Friday, December 17, 2010

final reflective blog post

This semester has been a good one. I've broken a bit out of the regular format of a class - unorthodox tests, assignments, and discussion sessions have all added to this.

Historical Context

I've been glad that our historical content has been basic, straightforward, and rooted in discussion of the themes and topics and what they represent. The context of this class might be different, since the time period we cover is so much temporally closer to our own time than other Civ courses, but I felt that I was able to better internalize the concepts as a result of discussion. The focus of the class was on questions like, what do you think? How does this change your life? While I also enjoyed my other Civ class, that class helped us learn material through the motivation of very difficult tests which required intense study, while this class helped us learn material through the genuine interest and direct application to our own lives.

Computing Concepts

I've also learned a lot about computing concepts. I get teased sometimes for not knowing much about computers (but I also think it's secretly because the guys want to show they can help me) but this class really broke it down to an appropriate level for my background. I'd heard of a lot (not all, but a lot) of the ideas we covered, and I finally felt like they were explained, instead of taking for granted you were already familiar with them! This was great, a vast improvement over my one experience with a computer science class in high school where the teacher genuinely lacked the ability to break the concepts down for his students. That class was frustrating because I could tell the teacher really did want to teach, and really did want to help us, but he just wasn't sure how to articulate concepts at such a basic level. In this class, I felt this wasn't a problem at all and I was grateful for this confidence-boosting aspect.

Digital Literacy - consume, create, connect

I've used concepts in this class in other areas. I showed Prezi to my fellow physics majors (apparently some major fields are just more familiar with it - my friends in psychology think it's old hat but no one in my physics department had heard of it before). I'm actually planning to apply some of the research from my medical support group evaluation project to my Relief Society calling and perhaps make a blog with an interactive calendar so that people have easy access to know when events are. Making sure they check it is another thing, but this way at least if they lose the handouts they can check online to see when events happen. It's a work in progress and my presidency and I will discuss it further, but it's a real possibility.

Dr. Burton wanted to know if I would continue blogging in the future. That's something I've thought about. The concern is, what would I write about? I don't have anything I feel passionately enough about to want to spread my ideas to the rest of the world only accessible via the web. I also appear (judging by the discouraging lack of comments on this blog and on a personal blog I tried a few years ago) to not even be funny enough to lighten someone's day. If I don't have awesome ideas to share and I can't make someone laugh, what's the purpose of writing? There's more stuff on the web which isn't of use to anyone. It's embarrassing to me how boring my personal blogging is; when I tried it before, it revolved almost exclusively around school and how excited I was when I got assignments done. I mean, that's what I focus on in my life right now. But no one wants to hear about that.

Perhaps one day this will change. Perhaps one day this will be the best way to spread ideas, spread a concept, make people think, teach. Perhaps one day I will have the talent to write to make people laugh. Perhaps one day I'll struggle so much with keeping in touch with my family that they will even be glad to hear the boring things about my life. Perhaps this will happen in the future. But not today. Today, when I want to talk, I am going outside to talk to my friends. Life 3.0.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

do you know what's going to be awesome?

It's going to be awesome when I don't have enough space on my computer screen to see all the things I want to see at once, and I just click it and pull it off the screen and it appears in the air so I can see multiple screens at once.

Technically I have a second monitor that could be used as a screen, but frankly I haven't figured out how to set it up yet because it needs a flat surface and I can just put my laptop on my lap. I would be too worried about knocking it over because I so rarely sit at a desk while I'm on a computer. (Imagine, back in the day they thought computers would never be small enough to fit in homes.)

In any case, that would have been super useful for the purpose of today's blog post, which is to nominate a few blog posts which have exceptionally demonstrated the Learning Outcomes of this class. I really want to pull everyone's blogs out, compare them all at the same time without having to switch screens, and slowly narrow them down from there. But until this technology is available, I'm going to have to sift through blogs only seeing one at a time and having my tab space fill way up. It'll be OK though, guys. Somehow I'll make it through.

My votes:

Computing Content: I like this post by Trevor a while back. I remembered it because I have Windows 7 but was unaware of some of the features demonstrated in his video. I thought it was straightforward, stuff that was easy to remember, useful conveniences, and tools that were useful for many potential readers.

Self-Directed Learning: I first read Madeline's blog when I was assigned to evaluate her work, but I really liked this post. Although I understand math myself, I feel there is sort of an intuition about art which naturally evades me, and I find it very interesting to see someone examining math from the opposite point of view - not understanding the beauty that math brings, but taking her natural artist and trying to describe math with it. I found that very intriguing and something to ponder, since it is such a different point of view than my own and is very well-written and described.

Historical Context: I also liked this post by Sarah because it addressed modernism and how strange it is. I remember from the first Civ class I took that even artists from an earlier period were deliberately designing and painting things strangely, disproportionate on purpose, as a sort of revolt to the focus on Realism, but I feel that this sort of artwork has taken off to greater influence today. She discusses Modernism in this post, and also addresses the question (which I think is funny) of how "modernist" art isn't really contemporary, and there is also a post-modern movement. Isn't modern by definition the currently happening thing? Ah, art. I shall never understand why some people characterize you as they do.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the reading today is totally related to my final project


But first, this is awesome.

Go there.

I'm not kidding. Now.

This is not actually related to anything, but it is hilarious and will take less than two minutes of your time and I was encouraged to put more media in my blog. Although this is not in my blog because no embedding code was provided for it, you will still appreciate it, guaranteed.

...Back to class material, the reading IS actually directly related to the historical contextualization part of our project, which I just happened to write and so is stuck a bit more in my head than most people, I would imagine.

Our historical contextualization has to do with how back in the day, print revolutionized how people could come together. Making text more accessible to the general public, although still expensive, allowed groups to spread their ideas and thus to group together to get their goals accomplished, in religion and politics, for example. (Martin Luther is obviously a prime example of this.)

Now that text has become even MORE accessible and relatively inexpensive for people to publish and spread their ideas, a similar thing is happening, except it now seems that groups are being formed for less vital things (banding together groups of people who share your ideas to accomplish a goal is more important in politics than in literature, for example), which opens up a whole new way of thinking about things.

We look at medical support groups and often there are support groups for diseases which aren't common, so people who are not close together geographically can still share their experiences. Support groups, while important psychologically and emotionally, are not vital to overcoming a disease, so they seem to be more a result of this online accessibility in many ways. Many more groups can be formed, and they can learn from each other. How great!

This relates to the reading because it talks about the organization of information, how people are banding together with shared interests, goals, and/or situations over the Internet, etc. It's interesting to see. And now we have a good reason to investigate and observe this phenomenon, and compare our observations to others'! What a good deal.

Update on project: Well, I've evaluated 5 sites. I need to compile the trends I see everyone noticing so that I'm prepared to share it with my group tomorrow, but my concern with that is that it's currently very late at night, so I will probably do this in the morning. I am OK with this since then it will be fresh in my mind at the time when I discuss it with my group! Whoo! I will see you all tomorrow! Come to class yay

Sunday, November 28, 2010

information overload!

Quotes from the reading:
"We have be-come irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other."
The Medium is The Massage,   24
"One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There's always more than you can cope with".
Marshall McLuhan, The Best of Ideas, CBC Radio, 1967
These statements really resonated with me.

First of all, now that we have the current communication technology, there's no way to avoid hearing about people's problems (unless you actively turn it off, or actively refuse to participate - else it just is in your face all the time). Globally, we also have the ability to provide for each other in a way possibly unprecedented in human history. So, now that we know about the problems and have the capability to fix them, we really ought to be doing that. Hmm.

I also totally agree with the second statement! That has been a problem sometimes for me in this class - so much information, so many blogs, so many ways I can get lost in the Internet doing outside reading for this course. This has been a concern for me recently for sure!

This relates pretty directly to my final project. Researching the effectiveness of medical support groups, we recognize the help these groups can provide for those who are suffering through an illness and their family members. And yet, sometimes there is so much information on the internet that it is often organized in a decidedly unhelpful manner, and can be too much to wade through for the busy lives of so many individuals. We hope to, in some small way, decrease this concern for these groups and fix it! Make it better! Help these organizations help people more effectively. What a good plan, eh?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I looked up materials science because technically I do materials science research and I have yet to figure out what all the hoopla is about. (Don't tell my research prof... but I'm switching projects soon anyway :)

Turns out materials do a bunch of cool stuff. A lot of the things we're able to do in our lives, and apparently many kitchen conveniences, are only possible due to development of new materials.

Something I learned about beyond our reading for today was in the APS (American Physical Society) newsletter I received today. It discussed the development of graphene - a Nobel Prize was awarded to two men for "ground-breaking experiments" on graphene in 2004.

In case you are unaware of the properties of graphene, it is a sheet of carbon atoms one atom thick. It is incredible that such a material is able to be made. The article discusses how graphene "is both the thinnest material ever created while stronger than the world's strongest steel". How's that for a claim? How incredible!

In case you would like a real-life example to compare the strength to, I will quote the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' analogy: "In our one meter-square hammock tied between two trees you could place a weight of approximately 4 kg before it would break. It should thus be possible to make an almost invisible hammock out of graphene that could hold a cat without breaking."

That's absurd! This material, one atom thick, could be tied over three feet with no supports between and hold a cat. Now that's an achievement, to be sure.

There are lots of new materials out there which are highly useful and relevant even to everyday lives. I'm grateful for these developments and have gained a newfound appreciation for materials science research while studying for this day's lesson. Awesome!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

peer evaluation - Madeline Kaye

Madeline does such a good job of blending her historical content with other concepts that I find it difficult to break her blog apart the way I did mine.

Madeline uses historical concepts to describe computing concepts, and math to show art. She admits that the technical section is not her forte in the same way art and history are, but connects math to her strengths sufficiently to show that she is trying to learn and relate these harder or less-interesting concepts to subjects she finds a more natural interest and ability in. She writes succinctly and carefully and is neither too wordy nor too prosaic. It is evident that she is both reading the material assigned for class and also doing outside research for the subjects on her own. It was certainly a pleasure to read her blog.

The only thing I was looking for in a blog for this class which I did not find is multiple digital labs. I believe we are supposed to do two/grading period (if a grading period is marked as between midterms) and I only saw the one for the book club. Perhaps she already did extra labs during the first grading period, in which case this isn't a concern. However, as this is the only thing I noticed amiss on this blog and the writing is excellent, great job, Madeline!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November reflection post

1. Historical content, eh?

Interestingly, although the comments from the professors have indicated that most people have been focusing on the computing concepts for this class, I feel as though more of my blogs have been aimed toward understanding the historical understanding. Typically I understand broad concepts in history, but remembering details doesn't work as well (unless it's particularly interesting trivia), so although I've studied these things before, I always learn something new and interesting. Overall, I feel as though I'm doing pretty well with the history.

2. Computing concepts

Many of the computing concepts seem very straightforward to me. Some of the recent stuff with basic number theory and cryptography I'm already familiar with, and so much of it is based on logic that it's fairly intuitive. I feel as though I pick up the things in class fairly well and fairly quickly, and so I often spend more of my time on the history - I feel as though once I understand a concept (at least at the level we're learning here) I got it, and so it's more worth my while to spend time on the history, when I may not remember it as readily and will likely have less incentive to learn it in the future (computing concepts are often more DIRECTLY applicable to my current life, although it's nice to be able to discuss history with my friends upon occasion).

3. Self-directed learning

I also feel as though I'm doing all right on self-directed learning. When I don't understand a concept with the given reading, or something I read intrigues me more than normal, I go out of my way to search for more information about it to understand the concept or event more thoroughly. The dangerous part of this is getting lost in interesting research for far more time than one had budgeted for!

Something that I've really liked about the class this section was the class on Mormonism and digital culture. I set up my own account with LDS Simple Acts and shared it with Ward Council - several people seemed really excited at the prospect of being able to upload your own Mormon Ads and Mormon Messages. I was grateful for the opportunity to spread this service possibility and utilize new technology to help spread the gospel. It's pretty awesome, that's for sure!

kevin mitnick

I have always been fascinated by the concept of hackers. (I here refer to hackers in the malignant connotation of the word.) To me, the whole idea of pure knowledge and cleverness being able to outsmart an entire corporation is incredibly intriguing.

Admittedly, there are so many ways one can hack into a system that even if thousands of ways are protected, only one way is needed to get in. So hacking can almost be easier than protecting the system in the first place.

But the idea of lone computer genius is very appealing. Fascinating. Sometimes morally dubitable. But eye-catching anyway, regardless of the ethics of it all.

Kevin Mitnick seems personable. I wonder if he used a ghost writer for his book, or if he comes across that natural by himself.

It's cases where I know I'm too interested and admiring of the talent involved where I know I can't make a moral judgment by myself. So, it's probably wrong. Probably bad. But I am so drawn to brilliance, so often like moth to a flame, that I find his story too interesting to judge.

To the professors - why did you intentionally list his story before the TakeDown excerpt? It biased us - at least me - in his favor.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I was really excited to read about economics for today. I've wanted to take Econ 110 for a while now (sometimes I need to take a class in order to make myself learn it) and having an intro to some of the thought is great!

My second brother, who is currently 14, is vehemently against Keynesian economics. As I understand it, Keynesian economics promotes government intervention in the economic system because as Keynes (and/or his promoters) believes, the economic system is inherently unstable, and the government is not. Therefore, stability needs to be added to the economic system of a country from the government itself in order to maintain order.

I found it interesting that in the reading, it mentions how this seemed to work very effectively around the time of Keynes, back in the time of the Great Depression and going into WWII. Of course, since the economy was so poor at this point, many people jumped on board and supported this philosophy. However, as the economy got better overall, people began to see the poor consequences of sticking solely to this strategy over the long-term - the government began to lose its economic stability as it became increasingly in debt, and thus is beginning to lose its own economic stability.

My personal, naive, and uneducated opinion is that a mixture of economic philosophies is often what's best to maintain economic stability. In each different situation, people are going to behave differently, and thus it's hard to use one algorithm to keep the economy constant or improving. This is what makes economics so difficult for government to agree upon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'm not sure whether it should be reassuring to me or not that there are well-defined yet unsolvable problems.

In my electricity and magnetism class right now, we run into a number of difficult problems. We learn techniques to solve a few cases, and I kept hoping that there were general techniques we could use to solve ALL of them...

But I guess today's topic really demonstrates that there aren't. Oh goodness.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

what the frick, photoshop?

That last picture is what gets me. I am so flipping curious as to the algorithm they use to come up with what ought to be there, when it's not a simple elaboration on what was already there.

(I was blog-hopping and took this from a blog of a BYU student whom I don't know. His blog is here.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

the rites of spring

Now, I don't know much about ballet, but I suppose I do know enough to see how this caused riots back in the day:

They say both the composer and choreographer were distraught that it was received so poorly, but at least one critic liked it. (Check out the Wikipedia article. P.S. this was early 1900s, everyone.)

(And, interestingly, it's remembered now for its innovative music, but the riots were over the choreography. FYI, this clip tries as best as it can to replicate the original choreography. I guess what the choreographer should have dwelt on was that it had supporters (in addition to opponents), hence the fighting? And that people felt so strongly about it, isn't that something choreographers go for?)

Now, perhaps unbeknownst to you - were you aware of what you were watching, actually? Mostly I got that there were a bunch of Native Americans dancing around - there are elders and groups of guys and girls, and it's probably a ritual, and the ritual aspect was apparent from the title.

Well, P.S., that was a fertility ritual! Yeah, don't your innocent eyes feel a little weird now? And the basic premise of this ballet (I looked all this up after I'd watched the clip) is the preparation of a girl being sacrificed to bring the gods' benevolence for the coming spring.

Now that we all feel enlightened, comment on my post!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a compilation

This is a condensed version of the outside work I did for the reading today (the fact that there was little required reading left me time to explore):

Luxo Jr Watch it. Love it. Crave it. (Oh wait, craving satisfied - Pixar has since done a number of excellent movies and shorts. Way to start off right!)

Who is Nietzsche? (Also, Stanford wrote it and I like that university)

I am such a big fan of this. I can see this working really well at a physics conference - at least, that's how I wished it worked, I feel that I'm a lot better at spontaneous speaking and explanation than a prepared speech, especially when I'm familiar with a topic.

And then I learned about T.S. Eliot. I liked this quote particularly:
"...he has followed his belief that poetry should aim at a representation of the complexities of modern civilization in language and that such representation necessarily leads to difficult poetry."
That biography was written by the Nobel committee. I wondered what a Nobel Prize in Literature meant, and so I found out:
" the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, [the author has] produced 'in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction'" (thank you wikipedia)

Like many of you, I am sure, I wondered who Wassily Kandinsky was, but that's basically what the Internet is here for, to tell us all about things we never knew existed. 

I mean, you know, no biggie, the father of modern art or something. THAT hasn't influenced anything over the years.
I'm personally generally a much bigger fan of realistic art rather than the abstract variety, but this stuff doesn't grate on me (Picasso definitely does), in fact I would even be OK with it in a hotel, so I feel morally OK posting this.

There you go! Those are the things I explored today! It was exciting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being Mormon

Today I just felt like posting quotes.

Perhaps now, more than ever, we have a major responsibility as Latter-day Saints to define ourselves, instead of letting others define us.

If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state.
1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?
These quotes demonstrate a focus on nature and becoming our best self - focusing on what we are meant to be, but not letting ourself be entirely free. We are intended to evaluate ourselves, see what we naturally are, and become the best of that that we can be. This represents some Enlightenment and Romantic ideals. There's some semblance of transcendentalism, which I remember discussing in high school, but the Mormon church came just after the Enlightenment era and many of those ideals show up in teachings. The Enlightenment provided a good setting for these ideals to take root among the populace, so more people would be prepared for LDS teachings to come their way.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gulliver's Travels

I meet with my group tomorrow to discuss the different ways we approached representing Gulliver's Travels. I'm not a particularly artistic person myself, so I chose to work with Wordle. Here, you can link to the wordle I made for this book! I think this is an appropriate wordle, although it is sideways and I need to learn how to fix that!
Wordle: Gulliver's Travels

P.S. I figured out how to do it! Here is a more lovely one:
Wordle: Gulliver's Travels 2

I find it interesting that there is apparently no option for which scheme you would like your Wordle to take. One would think that would be a useful option in certain contexts, but who knows. :)

For example, I think this one so far has the most appropriate font:
Wordle: Gulliver's Travels 3

But I'll stop now in order to avoid overwhelming you with options :)

(This was generated using text from the summary of Gulliver's Travels on Wikipedia. Much thanks!)


Let's get one thing straight here.
For years, people have been asking, "Do you believe in evolution?"

This is inherently a question which is impossible to answer.

To explain this, let me give you some definitions.

1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
You cannot, by definition, have "belief" in a "theory". (Evolution is a theory.)

Microevolution (as defined as small changes in a species, but not changes so significant as to change the species into a new species) has been proved in lab.

We've watched it happen.

So, at least in this small regard, we know that evolution can occur.
Now, let's really begin.

What is the public's real concern about evolution? It is, of course, that should man have come from monkeys (as in the popular vernacular), this leaves no room for God in the equation. In fact, it also speaks against the literal interpretation of the Bible which refers to the earth as having existed 6,000 years up to this point. 

Thus, this debate has become much more than a scientific discussion about a theory, an idea which describes and explains and connects a group of facts. It has become a religious divider - if one accepts evolution, then one has directly refuted the truthfulness of the Bible and thus denied God.

That's a serious accusation. I wonder if it's warranted.
Problem: Going back to our original question, one does not "believe" in a theory. One sees evidence for a theory, and then one evaluates whether the theory fits the facts or not.
Guess what.
So far it does. 

Here's how I see it. Right now we have a bunch of evidence for evolution. Evolution describes facts we've actually observed. Religious faith should be independent of scientific progress for that reason. Religious faith, if based in truth, should be constant. Scientific interpretation of natural phenomena changes.
Hopefully, all things testify of their creator, but it is certainly possible to use natural phenomena both as evidence for and evidence against a supernatural creator. Thus, I think it's hard to use existence as a logical, infallible argument for either side. 
But right now, evolution fits the facts. We may find a better theory later. Evolution may be the going theory until the 2nd Coming. I don't know. But whatever happens, now, in the past, in the future, it's important to realize that faith is "a hope for things which are not seen, which are true" (Alma 32:21). 

I've decided to not let my faith rest in scientific progress. (Being human, scientists are going to make mistakes. Regardless of your religious beliefs, it's not safe to rest perfect faith in science.) I'm rather going to let my faith stand strong with the scriptures and the testimonies of the living prophets, and in my own experience through prayer and following promptings and commandments given through the Holy Ghost. And I am all right with simultaneously accepting evolution as a significant theory which works for right now, but given evidence, could change rapidly. That's science. It's not faith. They coexist, and all is well in Zion.

Bonus points for those of you who can point out the flaw in the logic of this video.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nuh uh

So, I just finished reading my group's book, "Gulliver's Travels". I found it a quick read and quite entertaining. Additionally, the book was online! For free! I found this a wondrous advantage.

The premise of the book is so unusual (Gulliver travels to four different nations, where the inhabitants of each nation greatly resemble people in many ways but differ in some important regards unique to each nation) that children with a reasonable vocabulary could find it entertaining, but those with a better understanding of the cultural context of the book could find a deeper meaning.

Here, for this post, I just wanted to comment on one aspect of the book. In the third nation Gulliver visits, the people of the nation are consumed by theoretical knowledge, which frequently turns out poorly in application. (However, the experiment should work, so the people never revert back to their previous ways in fear of being despised by all the other, more enlightened citizens.)

One example of such an experiment is to use cucumbers to trap sunlight rays. The book cited many such absurd experiments, which I initially assumed were all made up. However, not so! Some research into the background of the book yielded this interesting information:

When Swift wrote this section of the novel, most of the experiments and theories espoused at Laputa's Lagado Academy, including extracting sunbeams from cucumbers, had actually been carried out or proposed by the scientists of the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge, a society founded in 1660 which as of 2006 continues under the shortened name, the Royal Society.

Ha ha! Oh my goodness! We studied this society in class, and people actually tried this experiment. It makes me wonder sometimes about university knowledge. Some of the things we do sound as absurd as extracting sunbeams from cucumbers. Sometimes they work though. But not always. Fortunately, I think our society is sufficiently focused on practical knowledge that the absurd ones don't come through so often. What's the most absurd legitimate experiment you've heard of? Let's hear it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

yay reading

So P.S. my group is reading Gulliver's Travels.

Also P.S., I think it would be most excellent if assignments were posted on the course, under both "calendar" and "assignments", because that's the intuitive place to look and I was quite confused for a bit until I remembered someone had mentioned it was on the blog. Just, you know, for consistency's sake, it would be super great :)

So, I looked up background about "Walden" and such, and I had to read it both for AP English in high school and for Honors 150 a few years ago, and I have yet to be impressed by any of it.

Concept: A guy took a break from his life to think about things, and that's awesome, but I personally feel that I think about things sufficiently on my own WHILE doing practical things such as studying and working.

I tend to be a high energy, intense person when I'm interested in something. The concept of taking time off to relax this way seems like the product of a mind who didn't take sufficient time to ponder while also being productive in real life. I can understand the urge to go be by yourself for a while and figure things out, and I can understand wanting to write it down to help de-muddle things in your mind, but I'm trying to understand why everyone else paid attention.

I suppose he's a good writer, and he thought things through, but don't you all do this anyway in your own head? I bounce these ideas off people around me all the time, and then I go out and apply them in real life. I check to see if they work, and if they don't, I change my mind about things. Eventually I've narrowed it down to something I feel pretty confident in. In the meantime, I'm not all passive-aggressive about avoiding people and this one person per square mile thing.

It's so frustrating to me that people revere him.

Thoreau evidently had his own need to go out and avoid civilization for a while, do it on his own for a while. Evidently other people get something out of this. That's great. Maybe his thought changed the whole course of Western civilization. But in my case, it's just not personally enlightening. And you know what? That's all OK. And one day, I will also graduate and I can go read interesting authors like Ayn Rand. That's OK too.

(I realized that I kinda had this attitude about the last author I mentioned, and this is a bit atypical. Evidently the Romantic movement and I do not agree. I will try to not be so angsty in the future, because I suspect no one enjoys annoyed blog posts. :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Faust" is weird

I am not kidding.

Let me share this excerpt from the summary of "Faust", courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • ...Mephistopheles wins the argument and Faust signs the contract [the devil does everything Faust wants him to, in exchange for Faust going to hell after Faust dies]... 
  • Faust ... then meets ...Gretchen. 
  • He is attracted to her and with... help ... the devil draws Gretchen into Faust's arms. Faust seduces Gretchen and they sleep together. 
  • Gretchen's mother dies from a sleeping potion, administered by Gretchen to obtain privacy so that Faust could visit her. 
  • Gretchen discovers she is pregnant. 
  • Gretchen's brother condemns Faust, challenges him and falls dead at the hands of Faust and Mephistopheles
  • Gretchen drowns her illegitimate child and is convicted of the murder
  • Faust tries to save Gretchen from death by attempting to free her from prison.
  • Finding that they cannot free her, Faust and the devil flee the dungeon, while voices from Heaven announce that Gretchen shall be saved.


That sounds like the worst soap opera ever.

Then I read the summary of the second part of the tragedy of Faust. Let me share this gem with you:

"Rich in classical allusion, in Part Two the romantic story of the first Faust is forgotten, and Faust wakes in a field of fairies to initiate a new cycle of adventures and purpose. The piece consists of five acts (relatively isolated episodes) each representing a different theme. Ultimately, Faust goes to heaven, for he loses only half of the bet. Angels, who arrive as messengers of divine mercy, declare at the end of Act V: "He who strives on and lives to strive/ Can earn redemption still""

And this part sounds like Goethe was on crack, but woke up and consequently realized he needed to bring Faust to a happy ending to satisfy his readers' empathy with Faust.

I'm pretty sure that if this is considered a classic, there's more to it than these summaries, but as far as I can surmise, the thing's nutty.

And ironically, Goethe was noted to have helped "set the tone for Romanticism in Europe" (thank you summaries for this class) and yet he's recorded as saying that the Romantic movement was really "everything that was sick" (thank you Wikipedia for being an excellent source of knowledge and quotes and epicness).

Well, Goethe, I should really read your book before I judge the plot, but if this is exemplary of Romantic movement, I'm quite inclined to agree.

Mostly Unrelated:
Speaking of Romanticism (defined in our class summaries as "Artistic movement... emphasizing appreciation of nature, creativity, individualism, imagination, and beauty..."), this blog has at least the middle three qualities of those five. And I'm pretty sure this style of humor is unique to our time. And it's awesome. The end.

I forgot that apparently we need to talk about books we would like to read. Well, I'd basically be happy with anything of reasonable length off the Honors reading list from the 17th/18th century because that's the only category I'm missing, and I graduate in less than a year, so I gotta keep up with all that. "Gulliver's Travels" was suggested, and I would be quite interested in "Vindication of the Rights of Women" or "Robinson Crusoe", so that's all fine and dandy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

looking at families

Families are interesting subjects. Most of us grew up in one. Most of us hope to one day create one of our own (if we haven't done that already). Those of us who are LDS have perhaps a different perspective on creating families - we have the Proclamation to the World explaining the divine role and purpose of families.

As I read this document, I look for cultural influences. Now, of course, I am inherently biased (we're all inherently biased in some way) about what these cultural influences are and how they might play a part. Reading the outline provided in the reading allows some breadth of understanding about how families have operated differently in different circumstances in location and time. Something I pondered is how the Proclamation applies to each of these settings.

The conclusion I've currently reached is that the Proclamation could apply to any of those settings. While the Proclamation's principles were (and are) not perfectly exemplified in all these circumstances, they could be. Not one of these settings and standards precludes the principles from being an important influence in the family life.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Please share :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

religion in society

As I've been encouraged to keep my blog posts a little shorter, or at least less dense, I shall sum up today's thought for a blog in the words:

Oh, the irony.

From Burke's "Reflections" pg. 215:
 "We know, and it is our pride to know, that man is by his constitution a religious animal; that atheism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts; and that it cannot prevail long. But if, in the moment of riot and in a drunken delirium from the hot spirit drawn out of the alembic of hell, which in France is now so furiously boiling, we should uncover our nakedness by throwing off that Christian religion which has hitherto been our boast and comfort, and one great source of civilization among us, and among many other nations, we are apprehensive (being well aware that the mind will not endure a void) that some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading superstition might take place of it.

Emphasis added.

Thoughts? Go.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September reflection post

In order to make sure I address the issues required by this blog, I will divide up the blog appropriately into blocks.

1. How has your digital literacy assisted your self-directed learning in the subject areas of the course?

As far as the ability to complete self-directed learning, not much has changed by learning the course material. I still search using Google and/or Wikipedia. However, being comfortable with these tools is a greatly beneficial skill. Google especially requires some skill to use - one has to know the appropriate keywords to use and also how to quickly skim through a number of excerpts of URLs and webpages.

In this class to this point, we haven't studied any topics which are difficult to distinguish or find (Google "Adam Smith", for instance, and you get the guy you're probably looking for), but even with this well-known name we also see a hit for a U.S. Congressman and a hit for a university professor with the same name.

I genuinely can't think of another way to describe the connection between my current digital literacy and my learning in this class. Essentially, the difference between this method of learning and a textbook is having the option of free and unlimited searching. I don't have to search through a book, or search for a book, but I have easy access to learning through searching. 

2. How has your creation of blog posts and digital media impacted your learning?

Creating digital media has been useful. I think learning how to use the new tools which are out there, and being alerted to them by discussions in class is great.

I struggle with the number of blogs for this class in two ways. First, people write them so frequently that I find it extraordinarily difficult to find an old post which I've commented on and follow up, and there are too many people for me to feel as though I can keep track of them. On my personal blog, I follow maybe 10 people, most of whom post less than once a month. This for me is comfortable. I feel a bit overwhelmed having to take in so many blogs at once for this class. I also feel guilty if I stop following a class blog.

Secondly, sometimes I don't feel that I have much to share on a particular topic, even if I personally found it intriguing. I'm pretty introverted, and I have lots of thoughts about things, but most things I think about in my head. Some of these things get expressed in in-person conversations with friends and family. I feel way less of an urge to write this stuff down.
I think dynamically - I change my opinions quite readily given feedback, and writing, even blogging, is way too permanent and way too one-sided of a conversation for me to feel like it helps much. I understand that this is an excellent way to communicate with people around the world, but honestly, if I had something I wanted everyone to hear, that I felt was really important, important enough to write, I would hash it out in my mind and with my friends and family for weeks beforehand. So this blogging twice weekly has been a struggle for me. I don't know if there's a way this could be changed, either the requirement or my natural inhibition toward publicly writing so much.

3. How have you connected with other class member and with the general public in these areas?

I really enjoy learning about the various new technologies and options out there. I think an interesting thing to consider, with all the different options out there, is how so many software programs out there which do similar things compete.

For example, I needed to do a presentation in my optics class. (We are asked to present twice during the semester on different historical physicists.) I used Prezi and asked my classmates for feedback (no one in the class had been aware of Prezi before). While there were oohs and ahhs over the new features of Prezi, and I had taught myself how to use the features in less than 20 minutes, when my professor asked the class if any of them would want to use Prezi in their future presentations, nine of the ten other students said they were sticking with PowerPoint. One student expressed that he felt dizzy during the presentation (which I totally understood, because that was how my first experience with Prezi felt as well), and the others just said that Prezi's features were not cool enough to spend the time learning when they already knew how to use PowerPoint effectively. I wonder how software companies take this psychological difficulty into account.

The one student who was excited about Prezi told me that he was planning on using the software at an upcoming research conference. He explained that the best student presentations win monetary prizes, and his secret to winning them (as he's won a few in the past) is to use innovative presentation techniques. He explained that he believed that it was neither his skill as a speaker nor the originality or complexity of his research that earned him the prize, but rather the originality of his presentation style which made his presentation memorable. I found this rather interesting as a possible appeal that software companies address, but this blog is already too long for me to elaborate.

Overall, I feel that I am learning in the class. My understanding of history has increased, and I enjoy drawing parallels between events in the past and how history is developing now. I also appreciate the basic explanation of computer science. (My experience with CS professors is that they typically assume you have a basic familiarity/working knowledge of certain concepts and terms which are brand new to me. So this breakdown is great.) I'm a little concerned about how things are being graded and the lack of direct feedback up to this point, but I think the midterm and the consequent interview tomorrow is a great idea and will help me understand some things about the course requirements. Thanks for the class and I will see you tomorrow!

the looong tail

I read this article from the link on our professors' blog, and I was greatly intrigued by the thought of lowest common denominator vs. the amount of interest needed to make a sale.

I'd actually thought a lot about this myself; for example, most members of my church disapprove of adultery, fornication, drinking, drugs, (excessive) swearing, etc. While most people are agreed that these are inappropriate things to depict on your average children's show, it sometimes seems impossible to find a movie intended for an adult audience which does not depict some of these actions in an idolized way, in a way where these actions represent either the positive culmination of hard work or the way to obtain happiness. It is difficult for me to find a well-done movie or TV show intended for my age which takes my perspective on these moral issues.

As I understand it, the reason it is hard to find films with these non-mainstream values (or at least often unpopular values) is that movies have historically needed to appeal to a wide audience range. At this point in time, it is almost expected that essentially every adult movie will contain non-marital intercourse, or excessive violence, or something else which fires up the imagination, hitting the lowest common denominator for many people. (Why is it that "adult-themed" has become almost synonymous with "immoral", rather than "dealing with issues requiring more emotional maturity than your average teenager"? I would be OK if we changed this back.)

I use this as an example because I feel that most readers of this blog will agree with me on this issue. Based on the stats in this article, it seems as though making movies designed for my special interests will become more economically viable. This is something I look forward to.

That being said, I'm going to keep renting movies from the "Family" section of the store. Pixar and Disney, you are great.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I found it very interesting to read this PDF, particularly the bit about European society's view towards increase of knowledge. I was aware that back in the day, the Church was the authority on all knowledge, and progression as a civilization was effectively halted in many ways. As the Renaissance came to be, however, and printing in particular was developed, ideas and knowledge were able to spread far more rapidly among people, and there was an increasing emphasis on personal knowledge and discovery. There also had to be a revolution in the mode of thinking; rather than accept new ideas based on the perceived authority of the person who came up with it (think Aristotle, whom my science teachers heartily disapprove of as far as his science goes - many have gone so far as to say Aristotle was the worst influence on scientific development in the known history of the world), people had to learn to trust experiment, the closest element to non-bias we know of.

I digress. The quote that caught my attention goes as follows: "Till about the year 1649, ... 'twas held a strange presumption for a man to attempt an innovation in learnings; and not to be good manners, to be more knowing than his neighbors and forefathers" (John Aubrey, emphasis added). I pondered about the consequences of this apparently society-wide belief; not only was there a general lack of increase in knowledge, but it was also considered socially unacceptable to learn more than those around you!

I wondered if there were any parallels in today's society. (I also discussed this with a roommate - I'm so glad my roommates are generally willing to put up with my discussions.) Understandably, if someone is eager to show off their learning in normal social situations, this is unacceptable. If someone is trying to beat you in knowledge, or out-argue you, in your average social meeting, this is not widely held to be enjoyable.

I especially found the thought of not knowing more than your parents intriguing. Parents typically dislike raising teenagers in great part because teenagers are convinced they know more than their parents. While it is frequently the teenagers who are in the wrong, I wonder if gaining more academic understanding than your parents, even if you were a respectful and respectable adult, was viewed akin to the same way we see teenagers who are often so foolish and arrogant. Also, these days, I would guess most parents would claim that they would want their children to have even better lives than they themselves did, and in today's society the way to that is often through higher education. I wonder how that paralleled in that older society, particularly when you were expected to take up your parents' trade.

I wonder a lot of things. I would appreciate any thoughts and insights on the subject. Thanks :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

oh, francis bacon

For today's blog, I will draw on a discussion I had with a roommate over a year ago. She is a chemistry major, I am a physics major, and we had several discussions about the nature of science.

During the discussion I'm referring to, we were focusing on the nature of science. Scientific development is happening at an extraordinary rate these days. We (in the sense of a community, both professional and layman) look back at the days of Aristotelian thinking and shake our heads just a little with benign superiority. These days, we know so much. We're so educated. We know better than to trust in authority; we trust the hard, proven experiments.

The problem with the scientific method, as far as discovering new science, however, is that it's simply an algorithm that tests your theories. You have to come up with the theories themselves, and devise the experiments to test the relevant parts of your hypotheses. And all the scientific method can give you is a small sign that you might be on the right track. Really though, your theory could be bonkers; maybe you just haven't done the right experiment yet. Luminiferous ether, anyone?

My roommate and I decided that someday, the scientific theory as we know it will be improved upon somehow, drastically left in the dust by another approach to developing scientific knowledge. We don't know what that might be, but there has to be a better algorithm, something that can take creativity into account.

But for now, all we have to develop science is the scientific method and the flashes of brilliance from naturally analytical minds everywhere. Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, I believe, really did do us a service in labelling the types of knowledge that men sometimes want to take for granted but which really can't be inherently trusted. Once the label was created, one could identify the problems and realize that empirical evidence was needed to prove scientific knowledge.

I'm here waiting for the improvement on the scientific method. I don't think it's wrong, but like Newton's laws of mechanics were superseded by Einstein's theory of relativity, I think one day the scientific method will serve as an elementary method of discovery with something much superior for advanced science taking its place. It will be interesting to see this progress...

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Part of our reading dealt with the concept of "open government". Wow. I suppose this topic is hardly a recent one - our reading cited debates on this topic clear back in the Enlightenment -but I feel that it takes on a whole new level in the digital age. Back in the day, supposing an open government, relevant information could possibly be available in newspapers, but would not be updated readily and quickly and only so much information could be contained in one paper. Books would contain more information, but would hardly be worth the effort to publish when government and events can change so rapidly. Additionally, foreign newspapers are not readily available most places worldwide. It often takes time to deliver the information, and if there's a problem, things will change possibly before other nations could take advantage of it.

Today, however, the concept of open gov't would be a whole new experience. Information is available almost instantaneously almost everywhere. Rather than limiting one's self to certain issues or documents, it's easy to run a search on any topic one finds particularly interesting. This is the concerning thing for me about Wikileaks. For those who have not heard of this controversial organization, here are some excerpts from their "about us" section:

"We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people."

"We believe that it is not only the people of one country that keep their government honest, but also the people of other countries who are watching that government. That is why the time has come for an anonymous global avenue for disseminating documents the public should see."

This organization publishes leaked documents from the government and keeps the submitter's information secure to protect the individual from government retaliation. I wonder about the integrity of such a site. I can easily imagine a situation where it is very ethical to release classified documents to the general public, but I can also imagine events where it would be vitally important to keep certain information secret. (As an example I believe most readers would agree with, when we develop weapons, we want to keep them secret; if other countries know what we're developing, not only do they have the time to plan a possible counterattack, but now that they know it's possible, they may send their own scientists and engineers to develop the same weaponcraft. I feel a lot safer when my country's on top of "defense" tactics.)

So this is a very delicate balance. Thoughts?

Monday, September 13, 2010

group stuff

So, on Saturday I got to learn about all sorts of jazz.

We discussed presentation tools, which I'd already investigated, but I learned more about SlideShare, such as embedding PDFs and other tools in the midst of a presentation, which isn't something that typically happens in a normal presentation. That's a new feature. Additionally, I'd already realized that animations in the original presentation weren't reflected in SlideShare, but Trevor also showed that music attached to the original presentation wouldn't show up either.

We discussed bookmarking as well. Bookmarks are interesting because I can see how they might be useful in some situations, but now that web browsers have come up with this lovely tool where you can start typing in the title of a web page or part of a URL that you've visited before and a dropdown menu will appear with most commonly visited webpages with that text in their titles or URLs. The main differences between bookmarks and these tools is that 1) bookmarks don't actually require you to type anything, just click; 2) perhaps the site you're looking for is important but not one that you visit often, so it might not show up on this list; and 3) sometimes a page has input such that the URL doesn't save your previous input, but a bookmark might.
Other than these things, however, bookmarks aren't revolutionary in the way they might be without this other feature.

We also discussed social book networking. This is essentially a database of members' inputs of books they have read and their ratings. You can share this on your blog and see what your friends and family have said about different books. This is a bit like a virtual book club, and you can follow up with people you know who have read certain books to discuss the book with them.
Personally, this isn't something that's ever really appealed to me; most of my friends have a very different taste in books than I do, and so seeing a high rating on a book by one of my friends is often an indicator I won't want to read that book myself. Exceptions are Harry Potter, the Ender and Bean series by OSC, but Twilight? Just not my style.
I will, however, add one of these widgets to my own profile so that we can all see what these look like in case we haven't experienced them before. And who knows? Perhaps I'll find another friend who reads Ayn Rand and Henry James and we can rejoice in our shared love of "The Fountainhead" and "Portrait of a Lady". Good stuff, y'all.

Update: OK, here I go. GoodReads only works properly with Wordpress blogs, but it gave me a lovely URL to put into a blog anyhow.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today I learned about SlideShare. It's a pretty neat tool, especially since I'm already familiar with PowerPoint and other presentation methods, and this is just a great way to share these creations.

Note: it appears to be independent of one's OS, and now that I have discovered it I will probably begin to use it in my research presentations. My research group primarily uses Macs, whereas I am a die-hard Windows fan, and so we've already run into some compatibility difficulties when we try to use each other's computers to practice presentations. This tool could avoid that problem.

I'm also a huge fan of free software. I suppose they pay for this stuff through a combination of advertising, people who do want to pay for niftier accounts, and outside funding, but I'm not involved in any of that - I even use (free) AdBlock Plus for the express purpose of blocking ads. It's lovely.

Coming back to SlideShare, here are some facts about SlideShare for those of you who, like me, had never heard of the program prior to this class:

"SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations.

"SlideShare is a business media site for sharing presentations, documents and pdfs. SlideShare features a vibrant professional community that regularly comments, favorites and downloads content. Content also spreads virally through blogs and social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter. Individuals & organizations upload documents to SlideShare to share ideas, connect with others, and generate leads for their businesses. Anyone can view presentations & documents on topics that interest them. The site is growing rapidly with over 25 million monthly visitors."

Another interesting fact: The company has two main offices, one in San Francisco and one in New Delhi. Just goes to show that these Indian engineers really are spreading worldwide.

For kicks and giggles, here is a presentation I made with Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 for my optics class earlier this semester and have consequently embedded in this blog using SlideShare:

How to embed: Once you upload your presentation to SlideShare (create an account and click "upload"), html code for embedding is in a small box on the right. Click in the box, press Ctrl+A and then Ctrl+C to select and copy all the code. When you come back to your blog, if you are using a Google blog like this one, click on the "Edit HTML" link and paste the code in the appropriate place.

It's quite exciting to embed html! Ooh! And it even automatically links to other presentations having to do with the same topic! Brilliant. The only concern I have with this software is that I had some animations on the original PowerPoint which do not appear to be showing up in the embedding. Trust me, it's better with the animations.

Have fun with your own presentations! And remember, if you save your presentations on SlideShare, there's really no reason to wonder if you've accidentally left your flash drive at home. Convenient, eh?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Project Gutenberg

OK, so I started reading about Project Gutenberg for this class (and I started with Wikipedia, which is basically where I always start these days) and it made me all happy all over on the inside.

I suspect that the vast majority of people reading this are Honors students (and hopefully the occasional educator will come by, since I've begun to comment on those types of blogs) and so I suspect many of you understand this great growing joy. Like, seriously, look at this graph. More happiness on the inside. Also, in general I like graphs.

Something I've thought about a lot, especially as information becomes increasingly digitized, is studies I've read on how most people retain information better when it's not on a screen. (However, I have not been able to find references for that comment, so if you have any references on that topic, I'd appreciate it.) I wonder, however, if I assume that my premise is correct, why this might be. I guess the question that I'm really concerned with, is this a case merely of students who haven't learned to study by computer screen yet, or is it actually a biological retainment mechanism that works better with paper-based materials rather than computer texts?

I suspect that this varies somewhat depending on the material and depending on the learner's preferred learning style. But if any of you have thoughts on this, I'd appreciate hearing them :)

Coming back to Project Gutenberg... well, if I don't get into graduate school for next year, I guess you know what I'll be doing with my time. (hint: reading all these free books. Marvelous!)

a place for blogs outside the class

This is a compilation of blogs written by people which discuss relevant topics. Although I am compiling this data for my own use, I figure other people can use this as well, and add their own discoveries to this list. I plan to update this post as I discover more.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

ready to wait

When I was 14 years old, I took a practice college entrance exam through the Johns Hopkins program. Johns Hopkins encouraged top scorers to come to the university for some very expensive summer classes, but while I looked at the classes with intrigue and a poor girl's pocket, I did notice that they offered another option which was free: a reading list.

I then and there made a goal to read every book on the list I could find in my county's library system. I read 114 books off that list during a summer. When I started high school the next year, my English teacher gave a prize to whoever had beaten her total of books read over the summer. I won. (Her number was 15.)

People sometimes asked me if I really got anything out of that experience. So much information, so many books, in such a short period of time. How could I retain that? Could I really absorb the ideas present in so many books?

The short answer is, of course, that I didn't. Absorb it all perfectly, that is. Sure, if I'd spread it out over a longer period of time, I would remember more about each book. But... I remember reading "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" and wondering why on earth anyone would bother writing such a book. I disliked "The Great Gatsby" and several of the other books which seemed to me to deal with irreconcilable disappointment and mediocrity and a sham of what life could have been. So truthfully, some of these books I only finished to complete my goal; I didn't retain much primarily because I didn't want to retain much. (I am perfectly comfortable with this.) I didn't want my life to be a disappointment. I wanted it to be filled with energy and hopes and dreams. I saw no help for this in these novels.

However, something big, for me, did happen as a result of my challenging goal. As I read all these books and got inside the minds of the great authors and thinkers who had created works deemed worthy of adolescent reading by the Johns Hopkins University, I read one book which has completely changed my life. I remember the gold cover of the first copy I read, as I opened the pages preparing to be duly interested and then move on to the next novel selection. Yet something different happened. As I embarked upon the journey of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time", I found a fascination swell up inside me. I turned the pages with eagerness, turning back almost as frequently, trying to understand each concept as I read it, reading the next derivation or application, then going back to the first concept to attempt to follow the logic. Hawking described a world where math could discover fantastic things. So much of what he said was just over my head, but I discovered a faith and fulfillment that if one understood math properly, one could use it in physics to make marvelous predictions and lead to the knowledge of the whole world. I remember reading it and thinking, all this can be predicted with math? If we apply physics properly, we can use our logic and our intuition to understand everything?

The book left a burning passion inside of me. I never worried about what to major in. I wanted to study so many subjects, but only in addition to physics. My passion and joy in this subject has never left. The indescribable happiness I feel as I study quantum physics is only trumped by particularly spiritual experiences. So many people ask me why I chose to major in something "hard". Do you know what is "hard"? Avoiding something I could love out of fear that I might not be the best. That seems silly.

If I must relate this post directly back to our lesson, I will cite Leonardo da Vinci's tribute to Mathematics, the most pure and beautiful of all sciences, since the rest of science consists of applications of its essential and practical fundamentals.

This post is entitled "ready to wait" because we all know I will never truly understand physics. Not in this life. There are too many things to know, too many concepts which will surely go over my head. But it's worth it to me. It's worth it to struggle through the classes, to spend night hours on campus earning a headache over problems, giving up all the other things I could be doing to just learn a little more. But it's worth it. And if perfect understanding doesn't come in this life, so be it. I am ready to wait.