Thursday, 7 June 2012

Programming for All

There's been a bit of a debate in tech circles about the idea that everyone should learn to program.

It's of particular interest to me, because I have two home-schooled children, and while my wife does the rest of the teaching, it's up to me to teach them computer stuff.

I want them to understand computers and what they do.  I won't be teaching them to write software beyond one or two sessions to get an idea of how it all works.  I started a few months ago, working up from transistors to logic gates to microprocessors, and I have a syllabus sketched out that goes on to networks and the web and so on.  Currently we're on compilers and interpreters and virtual machines.

One thing that became very obvious is that those of us who were really into computers as children in the 1980s spent enormous amounts of time learning about them -- probably more than I spent on the whole of my formal education, in my case.  There's no possibility of teaching what I learned in a scheduled classroom setting, unless the children were to show the same fanaticism.

Bloody Tanistry

If North Korea is a monarchy, it is not one with primogeniture.  It is more like Tanistry (which I never heard of but found on Wikipedia).  The Wikipedia article also mentions "Blood Tanistry", where the possible heirs basically fight it out among themselves. 

This is not a good thing.  Googling around suggests that "Blood Tanistry" is a bowdlerisation by one writer of what was originally termed "Bloody Tanistry".

Blood tanistry is the principle that “the most talented male member of the royal dynasty should inherit the throne, commonly by murder and war”.[4] It is used to describe the practical ramifications of the Turco-Mongol, as well as other Central Asian steppe nomad, principles of inheritance and succession. Because all male members of the royal clan are considered to have equally legitimate claims on power, the ruler is the individual who eliminates competitors and re-subjugates the rest of the state formation. The structure may be determined by bonds of personal loyalty to the ruler, which are considered to be dissolved on the ruler's death.
So, there's another problem with North Korea. 

Great Coates parish council abolition petition

Here's something I've been sitting on for a few weeks:

http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/Great-Coates-residents-want-parish-council/story-15655508-detail/story.html

(source: http://nannyknowsbest.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/councils-are-enemies-of-people-great.html )

A kind of miniature blueprint of how and why to ditch a democratic institution.  Moldbug's "true election" (which I never really liked, but still), on a Passport-to-Pimlico scale


Rough notes

Anomaly UK is supposed to be more-or-less finished pieces.  The trouble is, I don't have time to write proper articles on many of the things I'd like to.  As an experiment, I've created a separate blog for the rough notes -- things that might get properly written up if I have time, or might be left messy and unfinished.

The idea is that most Anomaly UK readers won't be interested in the in-progress stuff, but a few might be prepared to wade into it.

The policy of commenters should match the blog -- throw anything in here, with less restraint than on the front page.  If Anomaly UK is the public meeting, Anomaly UK Realtime is the chat in the pub or cafe after the meeting.