Due to a comment I recieved on my “Gym in High School” post, my reply, and some events of today, I feel that this subject needs revisiting.
It isn’t about whether you should or shouldn’t excersise. It’s about how excersise is used as a punishment throughout middle school and high school. Today, my class went out to play tennis. As a warmup, we had to run down to the end of the tennis court and back twice (I use run lightly here, we could have jogged and been fine). Eager to play tennis, I was the first jogging, and quickly got the two rounds complete. A friend of mine, and another kid in my gym class were on pace with me, and we all three were done.
However, some of the other kids in my class are lazy. I see this all the time: they either just walk, turn around half way, or find another way to pretend that they ran what was required. As I was coming back the second time, I heard my gym teacher yelling something to the effect that they weren’t running, so had to redo the run. Fine, whatever. I had done what was required, so I shouldn’t have to worry.
Here’s where the problem comes in. As I get back to my teacher, she tells me (and the other two kids running with me) that we’ll have to do one more time there and back. I ask her why, noting that we had already ran there and back twice, and she tells me something along the lines of this:
Yeah, I know, but some of your classmates feel they didn’t need to do the whole thing, so now everyone has to run more.
And, here’s where I find the problem. I ran what was required of me. I know this, I’m sure the class knows this, and the teacher knows this. Yet, because one or two people in my class are lazy (the teacher even named who the person was), I have to run more. So, I propose a hypothesis to everyone reading this: group punishment does not work.
Teachers seem to love it. Why single out kids, and deal with them individually when you can just make everyone do more work? On top of that, peer pressure should cause the others to do what’s required of them in the future, right?
Wrong. I have zero influence on the kids in my class who are lazy. This is due to multiple factors: they are in a different social group than I am, I try to avoid associating myself with them, and (not trying to sound conceited here… you have to trust me that this is true) they are on a lower intellectual level than me.
In most classes, I don’t have this problem. I take honors or AP classes, so I generally am in a class of smart people who are willing to do work required so they don’t have to face the punishment. However, I have two classes that go outside this norm: gym physical education (my commentary on this correction is saved for another post), and my lit class (again, my commentary on this will be saved for another post). Somehow, it seems that, when scheduling classes, they ignored intellectual level, and just stuck whoever in whatever gym class.
However, here’s where it stops making sense to me: there is another gym class the same hour that I have my gym class which has at least three people that are on the same intellectual level as me. In my gym class, I can think of one person, maybe two people, that fit this description. It seems that they took this group of people who they knew would goof off, and stuck me in with them.
So, while group punishment hinges on the assumption that peer pressure is the greatest form of influence, this is not always true. So, how can punishment be implemented to be successful? Single the person out. My school does this often for postive accomplishments, why not do it for negative influences? Make the person do thirty pushups while everyone else just watches. This will cause embarassment, distress, etc., hopefully fixing the behavior.
Of course, this keeps the idea of using excersise as a punishment. But, perhaps that’s OK for people who are going to goof off anyway. We can let them think of excersise as a punishment, and let them grow fat and stupid as the rest of us thrive. As my Physics teacher so often says:
We call that natural selection.
Every now and then when working on a program, I like to have a brainstorming session. Usually I’m just lying comfortably in my bed, thinking of how I can expand a program more, remove bugs, or make it quicker or more stable. Last night, I had a brainstorming session for tear bookmarks, and I thought I’d share my notes with everyone who reads this.
My brainstorming session basically consists of my tablet running xournal. I get nice lined notebook paper, where I can write down any ideas that pop into my head. I can then look at that later and go “No… that won’t work” or “Hmm… I might be on to something,” and try to implement it.
So, if you’d like to see what I’ve been thinking about for tear bookmarks, look at the following PDF: 2009-04-22-tearbookmarksbrainstorm. Enjoy!
Last night, I relased tearbookmarks 0.3.1-4. It’s a pretty major update, but I refuse to give it the 1.0 until tear itself is out of beta. This release includes multiple new features. First, the menu load is completely dynamic. The plugin will first check if the bookmark database has been updated since it last grabbed its information. If it has, it will update the menu, then display it. If not, it’ll just show the menu. Loading the menu items could take a bit of time, but I’ve done the best I could to make it as quick as possible.
Second, this release includes the long-awaited folders. While tear itself doesn’t allow you to manage folders, bongo’s bookmark manager should (in the near future) have this option. Folders show up at the bottom of the menu, below all your bookmarks, and also load dynamically, so they don’t take time while loading with the main menu.
Third, this release includes some better handling of how to open tear. It removes the overhead needed to launch the tear executable if tear was already running, and is instead now using dbus directly. It will also show the “Loading…” information box when launching tear for the first time.
Finally, this release includes bongo’s bookmark manager, including a shortcut to the bookmark manager in the menu. This shortcut is placed in the same position as the default bookmark plugin, to mimic the actions of that plugin best.
tearbookmarks 0.3.1-4 is available in extras-devel for diablo only. If you enable extras-devel to install tearbookmarks, please disable it immediately after.
mcedit is designed to make editing the system file /etc/mce/mce.ini easier. It exposes via GUI some interesting configuration options that are normally hidden away. It is a work in progress, and is not yet feature-complete, and should not be used by most people yet. I take no responsibility if anything bad happens to your tablet while using this program. It is my first python programming using all pure python and GTK, no glade file.
It is available in maemo extras-devel for diablo. A download link will be provided when mcedit is end-user ready, and in extras. For now, you’ll just have to live with a screenshot.
Since pyRdesktop depends on rdesktop-cli, this post contains information about both. The reason for two separate packages is twofold: one, so that I can push updates for each application separately; two, so that those who just want the CLI version of rdesktop can get that.
pyRdesktop is a new frontend for rdesktop, designed to be optimized to work on the internet tablets. It features all the basic options, some advanced options, and support for multiple remote desktop profiles (in case you have multiple computers/ip addresses). On clicking “connect”, it simply runs rdesktop-cli. While it does not allow full control over what parameters are passed to rdesktop-cli, it gives options for the most popular.
pyrdesktop is available in maemo extras (diablo and chinook). Direct download link
rdesktop-cli is, as the name suggests, the command line rdesktop client. It has some hildonization (which isn’t perfect). The package is intended to be used in conjunction with pyrdesktop.
rdesktop-cli is available in maemo extras (chinook and diablo). Direct download link
A simple tip calculator written in python and glade, designed for maemo. Features include support for calculating tip before tax, then adding tax (as a percentage, or a price), and splitting the bill between multiple people.
Tip Calculator is available for download in maemo extras (diablo only), but should work on all versions of maemo. Download link
This is a simple calculator for Nokia Internet Tablets to calculate weight watchers points. Simply input the calories, grams of fat, and dietary fiber in the food, and click “calculate points”.
The weight watchers calculator is written in python and glade, and available in maemo extras for diablo, however, it should work on any version of maemo. Direct download link