Why I fear Computer Science courses

Just because you can’t read it, doesn’t mean it won’t kill you.

This fall, I am doing something f***ing crazy. It’s on my senior bucket list, but it’s not the Naked Donut Run (been there, done that), and no, it’s not the SciLi challenge. What I am doing is way more hard-core than that.

I am enrolled in CSCI0150: Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming, otherwise known as CS15.

While not everyone will be doing coordinated stretch breaks with Andy van Dam this semester, a lot of you have probably toyed around with the idea of taking a computer science course before. Banner stats currently put the registration numbers for CS15 and CS17 (another introductory course) at 394 and 214, respectively.

That being said, a lot of you have also wimped out. No shame, we totally get it–computer science is scary! The cold, gripping fear of sitting down in the Sun Lab (or more recently, your own computer), and having no clue how to go about your assignment–it’s enough for anyone to drop.

All of the concentrators will tell you that’s silly talk. Sure, it will be a lot of work, but you’ll be capable of it! Essentially, the fear of CS is irrational. I am here to tell you about my own fear of computer science, which is irrational, but for very different reasons. These are all the things I’m afraid will happen if I take CS:

  • I will undoubtedly awaken an internet demon that will manipulate me into freeing it from its digital prison, and wreak havoc on campus a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It will name me as its co-conspirator on Reddit, and everyone will hate me.
  • The complete lack of sunlight will cause my appearance to shift into something like this:

    Deep sea Angler fish

    Smile for your graduation picture!

  • The tech bubble will burst upon my graduation, and I will still end up jobless and alone.

Continue Reading


Students Who Do Cool Things: Yelitsa Jean-Charles and the Healthy Roots Team

Did you ever visit a toy store as a kid, and notice that none of the dolls looked like you? If you’re a person of color in the United States, the answer is most likely a resounding yes. We care a lot about social change on College Hill, but it takes a special vision to change the market from the manufacturing side. That is exactly what Yelitsa Jean-Charles (RISD Illustrating ’16) is doing with her Healthy Roots Kickstarter.

From her own lived experience, Yelitsa knew just how much damage could be done to a young girl’s self esteem by society’s imposing beauty standards. Light skin, long blonde hair, blue eyes – the list goes on. In her own words, “Healthy Roots teaches girls of color self-love through education, diversity, and positive representation.” Right now, there are four girls: Marinda, who is Afro-Brazilian and loves soccer, Zoe, an African American with a zeal for learning and debate, Gaiana, who is Haitian and has a passion for music, and Dara, a Nigerian with a knack for coding websites. Together, they represent different corners of the African Diaspora, as well as a full-bodied image of ‘girliness’ that is so much more than fashion and appearance.

In differentiating her venture from anything else out there, Yelitsa told the Daily Dot:

“Black dolls already exist, but many of them only scratch the surface level of representation. You have to do more than paint a doll brown. We recognize that we need to have diversity and education in order to deconstruct colorism and racism. We do that by creating multiple dolls and storybooks that teach girls about themselves in a way that they can identify with.”

 

Continue Reading


Campus Life Updates: Policy changes this Fall

unnamed

Campus Life’s most recent email details some of the significant changes to the Student Conduct code, the alcohol and social event policy, and student resources, resulting from the review process that took place last May. To get the full scoop, well… you should probably read your email. For a condensed version, see below.

Alcohol and Social Events:

-The restrictions on dorm spaces serving alcohol that were introduced last semester will be continued, at least through this Fall. Certain spaces on campus will be “on hold” on Friday and Saturday nights, in order to meet the demand for housing student events. This will also help with “increasing university support for the management” of said events.

-According to feedback from last year, students prefer “calmer living spaces.”

-Graduate students are filling a new role for Reslife to “enhance harm-reduction strategies on weekend nights in residence halls.” The grad students are supposed to address community disruptions, provide assistance for students, and host “alcohol-free programming.” Mayhaps, Settlers of Catan?

See the full report here.

Continue Reading


BREAKING: RISD divests from coal

April 2013 Rally

April 2013 Rally

After a two year study, RISD’s Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to “divest their endowments direct investments in fossil-fuel extraction company stocks and bonds.” The RISD community got an email sharing the news this morning, once more affirming that our artsy cousins down the hill are always one step ahead. The full email, sent by Michael Spalter, chair of the Board of Trustees and shared by the Divest RISD campaign Facebook page, is posted below. Congratulations to everyone who worked on the Divest RISD campaign!

Continue Reading


A new Provost: Richard M. Locke

locke_large

This afternoon, President Christina Paxson P’19 sent out an email announcing our new provost, effective July 1st. Richard M. Locke, current Director of the Watson Institute, will be stepping up to the job, which belonged to Vicki Colvin this past school year. Locke teaches Political Science to undergraduate and graduate students, has  served on the Deficit Reduction Working Group, and worked on the meld of the Taubman and Watson centers.

Locke is an author, a seasoned faculty member and alumnus of MIT, and the receiver of a nearly perfect rating on The Critical Review, to name just a few of his achievements. His research focuses on “improving labor and and environmental conditions in global supply chains”, meaning producing a reality where you don’t need to violate the Earth and basic human rights in order to run a big, profitable business. Locke works with companies like Coca Cola, Apple, and Nike. We look forward to seeing how Professor Locke will integrate these values into his new position.

Until further notice, Locke will continue to serve as Director of the Watson Institute. You can read more about Locke and the announcement here.

Image via.


What we’re reading: Baltimore edition

28FIRSTDRAFT-baltimore-tmagArticle

While most of BlogDH’s content focuses on Brown (and RISD), we acknowledge it doesn’t take an on-campus event to send this community reeling. This special edition of our “What we’re reading” column aims to provide students with a roundup of the coverage of the recent issues in Baltimore, Maryland that we found particularly enlightening, as we did with articles on the events in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year.

If you are new to the topic, The Atlantic provides a concise, thought-provoking summary on what we know to have happened to Freddie Gray. Gray was arrested on April 12th when he made eye contact with a cop and ran away. On April 19th, he died of a spinal injury that was not present before his time in custody. As of this morning, the Maryland state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, charged 6 Baltimore officers in Freddie Gray’s death. The details on how this injury was sustained have not been unveiled. You can watch a video of the initial arrest here, and you can also read about the extensive record of police brutality in Baltimore (5.7 million dollars worth of lawsuits sxtince 2011) through this Baltimore Sun expose on undue force.

On Monday, a funeral was held for Gray. A few hours later, some of the protests turned into riots, and the National Guard was called in. Major news outlets have worked with the angle that the violence of the protests was premeditated. Many of you probably saw the headline, “Rival gang leaders agree to come together to take out police officers.” However, MotherJones, through on-site interviews at Mondawmin Mall, catalogues a different story. In “The Baltimore Riots Didn’t Start the Way You Think,” witnesses account a scene where police, in full riot gear, prevented many children from returning home from school, and using traffic barricades, potentially escalated the situation themselves. Continue Reading