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Comment: Re:How does advanced CS have any tie to culture? (Score 1) 612

by gnawingonfoot (#45763629) Attached to: Is Computer Science Education Racist and Sexist?

But perhaps the white males [...] have one quality that enables them to succeed where others fail[...]. I suspect that all humans are born with this ability[...].

I'll assume the first bit of phrasing was a bit of an oversight, and that the last bit there is the important part. Perhaps the culture of CS is more accessible to white males, who are much more likely to grow up with computers available to them as a relevant part of their day-to-day adolescent lives.

Comment: Re:Is Computer Science Education Racist and Sexist (Score 2) 612

by gnawingonfoot (#45763549) Attached to: Is Computer Science Education Racist and Sexist?
This is a very narrow definition of what constitutes racism, one that unfortunately has the broadest acceptance in American culture. By this definition, racism must be deliberate and an aspect of a person's identity. The person must identify as being or not being a certain race, and applying an absolutist belief that one race is superior or inferior to the others. Further more, that valuation is taken as something concrete and consequential, upon which the person must act when race rises as a relevant factor in their social interactions with others. Most people are not racist in this way because it is stupid and stigmatized. But if CSE is not racist or sexist, how do you account for the extreme overrepresentation of white males in CSE?

But that is not the sort of racism (or sexism, which I'm not including for brevity,) that articles like this are addressing. The title, by including the term 'racism' is unfortunately inflammatory because almost nobody wants to be identified as a racist. A better title would have been rephrased as 'unintentionally discriminatory' or something similarly benign instead. Racism, as it is currently understood within academia and sociology (and by most non-white people in America), is the attribution of the assumed qualities of of a group to an individual based on their perceived race. Everybody does this. We visually evaluate people and make snap intuitive judgments, and unfortunately, race factors into this, even if only at a subconscious levels beneath other factors such as socio-economic class and beauty. At our best, we try to mitigate the affects of these judgments in our day-to-day lives, but at our worst, we pretend they are justified. It should not be seen, though, as a matter of the person being a racist person, but rather a particular judgment or action being perceived as racist. If you ever get called racist, you're best off apologizing for the act or judgment and moving on. Denying that something is racist more often falls in line with pretending it is justified, although the intention was more likely to have been to disassociate oneself from the definition of racism in the previous paragraph.

What the article attempts to address is not an exculsively race-related issue, but one that also ties in heavily with class. For dealing with black subsets of the population, there is an unfortunate overrepresentation of black people in the lower socio-economic class. Though I forget the specific statistics, I believe that the approximation is that where black people make up 10% of the American population, they make up 50% of the lower class, meaning that where class-based discriminatory practices exist, they will also be consequentially racially discriminatory (though not inherently racist). CS is heavily class-based in its discrimination, as access to computers and appropriate education is much more limited to families in lower classes than to those coming from more stable or privileged socio-economic backgrounds.

If the article's cultural design tools are meant to address an underrepresentation of non-white minorities in CS, there is value in that, but it is not entirely un-problematic. Things such as teaching cultural histories and linking them to CS reinforce the ideas of cultural/racial identities and could be in that sense considered racist, and the graffiti art could be much more considered classist, but until the groups are no longer disproportionately overrepresented in the lower class, offering cultural and lower class-based points of identification for people in a predominantly white, middle class area of study is one of the only (and statistically most effective) ways to encourage the underrepresented to cross the culture gap. Overall it's not a perfect solution, but it is a corrective one. The only other real options are pretending that racial, class-based, and sexist discrimination are not relevant in CS, and that unfortunately leads to doing nothing and consequently perpetuating the same discriminatory practices that are currently in place.

+ - Unpublished J. D. Salinger Stories Leaked On Bittorrent Site 1

Submitted by 192_kbps
192_kbps (601500) writes "Catcher in the Rye author J. D. Salinger wrote the short story "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" and left depository copies with a few academic libraries with the understanding that the work would not see mass distribution until the mid-21st century. The only authorized place to read the story is in a special reading room at Princeton where electronics are not allowed and a librarian continuously babysits the reader. A pdf of the story as well as two other unpublished stories appeared on private bittorrent site what.cd where a huge bounty had been placed for the work. Incredibly, the uploader (or someone connected to the uploader) bought an unauthorized copy on ebay for a pittance. The file, Three Stories, is making the bittorrent rounds but can also be read on mediafire."

+ - New Animated PNG creation tools intend to bring APNG into mainstream use-> 1

Submitted by Kagetsuki
Kagetsuki (1620613) writes "While grainy GIF images can have entertaining uses they aren't the ideal animated image format due to lack of full color support and an alpha channel [for varied transparency]. Animated PNG doesn't have these faults and has been available and incorporated in quite a few browsers since roughly 2004. Lack of tools and recogniting has hurt adoption, so to remedy this there is a campaign on kickstarter to create an Open Source, high quality Animated PNG [APNG] conversion library and GUI Editor based on the APNG Assembler tool "apngasm". Even the primary goal includes libraries/modules for C/C++ and Ruby along with a cross platform GUI authoring tool. Aside from supporting the project simply using APNG willl help raise interest and support in the standard and bring us one step closer to a world with cleaner animated images."
Link to Original Source

+ - 4,000 MPH@1G Hyperloop Transport Dream Approaches Reality 2

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "Elon Musk's dream of a hyperloop transport system seems to be closer to reality than he anticipated. Hyperloop transportation, referred to by Musk as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table", is a tubular pneumatic transport system with the theoretical capability of carrying passengers from New York to L.A. in about 30 minutes at velocities near 4,000 miles per hour, while maintaining a near-continuous G force of 1. Colorado-based company ET3 is planning to build and test its own version of such a hyperloop system, Yahoo reports."

Comment: Re:OH NOES (Score 1) 90

by gnawingonfoot (#38311372) Attached to: RIM Gives Up After Losing Initial Battle Over BBX Trademark
No sarcasm at all! I'm a poor grad student in the humanities, so fancy tech toys are not something I can afford, but when I find something that I like, I stick with it for a long time. With my last phone upgrade, I went with a Palm Centro because it was cheap, and I needed a new device to put my eReader software on, since my old Palm z22 had finally kicked the bucket a few weeks before. I'll probably continue using the phone until the battery starts to fade, but for now, I'm still getting a comfortable 3 days worth of use before it's even lost half of its charge.

+ - Filmmakers Reviving Sci-fi by Going Old School->

Submitted by jjp9999
jjp9999 (2180664) writes "The special effects arms race sci-fi films get stuck in has pulled the genre further and further from its roots of good storytelling and forward-thinking. The problem is that ‘When you create elements of a shot entirely in a computer, you have to generate everything that physics and the natural world offers you from scratch There’s a richness and texture when you’re working with lenses and light that can’t be replicated. The goal of special effects shouldn’t necessarily be to look realistic, they should be works of art themselves and help create a mood or tell a story.’ said filmmakers Derek Van Gorder and Otto Stockmeier. They hope to change this with their upcoming sci-fi film, ‘C,’ which will be shot entirely without CGI or green screens, opting instead for miniature models and creativity. They add that the sci-fi genre has gone wrong in other ways—getting itself stuck in too many stories of mankind’s conflict with technology, and further from the idea of exploration and human advancement. ‘In an era where science and technology are too often vilified, we believe that science-fiction should inspire us to surpass our limits and use the tools available to us to create a better future for our descendants,’ they said."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Says one zealous Dick about another one (Score 1) 1452

by gnawingonfoot (#37681158) Attached to: Richard Stallman's Dissenting View of Steve Jobs

Does that mean that if I come up with my own kernel, lets call it Assfuck, using your GNU shit, calling it GNU/Assfuck is appropriate?

It seems to me that, yes, it would be appropriate to call the whole operating system 'GNU/Assfuck' to distinguish it from your Assfuck kernel alone. 'Assfuck' without 'GNU shit' would be pretty lonely and boring, and most uninformed computer-dumb users (with tech knowledge levels as low as my own) would wonder what the point of Assfuck is if there's no shit to play with.

Comment: Thank-you for your opinions, prodigies! (Score 1) 659

by gnawingonfoot (#37680634) Attached to: How Do You Educate a Prodigy?
It's refreshing to see so many other prodigies expressing their opinions on this matter. That's one thing that I like about slashdot--everybody is smarter than everybody else, and it's one of the reasons I love reading everything everybody else has to say.

However, I feel that there is an underrepresentation of the majority at work here: the stupid people, and being one of the token few who make it to slashdot, I feel obligated to express my opinion so that all the smartypantses can understand the perspective of the child's peers. If you stick this kid in too many classes with dumber, older students, you'll de-motivate and humiliate them, which will provoke us into retaliating through socially ostracizing the student. This will deplete his social resources and inevitably drive him to a future of loneliness and depression that will be the cause of his burnout.

I recall fondly the many nerds I de-pantsed in the hallways during my sixth year of high school. Sure, I may not be able to install an operating system without a GUI, but I CAN throw rubber balls in gym class with enough force to smash a kid's plastic frames in two after she makes me feel stupid in math class.

If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.