Warning: Boring post ahead…
So, Lauren didn’t want to post anything today. My first thought was to try to describe what the stomach flu was like, but I’m going to give that a pass for the time being.
Instead, let me tell you about the latest geeky thing in my life. Over the last few months, a group of computer science teachers around here have been putting together our very own Nebraska Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association*. A little less than a month ago we were approved as a chapter and on Tuesday we held our first Event.
I bet you didn’t know that this was Computer Science Education Week (yes, there’s a website). One of the things they tell us when they can get us to look up from our computers is that people think that all we do is stare at computers. So we rounded up the only 3 guys who work with computers who actually do anything and had them show [and tell] as many high school students [as we could convince to give up an hour of their evening] the cool stuff they were working on.
It was actually some pretty cool stuff. Attaching computers to cranes to track migration, behavior, habitat and so forth. The computers actually sent data back via text messages. One crane sent 25,000+ texts. I hope they got an unlimited plan. Burying computers in a corn field to track moisture content and tell the center pivot how much water to spray in each portion of the field (okay, that last bit is only exciting in Nebraska).
One guy was working on flying robots that could collect water samples or maintain devices that monitor the structural integrity of bridges. He brought one of the flying robots and you can just barely see it in this picture it you know where to look (this photo was taken after the event while he was just showing off).
The third guy was working with simulation of complex real world objects to try to solve problems that are traditionally hard for computers to solve. Things like how traffic light timing should change in response to traffic accidents in order to let traffic flow as smoothly as possible. Or figuring out the optimal number of firefighters for any given part of a forest fire.
We had a pretty good turnout, and the people who came asked some good questions afterwards. I am pronouncing our first event a success. And, as no description of puking was involved, I think we can call this post a success as well. In fact, that might be a good enough description of success in general.