The Ways Programming Is Hard
The author has a great sense of humor, and ripostes some of programmings possible pitfalls into clever and hilarious absurdities. However, I strongly refute that this article is a remotely accurate portrayal of programming, and I hope it is not taken as such by prospective coders on the fence. In my view, programming is possibly one of the few havens of relative sanity available (although with wood-working and pure mathematics probably have it beat). The true insanity is HUMANS TRYING TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHER HUMANS. If in doubt, please re-read the article with that in mind, and I think you'll find all the admittedly hilarious conceptions boil down to that issue, and that issue is pervasive in nearly any job you could name.
Programming is an oasis from insanity, not ground zero.
How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program?
Enter: logo! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo_(programming_language)
Instant gratification language! One who begins to program with logo immediately sees interesting results, so I think this would be a good litmus test to see if the kid gives a damn at all. Worked for me!