Interview with a 9-year-old skeptic


“When atheists and “freethinkers” gathered in Houston this month to hear noted atheist and author Christopher Hitchens speak, Mason Crumpacker of McKinney, who just turned 9, drew international attention by asking Hitchens a question about what books she should read. Points recently caught up with Mason and her parents to ask some questions of our own. Note: This is a longer version of the Q&A in the Oct. 30, 2011, Points section of The Dallas Morning News.”



Steve Jobs at Heaven’s Gate: The New Yorker Cover


The cover of the October 17, 2011, issue of The New Yorker
in Open Culture

What’s the Most Important Lesson You Learned from a Teacher?


The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins – review


“Myths and fables are the first Just So stories; they tell us what we would like to know. Science tells us what we may know, along with why and how we may know it. Myths endure because, at their best, they are great stories. The narrative of science is always incomplete, continuously under revision, and seldom delivers a neat ending or a consoling moral. Even so, as Richard Dawkins confirms again and again in this book – his first for “a family audience” – science composes stories as thrilling as Homer, as profound as Job, and as entertaining as anything by Kipling.”


Schoolchildren to be taught how to write software –


“Pre-GSCE students will be taught how to write software, in a trial aiming to transform IT education in schools, the government has revealed.”

in Schoolchildren to be taught how to write software –

Sex, Lies and Data Mining


“Ogas and Gaddam purport to have discovered in this data — with the aid of sex research, evolutionary psychology and comments posted on pornography hubs and other Web sites — “the finite set of sexual cues” (analogous to the five different taste cues our tongues can discern) hard-wired into our neural circuitry that “activate our desire software.”

Their breakdown is simple. Men like pornography. Women like romance novels. (…)”


How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education



Scientific Process Rage




Can Creativity Be Taught?


“First, traditional teaching methodologies like reading, lecturing, testing, and memorization are worse than useless.  ”

“(…) becoming creative is an unlearningrather than a learning process”

“Make friends with frustration; if you are not occasionally frustrated, even angered, by a teacher or learning environment that seems bent on nothing more than highlighting your limitations, you are probably wasting your time.”


Tech Executives See Paths for Women, Especially Geeks


“All three say that despite the dearth of women in senior roles, the rise of social-media companies including Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. appear to be attracting more women to the field.”

in The Wall Street Journal