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I Might Be a Terrible Person

Giphy Terrible

Okay guys, I have a confession to make: I am a total Scrooge bereft of all sense of fun and joy. You see, I kind of hate group projects and “fun” learning experiences.

I think it must be about some combination of social anxiety and hating to be wrong. I always say “You’re right” is the best sentence in the English language, better even than “I love you” — obviously not because I truly think so but because I think it does say something terribly true about me. Being wrong just seems like the worst thing ever.

I think of this because this afternoon’s class was the first meeting of Radical Computer Science with Ramsey Nasser. I am super excited about this class: I don’t even have notes for most of it because I was just so psyched. We’ll be approaching programming through language design, including weird things like Entropy, a language that decays as it is used. There is also as background a lot of thought about the politics of programming: who it is for, who speaks, who listens, &c., which is to say questions I very much enjoy.

And then we had to do an activity. Where we were to write a program for describing dance moves. And just: ker-thunk! It makes me so grumpy! I have to do something hard. In front of other people. And I just want to not engage, while I see other people enjoy themselves.

I hope that one of the things I get from this experience here is a better tolerance of that discomfort. Because without being willing to be wrong — to mess up in public, in front of people I like — I am keeping myself from so much learning and doing. And sometimes it ends with me feeling (acting?) like a jerk. Which is also lame.

Approaches to Learning

Along these same lines, I was wondering yesterday if there are in fact two problem-solving approaches or if instead I construe it that way in my mind to excuse the types of problems I struggle with.

To explain: In my mind there are puzzle-problems, like math puzzles, those locked-room puzzle experiences folks like, rubix cubes, even strategy games, and then there are weaving-problems, like trivia. The former corresponds in my mind both with liking math and banging ones head against a wall, while the latter is all literature and intuition. But is that true? Is it just that getting out of a locked room puzzle involves familiarity with a different kind of knowledge than being able to effectively guess authors and name presents?

Which is to say: do I struggle with puzzle problems because of my own inclinations or just because I know less about how to approach and grab a foothold?

Also Today

Iron Blogger

I have three volunteers from SFPC so far for an Iron Blogger competition to keep this up. So excited!

Tega Brain

Tega talked to us about her works and her interest in art as works that aren’t necessarily successful but do generate perspective. The session finished off with a great group discussion about smell and it’s place in communication. It was suggested that it may be less central to how we talk about life because it is intimate, wordless, limbic and made of molecules.