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created:November 17, 2008
about:I am an independent educational consultant.

提要: 黑客的父亲.

tl;dr: A father of hackers.

I have no role in curating this site. I'm just one of thousands of participants like you. The Hacker News welcome message


gives an overview of the community experiment here, summarizing the site guidelines.


The Hacker News FAQ


gives some additional details about how Hacker News is administered. The welcome message distills the basic rules into a simple statement: "Essentially there are two rules here: don't post or upvote crap links, and don't be rude or dumb in comment threads." To see more detailed comments about recent Hacker News moderation policies, follow the comments by HN user "dang,"


who is the lead member of the moderation team here as of 2014.

My screen name here, "tokenadult," originated on other sites, and I acknowledge that it doesn't fit well here.



The name has been controversial,


but I use it with explicit permission from the site founder (I asked him) and feel like I'm stuck with it here after using it for so many years and so many hundreds of comments.

I'm founding director and math coach for Edina Center for Academic Excellence (my "startup," actually a nonprofit organization), parent workshop director for Epsilon Camp, past president (current director) of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (volunteer), and homeschooling father of four children (one now living independently and developing his career as a hacker in New York City's startup scene). I am very interested in research on mathematics education and education reform in general. I hope hackers come up with innovations that disrupt and improve primary, secondary, and higher education around the globe. Education policy is the issue that drew me to participate on Hacker News,


and I'm glad to see that so many participants, from the founder on to the newest member, enjoy thinking about and checking facts on education issues.

Because I have worked the last several years as a teacher of voluntary, supplemental classes in prealgebra mathematics for advanced elementary-age learners, I have had the opportunity to review mathematics textbooks in the original English and Chinese and in English translation from China, Taiwan, many publishers in the United States, India, Canada, Singapore, Japan, and Russia. I have used those materials and many articles by mathematics education researchers to prepare class materials for the classes I teach. The parents of my students have come from India, China, Russia, Korea, Vietnam, Ghana, Haiti, Australia, Pakistan, Turkey, the Philippines, Romania, Poland, Somalia, and various parts of the United States. All of the parents are aware that United States schools don't meet a "world standard" in mathematics education, and look for something better for their children. I'd like to see every child everywhere have the opportunity to have the best possible primary education.

For good information to add to Hacker News discussions, I highly recommend the online bibliographies

"Intelligence Citations,"


and "Anthropology, Human Biology, and Race Citations,"


which lead to many reliable sources that would do much to elevate the discussion here. Another good place to look for information is the Wikipedia article "IQ classification,"


one of the few reliable articles on a related topic yet posted to Wikipedia.

I post from Minnetonka, Minnesota. I live in a neighborhood such that my family can walk or bike to the public library, most of our shopping, a nature trail, the friendly local high school, and an extensive network of regional bicycle trails. I have been to every state of the United States (and to DC and to Guam). I have lived in Taiwan (two three-year stays, one before and one after Taiwan became a free, developed country) and have traveled to Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Canada.

Education: undergraduate degree in Chinese language, with elective courses in other languages and in linguistics. J.D. magna cum laude, law review. Languages I have studied include (Modern Standard) Chinese to a proficiency level sufficient for employment as a translator and consecutive interpreter, German for reading professional materials, Japanese, Russian, other Sinitic languages, the original languages of the Bible, samplings of Latin and of various Romance languages, interesting constructed languages (conlangs), and others.

Experience: English as a second language teaching, Chinese-English interpreting, Chinese-English translation, judicial clerk for state supreme court, immigration law practice, service on various nonprofit boards, Edyth May Sliffe award for mathematics coaching.

After letting it lie fallow for more than a decade, I have begun recoding my personal website, Learn in Freedom,


to HTML5 standards as part of celebrating the site's seventeenth birthday. During 2014, the site's nineteenth year, I hope to do many content upgrades on the site, and I encourage Hacker News participants who visit Learn in Freedom to comment on my Hacker News "Ask HN: Please Critique My (Tokenadult's) Website" thread


or use the on-site comment form links, or the email links to the webmaster, or my postal address, to reach me with your thoughtful ideas on how to improve the site. Thanks for your kind--or blunt--suggestions. The suggestions I have already received are now in my to-do queue (but are crowded to low priority by work and parenting tasks). Yes, to be clear about that issue, I ("tokenadult" on HN and two other discussion sites) am the same person as Karl M. Bunday, the founder and webmaster of Learn in Freedom, and you may call me Karl in emails or in comments on Hacker News.


The two biggest forms of hivemind that I encounter regularly on Hacker News are a knee-jerk reaction to decry the United States whenever world politics is discussed, and a completely credulous reaction to any claim of "mind over matter" in human medicine, no matter how poorly evidenced.

I do this at my own peril, but I try to rely on sources of information evidently not available to most Hacker News participants (or at least not regarded by many Hacker News participants) to point out that

1) the United States of America is certainly not a perfect country, but it is quite doubtful that the United States is the most harmful or blameworthy country in the world today,


2) "placebo medicine" has so far only been shown to have any effect at all on self-reported subjective patient symptoms such as pain and nausea that ebb and flow in the natural course of untreated disease.

If you have strong evidence that all of us can look at to check whether (for example) Russia is a greater force for good in the world than the United States, or that placebos can actually change any objectively measured physiological sign, please come forward with that evidence in your Hacker News comments. I will put up with silent downvotes any time people disagree with me, but I reserve the right to only be convinced by actual evidence from reliable sources.


Here are some questions I've asked or comments I've made to the Hacker News community over the years about the Hacker News community itself. I'd be glad to hear your point of view on these issues.

Ask HN: How Can I Make Better Submissions to HN?


Ask HN: What Kinds of Comments Should Be Upvoted?


Ask HN: How Can We Help Make HN a Better Online Community?


Ask HN: What do you like about the Hacker News community?


Ask HN: What is the consensus on Hacker News?


Ask HN: Whose Hacker News Comments Do You Follow?


Suggest HN: Submit Reliable Sources with Original Titles & Canonical URLs


A top-level comment under a thread titled, "Don’t believe everything you read"