I Continue To Support the Arizona Science Foundation

1 July 2010

On 28 June 02010, I read Report touts contribution of Science Foundation on page B7 of the Arizona Republic. In the article Ken Alltucker reported the following.

“Science Foundation Arizona has returned more than $3 for every $1 the state has invested in the group’s university and non-profit grant programs over the past three years, a new report indicates.”

I logged into my AzCentral.com account and posted the following comment to Alltucker’s article.

This story should be on page A1; not buried on B7. If the Arizona Republic was serious about helping Arizona be a leading CSTEM state, then this would be A1 news.

Side-bar: STEM is a buzz-acronym and I’m not a fan of using it. Observe that I use CSTEM instead of STEM because STEM advances don’t happen without computing and computing gets lost in the STEM.

On 30 June 02010 (two days later), State should back real moneymaker was one of the Arizona Republic’s editorials. The Republic’s editorial included the following.

“A new evaluation shows the payoff from this public-private partnership from fiscal 2007 to 2009: 1,151 new jobs, 16 new companies, 84 patents and 11 technology licenses. And this remarkable achievement occurred in a severe recession.”

Many people (mostly politicians) use the phrase “worst recession since the great depression” instead of the phrase “severe recession” and it has been in this environment that the Arizona Science Foundation has been able to help Arizona become a 21st century state.

[side-bar] These days I’ve seen people (mostly educators) using STEAM instead of STEM, where the ‘A’ stands for the arts. STEAM, if used, needs to be CSTEAM. In addition, some people (mostly educators) use iSTEM, where the ‘i’ stands for integrated (not iPhone-based STEM). iSTEM, if used, needs to be iCSTEM.

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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]