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Re: learning languages [Was: Re: Y Store now C++]

Geoffrey Knauth <geoff@knauth.org> writes at 19:57 14-Mar-2003 -0500:
> Minsky was nice, he replied that he'd looked into things, and no one
> was more than twice as smart as anyone else.

Actually, I think Minsky mentioned that factoid in class once, although
I believe it was talking about observable learning rate.

(Sitting in on Minsky's class easily had more academic value than the
entire rest of the grad program I was in, and I tend to put a lot of
stock in his theories.)

> A few years later, a supervisor supported my doubts about this "twice
> normal" metric by stating that genius was not a matter of mental
> horsepower as much as it was perspective, the ability to look at
> something from a slightly different viewpoint and then suddenly see
> the answer.

Agreed.  In this case, I'm concerned with not so much "genius" as
questions of who can learn to program, and how well.  More broadly, I'm
interested in how we can better educate humanity to be thinkers, with
programming as a pedagogic and then problem-solving tool.