On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 8:11 AM, Robert Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > Kirby wrote... > >> "No, our students are eager to get through on their own, knowing the >> projects are "open book" in the sense that the documentation is >> always available. Programming is not about memorizing ungodly amounts >> of pure trivia. That's what Google is for. Learn the concepts, the >> heuristics, and then be prepared to slog your way through unfamiliar >> APIs for the rest of your life." > > And many a hopeful programmer did not become a programmer, or anything else, because of that idea.
I would hazard that far more become unhappy in their work because they were counting on some API to carry them forward to retirement, and then all of a sudden their language dies or is no longer in demand and they can no longer stomach feeling like a rank beginner again.
The sense of seniority that comes with being some insider with respect to a technology, can lead to a dead end. Best to learn from the beginning that it's best to keep that "beginner mind" in good shape. Always be tackling something new you're not good at and others are better at, for the sense of humility this will instill (you'll be needing it later, if not now).
> Kirby wrote... > > "If you grew up in the 1950s you might be thinking of 'Boys Life' > and some kind of ranger danger camp, lots of testosterone." > > That is actually still the norm.
Yes, a lot of those 1950s born are still among us, many at the peak of their professions. Many were boy scouts along the way, and took to engineering as a result of doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff per natural inclinations, which "stuff" may include having a military-industrial job (which jobs are also indoorsy in many scenarios -- lots of hallways and cube farms).
Nevertheless, as some kind of futurist, I'm alerted by trends.
That TED talk about "the end of men" gives some of the spin (a "heads up" you might say, or "advance notice").
My own science fiction is more Joss Whedon and Gardner flavored in some ways, in that my protagonists are often if not always female (Lara Logan types). By "science fiction" I mean my storyboarding about the future. I might call it "investment banking" in other contexts (before Disney created Disneyland, it was science fiction -- with the relative mix of science and fiction changing over time, to less fiction and more science).
On the philosophy of language list(s) I frequent, you will find me yammering about "witches" some of the time, as the computer jocks have already seized upon "wizard". "Wizard" is too sexist a term (too Harry Potter), used by its lonesome.
Putting a positive spin on "witch" is really easy in Portland (that work has been done already) whereas I'd surmise it's more of an uphill battle in some other necks of the woods. Hacker meets Hexster in our local geekdom. The character Willow helped in the background (Joss Whedon again), a geek and quite bookish.
> Kirby wrote... > > "You might think I'm being way too counter-culture in connecting gross > and fine motor skills with math skills, but that was the role of music > (add dance) in Greek civilization." > > My only response there is "No it wasn't." >
Well, I'm leaving out a lot, such as athletics (graceful goal-directed action, often with special artifacts).
Getting into an older mindset, before western thought was carved up the way we ("we") carve it up is not the easiest thing, takes some real anthropology.
My 'History of Mentalities' teachers (a course at Princeton) had their doubts it could be done. We studied Malcolm X quite a bit in that class.
I could make my appeals to neuroscience at this juncture. Even if it wasn't a conscious design, the use of musical training to fine tune brain function, making it more capable of mathematical thought and computation, is an ancient practice. Think of how the NFL is like a play about competing military strategists, with boots on the ground.
But I'd argue the connections were more conscious than not, even in Greek times, through the Pythagoreans especially (a focus in that Disney cartoon I mentioned).
The connection between pitch and vibration, the ratios involved, is all about dimension, integral measure, and proportion. Music, in being so exponential (logarithmic), has inspired a lot of math and vice versa. One could easily imagine a planet wherein the humans there considered it one discipline. Our sense of "purity" might be violated, but why should Planet Earth always call the shots? Not in my book it doesn't.
Music is nothing more than mathematical patterns, rendered outwardly by means of instrumentation (including the voice as an instrument).
Learning to read a notation and to follow its meaning, including through looping structures, is also useful for developing programming skills.
The computers themselves, as hardware devices, hail from the machine music lineage, not just from those programmable looms that get all the focus. If you want a good idea of a computer program running, watch a player piano in action. 'Welcome to the Wild West' might be the tune playing.
> > Kirby wrote... > > "Hansen goes on about piano training and math training for a reason. > These two go together. That sense of rhythm, of timing, of getting > the right beat, was not seen as distinct from computational ability. > A similar intelligence, associated with Athena and Apollo, was seen to > connect these disciplines." > > If you wanted to know what I mean with my analogy between > music and math you could have just asked.
Yeah, but in saying "for a reason" I was leaving the door open to a more general pattern. You might express various biases and stereotypes "for a reason" without our having to agree on your intent and/or conscious goals in so doing.
> They are not simultaneous things as you imply. The analogy > is that they both involve a sense of a universal truth that is > not man made but god made. The truth simply exists and > therefore it is. That once you are struck with that sense, > there is a component of theory where you categorize and > classify that sense and there is a component of performance. > And this isn't just about music and math, it is about any > higher skill that we individually resonate with and choose > or are called to. But music and math share a purity that > makes the analogy easier.
You are clearly a product of your cultural matrix and should be forgiven your biases. Invoking a deity and notions of purity has a somewhat neo-Victorian flavor, more what I'd expect from a puritanical state (lots of snow birds influence the politics there right? I used to live in Bradenton).
You say it's an analogy, but that's cultural too. We have this idea that a mathematician should be able to think about slicing something into exact thirds, but having the physical coordination to do so, quickly and accurately, with a sharp knife, is considered *not* a mathematical skill -- because of culture (ethnicity).
The curriculum I'm developing doesn't really atomize the same way. We get down to STEM, maybe add Anthropology for STEAM and then we stop trying to further specialize too much. That "pure math" you go on about is not of singular interest, nor are we hoping to turn out even one "pure mathematician" (that would be counted as a mistake, a bad outcome). If you wanna be "pure", choose another curriculum. Ours is not mandatory and many get turned away, for whatever reasons ("guaranteed education" doesn't mean every curriculum is equally accessible -- one needs prerequisites and criteria).
There's a lot of backlash against over-specialization over here. We tend to see those 1950s generation professors as Eloi, well versed in a narrow area, but incompetent in too many devastating ways to serve as serious role models. We appeal to the more outdoorsy DIY types (the girl scouts), those who would likely sign up for military service but maybe don't want to serve on a mercenary force for cynical reasons (about the only openings available these days, in some zip code areas).
> Kirby wrote... > > "Fast forward to our own time and music is a highly computational > activity, having switched to digital even for most analog sounds. > Post production fine tuning is a job for high end digital gear. Any > music studio is likely to house Apples running Pro Tools or whatever. > Fourier Transforms become a way of life, and those really > understanding the math have an edge, not just along the production > pipeline, but when it comes to the artwork, like that of Kraftwerk. > M.C. Escher helped pave the way." > > This isn't true. I mean, musical people know how to hook > their stuff up but they are mostly (very mostly) ignorant of the > internal workings, and for a very good reason, they get to > concentrate on their skills of performing and/or creating music. > They are not technophobes but they also have little need to > understand the deep workings. And that is a very good thing. > That is what technology is for. And the same thing goes for > mathematicians (the pure form), they are seldom accomplished > programmers, even though they use computers a lot. >
A lot depends on who your role models are, whom you take on as faculty. In several of my posts, I've recounted about our faculty musician. She practices hours a day, yet hails from a computer background in Florida and Georgia. She came to Portland as a refugee, as many women do (my late wife included), from other North American cultures that likewise consider themselves a part of some Federation (like Texas is a good example, still hanging in there as some kind of State).
This particular faculty member would enjoy writing drivers for musical devices in the C language, has said so many times. She'd have to study, but it's of the kind she relishes. She used to do a lot with SVG graphics, stuff with SQL, before they kicked her upstairs to supervise others, and start outsourcing a few.
When the company email came around that so-and-so was liking his new torture taxi (a Gulf Stream V I think it was), she knew she just had to get out and start over. Some years later is when she came to the attention of the Linus Pauling House on nearby Hawthorne Boulevard (named for the doctor who founded Oregon's first mental hospital -- it used to be called Asylum Avenue, which also has political connotations) and got her current job as a Rad Math teacher / musician.
Is this the story behind most musicians? Of course not. Neither is my school a cookie cutter carbon copy of other schools down the street. Look at our geocache puzzles for example (bottom of top post). No other school is doing those, not in that way. Must be verboten or something. I feel lucky I'm not on one of those slave ships.
Anyway, musicians today at least learn about social engineering tools such as Facebook and Twitter. They use MySpace less these days I'm told. Archive.org is a welcoming space and where I suggested she put her stash of open source music. Then there's Youtube. But that's just scratching the surface. All stuff you need to know as a musician (and use, not just yak about).
> > Kirby wrote... > > "There's a reason those corporate giants squander money on gyms. > They're not just "being nice". Having a DM track that includes heavy > exercise on occasion (geocaching an excuse?) is a godsend to many a > geek parent and grandparent." > > People need exercise. That doesn't relate it to math. People also need food, so is food math as well? >
I was just talking to a guy last night who knew a "stretch coach" at Intel. A few times a day, you had to stand up and go through the motions, or be reported.
They do the same thing in China, an easier target for SNL mockery no doubt (South Park is smarter).
Yoga has more of a mathematics to it.
And yes, food is math as well, if you've been paying any attention at all. Don't worry if you're not. I realize you have no intention of getting a job with us.
> What you seem to be doing in this post (and in most of your other posts) is making anagrams. > > Bob Hansen > >
I provide an impressive number of links and have any amount of further writing on line spelling out everything I'm up to in illustrative detail, so no need to bother with all that in every post. That gives my writing an elliptic flavor (as if stuff is missing), but only because I've already done my homework and well know what I'm writing about.