider the pay differential that we saw between finance and, what might be considered, more critical work.

Aside: Did we really learn from the machinations of those times? The computer proved to be problematic (one of a very huge set of examples) and will continue to be so. For example, the issues raised by Minsky are multiplied when computers are involved.

One thing that turned people off about computing was the tedium which may have been a reaction to the difficulties and complications that one can face. Too, large systems can be very hard to do and to keep running; but, tools have always been the clever adaptation to handling such requirements. There were other things that caused negative reactions.

Aside: A world of a zillion little apps is not any major improvement. Those issues that faced us before are still around.


Yes, code is (can be) fun especially if you're in the driver's seat (yeah, Zuck). If the requirements are being imposed upon you by others, then it's really a process oriented affair that has a much different flavor. This goes beyond the bazaar/cathedral discussions. What? Yes, discussions about truth are pending.


Blockly seems interesting. Perhaps, it can lift the discussion, at some point, beyond code (as in, coding at what level?) to where we can start to "truth engineer" as needed and to get peoples' rights, in so far as they deal with computing, to the fore (we're coming up on the 800th of the (first) Magna Charta signing).

Aside: In a sense, everyone ought to code. And, there are many layers of code. Those who deep dive (yeah, wizards, I mean you of the power) have no greater claim to the truth of the computational experience. On the other hand, many of the upper echelons would not dirty their hands (ah, how do we get them out of their sheltered world?) thereby showing their lack of respect for truth (ah, this can be demonstrated).

Remarks:   Modified: 06/22/2014

06/22/2014 -- I would be impressed if I heard that Sheryl would deign (or stoop) to coding. Without a code sense, how does one handle truth (yes, mathematicians, you, too)?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cognitive elitism

I have been looking at what intelligence is (might be), for a bit. One obvious answer to the question would be, like the Gump quote, intelligence is as it does. However, tests abound (we might say, starting with the military's need when first faced with scores of new entrants - the Army General Classification Test (by the way, look at Ballantyne's work that is quoted in the Wikipedia article) ensued); as well, arguments about what it is seem to be of a non-ending sort.

Then, we have the schools that favor the cognitive elite (see Hsu) and that filter out those not intelligent (in a sense). This whole thing of testing can be troublesome (many smart people do not test well - we will get to that).

Aside: In the meantime, to put Harvard in its place in these discussions (as it is the epitome, somewhat), let me invoke the early years (yes, we'll need to recap, in a deep, broad manner the whole unfolding of the institution, from the beginning while, at the same time, looking at its influence (good, bad, and not) upon the society as a whole).


Today's post came from seeing that Hsu had a post with this title: If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? Now, his post was dated November 19, 2009. And, just a few hours ago, I had a post (Smart and its money) in which I referred to an earlier post: If you're so smart ... (from when? how about Tuesday, August 14, 2007). Of course, the phrase was used then, two years prior to Hsu's usage.

Aside: I used the phrase, in 2007, while recalling its use from the '60s. It would be interesting to trace down the original use of the smart-arse'd comment. Were the youngsters, of the '60s, quoting from something they had seen earlier?

Aside: During that whole period (2007 - onward), I was castigating the financial idiots (having awakened, like old Rip, and having found that they had screwed up the world - requiring, first, Ben and, then, Janet to coddle their little systems -- the result? inflationary state of those markets, Janet). Still am as we have not learned the proper lessons (I know them?, yes, indeed).


Cognitive elite? Ah, so many ways to characterize the group, but I'll desist for now. This post is just to mark the discovery, today, of the growing use (Google search).

Why g Matters: The Complexity ofEveryday Life
Linda S. Gottfredson
University of Delaware
Wait! I can say one thing: a society of only the cognitive elite or that only respects that class (ilk) would be a hopeless bunch unable to feed themselves (and a whole lot of other things would be beyond their grasp).

Here's another: my version of a proper elite would have post-doc educational attainments but, at the same time, would be able to tear down an engine and assemble it back to a workable state (or any number of real, existential events, of a very large variety, that I am prepared to itemize and discuss).


The discussion, of supreme interest to truth engineering, could start with the paper by Linda S. Gottfredson. But, there is much, much more to look at.

Remarks:   Modified: 07/03/2014

06/09/2014 -- In this whole context, consider pre-Harvard times, namely Dorchester Company. In the post, see the third bullet about a book: Farmers and Fishermen (The Making of an American Thinking Class). Ah, so much to discuss in this regard, to boot; those of the church ilk were not only querulous, they were a clamorous bunch (causing God to turn a deaf ear?). ... Where is there the proper appreciation of those who can think, work, and praise (even doing so simultaneously)? And, social media'd distraction, even if abetted by robotic'd assistance, is not it (to be discussed; hint: get a grip on being).

06/12/2014 -- Intelligence, value and truth. Also, examples: 50 smartest teenagers. And, links for further reading: Nice thoughts on a dissertation about race and IQ, Controversy, ...

06/24/2014 -- Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences: The First Thirty Years and How Apps are shaping a generation.

07/03/2014 -- The Magna Charta is a wonderful example for us to apply to provider (king)/user (baron) issues.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Smart and its money

Or some such, as we asked the question a long time ago: If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?

We will have to get back to this subject. Notice the time frame: 2007. What has changed since then? Well, a whole lot; yet, there ain't nothing new under the sun.

Social media has abounded, but so what? Zombies are more prominent (as in, idiots who drive while having their attention diverted from their responsibilities to something social, gameful, or whatever - texting is the most used concept, applied).

Many are dreaming, again. Things were touch and go, it seemed. Many lost their jobs and their futures. Ben, on the other hand, kept his largess going (way beyond what was necessary - and, Janet follows the same path).

So, that has created a large bifurcation with gigantic accumulations (or, Richer as smarter? being the theme to explore) for a relatively small set.


So, let's take rich. Does giving away your riches remove all of the negative impacts that the accumulation thereof created? No, of course, not. We have to consider this subject, time and again (it's age-old and not of this recent time). But, can using your riches, at least, help some? Of course.

What can we look at on the other side? Well, Tolstoy (how much does one man need?) comes to mind. How much does one need? Well, enough, one would think, to be able to take care of yourself and your significant others. And, perhaps, a little breathing room beyond that.

But, can one be happy with less (as in, austerity, as many in Europe were recently forced to face)? That is a point to discuss. Again, the answer can be yes, unless you're in hock to some unreasonable person (and, pulling/pushing people into debt has become a big thing - to be discussed, again and again).

And, there is some minimum required to have a decent, respectful life (whence this is a big issue to address).


What has happened with Ben's/Janet's largess is that a bubble has come about. Yes. It is there. And, the cheshire multiple makes the thing even more troublesome (we'll get to this, again and again). Yet, there seems to be a blindness (something to study, too).


So, we'll have to consider types of smart. As well, how can unbalanced, unjust states be considered smart (except for those licking their chops)?

Remarks:   Modified: 07/03/2014

06/09/2014 -- Ray Dalio and his views. 

06/12/2014 -- One way to look at this: cognitive elitism.

07/03/2014 -- The Magna Charta is a wonderful example for us to apply to provider (king)/user (baron) issues.