I'm currently teaching a course "Ideas in Mathematics" in our summer session. This is a course generally taken by students not in technical fields; quickly speaking, my syllabus is some basic number theory, different notions of infinity, some bits of geometry (polyhedra, letting them know that there is such a thing as non-Euclidean geometry, etc.), fractals and chaos, and a smattering of probability. This is a course that's not a prerequisite for anything and the students aren't going into fields where they'll need math, so I, like a lot of other people teaching this class, take the approach of showing them that "math is beautiful" rather than that "math is useful".
So today I'm showing my students that the rationals are countable, first by the standard proof and then by the superior Calkin-Wilf proof. I find the Calkin-Wilf proof aesthetically superior because the "standard" proof, in my opinion, is "really" a proof that the set of pairs of natural numbers is countable; we then just cross off the pairs which aren't in lowest terms as a sort of afterthought. As a result, it's difficult to answer questions like "what's the 1000th rational number in the `standard' enumeration?". Then I will show them that the reals are uncountable, using Cantor's diagonalization argument.
While preparing today's class, I realized that I don't know when I learned that the rationals are countable and the reals are uncountable. Is this even part of the "standard" curriculum for math majors? These feel like facts that I have always known; presumably I picked them up from some popular mathematics book at an early age. Do any of you remember when you learned this?