kottke.org posts about school
Why would you want to live in Park Slope with children? So ponders David Galbraith, who notes that Brooklyn schools look like prisons.
This is the local elementary school -- which looks like a Northern Irish prison, before the ceasefire, with a sarcastic multi colored sign by Banksy.
Syllabus and notes from an ITP class called The Nature of Code, which focuses on "the programming strategies and techniques behind computer simulations of natural systems". Lots of good notes and Processing code examples.
Naked parties are all the rage at US upper-crust colleges. "The dynamic is completely different from a clothed party. People are so conscious of how they're coming across that conversations end up being more sophisticated. You can't talk about how hot that chick was the other night." (via mr)
The Rotenberg Center is a school for special education students that is essentially a giant Skinner box. Students are hooked to electrical devices and shocked when they misbehave. At once fascinating and disturbing. (via mr)
Honest advice to incoming college freshman from a former college president. "After paying (and receiving) all this money, please finish up and get out. Colleges like Laudable are escalators; even if you stand still, they will move you upward toward greater economic opportunity. Once you leave us, you'll have a better chance for a good job and a way to pay off your debt and to give us more money when we call on you as alumni."
The Pixar model of making creative products: "We've made the leap from an idea-centered business to a people-centered business. Instead of developing ideas, we develop people. Instead of investing in ideas, we invest in people. We're trying to create a culture of learning, filled with lifelong learners. It's no trick for talented people to be interesting, but it's a gift to be interested. We want an organization filled with interested people." Pixar University sounds *amazing*.
Free 1200-page physics textbook, available online or for download. I have no idea if it's any good or not. Is anyone using this in their high school or college classroom?
Malcolm Gladwell's description of how Harvard decides on who to admit strikes me as similar to how many companies in the tech/web industry hire employees. "Subjectivity in the admissions process is not just an occasion for discrimination; it is also, in better times, the only means available for giving us the social outcome we want. The strategy of discretion that Yale had once used to exclude Jews was soon being used to include people like Levi Jackson."
As part of the conference within a conference for students, Michael Bierut listed 20 courses he did not take in design school (I think I got all of them):
Contemporary Performance Art
The Changing Global Financial Marketplace
Early Childhood Development
Economics of Commerical Aviation
Biography as History
Introduction to Horticulture
Sports Marketing in Modern Media
The 1960s: Culture and Conflict
20th Century American Theater
Philanthropy and Social Progress
Studies in Popular Culture
Building Systems Engineering
Geopolitics, Military Conflict, and the Cultural Divide
Political Science: Electoral Politics and the Crisis of Democracy
His point was that design is just one part of the job. In order to do great work, you need to know what your client does. How do you design for new moms if you don't know anything about raising children? Not very well, that's how. When I was a designer, my approach was to treat the client's knowledge of their business as my biggest asset...the more I could get them to tell me about what their product or service did and the people it served (and then talk to those people, etc.), the better it was for the finished product. Clients who didn't have time to talk, weren't genuinely engaged in their company's business, or who I couldn't get to open up usually didn't get my best work.
Bierut's other main point is, wow, look at all this cool stuff you get to learn about as a designer. If you're a curious person, you could do worse than to choose design as a profession.
Fun little quiz on eight grade math...can you pass? I got 9/10 (got tripped up on what I thought was a trick question but wasn't...erroneous! erroneous!).