The ‘C’ in SCREAMers

13 April 2012

The STEM and STEAM acronyms have become popular acronyms here in the early part of the 21st century. [If I’ve said this n times, I’ve seen it ++n times.]

I’ve never liked the STEM acronym. The first time I saw it I immediately asked “Where’s the Computing?” [And this is said out loud mimicking the way the old Wendy’s lady said “Where’s the Beef?” in those old Wendy’s commercials.] The same “Where’s the Computing?” question applies to the STEAM acronym. Sometime not that long ago I subjected the STEM and STEAM acronyms to the following question: “Where’s the Robotics?”

21st STEM and STEAM depend on Computing, so I originally proposed changing STEM and STEAM to CSTEM and CSTEAM, respectively. There three immediate problems: (0) CSTEM and CSTEAM are not really acronyms. (1) STEM and STEAM are too embedded in our society to change them (i.e. they’re immutable). (2) Where’s the Robotics?

Problem (1) might be impossible to repair, so I’m going to ignore that it exists. Problems (0) and (2) are eliminated with use of the SCREAM acronym. Let the Technology morph into technologies and bury it in the sciences (e.g. biotechnology and nanotechnology), the computing, the robotics, the engineering, the art and the mathematics.

I recently used STEMers and STEAMers to refer to scientists, technologists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians. SCREAMers include those plus roboticists and… oops… computerists? computists? compueers? computicians? computerologists? In those infamous grunts of Homer Simpson… D’oh! Hmm… It would be fun to be able to rewind to when there were no non-human computers and refer to the ‘C’ in SCREAMers as computers. SCREAMers are scientists, computers [humans], roboticists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians.

The ‘C’omputing in SCREAM includes both human and non-human computers. 21st century STEM, STEAM and SCREAM depend on all of us being “computers.”

The following was copied from…

The first use of the word “computer” was recorded in 1613, referring to a person who carried out calculations, or computations, and the word continued with the same meaning until the middle of the 20th century. From the end of the 19th century the word began to take on its more familiar meaning, a machine that carries out computations.


ACRONYM as an Acronym

31 July 2010

I’ve been on an acronym kick lately, so I decided to write this little ditty about acronyms.

From the world of politics…

ACCURATE: A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, And Transparent Elections
ACORN: Americans Corrupting Our Republic Nation [it’s really Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now]
BEST PRACTICES Act: Building Effective Strategies To Promote Responsibility Accountability Choice Transparency Innovation Consumer Expectations and Safeguards Act
DISCLOSE Act: Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act

From the world of education…

Getting AHEAD: Getting Access to Higher Education And Degrees
AIMS: Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards
DREAM Act: Development, Relief, Education for Alien Minors Act
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics
STREAM: using Robotics to Teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

I’ve known the following computing related acronyms for a long time.

BASIC: Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
FLOPS: FLoating-Point Operations Per Second
FLOSS: Free/Libre/Open Source Software
GIMP: Graphic Image Manipulation Program
GNU, which is a recursive acronym, is one of my favorites. GNU is Not Unix
KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid
LAMP: Linux, Apache, Mysql, Php
PLUG: Phoenix Linux Users Group
RAM: Random Access Memory
RAID: Redundant Array of Independent Disks
SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol
WIMP: Window, Icon, Menu, Pointer (Pointing device) [recently learned]
WORM: Write Once Read Many

I’ve rolled many of my own acronyms…

BAD: Basic Arithmetic Date
BARS: Basic Arithmetic Road Sign
EGG: Exam Generator and Giver
SPOT: Some Place Out There

I wanted to use the word “acronym” as a math related acronym and came up with the following.

ACRONYM: Another Candid Reason One Never Yearns Math

Used in a sentence: When one encounters an acronym, it’s ACRONYM.

My 50s in Hex Equals My Dad’s 80s

19 June 2010

Truman is my dad. My birthday is at the end of May and Truman’s birthday is near the end of June. I turned 50 during May of 2007 and Truman turned 80 during June of 2007.

Now for number system tidbit… 50 in base-16 (hexadecimal, or hex) is 80 in base-10 (decimal) because five units of 16 plus zero ones equals eight units of 10 plus zero ones. In many programming languages, numbers prefixed with 0x (or 0X) are numbers being represented in hex. For example, 0x50 is 80, 0x51 is 81, 0x52 is 82, 0x53 is 83, …, 0x59 is 89.

Now to the point of this posting…During my 6th and Truman’s 9th decades of life, for 11 of every 12 months, my age in hex equals Truman’s decimal age. When Truman and I turn 90 and 60, respectively, my hex age will no longer equals Truman’s age (i.e. 0x60 is 96, not 90).

Note: This posting was published when I was 53 and Truman was 82 (i.e. my age in hex was one more than Truman’s age in decimal).


Snoop Dogg, Aristotle, Donald Knuth

21 November 2009

On back-to-back days I mined quotes by Calvin Broadus (Snoop Dogg)
and Aristotle. Dogg’s quote was about math and Aristotle’s quote was about teaching. The combination of math and teaching caused me to recall a quote by Donald Knuth about the importance of computing.

If you stop at general math, you’re only going to make general math money. — Snoop Dogg

I’m curious as to how Dogg defines “general math money.” Minimum wage? Less than six-figure salaries? Less than $1 million per year? I suspect Dogg makes abstract algebra money.

Teaching is the highest form of understanding. — Aristotle

The quotes by Dogg and Aristotle reminded me of the following quote by Donald Knuth.

It has often been said that a person does not really understand something until he teaches it to someone else. Actually a person does not really understand something until he can teach it to a computer, i. e., express it as an algorithm. The attempt to formalize things as algorithms leads to a much deeper understanding than if we simply try to comprehend things in the traditional way. — Donald Knuth [1]

Programming is how a person “teaches” a computer, yet students don’t have to learn about programming in K-12. And, many (majority of?) students get college degrees without ever learning a programming language. We are living in the CSTEM era and 21st century STEM depends on Computing, yet our educational systems seem to ignore this reality.

Aristotle might have been a dude in his day, but he didn’t have supercomputers at his finger tips. Knuth is a grossly unknown modern day polymath who would be quickly whatevered by most young people. But what about Snoop?

Snoop Dogg tells his fans to learn beyond general math. Kudos to Dogg. It would be nice if Mr. Dogg would rap about the importance of learning about the base-2 number system (i.e. the code).

[1] Donald Knuth is a “computer scientist and Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University.” [Wikipedia]


Augmenting human intelligence

20 November 2009

This was my Facebook posting on 02009.11.20.

It’s all about augmenting human intelligence. What happens if somebody cracks (“hacks into”) a person’s brain implant?

Direct Link Between the Brain and Computers Coming in 2020 [02009.11.20]

“It’s possible now, more than ever, to augment human intellect.” — Bill Joy (from an article about Doug Engelbart titled “The Dream of a Lifetime”)

I tweeted the following two days ago [02009.11.18]

Covered peta-scale computing in class yesterday. Student asked: Why supercomputers? Tomorrow they’ll see

Nutshell: “IBM has simulated a brain with 1 billion neurons and 10 trillion synapses–about the equivalent of a cat’s cortex, or 4.5% of a human brain.”

The computing roadmap at the end of 02009: 20 petaflops by 02012 and 1,000 petaflops (one exaflops) by 02018-02020.

[extra] While writing this blog entry, the following tweet from @hrheingold was received.

Engelbart’s 1962 “Augmenting Human Intellect” is well worth rereading every year or two.

I retweeted Howard Rheingold’s tweet and added the following bookmark to my account.