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a handy solution template for

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Readers here may have noticed that I like the problem set - it's got interesting problems, it's well structured, and the submission process is pretty clean.

However, it's not QUITE as clean as I'd like, so I found myself writing a little solution template to make it more convenient to solve and submit problems....
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In her recent collection of essays (drawn, I believe from pieces published online in the last decade) the eternally wonderful Ursula K. LeGuin discusses a quote mistakenly attributed to her. This essay got me thinking about quotes, and attributions, and the appalling illiteracy of the internet-savvy. Some of those thoughts:

As is well known, most...
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A thought about "white nationalism"

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Here we go again. I read in the Times that people are asking themselves "What, exactly, is white nationalism?"

Really? People have to ask this question? I thought it was pretty simple: "white nationalism" is when a Klansman takes off his robe and hood and puts on a suit and tie. White nationalism is a racist with a college...
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On "accusations"

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In a recent story in the Times, we find the following sentence:

This is a strange usage of the word "accused" - this is not an accusation, it is an observation. A man who devotes years of his life to running an organization whose output consists largely of white supremacist and anti-semitic views and conspiracy theories is a person who...
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A stray thought on our short-fingered leader

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What's depressing about this is that my country is now run by a man who clearly does not want the job, and never did want it, never did anything to prepare against the possibility that he might accidentally wind up in the job, and is now doing his best to try to ensure that he can get out of having to do it before he actually has to do it, but...
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The Shopping Bag as Issues List (A Fable)

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Recently, e_i_pi discussed working for an organization that maintained issues list as a set of Sharepoint lists.

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but it's all too common. An organization starts out thinking, well, we don't really need all that stuff, we can get away with writing them down on this old shopping bag, and...
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Kaizen Diary: Introduction

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I work on a small team - three people - mostly focused on maintaining and improving the user portal for a large non-profit startup accelerator. It's an interesting codebase, with some interesting problems issues...
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Kaizen Diary: Tickets For All Work

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Kaizen: Tickets For All Work (Sprint 6)
(an entry in the Kaizen Diary)

This was the first kaizen for our team that I have a record for. Right away, you can see that this is a team with some issues: the most important improvement we could come up with was that we follow one of the most standard pieces of developmental rigor, and require...
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Some Notes On R: A Dialog

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When beginning R, the user should expect a number of gasps of disbelief, face-palm moments will not be uncommon, and occasionally the responsible programmer will be tempted to take the language out back and shoot it in the head.

I'll get much of this reaction out of the way for you in one line:

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Java: "Why isn't my input inputting?"

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One of the most common beginner traps in Java is the behavior of the "convenience" methods of the Scanner class. The usual scenario is this: the assignment is to write code accepting inputs of various types and process those inputs in some fashion. For example the assignment might be to prompt the user for a String, a substring, an...

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