[Edu-sig] The fate of raw_input() in Python 3000

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Fri Sep 15 02:08:26 CEST 2006

kirby urner wrote:

> On 9/14/06, John Zelle <john.zelle at wartburg.edu> wrote:
>> introduction to algebra class. Or perhaps a better example, does a 
>> Calculus
>> class have to also pay homage to linear algebra? Does a formal logic 
>> class
>> need to be about calculus? Why isn't programming itself a legitimate 
>> entree
>> into the "world of mathematics?"
> I just wanted to break in here and say from my perspective it's about
> killing as many birds with one stone as possible -- except I hate that
> metaphor, because who wants to kill any birds?  Not me.  But you get
> my point, it's about bandwidth.  What's a better metaphor?
Ok so far.  Except I like to eat chicken well enough.

> As educators, we should be in a collaborative mindset.  If math
> teachers are in overdrive to drill junior on the existence of
> "functions" in some quasi-irrelevant twilight zone called "algebra"
> then the *least* a Python intro course might do is *reinforce* this
> archaic notion, and be articulate about functions in the Python
> namespace (where they're "top level" fer gosh sakes -- not bit
> players).
> That "mouth" where we put default values, accept optional arguments,
> keywords, is where the attention should be, as it's complicated, if
> freeing.  raw_input takes the focus from parameter passing, and makes
> I/O a side-effect of function execution -- or maybe the raw_input was
> at the module level (even worse)?

In other words, programming is a kind of math, algebra is a kind of math 
and working the roads together is reinforcing of some of the core 
concepts of each - although it can be said better than that also.  My 
impression is that this is somewhat second nature as an approach to the 
Schemers.  Except they have to fight the syntax more then we do - though 
I am sure a Schemer could tell me why it is a good enough trade-off to 
need to do so.

> There's a conspiracy to keep basic numeracy divided between math class
> on the one hand, and CS-as-a-college-thing-only.  

A conspiracy needs a motive.  There is not motive and therefore I can't 
find a conspiracy.  There *is* inertia and misinformation.  Most of the 
misinformation is coming from folks with a motive.  The same motive I 
often wake up with in the morning - to make a buck.  Perhaps why it 
seems so transparent to me.

> I'm far from
> accusing you of being a member of this conspiracy (on the contrary,
> your book is quite popular with the high school crowd), but I am it's
> declared enemy, as I think CS needs a *much* bigger footprint in the
> early grades, where recruiters for technology-literate jobs are
> artificially kept at a disadvantage.

They are the ones with the motive.  If this is about worrying about 
them, I resign.

How the hell you and I come to the same place about


confounds me.

> Let's level the playing field:  just knowing how to program doesn't
> make you a professor of anything, let alone computer science.  CS is
> about communicating a heritage.

There is heritage in your world??   I hear more a world where  
everything is obsolete before it dries.

A Gnu Age guru type, you are.


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