Post 108: February 3rd, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I learned about estuaries, which to summarize, are partially enclosed coastal embayments where freshwater rivers meet with the sea. Because of the mix of fresh and salt water, some unique ecosystems are created.

There are other things that contribute to the ecosystem of an estuary. Because water flow can change due to things like rainfall and tides, estuaries are variable habitats that are mainly inhabited by species that can deal with change. Another thing involved with the water patterns is that certain things tends to get trapped in estuaries. So while that’s good if nutrients get trapped, it’s really bad if pollutants get trapped.

 

Next up, Economics! I learned about absolute and comparative advantage, and some trade. So, what is absolute advantage? Absolute advantage is when a country can produce more of a product than another country. For example, take two hypothetical countries which are exactly the same except for climate and soil fertility. Say that they both compete to grow more of a certain crop, cashews for example, and country A is able to produce more. It has absolute advantage in terms of cashew production.

There’s also comparative advantage, where a country is able to produce a product more efficiently, or with a lower opportunity cost than another country. So, take country B. It can’t produce cashews on the same level as country A, but they can produce them more efficiently. It would be better for both countries to trade in that case, since country A can produce other things and trade with B for cashews, which they can produce while also producing other things.

Post 107: February 2nd, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about the remainder and factor theorems.

So, the remainder theorem is this: If a polynomial f(x) is divided by x-a, the remainder is the constant f(a), with q(x) being a polynomial with a degree one less than the degree of f(x)

The total formula is f(x) = q(x) * (x-a) + f(a)

And then of course there is the factor theorem, which is related to the remainder theorem. The factor theorem states that the binomial x-a is a factor of the polynomial f(x) only if f(a) = 0

 

Next up, Economics. I learned about some of the relationships between economics and politics. So, there’s a lot of stuff involved, and I’ll just be talking about some of it. There are a few types of fiscal policy. There’s discretionary policy, that someone has to choose to implement, like building a highway or renovating a downtown area. There’s also passive fiscal policy, that doesn’t require any additional action to go into effect, like social security. There are also structural fiscal policies, that are designed to strengthen the economy over time like social security reforms.

 

Lastly, Programming. I looked at RS-422, a technical standard for digital signalling. So, RS-422 has a maximum speed of 10 megabits per second, or it can go on a cable up to 1500 meters. They were mostly used in early Macintosh computers, although it still sees some use as an extender for RS-232, and is used for some broadcast automation.

Post 105: January 31st, 2017

End of the month, still have to do schoolwork! First order of business today was Algebra. So, an expression that is quadratic in form can be written as au^2 + bu + c, where a, b, and c does not equal zero, and where you is some expression in x. The real kicker is that au^2 +bu + c is called the quadratic form, and you can use techniques for solving quadratic equations with the quadratic form.

 

Next up, Economics! Probably the biggest thing I learned today was about something called Keynesian Economics, a model based on a formula.

The Gross Domestic Product = C + I + G + F

So, what are those? F is the foreign sector, and has a minimal impact in Keynesian Economics. G is the government sector, and has expenditures that are stable over time. C is the consumer sector, who’s spending is the most stable of all.

That leaves I, the investment sector. John Keynes believed that spending in the investment sector was unstable, and had a large effect on the total GDP, and the other sectors. If investment slows, so does the the commercial districts and people might get laid off.

 

Lastly, programming. Looked at pull-up resistors today, which are pretty simple. Basically, they keep part of a circuit at a higher voltage, even when there isn’t a device attached to the circuit. The same goes for pull-down resistors, just keeping things at a lower voltage instead.

Post 103: January 27th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. Continued with the giant lesson, learned about whales. And whale things. Like how some of them feed using baleen plates, which filter food in. Again, bigger summary once I finish the lesson.

 

Next up, Economics. I learned about Macroeconomic Equilibrium. Basically, the equilibrium is when things are just right. Not too slow, not too fast, not too big, and not too small. It’s possible to find that equilibrium when the real GDP is equal to the amount of GDP demanded.

 

Lastly, English. Continued with Hinduism and the Vedic Gods, and learned about Rudra and Vishnu. Rudra, forerunner to Shiva, has a dual aspect. Being both monstrous, murderous, and savage, while also being benevolent, a divine healer, and a protector of cowherds. Vishnu was one of Indra’s helpers, both in fighting Vitra and rebuilding the universe. Vishnu also functions as an intermediary between the gods and humans.

The biggest thing that I learned from my research today is that some passages in the Vedas suggest a reality above the gods. An important Hindu cosmology is that there is a golden egg from which all beings and worlds sprung from, called Hiranyagarbha.

Post 102: January 26th,2017

First order of business today was algebra. I learned about polynomial functions. So, if you remember, polynomials are monomials or sums of monomials. Additionally, a Polynomial in One Variable only contains one variable. Self explanatory. There’s also the degree of the polynomial, the greatest exponent of it’s variable. This is similar to the leading coefficient, which is the coefficient of the term with the highest degree.

Anyways, a polynomial equation used to represent a function is called a polynomial function. Based on the function, you can predict the shape of the graph, and how many times it will intersect the x axis. For example, with a degree of 2, it will intersect the x axis 2 times.

 

Next up is economics, and I learned about The federal reserve and monetary policy. So, interesting thing is that the Fed is privately owned by it’s member banks, banks that have bought stock in the fed and are members of the system. However, the Fed is controlled by a board of governors, appointed by the president and approved by the senate, that are meant to act in the public’s best interest. So, the Fed can be described as privately owned, but publicly controlled.

The Reserve Requirement, the money that must stay in the bank and not be loaned out, can be used as an important tool of monetary policy. If the banks are allowed to loan out a lot of money, then the economy grows faster. If the Fed increases the reserve requirement, less money can be loaned out and the economy slows in it’s growth.

 

Lastly, programming. I learned about Analog and Digital circuits.

Analog circuits use a lot of fundamentals of electronics, such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, etc. Analog circuits can be pretty simple or they can be very complex, but compared to Digital circuits, they are more difficult to design. They also have some issues with noise, small changes in voltage.

Digital circuits, on the other hand, are usually made up of transistors and logic gates, with computing chips thrown in at higher levels. They are generally simpler to design than analog circuits, but tend to cost more because of the components.

Post 100: January 24th, 2017

It’s the big 100, and what’s our reward? More schoolwork!

 

…yay…

 

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about graphing and solving quadratic inequalities. It’s basically the same as a normal inequality. Determine if it should be dotted or solid, graph it, and then test a point inside the inequality: If the point checks out, shade the inside. If it doesn’t, shade the outside.

 

Next up, Economics. I learned more about money, specifically banking. Now, the history of banking has been complicated in america, for a few reasons. So, banks made their own currency at one point, and there were a lot of banks. It got to the point that, instead of trying to copy other bank notes, criminals just made their own bank notes, without there even being a real bank of that name. There were reforms made, of course, there being an official paper currency made, eventually reaching the state we’re in today.

 

Lastly, Programming. Let’s talk about servomotors. So, they’re kind of like stepper motors, with some differences. While stepper motors require power to stay in one position, due to electromagnets, servomotors don’t and will stay in a position regardless of power. Additionally, servomotors are usually considered more high end than stepper motors, with their uses being in robotics and manufacturing, while stepper motors have some more commercial uses, like printers and floppy disks.

Post 98: January 20th, 2017

First order of business today was English. Continued reading about reality in Buddhism, and how “illusion” plays a big part. It’s frequently associated with the nature of reality in Buddhism, and some interpretations teach that reality is a two sided coin, the sides being “not under my control” and “not self characteristic”.

For example, take a lotus. A lotus is made up of non-flower things, like soil, nutrients, photosynthetic energy, water, and the work that grew the lotus. According to the Diamond Sutra, all these factors coexist to manifest what we call a lotus.

In one sect of Buddhism, Dzogchen, perceived reality is considered to be relatively unreal, and more akin to a giant dream, not unlike the dreams we have at night. Additionally, karmic traces are what cause us to perceive two things; What we see as ourselves, and what we see as the environment.

 

Next up, Marine Biology. I learned about Seabirds. So, for starters, they’re only 3% of bird species, and they all get their food from the sea. The polar seabirds are mostly located in the southern hemisphere, and tend to nest at higher latitudes where it’s a bit warmer. Another thing was that it because they’re food usually stays south, they need to go on long feeding trips before returning back to the nest.

 

Lastly, Economics. Today, I learned about money. A lot about money. The history and evolution of money, really. So, money is mainly used because of a few things: Availability, portability, durability, and divisibility.

First off, money needs to have the right availability: it can’t be too common, or too rare. Stones were used as money on the Yap Islands had to be brought from other islands 400 miles away, making them reasonably rare and effective as money.

Next, they have to be portable. You need to be able to move your money around and take it places so you could pay for things. Modern money fulfills that easily, along with some money way back in the day, like small shells or tobacco.

Thirdly, money needs to be durable: It has to withstand the test of time and survive frequent use, or otherwise be easily replaceable. Coins are durable, while paper money isn’t hard to easily replace, for example.

Finally, money should be easily divisible into smaller uses. Take a 1 dollar bill: It can be divided into 4 quarters, 10 dimes, 20 nickles, or 100 pennies, along with many combinations of those. Even pieces of 8 were called so because they could be cut into 8 pieces and used as currency.

 

So, what is money? Money is a medium of exchange: it is accepted by people as payment for a good or a service. Life would be very complicated in a trade economy, where everybody would be doing chains of deals for simple things. With mediums of exchange, you can just pay money for something, and then that person pays money for something, and so on.

Post 97: January 19th, 2017

First order of business today was algebra. I learned about the quadratic formula and the determinant. So, the quadratic formula is x = (-b +/- the square root of b squared minus 4ac) over 2a. It looks really complicated, and it kind of is. The point of it is to provide solutions to the form ax^2 + bx + c = 0, where a doesn’t equal 0. That super complicated formula helps gives the answers to the simpler one.

 

There’s also the determinant, and it’s the value of the radicand in the quadratic formula. It determines what the answers are. For example, if it is zero, the quadratic equation has exactly one rational root.

 

Next up, Economics! I learned about unemployment today, which is the measure of people that are willing to work and have searched for a job recently, but are still unemployed. It’s a rather complicated thing to calculate, as it excludes anybody that has “given up” on the job search for any reason, and the measurements for employment include people that are technically employed, but may work very few hours for little pay.

There are different kinds of unemployment too. For example, structural unemployment, where changes in consumer tastes/preferences or a fundamental change in the operation of the economy either reduces demand or makes a job obsolete. Like how editing software has reduced the demand for editors. There’s also frictional unemployment, where workers are between jobs for whatever reason but still looking for one.

 

Lastly, Programming. So, let’s talk about current sources and sinks! Now, these are less super specific things, and more concepts. Many different things can fulfill the purpose of a source or sink, but here’s the general descriptor: The current source is where current enters the system, the current sink is where current leaves the system. Interestingly enough, this actually depends on how you’re looking at it. From a different perspective, what was once the source is now the sink, and vice versa.

Post 95: January 17th, 2017

First order of business today was algebra, and I learned about completing the square. So, for any real number N, if x squared is equal to n, the square root of n is equal to x.

You can use the square root property to solve some quadratic equations. You just have to find one half of the coefficient of x, square that result, and then add the result of that to x squared plus bx.

 

Next, economics. I learned about inflation. So, quick summary: Inflation is a general increase in the price of things, which means that you get less bang for your buck. There are a couple ways it can happen, for example, the price-wage spiral. The cost of living goes up, and to compensate, workers ask for higher wages. If they get higher wages, the company increases the cost of it’s products, leading to a cycle.

Inflation is calculated using a base year, like 1984. You compare the price of something from back then with the price of an equivalent now, find out the percentage, there’s your inflation.

 

Lastly, Programming. Today, I looked into the Raspberry Pi, very small computers that are about the size of a credit card. Not only that, it’s the best selling British computer, and mainly used for teaching basic computer science.

They’re kinda cool, being so small but surprising effective, to the point where they’ve been used in the robotics industry. There have been even more unexpected uses for it, like cheap home automation. Oh yeah, they’re cheap and not super expensive like you would expect tiny computers to be. Pretty awesome.

Post 93: January 12th, 2017

First order of business today was algebra. I learned about solving quadratic equations by factoring, mainly through using the zero product property. The zero product property states that for any real numbers a and b, is ab = 0, then either a = 0, b = 0, or both and b equal zero. You can use it like so; if (x + 5) * (x – 7) = 0, then one of those must be equal to zero, meaning that x is either -5 or 7.

 

Next up, economics. I learned about poverty and how income is distributed, which is a somewhat complicated discussion. For starters, the distribution of wealth is a little wacky. The top 20% of people have 75% of the wealth, while the bottom 40% have only 2% of the wealth. There are also guidelines for what is considered poverty, which determines who gets stuff like food stamps, income assistance, and some hypothetical things like the negative income tax, where people that make under a certain amount would get money instead of paying taxes.

 

Lastly, game design. Let’s discuss object oriented programming. So, what is it? Object oriented programming is programming centered around objects, rather than logic like other types of programming. In other types, you might say that if so and so conditions are right, then this happens. In object oriented programming, if the conditions are right for an object, then something happens.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Logic oriented programming can become rather complicated, especially when taken to higher levels. Object oriented programming can allow bigger games to be made and without some of the hassle, however they can be limiting in what you can do.