[Edu-sig] re: Python Programming: An Introduction to ComputerScience

Michael McLay mmclay at comcast.net
Wed Dec 17 17:16:00 EST 2003

On Wednesday 17 December 2003 04:31 pm, Guido van Rossum wrote:
> > Business people and 12 year olds have about the same level of
> > tolerance for learning arcane programming languages.
> I know I'm taking this out of context, but I think you're wrong about
> the 12 year olds.  Teenagers will spend *endless* amounts of time
> decyphering arcane stuff if there's a bounty to be had.  Witness all
> the young computer criminals -- they've had to master a lot of very
> arcane tools to perpetrate their crimes.  Viruses for example are one
> of the the last kind of software industry that are still mostly
> written in assembler language.

That is certainly true for some teenagers today, but those aren't the ones 
that are avoiding math and science classes. Even the shop class crowd has to 
know about computers these days in order know how to re-program their car's 
on-board-computer. But for a very large portion of students these incentives 
aren't very interesting. They are looking for ways to avoid taking math and 
science classes. They spend all of their spare time socializing. The closes 
they come to science is when the are communicating in coded messages with 
other members of there social group. There's also a group in the middle that 
would be more willing to do learn math and science, if it were a little less 
abstract and boring. The socialites will never change, but some of the kids 
in the middle are reachable by reducing the investment required to get 
something useful out of science and math.

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