[Edu-sig] As We May Think: What will we automate?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Mar 23 02:48:10 CET 2009

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 4:17 PM, Scott David Daniels
<Scott.Daniels at acm.org> wrote:

<< SNIP >>

> You should definitely take a look at
> http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/03/building-a-better-way-of-understanding-science.ars

Thanks for this Scott.  I like the concluding somewhat shy request
that peers use viral marketing techniques i.e. "NSF didn't pay us to
campaign for these ideas" (academics thinking getting paid is an
entitlement sometimes, whereas the rest of us have to do all our
marketing on our own dime, from proceeds against sales -- no NSF money
for me, though First Person Physics was certainly a better than
average college try (Dr. Bob Fuller & Co., Univ. of Nebraska @

The last part of being useful, however, is making sure people know
this resource is out there. Scotchmoor ended her talk at AAAS by
saying that, although the NSF funded putting the site together, that
money did not include any way of informing the wider educational
community. Which is where her talk at AAAS, which led to this article,
may come in. If you find the content at Understanding Science
compelling, then it would be great to make any educators you know
aware of its presence.

> as this is where Python can be very useful in science -- the
> "stand at a whiteboard and scrawl and argue" phases.  I do it
> for computer science, but I've used it to talk evolution with
> a creationist -- explaining how recognizers can (and are) trained
> to match things from weighted inputs and evaluate-crossover cycles
> where the programmer has no idea how to solve the problem, but can
> train a machine to do so.

Yeah, like I stood in front of a projector this afternoon and walking
through an RSA example in the shell.  True, I was importing a few
tools, but they stayed out of the way.  Here's a screen shot from my
presentation, to a highly trained technical audience of adults,
although we had a 14 year old present at one point...


(middle of the column, click for larger view)

Of course it's easy as pie to demonstrate RSA like these even on
Excel.  What's special about this Pythonic approach is the realism of
using some actual RSA numbers, albiet a "cracked" one.  If you click
on the source, you'll see I'm spinning this a marketing vs. the
competition (calculators, TIs for sure, but also Sharp, Casio, HP and
the rest of 'em).


> --Scott David Daniels
> Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org
> _______________________________________________
> Edu-sig mailing list
> Edu-sig at python.org
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/edu-sig

More information about the Edu-sig mailing list