Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Where are all the children?

By jd in Culture
Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 08:20:08 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

Normally, one doesn't associate high-end computing, science or high art to children. Well, unless you're a paleantologist, like Mary Annings (who also gets a mention here), who discovered her first new species of dinosaur at age 12.

But both science and the arts are about curiosity. Trying things out. Playing with ideas. Something children are far better at than any adult. So where are they?


It seems that, in the renaissance and in Victorian England, children were off discovering entire new species (see above), writing symphonies (Mozart was 9 when he composed his first), discovering new mathematical formulae, inventing new photographic techniques (unless there really ARE fairies at the bottom of the garden!), etc.

Then, there were other children who did not, themselves, make major discoveries, but did lead others to do so. Lorenzo's oil springs to mind, as does the vaccine for polio.

About all that can be said, today, is that children have boots that will tell them when they've walked, by flashing a light on and off. Oh, wow. As if the kid couldn't figure that one out for themselves. Oh, and the cycling industry has re-discovered medieval skull caps. Can't forget that. (Wish I could. You'd have thought that 1,500 years would have led to some improvement in design.)

Are kids today really that much more stupid than their predecessors? Or is society so convinced that little heads are of little worth, that much of the richness that could be there is being roasted out?

Certainly, you do still see the occasional talent. 12 year olds, going to Cambridge University, in England. But they're burning out so quickly that it seems like it'd almost be better the fire had never been lit at all.

Are the "bright" kids so "cute" they daren't show their brilliance? Or are they getting so badly pulped at school, they try to blow it away?

Where have all the Anningses gone?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Mary Annings
o here
o Also by jd


Display: Sort:
Where are all the children? | 68 comments (65 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Underestimated.... (3.72 / 11) (#1)
by Giant Space Hamster on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:26:30 PM EST

I think you underestimate exactly how much knowledge humanity possesses.

I'd say that child prodigies still exist, but that nowadays they need to learn a lot more before they can catch the bleeding edge of their chosen field.

-------------------------------------------
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russell

Where the children are (3.46 / 15) (#2)
by jabber on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:36:18 PM EST

They're practicing wrestling moves on kids half their size.
They're getting their belly buttons pierced so they could be like Brittney.
They're having their own kids.
They're playing video games for 5 hours a day.

They're watching TV instead of thinking.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

A parent's perspective. (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by tzanger on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 11:55:52 AM EST

They're watching TV instead of thinking

As a parent of three myself I take exception to your statement.

Now I'm not saying my kids will become geniuses but your post comes off as overly cynical. My 4.5 year old stepson watches perhaps more TV than I'd like but when given the option of TV and a book or TV and playing with friends I have found that he prefers TV less than these other excercises. He and I watch Junkyard Wars and Robot Wars (Battle Bots?) together religiously.

When I work at home he's more interested in what I'm doing than he is in Pokemon or Blue's Clues. Scooby-doo is a different story but then again I always had a crush on Daphnie myself. :-)

My 16-month-old daughter is absolutely fascinated with the television. Nothing keeps her away from it when she sees that Teletubbies (bleeech!) are on but it is something she enjoys. After Teletubbies her favourite thing to do is bug her brothers or sit on my lap and listen to music or press buttons... any buttons... anywhere. I'm kind of hoping she keeps that and starts into electronics. :-)

My 5 week old son is too busy sucking tit or shitting or sleeping to bother with TV.

Yes, TV is (mostly) bad. I wish I had the patience to keep it off when I am trying to get something done but I don't. The TV is usually turned to TLC or PBS (honestly!) and the actual dumb-cartoon stuff I used to watch forever is on maybe an hour a day to two hours a day. I consider that pretty damn good.

Everyone has their vice(s). For some, it's Brown Pops or weed. For most kids it's at least some unhealthy, brain-draining TV. If you're using it as a babysitter that's not so cool but it is a valid passtime that shouldn't be removed from the face of the Earth.



[ Parent ]
Tivo (3.00 / 2) (#55)
by jabber on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 03:45:46 PM EST

Tivo is probably the hope for the future. Television as it is caters to the lowest common denominator, and the interest children seem to have in less and less valuable content only feeds the fire. Good parenting not withstanding, it's difficult to keep a kid watching 'good' programs, and not getting into MTV mode.

Even TV for children has become incredibly pointless since I was a kid. As I was getting too old for cartoons, it started to turn, and toys appeared modelled after Saturday morning programming. Now, the toys come first and the shows are only extended advertisements. It's incredibly tough to keep a child from becoming programmed by such programs. Well, I imagine that it is, since I have not kids of my own quite yet.

Anyway, my point about the Tivo is that this is something that allows a parent to choose what is in the buffer, and what the kids have access to. A little subtle mind-control to be sure, but isn't that exactly what parenting is about?

I didn't intend to say that kids today are stupid. They are barraged with entertainment to a point where their thinking is shaped by what they see. If what they saw was more intellectually stimulating, and less fluffy, the kids would think more constructively and less cynically.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

They are still there (3.16 / 6) (#3)
by Snugboy on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:37:50 PM EST

You just don't hear about it. The Mozarts and Annings are still around, and I am sure in a few years that they will be read about. Hell there was that one kid who got hired by Microsoft when he was some ungodly young age (though his name and details escapes me). These prodigies are still around.

There are MORE of them now. (3.90 / 11) (#4)
by Electric Angst on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:46:30 PM EST

Yes, in Victorian times, there was a child prodigy that discovered new species, but most of her playmates probably couldn't understand basic algebra.

Children today have a higher level of education than those of earlier periods, depite the lack of "celebrity prodigies" which we can look at as figureheads of the younger generation's collective intelligence.

Just because Annings and Mozart were doing spectacular things at very young ages, doesn't mean anything at all about any of children around during their time, except, of course, Annings and Mozart.


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
you forget (2.88 / 17) (#5)
by Signal 11 on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:55:29 PM EST

You forgot one minor detail - most adults have had their creativity beaten out of them by formalized classical education in the United States (and I suspect elsewhere as well). The kids aren't better... they just haven't experienced the crunchy goodness that is our dehumanizing educational system.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
Barriers to entry... (3.00 / 9) (#6)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 04:56:18 PM EST

One reason might be that there is a higher barrier to entry these days. Many homes have a piano... even if it's just for pretentious parents to show off. Far few homes have a fab plant in the backyard.

The Woz, for example, was designing computers, right down to the circuit paths and timeing, ON PAPER, when he was in high school. High school generally begins at age thirteen or fourteen... Sounds like child prodigy material to me.

But it wasn't until he was much older that he had the financial means to put his ideas into practice. And even then, he and Jobs had to sell off personal effects (Woz' programable calculator and Jobs' Volkswagon Microbus, IIRC) to get enough cash to start turning Woz' designs into reality.

And that was the sixties and seventies, BEFORE computer manufacture got so complicated that it requires multi-billion dollar fab plants, and home-grown solutions were a lot more common (especially at universities).

john

Imagine all the people...

The Klehr-Bliss theorem (3.22 / 9) (#7)
by yankeehack on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:04:46 PM EST

Sorry that I can't find any mention of this kid online, but this morning, I read an article in the paper about a middle school kid in Georgia (the state, not the country) who discovered a new geometry theorem.

I apologize that I can't explain the theorem correctly, but apparently the kid discovered a new point in a triangle while goofing off in the computer lab. cool. I wish I could have done something like that while his age.

No one who was bad in bed has ever been good in life (i.e. liberals, I've never had sex with a liberal woman who knew how to use her body.) Keeteel :-P I'm *right*!

Link ??? (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by retinaburn on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 09:55:06 AM EST

I searched Google and MSNBC (which incidentally crashed IE) for this story and I can't find it anywhere. Can you point me in the right direction.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
kids and discoveries (4.10 / 10) (#8)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:06:34 PM EST

I'm sure that many children discover new things all the time, it just turns out that some else had discovered it long ago and we just forgot to tell the child. When I was a kid, I could have gone out to the badlands and found a dinosour bone, but now the chances are much greater that that species of dinosour has already been discovered.

I also think that most children are in an environment were it is difficult to discover things. They're all lumped together into classrooms where they are expected to learn what the teacher tells them and wait for the slower students. Even art (when I was in school) was along the lines of, "today we're going to make a such-and-such, it can be whatever color you like but it must be a such-and-such." And when they get home it's all pokemon and television. It's an evironment saturated with things that have already been discovered and very little else besides filler.

Kids are as smart as they ever were, they just don't have as much of an opportunity to use those smarts to do something really new.

How many ? (3.80 / 10) (#9)
by Phage on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:25:52 PM EST

I suspect you may have over-estimated the number of such prodigies in past generations. When we think about who we consider as true geniuses most people will name a half-dozen people from the last 500 years.

The world population is now substantially larger, but I would still be surprised if there was more than one such exceptional person per generation.

The fact that we do not appear to have one in this generation is not surprising. What were you expecting ? Something like a flock (?) of Midwich Cuckoo's engendered by the the "New Economy" ?

+1 for interesting topic though.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros

I disagree (3.80 / 5) (#13)
by scorbett on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 06:15:05 PM EST

If anything, I think he's under estimating the number of such prodigies that have come and gone in the past. You say there's been maybe a half dozen in the last 500 years, sure, a half dozen that we know about. Nikola Tesla's father wanted little Nicky to become a priest, like his old man, and to stop wasting time with all this science stuff. Fortunately, Tesla ignored his father's advice and went on to become one of the greatest inventors of all time. But it raises the question - how many such geniuses have come and gone without ever realizing their full potential? Bad parenting, restrictive societies, conformist education systems - if anything, things are getting worse these days because any kid who deviates from "normal" behaviour is immediately placed on ritalin (or some other such "corrective" medication). How many kid geniuses have been turned into repressed adults in the last 500 years? Who knows.



[ Parent ]

Sad, but true (3.00 / 3) (#15)
by Phage on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 06:26:13 PM EST

I have to agree with you there.

Not many people of any variety reach their potential. I was only counting those who did. As you say, a number that is depressingly low.

What I disagree with is the implied statement that things have changed for the new generations. Kids are not stupider than their predecssors !


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

Too much to learn (4.35 / 14) (#10)
by Corwin on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:28:42 PM EST

The problem isn't that children are any less intelligent or curious nowadays. The problem is that nowadays the sum of human knowledge has been increasing faster than it had been previously. There is so much to learn now before we can even think about getting into uncharted territory. For mathematics, children have to learn addition, division, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and who knows what else (that's about where I stopped) before they can start looking into territory that hasn't been charted before. All the things that can be discovered in your backyard have probably been discovered by now (though I am loathe to say that as such statements have a tendancy to make the speaker look foolish in short order).

I'm sure that there is no limit to human knowledge, but there is a limit to how much a person can learn in a short period of time, no matter how gifted.

Unfortunately, this does nothing against your Mozart example, nor for artists and other non-academic pursuits.

---
I'm in search of myself. Have you seen me anywhere?
Where have they gone? (4.65 / 20) (#11)
by AmberEyes on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:46:29 PM EST

First off, I voted this up to +1 section, because I think it's an interesting issue.

However, let's look at a snip of your text.

"Are kids today really that much stupider than their predecessors?"

I'm sincerely hoping you are not calling kids stupid, but I have a feel that's why it seems there are so fewer of them around - anymore a good portion of the people have either the mindset of "stupid kids..." or "kids should be seen and not heard" or "you're going to do what I say cause I'm the parent and you're the kid and you are my property". None of these scenarios are very conducive to raising the next Einsteins.

IQ is determined by two things, I believe - genetics and environment. Environment plays a more important part though - in a study (forgive me, I can't find records of it, I learned about it in a psych class I took) children who were mentally disabled (not retarded, but not the sharpest pencils in the box either) were raised by nuns who taught them one on one - good teaching, lots of studies, and generally raised them in friendly environments where they were treated like special kids - not "special" in terms that they were handicapped, but "special" as in "you kids have so much potential, we love you, and we're here for you". Guess what. Their IQ points went up considerably - in fact, quite a bit higher than average, if memory serves me correctly.

But you don't need studies or theory to tell you that if you keep a kid in an environment where he is constantly reminded of how simple he is, how immature he is, and how much he has to learn, you're going to get kids who have those exact qualities.

I hate to be egotistical, but a good example is myself. I'm 18, and have a very high IQ (saying that makes me feel like a jerk, so I'm refraining from throwing numbers around to save some amount of face) - in grade school I was challenged - teachers thought I was great cause I could talk at an advanced level in preschool, do complicated math in grade school - they thought I was just wonderful. And they showed it. I got lots of awards, lots of praise, and lots of encouragement - love from these people. It really made me want to work and want to learn more. I remember in 6th grade I filled in a few extra rows of the periodic table for fun during a slow week of school - my science teacher was most impressed.

But then, I entered high school. A totally different environment. Sure, I had a few teachers who really liked me - my computer programming teacher and my psych teacher thought I was great - and they praised me like my grade school teachers were. But the rest of them thought I was a threat - someone who would disrupt their class schedules, who would disrupt their chain of thinking, someone who would disrupt their lesson plans. And I suffered. Why should I work if all they do is bitch, moan, and complain about my work? I don't think they resented my brains - I think they resented the fact that they had to work with my brains to provide me extra content, praise, whatever. And they didn't.

Neither did I. In those classes I slacked off, drew pictures, talked, and was a class clown. I was bored. I feel dumb now. I feel like 4 years of my life were whisked away, and I can't get them back. I get sad about it a lot. Sometimes I get angry.

If you want smart kids, treat them like they are smart. It takes more than driving them to the mall, buying them their Gameboy stuff, and having pizza parties. You have to make them feel like they're wanted - in fact, needed by you, by society, by the world. Encourage them until you're ready to pass out, then encourage them some more. Teach them well - teach them with patience, and teach them to be better prepared for the world - it's cruel as hell and they need all the help they can get. But above all, make them feel like they are the only thing important to you in your life, but not so much that they will be destroyed if they fail. Some kids will always fail, I think. But most won't.

Why are kids so stupid, you ask? I think a better question might be why are kids so unappreciated, and why do many adults make them feel this way?

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
Look in the mirror (3.00 / 5) (#17)
by jasonab on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 06:54:25 PM EST

Neither did I. In those classes I slacked off, drew pictures, talked, and was a class clown. I was bored. I feel dumb now. I feel like 4 years of my life were whisked away, and I can't get them back. I get sad about it a lot. Sometimes I get angry.
If you wasted four years of your life, you have only yourself to blame. If you didn't transfer to a magnet or honors program (although maybe you couldn't), if you didn't find a mentor in those teachers who appreciated you, if you didn't work with your parents to improve your lot, that's your own fault. You cannot blame the system. The system is not responsible for catering to your every need. In grade school, you were treated as a child. In high school, you were expected to grow up.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]
Looking... (4.20 / 5) (#20)
by AmberEyes on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 07:12:03 PM EST

...and you're right - I take partial responsibility for those 4 years.

And I'm not blaming the system itself - I'm blaming myself and those who worked against me. I realize that it may seem that I am over-reacting to this, and trying to place blame. However, you are not aware of all the facts in the case, so I would not expect you to understand my predicament perfectly, nor anyone else who reads this thread. Whether you want to believe me (side with me?) or not is perfectly fine with me - I know what I experienced.

I don't know what job you have, but I'll try to explain my situation with a metaphor. Suppose you were a programmer. You know a lot about C++ Perl, and other upper level programming languages. However, one of your employers wants you to write all your programs in Visual Basic, using heavily commented code, and redundant code, just to make sure that he knows you know what you are doing. Whenever you "break" these rules, you are punished - he denies you projects, talks about you not being a team player, and basically makes your life miserable. So you quit.

Too bad I couldn't. Would you rather me have dropped out of school? I know a few friends of mine who did - they're regretting that. Almost as much as I did that I lost those 4 years. But I stuck with it, so I deserve some credit. It sucks to "work" where your "employer" treats you like a child and doesn't want you "mucking up the system".

I had mentors in my teachers - in my psych classes and my computer programming classes I had wonderful grades. High participation, high marks, and I learned a lot. Questioning my drive seems petty, considering how well I did in classes that nutured me. I seriously doubt I was born with a genetic ability that made me hate English II, provided it was taught by Sharon Razor, a teacher who, you guessed it, treated me like garbage.

And how should I work with my parents to improve the situation? Tell them to go bitch at the teachers? That certainly would make everything a whole lot better.

You're right, sometimes it's the kid's fault - as I said even myself, some will succeed, some are destined to fail. But you have to remember that there is lots of blame to pass around.

Kids by nature are curious tykes. They love to crawl around and put stuff in their mouths, stick their fingers in electrical outlets, and eat bugs. They're ALWAYS *willing* to learn.

However, you can easily kill that off - just stick them in a situation where they are bitched at for succeeding ahead of everyone else, and where they are encouraged to mediocracy.

Don't take this post as a flame, because it's really not designed to be one. It just really upsets me that you decide that you understand my situation enough to pass judgement on my character, let along absolve the "system" from any wrongdoing - I dare say, do exactly what I said was hurting the future whiz-kids in the first place.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
cute freudian slip (2.25 / 4) (#24)
by bobsquatch on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 08:03:09 PM EST

where they are encouraged to mediocracy.

Mediocrity is what you probably meant to say; mediocracy is rule by the mediocre, e.g. where you went to high school. Not a speling mistake as much as a serendipitous metaphor. :)

I was lucky in that most of my high school teachers generally praised the smarter students. Of course, the rest of the student body was hostile. There will always be somebody who is resentful of excellence; any gifted kid will have to learn to deal with it sooner or later. Be glad that your troubles started later on -- and if you must feel superior, consider that they're going to be stuck teaching high school while you're off being a genius (and/or talent).


[ Parent ]

Pass judgement? (3.75 / 4) (#26)
by jasonab on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 08:31:17 PM EST

The fact of the matter is, in the end, we are all responsible for our own attitude. No one else can make you unhappy. That's not to say that I'm always happy, but it is to say that in the end what matters is taking responsibility. I'm not critiquing how much you do or do not take responsibility, as I don't know. What I do know is what you wrote: you allowed your bad teachers to override your good teachers.
However, one of your employers wants you to write all your programs in Visual Basic, using heavily commented code, and redundant code, just to make sure that he knows you know what you are doing. Whenever you "break" these rules, you are punished - he denies you projects, talks about you not being a team player, and basically makes your life miserable. So you quit.
Except that your analogy is flawed. It is your job in school to demonstrate your knowledge. The teacher cannot assume what you know. If my boss were trying to ascertain my knowledge, then that would be an appropriate assignment for me. I, having proven my knowledge, can act in a somewhat more streamlined manner, although I still comment my code, and try not to use obscure shortcuts.

I've posted on this topic before, but I'm constantly flabbergasted that "smart people" are surprised when their arrogance and demands to be treated special are not taken well by others. Again, I'm speaking somewhat in generalities here, but would it really have killed you to do as you were asked? Did anything good come of your trying to prove your intellectual superiority? Could you have better negotiated with your teachers? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I invite you to think about them.

I had mentors in my teachers - in my psych classes and my computer programming classes I had wonderful grades. High participation, high marks, and I learned a lot. Questioning my drive seems petty, considering how well I did in classes that nutured me. I seriously doubt I was born with a genetic ability that made me hate English II, provided it was taught by Sharon Razor, a teacher who, you guessed it, treated me like garbage.
Actually, I would argue that your ability to get along in a sub-par environment is the true test of your character. Maybe that environment truly inspired someone else (I don't know), but for whatever reason did not work for you. Why did she treat you like garbage? Did your attitude or actions lead to that situation?
And how should I work with my parents to improve the situation? Tell them to go bitch at the teachers? That certainly would make everything a whole lot better.
Transfer? Take other classes? Meet other people your parents knew? Get emotional support for what you couldn't control? Your parents are your resources, not your enemies.
Don't take this post as a flame, because it's really not designed to be one. It just really upsets me that you decide that you understand my situation enough to pass judgement on my character, let along absolve the "system" from any wrongdoing - I dare say, do exactly what I said was hurting the future whiz-kids in the first place.
And I'm upsets me that you pass judgement on the entire system simply because of your one perspective. The one thing our society needs is more personal responsibility. We as a culture play the blame game, then throw money at problems instead of understanding them and looking at how each of us are culpable in the problem. I simply ask that you find the plank in your eye before removing the speck in your neighbor's.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]
Some answers. (4.20 / 5) (#27)
by AmberEyes on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 09:06:16 PM EST

I've posted on this topic before, but I'm constantly flabbergasted that "smart people" are surprised when their arrogance and demands to be treated special are not taken well by others. Again, I'm speaking somewhat in generalities here, but would it really have killed you to do as you were asked? Did anything good come of your trying to prove your intellectual superiority? Could you have better negotiated with your teachers? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I invite you to think about them.
What I was asked to do was to perform at the same level as the other students - I understood that very clearly. Sure I could have done it, but would that really have been better for me? Why should I lower myself to their standards? Aren't we supposed to encourage people to be the best they can be, as much as possible? It might make me seem a bit haughty to demand that I be taught at a level that allows me to advance, but then if that is the case, it is a character flaw in my part. I don't believe this is a flaw though.

And it wasn't so much I was trying to prove my intellectual superiority - I have had my hands long burned by that fire indeed - a more accurate description would have been that I was trying to encourage my teachers to realize and encourage my own academic achievement and advances - instead, as I have said before, I got the "be like everyone else cause otherwise it's more trouble for me" speech, 90% of the time.

As you suggested, I do think about these questions. A lot. Sometimes, I know I made bad decisions. Sometimes, I know I made ones that were right for me. And sometimes, the decision fit into both of those categories. I'm not flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but neither were those hired and paid to enhance my learning.

Actually, I would argue that your ability to get along in a sub-par environment is the true test of your character. Maybe that environment truly inspired someone else (I don't know), but for whatever reason did not work for you. Why did she treat you like garbage? Did your attitude or actions lead to that situation?
I would agree with that - certainly it is a test of your character to have to deal with unpleasant situations. However, those teachers saw an unpleasant situation in having to redo parts of their lesson plans and teaching styles to accomidate not only myself but others like me. That's certainly flawed on their part. Again, I'm not flawless, and neither are they.

It's all about compromise. I tried my darndest, and maybe I'm weak for failing in those regards. But I failed regardless, and I'm willing to bet money I wouldn't have had they given their part as well.

She treated me (and the other smart kids in her class) like garbage for several reasons. She was burnt out - you can tell when a teacher is burned out, and it's a sad thing. She also didn't like having to accomidate me. But, as you put it, maybe that wasn't her responsibility and it's totally my fault. I'd like to think it isn't though - I would prefer to think that most people would try to encourage and nurture people who had great potential.

The only attitude or actions I exhibited at first was geniune interest in being the most I could be and trying to get her to feed me more advanced material. She regretted this, I remember her once saying that I should "slow down" as she put it. And yes, I'm sure my final degrade into boredom and "the blahs" didn't go over too well with her either.

Transfer? Take other classes? Meet other people your parents knew? Get emotional support for what you couldn't control? Your parents are your resources, not your enemies.
Not really feasible, I'm afraid. I couldn't transfer, the other classes were full - neither could I take other classes, the english was a requirement (high school curriculum), and I did try a stint with a psychologist for a while. It didn't work, needless to say. My parents were my resources - I came very close several times to either completely giving up or simply falling off into who-knows-what...they were there for me, and tried to get me help. Since then they have met other parents in the same position - smart kids, school system that doesn't gel. It's not an isolated incident at all, as you mentioned above in that first quote I took from your post.

And I'm upsets me that you pass judgement on the entire system simply because of your one perspective. The one thing our society needs is more personal responsibility. We as a culture play the blame game, then throw money at problems instead of understanding them and looking at how each of us are culpable in the problem. I simply ask that you find the plank in your eye before removing the speck in your neighbor's.
I'm not passing judgement on the entire system - I really liked my grade school teachers and the ones in high school that encouraged me. I'm passing judgement on those that didn't. I was responsible, and I made decisions that affected me, both positively and negatively. Those teachers did as well. I've certainly found the plank in my eye, as well as the speck in my teachers' eyes, although I would challenge the sizes of the opticular irritants that your metaphor provides.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
This is new? (3.50 / 4) (#18)
by bjrubble on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 07:01:24 PM EST

I think your points have merit, but I don't see this being a new thing. I mean, "kids should be seen not heard" -- this borders on anachronistic. Sure, kids could be treated more equally, given more opportunity, but compared to how they were treated a few decades ago I think things are way better.

Besides, as the saying goes, "talent does what it can, genius does what it must." The true geniuses have almost always been ostracized and discouraged -- Alan Turing comes to mind as an immediate example -- both in and outside of formal schooling. They persevere, because they're driven by something other than the adulation of their companions.

I notice at this point that I've slipped from talking about prodigies to talking about geniuses. I think this is because, apart from a few notable exception, child prodigies do pretty much jack about anything. The few of them who grow into bona fide geniuses do contribute to humanity, but even then their contributions come as adults.

[ Parent ]
Since when have I ever pointed out anything new?=) (3.75 / 4) (#21)
by AmberEyes on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 07:23:39 PM EST

Most of my stuff is just rehashed points with some focus thrown in to guide it along. No big discoveries here. =)

But anyway! To your comments. You're right about the discouragment stuff - heck, Einstein's math teacher told his parents he'd never amount to anything cause he did horrible in his math class. My drive is computers and CAD work. Unfortunently, that's not something as understandable to most people as "math" or "english" so I get a lot of "you should be a programmer" or "why don't you quit working on that and do something useful". Most of that comes from people who I don't suspect understand me - my parents are completely supportive of me, even though they don't exactly understand what it is I do - more important though, is that they understand me.

I can easily see a genius being discouraged, maybe even becoming so discouraged that he/she decided they've had enough and want "out". We'd never hear about these geniuses since they've never done anything - does that make them any less of a genius? Does the term "genius" then also imply that they have to contribute to society somehow?

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Genius (2.50 / 2) (#37)
by bjrubble on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 01:21:36 AM EST

Oh, but I say "you should be a programmer" to everybody!

I think to some extent the defining quality of genius is that it doesn't have an "out." It won't follow directions or turn down. It may get bored but it can't get discouraged.

[ Parent ]
understand (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by maketo on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 11:29:29 PM EST

I went through the same. Only I wasted my high-school and a couple of years after that. Now I am paying for it. But the comfort is that it is never too late.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
Encouraging (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by slakhead on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 05:19:13 PM EST

Just make sure that we don't confuse encouragement with expectations. If you keep pushing kids to do things they will sometimes shut down and refuse to try anything new. It is important to give them free intellectual reign and then be there for them when they need help or have questions.

Also, do/did you have any sort of accelerated learning program in your state? In Washington state there is a program called Running Start that high schoolers can participate in. It allows them to go to local community colleges and take courses there for high school and college credit. If you don't have such a program you should write to your representatives in Congress and ask them about it.

I am fortunate to be in such a program and I am able to take the classes I want, have a little control over my schedule, and have teachers that respect my effort in class. I am not saying that high school teachers don't care but they tend to have a more resigned attitude about education the longer they have been teaching.

[ Parent ]
G.A.T.E. (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by AmberEyes on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 06:54:59 PM EST

Actually, my grade school did - we had a program called G.A.T.E. - Gifted And Talented Education. Basically, it was just a sort of retreat from school - there were some "modules" (trailer things) out behind the school that you would go to, and spend a good chunk of your day in, doing creative and advanced stuff. The more I look back on it, the more I realize that had us doing some really complicated stuff (ie: complicated geometry things) in the guise of more simpler assignments (from the previous example, in the guise of doing line art and stuff), but I also realized that taking us out of the environment of other kids was also probably pretty harmful. It would have been nice to ask for advanced cirriculum without having to leave the "normal" class environment itself, but I guess it's all a give-and-take thing.

It's good to hear from someone who has been in a similar program!

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
brilliance is bad... mm'kay? (3.60 / 5) (#12)
by Seumas on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 05:58:01 PM EST

I was in highschool not all that long ago and I'm sure things haven't changed much since then. Throughout my entire school life, I seem to recall that being brilliant was secondary (at best) to being confident. As long as you feel okay about being a complete sedentary idiot, that's as good as being brilliant. In fact -- it's better, because people can understand idiocy or even average stay-within-the-lines conformity of intelligence. They often, however, are clueless about intelligence and brilliance.

Why bother being brilliant when being accepted and being happy with yourself is as good or better? All being brilliant does is make you a troublemaking outsider who ruins things for the rest of the party.

At least, that's how I seem to remember school and it seems to be how things go these days (I have a couple siblings in middle school and highschool).
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

Re: brilliance is bad... mm'kay (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 01:36:56 AM EST

I seem to recall that being brilliant was secondary (at best) to being confident. As long as you feel okay about being a complete sedentary idiot, that's as good as being brilliant. In fact -- it's better, because people can understand idiocy or even average stay-within-the-lines conformity of intelligence. They often, however, are clueless about intelligence and brilliance.

That's harshly condescending. I remember fairly brilliant people in high school and college who were positively lionized. By the same token, being supersmart doesnt automatically make you socially useful to your peers. I doubt anyone is going to resent or "misunderstand" your brilliance if it doesnt match your social intelligence but dont be surprised if they ignore you, either. You're just going to have to understand that there is little collateral value in the fact that you can read Euclid when everyone else is struggling with trigonometry.

All the literature I've (accidentally) read on the subject of student brilliance suggested that those students who scored the highest on aptitude tests were the same students who excelled at sport, after school activity and who had the most friends. In other words, nothing like the myth of the misunderstood, disliked genius.

I hope people arent confusing geek with smart :-)

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

smart != brilliant (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by BigZaphod on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 03:07:48 AM EST

I agree with most of what you said, but I don't believe that being smart means you are brilliant. I know/knew many many people in high school I would consider to be very much smarter than the average joe, but it didn't make me think they were brilliant or anything other than smart.

To me, smart means you can read and memorize and later recall important facts and details. It also means you can use those facts outside of the context in which they were supplied (in other words, you know that it was taught for a reason and you know why it was taught and what purpose it serves). This is a good thing. But it's not really that useful in the long run. I mean, what good does it do society if you can remember all the US presidents in order?

I think in order to be brilliant, though, requires that you are not only smart, but smart enough to know that you are not all that smart. :-) It means you search for answers to questions based on previous knowledge of similar questions. I've often seen otherwise smart people fall on their face when they encounter something outside of their personal experience. It's almost like they were never given a look-up table for some specific subject and just can't cope without it. This is most likely the fault of the school system and its approach to teaching. But that's not the point right now. The point is that a brilliant person is likely to find creative links between knowledge they already know and sources for that knowledge so they can begin to find a solution to their present situation.

I'm sure there's a few more differences, but the main point here is that I would consider a brilliant person to be one who can solve his/her own problems. It doesn't mean they have to invent a whole new field of physics if they have some strange question. (Although a brilliant person would be likely to do this if ambitious) No, it simply means that there will at least be a search for an answer before their mind is made up. Even if the answer ends up being "this is out of my league", it is at least an answer that was researched and had to be found rather than assumed. Pretty major difference.

At any rate, I do think that most smart people can easily become brilliant. And brilliant people can easily become prodigies or inventors or whatever. The problem is that the "system" (or society) being the way it is these days doesn't promote switching your level. You are either smart, brilliant, or an inventor. There is almost never a reason to change your position. That is why it feels like some people are just smarter than us or more clever. The reality, I think, is that we're all capable of inventing and discovering, but we're programed from an early age that it is much simpler to just stay in your place. And I think that's what's happening.

My $1.23.

(Note, this is not meant to be an attack on what you wrote or anything and in fact now that I re-read it, has very little to do with your comment in the first place. Oh well. It got way longer than it was supposed to as well. I guess things like that tend to happen when you're REALLY tired. :-)

"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
[ Parent ]
Better age records (3.42 / 7) (#14)
by error 404 on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 06:18:19 PM EST

At least a few of the old child prodigies were frauds. Not themselves, but their promoters. One example I'm familiar with: when Beethoven hit the scene, his dad lied about his age so he could be a prodigy.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Several Issues (4.70 / 10) (#16)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 06:47:33 PM EST

First, the prodigies you list were labeled 'prodigies' because they did something exceptional. It is their rarity that makes them famous. Fame can also take a while to happen, so the discoveries of today's prodigies may not reach the world audience for a while.

Second, there is much less to discover these days that does not require a fair bit of background knowledge. This makes it more difficult for the prodigies to happen upon something new these days. Of course, this does not apply as well to music. Coincidencially, the only modern prodigy I can think of is Charlotte Church, a singer.

Third, I think our education system is a two edged sword. It is great for the majority of the people. Even the worst excesses of the US public education system (of which I am a product) are a far cry better than the education of the average person several centuries ago. However, the truly clever children are not encouraged by this system. An intelligent child during the Rennaisance, for example, could get noticed by a sponsor who would pay for their education. (I realize this was rare, but it is also how many of the greatest thinkers started.) Thus, the lucky ones got a high quality, exclusive education. Today's system is designed with the average student in mind, in order to ensure that it is accessible to all. Smart kids are under great social pressure to stay in line with the standard sequence of education. Accelerated programs are often underfunded, in order to benefit the greater number of students. Going ahead of the curve is not encouraged, and is not always well tolerated. And all this is true even before I get into the actual breakdowns and abuses of the system.

Which I could.

But I won't.

Right now, at least.
___
Length 17, Width 3

Translated to today (4.57 / 7) (#22)
by Skippy on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 07:34:32 PM EST

You make a lot of very good points. Here's my 2 cents worth in addition.
An intelligent child during the Rennaisance, for example, could get noticed by a sponsor who would pay for their education.
Many of the kids who do really exceptional things today are home schooled. Look at the kids who end up in the national spelling bee. A large majority of them are home schooled. NOTHING beats an individualized education where you are encouraged at every turn to excel in the things you want but you aren't allowed to slack on the other things.

As for the apparent relative dearth of prodigies, I think you are wrong. As Happy Monkey pointed out there is a lot more background knowledge required to lead a field nowadays. Furthermore the bar has been raised as to what an exceptional accomplishment is. Many children today do work that would have been considered prodigy level even relatively recently. They teach quantum mechanics in high school (and in the advanced courses really cover it and some of the heavy math involved)! Do you have any idea how recently that was a HUGE deal?

Kids are no less intelligent today. They just have more things to distract them and many end up in a homogenizing system. The ones you hear about are the ones that avoided the system and have had specialized educations.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]

Ehhh school (4.41 / 12) (#19)
by maketo on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 07:05:51 PM EST

Hmm. I think people who are brilliant in mind can reach new heights when in school. People that are not obviously brilliant but smarter than others usually do badly. Averages do great depending on the motivation since, for them, going through school means a "regime" while for the brilliant ones - it is just effortless. Ofcourse there is always the category of people who think and act smart, but are in fact just good orators and actors. Those do badly but spit on the system since it is an easy explanation of their failure. Now, the "not brilliant but smarter" category, the real ones. They do badly in school, usualy because they a)resent authority and/or b)like to do things their own way and/or c)are made to go to school by their parents ("to get education and later a job"). Further more, school favours the average and below average in many ways. It is almost impossible to get a 100% with many instructors while they are almost always willing to "up" and "curve" a grade of a below-average student. Lastly, the school usually needs all them money they can get and the good student does not need to waste someone's time while the bad one does.

I myself am in the category of good actor/orator but really dumb. Voila.

Now, the geniouses of today face a fragmented science. The way things work in the academia is that everyone has a very narrow field of focus where they are the best, or one of the best. A shift in paradigm or a real "master piece" is a rare occurence simply because the body of knowledge is much greater today. In order for one to even consider delving into a field, they must get the basics and after that get familiar with all the papers in the field. This does not mean there arent fundamental shifts - it just means they occur on a smaller scale.

Furthermore, there is a tendency towards "averaging" the nation. You can see it everywhere, on TV the ugly people are "beautiful" which translates in to life. The often average and below average class of managers and alike charlatains rule the world and make decisions that affect thousands. In my opinion, the scientist of today has lost their voice to the corporate rule. Thats why you can see it often that the poor guy with no lab, no flashy gadgets and equipment and no money/nice car comes up with something more spectacular than your average university professor. Your average scientist of today has it nicely. He or she also can invest their time only in what pays.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
there are some (2.60 / 5) (#23)
by spacejack on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 07:58:17 PM EST

I would rank Stevie Wonder up there.. a massively popular child star, gifted singer, legendary harmonica player -- and blind -- by the age of 12. By the late 60's, he began to take greater creative control and went on to become a true genius and innovator of musical composition, performance and production in the 70's. I think he ranks up there with Mozart & friends. I'm sure there are others that I can't think of offhand.

no more child prodigies? (3.00 / 6) (#25)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 08:03:36 PM EST

Bobby Fisher, Reese Selin (the kid who started the failed Freedows project), Steve Wozinak, Carlos Santana are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there many, many more out there. I didn't do any googling, nor did I even start looking at the non-English speaking world.

Perhaps there is something wrong with this theory.

Musician wise... (3.66 / 3) (#33)
by Miniluv on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 11:10:26 PM EST

Don't leave out Kenny Wayne Shepherd(sp?) and Jonny Lang were both in their early teens and being recognized as amongst the greats.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]
heh, Jonny Lang (2.00 / 3) (#35)
by Luke Francl on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 11:42:07 PM EST

Heh, that's funny. My sister went to middle school with Jonny Lang. He was in her English class before he dropped out to do the musican deal.

Yeah, I'm from Fargo. Damnit.

[ Parent ]
A thought I haven't seen yet (3.80 / 10) (#28)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 09:07:58 PM EST

Allow me to indulge in paranoid cynicism for a moment ...

It strikes me as being possible that one of the side-effects of the existence of things like flashing lights that tell you when you've walked, or video games / television which can fully occupy the attention of the smallest child, is that we are (either inadvertantly or not) in effect training our children to be easily distracted ... with the result that the kind of attention span and focus on detail needed to produce Great Works is being drubbed out.

A cynic would say that this is deliberate ... worker bees don't need to produce great works. But it doesn't require that level of cynicism to think that it's going on; such an effect can easily be produced accidentally. Are we creating enough shiny new toys that we are inadvertantly driving the creativity out of our society, because it's more fun to play with the toys that already exist than to learn new things or develop new toys?

How do we measure this? (4.00 / 3) (#43)
by Ceebs on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 07:44:10 AM EST

If we look at the existence of Human Genii then we should look at how we are measuring weather we have a genius or not. I think that the existence of Genius is dependant on two things.

Firstly the individual has to be extremely good at what they do.
secondly they have to be at a level far above their contemporaries in the field.
at the time of Motzart we have at an extreme fifty jobs worldwide for composers. whereasat the present time there are probably around 1 million people worldwide engaged in composing music. Obviously it is far easier to rise out and be generally noticed from a crowd of fifty than it is from a crowd of 1000000.
the same is true of science. there are now many more scientists working than there wore at the time of Newton or Kepler at the same time, for a child prodigy to discover something truely new in the field of celestial mechanics would prove tricky, as the simlest problems have already had hundreds of scientists pouring over them for many years. This is not to say that It wo'nt happen, just that as time goes by it becomes less likely.

[ Parent ]
What? (4.00 / 3) (#48)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 10:19:31 AM EST

"I don't think "fully occupy their attention" and "easily distracted" go together at all. They seem quite contradictory.

[ Parent ]
They're in school. (3.66 / 6) (#29)
by seebs on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 09:40:10 PM EST

As we make our society, and the tools used for it, more complicated, we can expect to see a few more years of school before kids *can* do all that much. You still see a certain amount of innovation among children, but we're spending a lot more time prepping them. This is not necessarily bad.


The low hanging fruit is gone (4.25 / 4) (#30)
by adamsc on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 09:59:31 PM EST

This is also why you don't see the modern equivalents of certain scientists or philosphers who made major contributions in many fields - there's simply too much basic learning required for someone to reach the point of being able to make major contributions in more than one field (perhaps 2-3 if they're closely related).

[ Parent ]
yes, kids are dumber today (3.84 / 13) (#31)
by eLuddite on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 10:03:33 PM EST

If it takes stupid parents and ineffective schools to drive even the most gifted genes out of a child's body -- well, America is certainly up to that task.

Humor me while I quote my favorite curmudgeon:

It's impossible to know anything. So you're not a stupid person or an ignorant person--you just aren't aware of these certain things." The horror of being a writer today, and the reason why we are a dying breed, and why the entertainment dollar goes to things like Independence Day, and My Best Friend's Wedding and crap like that which goes through you like beets through a baby's backside, is that the audience has been so completely dumbed down by the media, by tabloid scumbags, by the Christian right, by politicians in general, the school, parents who are dumber than their parents were, who are dumber than their parents were, and all of whom think that they can bring up a child just because they got down in bed and had a little sex... When we see the amount of child abuse and neglect and stupid people leaving guns lying around... well, frankly, here is an audience that knows more and more about less and less as the years go by. As a writer, you suddenly have a horrendous epiphany: "Wait a minute, I can't say, in a story, 'He had the eyes of a guard at Buchenwald,' or 'He had the stoic manner of a Dachau survivor.' They don't remember the names Buchenwald and Dachau. They don't know about World War II or The Holocaust. They simply don't know the history of the human race! Whether they weren't taught them at school, or weren't curious enough to read about them in books, they are absolutely tabula fucking rasa. We are talking about a constituency--and I do a lot of college lecturing--that knows nothing. This is pandemic; terrifyingly, paralyzingly pandemic. They know absolutely nothing.

Ok, give me your tired, huddled zeroes.

---
God hates human rights.

Invoking the Nazis == Losing the Argument? (2.50 / 2) (#39)
by TuxNugget on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 03:05:00 AM EST

Seems like I read somewhere back that in your standard internet flame war, usually, eventually, some zealot will invoke the Nazis or the Holocaust to state their point (e.g., "the RIAA are a bunch of nazis"; or "the war on free music is like a 21st century version of the holocaust"). These arguments seem silly, because usually what is being argued about is of much less consequence than the extermination of millions of people.

Anyway, once the Nazis have made their appearance, net.wisdom had it that the argument was over, and you could skip to the next topic -- because there would be nothing else in the thread that would be worthwhile to read.

So, does this now apply to Harlan Ellison? Should we just ignore him?

His argument is a bit different. He claims that people do not really know anything about the Holocaust or the Nazis or human history in general and this affects his word choice in the fiction he can write. Still, he could use other examples to make his point, and what he is arguing about (word choice in a novel; ignorance of his readers or publishers) is a lot less important than the extermination of millions of people.



[ Parent ]

Re: Invoking the Nazis == Losing the Argument? (4.00 / 3) (#42)
by eLuddite on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 03:52:40 AM EST

Still, he could use other examples to make his point, and what he is arguing about (word choice in a novel; ignorance of his readers or publishers) is a lot less important than the extermination of millions of people.

His point : Except when its the ignorance of that extermination. The exterminated are dead, we are alive. How important is that extermination to us, the living, if we are ignorant of it?

If you stopped to ask young people on the street, how many of them do you think can name one or two extermination camps? How many of them can identify Wiesenthal's name? Who did Bush name as head of the Education Dept.?

Now, how many of them can describe what Puff Daddy's girlfriend was wearing at some music award show? How many of them know the name of the Bart Simpson's dog?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Godwins Law (4.00 / 3) (#52)
by pallex on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 12:52:37 PM EST

"Anyway, once the Nazis have made their appearance, net.wisdom had it that the argument was over, and you could skip to the next topic -- because there would be nothing else in the thread that would be worthwhile to read. "

Well, people who talk about Godwins Law (which is what you are talking about above) generally (IMO) are describing the comparison of anything they dont agree with (ie. police/government making criminals out of Cannabis smokers) with Nazis. Like its the most original insult/put down ever. Then the other group of people go `ah-ha - Godwins Law - we win`.

Of course, its entirely up to you to decide whether or not either group HAS actually won the argument. Common sense would suggest the interjection "No! Thats a load of bollocks, you cant possibly say an argument is won/lost depending on whether someone talks about Nazis. What sort of criteria is that? Are you stupid?"

Actually talking about Nazis, though, is something else entirely. Not even the saddest, nerdiest, geekiest Usenet regular ever would tell you that talking about Nazism is out of bounds - just comparing them to your opponents.


[ Parent ]
Re: Invoking the Nazis == Losing the Argument? (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by jkominek on Wed Mar 14, 2001 at 11:49:01 AM EST

Godwin's Law prov. [Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any <u>intentional</u> triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.

I've never seen it invoked or even mentioned just because of a reference to Nazis. Hitler however is a different case.


- jay kominek unix is all about covering up the fact that you can't type.
[ Parent ]

Why don't they speak up? (4.00 / 6) (#44)
by Kugyou on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 07:46:08 AM EST

I think I have an idea. For those of you that have read my other comments, I promise I'll keep this one short, and anecdotal. When I was a kid, I had a lot of big ideas. Yeah, when you're five, your big ideas are fantasy, or you don't know how to implement them ("And make the button do this..."), but you still have big ideas. And they're cool. Pipes that do skywriting, or a way to blow square bubbles (Surface tension? What's that?). And what do adults tell you? "That's not the way it works". "That's a cute idea, son...(unsaid: But it can't be possible)". My parents were cool. They actually told me to write stuff down. I entered inventors' fairs...lost horribly, but I had really good ideas. In fact, I've had two ideas that were shot down in the fairs that were later developed independently by someone else. No, I'm not trying to brag - I'm saying that there are kids who have great ideas. Ideas that can - and in some cases do - work. But what do adults tell them? "Oh, you think so big! It's so cute!" and the like. Put simply, the idea that gets conveyed for a long time in someone's life is that children can't know anything adults don't know. I've proposed theories about genetic engineering, neural intercept telemetry, animal behavior, and neural input devices (chips in your head that let you 'see' things without your eyes). My last two theories were proven true - not under my name, mind you, but the name of the old people who said the same thing as me (most likely before I did, too). But when I told these kinds of things to 'adults' - I was 15 at the time, not a little kid anymore - the patronizing responses showed that there was still no faith in the mental abilities of a child.

I know this entire post has sounded like a brag, but really I'm just trying to give a viewpoint of how it happened to one child. I work every day with people who have had the same things done to them. I'm not sure that 'they could have been so much better' if none of them had ever been hushed when sharing their big ideas, but I can say for a certainty that the fires are still burning - it's just that the children are being taught to hide them. Forget them, even. Because some forty-year-old is more interested in their pride.
-----------------------------------------
Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
Yep! (3.50 / 2) (#45)
by jd on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 09:44:24 AM EST

Been there...

Done that...

Someone else got the t-shirt. :(

And, yes, it isn't a case of bragging. There's virtually nothing that has been invented that isn't "obvious", once you think about it. And there are only so many ways something can be done. So similarity of ideas is bound to occur a lot.

This doesn't mean it's a "nothing" thing to come up with these ideas. What it means is that social norms and social structure are usually placed first.

Now, that's not always a bad thing. Even if a 5 year old DOES come up with an idea for nuclear fusion, you really don't want to start handing them reactor cores.

On the other hand, ignoring kids because the adults have put themselves on a pedestal is stupidity.

Some of the other posters have said that the bar has been raised over time. In absolute terms, I'll give that a "maybe". New species of plants, animals and insects are still being discovered. Australia's Wollami Pine did not require an expert to find.

In astronomy, amateurs find more comets and asteroids than "professionals", largely because amateurs are the ones looking. Since kids can look through a telescope as easily as anyone else, you can't convince me that they are incapable of discovering things.

Maths. It has been proved (by some VERY complex maths) that Fermat's Last Theorum is correct, due to a 1:1 correspondance between two different types of geometric construction. Know any kids who can draw? It might prove much more long-winded, but I bet a kid could derive a proof, in time, by construction alone.

Also Maths. The 4-Colour Problem. Got Crayons?

Paleantology. Just find a rich fossil bed, and dig. If you don't find anything rare or unique, over 4 or 5 years, you're either really unlucky or really not looking.

Marine Biology. Cetatian sounds can be studied using nothing more complex than a wrapped microphone and a PC with a sound card. Since there =ARE= no "experts" in this field, kids will know as much as anyone else, and are at no disadvantage through age.

Rocket Science. A British amateur rocket club, until very very recently, used sugar as a principle ingredient of the fuel. I think this is something kids can get hold of, fairly easily, don't you?

This list is not exhaustive, or intended to be. It's intended to show that the bar is actually staggeringly low in places, and a baby could practically roll over it.

Kids with active imaginations and a low boredom threshold are being diagnosed ADHD and pumped full of drugs to make them more controllable.

(That's not to say ADHD isn't a real problem. It is. It's just that tired, frustrated teachers in overcrowded classrooms, trying to maintain what they perceive as discipline, make really, really, lousy psychiatrists.)

[ Parent ]

Examples (3.66 / 3) (#47)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 10:17:36 AM EST

Crayons couldn't solve the four color theorem. You could use crayons on one specific map and show that it could be colored using four colors. But the four color theorem says that *all* maps can be colored with four colors, not just one particular map. You can't do that with crayons. (The eventual proof showed that the problem reduced to a large number of cases and checked those cases with computer help. The math to show that the problem reduced to those cases would have been beyond a child's reach.)

I think it is unlikely that rocket science can be done using sugar, either. Building a model rocket is engineering, not science; it doesn't involve discovering anything new.

It's certainly true that a child could discover a new comet or a new species of dinosaur, as described in the article, but this sort of discovery is a special case. It discovers more of something already known to exist and involves no new scientific principles and not really even any old principles.

[ Parent ]

OK, some examples (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by sigwinch on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 06:39:21 PM EST

I think it is unlikely that rocket science can be done using sugar, either. Building a model rocket is engineering, not science; it doesn't involve discovering anything new.

Science, engineering, poe-tate-oh, poe-tot-oh.

How about acoustic resonance in a solid rocket engine? Getting the combustion reaction to start sustained whistling might could conceivably be useful. E.g., reaction rates during the compressive part of the cycle would increase, which could increase efficiency by burning more fuel before it leaves the engine. Whistling would also increase the peak exhaust velocity, an important figure of merit for rocketry. Even if it doesn't boost cargo better, it might be frightfully loud. (Hmm...howsabout a $30 screaming military rocket that deafens enemies? Better write a proposal to DARPA. ;-) This sort of R&D only takes a modest supply of materials and a little insight into basic physics. Even if the research comes to nothing, the attempt is a great teacher for a kid.

That reminds me of the magnetron tube that produces hundreds of watts of microwaves in a microwave oven. Magnetrons are trivial compared to microprocessors: a couple of magnets around an utterly simple vacuum tube. They had the technology to build magnetrons in 1920 (and probably earlier), but they didn't have the critical concept: you can make electrical whistles. That's all a magnetron is: an electron whistle. It uses electrons instead of air, and magnetic fields instead of physical walls, but it's a whistle at heart. Building magnetrons is easy if you have the whistle idea; coming up with the whistle idea in the first place takes extraordinary creativity and mental flexibility.

I'm not sure how much children can contribute to science and engineering, but I am certain there are many clever ideas waiting to be discovered, ideas that will seem blindingly obvious in retrospect, ideas that don't take vast amounts of obscure knowledge to understand.

It's certainly true that a child could discover a new comet ...

Or, as I did, independently reinvent the mercury telescope. It's a shallow tub of mercury, spun around its center. The spinning causes the surface to make a concave curve, perfect for reflecting light. Of course, it only points straight up, but that's good enough for some astronomical work. And of course, I never built it: even if I could have afforded that much mercury, my dad would have been appalled at the thought of me having that much mercury in my hands.

Years later I was flabbergasted when I read about somebody who had actually built a working model! The idea wasn't actually crazy at all. (BTW, it turns out that liquid gallium makes a better working liquid than mercury: less toxic and troublesome.)

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

I think you're probably right.... (none / 0) (#65)
by Danse on Thu Mar 15, 2001 at 03:13:05 PM EST

Kids probably do come up with a lot of great ideas. Many of them are probably even practical, or could be modified somewhat and made practical. We all probably have had ideas as kids that we didn't realize were actually possible or that we figured the adults must have already figured out. When I was in 3rd grade I was really into aircraft of various types. I used to sketch out my ideas. One of these ideas was thrust vectoring. Something that I had never seen or heard of at the time, but that I have now seen used in real aircraft designs. (Not the sort of thrust vectoring used by Harriers, I'm talking about more conventional jets) It was just something that seemed like common sense. I'm sure someone had thought of it long before I did, but it does serve as a decent example. If a kid happens to be interested in the right thing at the right time, who knows what kind of clarity he or she could bring to a problem. Unencumbered by conventional thinking in the field, the child could open new doors for researchers. It would be nice to see children challenged by some of the problems that science has run into. It could be pretty interesting to see how they might solve the problems.





An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
I hate to say it, but... (3.84 / 13) (#49)
by delmoi on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 10:42:13 AM EST

This story is totally retarded. I voted it down in the queue, but I was in a minority, sad.

The fact of the matter is, you provide absolutely no hard statistical data to back up your assertions, none at all. And you weren't alive in the renaissance, you weren't there. And what you are basicaly complaining about is the fact that you feel that there were more positive aberrations then then now. Well, how many were there? how many are there now? do you have any idea?

Christ, it's so frustrating. When CNN says "The majority of those who oppose the death penalty have never suffered a violent crime" we can laugh at the sheer meaninglessness of the statement. But I thought we were better then that here, I did, and to be honest reading your core-dump almost made me physically uncomfortable.

And lets not forget that science now is far more complicated now then it was in Newton's day, you need years of calc and access to expensive ass equipment to do most kinds nowadays, you can't just go out in your back yard an classify stuff anymore, you know, and while parents can and do buy their kids microscopes, they aren't getting them the scanning-tunneling kind.

And do you think our society just isn't paying as much attention to the output of musical prodigies, in culture who's musical heroes are the backstreet boys and Limp Bizkit(sp?)?

So far, I don't seen any evidence that there are less `child prodigies' out there, and your `impression' is completely and absolutely meaningless. In other words.

show us some fucking numbers, or shut the fuck up!

The more I write, the more worked up I get. It's idiots like you who are running this country! We are crippled by a populous who can't understand basic statistics. (We remember the 5 times kids go to school and shoot it up compared to the billions of times they don't, because the former is so much more salient). Now we have politicians rushing to ban video games, and geek profiling and all that shit over nothing because they fail to understand, as you have failed to understand, basic statistics. It's the greatest failing of our schools that kids aren't taught this, and don't learn it, but then there is no evidence that they ever were in the past either.

I'll grant that some schools aren't doing so well, but if you knew a little bit about bell curves and normal distributions (or bothered to apply the knowledge that you most likely do have) you would know that there are probably a lot of good schools to (again, people don't think about or even hear about from the media, the good schools because they aren't as interesting.).

I only wish that I had had the time to write this post earlier, as an editorial, I fell that if I had I might have been able to sway some people into voting it down. It's ludicrous and offensive, in fact reading your post made me as physically uncomfortable as listening to Eminem's `Kim' a song where the lyrics consist of what he would say to his wife while murdering here.

perceptions != reality people!
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
correction (2.50 / 2) (#50)
by delmoi on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 10:48:05 AM EST

I said The more I write, the more worked up I get. It's idiots like you who are running this country!

I meant: The more I write, the more worked up I get. It's idiots like you who are ruining this country!

Of course, you people are running the contry too.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
No prodigious thinking here (4.50 / 6) (#53)
by iGrrrl on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 01:29:42 PM EST

I find the thinking in this article to be extremely fuzzy.

I have a reading assignment for jd: Stephen Jay Gould's Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin. (The British edition is called Life's Grandeur for some reason.). Although Gould uses as his springboard the question of why there are no more hitters batting 0.400 in baseball, the basic question is pretty similar.

One of Gould's points is that any trend should not be considered by itself. In the case of baseball, overall standards have risen -- pitchers are better, fielders are better -- making it more difficult for someone who might have rivaled the greats fo forty years ago to stand out today.

Reviews of the book can be found from the New York Times (no registration), and from Richard Dawkins. Gould's underlying desire seems to lie in debunking the typical layman's anthropocentric view of evolution. On the way he makes quite a few good points along the lines of "Why are there no more Mozarts?" He rephrases the question more accurately -- a point jd could take to heart -- though in many more words than I use to paraphrase below.

Why do we percieve that there are no more Mozarts?

Humans are a pattern-finding species, and will often claim to detect patterns where a computer will never report them. jd has percieved a pattern which, objectively, has no existence. Previous posters have given plenty of counter-examples to jd's thesis.

--
You cannot have a reasonable conversation with someone who regards other people as toys to be played with. localroger
remove apostrophe for email.

Part of a common fallacy. (4.83 / 6) (#54)
by sparkles on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 02:27:43 PM EST

It's a pervasive misconception that our species is somehow deteriorating.

Yeah, people are stupid, but this is not new. Sure, you can survey all of recorded history and find a bunch of child prodigies who discovered and invented stuff and all, but you can also find societies where only a tiny minority could read or write, where stinking hoardes of simpletons roamed the streets looking for monsters and witches to tear to pieces.

Sure, we're still stupid, but we're smart enough to know it. In the 'good old days,' only the wealthy, privileged classes counted. People seemed smarter because we only counted those who had opportunities.

This argument is right along the lines of the 'look what animals we've become' theory of the world. I used to have a gig reviewing true crime books, and I was amused at the number of books about 'the first recorded serial killer' and theories that violent crime is some sort of product of modern society.

The way I figure it, people always have and always will be violent. We just don't know as much about it, because, historically, murdering a poor or 'bad' person was a gray area. We also had 'werewolves' and 'vampires' and 'boogeymen' in those days, waiting in the woods to accost villagers and leave their bloodied corpses scattered about. But actual humans committing serial murders? No, never that. This was a simpler time, you know.

And another thing: You never used to hear about these sex crimes and this child pornography and these drive-by shootings and whatnot. My own mother tried to say this to me once, but she backed off pretty quickly when I asked her to tell me again about the girl in her town who was lobotomized for putting out, the friend of hers who was raped repeatedly by her father and brothers, and the many many people shot and killed in feuds and accidents and for no reason at all, right there in her tiny home town. And kiddie porn? Well, that wasn't even illegal until the 80s or something (I'd look it up, but I'm at work, and I really don't want to type in the necessary search terms).

The problem is, history edits itself. You don't hear about people who've done nothing worthy of recording. Yes, people are still stupid. Yes, most of us walk around in a perpetual logical fog, unable to string together two coherent thoughts, unable to spot the most glaring logical inconsistencies and falsehoods. But we are a hell of a lot smarter than we've been before. There are kids today working on software development projects that were the exclusive intellectual domain of the real technical elite a few short decades ago.

If we seem to be stupider than we were, maybe it's just because we're right smack dab in the middle of things, riding buses and buying groceries and waiting in lines.

never heard term before (1.00 / 1) (#57)
by goosedaemon on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 05:35:48 PM EST

to tell me again about the girl in her town who was lobotomized for putting out, the friend of hers who was raped

So, uh ... what does it mean "to put out" as used in your comment?



[ Parent ]
Put out. (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by sparkles on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 05:58:36 PM EST

Sorry about that.

It means to have sex, but it has sort of a submission subtext to it.

Bad Girls put out, but you suspect they just do it to be popular.

[ Parent ]

I'd have to agree... (2.25 / 4) (#61)
by g0thmog on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 08:48:34 PM EST

I'd have to agree with this post. I'm currently an 8th grader, 13 years old, and I have not even any of my fellow geeky friends know a 'language' besides HTML.

Trying to explain my current database->xml project to them would be more painful than beating myself over the head with a large trout 3.14159265358979...x10^100 times. I think part of it has to do with the image. People associate programming with people with no life (:>) and shirk away from it. I myself am kind of one of those rare go-between people, half super-geek, half football-player, and most people I meet don't picture me as a hardcore programmer even with my TI-86 and Perl manual in my pocket.

I just don't understand the society anymore...


--MOV AX, 4C00h --INT 21h
Longer learning curve nowadays? (3.50 / 2) (#62)
by MoxFulder on Wed Mar 14, 2001 at 02:04:21 AM EST

You remarked that you haven't seen many children discovering mathematical theorems or inventing new technologies lately. On the other hand, you give several example of this sort of thing from around the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries.

I don't think kids today are dumb. In fact, they're probably smarter than ever, or at least more knowledgeable, since they have better access to education than ever before, at least in most of the developed world.

I think the major reason children aren't making brilliant discoveries these days is that you have to have a lot of previous experience to make a significant contribution to an existing field. On the other hand, two hundred years ago, many of the modern sciences like biology, linguistics, physics, and chemistry were in their infancy. There wasn't as high a barrier of entry to making important advancements in these fields, because there was a much smaller body of existing work to build on.

I'm constantly reminded of this in my college classes. For example, my math professor told us the other day that Euler proved Euler's Theorem when he was only nineteen years old! (It's a result in ring theory, which is way less complicated than the name makes it sound :-) I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm nineteen years old, and I can understand this theorem. What made Euler so special?" As another example, in my Historical Linguistics class, we learned about the Comparative Method, which was developed in the nineteenth century by a bunch of deviant young linguists. It's a simple method really; the basic premise is that by comparing languages to each other you can see if they derived from the same language in the past.

Of course, it would be very unfair to say that it was easy for novices to make important discoveries in the past. Anyone, in any period of history, who made an important discovery, had to take a conceptual leap. Today, when I think about Darwin's elegant theory of evolution, I wonder how Lamarck could have ever thought that a dog without a tail should produce puppies without tails. But of course I have the benefit of hindsight! Two hundred years ago, no one knew anything about evolution, and Darwin's ideas were truly creative, original, and revolutionary.

Basically, anyone who has ever wanted to make an important discovery has had to overcome at least two major barriers:

  1. They have to make the conceptual leap to arrive at ideas which are new and unexpected to them.
  2. They have to discover something that other people haven't already discovered :-)
I think that nowadays, with an enormous body of accumulated scientific knowledge, overcoming the second barrier is quite difficult in most fields, and requires many years of experience, something that children necessarily lack.

It's interesting that music is one area in which there are still (relatively) many child prodigies. I think that, because music is mainly a creative rather than an incremental process, very young and inexperienced (but highly talented) musicians can make valuable contributions. Also, lots of kids are good at programming computers, and they write useful programs. I think that this is possible because computer programming is a (relatively) new field in which many important but fairly basic problems haven't already been solved. (Like a fully functional non-destructive repartitioning utility for Linux!!!!!)

And it's getting harder to make important advances in computer science these days! I figured out how how to project 3D lines onto a 2D computer screen when I was twelve, but unfortunately someone else had discovered this before 1994 :-)

"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes


Where are the children? (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by Zarniwoop on Wed Mar 14, 2001 at 09:13:55 PM EST

Most of them are still learning. It's a pretty steep curve for a lot of things today. In many fields, anything basic enough for a high-school student to figure out has already been discovered.

However, once in a while some kid does come up with something new.

Like discovering a new geometric theorem.

Yes, I know that this was on slashdot. Not everybody reads slashdot, yada yada yada...

Aside (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by mindstrm on Thu Mar 15, 2001 at 04:27:18 PM EST

from the fact that in the 17th century there was very little previous discovery.. so in a sense there was 'more to be discovered' or more accurately 'more to be discovered relatively easily'.

Also, especially in north america, children are kept children longer these days. they aren't treated as adults, as equals, as people. They are 'children' until they are into their 20's. Can't even drink in the Land of the Free until you are 21. Kids aren't taught to think for themselves, they aren't allowed to make mistakes or experience the harshness of reality, parents are too busy making laws to 'protect' their children.

Let me tell you. Many 'children' should be given a few grand and told to backpack around europe.... that'll grow them up fast. Parents these days simply don't want to let their kids grow up; nay! It's not even teh parents.. it's the angry mob we call society... parents who treat their kids like adults are treated as BAD parents... we blame the parents when a kid screws up....

Get real.


Nature Vs. Nurture (none / 0) (#67)
by ZenZuZex on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 08:17:43 AM EST

The question of genetics vs. the childs enviroment has been debated hotly in many arenas, and I think it's fairly obvious that the only sane answer is both. That having been said, the people over at the institute for the achievment of human potential make a very good case for nurture having a primary impact.

They began their studies attempting to help brain-damaged children (they still help brain-damaged children) and found that with help, a brain damaged child could not only catch up to their peers, but even far surpass them. This is of course wrong, and begs the question of what an undamaged child could achieve with such help. In due course, they found out that a normal baby has the inborn potential to be a super genius, and wether they realize that potential or not will depend largely on their enviroment. Also, this has to be begun when the child is young - below six - and still has a great deal of brain growth time ahead of them.

It should be noted that the techniques they teach aren't for the faint of heart - it takes some real dedication on the part of a mother to carry through with this stuff. On the other hand, I think it'd make potty training practical at a much younger age, and that can't be a bad thing!

If you accept the theory of brain development taugh by the domans (see above link), then the question that this article poses could be rephrased to: "Is the proper enviroment to encourage and create genius in young children less common today that it was in days gone by?" And I think that the answer is yes :(

Only the parents (or surogates etc. read as "primary care givers") can effectively teach a child on that level and at that age. The present school system (in the US, anyway) encourages(1) parents to abrogate their responsability to teach their children, leaving it up to state-funded systems to teach math, reading, negotiation, and other fundementals. By the time they get to school, it's too late, and the teacher simply can't give hours of one-on-one time to each pupil.

However, there is hope. Now that these things are better understood, and more people are turning to homeschooling (or at least taking the primary responability for their childrens' educations) I think that we'll see even more people of the "Buckminster, Einstien, Tesla, Hawkings" level.

(1) Or encouraged, anyone ever hear "you've ruined your child by teaching them to read at home - such things should be left to properly trained educators" that was the line of many fresh-from-college education majors, and is still a widespread fear amoung those who endevor to teach their own children at home.



Where they are (none / 0) (#68)
by char on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 09:14:23 AM EST

> So where are they?

In school.

Raise your hand if you've sat in on a class in a typical public school in this past decade ... I thought so. The teachers and administrators are generally talented people trying their best, but school does not provide the atmosphere or structure for creativity -- in poetry, math, physics, drama, chemistry, music, or anything else.

School's attempt to move everyone along together is broken. In trying to develop social bonds between classmates, school moves 'slower' students too fast and holds back the 'faster' ones. As a faster one, I can tell you that this is silly not only academically but socially: when I left school and could choose my own friends, I started hanging out with people smarter than me for the first time and quickly developed emotionally as well as mentally. There is nothing more stimulating than listening to a discussion between experts on a topic you only half-understand -- and you never, ever, get that in school. Why not? Because half of all students are dumber than average, and they deserve an education too. Fair enough. But fairness to 30ish other people who happen to be your age and live in the same area is not relevant to your education.

If you change paradigms from "educate everyone" to "make sure everyone gets an education", you stop mass-producing random-common-denominator swill that will be fed to every child of a certain age all through the country, and start thinking about how you can provide kids with things that will help them learn. This might mean homeshooling, a private/magnet school, administrative changes, more funding -- anything, but it has to be done if we want more Picassos.

I've had at least two teachers in public school from whom I learned a great deal. But out of school I've learned English from Strunk & White, Mark Twain, Bill Bryson, Anthony Lane, Stephen Spender, and Samuel Johnson; the joy of science from Feynman, Sagan, Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein; art and design from Robert Bringhurst, Monet, Hockney, Zapf, Tschichold, and Bruce Rogers; coding from Tim Peters, Larry Wall, Guido, the Latin language, Knuth, and RMS -- I could drop names all morning.

<pretension>

I believe that the homeshoolers I hang out with and I are in the next wave of intellectual expansion, learning ouside of school (whether attending or not), pushing the envolope, and dreaming genre-busting dreams like Shelley and Kepler.

I believe that the smart, self-propelled, genius, brilliant, and revolutionary kids are here. They always have been and always will be. It's just that sometimes they have to deal with distractions like excessive religion, abuse, or school.

</pretension>

p.s.: case in point: www.nbtsc.org is entirely homeschooler-written (except the attatched Wiki) and -maintained. My friends and I've come up with some pretty cool stuff there -- I get my (web)mail off a server I saw set up, I'm writing utils for our IRC server, etc -- nothing your average 17-year-old could spare time for.

--Charlie Loyd

Where are all the children? | 68 comments (65 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!