Microsoft's KPL

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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kirby Urner [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 7:01 PM
> To: 'Arthur'; 'David Handy'; 'Laura Creighton'
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: RE: [Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL
>
> > And I guess that if Microsoft wants to undertake a campaign to suggest
> > that
> > their business agenda and the realization of my son's potential are
> > cosmically related, I should, since I don't particularly admire the
> > organization welcome their right to spend good money to make themselves
> >
> > LOOK RIDICULOUS.
> >
> > Art
> >
>
> Microsoft already has a track record.

FWIW, I am more referencing - and what more sets me off - is their recent
advertising campaigns. Especially the one I see constantly with kids in it.

Which are substanceless and insulting (I get insulted easily) mind games -
kids doing stuff, musical notes floating in mid-air and some voice over
about Microsoft's mission to realize our potential.  

If you have something to say, say it.

What's on sale this week at ShopRite.  *That's* advertising

Stop playing with minds.

DAMN IT!

Art
 



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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Guido van Rossum


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kirby Urner [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 6:26 PM
> To: 'Arthur'; 'Laura Creighton'
>
> NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF STATE SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS COALITIONS
> News Brief #3285 Category: Business Role in Education
> TITLE: "Companies Unveil Projects to Improve Math, Science Learning"

>
> Two major corporations are investing millions of dollars in programs
> intended to improve math and science learning.
>
> The General Electric Foundation will distribute $100 million in grants
> over
> the next five years to raise math and science scores in up to five school
> districts.

Maybe the GE Foundation is a legitimate foundation doing legitimate
foundation work. Great the ways those things happen.

Henry Ford was a dangerous anti-Semite. He assured his right to free speech
by buying a newspaper just for that purpose.  God bless him.  

The Ford Foundation does consistently interesting things.

But is the GE Foundation contributing to gender unfairness by directing its
largess toward math and science curriculum ;)

Perhaps the fact that we will apparently have what I think is our 1st
mathematician on the Supreme Court (undergraduate degree of Miers) who is
also our second women on the Supreme Court will play some small part in
muting that nonsense.

Back to David's point.  There is no denying that there is politics alive in
the public schools hurting education.  As a damn good "for example" would be
the notion that math and science, according to some vocal segment, needing
to be de-emphasized in the interest of gender fairness.  I have heard that
in PythonLand as well. Arghhh. Certainly I would not be in a position to be
the kind of administrator willing to work with and within *everybody's*
sensitivities.

Again, personal frame of reference:

I have a sister who can out think me as a mathematician while whistling
Dixie.

Art

>
> The Jefferson County, Kentucky school district is the first to receive a
> $25-million grant. The district plans to use the money for a new
> districtwide curriculum, additional professional development, and
> community
> engagement efforts.
>
> The IBM International Foundation will pay college tuition costs for up to
> 100 employees who want to train as math and science teachers. In order to
> participate in the "Transition to Teaching" program, employees will have
> to
> have a bachelor's degree in math or science (or a higher degree in a
> related
> field), some teaching experience, and at least 10 years of employment at
> IBM.
>
> The U.S. Department of Labor has predicted a 51-percent increase in jobs
> related to science, engineering and technology between 1998 and 2008. More
> than a quarter-million secondary math and science teachers will be needed
> by
> the 2008-09 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
>
> SOURCE: Education Week, 28 September 2005 (p. 06)
> WEBSITE: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/09/28/05ibm.h25.html
>
> --------------------------------------------
> The NASSMC Briefing Service (NBS) is supported in part by the
> International
> Technology Education Association and Triangle Coalition for Science and
> Technology Education. Briefs reflect only the opinions, findings,
> conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the source articles. Click
> http://nbs.nassmc.org to SUBSCRIBE, COMMENT, or FIND archived NBS briefs.
> Click http://www.nassmc.org for information about NASSMC. Permission is
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> and
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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Kirby Urner
In reply to this post by Arthur-27

OK, Art, I'll be on the look out.  I'm not necessarily up to date on MSFT ad
campaigns.  Yet it's very clear to me, what with earth.google.com, what
Google is up to:  bringing global data close to home (a mission close to my
heart).

Marketing may get very distant from the founding parent vision, that's for
sure.  Look what happened to Epcot.  Spaceship Earth they still call it.
Like that'd explain the giant arm with the wand?

http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2005/09/return-to-moon.html

Kirby

> Stop playing with minds.
>
> DAMN IT!
>
> Art
>
>
>


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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Chuck Allison
In reply to this post by Kirby Urner
Hello Kirby et al,

Here in Utah we have the newly formed Neumont University, which is
largely supported by MSFT and IBM. In 2.5 years students get a
"bachelors" in CS. I put it in quotes because, having visited them and
heard their spiel and studied their offerings, I believe they are
skimping on the liberal arts side (and even the theoretical CS side)
of the baccalaureate and churning out recruits for said companies
above (the ever-tempting "short cut"). While their graduates will
indeed be effective in some technical workplaces, I think the slanted
education will take its toll. As a college professor, I am concerned
for people who go that fit-a-mold route.

About Arthur's "affiliated" comments, having been both affiliated and
non, I've found that I personally can make a greater contribution as
an affiliated worker (I sensed some cynical disapproval thereof from
Arthur). That doesn't stop me from publishing, lecturing, and doing
many other things on the side, while leveraging the benefits and
resources of the affiliation. One can be a "team player" and an
independent thinker simultaneously.

I believe I will soon be successful in making Python our introductory
CS language (for CS0, though, not CS1). I still use it in upper
division courses whenever possible. (It's a delight in an advanced
Programming languages course - a natural to illustrate closures,
delegation, etc., and as a bridge to functional programming.)

--
Best regards,
 Chuck

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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Kirby Urner

Thanks Chuck, good info and insights.  I think a lot of CS degree paths
featured watered down material.  In a way that's good for philo majors like
me -- easier to compete with the grads of those programs when doing job
interviews around getting work with computer giants.

Kirby


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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Chuck Allison
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
Hello Arthur,

Friday, October 7, 2005, 5:56:09 PM, you wrote:

A> Back to David's point.  There is no denying that there is politics alive in
A> the public schools hurting education.  As a damn good "for example" would be
A> the notion that math and science, according to some vocal segment, needing
A> to be de-emphasized in the interest of gender fairness.  I have heard that
A> in PythonLand as well. Arghhh. Certainly I would not be in a position to be
A> the kind of administrator willing to work with and within *everybody's*
A> sensitivities.

Definitely nonsense. But the current emphasis in the mathematical and
CS societies is to enable that gender towards math and science. I get
articles almost weekly on that subject, and our college would love to
decrease the imbalance. But that is a Big Mystery (why most females
shy away from math and hard science nowadays). Certainly the last
thing we should do is lower the bar in the secondary schools to hide
the imbalance. That's what happened when they wanted students to not
feel so bad about how they do all the way through school - they made it
easier for them to graduate without knowing how to read or count
(stretching the case a little here for emphasis). That is the biggest
thing I notice of incoming freshmen: they think we're going to give
them busy work instead of challenging them to think. They're shocked
we could be so insensitive. When a student in my discrete math course
come up after class one day asking, "What can I do to get a better
grade in this class," I simply said, "Do better." He was crestfallen.
It didn't take long for students to stop asking me if there as going
to be any extra credit. (There idea of "extra credit" is to do busy
work and get an A - mine is I stretch you above and beyond the call of
duty, but those students who survive that are getting A's already).

A> Again, personal frame of reference:

A> I have a sister who can out think me as a mathematician while whistling
A> Dixie.

A data point of one is not very efficacious. For every one of your
sister there seem to be many more on the other end. Wish I knew why
and what to do about it, but then I remind myself that there is thing
called free will that allows people to follow their own bliss.
Mathematicians are not a superior race (although I almost thought so
when I was a math undergraduate :-).

--
Best regards,
 Chuck

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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chuck Allison [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2005 1:12 PM
> To: Kirby Urner
> Cc: 'Arthur'; 'David Handy'; 'Laura Creighton'; [hidden email]
> Subject: Re[2]: [Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL
>
>
> About Arthur's "affiliated" comments, having been both affiliated and
> non, I've found that I personally can make a greater contribution as
> an affiliated worker (I sensed some cynical disapproval thereof from
> Arthur).

I recently read Paul Graham's "Hackers and Painters"  - which was not the
book I was expecting it to be.  It was more a book about business, and
organization to do business - and less a book about programming. He talks
unabashedly from his own frame of reference (good approach ;))- which
happens to be the frame of reference of a talented programmer looking to use
his talent to put himself beyond the clutches of financial insecurity.

He had much to say relevant to a few strains of this discussion (small
business vs. large, affiliation vs., non-affiliation, etc.).  

But as much as I enjoy (and employ) the "personal frame of reference
approach", the book is also a frustrating read on that account.

Kind of like it's a 3 step approach:

1) Become a world class programmer..

Thanks.

Not too surprising I lost some focus when it came to the discussion of
points 2 and 3.

;)

Art


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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Chuck Allison
Hello Arthur,

Saturday, October 8, 2005, 1:25:44 PM, you wrote:

A> I recently read Paul Graham's "Hackers and Painters"  - which was not the
A> book I was expecting it to be.  It was more a book about business, and
A> organization to do business - and less a book about programming. He talks
A> unabashedly from his own frame of reference (good approach ;))- which
A> happens to be the frame of reference of a talented programmer looking to use
A> his talent to put himself beyond the clutches of financial insecurity.

Which I think those of us on this list are (although money is not my
main focus - programming and teaching are).

A> He had much to say relevant to a few strains of this discussion (small
A> business vs. large, affiliation vs., non-affiliation, etc.).  

A> But as much as I enjoy (and employ) the "personal frame of reference
A> approach", the book is also a frustrating read on that account.

A> Kind of like it's a 3 step approach:

A> 1) Become a world class programmer..

A> Thanks.

A> Not too surprising I lost some focus when it came to the discussion of
A> points 2 and 3.

Ironically, my local reading group is reading that book *right now*. I
loved Chapter 1, as it does expose a thing or two about our secondary
educational environments.

--
Best regards,
 Chuck

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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chuck Allison [mailto:[hidden email]]
> To: Arthur
> Cc: 'Kirby Urner'; 'David Handy'; 'Laura Creighton'; [hidden email]
> Subject: Re[4]: [Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL
>
> Hello Arthur,
>
> Saturday, October 8, 2005, 1:25:44 PM, you wrote:
>
> A> I recently read Paul Graham's "Hackers and Painters"  - which was not
> the
> A> book I was expecting it to be.  It was more a book about business, and
> A> organization to do business - and less a book about programming. He
> talks
> A> unabashedly from his own frame of reference (good approach ;))- which
> A> happens to be the frame of reference of a talented programmer looking
> to use
> A> his talent to put himself beyond the clutches of financial insecurity.
>
> Which I think those of us on this list are.

Not all of us ;)

I know more about programming that about anyone I know in a day-to-day sort
of way.  I get paid to do development (having a decent grasp of database and
an excellent grasp of certain problem domains). I was recently pleased, and
a little surprised, when an IBM consultant working on a project at a client
where I am doing other development work came to pick my brain on something
and I was able to help him out.

But, no, I don't consider myself to be a talented programmer.

I in fact the consider myself the voice of the less than talented
programmer.  But don't think that is an inappropriate voice for this
particular list.

Though maybe the tone of voice of that particular voice could stand
adjustment, at times.

Art

>
> A> He had much to say relevant to a few strains of this discussion (small
> A> business vs. large, affiliation vs., non-affiliation, etc.).
>
> A> But as much as I enjoy (and employ) the "personal frame of reference
> A> approach", the book is also a frustrating read on that account.
>
> A> Kind of like it's a 3 step approach:
>
> A> 1) Become a world class programmer..
>
> A> Thanks.
>
> A> Not too surprising I lost some focus when it came to the discussion of
> A> points 2 and 3.
>
> Ironically, my local reading group is reading that book *right now*. I
> loved Chapter 1, as it does expose a thing or two about our secondary
> educational environments.
>
> --
> Best regards,
>  Chuck



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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Laura Creighton
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison

Do you know about PyPy?  http://codespeak.net/pypy/dist/pypy/doc/news.html
It sounds to me as if you have the sort of upper level students that
would appreciate a compiler they can hack.  We like students.  JIT
goes in this week.

unashamed product announcement,
Laura

In a message of Sat, 08 Oct 2005 11:11:37 MDT, Chuck Allison writes:

>Hello Kirby et al,
>
>Here in Utah we have the newly formed Neumont University, which is
>largely supported by MSFT and IBM. In 2.5 years students get a
>"bachelors" in CS. I put it in quotes because, having visited them and
>heard their spiel and studied their offerings, I believe they are
>skimping on the liberal arts side (and even the theoretical CS side)
>of the baccalaureate and churning out recruits for said companies
>above (the ever-tempting "short cut"). While their graduates will
>indeed be effective in some technical workplaces, I think the slanted
>education will take its toll. As a college professor, I am concerned
>for people who go that fit-a-mold route.
>
>About Arthur's "affiliated" comments, having been both affiliated and
>non, I've found that I personally can make a greater contribution as
>an affiliated worker (I sensed some cynical disapproval thereof from
>Arthur). That doesn't stop me from publishing, lecturing, and doing
>many other things on the side, while leveraging the benefits and
>resources of the affiliation. One can be a "team player" and an
>independent thinker simultaneously.
>
>I believe I will soon be successful in making Python our introductory
>CS language (for CS0, though, not CS1). I still use it in upper
>division courses whenever possible. (It's a delight in an advanced
>Programming languages course - a natural to illustrate closures,
>delegation, etc., and as a bridge to functional programming.)
>
>--
>Best regards,
> Chuck
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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Laura Creighton
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison

Why females shy away from math and science is no big mystery.  It is
deemed 'not useful' by them.  See many posts by Anna Ravenscoft on the
subject here in edu.sig archives.  These days she is 'Anna Ravenscroft
Martelli' having married Alex Martelli.  (Hi Anna.  cc'd to you so as
to not talk behind your back, and in case you want to comment.)

I'm a mutant.  I think that mathematical beauty is _the most important
cool thing_.  All things I love share in it, including wine-making and
gourmet food preparing.  The same burning fire I get in me when I get
a perfect bite of the best food perfectly matched with best suited
wine -- I get when I get a new mathematical insight.  And they feed
each other.  I write new mathematical ideas down on restuarant papers
because I get them because the food has stimulated me in interesting
ways.  Mentioning sex sounds crude, but my poor lover has had to put
up with countless versions of the 'Eureka' principle -- I need to leap
out of bed, not bath, naked screaming that 'I have found it' -- and to
write it down before it is gone again.

But most women are not like this.  They want concrete usefulness.
Here at Chalmers in Sweden the women students outnumber the men in all
the Chemistry departments.  Chemistry is presented as concretely
useful.  When I offered a night-course of three weeks at the Chalmers
computer society (all chalmers students are automatically members) on
compiler design, pypy, and how to hack ...  only got 4 takers, and all
male.  A different 4 week course -- 'how to build a bot to take care
of seeing if your favourite websites are announcing the things you
want to know about -- NO PREVIOUS PROGRAMMING SKILLS NECESSARY' got me
57 takers, 35 of which were women.

Women are not programming because they do not see it as Art, Joy,
and a worthwhile selfish pleasure.   But also because they do not
see it as useful.  I have no idea why this is a mystery to the
educators.  They must not speak to many women.

In Sweden we have laws preventing the sort of advertising that
I think MSFT is doing in the USA -- targetting children is
illegal.   But given that you are stuck with it, I would be
very interested in seeing if it has an effect in student sex
ratios.

Laura


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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Laura Creighton [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2005 7:01 PM
> To: Chuck Allison
> Cc: Arthur; 'Kirby Urner'; 'Laura Creighton'; [hidden email];
> [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: Re[2]: [Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL
 
> In Sweden we have laws preventing the sort of advertising that
> I think MSFT is doing in the USA -- targetting children is
> illegal.   But given that you are stuck with it, I would be
> very interested in seeing if it has an effect in student sex
> ratios.

I promise you that Microsoft is not promoting to children or their parents
an idea that creating technology would be of any interest to them.  That of
course is why we have Microsoft, in fact.  And why we should duly appreciate
that fact. The *boys* at Microsoft have our best interests in mind. They are
the providers. We only need to show our appreciation by consuming
appropriately.

All will be well.

Art


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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Laura Creighton


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Laura Creighton [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2005 7:01 PM
> To: Chuck Allison
> Cc: Arthur; 'Kirby Urner'; 'Laura Creighton'; [hidden email];
> [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: Re[2]: [Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL
>
>
> Why females shy away from math and science is no big mystery.  It is
> deemed 'not useful' by them.

Not getting it.  Beauty is beauty, and is never useful.  Why is there a
rejection in the women's culture of this particular form of useless beauty?

But there are 2 important things to reject, I believe:

That women are somehow less capable in this area.

That something has been or is being done to them -  by someone or something
that isn't them  - to exclude them.

Then a conversation can be had, at least.

I think we got the gender neutral word problems in all the textbooks.
Unless there's one non-neutral one in a textbook used in some Alabama
counties that is still causing all the problems.

Art




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Re: Microsoft's KPL

John Zelle
In reply to this post by Laura Creighton
As usual, I don't have time to comment on all the intriguing things that
have come out of this thread. But gender balance is something that I've
spent a lot of time thinking about and working on as regards our own
program. So I felt compelled to say something.

Laura Creighton wrote:
> Why females shy away from math and science is no big mystery.  It is
> deemed 'not useful' by them.  See many posts by Anna Ravenscoft on the
> subject here in edu.sig archives.  These days she is 'Anna Ravenscroft
> Martelli' having married Alex Martelli.  (Hi Anna.  cc'd to you so as
> to not talk behind your back, and in case you want to comment.)
>

I hear researchers say this at conferences, and I read it in the
literature about gender balance in computer science, but I still don't
understand it. Can you explain why when selecting majors women consider
CS as "not useful" and therefore to be avoided when they seem to have no
such qualms about, say, history or English literature? Here in the
states, women are also severely underrepresented in natural sciences and
engineering, also areas of obvious utility.

Speaking specifically to CS, both boys and girls are heavy users of
computers now (although girls tend to start a bit later). So why don't
girls perceive computing as a useful field of study? I don't think it's
because it involves mathematics, because frankly, most entering CS
majors (male or female) have no idea that CS involves much mathematics.

I can understand this "usefulness" argument to some extent for
mathematics majors, but at our institution (liberal arts school in
rural, midwest US), we have little trouble attracting female math
majors. On the other hand, it is extremely rare to find a female
interested in CS, period. Virtually all of our female majors are
recruited when they take our CS1 class as either a Gen Ed. class or a
requirement for another major.

To my mind, the "useful" argument is a nonstarter. There must be
something else going on. Any ideas on what that is?

<snipped part about Laura being a mutant>

> But most women are not like this.  They want concrete usefulness.
> Here at Chalmers in Sweden the women students outnumber the men in all
> the Chemistry departments.  Chemistry is presented as concretely
> useful.  

As I mentioned above, this is not the case in the US. Chemistry is still
one of the fields where women are underrepresented.

>When I offered a night-course of three weeks at the Chalmers
> computer society (all chalmers students are automatically members) on
> compiler design, pypy, and how to hack ...  only got 4 takers, and all
> male.  A different 4 week course -- 'how to build a bot to take care
> of seeing if your favourite websites are announcing the things you
> want to know about -- NO PREVIOUS PROGRAMMING SKILLS NECESSARY' got me
> 57 takers, 35 of which were women.
>

This is interesting. But is the real difference here practicality, or is
it something else like the web (i.e. communication) or the NO PREVIOUS
SKILLS NECESSARY?

> Women are not programming because they do not see it as Art, Joy,
> and a worthwhile selfish pleasure.   But also because they do not
> see it as useful.  I have no idea why this is a mystery to the
> educators.  They must not speak to many women.
>

I speak to women all the time, and when I ask them why they're not in
CS, they tell me it's because they don't like computers. I've never ever
had one tell me they didn't find computers or computer progams useful.

As to why they don't see the Art and Joy, it's probably because they've
never been exposed to it. It seems as if boys like using computers, and
many of them, for whatever reason, are motivated to take a peek
underneath and end up hooked on programming. Girls are using computers
just as much, but don't seem to go that next step and try to see what
makes them tick. Why? I don't know. Someone please tell me so that I can
get my daughter interested in programming some day. (Not too soon
though; I don't think there's a need for any kid to spend much time with
a computer before at least Jr. High. But that's another thread entirely...)

> In Sweden we have laws preventing the sort of advertising that
> I think MSFT is doing in the USA -- targetting children is
> illegal.  

Then how do your kids know what their parents need to buy for them ;-)

>But given that you are stuck with it, I would be
> very interested in seeing if it has an effect in student sex
> ratios.
>

Perhaps that's one good thing that could come out of KPL-type efforts---
getting some girls to see the Art and Joy. Though I'm not holding my breath.

--John
--
John M. Zelle, Ph.D.             Wartburg College
Professor of Computer Science    Waverly, IA
[hidden email]          (319) 352-8360
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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Laura Creighton
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
In a message of Sat, 08 Oct 2005 20:27:41 EDT, Arthur writes:

>
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Laura Creighton [mailto:[hidden email]]
>> Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2005 7:01 PM
>> To: Chuck Allison
>> Cc: Arthur; 'Kirby Urner'; 'Laura Creighton'; [hidden email];
>> [hidden email]
>> Subject: Re: Re[2]: [Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL
>>
>>
>> Why females shy away from math and science is no big mystery.  It is
>> deemed 'not useful' by them.
>
>Not getting it.  Beauty is beauty, and is never useful.  Why is there a
>rejection in the women's culture of this particular form of useless beauty?

There is particular rejection of _all_ useless beauty.  Other beauty
is marketted as 'saving time', or 'will catch you a proper man' or
'will save you from embarassment'.  Caring about beauty, on its own,
is considered _irresponsible_ for women.  You have to hide it.  
I'm a mutant because I basically do not give a damn if Algebraic
Topology is useful, and whehter my life is wasted.  I am damn selfish
enough to do it because I love the feelings I get in myself for doing so.
This is very unfeminine.

My most recent idea:

boys are taught to earn the respect of their peers.
girls are taught to be respectable by their peers.

Thus respect -- for men -- is a small starting sum that can only
increase.  For women, there is no way to increase it, but only to
decrease it through error -- unless you cross the sex barrier and
start doing things that earn you respect.  Therefore, at some point,
it is inevitable that people who have not striven to increase
their respect have 'problems with self esteem'.  They aren't
producers, but consumers of respect.  The nice thing is that
we could change this.

This thinking is only 3 hours old, thus could stand a lot
of modification.  Thank you wulfmann again.

Laura

>
>But there are 2 important things to reject, I believe:
>
>That women are somehow less capable in this area.
>
>That something has been or is being done to them -  by someone or somethi
>ng
>that isn't them  - to exclude them.
>
>Then a conversation can be had, at least.
>
>I think we got the gender neutral word problems in all the textbooks.
>Unless there's one non-neutral one in a textbook used in some Alabama
>counties that is still causing all the problems.
>
>Art
>
>
>
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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by John Zelle


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On
> Behalf Of John Zelle

> I speak to women all the time, and when I ask them why they're not in
> CS, they tell me it's because they don't like computers. I've never ever
> had one tell me they didn't find computers or computer progams useful.

Seems to me that the analogies with "car culture" are too close to ignore.

Women drive cars to pretty much the same extent as men but few care much
about the operating system.

How many megahertz do you got under the hood of that baby?

What's your baud?

It was a great day for me when I went from 1400 to 2800.

Not a joy I could share with my wife.

The question is are these phenomenon related by having the same parent
class, or is computer culture - for whatever reason - something that
subclassed directly from car culture.

Art


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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Chuck Allison
In reply to this post by Laura Creighton
Hello Laura,

Saturday, October 8, 2005, 5:01:16 PM, you wrote:

LC> Why females shy away from math and science is no big mystery.  It is
LC> deemed 'not useful' by them.  See many posts by Anna Ravenscoft on the
LC> subject here in edu.sig archives.  These days she is 'Anna Ravenscroft
LC> Martelli' having married Alex Martelli.  (Hi Anna.  cc'd to you so as
LC> to not talk behind your back, and in case you want to comment.)

I met Anna and Alex at PyCon this year.

LC> I'm a mutant.  I think that mathematical beauty is _the most important
LC> cool thing_.  All things I love share in it, including wine-making and
LC> gourmet food preparing.  The same burning fire I get in me when I get
LC> a perfect bite of the best food perfectly matched with best suited
LC> wine -- I get when I get a new mathematical insight.  And they feed
LC> each other.  I write new mathematical ideas down on restuarant papers
LC> because I get them because the food has stimulated me in interesting
LC> ways.  Mentioning sex sounds crude, but my poor lover has had to put
LC> up with countless versions of the 'Eureka' principle -- I need to leap
LC> out of bed, not bath, naked screaming that 'I have found it' -- and to
LC> write it down before it is gone again.

Ahem. Well, you are unique :-)!

LC> But most women are not like this.  They want concrete usefulness.
LC> Here at Chalmers in Sweden the women students outnumber the men in all
LC> the Chemistry departments.  Chemistry is presented as concretely
LC> useful.  When I offered a night-course of three weeks at the Chalmers
LC> computer society (all chalmers students are automatically members) on
LC> compiler design, pypy, and how to hack ...  only got 4 takers, and all
LC> male.  A different 4 week course -- 'how to build a bot to take care
LC> of seeing if your favourite websites are announcing the things you
LC> want to know about -- NO PREVIOUS PROGRAMMING SKILLS NECESSARY' got me
LC> 57 takers, 35 of which were women.

LC> Women are not programming because they do not see it as Art, Joy,
LC> and a worthwhile selfish pleasure.   But also because they do not
LC> see it as useful.  I have no idea why this is a mystery to the
LC> educators.  They must not speak to many women.

I find this very illuminating. To be frank, I've suspected some of this
but we dare not say things like this in public because of the inflamed
rhetoric of feminists. We are skewered if we suggest that there is a
difference between men and women.

Keep the insights coming!

--
Best regards,
 Chuck

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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Chuck Allison
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
Hello Arthur,

Saturday, October 8, 2005, 6:27:41 PM, you wrote:

A> Not getting it.  Beauty is beauty, and is never useful.  Why is there a
A> rejection in the women's culture of this particular form of useless beauty?

A> But there are 2 important things to reject, I believe:

A> That women are somehow less capable in this area.

I've thought they just weren't interested.

A> That something has been or is being done to them -  by someone or something
A> that isn't them  - to exclude them.

This claim has been made, but, like you, I don't buy it.

But I have read plenty of research through math society publications
that suggests that perhaps there is a genetic difference
mathematically. The jury is still out, of course, but the numbers
point that way. That's what the Harvard president in trouble, but the
numbers are in his favor. It would be nice to figure all this out
someday.

I have only one female out of three classes I'm teaching this
semester. Pretty status quo.

--
Best regards,
 Chuck

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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chuck Allison [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2005 9:06 PM
> To: Arthur
> Cc: 'Laura Creighton'; 'Kirby Urner'; [hidden email];
> [hidden email]
> Subject: Re[4]: [Edu-sig] Microsoft's KPL
Chuck writes -

> That's what the Harvard president in trouble, but the
> numbers are in his favor. It would be nice to figure all this out
> someday.

I didn't follow it very closely, but I think the Harvard president deserves
to be in a little trouble.  Because even if he is right, he is wrong. The
broad statistics don't really matter, I don't think. It certainly wouldn't
justify making a math class a locker room. So it soen't get us anywhere.

The statistics I am pretty sure of is that I have better math aptitude than
2 of my 3 sisters.  What does that tell us?

And of the two sisters who I consider myself to have better math aptitude  -
one outscored me the last time we went bowling.  That was 35 years ago.  And
it's no accident it's the last time we went bowling ;).

Art


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Re: Microsoft's KPL

Radenski, Atanas
In reply to this post by Guido van Rossum
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]
On
> Behalf Of Arthur


> Beauty is beauty, and is never useful.

'Beautiful' is what gives us pleasure. (Things that give us pleasure can
be useful at times, perhaps.)

I am curious why computers do not seem to give enough pleasure to most
women. I do not know.

Atanas
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