1285 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007
algorithms before algebra?
Basically, what is an algorithm, besides a series of self-contained logical steps, including the idea of decision points (conditionals) and looping? Leaving aside other practical issues like input/output and variables or data structures, that boils down to only three very simple concepts, which should be very easy to teach and demonstrate, whether it's with flowcharts, traditional programming languages, or hybrid pedagogic languages like Squeak.
Even these simple concepts don't have to be introduced formally and all at once. Lesson plans can be structured in such a way that kids are learning these concepts before they even see a flowchart or whatever. Take something like teaching them about quotients and remainders by repeated division (which can be taught with physical props or analogies, such as a string on a spool). You can gauge their grasp of the concepts by asking them simple questions like "what's our next step here", "are we finished yet", "how many times did we wind the string", "how much string is on the spool", "how long is the rest of it", and so on. Later, you can ask the same questions in the context of a simple flowchart and show that the two approaches are identical.
If kids had a basic idea of what an algorithm is in these terms, who's to say that it's not going to make it easier for them to get a handle on what's going on when they come to study algebra? Many topics in algebra have natural algorithmic counterparts. For example: positional number systems (dealing with carries, doing long multiplication/division), solving simultaneous equations (with matrices and Gaussian elimination), affine transformations (possibly using iterated function systems as a fun diversion), solving single equations (Newton's method, or simply using a computer program to graph the equation; also Logo-like languages and tools--like DrGeo, for example--in general are a handy tool for learning trigonometry), symbolic calculus (though I think that Prolog-like languages might be a bit too advanced) and so on. This may not suit everybody, but I think that at least giving kids the basic tools, and tailoring the teaching methods that work best for different groups of students, you're much more likely to get students to understand maths and algebra and get much better results as a consequence. At least a multi-stranded approach has more of a chance to engage kids' imagination and critical faculties.
Re: I'd definitely go used.
There is so much used gear that can be had for cheap or free
I read in a previous article that "[t]eams will have to disclose the source and retail price of their components". I'm not sure if that rules out buying second-hand stuff off ebay or the like, but it would probably rule out "free" stuff that you managed to get through friends/contacts.
More Stories about Icahn-Cook, please... we could do with more food stories here.
The unspeakable in hot pursuit of the uneatable.
Strange how you make a link with Oscar Wilde on reading the article. As for me, I see those clouds and the clear road signs and I'm reminded of pure Excellence (courtesy of Dave Barry):
An excellence-oriented '80s male does not wear a regular watch. He
wears a Rolex watch, because it weighs nearly six pounds and is
advertised only in excellence-oriented publications such as Fortune and
Rich Protestant Golfer Magazine. The advertisements are written in
incomplete sentences, which is how advertising copywriters denote
"The Rolex Hyperion. An elegant new standard in quality excellence and
discriminating handcraftsmanship. For the individual who is truly able
to discriminate with regard to excellent quality standards of crafting
things by hand. Fabricated of 100 percent 24-karat gold. No watch
parts or anything. Just a great big chunk on your wrist. Truly a
timeless statement. For the individual who is very secure. Who
doesn't need to be reminded all the time that he is very successful.
Much more successful than the people who laughed at him in high
school. Because of his acne. People who are probably nowhere near as
successful as he is now. Maybe he'll go to his 20th reunion, and
they'll see his Rolex Hyperion. Hahahahahahahahaha."
-- Dave Barry, "In Search of Excellence"
(mutatis mutandis, it should be obvious, eh?)
Re: I nearly bought a Surface Pro 2 today.
Thank you so much Microsoft team. I was waiting this tablet. It is really great user friendly and smooth.
You know what?
This would be a perfect time for an actual alien invasion. The Martians may have missed out on Orson Welles's broadcast all those years ago, but they have advance warning of this event :)
It literally doesn't matter any more.
Well you might argue that current usage trumps well-established meaning, but it strikes me as being more than a bit stupid to say that "literally" doesn't really mean that in the context of writing a book. (and yes, I know that he was only using "wrote the book" in the figurative sense, but it doesn't make it any less stupid to add "literally" when "we wrote the book" conveys everything that's needed).
Yup. On reading "We literally wrote the book on getting things done" I (literally) just had to come here to see if anyone could provide an ISBN for that.
There's no such word. Use "Regardless" or "Irrespective".
Re: Blame the victim
re: (a), (b), (c)
You're drawing inferences that aren't there. I'm not making any of the points you're saying I am: I'm only questioning whether the politician is right to say that the person was killed because of the iPhone.
One more thing
My nit-picking above aside, there's also the question about whether this is even the right (or even a good) solution to the problem. It's the same old Sir Humphrey logic: we must be seen to be doing something. This is something, therefore we must do it. Will this make it harder for thieves to sell on phones? Well it might make a marginal difference, but the black market being what it is, a thief will still have plenty of options for selling what they steal. Will it do anything to deal with the actual causes of violent assault? Of course not. For that you need a completely different, and much more expensive set of measures like more cops, better street lighting, and maybe technological measures like (silent) panic alarms in phones, automatic shutdown/bricking (combined with a reasonable mechanism to get a replacement phone) and so on. Unfortunately, fingerprint scanning isn't one of those technological solutions, IMO...
Has he really had someone killed over an iPhone?
Sloppy phrasing aside (yeah, he should have had a "who was" in there), one wonders whether he the attacker would have acted any differently if the victim didn't have a phone. Can we really say that the phone was the proximate cause? I distrust any politician who has some piece of legislation he wants to get passed or agenda he wants to push (this latter tending to include all of them) and uses scare stories and tabloid-level reasoning (or rather, rhetoric) to achieve their goals. I'm reminded of several cases of politicians managing to get new laws introduced (eg, new drug laws and other restrictions on personal freedoms) based on evidence that's flimsy at best.
I'm not saying that an expensive phone flashed in the wrong place at the wrong time isn't a problem, but it's possible that (a) flashing any sort of bling could have triggered the attack, (b) the attacker may not have wanted the phone as such, but didn't want the victim calling the police, and (c) if it's a question of risking death or serious bodily harm or giving up your valuables, you're probably better off with the second option: you can get insurance against theft, and even if you're not insured against losing a phone (or watch or whatever) the pain of loss is better than the pain of serious injury...
So while I have nothing but sympathy the the victim and their family and friends, but I'm always suspicious of politicians that try to "make hay" out of these situations.
Re: Most annoying thing for me
It removes your anti virus etc and doesn't tell you.....
After reading the article, and noticing the phrase "taking care of a few things" I was mulling over making a post suggesting that this might actually be a euphemism, and that the extra 4.5Gb free was due to "taking care" of some competing products that were on the disk initially. I'd meant it as a joke, but now I'm just gob-smacked ... MS couldn't be that obvious, could they?
Re: Kinda lame
Oops.. my mistake. That paper I linked to is about a chosen cyphertext attack, not a chosen plaintext attack. I did plenty of comments saying that RSA is vulnerable to chosen plain-text attacks, but I wasn't able to dredge up a paper to that effect.
Re: Kinda lame
If they're using DH (likely) and they're using the same keypairs to encrypt and decrypt all the files, ...
I was going to contradict you (and had a nice summary of how RSA worked all written up and everything) until I realised you're not saying what I thought you were. If I'm understanding you correctly, you're actually implying a chosen-plaintext attack. A quick search suggests that you might be on to something (pdf)
Re: so what is the correct pronunciation?
"Nya" is a combination of the syllables 'ni' (as in knights who say) and "ya" (short 'a' sound, as in cat). When the two syllables are combined, the 'i' vowel sound is dropped.
If you had a friend called Jan (pronounced Yan), and stuck an 'n' sound in front of it, that's pretty much what 'nyan' sounds like in Japanese.
Various syllables in Japanese (ki, shi, chi, ni, mi, hi, all of which rhyme with a shorter version of the English "me") can have ya, yu or yo attached to them like this and the 'i' sound is always dropped. A case in point is Tokyo, which is definitely not pronounced toe-kee-o, but actually more like it's spelled, with 'kyo' being a single distinct syllable sound.
(*Only the 'o' vowels in "Tokyo" are long, so it's often romanised as "Tōkyō", but that's a different matter)
Re: Slipped place
That would then become a transcendental place to live
I rather think that they'd have to continue expanding indefinitely (with an asymptotic limit, of course, in order to avoid scaring the neighbours)
Re: what a let down given the title
Have a thumbs up for getting one of my favourite actors into the discussion.
And one from me for the implied (well, inferred) sense of menace Steel + a soldering iron conjures up.
Re: Don't you mean Xbox Ones
Sure its XBox Ones getting stock piled rather than 360s.
Shhh! By ruining the surprise, you're ruining half the fun of Christmas!
What I'll be doing
Provided I'm still alive, it might be a good time to grab the "Fish Story" record from the shelf and take it for one more spin.
Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit
Giant? The article says the critter had a length of three centimetres
To be fair to the OP, the article also describes it as a "massively clawed beast", which might suggest a giant beast, even though it probably only means that the claw is massive (relative to the creature's size). And OP is talking about dreams, not reality, so accurate measurements or units hardly apply...
Re: here on the edge of sunny Norfolk...
He'd probably pronounce it "Cumble", especially if he comes from Cholmondley.
Which reminds one, obviously, of calling one's child "Raymond Luxury Yacht" (pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove, obviously).
That bit you copied from their statement:
Importantly, they had an increased effect on cancer cells when combined with each other ...
So did they just trail off there before finishing the paragrap? Were they under the influence when they started to write it? Enquiring minds want ...
That last line ... Yahoo! didn't actually say that it "takes the security of it's*users very seriously", did they?
Re: Best. Line. Ever.
If only there were some Yahoo angle. Best! Subhead! Evar!
Re: The customer is always right.
Equally, you could say that the publisher's job is the care and feeding of its stable of writers. Take Jack Kerouac's On the Road, which was famously written longhand on a long spool/scroll of paper. Evidently the publishers saw merit in the manuscript as it was delivered, and did all the work needed to get it into publishable form. Otherwise, we wouldn't have such a great work of modern literature.
Also, as GB Shaw said, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." Stross's "unreasonableness" is the kind I can get behind.
Re: whatever will they do next...
The gran[d] plan it seems is to elimnate
I assume you meant "e-limn", which as any fule no is "e-" (for electronic) + limn (depict or describe in pictures or words). The -ate suffix is entirely unnecessary.
Anyway, in fact that's just what they're planning on doing, as described in the article ... (Do keep up, ).
So does that mean they might enjoy magic tricks?
Observe this simple salt cellar ... observe this napkin.
So would the pachyderms "get it?" Maybe the boffins could do a follow-up experiment?
On earth the head floats to the top of the pint.
Never mind the head, where's the yeast going to go during fermentation. ISTR that yeasts are either "top-fermenting" or "bottom-fermenting". I wonder how that will work out in zero-g?
Re: I am quite...
6) crackers exploit holes in DRM and the new raft of "you need to install a new plugin to view this video" style of messages, meaning that HTML5 will be no more secure (and possibly less) than before.
Stupid comment, about as relevant as what GEC is doing in the diode lighting market.
Of course GE isn't worried about the LED market. It's too busy electrocuting elephants.
Re: GitHub & businesses
Who let grandpa on the internet again? Time to give him his pills.
Pfft. It was "grandpas" that built most of this Internet of yours ...
Re: The historical accident of little-endian
said Frumious Bandersnatch on the 4th of October, 2013
Ah... touché! I had to read it several times to figure out what the problem was. I do prefer the Japanese date system, but the point is well taken.
And if they don't understand, just REPEAT IT IN CAPITALS.
I prefer to just xor it with spaces.
Isn't BOM just a NOP in UTF-8?
Not if you use it for steganography...
Re: The historical accident of little-endian
On a purely technical basis, little endian representations of numbers are much easier to parse and handle. I'm meaning proper numbers, not the arbitrary computer representations. Take the number 12345675679274658. Quck now, is that one quadrillion, twelve quadrillion, 123 trillion, or what? You are going to have to do a right-to-left scan of the number to find out.
Huh? That makes no sense:
* easier to parse? in all the (human, natural) languages that I know of, we start with the biggest quantity and work down (even in expressions like "four score and 7", "vingt et un" and "eleventy one")
* is that quadrillion, ... : you don't have to scan right to left---you just count how many digits there are (and last I checked, counting left to right gives the same answer as counting the other way)
You should have icon privileges revoked for such a silly post.
Little endian (x86/Windows) being COMPLETELY WRONG of course.
All my machines here (bar one) are little-endian. They're all running Linux, so it's not an OS-specific thing. You have to blame the CPU manufacturers.
Re: There's UTF-8 and utf8 in Perl
And there it is. My fledgling interest is learning perl. stone. cold. dead. Life is just too short to deal with so much silly.
Don't let it put you off. Unicode in Perl more or less "just works". The only times I've had problems with it have been in trying to correctly convert stuff from other code pages and broken MS document formats. That, and sometimes forgetting to tell my database that the incoming data is UTF-8 rather than ASCII (though sometimes Perl needs a hint, too, to tell it not to do a spurious conversion).
Speaking of MS documents, I find it really incredible to come across HTML on the web that obviously came from MS Word initially and that has completely messed up rendering of some trivial glyphs (like em dash and currency symbols). I find it hard to believe that in this day and age, Word can't even convert to HTML properly. OK, so maybe the problem isn't with word, but with the options the user selected for the conversion, but still...
It makes one think
Many (hopefully in multiples) years from now, if a travelling alien probe happens upon the remains of the civilisation here, perhaps they'll find all the various plastics we've left behind. They might find the variety of chemicals fairly unsurprising (given that at least propylene seems to form naturally in some places), but hopefully we'll give them cause to scratch their heads (probably in multiples) wondering what natural forces could have given rise to such a range of shapes and colours :)
For the minute however, I am suffering utter pericombobulation trying to work out why 81...
For why? They're obviously preparing for IPv6 and the "Internet of Things". Having 81 licenses/machines should definitely be enough for anyone!
I think that there's something wrong with the Register's Unit conversion page. I can convert 32 "feet" (whatever they are) into Linguine easily enough (it's apparently 2.1772lg), but what are these weird "seconds" squared? A bit of research on the web tells me that 1 "second" is approximately = 1/Pi nanocenturies.
So 2.1772lg/(1/Pi nanocenturies)^2. Hardly accelerating at all, in other words. Not impressed with this "iPhone" thing!
Re: how about...
Penguin in Bondage --- Zappa
Re: And another thing
It saddens me a little to think how infrequently the care and thought that goes into putting together an album as a whole is noticeable once we get to mp3 players on constant shuffle.
It's funny how deeply ingrained that idea (sequential play) is. As far as I know, there's only one album that was deliberately designed to be played on shuffle: Minidisc, by Gescom. Exactly how "musical" it is is open to debate, though.
Granted, not all albums benefit from specific ordering. It's often a case of sticking the "hit" tune at the start or the end, with little musical merit in any particular ordering. There are exceptions, though. I couldn't imagine Dark Side of the Moon played in any other order. Sadly, nobody really makes albums like that any more.
my wife tried putting ours in alphabetic order in racks
A classic mistake. You need B-Trees.
That's a kilowatt over... a thousand seconds... ummm... 20 minutes... is that all?
Damn it! There's another of my dreams cruelly dashed :(
- NASA boffin: RIDDLE of odd BULGE FOUND on MOON is SOLVED
- Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
- Pic 7 AMAZING experiments set for Mars Rover 2020 – including oxygen generation
- Worstall on Wednesday YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
- Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs