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Letters to the World

11-Mar-2003

School Daze

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 3:28 pm

I think I may have discovered why I’m doing so well in certain classes and so badly in others.

The realization came to me as I was reviewing various chemistry study guides online, trying to puzzle out how Le Châtelier’s Principle relates to volume and temperature (I understood how it related to substances’ concentration; that was the obvious part). As I looked at various pages on a Google search, I found that the explanations could clearly be divided into two types: those which described a specific reaction and then extrapolated to a general explanation of the principle (inductive), and those which started with a general description and then applied it to specific reactions (deductive).

It seems that I’m more inclined toward deductive reasoning, for the latter sort of explanation was the one which seemed “clearest” to me. It makes sense, given what I know about myself; according to Myers-Briggs-compatible personality tests, I’m an INTP personality type, and many descriptions of iNtuitive Thinking (NT) personalities mention a tendency toward deductive reasoning.

That also explains why I’m doing so well in the classes I’m doing well in, and so badly in those I’m having difficulty with. Theory of Computing and Music Theory are rather theoretical and generalized classes (as the names suggest!) and pose little difficulty for an intuitive, deductive thinker. The same generally goes for Statistics, at least in the class that I’m in: most of the discussion explains a general concept and then goes on to apply it to specific examples from real life. It’s in Chemistry and Data Structures— both classes which could be taught in a deductive manner, but which generally are more suited to inductive methods— that I’m having the most difficulty…

09-Mar-2003

In for a bad spell

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:18 pm

Obligatory spelling-bee-related news item: Humiliation the best cure for bad spelling

Some people say they don’t need to know how to spell anymore as computer spell-checking programs will save them. But inane sentences like “Of coarse all go too the Jim with ewe” will waltz right through spell check and laugh all the way to the printer….

The best spelling strategy I have learned, though, has nothing to do with rote memorization. When in doubt, head for the dictionary — there’s no shame in looking up a word.

Worst. Banner. Ad. Ever.

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:56 am

I think I may have just found the most annoying animated banner ad ever.

Want proof? View the banner (mirrored here at Zone38)…at your own risk. Nothing that isn’t safe for work, mind you; it’s just that it will probably cause epileptic fits even in those who don’t have epilepsy.

08-Mar-2003

Fun with Badly Written Ads

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:15 pm

Heh. I just saw a banner ad for Verisign reading: “Everybody has a cell phone. Go one better. Get a personal e-mail address.”

I find this extremely amusing, as I have a domain name but not a mobile phone…

05-Mar-2003

As long as there are exams there will be prayer in schools

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 7:55 pm

And yet another interesting article: Public prayer fanatics borrow page from enemy’s script, by movie critic Roger Ebert.

This is really an argument between two kinds of prayer–vertical and horizontal. I don’t have the slightest problem with vertical prayer. It is horizontal prayer that frightens me. Vertical prayer is private, directed upward toward heaven. It need not be spoken aloud, because God is a spirit and has no ears. Horizontal prayer must always be audible, because its purpose is not to be heard by God, but to be heard by fellow men standing within earshot.

A good distinction, and some good points made overall. I’ve nothing whatsoever against prayer at public events in itself; it’s that public, almost forced type of prayer— the kind that Ebert calls “horizontal”— that I tend to disagree with. Ebert even makes the point that “some of the horizontal devout are sincere”, that there are people who will make an openly public invocation without shunning those who prefer not to join.

Give Peaceniks A Chance

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 7:40 pm

Disturbing news story of the day: Man arrested for ‘peace’ T-shirt

NEW YORK (Reuters) — A lawyer was arrested late Monday and charged with trespassing at a public mall in the state of New York after refusing to take off a T-shirt advocating peace that he had just purchased at the mall.

Yes, the court’s decision has brought about quite a protest by patrons of the mall in question— a protest with which I entirely agree. I mean, not being able to wear a T-shirt in the mall from which you bought it?

And before anyone makes any such claims, it’s not because I’m some sort of über-peacenik that I agree with the protesters. If Downs had been arrested for wearing a shirt that expressed total support for the war on Iraq, I still would’ve thought the mall’s decision was just as wrong— despite the fact that I strongly disagree with many aspects of the war— simply because it was a blatant violation of freedom of expression.

<shakes head, sighs…>

03-Mar-2003

How 2 wrt lyk txt-mssgng gnr8n

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 7:55 pm

Still more from the weird news files: Text message essay baffles British teacher

LONDON, England (Reuters) — An English essay written by a British teenager in text messaging short-hand has reignited concern among teachers that literacy standards are under threat.

Now that text messaging has begun to gain popularity here in the States, I fear for future generations…

The life of an introvert

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:46 am

Via one of the communities on my LiveJournal friends list: Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group.

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