Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

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GaProgMan
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Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GaProgMan » 27 Apr 2010, 14:59

Ok, so I've always enjoyed learning things. Always.

Some of my favourite hobbies when I was a kid where reading books, asking people questions, and talking to people. There was also running around, and climbing and all of that stuff that - while you're a child is boy's play; but when you get older is soldier stuff.

I particularly loved causing brain dumps. I'd be talking to a person about something that they found interesting and a friend of mine would jump out and try and scare the living daylights out of them. What you get (sometimes) is called a brain dump, the person thinks that they're going to die, so they try to tell you everything that they know about everything. It's amazing.

As I've reached adulthood, and finished mainstream education, I've found that video games, LRR, popular culture and general tom foolery can only fill the void for so long before my mind wants more sciencey things - or just to learn more.

My problem when I was at school (I ended up attending 4 different schools, 2 junior and 2 high - for reasons completely out of my control) we didn't have any permanent science teachers. So, when it came to learning about science (ie, blowing stuff up, then learning why it blew up) I never learnt a thing, as all we did was copy out of text books. Which, sometimes, makes science difficult for me.

Expanding the mind is an amazing thing, in my opinion (the sheer fact that we can ask Why, or What, or Who is mind blowing); however, I've found that expanding my mind has an inverse affect on my wallet, in that it shrinks as my mind expands. This is 100% due to my completely irrational fear of museums.

So my question to you, my fellow LRRers (is that right?) is: What do you do when you want to learn more and have no money? Or even: Do you like learning more about stuff?

Also, I can elaborate on the museum fear if people want me to, I don't mind.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Machalllewis » 27 Apr 2010, 15:02

What do I do when I want to learn and have no money? Assuming the internet bill has been paid for then I google. If not then I panic cos I don't even have £10 which means I probably dont have any food.

Go wild on your fear of museums. Don't let us cramp your style.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Lord Chrusher » 27 Apr 2010, 15:04

Wikipedia is good for causal learning.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Bananafish » 27 Apr 2010, 15:05

I'll use Wikipedia sometimes to find sources on things and see if they're good~
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby teeb » 27 Apr 2010, 15:07

GaProgMan wrote:So my question to you, my fellow LRRers (is that right?) is: What do you do when you want to learn more and have no money? Or even: Do you like learning more about stuff?


Search iTunes U to see what they have on the subject (free mp3 lecture podcasts, usually just recorded versions of student lectures).

I've a couple one-hour lectures on the languages of Middle-Earth from Oxford because of it, for example.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GaProgMan » 27 Apr 2010, 15:28

Machalllewis wrote:If not then I panic cos I don't even have £10 which means I probably dont have any food.

This would be top of my list too. As good as the internet is, I'd say food is slightly better... But you can't get the comedy goodness of LRR in food form, so maybe not. Yet, food is nice and yummy. "Kiff, we have a conundrum"

Machalllewis wrote:Go wild on your fear of museums. Don't let us cramp your style.

It's a completely irrational and absurd fear of mannequins. But not normal store window mannequins, the ones that are used in displays at museums and the like that are designed to look real. I don't know why, I just fear them. I have the same thing with massive portraits of people. I had to go see the dean of my university once, and almost never made it on account of the 6 foot high portrait of the founder in the lobby.

The same thing with stuffed animals and dinosaur exhibits. The scientist in me wants to learn about these things. Yet, the squishy inside of me screams "I know this thing is dead, but were it alive, it would eat you where you stand. RUUUUUUUN AWAAAAAAAY!!!!"

Bananafish and Lord Chrusher: Wikipedia is great, and so detailed in their explanations. But I find that some topics are difficult to approach on Wikipedia. I think it's because you can get so many different writing styles in one article - sometimes in the same paragraph.

teeb: I seriously hadn't thought about iTunes U. For some reason, I forgot that iTunes can actually be useful for something other than organising my music collection and synchronising my iPod Touch.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Master Gunner » 27 Apr 2010, 16:33

While I haven't being there in ages, I found the xkcd science forum to be a wonderful thing.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby TomBrend » 27 Apr 2010, 18:16

Build stuff. If you want to learn about electronics, buy a kit, or just sit on the internet and study designs. I recommend checking out some radio circuits, there are a lot of things that will make sense on a high level, but when you drill down you'll start getting confused, and getting confused is a good first step to teaching yourself something.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GaProgMan » 27 Apr 2010, 18:35

TomBrend wrote:Build stuff. If you want to learn about electronics, buy a kit, or just sit on the internet and study designs. I recommend checking out some radio circuits, there are a lot of things that will make sense on a high level, but when you drill down you'll start getting confused, and getting confused is a good first step to teaching yourself something.


I took Electronics at A Level, so I have a pretty good understanding of Electronics (Imaginary Numbers, Einstein Numbers, etc) But it's a brilliant idea. I may apply it to science knowledge gaps. Only problem there is I'd have to blow stuff up.

Master Gunner wrote:While I haven't being there in ages, I found the xkcd science forum to be a wonderful thing.

I'd completely forgotten that aside from being rather humorous, xkcd also strives to educate. But not as much (on either count) as LRR. I shall check it out
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby TomBrend » 27 Apr 2010, 18:59

I'm in university studying Electrical and Computer engineering, and I can consistently find new and exciting things to teach myself about.

Understanding electronics to the point of A-levels barely brushes the surface of electronics as a field.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Chemistring » 27 Apr 2010, 19:06

LIBRARY.

Better signal-to-noise ratio than the internet, more consistent presentation. Start at the public library for introductory material in your subject(s) of choice, then use whatever academic libraries you have available for more advanced material. You may have to use academic library resources on-site depending on what the non-student library memberships cost. Keep in mind that most public libraries have interlibrary loan programs...if they don't have the book you want, they may be able to borrow it from another library for you.

Roughly speaking, the internet is good for getting a general overview of a subject, libraries are better for concentrated information.

Also! Check with universities/colleges near you for seminar schedules, usually posted on departmental home pages. Most are open to the public, but they may not all be intended for a general audience.

For hands-on blowing stuff up-ness, volunteer with a science outreach program in your area, or a local science fair. Learn science while you're teaching it to kids, and do fun experiments at the same time!
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Lord Chrusher » 28 Apr 2010, 03:16

Master Gunner wrote:While I haven't being there in ages, I found the xkcd science forum to be a wonderful thing.


Yeah the xkcd forums are quite good. There are a lot of smart people there.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GHOVO » 28 Apr 2010, 03:24

Wikipedia Random until I find something interesting and then just whatever I can do. TV, Library, Books of friends/family/I already have 'cause I had the same feeling last week and forgot about it, general internet searching, going places and asking people (Take a camera and record it for the future).

Theres loads you can do.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Dutch guy » 28 Apr 2010, 05:17

Best thing to keep learning? Keep learning, anything, anytime. The best way for me to learn stuff is just dig into it.

My brother is designing a model steam locomotive, but was having trouble figuring out the Walschearts valvegear system. I didn't know how it worked, but after some heavy digging, bookreading, and a bit of sketching, I now know exactly how and why it works and have a good understanding of how it's supposed to be designed.

Same goes for a lot of other stuff. Find a topic of interest and start digging. Start at the top with the basics. Then start figuring out the details. This often involves going off on a tangent to understand related topics. I've found this the fastest and easiest way for me to learn something.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GaProgMan » 28 Apr 2010, 05:30

TomBrend wrote:Understanding electronics to the point of A-levels barely brushes the surface of electronics as a field.

I agree with you completely. Some of my college friends studied an Electronics degree (if they read that, they'd kill me, as it's more complex than that) while I was studying Computer Science, and they're constantly telling me about things like OLEDs and transmission cables and stuff.

Chemistring wrote:LIBRARY.

Better signal-to-noise ratio than the internet, more consistent presentation.

A brilliant idea, also a possible caption for a t shirt too.

Dutch guy wrote:Same goes for a lot of other stuff. Find a topic of interest and start digging. Start at the top with the basics. Then start figuring out the details. This often involves going off on a tangent to understand related topics. I've found this the fastest and easiest way for me to learn something.

This is the best way to learn, in my opinion. It's the way I taught myself G++ GCC and the GNU debugger. I wrote myself a program, and compiled it with those tools and refined it.

So, the main thing I'm gonna take form this is, blow stuff up, go to the library, and get outside. On the plus side to all three, it's really sunny here today.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GreigKM » 28 Apr 2010, 05:32

Well, I'm a designer at heart, so when I want to learn about something I reverse engineer it in Solid Edge. Although that has only works for electronics. I also look up things on Wikipedia like an animal, just ask anyone who knows me. I'll be talking to someone about a random subject and suddenly quote some figure from the internet, making me look like an expert.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Keab42 » 28 Apr 2010, 05:36

Chemistring wrote:LIBRARY.

Better signal-to-noise ratio than the internet, more consistent presentation. Start at the public library for introductory material in your subject(s) of choice, then use whatever academic libraries you have available for more advanced material. You may have to use academic library resources on-site depending on what the non-student library memberships cost. Keep in mind that most public libraries have interlibrary loan programs...if they don't have the book you want, they may be able to borrow it from another library for you.

Roughly speaking, the internet is good for getting a general overview of a subject, libraries are better for concentrated information.

Also! Check with universities/colleges near you for seminar schedules, usually posted on departmental home pages. Most are open to the public, but they may not all be intended for a general audience.

For hands-on blowing stuff up-ness, volunteer with a science outreach program in your area, or a local science fair. Learn science while you're teaching it to kids, and do fun experiments at the same time!


This.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Metcarfre » 28 Apr 2010, 06:21

Odd suggestion; it's the end of term at universities here. The local used textbook store on campus actually gives away any of the texts that haven't sold for a year (I think). Sure, they're a bit out of date, but you get academic texts that originally cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, for free!
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby TheRocket » 28 Apr 2010, 10:49

If I had time and money, I would LOVE to go back to school for biology and paleontology.

However, since I live so close to the Tyrell, I can satisfy my love of paleontology for cheap ;)
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby aeric90 » 28 Apr 2010, 10:52

In my 'win the lottery' scenario I'd go back and do mathematics and game theory. I really like that stuff but it's a bit hard to casually look into.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GaProgMan » 28 Apr 2010, 10:57

aeric90 wrote:In my 'win the lottery' scenario I'd go back and do mathematics and game theory. I really like that stuff but it's a bit hard to casually look into.

Game theory, yes. Mathematics, no. In my opinion, if you've got a pretty good grasp of calculus, you can do university grade mathematics easily
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Bananafish » 28 Apr 2010, 12:20

metcarfre wrote:Odd suggestion; it's the end of term at universities here. The local used textbook store on campus actually gives away any of the texts that haven't sold for a year (I think). Sure, they're a bit out of date, but you get academic texts that originally cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, for free!


My university did the same thing, people should keep an eye out for it. They also gave away an old commodore TV which was p cool, I would've taken it if I could have.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Dutch guy » 28 Apr 2010, 15:11

GaProgMan wrote:
aeric90 wrote:In my 'win the lottery' scenario I'd go back and do mathematics and game theory. I really like that stuff but it's a bit hard to casually look into.

Game theory, yes. Mathematics, no. In my opinion, if you've got a pretty good grasp of calculus, you can do university grade mathematics easily


Yeah... No. I don't think a "pretty good grasp of calculus" is going to suffice when getting into the more fiddly math. (And yes, I hate math. I HATE IT.) Also, calculus is great, but doing matrix calculations and linear algebra is a whole different ballgame. But just as important if you get into higher math. But I would encourage you to get into math a bit deeper, it's a great skill to have. (Also, if you want a GOOD math book, see if you can get your hands on "Calculus, Early Transcendentals" by Stewart. 1500 pages of Math Bible. Anything about Calculus and basic math you'll ever need.)
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby Master Gunner » 28 Apr 2010, 15:14

I have a "pretty good grasp of calculus", but when my friend taking a math degree is talking about delta-epsilon proofs, I get lost pretty quick.
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Re: Sciencey related learning stuff mcWhat'sIt

Postby GaProgMan » 28 Apr 2010, 15:24

Hmm. I found the university grade math I did was pretty easy. Maybe it was the pure math I'd done at college that prepared me then, rather than the calculus.
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