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Study Tip
How to Study by MIT Graduate

Scott Young recently finished an astounding feat: he completed all 33 courses in MIT’s fabled computer science curriculum, from Linear Algebra to Theory of Computation, in less than one year. More importantly, he did it all on his own, watching the lectures online and evaluating himself using the actual exams. Check out the link for more in depth info.

1. Coverage

The first step in learning anything deeply, is to get a general sense of what you need to learn.For a class, this means watching lectures or reading textbooks. For self-learning it might mean reading several books on the topic and doing research.
Take sparse notes while reading, or do a one-paragraph summary after you read each major section.

2. Practice
Practice problems should be used to highlight areas you need to develop a better intuition for.
Non-technical subjects, ones where you mostly need to understand concepts, not solve problems, can often get away with minimal practice problem work. In these subjects, you’re better off spending more time on the third phase, developing insight.

3. Insight

The technique is simple:

a)Get a piece of paper
b) Write at the top the idea or process you want to understand
c)Explain the idea, as if you were teaching it to someone else

What’s crucial is that the third step will likely repeat some areas of the idea you already understand. However, eventually you’ll reach a stopping point where you can’t explain. That’s the precise gap in your understanding that you need to fill.

For Formulas

Formulas should be understood, not just memorized. So when you see a formula, but can’t understand how it works, try walking through each part with a Feynman.

Most intuitions about an idea break down into one of the following types:

a)Analogies – You understand an idea by correctly recognizing an important similarity between it and an easier-to-understand idea.

b)Visualizations – Abstract ideas often become useful intuitions when we can form a mental picture of them. Even if the picture is just an incomplete representation of a larger, and more varied, idea.

c) Simplifications – A famous scientist once said that if you couldn’t explain something to your grandmother, you don’t fully understand it. Simplification is the art of strengthening those connections between basic components and complex ideas.

10/15/142,143 notes • Reblogged from notational

The central point of Chun’s argument is that computers (and media in general) rely upon a notion of programmability that has become part of the underlying societal logic of neoliberal capitalism. In a society where computers are tied ever more closely to power, Chun argues that canny manipulation of software restores a sense of control or sovereignty to individual users, even as their very reliance upon this software constitutes a type of disempowerment. Computers are the driving force and grounding metaphor behind an ideology that seeks to determine the future—a future that “can be bought and sold” and which “depends on programmable visions that extrapolate the future—or more precisely, a future—based on the past”
10/15/148 notes • Reblogged from notational

The weekly thoughts from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland. Really lovely.

If I make a comment that comes across as a strong opinion about what a person or a family should do, and if there is no opportunity for me to deconstruct his, then it only leaves the person or the family with the choice of either submitting to my opinion or railing against it. If, however, I have the opportunity to situate this comment within the context of my personal experience, imagination, and intentional states, then persons can determine for themselves how they might take the comment. This opens many possibilities for dialogue and for the consideration of alternative views and opinions.
Michael White (1995). Re-Authoring Lives: Interviews and essays. Adelaide, Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications. p 69. (via shrinkrants)
10/14/142 notes • Reblogged from shrinkrants

Rather than simply hope for a deep-seated human goodness to overcome dominating and violent behavior, anarchists argue that traits like compassion, independence, and a sense of solidarity must be cultivated through properly facilitating environments. This must take place in wider society (workplace, neighborhoods, etc.) for broader changes to occur, but as Bakunin notes, the ‘environment that [nourishes] and [raises]’ a person, like formal education in youth, is of particular importance in determining subsequent social attitudes and behavior (Maximoff, 1953, p.153)*. If a child is to grow to value cooperation and solidarity with others, then she must practice cooperation rather than institutionalized competition with her peers. If a child is to grow to challenge received truths and think for herself as an adult, then she must, while young, learn in a way that encourages her to practice individual inquiry and challenge authority.

Justin Mueller, “Anarchism, the State, and the Role of Education,” appearing in Robert H. Haworth’s Anarchist Pedagogies: Collective Actions, Theories, and Critical Reflections on Education (2012)

*Bakunin quote from G.P. Maximoff’s The political philosophy of Bakunin. New York: The Free Press (1953).

(via bellemaddox)

10/14/1460 notes • Reblogged from shrinkrants

… hard won meanings should be said, painted, danced, dramatised, put into circulation.
Victor Turner in The Anthropology of Experience (via shrinkrants)
10/14/1431 notes • Reblogged from shrinkrants


Paper Airplane Machine [video]


Paper Airplane Machine [video]

10/14/1429,488 notes • Reblogged from notational


Martin Olsson

Swedish 3D artist on Tumblr who experiments with splintering 3D forms and distorting video game models.

Here is one example of a music video he has put together called ‘blipp’:

You can find more visuals at martinolsson's Tumblr blog here

10/14/14338 notes • Reblogged from notational

Well-functioning infrastructures are flexible and adaptive, able to change gear and respond to shifting disease landscapes. Just like the harvesting of rubber and the production of gloves, they are rooted in history and configured in specific political economies. The predominant logic in global health is based on and has led to an impoverished understanding of health and wellbeing. We assume we know which diseases and ailments are relevant and crucial to address. Ebola teaches us that we are well advised not work from this bold assumption. A humble version of Socrates’ classic ‘I know that I know nothing’ seems to be a better guide to navigating complex and rapidly shifting disease landscapes. The lack of gloves, personal protective equipment and skilled personnel in West Africa’s health facilities is not only a result of war or weak states, but also of the spatio-temporal logic of global health, and it presents us with an urgent call for change in global health approaches and logics.” (

via Alexis Madrigal’s newsletter - Five Intriguing Things 


Beautiful land art installations by Ireland-based artist Gerry Barry.

10/14/141,580 notes • Reblogged from mymodernmet