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Code Club: The Dynabook Vision Alive and Well

March 13th, 2013 1 comment

This video reminds me of those great stories about kids at PARC… They are using Scratch to teach children how to use their Dynabooks :)

From the teachers (Alan Kay has obviously developed a mind control device):

“We’d like the outcome of Code Club to be a whole generation that understands… how to make [computers] do what they want, so they can create their own tools and their own games”

“I really wanted to get the kids… learning how to make things work, [rather] than just being consumers”

From a student:

“It’s really good for learning… before we were just… moving around, but… now we know how to make proper games”

“Our mission… to give every child in the UK the chance to learn to code.

It is our aim to have a Code Club in 25% of primary schools in the UK by the end of 2014″

Alan Kay: Learning to See

February 6th, 2013 No comments

All of Alan’s speeches are packed with “aha!” moments. This one is no disappointment…

I thought the ending was especially profound:

Every human being is born with the potential to learn to see… with their hearts, bodies, spirits, and minds, and to learn to be… vividly alive and human…

Our great gift is that, though we are the stuff that dreams are made of, we can invest those dreams with the clearer knowledge brought by careful study beyond our simple prejudices.

There is nothing more powerful than imagination coupled with investigation. Imagination allows us to dream and conceive of better futures for us all. Investigation finds the powers and knowledge to make better futures happen.

So I think my advice to our species would be: “We can’t learn to see until we admit we are blind”.

In other words, let us learn how to wake up from the slumbers of our nervous system, culture, and beliefs, [and] try to find out what is going on and what is really needed.

The full transcript is available at forbes.com

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Opportunity Cost: No Free Lunch

January 22nd, 2013 No comments

I read a great article about buying an apartment “for free” in NYC. It was well-written and thought-out, but missed a crucial financial factor that we all tend to forget about – opportunity cost.

From Wikipedia:

Opportunity cost is the… sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone

In other words, we give up the benefits we would have gained had we made a different choice.

This was my comment to the author…

Nice analysis! For me, renting is still preferable because of two other factors. 1. Liquidity – if real estate prices in the area go down (everything has a cycle and it’s happened before in a big way in NYC), and I’m renting, I just walk away, leaving the owner to worry about it. You’ve made a bet that prices will go up; which is fine, but not guaranteed. 2. Opportunity cost – the 3.5% increase you’re hoping for will probably not keep pace with inflation (even the gov’t fantasy number, no less real inflation). But worse (if you’re wrong), you will not be investing any of the money tied up in equity in other asset classes. Again, this is another bet on real estate; this time vs. stocks or precious metals or agriculture… So I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just that nothing comes for free ;)

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