July 4, 2017 in 6,019 words

Colorado Sovereigns Demand $350 Billion and File “USA v. United States” Claim

Since Westword‘s May 23 story about the “sovereign” movement — in which adherents generally reject statutory laws in favor of common law and believe that the U.S. government is corrupt — we’ve been receiving calls, letters and e-mails concerning eight individuals who were arrested along the Front Range on March 30.

The individuals were charged by the Colorado Attorney General’s office with dozens of offenses, many of them related to what the FBI calls “paper terrorism” — when individuals holding sovereign beliefs send their own versions of warrants, notices of fraud, liens and subpoenas to elected officials they believe are illegitimate. Among the targets listed in the AG’s indictment are district attorneys, judges and county officials.

The eight individuals who were arrested have become known nationally, at least within their movement, as the “Colorado Eight.” Their cases are significant because sovereign ideology appears to be spreading and is considered by the FBI to be contributing to a domestic terrorist movement.

Can you pass the US citizenship test?

The national success rate – getting six of these 10 questions right – is 91%. How will you do?

Do you deserve to wave the Stars and Stripes? Find out below.

Anyone hoping to become a naturalized US citizen must pass a civics test that assesses their knowledge of US history and government. To pass, applicants need to get at least six of 10 questions right.

Most people pass: as of September 2016 (the latest figures available) the national success rate was 91%. Think you can, too? Take our test below.

DEGREE OF ACCOMPLISHMENTY: Aced it. I got 10 out of 10.

Americans are in no celebratory mood this 4th of July. But they should be.

We know what is going wrong. But we ought to, for a moment, acknowledge how much is going right in the world.

But losing perspective is dangerous.

As the United States commemorates 241 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Americans are not in a celebratory mood. By most polls, 60% of the country believes that America is on the wrong track; that number is slightly higher among Republicans.

That sour mood is not a product of the Trump administration; the last time a majority believed the country was headed in the right direction was right after the US invasion of Iraq in 2004. And this is not solely an American phenomenon.

According to global polls conducted by Pew, in France, Spain, Great Britain, Poland. Mexico, you name it, less than 40% of the public feel that their polities are headed in a positive direction. Notable exceptions are China, Vietnam and Germany, each of which have been doing rather well economically, though so have many other nations whose citizens are far less sanguine.

What has been and remains remarkably about outbreak of global pessimism, anger and despair is how at odds those sentiments are with certain unequivocal material realities. Never before have so many people been so well-fed, long-lived, decently housed; never before have so many people had so much say in their local and national affairs, had so little to fear from random or state-sanctioned acts of violence, and had so little risk of untimely death due to war or famine.

And yet, it is fair to say, that never before have such a large swath of humanity been so royally pissed off, so aware of all that remains broken in a world where many things have been fixed, and so convinced that we are, nationally and collectively, on the wrong path.

What will it take for the US to eradicate racist ideas?

Protests will never be enough to bring about lasting change. To overcome racist thinking, anti-racists must take hold of power – and not let go.

In his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston on 27 July 2004, before 9 million viewers, Barack Obama presented himself as the embodiment of racial reconciliation and American exceptionalism. He had humble beginnings and a lofty ascent, and in him both native and immigrant ancestry and African and European ancestry came together. “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story … and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible,” he declared. “America, tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do, if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country … the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president.”

Kerry lost the election, of course, and Bush seemed poised to embody the future of the Republican party. But Barack Obama seemed poised to embody the future of the Democratic party.

Two weeks after his exhilarating keynote address, Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, was republished. It rushed up the charts and got rave reviews in the final months of 2004. Toni Morrison, the queen of American letters, deemed Dreams from My Father “quite extraordinary”. Obama had written the memoir in 1995 as he prepared to begin his political career in the Illinois senate. In his most anti-racist passage, Obama reflected on assimilated biracial blacks like “poor Joyce,” his friend at Occidental College in Los Angeles. In Joyce and other black students, he “kept recognising pieces of myself”, Obama wrote. People like Joyce spoke about “the richness of their multicultural heritage, and it sounded real good, until you noticed that they avoided black people. It wasn’t a matter of conscious choice, necessarily, just a matter of gravitational pull, the way integration always worked, a one-way street. The minority assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around. Only white culture could be ‘neutral’ and ‘objective’. Only white culture could be ‘nonracial’ … Only white culture had ‘individuals’.”

Obama’s anti-racist litany continued in his critical revelation of the “extraordinary negro” complex. “We, the half-breeds and the college-degreed … [are] never so outraged as when a cabbie drives past us or the woman in the elevator clutches her purse, not so much because we’re bothered by the fact that such indignities are what less fortunate coloureds have to put up with every single day of their lives – although that’s what we tell ourselves – but because [we] … have somehow been mistaken for an ordinary nigger. Don’t you know who I am? I’m an individual!”

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Prepare to spend a while; it’s The Long Read.

America, the diminished

What Trump has wrought.

At the Washington Examiner, Byron York argues that those who fight Donald Trump on Donald Trump’s terms end up diminished. Trump sprays insults with abandon, mocking everything from his critics’ intelligence to their popularity to their ethics to their plastic surgery, but those who engage with the president of the United States on his own level make themselves look smaller and meaner, and they are never able to go as low for as long as Trump.

“Of course one could say that Trump is at fault,” York writes. Yes, one could. York doesn’t so much reject that possibility as rule it out as a category error. Unlike most people, whose behavior is bounded by shame and thus amenable to criticism, Trump is truly shameless, and thus criticizing his behavior is useless. “Trump is Trump,” York writes. “He does what he does.”

York has a point. Trump takes such glee in conflict, and cares so little for standards of decency or compassion, that his assailants often diminish themselves by betraying their own values out of desperation. But this isn’t just true of Trump’s assailants. It is true of all of us. To consistently engage with Trump is to be diminished by him. And we have all been diminished by his presidency.

What’s the Matter With Republicans?

Trump supporters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Over the past two months the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress have proposed a budget and two health care plans that would take benefits away from core Republican constituencies, especially working-class voters. And yet over this time Donald Trump’s approval rating has remained unchanged, at 40 percent. During this period the Republicans have successfully defended a series of congressional seats.

What’s going on? Why do working-class conservatives seem to vote so often against their own economic interests?

My stab at an answer would begin in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many Trump supporters live in places that once were on the edge of the American frontier. Life on that frontier was fragile, perilous, lonely and remorseless. If a single slip could produce disaster, then discipline and self-reliance were essential. The basic pattern of life was an underlying condition of peril, warded off by an ethos of self-restraint, temperance, self-control and strictness of conscience.

Frontier towns sometimes went from boomtown to Bible Belt in a single leap. They started out lawless. People needed to impose codes of respectability to survive. Frontier religions were often ascetic, banning drinking, card-playing and dancing. And yet there was always a whiff of extreme disorder — drunkenness, violence and fraud — threatening from down below.

‘Your worst nightmare: a successful Donald Trump presidency’

As the president seizes on policy wins and seeks to turn the Russia spotlight on Obama and the press, some experts say liberals are in for a rude awakening
Trump’s tweet attacking CNN is ‘un-American’, top media ethicist says

Donald Trump smiles at supporters as he arrives to speak at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earlier this month.

Sgy Michael Verardo, who lost an arm and a leg while serving with the US army in Afghanistan in 2010, says he was failed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He had to wait 57 days to get his prosthetic leg fixed and three and a half years for adaptations to his home. But then came Donald Trump.

“Thank you, President Trump and [Veterans Affairs] Secretary [David] Shulkin for ensuring that we are not forgotten and that we will receive the care we need and deserve,” Verardo said at the White House recently.

Trump, signing an act to protect VA whistleblowers, revelled in the moment, using his fingers to mime a gun and mouthing his catchphrase “You’re fired!” at Shulkin. Then he smiled: “We will never use those words on you, that’s for sure.”

The audience in the East Room laughed dutifully. This is the parallel universe that Trump occupies whenever he can, a universe of achievements, applause and adoration, a safe space where he is monarch of all he surveys and his punchlines land. In his version of Washington, he is the Henry V-style man of action to Barack Obama’s indecisive, cripplingly intellectual Hamlet.

Trump’s self-belief appears to get a shot in the arm from every victory, real or imagined. This may go some way to explaining why, even as his approval ratings fall off a cliff and some call for his impeachment, he sees no reason to course-correct, as he and a noisy caucus around him seem to become ever more self-righteous.

Trump Can’t Reverse the Decline of White Christian America

Two-thirds of those who voted for the president felt his election was the “last chance to stop America’s decline.” But his victory won’t arrest the cultural and demographic trends they opposed.

Down the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Donald Trump’s most consistent talking points was a claim that America’s changing demographics and culture had brought the country to a precipice. He repeatedly cast himself as the last chance for Republicans and conservative white Christians to step back from the cliff, to preserve their power and way of life. In an interview on Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in early September, Trump put the choice starkly for the channel’s conservative Christian viewers: “If we don’t win this election, you’ll never see another Republican and you’ll have a whole different church structure.” Asked to elaborate, Trump continued, “I think this will be the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you’re going to have people flowing across the border, you’re going to have illegal immigrants coming in and they’re going to be legalized and they’re going to be able to vote, and once that all happens you can forget it.”

Michelle Bachman, a member of Trump’s evangelical executive advisory board, echoed these same sentiments in a speech at the Values Voters Summit, an annual meeting attended largely by conservative white Christians. That same week, she declared in an interview with CBN: “If you look at the numbers of people who vote and who lives [sic] in the country and who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring in to the country, this is the last election when we even have a chance to vote for somebody who will stand up for godly moral principles. This is it.” Post-election polling from the Public Religion Research Institute, which I lead, and The Atlantic showed that this appeal found its mark among conservative voters. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of Trump voters, compared to only 22 percent of Clinton voters, agreed that “the 2016 election represented the last chance to stop America’s decline.”

Does Trump’s victory, then, represent the resurrection of White Christian America? The consequences of the 2016 elections are indeed sweeping. Republicans entered 2017 with control of both houses of Congress and the White House. And because the Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider an Obama appointee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in early 2016, Trump was able to nominate a conservative Supreme Court justice right out of the gate. Trump’s cabinet and advisors consist largely of defenders of either Wall Street or White Christian America.

The economy President Trump loves looks a lot like the one candidate Trump hated

President-elect Donald Trump and President Obama arrive for Trump’s inauguration ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20.

Despite bravado and big promises, the economy that President Trump is touting this week looks a lot like the one he lambasted as a candidate: a slow, largely steady grind that has chipped away at the damage done by the 2008-2009 recession but failed to produce the prosperity of decades past.

Now, as he approaches the six-month marker of his presidency, Trump faces several new warning signs that key areas of the economy could be losing steam, including in industries he specifically promised to revitalize.

Meanwhile, the legislative packages that Trump promised would deliver his economic boom, including a rewrite of the nation’s tax code and a massive investment in infrastructure, are nowhere to be seen, languishing in a deadlocked Congress.

“Stock Market at all time high, unemployment at lowest level in years (wages will start going up) and our base has never been stronger!” Trump posted on Twitter on Sunday night. He reiterated the message in another post Monday afternoon: “Really great numbers on jobs & the economy! Things are starting to kick in now, and we have just begun! Don’t like steel & aluminum dumping!”

5 Weird Things I Learned After My Near Death Experience

In 2013, I was drunkenly farting about with my friends when I fell awkwardly. Fortunately, it was from the floor straight onto a couch — one of the only household items bought specifically for its delightful softness. Unfortunately, my left lung is a maverick that plays by its own rules, and it took the opportunity to fill up with about half of the blood in my body.

And unlike the lessons that pop culture has taught us about falling in love and surviving a malfunctioning dinosaur park, it does very little to prepare us for what it’s like to ring death’s doorbell. One could even say that it taught me almost completely nothing.

#5. You’re Much Closer To A Pointless Life-Threatening Event Than You Realize

We’re all the main characters in our lives, and in TV shows, main characters only die for damn good reasons. Or at the very least, a reason that has little to do with haphazard couch mishaps. Almost every significant death in The Walking Dead comes as a result of a heroic sacrifice, a headshot after turning into a zombie, or being a Glenn in a world in which bats exist.

Even in Game Of Thrones, which is the current pop culture overlord of unexpected deaths, they all tend to happen to either show us how badass someone is or to give us even more motivation to hate a bad guy. And by the end of this column, I doubt that you’ll be driven to passionately slaughter couches in the name of vengeance.

So if TV is to be believed — and it always is — when death comes, it should mean something. Should.

One of the first things I remember the paramedics telling me as four liters of blood gushed into my chest cavity (which was then repeated by doctors and nurses nonstop over the coming months,) was how common it is to see someone of my size and build have a lung collapse on them with barely any outside encouragement. Are you maybe picturing me to be heavily overweight, so there was a lot of inertia slamming me into the luxurious, gentle embrace of those soft cushions? Or maybe you’ve gone the other way, and you’re imagining that I am frail and feeble, with bones made from sawdust and hope?

Nope. I was in trim shape thanks to all the full-contact boxing I was doing at the time, and stand tall at a lofty 6’4. These are major red flags for getting what is called a pneumothorax, or its more hardcore blood cousin, the haemothorax, which was the one I got after losing a dust-up with a couch. At least I got the rad one.

America’s Future Is Texas

With right-wing zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift leftward, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether.

When Frederick Law Olmsted passed through Texas, in 1853, he became besotted with the majesty of the Texas legislature. “I have seen several similar bodies at the North; the Federal Congress; and the Parliament of Great Britain, in both its branches, on occasions of great moment; but none of them commanded my involuntary respect for their simple manly dignity and trustworthiness for the duties that engaged them, more than the General Assembly of Texas,” he wrote. This passage is possibly unique in the political chronicles of the state. Fairly considered, the Texas legislature is more functional than the United States Congress, and more genteel than the House of Commons. But a recurrent crop of crackpots and ideologues has fed the state’s reputation for aggressive know-nothingism and proudly retrograde politics.

I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life, and I’ve come to appreciate what the state symbolizes, both to people who live here and to those who view it from afar. Texans see themselves as a distillation of the best qualities of America: friendly, confident, hardworking, patriotic, neurosis-free. Outsiders see us as the nation’s id, a place where rambunctious and disavowed impulses run wild. Texans, it is thought, mindlessly celebrate individualism, and view government as a kind of kryptonite that weakens the entrepreneurial muscles. We’re reputed to be braggarts; careless with money and our personal lives; a little gullible, but dangerous if crossed; insecure, but obsessed with power and prestige.

Texans, however, are hardly monolithic. The state is as politically divided as the rest of the nation. One can drive across it and be in two different states at the same time: FM Texas and AM Texas. FM Texas is the silky voice of city dwellers, the kingdom of NPR. It is progressive, blue, reasonable, secular, and smug—almost like California. AM Texas speaks to the suburbs and the rural areas: Trumpland. It’s endless bluster and endless ads. Paranoia and piety are the main items on the menu.

Why Is the Alt-Right So Angry About Architecture?

Conservatives have long opposed Modernism, but in the video age, avant-garde buildings can become potent symbols in the hands of groups like Infowars and the NRA.

Decrying what it sees as a war on white European culture, the alt-right movement calls out the people it believes stand opposed to freedom: feminists, antifascists, “cucks,” “SJWs” (social justice warriors), and President Trump’s Twitter-foe Rosie O’Donnell. Now you can add architects to the list.

On June 30, the far-right website Infowars posted a 15-minute-long video titled “Why modern architecture SUCKS.” This foray into design criticsim by Infowars—better known for pushing the ludicrous Pizzagate conspiracy and for host Alex Jones’ insistence that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked—comes on the heels of another video that turns well-known works of architecture into symbols of liberal decadence. I’m referring to the National Rifle Association’s “clenched fist” ad, which critics have called “chilling” and “an open call to violence.”

The aesthetic judgment in the NRA’s one-minute ad is implicit, almost subliminal, whereas InfoWars launches a full-bore attack. But both bear the same message about modern architecture: It is the province of the liberal urban elite, and that it stands for oppression.

The Infowars video is not the work of the red-faced, desk-pounding Jones but of a British alt-righter named Paul Joseph Watson. It’s a mish-mash of critiques borrowed from highbrow architectural traditionalists with other opinions that seem idiosyncratic to Watson. He clearly researched his subject, albeit through the keyhole perspective of “globalist” cultural tyranny.

When your plane’s engine catches fire

In Case Of Emergency

Better seen from a distance.

My son and I were on a United Express passenger jet that caught fire and had to be evacuated yesterday afternoon on the runway at Denver airport. The plane’s left engine had caught fire around when we landed, with flames shooting out of it. The fire was large enough that the controllers in the airport control tower could see it and radioed the pilots to alert them, a pilot told passengers after everyone had evacuated.

One of the flight attendants announced shortly after landing that there was an emergency, that we should leave all of our things on the plane and exit by the front door. Everyone made it out of the plane safely.

Although it’s an unusual thing to happen, emergency evacuations are not as rare as you might think. The International Air Transport Association reported more than one a week (pdf, p112) last year. Having just experienced an emergency evacuation from a plane on fire, I have a few thoughts to pass along:

– Flight crew are trained to remain calm and measured in communicating with passengers—but you should act with urgency.

Experts say your survival in a plane accident often depends on how quickly you get off the plane. I’d estimate it took at least five minutes to evacuate the roughly 60 passengers from our plane. Things could have been sped up if everyone followed the instructions not to take anything with them. One of our fellow passengers noted that people all slowed down at the bottom of the stairs to the tarmac, turning around to look at the fire. In retrospect, I or someone else could have stood there to whisk them away from the plane and help speed the exit of those stuck behind.

– Social media leads people to do stupid things.
A number of passengers lingered by the plane to take selfies with the burning engine in the background. They had no information that should have given them confidence that the plane wasn’t going to explode and shower them with fiery metal if they stuck around. Protip: forego selfies.

How Frogs Benefited From The Dinosaurs’ Extinction

The frog Hyla sanchiangensis from eastern China is a descendant of one of three lineages that made it through Earth’s last mass extinction 66 million years ago to flourish worldwide today.

The asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years ago spelled disaster for the dinosaurs.

But scientists say they’ve found one silver lining to the mass extinction — turns out, it was really good for frogs.

The resilient animals date back some 200 million years. And in the aftermath of the extinction event, they survived and thrived, taking advantage of an ecological vacuum other animals left behind.

About 9 in 10 frog species today evolved from three frog lineages that survived the event, which occurred at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods, according to research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The timing of this rapid diversification came as a surprise, University of California, Berkeley herpetologist and report co-author David Wake tells The Two-Way. It’s about 35 million years later than previous research suggested.

Proof that Americans are lying about their sexual desires

What Google searches for porn tell us about ourselves.

Two weeks ago, I interviewed Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies, a new book that uses data on America’s Google habits as an insight into our national consciousness.

Two findings from the book dominated the conversation: America is riddled with racist and selfish people, and there may be a self-induced abortion crisis in this country.

But there was plenty more revelatory data in the book that we didn’t cover. So I wanted to follow up with Stephens-Davidowitz to talk about some of the other provocative claims he is making.

I was particularly interested in sexuality and online porn. If, as Stephens-Davidowitz puts it, “Google is a digital truth serum,” then what else does it tell us about our private thoughts and desires? What else are we hiding from our friends, neighbors, and colleagues?

A lot, apparently.

Among other things, Stephens-Davidowitz’s data suggests that there are more gay men in the closet than we think; that many men prefer overweight women to skinny women but are afraid to act on it; that married women are disproportionately worried their husband is gay; that a lot of straight women watch lesbian porn; and that porn featuring violence against women is more popular among women than men.

Beauty got so basic that the only place for fashion to go was ugly

Acquired Taste

Gucci’s oddly alluring ugly-pretty.

One misconception about fashion designers is that they’re all in the business of making beautiful clothes. But beauty, in the sense of design that is graceful and harmonious, that seeks to please the eye and strives toward the exalted and sublime—is not always the goal.

“Nothing is so boring as something beautiful,” the designer Dries Van Noten said in a 2012 interview. “I prefer ugly things, I prefer things which are surprising.” He’ll often start a collection by identifying colors he doesn’t like, he explained, and then putting them to use.

Right now, ugliness is having a moment. The labels getting the most attention make clothes that are often deliberately gawky and ungainly, in a clamor of lurid or mismatched colors that knock about glaringly in an outfit.

The names pioneering the look include Gucci, which overloads its gangly garments with a riot of clashing details, as well as Balenciaga and Vetements, the two labels headed by designer Demna Gvasalia, who has used deliberately awkward proportions and downmarket fabrics to create a look that feels aggressively unglamorous.


If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like growing up in Stalin’s shadow or whatever happened to Napoleon’s son, here are their (almost always) tragic stories.

RICHARD THE FOURTH? (Richard Cromwell, son of Oliver Cromwell)

Back in the 1640s, jolly old England was caught up in a messy civil war between King Charles I and the British parliament over who really ran the country. By 1649, the issue was settled: Parliament was the boss. And to prove it, they chopped off Charles’s head.

For the next 10 years, the country was a fun-free zone under the grim, puritanical military dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell. He was such a killjoy that he even banned Christmas.

Wake Up, Dick, You’re in Charge!

Richard was born in 1626, and after being raised in his father’s puritanical but loving household, he joined the army, where he managed to avoid seeing any active service—even while the English Civil War raged around him. In 1649, his run of good luck continued when he married Dorothy Major, daughter of a wealthy farmer, and settled down into the idle life of a country squire.

Little was heard of Richard after that, apart from the fact that his stern father regularly upbraided him for his laziness and overspending. So it must have come as a shock when his dad named him as his successor. Turns out that Oliver, that staunch opponent of hereditary rule, didn’t think that it applied to his own family. When Parliament complained about this, Cromwell—never a big fan of democracy—closed it down. Cromwell’s ministers had little option but to go along with their revered leader’s decision.

Oliver breathed his last disapproving breath on September 3, 1658, and on the same day Richard Cromwell was proclaimed Lord Protector of the Realm. When Richard took over, the trouble really began. Richard was not cut out for life in the fast lane, and things went downhill fast.

Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

Rachel Maddow reviews the development of the Trump Russia investigation over past seven months, one breaking news story after another.

THANKS to MSNBC and The Rachel Maddow Show for making this program available on YouTube.

Two decades after the UK handed it back to China, President Xi Jinping is in Hong Kong for the first time to celebrate the anniversary. The ‘one country, two systems’ principle was designed to preserve democratic freedoms in the wealthy former colony. After troubled years of protest at the perceived erosion of those rights, the Guardian meets young Hong Kong citizens struggling to afford property, those moving abroad for opportunities, leaders of the pro-democracy umbrella movement and movers in the pro-Beijing establishment.

I was a high school computer science teacher for 17 years. I taught at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California.

I taught during the dotcom boom, I taught during the dotcom bust, and I taught during sort of the recovery of the tech industry afterwards, and I did see the interest in what I was teaching fluctuate.

It would go up and down every year largely tied to the economy, which was a little bit weird to me. And even as a school, you know, when I began to teach in the late 90s the school itself actually had a computer requirement. You were required to take a certain number of computer classes before you were allowed to graduate. They got rid of that requirement. They got rid of that requirement because at some point they felt like computer literacy was so important that it ought to be integrated in all the other subjects. So it shouldn’t be a thing in and of itself.

So in the beginning I agreed with that. But after seeing how it played out I don’t think it was as effective as we wanted it to be, you know. I think that computers are still a fairly specialized type of knowledge, computer science. And teachers today still—I don’t think we’ve been trained on how to integrate computer science well into the other subjects.

So ultimately what ended up happening at that school site was we would graduate students who would know how to use computers but would not necessarily understand how they worked or even understand how to maximize what they could get out of the computer.

As a computer science teacher, something I used to talk to parents about—especially during the dotcom bust when interest in my class started to evaporate— Coding is not about training students how to type into a computer. That’s the least of it. Coding is actually really about training students to think in a certain way. It’s about training students to take large and complex problems and break them up into small pieces. It’s about training students to take things that are vague, that are difficult to wrap your mind around, and putting them into concrete sequential steps.

And that sort of thinking, that sort of skill, that sort of mental skill is applicable no matter what you do in life, you know. What you’re talking about right now, about how the future economy is going to require more knowledge work—we don’t know what computers are going to look like, right?

We don’t know, we don’t even know what coding is going to look like. But I can guarantee you that the coding mentality, the type of thinking that’s required in order to code well that will become increasingly valuable as we go on.

I think logic is really important. I think when you teach kids computer science you are touching on a lot of principles of logic. And in terms of students knowing how to use computers but not necessarily understanding why they work, I think that’s largely a product of the success of the computer field, you know.

Within computer science there’s this idea of abstraction, where you separate the interface of something from the internals of it. And that’s something that I talked about in my computer science classes when I was teaching. You do that because it makes the computer itself, it makes whatever you’re making easier to use, right?

The user just has to have like a working mental model of what the interface looks like. They don’t have to know anything about the guts underneath. But unfortunately what you miss out on in that is the mental development in your thinking that comes with understanding the guts, right?

When you understand the guts it’s not just for using that tool, it’s actually to change what’s inside of your skull. It’s actually to change your brain. It makes you a better thinker. It makes you a better problem solver to understand those things.

So I think there’s a place—I think there’s a place for abstraction, but my hope is that every student, before they graduate from high school they’ll have a chance to wrestle with those guts, to be able to really understand how a computer works from the inside. How both software and hardware work from the inside.

This is the story of Manfred, a man just trying to survive in a world under the harsh rule of the feminazi.

Trevor Noah INCREDIBLE Break down On The Donald Trump & James Comey “saga”

“Impeach Trump!” Jimmy Fallon And Stephen Colbert Take Turns In ROASTING Trump.

Are prison cellphone carriers ripping off the inmates?

THANKS to Comedy Network and The Beaverton for making this program available on YouTube.

Max keeping himself busy.


The universal voice

Sculptor Leona Lazar captures emotion

Leona Lazar approaches her figures with abstraction, emphasizing emotion or expression to create sculptures full of movement.

Sitting in the corner of the Dairy Arts Center’s McMahon Gallery, the band is set to play. The all-women ensemble features a diverse set of instruments: a cello, guitar, bass, didgeridoo, an African ngoni and drums. They’re led by a singer who stretches her arm in the middle of a powerful note.

Sculpted in clay, each member of the group depicts a moment of passion, but stays silent.

“Can you imagine what this cacophony would sound like?” artist Leona Lazar asks with a laugh. “It would be very creative.”

Through July 30, Divas showcases a variety of Lazar’s sculptures, featuring characters from a ragtag group of musicians to dancers to a Chinese empress. Lazar approaches her figures with abstraction, emphasizing emotion or expression to create sculptures full of movement.

With an interest in art from an early age, Lazar’s own creations took a backseat as she pursued a career in producing museum exhibits. But on the side she continued to attend workshops and learn about sculpture. When she retired five years ago, she became a full-time artist.

Her chosen medium is paper clay, which, as its name suggests, is clay infused with paper. Lazar calls the medium forgivable and less temperamental than normal clay. It makes the clay stronger and adds an element of plasticity, letting her craft detail and create walls that can be as thin as paper. She’s attracted to the “pulse” the material gives the work.

Ed. More tomorrow. Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Not?