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STEM as the Goal. STEAM as a Pathway.

I couldn’t agree more that the “A” is important and serves an important role in STEM achievement. I’m sure early childhood research and approaches such as Montessori would enforce the value of art and some unstructured, open learning approaches. I’ve seen the value in my own daughter from the approach taken in her K-6 education. She’s had teachers who’ve done a great job of incorporating Art projects into STEM learning and it’s been successful in giving her a different “default” approach to her more rigorous STEM work in her later years. She uses more creative approaches to problem-solving than my generation ever did (in my early 50’s) and produces more interesting and impactful analysis and understanding than we did. The A is important.

Computing Education Blog

Dr. Gary May, Dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, is one of my role models.  I’ve learned from him on how to broaden participation in computing, what academic leadership looks like, and how to make sure that education gets its due attention, even at a research-intensive university.

He wrote an essay (linked below) critical of the idea of “STEAM” (Science, Technology, the Arts, and Mathematics).  I just recently wrote a blog post saying that STEAM was a good idea (see link here).  I’m not convinced that I’m at odds with Gary’s point.  I suspect that the single acronym, “STEM” or “STEAM,” has too many assumptions built into it.  We probably agree on “STEM,” but may have different interpretations of “STEAM.”

The term “STEM” has come to represent an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in schools. A recent Washington Post article critiques exactly that focus: 

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How small?

Very cool comparison of the planets of our solar system and of our sun to other stars. Yes, you guessed it; we’re very, very, very x 10-to-negative-whatever very small.

metricfunk27 (Enter Another World)

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Red Bull wants to quit? Let it…

Great take on Red Bull’s whining by Will Buxton; right on, Will!

The Buxton Blog

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Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid widely distributed in animal tissues. It is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the large intestine.

It is also one of the main ingredients of Red Bull.

It might come as little shock to motorsport fans that the energy drink and bile should have such a chief component in common, so forthcoming has the bitterness spewed from the once all-conquering Formula 1 team been in the aftermath of the Australian Grand Prix. Down on power and down on luck, the target men of the opening half of the decade were lapped in the opening race of the 2015 season and could barely put up a fight to a team which had failed to score a single point the season before.

But the concept that anyone is to blame for the situation Red Bull finds itself in other than…

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Life Lessons from Machine Learning

Nice take on life from an unexpected source (or is it?).

Outlook Zen

What comes to mind when you hear the term “Machine Learning”? A bunch of programmers hunched over their computers in a dark room, working on something completely virtual & divorced from reality? A group of scientists creating a Frankenstein monster that has no resemblance to us whatsoever?

It may certainly seem that way, but you’d be wrong. The accomplishments of Machine Learning (Self-driving cars, human handwriting parsing, IBM Watson) are certainly very technological in nature. But in truth, Machine Learning is equal parts Art and Philosophy, incorporating deep Epistemological insights in order to better make sense of the world. Machine Learning is in essence, a simplified & structured version of what goes on in our minds every single day, in our quest for knowledge.

If this “quest for knowledge” sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo and you’re wondering how it’s actually relevant to us…

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2015 F1 Opener

Well, the Australian Grand Prix was not exciting at the front, but pretty interesting through the rest of the field.

A big result for Sauber with Nasr’s impressive 5th place, plus Ericsson in 8th was a huge change in fortune from last year, especially in light of the Van De Garde issue.  Not sure who’ll be in the car in the remaining races, but I’m sure they are keen to keep Nasr in one of the seats.

Looks like the engine unfreeze did what it was designed to do; help Ferrari catch up to Mercedes; progress clearly made but they still look to have about a half second to get to fight Merc consistently.  Still, they will probably steal a win or two when something doesn’t go Mercedes way one or two weekends, but that’s probably about it for 2015.

I’m surprised that Red Bull / Renault are struggling so much; and particularly by the war-of-words between them; can’t see that partnership make it past 2015.  Rumor has Horner working with Mario Ilien on their own package in 2016, maybe with Renault intellectual property, maybe not.  If anyone can do it from scratch, I’d think it was Ilmor; after all, they created the Mercedes engines of the late 90’s Hakkinen used to beat Michael S. & Ferrari.  I suppose Riccardo, as usual, got the most out of the package to bring home the 6th place; even though he got lapped and his fastest lap was 2s off Hamilton’s scorcher.

Shame for Lotus after they qualified so well.  If you watch the the first/second corner crash again, you can see that, also as usual, Maldonado is to blame for his early exit by not giving any room on his left.  He can clearly see that Kimi is off and coming back on and Nasr is stuck in the between; you have to give room, especially in those situations!! He gives absolutely none, even turns down into Nasr; he’s such an idiot!  It’s a shame they need his money and can’t get a driver with a working brain in that car. Notice how Riccardo gives room and emerges clean from the mess.

Force India showed nice pace; gotta love that Mercedes power; and ran some impressive fast laps, too.  They should get a nice bundle of points and much needed results payments this year so hopefully they can stay afloat; which seems pretty tenuous reading between the lines.  But they’ll have to fight Lotus and STR for sure, but should get the better of it, I’d think.  Didn’t it seem that Sainz just kind of let Riccardo go by?  Seems to be standing orders, I guess.  Not sure how he faded to 9th, but anyway a good drive and Verstappen did well until the failure (engine or gearbox?).

Well, Williams was Williams and they will have a nice battle with Ferrari but I think Ferrari will gain the upper hand as the season progresses.

And that leads to McLaren-Honda!  I need to remind everyone that I have said all along that Honda would struggle mightily and perform poorly and I’ve been proven correct.  Such a terrible start and I don’t see how they’ll be able to score points all season unless there is another race with major attrition; they are hopelessly slow and troubled; sure, reliability will improve, but with the rules not allowing big fixes, they are in for a bad time in 2015.  Shame for Jenson and Fernando.

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Time for Change

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