08 December 2014

maker Christmas

My amazing friend Angi, the lab director of the Bourn Idea Lab at Castilleja high school in Palo Alto, has written down this list of gifts that you can get the young maker in your life. It includes circuit scribe for making circuits with a conductive pen, makey makey for turning bananas into a xylophone, and roominate for creating your dollhouse from scratch including lights, fans, and elevators.

20 November 2014

"I need the boys to do the real work!"

Part two of Thursday morning gender issues on Laura's blog*:

Have you heard yet that in 2010 Barbie was an incompetent "computer engineer" in a kid's book by Mattel? Before you think to yourself, "Come on, any book about Barbie being a computer engineer must be good!" -- please, go look at the pictures of the book. (and actually it seems, she was a graphic designer.)

That excellent critique went viral this week, and Mattel has pulled that book from amazon.com. That's awesome.

Even more awesome is this wherein you can remake Barbie into a real computer programmer making an awesome game.

* Hopefully we can think of this as "throwback Thursday."

you are never going to have anybody bringing you anything anywhere anyplace anytime ever

At a recent workshop, one of my fellow attendees checked out my blog but was disappointed by the low number of posts about "gender issues." In order to avoid false advertising, I present you my morning laugh: I was happy to see this video and remember how Clair Huxtable was one of my first awesome role models for a strong woman (after my mother, grandmothers, and several of my fabulous elementary school teachers... lucky me).

27 October 2014

halloween edition

Also, in time for Halloween, I give you an alternative to the normal distribution:

I won't let you down

For all the talking I do about how data will change the world-- science, industry, education, even art-- I also feel strongly that we will always rely on human creativity and talent.

OK Go has been amazing me with their music and videos for 12 years, and now they've done it again! Truly awesome. And simply the feat of how many people it took to make that video is one thing that makes it so fabulous.

22 October 2014

messy big data

Shout out to Michael Jordan at Berkeley for saying what everyone needs to hear:

"[If] people use data and inferences they can make with the data without any concern about error bars, about heterogeneity, about noisy data, about the sampling pattern, about all the kinds of things that you have to be serious about if you’re an engineer and a statistician—then you will make lots of predictions, and there’s a good chance that you will occasionally solve some real interesting problems. But you will occasionally have some disastrously bad decisions. And you won’t know the difference a priori."

12 October 2014

The Myth of I'm Bad at Math

Here is an outstanding op-ed about how we should try to improve our math ability in America-- certainly not by teaching less math!

"In response to the lackluster high school math performance, some influential voices in American education policy have suggested simply teaching less math -- ... The subtext, of course, is that large numbers of American kids are simply not born with the ability to solve for x."

Thanks to Betsy Blake for sharing this with me!