Post 126: March 2nd, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about solving quadratic systems. So, basically, if the graphs of a system of equations are a conic section and a line, the system may have zero, one, or two solutions. On the other hand, if the graphs of the system are two conic sections, the system, may have zero, one, two, three, or four solutions.


Next up, Sociology. I learned about groups within society. For example, Primary and Secondary groups. Primary groups are groups that are close to us, and provide intimate, face-to-face interaction. For example, your family is a primary group.

On the other hand are secondary groups. Secondary groups are larger and more anonymous, and tend to be more formal. They’re based on shared interests or activities, and people interact based on different statuses. For example, a company where you work is a secondary group.

They also interact. You could make friends at a workplace, or at school. You get a primary group out of a secondary group. On the flip side, you might join a group because you have friends or family in that group, your primary group helping you become part of a secondary group.


Finally, Programming. I learned about integer programming, in which every variable is an integer. This might seem pretty minor, but it’s major in a lot of ways. For example, designing a system for tracking how many units of a certain type are produced. You can’t make a tenth of a toaster and sell that, which is why you need to use integer programming.

On the other hand, you might need a simple decision making program with “no” or “yes” as solutions. You could represent those with 0 or 1, while 1.7 would make absolutely no sense.

Post 125: March 1st, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I learned about larval dispersal in marine animals, which sounds exciting, right? Well, it’s as exciting as it sounds. About 75% of slow-moving animals actually extend their range through the production of large numbers of eggs and sperm, that unite to form planktonic larvae.

Interestingly enough, we don’t 100% know what causes planktonic larvae to drop to the sea floor and become a juvenile. There are many theories, such as bottom texture, chemical attractants, light, and speed, we don’t have a real answer.


Next up, English! I learned about Confucianism, the ethical system founded in the 6th century BC by Confucius. Confucianism is actually hard to call a religion, at least in it’s original form. It was an ethical system, not a religion, and Confucius respected the religious traditions of his time and simply gave them an ethical interpretation.

The system as a whole believes that the supreme law of the universe is the moral law, a universal principle, omnipresent, hidden, and eternal. Following that morality means conforming oneself to the will of heaven, but aside from that metaphysical speculations about heaven and the afterlife are useless.


Finally, Programming. I learned about interrupt driven programming, or event driven programming. Basically, it’s programming that is affected by events, like you clicking your mouse or pressing a key on a keyboard. A video game could be thought of this way, since you click to do something, or use the arrows keys to trigger movement.

Post 124: February 28th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about conic sections.So, a conic section can be described in a couple of ways, and on way is that it’s what you get when a plane intersects two cones that are tip to tip.

As for formula… the equation of any conic section can be written in the form of the general quadratic equation:
Ax^2 + Bxy + Cy^2 + Dx + Ey + F = 0, where A, B, and C are not all zero.


Next up, we have Sociology. I learned about different kinds of societies. For example, hunter gatherer societies. Everybody had to collaborate in order to get food, and it was very egalitarian. However, they were very small and had to keep moving, because a region can’t support them for long.


Lastly, Programming. I learned about real-time computing, which is basically when a program or system is made with specific deadlines in mind. If it can’t do a certain thing by a certain point, then it’s failed. It can fail in different ways based on the system though. It could completely fail, the information it provides could be useless, or the information might diminish in value.

A good example is connecting to a server in an online game. If it’s too slow and times out, you might get booted from the server. If it’s slow, then things might be really laggy. Or maybe it’ll be diminished in value because you can see what other people do a half second after they do it.

Post 121: February 23rd, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about Ellipses. An ellipse can be defined as the set of all points in a plane such that the distance from two fixed point is a constant. The two fixed points in an ellipse are called the foci of the ellipse.


Next up, Economics. I learned about applying an economic way of thinking. Here’s the economic way:

  1. State the problem or issue
  2. Determine the goals to be attained.
  3. Consider the main means of achieving those goals.
  4. Select the economic concepts needed to understand the problem, and use them to appraise alternatives.
  5. Decide which alternative leads to the attainment of most goals, or the most important goals.

Another good thing with economic thinking is cost-benefit analysis, which is pretty self explanatory.


Finally, Programming. I learned about compiled and interpreted languages. So, for a compiled language, the compiler will translate code directly into a language that the machine can understand, and then the machine runs that code.

In interpreted languages, a separate program looks at and executes the source code, translating it into a form that the machine can then understand well enough to turn it into “machine code.”

Interestingly enough, compiling and interpreting aren’t mutually exclusive, and can be implemented at the same time in some instances.

Post 120: February 21st, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about circles. So, a circle can be described as the set of all points in a plane that are equidistant from a given point on the plane, called the center. Any line segment whose end points are a point of the circle and the circle’s center is a radius of the circle.

Circles also have equations. With center (h, k) and radius r units, the equation is: (x-h)^2 + (y-k)^2 = r^2.

Also, if a line only intersects with only one of the circle’s points is tangent to the circle.


Next up, Economics. I learned about global economic challenges that people face. For example, pollution. Pollution can cause problems down the road, but limiting or preventing it can be expensive and difficult in the short term. Population growth is another issue, as more people means that more production is needed, but resources can be limited. Eventually, a nation may only be able to support so many people with the resources it has.


Lastly, Programming. I learned about series and parallel circuits, which are pretty easy to summarize. A series circuit is a circuit which only has one path for the current to flow through, which are simple, but can have problems. For example, anyone dealing with Christmas tree lights that won’t work, and you need to check every bulb to find out which one is bad.

As for parallel circuits, it’s a circuit that has two or more connections running through it, and different ways for the current to travel. This means that if one part of the circuit fails, the current can still travel.

Post 117: February 16th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about the midpoint and distance formulas. So, the midpoint formula states that if a line segment has endpoints at (x1, y1) and (x2, y2) the midpoint of the segment has the coordinates ((x1 + x2) / 2), ((y1 + y2) / 2)

The distance formula states that the distance between two points is given by d = square root of (x2 – x1)^2 + (y2 – y1)^2


Next up, Economics. I learned about the transition to capitalism, the economic system in which private citizens own and use the factors of production. There are some problems towards moving towards capitalism, however. State owned factories need to be privatized, and part of that is the loss of political power. There are also some costs associated with capitalism for the unprepared. For example, during the great depression there was instability, unemployment, and social unrest. Luckily, there are policies to prevent those types of things from happening again, at least for the same reasons.


Lastly, Programming. Today I’m going to be covering something I probably should have covered earlier, master/slave communication. In simplest terms, it is when one device is given control of one or more other devices, in order to manage their actions and give them further communication. One of the advantages of it is that you could configure the main device to be as fast as possible, while configuring the others to do more.

Post 116: February 15th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I learned about different kinds of estuarine habitats, for example, salt marshes. Salt marshes are high elevation plant communities, which exist in inter-tidal zones and have plants that have adapted to salt. Part of the reason for their importance is that a lot of the grass that grows in a salt marsh becomes part of the estuary as detritus, nourishing other life.

There are also mudflats, broad expanses of nutrient-rich fine-grained muds that are exposed at low tide, and serve as a habitat for a wide array of different things. And there are the channels in the estuary that serve as habitats, with the animals that live in them being unable to tolerate inter-tidal life.


Next up, English. I started research on Buddhism, which is an interesting topic so far. It was founded in the sixth century BC by Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha. However, it has evolved over time and there are two main branches, one of which we’ll be talking about today, the conservative branch, or the Theravada school.

Theravada teaches that there is no personal god, nor is there a spiritual or material substance that, by itself, is ultimate reality. However, gods do exist, albeit in limited form. They are temporary beings that achieved heaven using the same virtues as a human disciple of Buddhism. It also states that ultimate reality is nothing but transcendent truth, which governs the universe and all human life.


Finally, Programming. I learned about Pulse-Width Modulation, a modulation method used to encode a message into a pulsing signal, however the main use is to control the power supplied to electrical devices. PWM is also used for common things, like audio effects, voltage regulation, and servos.

Post 115: February 14th, 2017

For order of business today was Algebra. I learned about square root functions and inequalities. If a function contains a square root of a variable, it’s a square root function. The inverse of a quadratic function is a square root function only if the range is restricted to non-negative numbers.

A square root inequality is an inequality involving square roots. That’s it. It’s pretty simple.


Next up, Economics. I learned about achieving economic development. One of the ways that this is accomplished in some countries is through micro-loans, where there are small unsecured loans so people can buy things to improve their quality of life, and begin projects to produce revenue. Some international groups are also focused on economic development, for example the IDA makes soft loans that might never be paid back in order to stimulate economic growth.


Finally, Programming. I learned about the SPI Bus today, or the Serial Peripheral Interface Bus. It’s a communication standard for short distance communication, and was invented by Motorola before becoming an industry standard. Also, apparently they’re used in some clocks, in order for communication across different parts.

Post 112: February 9th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about Operations on functions. So, you let f(x) and g(x) be any two functions. You can then add, subtract, multiply, or divide using certain formulas.

  • Addition: (f + g)(x) = (f)x + g(x)
  • Subtraction: (f – g)(x) = f(x) – g(x)
  • Multiplication: (f * g)(x) = f(x) * g(x)
  • Division: (f/g)(x) = f(x)/g(x), g(x) /= 0


Next up, Economics. I learned about foreign exchange and trade deficits. Also, when you think about it, exchanging currency is basically selling money in order to buy money. Also, a good thing to note, the world monetary system has flexible exchange rates, also known as floating exchange rates. This means that supply and demand establish the value of a country’s currency compared to another country’s currency. It balances out, because imports lower the value of currency, while exports increase the value of currency.


Lastly, Programming. I learned about RS-485, a standard for defining electrical characteristics in drivers and receivers. It’s actually used a lot, from automation, to performance venues and even in some model railways.

Post 111: February 8th, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology! I learned more about estuaries, super exciting stuff, let me tell ya. So, what did I learn? Well, estuarine circulation is somewhat interesting. For example, salinity increases from the surface downwards, and it increases the farther downstream it is. This is because of the higher density of sea water. Tides from the ocean move along the floor of the estuary, and since they’re coming from the ocean, well, it’s easy to see why there’s more salt closer to the saltwater ocean.


Next up, English! I learned about reality in Samkhya and Yoga darshanas, basically orthodox schools. There are 6, and Samkhya and Yoga are really similar. Both are dualistic philosophies, stressing two fundamental notions: Purusha, the equivalent of Atman, and Prakriti, the primordial substance. Prakriti is an impersonal matrix capable of manifestation through transformation. The world is the product of Prakriti, and is real unlike in Vedanta.

There are also three tendencies inherent in Prakriti, those being satva, rajas, and tamas. Satva is light, purity, and knowledge, rajas is activity, energy, and dynamism, while tamas is darkness, heaviness, and ignorance.


Lastly, Programming. I learned about RS232, a standard for serial communication transmission to data. It’s mainly used in computer serial ports, although it has fallen out of use. It used to be a standard feature in personal computers, but due to some flaws including power usage, it was mostly replaced by USB. It does still have some use in industrial machines & scientific instruments, however, so it’s not completely dead.