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Sixth proofreading pass

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Kenneth John Odle 12 months ago
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      003/codex-003.tex

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003/codex-003.tex

@ -22,9 +22,6 @@
margin=0.5in
}
% Adjust the top and bottom margins
% http://kb.mit.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=3907057
\addtolength{\topmargin}{0.4in}
@ -66,7 +63,7 @@
\usepackage{microtype}
% Make a nice border and box for the tops of our examples
\newcommand\klab[3]{\vspace{#1}\noindent{}\hrulefill\fbox{\texttt{~#2~}}\hrulefill\vspace{#3}}
\newcommand\klab[3]{\vspace{#1}\noindent{}\hrulefill~~\fbox{\texttt{~#2~}}~~\hrulefill\vspace{#3}}
% Add an \hrule with space above and below
\newcommand\krule[2]{\vspace{#1}\hrule\vspace{#2}}
@ -195,7 +192,7 @@ I should mention that I went to college with the goal of becoming high school bi
\section{Teaching Computers}
I graduated from college with a B.S. in Biology and a teaching certificate. I could not find a job teaching biology—I quickly discovered that biology teachers are a dime a dozen\footnote{This was a huge surprise to me, because all through college, whenever I told someone I was a biology major, they seemed really impressed and said something like "oh gosh, biology—that's really hard." But note—these were non-science people. If you want to study science, but don't want anything too hard, apparently biology is the default.} and chemistry teachers are about five bucks a dozen, and if you majored in physics with a goal of teaching high school science, you would have your choice of any teaching position you wanted.
I graduated from college with a B.S. in Biology and a teaching certificate. I could not find a job teaching biology—I quickly discovered that biology teachers are a dime a dozen\footnote{This was a huge surprise to me, because all through college, whenever I told someone I was a biology major, they seemed really impressed and said something like "oh gosh, biology—that's really hard." But note—these were non-science people. If you want to study science, but don't want anything too hard, apparently biology is the default.} and chemistry teachers are about five bucks a dozen, and also that if you majored in physics with a goal of teaching high school science, you would have your choice of any teaching position you wanted.
Of course at this time (the early 90s), lots of people still wanted to be teachers (unlike now) because teachers still mostly garnered respect from the public, parents, and administrators, and teaching jobs were hard to come by (also unlike now). So I started substitute teaching and doing whatever I could to pay the bills.
@ -213,7 +210,7 @@ What I do remember the most about this class was that the best way to teach anyb
But I discovered a wonderful thing about this: \textit{telling} is very different than \textit{showing}. When I show someone something I tend to use words like ``here,'' ``over here,'' etc. But when I \textit{tell} someone something, I have to use much more specific terms like ``upper-left hand corner'' and ``half way down''.
This meant that telling someone how to print a file meant that I ended up saying something like ``move your mouse\footnote{i.e., cursor. To someone who is new to computers, the two are one.} to the upper left-hand corner, find the `File' menu and click on it, and then go about half way down until you see the word `Print' and click on it.''
This meant that when I told someone how to print a file I ended up saying something like ``move your mouse\footnote{i.e., cursor. To someone who is new to computers, the two are one.} to the upper left-hand corner, find the `File' menu and click on it, and then go about half way down until you see the word `Print' and click on it.''
And this worked. My students were not familiar with a ``File'' menu, but they were familiar with the concepts of ``up,'' ``down,'' ``right,'' and ``left''. This led me to realize something that I had not been taught in college—you have to work with students where they are, rather than where you wish they were. You can't play the ``if only'' game. (``If only my students knew where the File menu is…'' Again, there is a lot more to say here, but that's an entirely different zine.)
@ -244,10 +241,10 @@ So I decided to attempt this quest again, but instead of cooking hacks, I decide
\item \textbf{Use plastic bottles as mini-greenhouses} --- I've seen this so many times and its popularity seems to rely on the fact that people somehow think of greenhouses as magical boxes.\footnote{Clarke's Law applies to greenhouses, apparently.} The point of an actual greenhouse is to let light in. The watering is still up to you. So yeah, you can cut a bottle in half, fill the bottom with soil, plant your seeds, and throw the top on to keep moisture in until the seeds sprout, but it seems to me it would be easier to just plant the seeds in the bottom and make sure to keep them watered. There is nothing magical about a transparent top, and thus this isn't a hack, but a mere \textbf{gimmick}.\footnote{I suppose this is popular because people can then say ``hey, look at me, I'm recycling!'' but you aren't recycling, you're \textit{reusing}. And the end result is a dirty bottle that \textit{can't} be easily recycled.}
\item \textbf{Punch some holes in the cap of a gallon milk jug and use it as a watering can} --- This is definitely a \textbf{gimmick}. Why not just leave the cap off and pour water directly out of the jug the way you do milk? Is that not simpler? The \textit{real} hack is to drill a few small holes in the \textit{bottom} of the jug, fill it with water, and set it next to your plants. This is a great way to keep tomatoes and other large plants watered during a hot dry summer without constantly sprinkling them with water.
\item \textbf{Place a kitchen sponge in the bottom of a pot to soak up extra water and avoid root rot} --- The problem with this \textbf{gimmick} is that sponges absorb water and hold onto it until it evaporates (and not a lot of evaporation is going to happen if it's been buried). If you give your potted plant too much water, the ideal situation is to have something large---stones, for instance---that don't lock together that will keep the dirt in while letting the excess water out.\footnote{Or you could just learn how to water your plants properly. I admit to not being an expert at this (ADHD makes tasks like this interesting), but it seems better to err on underwatering, which is easily corrected, rather than overwatering, which is not.} A sponge will just hold all that extra water, making this \textbf{really bad advice} if you tend to overwater.
\item \textbf{Use wine corks with a toothpick as plant labels} --- This \textbf{gimmick} was described as a great way to recycle, but I don't know that our landfills are overflowing with wine corks. Corks are just oak bark, and will naturally, if slowly, break down in the soil or in a compost pile.\footnote{The assumption that there is an entire privileged class who has so many wine corks that they don't know what to do with them says a lot about the person spouting this ``advice'' and their intended audience.} Just use some popsicle sticks and let the kids use the corks in their craft projects.
\item \textbf{Use wine corks with a toothpick as plant labels} --- This \textbf{gimmick} was described as a great way to recycle, but I don't know that our landfills are overflowing with wine corks. Corks are just oak bark, and will naturally, if slowly, break down in the soil or in a compost pile.\footnote{The assumption that there is an entire privileged class that has so many wine corks that they don't know what to do with them says a lot about the person spouting this ``advice'' and their intended audience.} Just use some popsicle sticks and let the kids use the corks in their craft projects.
\item \textbf{Use toilet roll cores as seedling pots} --- Most people just throw out the core from a roll of toilet paper, but this is a true \textbf{hack}, as it uses up something that you are just going to end up throwing in either the trash or the recycling anyway. And it will break down in your soil and add some organic matter, as well.
\item \textbf{Use seeds from store-bought vegetables (e.g., tomatoes and peppers) to start your own garden plants} --- This is just \textbf{bad advice}. Most supermarket vegetables are hybrids anyway, and won't come true from seed. Also, starting plants from seed is really hard work! If you're going to go through all that work, you might as well fork out for some high quality seeds.
\item \textbf{Use ordinary table salt as fertilizer} --- This is just \textbf{really bad advice} because excess levels of salt can damage or even kill most plants. Maybe they were thinking of \textit{Epsom} salts, which can be used as a fertilizer when properly diluted, because it contains high quantities of magnesium. (Nope, they actually list that one further down the list.)
\item \textbf{Use ordinary table salt as fertilizer} --- This is just \textbf{really bad advice} because excess levels of salt can damage or even kill most plants. Maybe they were thinking of \textit{Epsom} salt, which can be used as a fertilizer when properly diluted, because it contains high quantities of magnesium. (Nope, they actually list that one further down the list.)
\item \textbf{Make homemade weed killer with vinegar, table salt, and dish soap} --- This one would actually probably work, because again, salt is really bad for plants, and vinegar will kill the leaves. But it won't kill the roots, which is I suppose why they are including salt. Also, in light of the previous ``hack'', is salt going to kill your plants or fertilize them? Leave the salt out and I'd be willing to call this a technique, but I'm not sure why weeds are even a problem, what with that thin layer of newspaper you put down all over the place. Again, this is just \textbf{bad advice}.
\item \textbf{Make fertilizer tea from your weeds to feed your plants} --- This \textbf{gimmick} is just silly: take the weeds that you've just pulled up, put them in a bucket and cover them with water, wait for a few hours, get rid of the weeds and then water your garden with this miraculous, nutrient rich water. For one thing, you're just not going to get that many nutrients out of freshly picked weeds in a few hours. This is more like putting some leafy greens in a water bath to perk them up. Second, you still have to get rid of the weeds. It would make more sense to just put the weeds in a compost pile, which is probably where this idea came from because compost tea is a real thing.\footnote{Although if you're going to go through all the trouble of making compost, you may as well just apply it to the soil and let your garden make its own compost tea every time it rains or you water it. Why are you going through extra steps?}
\item \textbf{Make holes to plant your seeds in by putting corks on the end of a garden fork} --- This is not a hack, it's not a gimmick, nor is it even just a ridiculously terrible idea, it's also \textbf{physically impossible}. Most garden forks have tines that almost as wide as a wine cork is, so there's no way you're going to be able to stick a cork on there.\footnote{It's notable that even though this ``hack'' was accompanied by a picture of a garden fork stuck in the ground, there was not a wine cork to be seen anywhere.} And even if you could, this would just become bad advice because 1) not all seeds should be planted the same width apart, and 2) how difficult is it to make a hole in your garden soil to drop a seed in there? If your soil is that hard, you've got bigger problems that all the wine corks in the world aren't going to solve. For what it's worth, here's the entire process, in all its ridiculous glory:
@ -311,15 +308,14 @@ And it also has what I believe is chord notation (although I could be—and prob
I didn't create that. (I don't even know what it means.) I just copied it verbatim from the \texttt{harmony} guide. In reality, it looks like this:
\begin{Verbatim}[frame=lines, numbers=left, xleftmargin=5mm, framesep=3mm, label=\fbox{Harmony Example}]
\begin{Verbatim}[frame=lines, numbers=left, xleftmargin=5mm, framesep=3mm, breaklines=true, label=\fbox{Harmony Example}]
%
\def\h#1h{\hspace*{#1em}}
\newcommand{\Str}[2][0.5]{\raise#1ex\hbox to #2em{\hrulefill}}
\newcommand{\ST}{\h0.03h\Str[0.65]{0.27}\h0.03h}
%
\h0,5h\HH.D..8\Str[0,65]{1,2}7\ST6\ST5.8\ST6\ST4\Str[0,65]{2}3
.6\ST5\ST8%
\Str[0,65]{3}7.%
\h0,5h\HH.D..8\Str[0,65]{1,2}7\ST6\ST5.8\ST6\ST4
\Str[0,65]{2}3.6\ST5\ST8
\Str[0,65]{3}7.
\end{Verbatim}
What this tells me is that the \texttt{harmony} package is very good at positioning things around other things. I may just have to tuck that in the back of my mind for later. The guide document for \texttt{harmony} is only five or six pages, but there is a lot of information to absorb there.
@ -328,7 +324,7 @@ What this tells me is that the \texttt{harmony} package is very good at position
And then there is the \texttt{musixtex} package. It makes use of a \texttt{music} environment, with your relevant code (of which there is a lot). I've copied this bit from the \texttt{musixtex} documentation:
\begin{Verbatim}[frame=lines, numbers=left, xleftmargin=5mm, framesep=3mm, label=\fbox{Musixtex Example}]
\begin{Verbatim}[frame=lines, numbers=left, xleftmargin=5mm, framesep=3mm, breaklines=true, label=\fbox{Musixtex Example}]
\begin{music}
\instrumentnumber{1} % a single instrument
\setname1{Piano} % whose name is Piano
@ -432,7 +428,7 @@ Also, if you have access to the source code so you can see how other people have
\section{Paragraphs and White Space}
To start a new paragraph, simply skip a line. \LaTeX{} compresses white space, so if you are importing text from a text document, any lines that are adjacent to each other will be in the same paragraph. Additionally, multiple spaces will appear as a single space. For example, this code:
To start a new paragraph, simply skip a line. \LaTeX{} collapses white space, so if you are importing text from a text document, any lines that are adjacent to each other will be in the same paragraph. Additionally, multiple spaces will appear as a single space. For example, this code:
\begin{Verbatim}[frame=lines, numbers=left, xleftmargin=5mm, label=\fbox{White Space Example}, breaklines=true, framesep=3mm]
This is the first paragraph.
@ -528,7 +524,7 @@ For best results, stick to the hierarchical structure shown above, as this is al
\subsubsection{Enumerate}
\texttt{enumerate} is used to create numbered lists. They can be nested to create an outline. To prevent \LaTeX{} from adding a lot of space between the item numbers, add the \texttt{enumitem} package and pass and the \texttt{[noitemsep]} to the environment.
\texttt{enumerate} is used to create numbered lists. They can be nested to create an outline. To prevent \LaTeX{} from adding a lot of space between the item numbers, add the \texttt{enumitem} package and pass the \texttt{[noitemsep]} to the environment.
For example, this code:
@ -688,7 +684,7 @@ Let's start with point \#1.
The two main commercial alternatives to Linux are macOS (Apple) and Windows (Microsoft).
macOS is less widely available. The only way to get it is to buy an Apple product. I admit, Apple products are \textit{gorgeous} and the hardware is usually designed to last for a long time.\footnote{iPhones may be the exception to this.} But it is also \textit{expensive}. I've done a bit of cost comparison and the cheapest Macintosh laptop I can buy is easily five times the price of the cheapest Windows laptop I can buy.
macOS is less widely available than Windows. The only way to get it is to buy an Apple product. I admit, Apple products are \textit{gorgeous} and the hardware is usually designed to last for a long time.\footnote{iPhones may be the exception to this.} But it is also \textit{expensive}. I've done a bit of cost comparison and the cheapest Macintosh laptop I can buy is easily five times the price of the cheapest Windows laptop I can buy.
That actually makes Windows sound cheap in comparison. But is it?
@ -729,7 +725,7 @@ As a result, when you think ``I could really go for a sandwich right about now''
And this is what Windows does. It gathers your data and ``shares'' it with other companies it has paid agreements with. The price is low, but the cost is high.
\end{multicols}
Windows may appear to be low-cost or even free when you buy that new computer, but it does have a cost—your privacy. And because advertisers use some pretty sophisticated techniques to get you to buy their stuff, there is an additional cost—your ability to truly choose for yourself.
Windows may appear to be low-cost or even free when you buy that new computer, but it does have a very high cost—your privacy. And because advertisers use some pretty sophisticated techniques to get you to buy their stuff, there is an additional cost—your ability to truly choose for yourself.
Which brings us to point \#2.
@ -737,13 +733,13 @@ Which brings us to point \#2.
This is really the greatest thing about open source projects: if you find something you don't like, you can change it. For example, if I want to change something about Linux, I can head over to \href{https://github.com/torvalds/linux}{\texttt{https://github.com/torvalds/linux}} and become a contributor, or I can \textit{fork} the software and create my own version.
That's a huge advantage, because it is not something that you can do with either Windows or macOS. But it comes with a huge price tag: you have to know how to write code.
That's a huge advantage, because it is not something that you can do with either Windows or macOS. But it comes with a huge cost: you have to know how to write code.
That phrase---``write code''---covers a \textit{lot} of territory, because there are a lot of different programming and scripting languages and just because you know one does not know that you know the rest, although people will often think that you do.\footnotemark{} Knowing one does not mean that you know all of them, just the same way that learning Spanish does not mean that you now automatically know Urdu or Mandarin or even Italian. It takes time to learn the basics, it takes more time to become proficient, and it takes even more time to understand the code structure of the project you are looking at.
\footnotetext{A long time ago I was a contributor to a theme for WordPress and worked as a (volunteer) moderator on its forum. Somebody wrote a post to complain that something he had attempted was not working the way he wanted it to and could we please fix it because, as he said ``I'm sure it's just a coding thing'', to which my (internal) reply was ``Dude, if it's just a `coding thing' then \textit{you} figure it out''. His implication was that we basically have a magic button that does things instantly, and we just sit around the rest of the time drinking coffee. The coffee thing (or any caffeinated beverage, really) \textit{is} true, but the sitting around thing and the magic button thing are definitely \textit{not} true.}
So yes, there is a price, but if you decide to pay it, it has the additional benefit of making you more knowledgeable than you were before. Learning to code anything, even something as simple and straightforward as basic \texttt{html}, requires that you think logically and systematically about what you want to achieve and that you develop a systematic way of solving problems. Because, yes, nothing ever just works the first time you use it (if I had a dollar for every error message I've ever received while using LaTeX, I could probably afford to take a year off from work) and a \textit{systematic} method for diagnosing and solving problems is a lot more efficient than just guessing.
So yes, there is a cost, but if you decide to pay it, it has the additional benefit of making you more knowledgeable than you were before. Learning to code anything, even something as simple and straightforward as basic \texttt{html}, requires that you think logically and systematically about what you want to achieve and that you develop a systematic way of solving problems. Because, yes, nothing ever just works the first time you use it (if I had a dollar for every error message I've ever received while using LaTeX, I could probably afford to take a year off from work) and a \textit{systematic} method for diagnosing and solving problems is a lot more efficient than just guessing.
\subsubsection{A side note:} An optional benefit if you learn to write some code is that you can---and should---learn a revision control system, which will keep track of your changes and let you go back to an earlier version if you \textit{really} screw something up, which you are bound to do at some point because really screwing something up is part of the learning process. I like and use \texttt{git}, which is included in the Ubuntu default repositories, but others such as \texttt{mercurial} and \texttt{bazaar} are also available. I like \texttt{git} because it's what I've worked with the longest and know fairly well, but that doesn't make it the best one; it's just the best one for me. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and the point is not to find the perfect one,\footnote{The perfect one doesn't exist. The entire idea of perfection is one which has entered our culture through the door of religion, and it is an idea which we much abandon to regain our cultural sanity.} but to find one that will meet your needs. Once you do, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

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