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How to avoid programming

By Robert St. Amant
What does a computer scientist do? You might expect that we spend a lot of our time programming, and this sometimes happens, for some of us. When I spend a few weeks or even months building a software system, the effort can be enormously fun and satisfying. But most of the time, what I actually do is a bit different. Here’s an example from my past work, related to the idea of computational thinking.

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Computer programming is the new literacy

By Robert St. Amant
It’s widely held that computer programming is the new literacy. (Disagreement can be found, even among computing professionals, but it’s not nearly as common.) It’s an effective analogy. We all agree that everyone should be literate, and we might see a natural association between writing letters for people to read and writing programs for computers to carry out.

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On animals and tools

Try this experiment: Ask someone to name three tools, without thinking hard about it. This is a parlor game, not a scientific study, so your results may vary, but I’ve done this dozens of times and heard surprisingly consistent answers. The most common is hammer, screwdriver, and saw, in that order.

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Friday procrastination: milking edition

It’s been an eventful week in Oxford spires (although I write this from the New York office which contains no spires). We had a kerfuffle over the OED and we’re gearing up for the Place of the Year extravaganza next week. So what have we learned in between?

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