Musings, Updates

I’m looking for a great warrior…

“Oh but wars not make one great.”
“I’m looking for a Jedi master.”
“Ohhh, Yoda, you seek Yoda!”

Degobah is a bit foggy and overwhelming. However, similar to Luke Skywalker, my own Degobah offers a wealth of opportunities.

Math.

I’ve never been poor at math. Most of what I lack in knowledge and skill can be attributed to the fact that I was either never offered the chance and/or I never had the interest. I now realize that whatever the reason, I was an idiot.

Over the past year or two I’ve started developing a sincere fascination with math. It is in many ways the purest of sciences. Mathematics is the lens that we are able to see the artwork behind God’s creation. Every time I learn something new I marvel at how anyone could choose to believe that the universe around us could arrange itself by pure accidental randomness.

But I digress.

The downside to math is the considerable discipline required to study it.

Alas one of my weaknesses.

So I guess the best way to combat this is to formulate a plan, tell the world about it, and then stick to it to avoid public lashings.

My plan (currently, but subject to revision) is to tackle the Khan Academy at least three days a week and work my way through calculus eventually. I want to also read my way through a book called The Calculus Direct ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Calculus-Direct-Understanding-ebook/dp/B002V1I4FY ). I’ve read part of it and its a great read.

I figure that until I get a better hang of math I’ll continually be hamstrung in my programming adventures. And that ladies and gentlemen, will not do.

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4 thoughts on “I’m looking for a great warrior…

  1. Another resource you might want to look at is the old book “Calculus Made Easy”, by Silvanus Thompson. Here is a quote from the prologue:
    “Being myself a remarkably stupid fellow, I have had to unteach
    myself the diculties, and now beg to present to my fellow fools the
    parts that are not hard. Master these thoroughly, and the rest will
    follow. What one fool can do, another can.”
    Being remarkably stupid on occasion myself, I would have found this book helpful when I was going through my second quarter of calculus, being taught by a brilliant mathematician who couldn’t communicate concepts to save his life.
    Freeeee e-book linky: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33283/33283-pdf.pdf

  2. You said, “…work my way through calculus eventually.”

    “A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”
    ― Harvey MacKay

    What’s your deadline? 😉

    • Not sure yet. I’d like to do the algebra and trig bits on khan academy before calc so I have a good base. But I also don’t know if that’s really necessary. As I understand it, you really don’t start to do real math until you do calculus. Everything is just a precursor.

      What doth do you thinkth?

      • Algebra definitely (trivia – al-jabr, from which we get the word, means ‘restoration’, FWIW). Trig will be helpful as well. Not really knowing your starting point, I’d say your plan to check out Khan first seems reasonable. However once you begin to brush the rust off of your math skills, have a look at the Calc Made Easy pdf. When you get to a point where that is over your head, then when you continue on your algebra/trig journey, perhaps what you learn there will help gel the Calc bits.

        it’s a rather unorthodox approach but sometimes looking a little bit ahead (in this case with Calc), and then moving forward (with algebra/trig) makes the whole thing go a little more smoothly. Or you can just do Khan and then calc, and you’ll still get there.

        It’s like exercise – the best exercise is the one you actually do.

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