Recursive image rotation


A striking visual example of recursion!




English universities are in peril because of 10 years of calamitous reform


Stefan Collini writes in the Guardian.

Then there is the rather less obvious contradiction between consumerism and education. Our higher education system is at present structurally consumerist. Even now, it is not widely understood how revolutionary were the changes introduced in 2010-12 by the coalition government in England and Wales (Scotland wisely followed another course). It wasn’t simply a “rise in fees”. It was a redefinition of universities in terms of a market model. The Office for Students is explicitly a “consumer watchdog”. Consumers are defined by their wants; in exchange for payment they are “entitled” to get what they ask for. ...

Universities are, by a long way, the main centres of research and scholarship in our societies; they curate the greater part of our intellectual and cultural inheritance; they provide by far the best source of disinterested expertise; they select and prepare those who will be the scholars and scientists of the future, and so on. Countries all over the world have found that you cannot fulfil these functions by distributing students and academics across all institutions either uniformly or randomly. Some element of selection and concentration is needed, and that brings with it some element of hierarchy, however unofficial. Explicit differentiation of function among higher education institutions might well be preferable to any pretence that they are all doing the same thing and doing it equally well.

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Six questions that predict success

 Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist famous for her research on growth mindset, is coauthor of a new study.

To test the theory, the researchers asked student participants six questions and asked them to rate themselves on a 1 (never) to 5 (always) scale.

  • When you are stuck on something, how often do you ask yourself, "What are things I can do to help myself?"
  • Whenever you feel like you are not making progress, how often do you ask yourself, "Is there a better way of doing this?"
  • Whenever you feel frustrated with something, how often do you ask yourself, "How can I do this better?"
  • In moments when you feel challenged, how often do you ask yourself, "What are things I can do to make myself better at this?"
  • When you are struggling with something, how often do you ask yourself, "What can I do to help myself?"
  • Whenever something feels difficult, how often do you ask yourself, "What can I do to get better at this?"

What happened? Higher scores predicted higher grades.

And in subsequent studies, higher scores predicted greater success in a professional challenge and in a health and fitness goal.



Five stages of accepting constructive mathematics


From a psychological point of view, learning constructive mathematics is agonizing, for it requires one to first unlearn certain deeply ingrained intuitions and habits acquired during classical mathematical training. In her book On Death and Dying psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages through which people reach acceptance of life’s traumatizing events: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We shall follow her path.

Five stages of accepting constructive mathematics is a nifty introduction to constructive mathematics by Andrej Bauer. Mentioned by Martin Escardo on the Agda mailing list. 

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Positive Obsession and Furor Scribendi


I've just completed reading a trio of books by Octavia Butler: The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Talents, and Bloodchild and Other Stories. The latter contains two essays, Positive Obsession and Furor Scribendi, which I heartily recommend. Replace writer by researcher and everything remains true.

Persistence is essential to any writer--the persistence to finish your work, to keep writing in spite of rejection, to keep reading, studying, submitting work for sale. But stubbornness, the refusal to change unproductive behavior or to revise unsalable work can be lethal to your writing hopes.

Octavia Butler, "Furor Scribendi"

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Don't Stop ICFP

The ICFP music video is out! Thank you to Youyou Cong and Jose Calderon for putting this together. They've done the community a great service.

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Segregated by Design

Systematic racism stunts the opportunities available to blacks, but I've seen few clear explanations of it mechanisms. Segregated by Design lays bare these mechanisms as regards housing, explaining how federal, state, and local policies deliberately fostered segregation in contravention of the constitution. Lucid, to the point, and graphically inventive. Animated by Mark Lopez, based on The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein.

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Haskell, Then and Now. Got Questions? Ask them here!

IOHK Cardano Virtual Summit continues. Today's sessions include:

16.00 Fri 3 Jul Haskell, then and now: What is the future for functional programming languages? Prof Simon Peyton-Jones, Prof John Hughes, Prof Philip Wadler, Dr Kevin Hammond, Dr Duncan Coutts.

You can submit questions via Reddit. Register for the summit here. You can log in with your registered username and password here.

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Cardano Virtual Summit 2020

I'm participating in four sessions at Cardano Virtual Summit 2020, and there are many other sessions too. All times UK/BST.

16.00 Thu 2 Jul An overview of IOHK research Prof Aggelos Kiayias, Prof Elias Koutsoupias, Prof Alexander Russell, Prof Phil Wadler.

18.30 Thu 2 Jul Architecting the internet: what I would have done differently... Vint Cerf, Internet pioneer and Google internet evangelist, Prof Aggelos Kiayias, panel moderated by Prof Philip Wadler.

20.00 Thu 2 Jul Functional smart contracts on Cardano Prof Philip Wadler, Dr Manuel Chakravarty, Prof Simon Thompson.

16.00 Fri 3 Jul Haskell, then and now: What is the future for functional programming languages? Prof Simon Peyton-Jones, Prof John Hughes, Prof Philip Wadler, Dr Kevin Hammond, Dr Duncan Coutts.

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An Incredible Scientific Breakthrough Discovery to Beat Covid

I almost never see masks in Edinburgh, not even in stores or on busses. Brazil has serious problems, but no one in Rio de Janeiro goes outside without a mask. Courtesy of Tom the Dancing Bug.


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