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Random Musings/links
buzzed, B&W
Very cool article about someone who left a comfortable career as a coder and went to become a bicycle courier. Slightly romanticized - there's definitely a part of me that thinks it'd be a fun job, but there's another part of me that thinks it'd kick my butt.

This seems like a fun project as well . . .

Lastly, Wired had this well written article about "four underdogs from the mean streets of Phoenix took on the best from M.I.T. in the national underwater bot championship." It's a feel-good article, that makes you cheer for the undocumented Mexican immigrants, as they go up against the behemoth that is M.I.T. As this comment on Slashdot points out, the article though has a slant at the end, talking about how there are tons of undocumented immigrants, who can't go to college because they don't qualify for financial aid (being non-citizens and all), w/o mentioning that if we did extend these benefits to all, then we'd have more US citizens in this quandary. The Social Darwinist in me says open up financial aid to all, and the ability will prevail and make it through - and we might shrink the gap that makes many of these illegals second class citizens. Of course, there's probably a lot of ancillary issues I don't know about . . .

Dave's graduating from law school on May 21st, and is getting married on August 20th. Hopefully I'll be in the area so I can attend his wedding. It's interesting to see where we are since having graduated 3 years ago . . .

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Someone on /. posted the scoring breakdown for that competition. The team from MIT had a lot higher score on solving and peformance of the problem, but the team of undocumented Mexican immigrants won each presentation category by a small margain. End result, they win by 1/2 point or something like that.

Just goes to show, you get more credit for making it look good than making it work good ;)

The detail scores show that the engineering evaluation was worth 80 pts, the report was 25, and team display was 15, and the top score in the mission tasks were 48 pts. The high school kids got 32 points, and got 1st or 2nd in the rest of the categories.

As for whether you get more credit for making it look good or working well, the scoring obviously was much more wholistic than just the engineering task. The fact that the students did significantly better than the MIT at the engineering eval suggests they knew their stuff better than the MIT kids. You can also point out that there engineering was better considering how limited their resources were as opposed to the MIT team. (I think it was $800 vs. $11,000 dollars, though there's a comment on /. pointing out how much of MIT's 11,000 went to travel costs.)

I particularly liked the quotation:

"Why don't you have a PowerPoint display?" he asked.

"PowerPoint is a distraction," Cristian replied. "People use it when they don't know what to say."

So the high school kids didn't go for flash over substance . . .

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