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Comment Re:WTF? (Score 5, Insightful) 131

Docker is so hyped nowadays I'm surprised people reading Slashdot are claiming they never heard of it. Docker is an application container. It essentially creates an advanced chroot which runs ONE application (usually). Now 644MB seems a lot of overhead for running one app, so shrinking this to 29MB is a welcome improvement. That said, Docker is not for typical users. Use LXC, LXD, or systemd-nspawn if you want containers that can run several apps with their own init.

Comment Mathematics of Choice (Score 1) 238

Get him Ivan Niven's The Mathematics of Choice (How to Count Without Counting). Most computer nerds never heard of this one, and may not get the relevance, but I think it is totally appropriate for young teens. I read it in high school when I was 14 or 15. And yes, this is the best recommendation you will receive today. It's a basic, extremely well-written combinatorics book, so you can read the book yourself and create interesting programming problems for him for reinforcement. Don't deny your nephew this AMAZING opportunity! :)

Comment Re:But it's a poor example (Score 1) 231

You already know Stallman isn't "missing" a damned thing. He has told people millions of times it is better to use inferior free software instead of being enslaved by a proprietary equivalent. In my example, if I remove all proprietary software from my life (stop using Netflix, replace Radeon hardware with Intel, use a phone with free firmware), the only change is that I would be a lot more productive. Maybe you should compare your accomplishments to Stallman's and consider doing the same?

Comment Re:M&M Fun Packs (Score 1) 90

For several years I've bought regular sized packs of Skittles for my students to do a "goodness of fit" test for a uniform distribution among the colors; that is, does the Skittles manufacturer distribute more Skittles of a particular color over others? I buy packs of Skittles for each student, and have them count the total number in the pack, as well as the number of each color (red, orange, purple, green, yellow). (Incidentally, the experimental average over the years has been around 61 total Skittles in a pack, but recently the average is down to 60 (bigger Skittles?).) Students do chi-square tests for their own packs, and we also discuss the mean number for each color for all the packs together, and more!. I put all the data in R and display it on the overhead projector in a nice table (RStudio does this well).

But, you might ask, do bags of Skittles satisfy the requirements for the statistical tests you do? My answer: Um, well, but, Skittles are fun!

Nevertheless, I think this example has run its course for me. Years ago my students would get Skittles packs with anywhere from 40 something to 70 something Skittles, providing good examples for discussion. However, the last time I did the experiment we got the following for the total number of Skittles in 11 bags: 59, 59, 59, 61, 61, 61, 60, 60, 60, 60, 60. This variance is ridiculously low, the average was obvious, the confidence interval for the mean was obvious without computing, etc. I remember telling my students this is the most boring data set we've ever gotten for this experiment, and it's sad that I can memorize these numbers with so little effort.

There was still some interesting discussion, though, since there's always 20+ Skittles of one color when the expected number is around 12, when assuming a uniform distribution. And despite the usual variation among the colors, rarely is it ever statistically significantly different from a uniform distribution, which is always surprising to students. Also, this time we had a significantly low total number of yellow Skittles for the entire class.

OK, I changed my mind, I will probably continue this in the future.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 173


Absolutely this. I learned my programming back before the Internet. And I learned by reading manuals and text books. And I can still do that. But why should I have to?

Because the internet is such damned distraction. For example, right now I'm urgently preparing for class, but I'm posting on Slashdot! Arrrgggggh!

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