Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weekend Reading: The Catching Up Edition

Here are the links I would have shared with you last week, if I hadn't decided to write the Asking Saves Lives post instead.

There is no theme other than catching up on things I meant to share....

If you haven't read the Mother Jones article about coding and computational thinking and diversity yet... go do so. It is long, but worth the time.

Mom-101 makes a very good point about the way we praise fathers and husbands.

Roxane Gay's cooking essays are some of my favorite things on the internet. Her writing is amazing, and I love how she interweaves the recipe with musings on serious and difficult issues. Here is a recent one, but she's posted several recently, so you could also just head over to her Tumblr and read them all.

Speaking of Roxane Gay, her debut novel An Untamed Stateis getting rave reviews. I know myself well enough to know I cannot read it right now, though. So I am very excited that she also has a collection of essays called Bad Feminist coming out soon. I've preordered that.

This post by a woman with a gender neutral name about her reception online is interesting, but sadly not surprising.

Speaking of how women are received online, Jessica Valenti wrote about free speech and cyberbullying. I would like to write a post about how we as a society tend to overlook the freedoms that have already been taken from some of our members when we're arguing for the protection of things like freedom of speech. Do I really have the same freedom of speech as a male counterpart if speaking my mind can garner me rape threats and threats against my family? Why do the people advocating for our freedoms not care about this? Why are we all so willing to shrug and say "that's just how it is" when online trolls organize with an explicit goal of silencing certain groups of people?

I guess it is good news that the Supreme Court is going to take up a case somewhat related to all of this (although the online threats in that case were made by someone known to the target and not by a bunch of anonymous jerks). Apparently I need to hope that the male justices have daughters.

And speaking of things that depress me: Ann Friedman wrote an interesting article about men, women and guns.

But I can't end on such a down note, so here is a somewhat amusing Newcastle Ad imaging what the US would be like if the Brits had won the War of Independence.


  1. Anonymous6:45 AM

    That article on coding in schools is *exactly* why I'm so pissed off that they no longer teach proof-based geometry in high schools. Geometry proofs used to be most people's introduction to computational thinking. And in my (regular local public) high school class, at least, there were plenty of people who loved geometry proofs as much as they hated algebra.

  2. I was the other way around. I loathed geometrical proofs--not for their own sake, so much as because I always lost points for not finding the shortest proof, even if my proof was correct. Algebra and calculus were much more my speed, even if I struggled with them.

    1. Anonymous6:03 AM

      My teacher didn't take off points for not finding the shortest proof. That seems pretty counter-productive. Beginners shouldn't be graded on elegance.

      There were also students who preferred Algebra to Geometry, but they were going to go on in math anyway. There are a lot of kids who think they're terrible at math and give up. The fact that Geometry was something totally different than Algebra but still math and they could do it and like it and see the beauty in it saved some people from never taking another math class, not to mention saving many self-esteems.

      I love(d) all math, so I was not one of the algebra-haters. (Not that crazy about real analysis, prefer number theory and combinatorics, though I did enjoy the learning the real analysis underlying the calculus once I got a decent prof. Enjoyed complex analysis quite a bit.)

    2. In the end, I'm a history/literature person. But I can point to specific instances throughout my education, starting with second grade, when my confidence about my math and science abilities was undermined by a teacher's practices or statements. I think I'd still be a history/literature person, but maybe without those instances, I'd have explored a bit more.


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