Post 130: March 9th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about adding and subtracting rational expressions. Basic summary of it, you need to find the least common multiple of both, and then work with that.

 

Next up, Sociology. I learned about leadership. Something I found pretty interesting from it was that there are two different types of leaders. The instrumental leader is the one that keeps the group focused, while the expressive leader is the one that keeps morale up.

 

Finally, Programming. I learned about BLE, or Bluetooth Low Energy. Basically, network technology meant to function more or less the same as Bluetooth, but consume less energy. Something interesting I learned was that a “mesh” effect was able to be done with BLE, where you could do a lot of stuff with one command. For example, turning all the lights off in a building with your phone.

Post 128: March 7th, 2017

First order of business today was Algebra. I learned about rational expressions. A ratio of two polynomial expressions such as (8+x) / (13+x) is called a rational expression. Because variables in algebra represent real numbers, operations with rational numbers and rational expressions are simple. In fact, to simplify a rational expression, you divide the numerator and denominator by their greatest common factor, just like how you simplify a normal fraction.

 

Next up, Sociology. I learned about group dynamics. Generally as a rule, the larger a group gets, the less intimacy the group has, but the more stable it is. In a two person group, if one person loses interest it falls apart. In a 100 person group, if a person loses interest then it’s not that big of a deal.

The size of a group can also affect attitude and behavior. Scientists have done experiments that showed that in larger groups, people are less likely to raise an alarm if a person has trouble. In smaller groups, people are far more likely to do so.

 

Finally, Programming. I learned about floating point numbers today. It’s basically a method of arithmetic that uses a formulaic representation of real numbers, trading precision for range. Put simply, it trades some of the accuracy for being able to display a lot more numbers.

Post 127: March 3rd, 2017

First order of business today was Marine Biology. I started learning about intertidal communities. It’s another pretty long lesson, so I’ll have a longer summary once I’m done, but here’s a bit from what I read today. The vertical distribution of intertidal plants and animals is governed by a complex set of environmental conditions that vary along gradients above and below the surface. For example, temperature, light intensity, and even waves can have an effect on this.

 

Next up, Sociology. I learned about Social networks. In the simplest terms, they’re the people that are linked to each other. A person’s social network could include friends, family, acquaintances, and people they associate with at their job or school.┬áThere are sub-groups within social networks as well. The clusters within a group, or it’s internal factions, are cliques.

Something I found interesting from what I read was the small world phenomenon. It’s basically the question “if you list everyone you know and each person they know, and you keep doing that, would everyone in the country end up being connected?”

I find it interesting, because people usually have to have some form of social contact in their day to day lives, so people that aren’t a part of the theoretical list would have to be incredibly off the grid.

 

Finally, English. I learned about Judaism today. For starters, it’s the earliest monotheistic religion, meaning that there’s only one god figure. Said god is a personal one, who revealed himself in the story of the Jewish people, the Torah or the Old Testament.

In the beginning of the Old Testament, God is presented as creating the universe out of nothing. Unlike pantheistic creation, there wasn’t any replacement or transformation. God just created new stuff, and the world was there. Needless to say, the nature of ultimate reality in monotheistic and pantheistic religion differs a lot.

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 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 33: September 28th, 2016

Started as usual with Art History. I’ve finished with Aegean art, which had a very section on golden masks, and moved on to Greek art. I have to say, there are some interesting things that they did with Greek art. For example, idealized images of male beauty were sculpted in the nude, and used as grave markers. Additionally, after Alexander the great forewent a beard, a ton of people had themselves depicted without a beard.

 

Next up, Game Design. I finally have it set up so that it will conditionally loop the game, if you say you want to play again. There’s still no real gameplay, but you can keep guessing what nothing is forever, if you say yes, Yes, or anything beginning with a capital or lowercase Y. I’ve also learned some about classes, and I’ve done a bit more blueprinting for what I want to game to be able to do.

 

Lastly, Sociology. I’ve started on chapter 5 of the textbook, which talks about how Sociologists do research. The 8 steps of research are, in order;

Selecting a topic.

Defining the problem (what you want to learn).

Reviewing the literature (looking at previous research done).

Formulating a hypothesis.

Choosing your research method.

Collecting data

Analyzing the results

Sharing your results.

 

The chapter also covers the different methods of collecting data, and how to do it properly. For example, surveys. You can’t be biased, and need to select from the entirety of the group your looking for. If you want to find out what TV shows people 50+ years old are watching, you can’t just sit in the grocery store every Sunday asking people, because it’s not a sample of 50+ year olds, it’s a sample of 50+ year olds that are going to the grocery store on a Sunday.

 

You also have to avoid biasing questions. “Do you like potato bread or wheat bread more?” is a relatively fair question. “Do you like clean potato bread or moldy stale wheat bread” is very biased.

 

It can be hard to tell, I know.

Post 31: September 26th, 2016

First off, Art history as usual. And I am happy to say, I have finished the section on Egypt! Finishing with something very, very important, the Rosetta stone. For those of you that only know about the language learning software, here’s what the Rosetta stone is in a nutshell.

It’s basically a really big stone depicting a line of hieroglyphs, and under that, a line of different hieroglyphs, but under that… Greek. The great thing about the Rosetta stone is that before it’s discovery, hieroglyphs were dead. Nobody could read them, nobody knew what the meant. But what people could understand was Greek. The ancient Egyptians translated hieroglyphs into Greek, and we were able to reverse translate them to find out what they meant. Pretty useful.

 

Next up, game design. Due to a weird glitch I haven’t seen again, I was a little delayed in actually working. But, I did learn something very important. I learned about loops already, but now I can do conditional loops. In other words, I can make it so that if you get a game over, the game asks you if you want to play again. Type yes, or anything starting with a y, and I’ll be able to run it again.

 

Last up, sociology. Finished chapter 4, and I learned about the ever important ethnomethodology. A bit of a mouthful, but it means “the study of how people do things.”

To further explain it, it is the common sense that smooths things out in society, and how we look at the world. An example in the book boils down to this: You go to the doctor for a normal visit, and the doctor tells you that your hair is long and starts giving you a haircut. Weird, because we don’t expect society to work that way. A doctor is a doctor, and doctors do not give haircuts.

There are also social constructs of reality, which change the way we look at the world. Say, for example, a crime. While a christian might view such an action primarily in terms of eternal damnation, an atheist might instead be thinking about prison time. Our social constructs change how we interpret reality, and morality. What’s right or wrong. Democrat or republican, that kind of thing.

Post 30: September 23rd, 2016 – Mega Post

It’s been a while since my last post, and for good reason. I took a trip to Philadelphia with my dad to look at colleges. I never really had time to write blog posts, and my computer was having issues with the hotel’s wifi. But hey, I can do a post now. So, to summarize!

Took a look at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Interesting school, and I got to see some cool stuff, like the school’s big band rehearsing. The campus is spread out a fair bit too, and all the dorms are converted from apartments and stuff like that. I still have a lot of colleges to consider, but I certainly didn’t dislike the University of the Arts.

I also went on a tour at Drexel, also in Philadelphia. It’s a very big campus, lots of walking on the tour, and I also had a meeting with a teacher in the screenwriting and playwriting program. It was really helpful, and I think that some of the advice and insight he gave me will be valuable even if I don’t go there.

I also took a visit to the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, and I have to say, the exhibits there are amazing. My favorite, however, would definitely have to be the painting “Chinese Wall at Broad Street Station”, by Frederick R. Wagner. Oil on Canvas.

The painting really is just incredible, and the contrast is amazing. It creates a very clear divide with color and lines, with the foreground being a dull grey city, with some bits of yellow in the background to show traffic lights. However, the upper half on the painting and the background is shown where the wall ends, and it is full of bright colors, tall buildings, and fantastic imagery. However, it seems a bit too fantastic, but in a good way. One of the giant buildings looks almost like a castle, and right next to it there’s a rainbow visible. It has this amazing contrast not just with color, but with tone. The closer, darker setting is much more recognizable, and realistic. Beyond the wall is something much more visually appealing, but perhaps too unrealistic and out of reach.

 

So, on to what I did today, being back from my trip.

Art history, and more Egyptian stuff! Woohoo. First off, Queen Tiye, Mother of Akhenaten. Akhenaten was the king that did the big banning of every god except Aten. However, he did love his mother. After the death of his father, Tiye was essentially going to be demoted from queen to queen-mother, which basically meant “You mothered the current king, thanks and bye”. However, Akhenaten held a great deal of respect for her, and had her depicted as a goddess in art.

The other really interesting thing that I found from today in art history was Hunefer, a well respected scribe that had his journey to the afterlife detailed in art. After his death, one of the gods weighed his heart against the feather of a goddess, and finding it to be lighter than the feather, by virtue of Hunefer living a virtuous and pure life, allows him into the after life and introduces him to some of the other gods.

 

Lastly, sociology. Today, the big thing that stuck out to me was the idea of dramaturgy, which is essentially the thought that we are actors in our social lives. As the book says “We have ideas about how we want others to think of us, and we use our roles in everyday life to communicate these ideas.” It also mentions front stages and back stages, in other words places where you act, and places which are private, and where a person generally does not act.

Within our roles, there are also strains and conflicts. Conflicts mean that, in occupying multiple roles, the expected behavior of those roles conflict with each other. For example, as a student you are expected to study for an exam, but as a worker, you are expected to come in and assist. Strains are when the expected behavior of a role conflicts with itself.

For example, take a rock star. You’re expected to go out and party all night long, but you’re also expected to be in a good enough shape to put on a show the next day. So, what do you do?

 

Obviously, you should go out and party. Because, hey, upholding obligations and giving people a good show that they already bought tickets for is way, way less entertaining than seeing how much beer you can chug.

Post 29: September 19th, 2016

First thing today was art history, as usual. Learned something interesting about Nebamun. After his death, many years later, a new king took over. He established a different religion, in which there was one true god, and aside from ushering in a style of art, he had some… ideas about previous monuments. On Nebamun’s signed works, half of his name was scratched out. Why? Well, Amun is one of the egyptian gods, and wasn’t the “true” god, Aten. The king at the time ordered that the name of all other gods be struck from monuments, and because Amun was the last half of Nebamun, Nebamun was then known simply as Neb.

 

Next, game design. The course is still good, and I learned about loops! Loops, how fun, how much fun. Better than just repeating functions, and can be controlled with an integer. I also cleaned up my code quite a bit, spacing things out to my liking and style, and got rid of side effects in the code. Overall, it looks a lot nicer now than it did.

 

Lastly, Sociology. Learned about roles, and how they relate to statuses. Simply, a status is what you are, a role is what you do. You are a rock star, and you are expected to perform at concerts, that kind of thing. Another important thing is the difference between functionalist and conflict perspectives.

Here’s my understanding of it. Functionalist perspective is: The primary goal of society is to survive, so social institutions and groups are established for that purpose, and related purposes. Conflict theory is similar, however, they believe that instead of working together, groups control institutions for their own personal gain, instead of the good of society as a whole.

 

Sounds a little conspiracy theory-ish.

Post 26: September 14th, 2016

First off, Art history. Today, I mainly learned about the Great Pyramids of Giza. Let’s start art with the first of the 3, the Pyramid of Khufu. For one, it’s very big, and very heavy. Back when it was made, it would have been a lot fancier, but due to degradation over time only the outside stone is left. The inside, however, is a bit more impressive. The king’s chamber is made from red granite, and above it are a series of chambers meant to distribute the weight of the top of the pyramid, so it doesn’t just cave in and crush the king. Khufu’s pyramid also had boats near it, in order to sail him across the afterlife.

Next is the Pyramid of one of Khufu’s sons, Khafre. It’s a little smaller than Khufu’s, but appears bigger because it’s placed slightly higher than Khufu’s pyramid was. The big defining feature of the temple, however, is probably the Sphinx near the pyramid. The sphinx is basically a lion with the head of a king, and it even contributed to the building process. The king’s valley temple was partly made using stone taken from the sphinx.

Lastly, Menkaure’s pyramid. His was the smallest of the three, but notable because of how complex the insides are. They were lined with art and sculptures, and even his sarcophagus was fancy. Unfortunately, it was lost at sea while being transported to England.

 

Next up, Game Design! Learned some interesting stuff today, including how to let the person playing your game input their own string. Probably the biggest thing though… functions.

Functions allow you to make your code readable, easily understandable, and my favorite part, infinite! You see, if you take some of your code, put it in a function, and do things properly, you can basically just tell the system to run that function whenever you want, however many times you want. Take a string of code, name it as a function say, Code1, get it to run properly, you can just copy and paste Code1 in the right spot, and make it repeat. Tons of fun!

 

Lastly, Sociology. Learned about some interesting stuff, like Macro-sociology and Micro-sociology.

Macro-sociology is Sociology on a large, system wide scale. The interactions and relationships among different classes of people, for example. Micro-sociology is day to day life and face to face interactions. The smaller things, and how the people belonging to a group personally interact with each other and people outside their group. Both of these are important.

Another thing I learned of is social status, and status sets. Statuses are the positions and roles that we have. All of your status are called status sets. A person’s status set could be described as, for example, Father, brother, son, banker, white, American. Which leads nicely into ascribed and achieved statuses. Ascribed is something you get naturally, like a status relating to your age or ethnicity. Achieved statuses are things that you have to work for, like becoming a teacher, or a friend, or a burglar.

There are also master statuses, which take precedent over other status in social circles. Gender is a big master status, as is race, and wealth.