land O links

Here are a few links for your enjoyment:

  1. Does a five year old need to learn how to code?
  2. A mathematician uses statistics to predict the next Game of Thrones death.
  3. Why academics stink at writing.
  4. An operations researcher argues that airports should screen for Ebola the same way it screens for terrorists (nice job Sheldon Jacobson!). He was also interviewed on MSNBC.
  5. How diversity makes us smarter
  6. Article on why women should learn to love criticism. HT @katemath. “76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was ‘abrasive,’ ‘judgmental’ or ‘strident.’ Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.” Discuss.
  7. Are you a satisficer or a maximizer?

One response to “land O links

  • David

    1) While I’m sure the landscape of CS will look quite a bit different by the time our 5-year-olds grow up, the “congnitive computing” movement principle is a bit pie-in-the-sky right now to really be arguing that we shouldn’t be teaching children how to program. Also, there are plenty of (graphical) tools out there to teach children the concepts of coding without them needing to understand things like syntax or language.

    3) It kind of makes me laugh that an article on the incomprehensibility of academic writing includes the following sentence: “Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner argue that every style of writing can be understood as a model of the communication scenario that an author simulates in lieu of the real-time give-and-take of a conversation.” Errr, what?

    More to the point, I think that the most likely answer as to why academic writing stinks is that writing is really, really hard to do well. It requires a lot of practice, and it requires someone who knows how to write well to take a brutul red pen to your drafts. But “time” and “skilled writers” are difficult things to find.

    5) It took me several years for me to understand the point that this article makes, and I think it doesn’t get said enough in this debate. Lack of diversity in your organization (usually) doesn’t mean that you’re an evil bad racist. It does mean that your organization isn’t functioning to its fullest extent possible. It seems like this ought to be a really powerful motivating argument for increased diversity.

    6) This strikes me as basically a “we can’t change the landscape of how women are treated in the workplace, so we need to instead change how women respond to their treatment” — maybe this is (unfortunately) true in the short-term, but it smells a lot like victim blaming to me.

    7) Dr. Jacobson likes to describe people with a percentage — for example, I’m an 85% person. I like to get things to around 85% of optimal, and then I’m OK just leaving it there. True maximizers are probably closer to 95% people, and satisficers are probably closer to 50% people. I think being in the middle is best; some optimization is good, but too much just wastes time.

    P.S. Hopefully my comment doesn’t sound too grumpy or critical. I don’t normally leave blog comments in the morning, but I just started typing and couldn’t stop 😛

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