Category Archives: Computer Science

dreams wants to be a pilot

Your Science T-Shirt Doesn’t Fly

A few months ago Science sent many people a sample of the magazine and a solicitation to subscribe. As seems to be the manner in which these things are done, there were several enticements included in the package. The one that caught our eyes was the free T-shirt. Continue reading

fake mustache, nose and eyeglasses on a blue surface

The Funny Side of Science

Some people have the strange idea that science is too straight-laced to be funny. These people are not scientists. True scientists love to tell jokes about themselves. To prove the point (scientists are always trying to prove a point), here is a collection of examples. Continue reading

Emö Rubik invented the Rubik's Cube in 1974 and it became the world’s most popular puzzle. The cube consists of 26 cubelets that move and turn when the faces are twisted. This cube is in a solved position when each face is a uniform color. The goal is to take a randomized cube though a series of face twists to transform it into the solved position. Learning to solve a Rubik’s Cube can teach us something about learning to program.

Can a Rubik’s Cube Teach You Programming?

Emö Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube in 1974 and it became the world’s most popular puzzle. The cube consists of 26 cubelets that move and turn when the faces are twisted. This cube (pictured above) is in a solved position when each face is a uniform color. The goal is to take a randomized cube though a series of face twists to transform it into the solved position. Learning to solve a Rubik’s Cube can teach us something about learning to program.

Programming has always been seen as a skill in addition to a thinking process. But what exactly does it mean when we say programming is a skill? How is this a useful insight? Continue reading

Instead of thinking (either consciously or unconsciously) of the world as constrained by immutable scientific laws, we would be better off thinking of it as a place we can reshape by speaking the language of science differently.

Language Lessons from a Steam-powered Light Bulb

People who make a career in science, computers or otherwise, generally do so because they are naturally drawn to it. They find science fascinating and entertaining, and thus are usually very good at it.

This is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it means they will spend most of their life doing essentially what they want to do; not everyone is so lucky. It is a curse because their instinctive understanding of science may cover up unsuspected misunderstandings, making it difficult to explain to others what they are doing and why it is important. Worse, these unsuspected misunderstandings may make certain aspects of the science to which they are naturally drawn less than pleasant, rendering them more of a burden than a pleasure. Continue reading