We Solve For ‘x’ In This Class

12 October 2010

I had an Intermediate Algebra class on 11 October 02010 that started at noon. Prior to class I had read a press release from Geron Corporation announcing the “enrollment of the first patient in the company’s clinical trial of human embryonic stem cell.” I made mention of this historic moment near the start of the class and I had to immediately change the subject. We solve for ‘x’ in this class.

Prior to this embryonic stem cell moment, I had presented the QOTW (Quote Of The Week).

The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate. I have tolerated a lot — Doug Engelbart (01925-)

I briefly mention how the way we use computers today can be attributed to Doug Engelbart’s work back in the 1960s. I also mentioned that Engelbart is alive and still working on his lifelong dream of augmenting human intelligence.

Student: What do you mean by augmenting human intelligence?
Me: Make all people equal when it comes to IQ.
Student: What?!?!? How do we do this?
Me: Well, one example, the Googlers want a Google object implanted in our brains.
Student: What?!?!? Won’t we be like robots?
Me: We solve for ‘x’ in this class. Search Google for site:wired.com bill joy future and read Why the future doesn’t need us.

Prior to this embryonic stem cell moment, I mentioned that is was nice having two binary dates in a row. Yesterday was 10/10/10 and today was 10/11/10. Next month will be fun because we have 11/11/11 and 11/11/11 will be the last binary date until 1 January 02100. I wasn’t able to move of this topic until I pointed out the blasphemy of using a 2-digit year.

Me: I should be shot for using a 2-digit year. If anything, we should be using a 5-digit year.
Student: 5-digit year?!?!?!?
Me: Yes. 2010 is really 02010. But you don’t want to start using a 5-digit year because that will put you completely out-of-sync with the rest of society.
Student: Nobody uses a 5-digit year.
Me: We solve for ‘x’ in this class. Visit http://longnow.org

At the very start of class (i.e. prior to this embryonic stem cell moment), I mentioned that The Simpsons last night was a mathy episode (Lisa coached baseball using statistics/probability) and I tweeted about it.

At this point the energy level of the class started its fall to zero because it was time for us to solve for ‘x’.


KKK (Kapor, Kurzweil, Kay)

26 August 2010

02010.08.26: Day two of the Introduction to Computer Science class.

[Note: This posting uses 5-digit years.]

Rewind three weeks…

02010.08.03 at 2:10pm @mkapor tweeted:

I’m grouchy that so few people (except us old-timers) have even heard of Ted Nelson http://bit.ly/cGbsWC (Wikipedia bio)

Observe: Mitch Kapor hyperlinked into the Wikipedia.

02010:08.03 at 2:11pm @mkapor tweeted:

All of the web is in essence a pale shadow of just one of Ted Nelson’s dreams. Now do I have your attention?

Hmm… Who is Mitch Kapor?

2010.08.03 at 2:15pm @nanofoo in reply to @mkapor:

I’m going to make sure my CS1 students learn a bit about Ted Nelson this fall. They’ll come in knowing Gates & Jobs, but not Nelson.

@nanofoo never got reply from @mkapor, but @rossk did…

02010.08.03 at 2:48pm @rossk in reply to @mkapor:

where should the Nelson-newbie start?

02010.08.03 at 8:07pm@mkapor in reply to @rossk

Read “Computer Lib” by Nelson. Also see the Wired article on him for a dissenting view

Mitch Kapor did not provide his followers with hyperlinks, but here they are: Computer Lib/Dream Machine (dot-pdf) and Wired.com: The Curse of Xanadu

This posting uses 5-digit years and that is because I am a member of the Long Now Foundation. [Follow on Twitter @longnow.]

In 02002, Mitch Kapor made the first Long Bet (By 02029 no computer – or “machine intelligence” – will have passed the Turing Test.) with Ray Kurzweil. Hmm… Who is Ray Kurzweil? [Follow on Twitter @KurzweilAINews.]

02010.08.25 at 12:00pm @compufoo tweeted:

I agree with Ray Kurzweil that “exponential growth is the reality of information technology.” #future

I learned a lot from reading reading Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near.

In a nutshell, Kapor and Kurzweil are futurists whose last names start with the letter ‘K’. There another futurist whose last name starts with the letter ‘K’ and that is Alan Kay. In the Introduction to Computer Science we use the C++ programming language. C++ supports object oriented programming (OOP) and Alan Kay is considered one of the fathers of OOP.

Alan Kay was once quoted saying: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

The following picture of the Foundation Building at Arizona State University was taken during early August of 02010.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -- Alan Kay

Promoting long-term thinking

19 November 2009

I posted the following comment in response to an AzCentral.com posting by editorial writer Joanna Allhands titled “The impact of long-term forecasts.

“30-year economic forecast”… Hee-haw.

“Recovery from this recession could take decades”… I don’t know how you define “recovery,” but I keep “seeing” 02013 as being a major breakout year. In other words, the “recovery” will take decades if we assume one-year decades (and one-decade centuries). Note: I use 5-digit years for a reason. [visit LongNow.org and subscribe to the SingularityU YouTube channel]

Want to get majorily depressed? Investigate “lump of labor.” We’re not yet in the Robotics Age; consequently, this recession’s “recovery” is giving us insight into the “lump of labor” problem that is awaiting us. The next recession has the potential to make this recession look like good times. In a nutshell: We need to start electing 21st century leaders rather than 20th century political dinosaurs.