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Sunday, 15 October


11-Step Guide to Understanding Race, Racism, and White Privilege Citizenship and Social Justice

In the wake of terrorism against Black Americans in Charleston, beyond outraged and fed up, I compiled a list of race-related resources for fellow White Americans, who too often have the privilege to remain ignorant of the realities and toll of racism.

This Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism from Ferguson to Charleston clearly struck a chord. The piece has been read and shared hundreds of thousands of times and been linked to by NPR, The Huffington Post and Teaching Tolerance.

And while most everyone with a website appreciates traffic to their work, an influx of visitors to mine has almost always meant that another Black American has been unjustly killed by the police or, more recently, White Supremacists have committed another act of terrorism, as they did not long ago in Charlottesville.

The thing is: while I have been teaching about issues of race and racism for nearly 20 years now, this viral curriculum is not actually my classroom curriculum, which was created for all students, not just white students. Students of a wide variety of racial backgrounds have cited this curriculums profound value in their lives.

In fact, when one white family tried to shut down the curriculum, students rallied to defend it.

Because Im a better teacher than capitalist, Im now making the curriculum available to the public in the form of a step-by-step guide. Following Charlottesville, I can no longer keep track of all of the great lists of resources out there, but far harder to find is a structured way of processing the wealth of information on these difficult topics. It requires guidance.

This guide, of course, is significantly modified for general, ind...


We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made. freeCodeCamp - Medium

You will never be able to understand any of what Ive created. I am Albert F***ing Einstein and you are all monkeys scrabbling in the dirt.

And so our resident genius, our Dr. Jekyll, explosively completed his transformation into Mr. Hyde.

He declared this in front of the product design team, developers, management, and pre-launch customers. One of our project sponsors had the temerity to ask when the problem crippling our product would be fixed.

Genius is a fickle beast. Sometimes you have the good fortune to work with a mad genius. Other times you are doomed to work with pure madness. There are also times when it is hard to tell the difference.

This story is about the fall from grace of an extremely gifted team member with a deep understanding of our products architecture. He had an uncanny ability to forecast future requirements, and a ton of domain-specific knowledge.

He was our top contributor. He was killing our flagship project.

Well call this person Rick.

You dont want this guy on your team. (image Warner Bros.)

Rick was universally recognized on the team as the top talent. He was the lead developer and architect of our software projects.

Any time anyone had a question about code or needed help with a task, they would go to Rick. Rick had a giant whiteboard installed in his office used only for this purpose. It was always cluttered with the ghosts of past discussions that wouldnt quite erase.

Any time there was a particularly challenging problem, Rick would handle it. Rick had a server with the same specs as our production server installed at his desk. He used this to run the entire application stack independently and troubleshoot every layer at once.

Rick didnt need anybody else. Rick preferred to work alone in his private work-space.

Rick didnt need anything anybody else built. He built everything he needed from scratch because it was infinitely better than the paltry offerings of mere mortals.

Soon, Rick stopped attending meetings. Rick didnt have time for meetings any more because there was too much to code.

Rick closed his door. His whiteboard lay fallow. Rick no longer had time to train anyone because he had too much to solve on his own.

A backlog grew behind Rick. Bugs were popping up in old tools hed built. They sapped his attention from meeting commitments on new product development.

Of course, these bugs were happening because the users had misstated their assumptions. Of course there wasnt any problem in his work. Of course.

On our project dashboard, green flags changed to yellow. Yellow changed to red. Red lights started blinking. One by one, task statuses changed to Impeded. Everyone was waiting for Rick.



Sue Atkins, an extraordinary woman 80 Years an Activist IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK


Sue Atkins80

Last weekend Sheffield was warmed by autumnal sun and the joy emanating from those gathered at Sue Atkins 80th birthday party. Crossing the festooned threshold of the venue was to be thrown into a melting pot of humanity youth workers past and present, the very young and the quite old, the toothful and toothless, folk from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds, All were thrust together through their shared respect and affection for a remarkable woman, who has devoted much of her life to a form of youth work, that aspires to be volatile and voluntary, creative and collective an association and conversation without guarantees, informed at every turn by a genuine love for young people.

For my part, I met Sue first at a tumultuous Community and Youth Service Association [CYSA] conference in around 1980, out of which through the power of caucusing emerged the Community and Youth Workers Union [CYWU], of which she was to be a future President. Of her lengthy sojourn within youth work many a tale could be told, which suggests much sooner rather than later, an interview with Sue would be fascinating and revealing. Indeed it would shed light on why in the late 1980s, in a memorable phrase, she described me, amongst others, as a shite in whining armour. Watch this space.

For now it&#8217...

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Saturday, 14 October


freeCodeCamp - Medium


Gone are the days where we used .indexOf() to know if an element existed in an array.

The key word is exist.

.indexOf() is fine if we want to know at which index a given element appears.

But if our goal is to know if a given element exists in an array, then .indexOf() is not the best option. And the reason is simple: When querying the existence of something we expect a boolean value, not a number.

Array.prototype.includes() does exactly that. It determines if a given element exists in an array, returning true if it does, false otherwise.

Into The Specification

Array.prototype.includes ( searchElement [ , fromIndex ] )
  • searchElementthe element to search for.
  • fromIndex (optional)the index from which to start to search.

Diving into the specification feels like searching for power.

The specification says:

Lets go step-by-step and try to understand the specification with examples.
  1. The difference here is the position of the element 4. Because our first example places 4 in the last position, includes will search the whole array. By specification .includes() returns immediately after finding the searchElement. This makes our second operation much faster.
  2. The big difference with the SameValueZero algorithm versus the Strict Equality Comparison (used by .indexOf()) is that it allows detecting the NaN elements.
  3. It returns the boolean true when the element is found and false otherwise. No more indexes as result ...


From Sound Engineer to Software Engineer Why Im Learning to Code freeCodeCamp - Medium

Mixing console. Image Credit: Unsplash.

I seriously started teaching myself to code several months ago. I say seriously because Ive started and stopped a few times in my life. When I look back, I realize I had caught the bug sometime early in life. Although Ive lived with it for many years, it took a few life experiences and some nurturing before this bug finally had what it needed to take-over.

Now that my understanding of front-end code is starting to gel, I decided that I should pause, reflect, and write. My hope is that posts like this will help my future self stay motivated to learn. If it happens to help motivate other new coders, even better!

Image Credit: GIPHY.

Why learn to code?

After reading the stories of others who have taught themselves how to code, Ive observed that there are many reasons people get into coding.

Some people want to be entrepreneurs building their own product. Some want a better life for their family. Others love technology and what it can do to help the human race. Still others just love code and what it empowers them to do. And there are many permutations of these reasons. Id like to share some links to a few stories that inspired me, then Ill speak about my own story.

If they can do it, so can I, and so can you:

My story

School and more school

I was a music major in college. I specialized in music technology, because I wanted to get into music production and find success at a major recording studio. In the middle of my junior year, I realized that finding a job after college was going to be tough.

Not only was the music industry changing drastically, but the job market also had a somewhat bleak outlook. Many people didnt need record labels or commercial recording studios anymorethe internet, along with affordable software, made music production and distribution accessible for everyone.

Essentially, if I wanted to be a sound engineer, life was going to be hard for long time. I decided I couldnt live like that, but I also decided it was too late to change my major. I had to finish my studies, get the degree, and find a way.

Like many others who graduated from college in 2011, I decided that more school would give me more time and more skills to figure out a career path. I thankfully made a wise choice and minored in physics minor in col...


[PODCAST] #516: The First Sphere of Freedom, With Jeff Berwick School Sucks Project

Brett and Jeff share two different approaches to confronting and recovering from depression and addiction. Plus travel tips! Learn more about School Sucks Across America A Weekend With Thaddeus Russell Anarchapulco Anarchast Please Support "School Sucks Across America" Our Amazon Wish List Donate With Bitcoin Or Join the A/V Club Support Us On Patreon Shop ...


How do we get mental wealth? IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK

A Long Read for the weekend about how we achieve mental wealth. It is a welcome shot across the bows of professionals, including youth workers, who act as if the dilemmas are individual rather than social and political.

mental wealth


Alliance blog

In his address to a Labour Party conference fringe event, Paul Atkinson examines the social and political forces at work in our societys current approach to psychological distress and asks what we need from a new government to support and nourish the nations mental wealth.

For whatever reasons reasons that I think are very important and need to be explored the emotional and psychological difficulties of living in this society are becoming increasingly visible and alarming: in our families; in our schools and colleges; in our local communities; in the attention drawn to mental ill health by (social) media, charities and celebrities, as well as politicians and social policy makers.

Should we think of this growing attention to mental health and the emotional conditions of contemporary life as a sign of growing awareness of the pain and suffering that has always been with us, hidden away in the private closet

View original post 2,452 more words

Friday, 13 October


Self-help yourself livingwithoutschool

IMG_20170905_122356In Bridget Jones Diary, Bridget wonders why her parents and their generation seem to have it all together. She wonders why they dont seem to suffer the angst and worry of herself and her friends. Maybe, she ponders, maybe this happens because they didnt and dont read self-help books. Indeed, she questions whether the fact the she and her friends constant reading of self-help books is a sort of, arrogant individualism which imagines each new generation can somehow create the world afresh.

Bridget (book Bridget, lesser so movie Bridget) spends copious amounts of time referencing self-help books. Especially  when dealing with her own love life, or in helping her friends dissect their own romantic entanglements.

Are self-help books the problem, as Bridget questions in whatever current angst she is found? Or do self-help books actually, er, help?

There is no definitive research to show that these books help or hinder. Indeed, as Oran Canfield, son of Jack Canfield (the Chicken  Soup forauthor) notes, there is often an alarmingly big difference between the public and private lives of self help gurus. They tell us how to get it all together, when they themselves dont have it all tog...


CSS Flexbox Interactive Tutorial in 8 Minutes including Cheat Sheet freeCodeCamp - Medium

CSS Flexbox explained in 8 minutes, plus a Flexbox cheat sheet

When I was new to CSS Flexbox, I read many articles and watched many videos. But most of them were long, and I didnt have time to read or see them all. So much to do, so little time.

So, I decided to write this article on Flexbox in 8 minutes. I will also share a link to a Flexbox cheat sheet I found to be very useful. It will help you learn Flexbox while designing for the modern Web.

Before we begin, its important for you to be familiar with basic HTML and CSS. It would also be helpful to know a CSS Framework like Bootstrap. It would help you get the most from this tutorial.

Flexbox is a pretty new concept in CSS. It solves a lot of problems of Web design like the Holy Grail Layout. Another area where Flexbox helps is appending and prepending elements to other elements.

This is how Wikipedia defines Flexbox:

CSS Flex Box Layout is a CSS3 web layout model. It is in the W3Cs Candidate Recommendation (CR) stage.The flex layout allows responsive elements within a container to be automatically arranged depending upon screen size (or device).

Here are the definitions -

  1. W3CWorld Wide Web Consortium, an organization which develops open standards for the Web.
  2. Responsive ElementsWhen decreasing browsers size or viewing on tablets and mobile devices, responsive elements change their view like below 
responsive-web design

If youve used CSS frameworks like Foundation or Bootstrap you know it can be challenging to create a responsive web page. With Flexbox its super simple.

FlexBox in Action

Lets start this.

Fire up your text editor, and work along with me. Thats the best way to learn.

Step 1Create a folder for your new project. Next, create a file named index.html and enter the code shown below. ( There is only 1 Step).

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<title>CSS Flexbox in 8 Minutes</title>


From Augmented Reality to emotion detection: how cameras became the best tool to decipher the world freeCodeCamp - Medium

The camera is finally on stage to help solve user experience (UX) design, technology, and communication issues.

Years after the Kinect was trashed and Google Glass failed, there is now new hope. The impressive technological array that Apple minimized from a PrimeSense to the iPhone X is the beginning of emotion-dependent interactions.

Its not new. Its commercialized and gives developers access to indispensable information.

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that much of Facebooks focus will be on the camera and its surrounding environment. Snapchat has defined itself as a camera company. Apple and Google are also heavily investing in cameras. The camera has tremendous power that we have not yet tapped into. It has the power to detect emotions.

Inputs need to be easy, natural, and effortless

When Facebook first introduced emojis as an enhanced reaction to Like, I realized that they were onto something. Facebook recently added five emotions which helped Facebook to better understand its users emotional reactions to its content. I argue that the emojis are glorified form of the same thing, but one that works better than anything else.

In the past, Facebook only had the Like button while YouTube had the Like and Dislike buttons. But these are not enough to track emotions, and do not provide much value to researchers and advertisers. Most people express their emotions in comments, and yet there are more Likes than comments.

The comments are text based or even presented with an image, which is harder to analyze. That is because there are many contextual connections the algorithm needs to guess. For example, how familiar is the person who reacts to a post with the person who posted it, and vice versa? How is the person connected to the specified subject?

Is there subtext, slang, or anything related to the persons experience? Is it a continued conversation from the past? Facebook did a wonderful job of keeping the conversation positive. Facebook prevented the Dislike button from pulling focus, which could have discouraged people from cr...


Chihuahua or muffin? My search for the best computer vision API freeCodeCamp - Medium

This popular internet meme demonstrates the alarming resemblance shared between chihuahuas and muffins. These images are commonly shared in presentations in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry (myself included).

But one question I havent seen anyone answer is just how good IS modern AI at removing the uncertainty of an image that could resemble a chihuahua or a muffin? For your entertainment and education, Ill be investigating this question today.

Binary classification has been possible since the perceptron algorithm was invented in 1957. If you think AI is hyped now, the New York Times reported in 1958 that the invention was the beginning of a computer that would be able to walk, talk, see, write, reproduce itself and be conscious of its existence. While perceptron machines, like the Mark 1, were designed for image recognition, in reality they can only discern patterns that are linearly separable. This prevents them from learning the complex patterns found in most visual media.

No wonder the world was disillusioned and an AI winter ensued. Since then, multi-layer perceptions (popular in the 1980s) and convolutional neural networks (pioneered by Yann LeCun in 1998) have greatly outperformed single-layer perceptions in image recognition tasks.

With large labelled data sets like ImageNet and powerful GPU computing, more advanced neural network architectures like AlexNet, VGG, Inception, and ResNet have achieved state-of-the-art performance in computer vision.

Computer vision and image recognition APIs

If youre a machine learning engineer, its easy to experiment with and fine-tune these models by using pre-trained models and weights in either...


A Gentler Introduction to Programming freeCodeCamp - Medium

Illustration by John Adesanya

This write-up captures what I teach when I get coaching requests. I wont jump into the code or a setup of any sort. I will teach concepts.

If you work in a software development company as a non-programmer, you may wonder what the programmers do. And you hear new buzzwords everyday. This post was written with you in mind. Whether you are a sales person, a medical doctor, attorney, a business lead, or an accountant, if youve ever had it in mind to learn how to code, this is a good place to start.

How this article is organized

This write-up is divided into 4 parts. After reading through each part, you will find a quiz section to help you better recall what youve read. Then youll find a going forward section and answers to the quiz.

Note that each buzzword introduced in this series is in bold , such as algorithm.

Illustration by John Adesanya

Part 1What is Programming?

A simple answer would be, Programming is the act of instructing computers to carry out tasks. It is often referred to as coding.

So then, what is a computer program? A computer program is a sequence of instructions that the computer executes.

Computer in the definition above is any device that is capable of processing code. This could be smartphones, ATMs, the Raspberry Pi, Servers to name a few.

A Good Analogy for Programming

First, there are patterns to our every day lives. The universe operates in a somewhat predictable way; For exampleday and night, seasons, sunrise and sunset. People go through routines such as rising in the morning, going to school or to work. We get instructions from other people such as our superiors at work. How we cook certain recipes can be explained in finite steps.

Second, every time we use smart devices, some code is running in the background. Moving a mouse pointer from one part of your computer screen to the other may seem like a simple task, but in reality, so many lines of code just ran. An act as simple as typing letters into Google Docs leads to lines of code being executed in the background. Its all code everywhere.

Computer programs are also referred to as code. Do not use the word codes (code should be used as an uncountable noun). Okay, this is not an English class, lets get back to business.

The Natural Language of the Computer

Machines have their natural language like humans do. Computers do not understand the human language. The natural language of computers is the binary code1 and 0. These represent two states:...


How you can use ES6 Arrow Functions to make your JavaScript easier to read freeCodeCamp - Medium

Arrow functions are the new fundamental building blocks of building modern web applications.

In this post, youll learn how Arrow Functions both make your code more concise, while also making the this keyword more manageable. Youll also learn about implicit returns, logging with arrow functions, and combining implicit returns with objects.

If you prefer to learn by video instead of text, heres the video format:

Arrow functions provide two main benefits over regular functions. First, theyre more terse. Second, they make managing the this keyword a little easier.

What Ive seen with new developers learning about Arrow Functions is that its not really the concept itself thats difficult to grasp. Odds are youre already familiar with functions, their benefits, use cases, etc. But for some reason, its the actual syntax that throws your brain for a loop when youre first exposed to them. Because of this, were going to take things slow and first just introduce how the syntax compares with typical functions youre used to.

Here we have a basic function declaration and a function expression:

// fn declaration
function add (x,y) {
return x + y;
// fn expression
var add = function (x,y) {
return x + y;

Now, if we wanted to change that function expression to an arrow function, wed do it like this:

var add = function (x,y) {
return x + y;
var add = (x,y) => {
return x + y;

Again, the most difficult part about getting started with arrow functions is just getting used to the syntax. Once youre cool with it, move on and well dive deeper.

At this point you may be wondering what all the hype is about with arrow functions. Truthfully, the example above doesnt really lend well to their strengths. What Ive found is that arrow functions really thrive when youre using anonymous functions. We can warm our brain up a little more to the syntax by looking at another basic example of this is using .map. () {
}) => {

All rightenough with the warm up. Lets dive into it.

Lets say we had a getTweets function that took in a user id and, after hitting a poorly designed API, returned us a...


Coursera Teams Up with Google to Bridge the IT Experience Gap Coursera Blog

By Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera

Today, its estimated that there are more than half a million IT support positions open in the U.S. That demand is set to grow as the digital skills gap widens by 12 percent between 2014 and 2024. Many of these open roles dont require a college degree, but they do require experience. So its not uncommon for would-be IT professionals to find themselves caught in a catch-22 they cant get a job without experience and they cant get experience without a job. That is about to change.

Im proud to share that Coursera is a part of the new Grow with Google initiative, an effort to advance economic opportunity across the U.S. Weve worked with Google to create the Google IT Support Professional Certificate offered exclusively through Coursera to our global community of learners. The certificate will be the first IT credential of its kind and will give aspiring IT professionals hands-on labs experience created by Googlers. Learners will also get the opportunity to share their information with a host of employers like Google, Bank of America, LOral, PNC Bank, and others that are hiring entry-level support professionals.

Google and Coursera share a vision of equipping people around the world with skills they need to be job ready. The industry-relevant curriculum is designed to take beginner learners to entry-level job readiness in 8-12 months. Unlike other courses aimed at more advanced technical learners, the Google Certificate on Coursera does not require any prerequisites.

Were also working with Googles philanthropy,, to back nonprofits Goodwill, Partner4Work, Per Scholas, Student Veterans of America, Upwardly Global, and YearUp that are bringing the certificate to underserved groups. has already pledged more than 2,600 scholarships to these nonprofits to ensure broad access to this valuable learning credential.

Building on our previous...


How to run a successful development process (even if youre not technical) freeCodeCamp - Medium

Wouldnt that be greeeeeat (Office Space, 1999)

Laurence Peter formulated the principle that managers rise to the level of their incompetence in 1969. In particular, non-technical leaders have earned a poor reputation with software developers.

Office Space depicts the non-technical manager in Bill Lumbergh, pictured above. Dilbert provides the classic Pointy-Haired Boss.

This article is for anyone who wants to effectively orchestrate a development process without becoming the butt of your teams water-cooler jokes. Ill share what Ive learned over the years managing development and release processes as a manager and software architect at UCLA and Stanford University.

The biggest lesson Ive learned is that the key to sustaining successful software releases is completely non-technical.

Its about process.

Some aspects of a development process benefit from technical know-how, but its not required. Successfully releasing software into production is much more a question of robust process architecture than design or code alone.

For the purpose of this article, well assume youve already agreed to start building something. The product approval pipeline is a different process. Today were focusing on getting the agreed-upon product from concept to production.

What to build

Your team needs to assemble a clear roadmap for their code. Architects and manufacturers use blueprints. You should too.

Should I use these plans or just wing it? Hmm (source)

Your roadmap should include a set of schematics which each fulfill a different purpose. These schematics differ for individual applications. A user-interface mock-up, application architecture diagram, and business process model are common. More detailed component diagrams such as Unified Modeling Language (UML) diagrams and flow models are often useful as well.

Technical expertise lets you use these schematics to critique your teams architecture and ensure theyre on the right track. Even without technical skill, these schematics will be critical.

You can use them to drive productive conversations about product completion. No more will you have to draw a % complete out of thin air or best-guess from the development team. You can track the status of each item on the diagram to determine how close the app is to completion. You can also project future velocity based on how quickly the team completed prior components.

There is no right...

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