Programming for the Kids

Computer Programming

Computer Programming

The Dude is going to start dropping some links on the reg.

For those of us over 30, that means I’m going to begin sharing a variety of website links on a regular basis.

The internet is full of ridiculously awesome information. The amazing info is coming at me fast and furious, and I’m falling behind on Dude’s News;¬†so I figure I might as well start sharing the amazingness the interwebs send my way continually, rather than falling behind.

Curration is the best way to describe it. (A few Dude favorite curration blogs are: Brain Pickings, Kottke, The Kid Should See This.) I’m collecting awesomeness across the intertubes and passing it on to you.

Really, I’m creating a catalog of awesomeness for myself, but I’m happy to share it with you too.

Let’s start with this super rad article from Wired Magazine about teaching kids how to program software. As in start teaching kids as young as 5 years old how to program computer software!

Insane. Awesome. Amazing.

It’s like learning a language, so kids are actually very open to it. Kidddos are at a perfect stage to start understanding and assimilating computer programming.

Super rad, and it just so happens that Papa, aka Little Bill, aka the Dude’s Dad, is a computer programming professor at the collegiate level.

Let’s get these kids programming.

Papa, what do you think, make sense? Are you available for online courses? ūüôā

Wired Magazine: Teach a Kid to Program

Dude’s News: What’s Up 2012?!

Little Dude - Not a Fan of Santa

Little Dude - Not a Fan of Santa

Happy New Year! So, here we are, 2012. Lots o’ hoopla these days; world’s gonna end, the Mayans said so, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After 15 whole days, I’d have to say, that it seems like more of the same. Which, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, there’s a wide array of world characteristics that could/should be improved, but overall, life is pretty groovy. Sure as shit could be a lot worse.

So, rather than looking at the “is the world gonna end perspective,” the Dude is going to spend 2012 focused on why life is rockin’…and doin’ my best to keep it that way.

I always say that I don’t do “resolutions,” but was that a resolution?

Nah, just a glass half full perspective that I try to maintain. So, keep your resolutions. ūüôā

It’s been about a month since the last edition of Dude’s News, so hold onto your hats, we have catching up to do. Actually, it’s A LOT for one post, but it’s all sooo cool.

I really need to post more often. Another resolution?!…damn you resolutions!

Local News
6 children + 7 adults + three cars + 12 hours = ridonculous travel arrangements. Holy moly!

It was an awesome trip, but wow, what a blur. There is no good way to travel, but even more so with that many people/children over hundreds of miles. Just a matter of grinning and baring it.

It’s been too long since we’ve been able to spend Christmas with the Dude’s extended family. It was fantastic to be with my Grandfather and join in all the reindeer ¬†games; Santa and Mrs. Claus, 30+ people, singing around the tree, living room stuffed with loved ones and gifts, a Yankee swap, lots of tasty food, football (extra bonus considering the Dude’s are still t.v.’less.), an overall fabulous time.

The downfall of taking so long to update DKB is that I lose the grasp on small details and clever story lines, but overall, there were no major fireworks. Traveling is never fun, but everyone was well behaved, and we all had a great time.

However, since I’m definitely underselling the chaos, here’s a quick video of some of the festivities with the kiddos.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qd0GSwNC6A[/youtube]

While we’re on the subject of local news, check out this 14 month old baby using sign language with her mom. Both deaf, they carry on quite an extensive conversation.

Little Dude is putting some words together, but it’s clear that he has so much more he wants/needs to say…hence the screaming when he can’t convey his message. This video helps me understand how much must actually be going on in that fabulous little head of his. (Thanks Kid Should See This.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o8Z2lzS764&context=C364dcd7ADOEgsToPDskKerngtSGaJDmFa63e-RujQ[/youtube]

Happy New Year
Check out Woody Guthrie’s list of New Year resolutions from 1942. Woody was 30 years young when he wrote this. The sweet spot; young enough to maintain his ideals but wise enough to be dangerous.

Woody Guthrie New Year Resolutions

Woody Guthrie New Year Resolutions

1. Work more and better
2. Work by a schedule
3. Wash teeth if any
4. Shave
5. Take bath
6. Eat good ‚ÄĒ fruit ‚ÄĒ vegetables ‚ÄĒ milk
7. Drink very scant if any
8. Write a song a day
9. Wear clean clothes ‚ÄĒ look good
10. Shine shoes
11. Change socks
12. Change bed cloths often
13. Read lots good books
14. Listen to radio a lot
15. Learn people better
16. Keep rancho clean
17. Dont get lonesome
18. Stay glad
19. Keep hoping machine running
20. Dream good
21. Bank all extra money
22. Save dough
23. Have company but dont waste time
24. Send Mary and kids money
25. Play and sing good
26. Dance better
27. Help win war ‚ÄĒ beat fascism
28. Love mama
29. Love papa
30. Love Pete
31. Love everybody
32. Make up your mind
33. Wake up and fight

This ditty from Woody is perfect for the kiddos…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUDtFdnn9oQ[/youtube]

Let’s stick with the New Year subject to share a quick list: 12 Simple Steps for Going Green¬†in 2012

It’s a decent list. I’m not sure I agree with all of them, but the Dude Family is happy to say we are trying to practice most.

1.  Recycle
2. Turn off the lights
3. Make the light bulb switch
4. Turn on the tap water
5. Turn down the heat
6. Support food recovery programs
7. Buy local
8. Get out and ride a bike
9. Share a car
10. Plant a garden
11. Compost
12. Reduce your meat consumption

Technology
A camera that is fast enough to capture light moving. Go get ’em MIT. It’s sort of a complex explanation, but pretty cool. (Thanks Kottke.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtsXgODHMWk&feature=plcp&context=C32a9c62UDOEgsToPDskLORj8HPPm_p9RnBgiIPFDX[/youtube]

Space

  • Announced this week. The most advanced map of the “dark matter” that makes up 3/4th’s (that’s almost all!) of our Universe. Another great reminder of how small we are.
  • Here are 24 beautiful reminders of the teeny tiny size. Top 24 Deep Space Pictures of 2011.
  • In the last edition of Dude’s News, I mentioned the discovery of the largest black holes to date. Now we have some black hole news closer to home. The black hole at the center of the Milkyway¬†Galaxy¬†– our galaxy – (which is 27,000 light years from Earth!) is going to eat a giant dust cloud over the next decade. This is the first time scientists will have a front row seat of a black hole feeding…feeding! (at least that’s what we think).

Kids Shows

  • Since we’re still talking about the holidays, here’s a quick reminder about the joy of giving from the Dude and Little Dude’s fav show; Yo Gabba Gabba. (Thanks The Kid Should See This.)[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/33952163[/vimeo]
  • We’ve also been digging some¬†Sesame Street lately, and Little Dude has become a die hard fan of Elmo – What does that little red dude have over kids? However,¬†I’ve yet to see the “Hold On, Elmo’s Texting” Elmo. (Thanks Questionable Skills.)
Elmo - Hold on, Elmo's Texting

Elmo - Hold on, Elmo's Texting

Middle Childhood Rocks
Who even knew there was a “middle childhood,” but after reading this New York Times article, I have to say, MCH (I made that up) rocks.

“It is a time of great cognitive creativity and ambition, when the brain has pretty much reached its adult size and can focus on threading together its private intranet service‚ÄĒon forging, organizing, amplifying and annotating the tens of billions of synaptic connections that allow brain cells and brain domains to communicate,” states the NYT. Or as one anthropologist puts it, “Kids can do something now.”¬†

It’s so true. The Princess is 6 1/2, and this stage of development is fun to watch. She’s not a little kid anymore. The dots of life are being connected, and she’s becoming more confident and adventurous.

MCH…very cool.

Nature
As I’ve professed many times, the Dude loves the ocean. Here’s an awesome cover story in Outside magazine about a marine biologist that is training himself in neuroscience in an effort to demonstrate that the ocean physically makes us happier people.

Could there be a more worthwhile mission?

I’m sure this principle applies to all of nature…although the ocean does seem to have very unique effects.

Intense
This is the tearjerker section. Grab a couple tissues and sit down for two awesome videos.

Both of these videos tell their own story, so I won’t set them up, but I can say I felt better – in some way – after watching both of them.

Life is intense. But, intensity = growth.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw5HLT-TyRs[/youtube]

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BACnPBdsH20&feature=related[/youtube]

History
Over the past two editions of Dude’s News I’ve mentioned some interesting new findings in history, and here’s another one.

How is that we are so off in our history? I guess we are way off in a lot of things – health, economics, education. This is a crazy society.

So, this history lesson is that there is now evidence that Neanderthals 44,000 years ago were constructing buildings out of mammoth bones that were at least 26 feet across.

Our history education of 44,000 years ago is soooo not that. Perhaps they weren’t mere “cavemen.”

The collective “we” should stop passing on poor guesses as facts – across all aspects of society. And the collective “we” should all be more pissed about the fact that this is happening – again, across all aspects of society.

Art
Check out this awesome artist from England, Rob Ryan. His paper cutting skills are sick.

The Dude strongly dislikes a mess. And the Princess loves to cut up some paper. As you can imagine, this creates some paper cutting vs. clean floors tension. But after watching this awesomeness, I’m reconsidering how important paper cutting skills are. Princess, cut on.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/30265328[/vimeo]

Do you remember Bob Ross? No?! The dude from the 70’s with the huge afro that painted amazing landscapes – including lots of “happy trees” – ¬†in about 15 minutes on PBS. The Dude killed many afternoons after school mesmerized by Bob. He must have painted so many pictures for his show, but I looked on ebay to buy one, and they are hundreds of dollars…if you can even find them. I guess I wasn’t the only one who dug his magical artistic talents. Here’s a peek at Bob doing his thing…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRa5VhrbSLY&list=UUuXEB99IdPg_vSZKoVhNRVw&index=7&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Now check out this street artist. He might just be better than Bob…and that kills me to say. ūüôā

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGJCBGhyO7o&list=UUwAbrDxPOvgOCIgZ6jvaLKQ&index=3&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Extreme
In past posts/Dude’s News, I’ve shared some pretty rad videos of…I guess you’d call them sports…maybe extreme sports. I’m not really sure. The world is pretty cool today with all of the cross-over from one genre to the next…music, art, fashion, sports, etc. It’s hard to keep track of the stew that makes people who they are these days.

I’ve shared some street skiing and mountain biking that is not on a mountain, and now I’d like to introduce you to Scott Stevens, a snowboarder that seems to draw on a lot of skateboarding…and also is not on a mountain. Creativity is awesome! And he hails from the Dude’s home state…stand up MA! Enjoy. (Thanks Kottke)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MQMUIUkw0I&feature=plcp&context=C387c529UDOEgsToPDskKMqA2T82VqkMrRmwnC8DNR[/youtube]

Surf Break
Check out this amazing photo – Surfer Magazines’ photo of the year. I’ll admit, the Dude is a sucker for anything surf, but come on, does it get any better than this? A perfect wave at the end of a perfect rainbow…my kind of pot o’ gold.

Surfer - Photo of the Year

Surfer - Photo of the Year

2012 & Beyond
Here’s to an amazing 2012. Let curiosity be our guide.

From Skillshare, a fab group of peeps who are out to revolutionize the paradigms of learning, comes this beautiful manifesto for the transformative power of curiosity. (Thanks Brain Pickings.)

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/34853044[/vimeo]

Dude’s News: Life is Pretty Cool Edition

Once again, the awesomeness has accumulated, and I haven’t found the time to share any of it in individual doses; so I’m going with grand buffet style post once again. Dude’s News.

For the second edition, I’m going to focus on some items that display the undeniable¬†righteousness¬†of life.

Local News
The Dude and the Mrs. have embarked on a journey to explore the “primal” eating and exercise habits. It seems to contain a lot of common sense, so we figured we’d give it a whirl.

One day per week is designated as a “sprint” day. It could be sprints, jump rope, bike, etc. at a fast pace. This week I chose to actually sprint. I haven’t done that in a quite a while. It felt great to get out there again.

Until…about ten minutes into it, while sprinting, a thought popped into my head recalling when I pulled my hamstring sprinting on the beach. At almost the same instant I pulled my hamstring. Awesome.

One day of sprints and one pulled muscle. Sweet. I’m sticking with it though. But the experience made me wonder how tightly mind and body are tied.

So, don’t think “pulled muscle” next time you sprint.

Life is Pretty Cool

  • From one of the Dude’s favorites, TheKidShouldSeeThis: How COOL is this?! Watch Picasso paint. ¬†Enough said.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOMI1JKfWwc[/youtube]

  • A great cartoon video explaining the meaning life…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNN1VKeS61g&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

  • The world is a crazy place. Wars, protests, riots, economies crumbling. Seem hopeless? Not so fast. Turns out we are living in the most peaceful time in history. At least according to the statistics reviewed in this article, and three recent books. Stats are¬†malleable, but optimism is very cool.
  • Are you aware that Google has some pretty sweet tricks hidden within in their massive tentacles that¬†encircle¬†the interwebs?
  • The Dude is a big fan of surfing. So combine great riding with “Matrix-esque bullet time” and it is instant radness. Thanks Kottke.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0x52u2yzgI[/youtube]

  • Have you seen what the Xbox is doing these days? Seems like the future is here…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_QLguHvACs[/youtube]

  • Last, but certainly not least, the octopus. ¬†Octopuses are amazing. I never realized how amazing. They always seemed pretty cool in a deep down beneath the sea kind of the way, but WOW super cool. My guess is you’ll be happy you read this article.

Dude’s News

The quantity of information available these days is amazing.

A short 10 Р15 years ago, the biggest source of information was TV and radio. We are now inundated with information almost constantly. We are riding the information superhighway after all.

I think it’s about as rad as rad can be. I love finding new sources of information, learning something new, starting a new hobby, teaching myself how to do something I’ve never done. The pace of learning has exploded.

I’m sure it’s a double-edged sword. I’m sure negatives can be argued, but I dig the plethora of information at our finger tips. The drawback I find is having the time to consume all of the ideas that I’m interested in.

I have so much great information coming at me through my RSS feeds (If you’re not familiar with RSS feeds, it’s worth the read – awesome way to collect info you’re into without having to go find it.) that it’s impossible to follow every idea down the rabbit hole, and even content that I dig is often pushed aside or forgotten.

I’ve been collecting a few nuggets of greatness in my email for a week or two. My goal has been to write separate posts for each, but time keeps passing, and the content keeps coming. So, rather than try to get individual posts out, I figure I’ll share them all at once under the amazingly clever name of “Dude’s News”…I know, you love it.

Let’s start with some Local News

Local News
The Boy is a lunatic, and the lunacy grows everyday. Running, screaming, throwing, kicking, and a whole bunch of eating along the way.

Words are coming slowly but surely.¬†He is always moving and exploring, and he’s becoming much more sure-footed. It’s fun to set him loose in the yard and follow him around. A great way to slow down and enjoy some everyday exploring.

The Princess is crushing first grade. Reading like a champ, loving piano lessons, and being a fantastic big sister.

The local news is all unicorns, gummie bears, and rainbows.

Science
Here’s a very cool video from TED (as in “Ideas worth spreading,” TED) about the complex experimenting and decision making that babies and toddlers use to figure out the world around them. I get the impression that the collective “we” views babies as lacking in some of the cognitive¬†muscle that we flex as we get older. But maybe “we” have it wrong.

Judging by Little Dude’s constant exploring mentioned above, I’m inclined to think that psychologist Alison Gopnik¬†may be onto something here. She says something in the video about toddlers not having ADD but rather lacking the ability NOT to pay concentrated attention to all of the amazing things around them, and that seems to fit Little Dude to a T.

Here’s the video description: “Babies and young children are like the R&D division of the human species,” says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cplaWsiu7Yg[/youtube]

In other science news, here’s an article from Discover titled: 100,000-Year-Old Paint Factory Suggests Early Humans Knew Chemistry.

As in one hundred thousand, 100k, one hundo thousundo!¬†That’s craziness!

As a culture, how can we feel comfortable with the idea that we have any clue about what is going on? We know of a blink in time of history.

Jesus was around two thousand years ago. We have written history for something like ten thousand years. That still leaves 90,000 years between our knowledge and people sophisticated enough to craft paint. ¬†That’s “20,000-30,000 years before archaeologists had previously thought such complex thought processes possible.”

That’s a huge amount of time. Wild.

Lastly in the science department, this is what the Universe looks like. Insane, right? The Universe. You’re looking at it. A second ago I implied we don’t know anything, and now we have an example of us mapping out the entire Universe. Life is full of paradoxes.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/29769051[/vimeo]

Nature
As described on Kotke.com: “Richard Feynman talking about the beauty of science and of the natural world over a bunch of video footage taken from NASA, Microcosmos, and BBC nature docs like Planet Earth.”

This video is super cool. Got a special place in your heart for Mother Nature? You will after you watch.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRmbwczTC6E&feature=related[/youtube]

In a similar nature-loving vain, here’s a great video of a dude following mountain climbers for National Geographic. The Dude is becoming increasingly intrigued by mountain climbing.

If you have a chance (especially if you have Netflix), check out 180¬į South. It’s a surfing/mountain climbing “documentary,” and it’s pretty rad…with a rad soundtrack. It gave me a new outlook on mountain climbing. A completely isolated and useless act, but you come back with a new perspective. Anyway, onto the feature presentation.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/27786807[/vimeo]

Amazingly Cool
In the amazingly cool department, ABC News is reporting that the DeLorean is coming back! Back to the Future…Present.

And, it’s coming back as an electric car.

Nice work making electric cars cool. Didn’t think it could be done.

Economics
And to round out the Dude’s News coverage, let’s take a quick look at a report from Bloomberg stating that DC now outpaces Silicon Valley for the highest household income in the country.

As Don King is fond of saying, “Only in America.” How is the region that houses the government and all of the cronies that go along with it the highest paid area of the country? How is that possible?

Federal workers earn an average of $126,000 in total compensation!

Our tax money pays them, correct? Do we see the shitstorm going on in country/world right now? Are they really worth an average salary of $126,000? Things are waaaaayyyyy out of whack these days.

Amazingly Cool Part Deux
To end on a positive note, let’s showcase what could be one of the greatest father/son bonding experiences of all time – and absolutely the greatest Hotwheels track the Dude has every laid eyes on (hats off to TheKidShouldSeeThis.com for another gnarly video)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzTRTQkmHpU&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Say It Ain’t So: War on Drugs?

Over the past week or two, I noticed a couple national news headlines that made me scratch my head. They are unrelated stories, but the topics are most certainly related.

1.¬†Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show¬†–¬†L.A. Times

  • So, drugs now kill more people annually than car accidents?! Well, a “War on Drugs,” definitely seems in order. Wait, what, the main culprit is legal, prescription drugs?…oh.
  • “While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled¬†in the last decade.”
  • “By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades.”
  • Prescription “drugs now cause more deaths than¬†heroin¬†and cocaine combined.”

Hmmm. Well, The Man must know what he’s doing. Even if legal, prescribed drugs are dangerous killers, at least the drugs we spend billions of dollars fighting, locking up non-violent criminals, and watching our “war” spill over to thousands of deaths in Mexico (and the US) must be¬†immensely¬†dangerous and worth the extreme¬†sacrifice, right?

Enter headline #2…

2.¬†‘Magic Mushroom’ Drug May Improve Personality Long Term¬†–¬†USA Today,Discover Magazine,¬†MedPageToday.com, etc.

  • “Many individuals who took a single dose of psilocybin — the active ingredient in what the drug culture calls “magic mushrooms” — showed alterations in personality characteristics, largely for the better, that persisted for more than a year.”
  • Participants “tended to show increases in the personality dimension known as openness.”
  • “Openness is generally considered a positive characteristic and includes such traits as aesthetic appreciation and sensitivity, imagination, intellectual engagement, and awareness of feelings in themselves and others.”

For real?! This is the culture we live in?!

What’s the goal of the “War on Drugs”? Promote dangerous, addictive drugs created in a laboratory and sold for insane profits that limit our ability to think and act for ourselves, while at the same time locking people up and ruining lives for any interest in naturally¬†occurring¬†plants that have been used for thousands of years and create a sense of well-being and “openness”?

Seems logical. Par for the course for The Man.

I’ll skip the long¬†drawn-out¬†rant. There are a lot of much more qualified ranters on this subject, but I will leave you with this graph. Does something seem wrong with the way we’re currently operating?

American Incarceration Timeline

American Incarceration Timeline