under the sea code monkey
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Associate Site Reliability Engineer at journalism tech nonprofit (San Francisco, New York City, or remote)

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The Freedom of the Press Foundation is seeking a diverse range of candidates for a full-time job helping defend public interest journalism by maintaining and improving FPF's public-facing websites and internal systems and services. This position (Associate Site Reliability Engineer) is open to remote work within American time zones, or work in FPF's New York or San Francisco offices. Non-binary individuals, women, and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

From the job description:

"In this role, you will empower the whole FPF team by participating in the development of a robust continuous deployment pipeline, by performing routine maintenance tasks, and by automating operations work, e.g., by using cluster and configuration management tools.

This position is open to recent college or university graduates, and to early-career and mid-career technologists whether or not you have a relevant degree. It is also open to candidates from non-technology career backgrounds with substantial applicable volunteer experience. We recognize the need to provide on-the-job mentoring and support to help you familiarize yourself with the technology stack we use....

Freedom of the Press Foundation serves its mission through three key program areas. We create open source technology like SecureDrop, which more than 60 news organizations use to communicate securely with whistleblowers. We provide digital security training to journalists. We monitor and report on press freedom violations in the United States and around the world....

If you are passionate about starting or continuing your career in the field of Site Reliability Engineering with a mission-driven nonprofit, we encourage you to get in touch. And if you’re not quite ready to apply but want to know more about whether you might be a fit, please reach out to request a short informational phone call."

Required skills/experience:

* Comfortable using the Unix command line to do basic tasks (such as navigating directories, editing files, piping command output, etc.)
* Comfortable automating tasks and reviewing code in at least one shell or programming language commonly used in an SRE context (e.g., Python, Go, Bash, Ruby)
* Strong interest in honing skills required to empower a distributed software development and operations team through automation and systems maintenance

The job description details futher preferred skills/experience, the kinds of projects you'd be working on and who you'd be working with, benefits, and application instructions.

Deadline to apply: November 4th, 2018.

(I know multiple people at FPF and they're great.)
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codersquid
4 hours ago
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A Guide to Teaching Computing to Adults in Informal Settings

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Greg Wilson is a pioneer and a visionary. He saw an education problem and invented an organization to address it. The problem he’s addressing is that scientists, engineers, and other professionals (what he called “free-range learners”) are discovering that they need computing, but aren’t going to be taking formal classes on-campus. Greg co-founded “Software Carpentry” to offer workshops to adults that addresses their needs. I care about this problem, too, and am amazed at and impressed with how much Greg has grown Software Carpentry.

He has recently published an online text on how to teach technology in these settings. You can find it here. It’s more than just a how-to. Greg recognizes the value of drawing on the research on education, and computing education specifically. Greg explains why he makes these recommendations with lots of references to research literature, including some of my favorite work that I mention regularly here.

I want to make clear that it’s not a general guide for computing educators. There’s little here for K-12 teachers — this is about teaching adults. Few of the kinds of things that we teach in our New Faculty Workshops about active learning in the classroom are here. Still, there’s a lot here that CS faculty will find valuable and will learn from.

Teaching Tech Together

Hundreds of grassroots groups have sprung up around the world to teach programming, web design, robotics, and other skills to free-range learners outside traditional classrooms. These groups exist so that people don’t have to learn these things on their own, but ironically, their founders and instructors are often teaching themselves how to teach.

There’s a better way. Just as knowing a few basic facts about germs and nutrition can help you stay healthy, knowing a few things about psychology, instructional design, inclusivity, and community organization can help you be a more effective teacher. This book presents evidence-based practices you can use right now, explains why we believe they are true, and points you at other resources that will help you go further. Its four sections cover:

• how people learn;

• how to design lessons that work;

• how to deliver those lessons; and

• how to grow a community of practice around teaching.

Find more at: http://teachtogether.tech/en/partner/



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codersquid
46 days ago
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webshit weekly

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An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of August, 2018.

Google AMP – A 70% drop in our conversion rate
August 08, 2018 (comments)
A webshit is nervous about Google's shared-hosting free tier. Hackernews explains to one another that Google's AMP program is not a cynical consolidation of adtech power, but is in fact a deftly-engineered substitute for courage, since webshits apparently can't stand up for themselves or their work. Some Googles show up in the comments to defend their land grab beneficent community-empowerment tool, and to reassure everyone that despite the direct personal experience of literally every single person who has tried, Google is totally open to feedback and willing to care about bug reports from their tenants users.

Julia 1.0
August 09, 2018 (comments)
Some academics promise to try to hold it steady. Hackernews is cranky that the brochure doesn't look like other brochures and slightly afraid because people seem to be using the language to perform arcane rites with impenetrable magical symbols. The academics show up to reassure people that math is a normal, healthy hobby and anyway the language can also be used to do retarded things with garbage hardware if you want. Most of the comments are people complaining that languages don't provide enough handholding for people who failed to design their programs properly, or that languages don't provide enough handholding for people who failed to select their operating systems properly.

I don't trust Signal
August 09, 2018 (comments)
An asshole is pissed at some other asshole. None of the reasons are interesting. Hackernews draws lots to decide which asshole to defend unto death; the basic argument seems to be the set of Hackernews given to hero worship versus the set of Hackernews who thinks the world owes them (for free) flawlessly-implemented, perfectly-intuitive software capable of resisting concerted attack by advanced persistent threats. Nearly five hundred comments are posted, all of which stridently proclaim The Correct Opinions about software nobody uses except DEF CON cosplayers and journalists who followed bad advice on social media.

1/0 = 0
August 10, 2018 (comments)
A webshit gets wound up by a tweet. Hackernews does too. Most of the arguments involve the difference between mathematics and ALU design, but none of the discussion is interesting because none of the participants are meaningfully engaged with either topic. It doesn't help that the entire context of the debate is some webshit's disused toy langauge.

Worst Computer Bugs in History: Therac-25 (2017)
August 11, 2018 (comments)
An internet describes a time that bad software directly led to the deaths of actual human beings. Several "takeaways" are provided, absolutely none of which involve recommending anyone be held responsible in any way. Hackernews is gratified that so few deaths were all that was needed to distract people from all the other ways that software developers are failing civilization on a regular basis. Other Hackernews suspects the kill count is so low because only someone completely unhinged would put their safety directly in the hands of a computer programmer. When highlighting other, less severe failure stories turns out not to be fun, Hackernews explores ways they might blame someone else for the deaths.

Thank you HN
August 12, 2018 (comments)
A Hackernews thanks the rest of Hackernews for not advocating suicide. Hackernews lists all the terrible shit they did and/or had happen to them and, as usual, catalogs every single real or perceived solution to mental health issues they've ever tried or read about. The consensus is that exercise helps. No technology is discussed. An asshole violates the Prime Directive.

Using FOIA Data and Unix to halve major source of parking tickets
August 13, 2018 (comments)
An internet is trying to help. With awk. Hackernews squabbles over whether or not it's even possible for most people to help, given the baseline requirement of "noticing things." The Hackernews contingent of Critical Mass shows up to bitch about cars standing in bike lanes. Inadvertently, the Hackernewsest possible sentence appears in the comments: "If it's not technically criminal then that's all that matters."

Serverless Docker Beta
August 14, 2018 (comments)
Some webshits celebrate minutiae. Hackernews is excited about the minutiae, except for the ones who actually do things with computers once in a while. A long discussion breaks out about the proper method to embed auto-playing video containing nothing but text. After a while Hackernews gets bored with the actual limitations of the garbage software described in the article and starts running thought experiments about what even worse software might look like. They don't reach consensus, but I'm pretty sure they're accidentally describing Sun software.

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codersquid
61 days ago
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'Inadvertently, the Hackernewsest possible sentence appears in the comments: "If it's not technically criminal then that's all that matters."'
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notadoctor
61 days ago
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so jaded. subscribing
Oakland, CA

Critical Hits in the Classroom

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How Teachers Use Dungeons & Dragons in Education

by Phil McAndrew


Critical Hits in the Classroom was originally published in The Nib on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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codersquid
61 days ago
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emdeesee
53 days ago
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It's so interesting to see this change in norms.

To compare, I graduated from high school in 1984. The local Baptist church got the school board to reject school sponsorship for the SF&F club, because we sometimes played D&D. For various reasons, faculty apathy, student attention spans, and probably the pre-existing association with the game, we were unsuccessful in getting sponsorship reinstated before I graduated.

TL;DR: In the past, community norms made D&D unwelcome in public schools.
📌 Lincoln, NE ❤️️ Sherman, TX

Science Wars

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The dark side of Paul Feyerabend's anarchistic philosophy of science — the observation that researchers often try to resolve scientific questions by political means, in the most negative possible sense of "political" — is confirmed all too often by experience. Linguists can point to the excesses of the The Linguistics Wars of the 1970s, and to plenty of other doctrinal disputes, including the Great Recursion Squabble of recent memory. So it's paradoxically a comfort to read Bianca Bosker's article "The nastiest feud in science", The Atlantic 9/2018, about Gerta Keller's struggle to argue that the Fifth Extinction was caused by volcanos rather than by a meteor:

The impact theory provided an elegant solution to a prehistoric puzzle, and its steady march from hypothesis to fact offered a heartwarming story about the integrity of the scientific method. “This is nearly as close to a certainty as one can get in science,” a planetary-science professor told Time magazine in an article on the crater’s discovery. […]

While the majority of her peers embraced the Chicxulub asteroid as the cause of the extinction, Keller remained a maligned and, until recently, lonely voice contesting it. She argues that the mass extinction was caused not by a wrong-place-wrong-time asteroid collision but by a series of colossal volcanic eruptions in a part of western India known as the Deccan Traps—a theory that was first proposed in 1978 and then abandoned by all but a small number of scientists. Her research, undertaken with specialists around the world and featured in leading scientific journals, has forced other scientists to take a second look at their data.[…]

Keller’s resistance has put her at the core of one of the most rancorous and longest-running controversies in science. “It’s like the Thirty Years’ War,” says Kirk Johnson, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Impacters’ case-closed confidence belies decades of vicious infighting, with the two sides trading accusations of slander, sabotage, threats, discrimination, spurious data, and attempts to torpedo careers. “I’ve never come across anything that’s been so acrimonious,” Kerr says. “I’m almost speechless because of it.” Keller keeps a running list of insults that other scientists have hurled at her, either behind her back or to her face. She says she’s been called a “bitch” and “the most dangerous woman in the world,” who “should be stoned and burned at the stake.”

And the story of Keller's life is an inspiring one: growing up in a poor farming family in Switzerland, she avoided a nunnery, apprenticed with a dressmaker, quit her job at 19 and hitchhiked through Europe and North Africa, took a ship to Australia and worked as a nurse's aide and a waitress, was shot and nearly killed by a fleeing bank robber, and eventually fetched up in San Francisco, where

She enrolled in community college, telling the registrar that her academic records had been destroyed in a fire, and later transferred to San Francisco State University, where she majored in anthropology, the most scientific field she could enter without a background in math or science. Her passion for mass extinction began with a geology class she took during her junior year. The professor told her that if she liked rocks and enjoyed travel, she should become a geologist—“because there are rocks everywhere, and you can always dream up some project to do and someone will fund it for you” […]

There's a brighter side to Feyerabend's anarchy — from Against Method:

Unanimity of opinion may be fitting for a church, for the frightened or greedy victims of some (ancient, or modern) myth, or for the weak and willing followers of some tyrant. Variety of opinion is necessary for objective knowledge. And a method that encourages variety is also the only method that is comparable with a humanitarian outlook.

 

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codersquid
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Currently In Our Pants:

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Red Ant
Red Ant by Charlie Stinchcomb (cc by)

Ants, Ants, Ants, Bees, Bees, Bugs, Bugs, SPIDERS!

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codersquid
67 days ago
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