Ravenblog: What have I read and watched today (May 23)?

A few days ago I posted a gripe/rant post about taking control of your own learning, and being proactive about making sure you use your time productively to improve your own mind. (“What have you read and watched today?” http://www.bubblews.com/news/3448461-what-have-you-read-and-watched-today ) I had been watching some Neil deGrasse Tyson lectures on youtube, and thinking about how most people I know spend many hours acting as if they are just spending down their lives in hopes of getting to the end of their lives. Wasting hours ever night just waiting for bedtime or wasting days or weeks or months lounging around waiting for job interviews, or really any sort of non-productive waiting seems like just throwing away hours of your life, THAT YOU WILL NEVER GET BACK. This is not to say I am perfect and never waste time, but it really bugs me when I realize that is what I have been doing.

So, while everyone else is welcome to ignore my rant-post, I considered it a bit of a challenge to consciously strive to add in more quality content to what I consume online, and to consciously focus more on reading books and studying subjects that I have the materials to study. I already have these things available, and if I want to know more and understand more of the Universe, I have NO EXCUSE but sheer laziness and lack of motivation for the fact that I have yet to make use of the huge array of cool videos on youtube, the millions of books available online and through the library, and my own large home library.

So.. What have I read/watched/learned about ‘today’ (since my earlier post on this topic)?

  • I watched another Neil deGrasse Tyson lecture after I posted my article, in which he was talking about why Americans are not doing so well in mat and science and technology compared to the rest of the developed world. He always focuses his policy recommendations towards children and school reform, which is necessary, but I always wonder, watching his lectures, whether we have to give up on us adults. In our modern world people change careers so often that adults are constantly reinventing themselves (and maybe if we spent longer mastering just one field we’d not be losing ground to Europe and Asia). I wonder whether we, as adults, not just in the US, could infuse our cultures with a love of learning that would counteract all that bad education and inti-intellectualism we are currently hampered by. If enough of us actively and visibly focused on making learning an integral part of our everyday lives, maybe we won’t just be watching the younger generations advancing beyond our comprehension.
  • I watched several Tornado Chaser episodes, since there was a tornado warning for the area north of us yesterday. I really ought to go back and read my old atmospheric physics textbook, and work all the problems this time. My professor was a Chinese woman for that course, very smart and nice, but not very articulate. I had a very hard time in her lectures because her English was not very good and she could not always understand our questions, let alone rephrase the book’s explanations for things (and clearly if we didn’t understand the book’s text, just reading it out loud wouldn’t always fix our confusion). So, I vaguely understand how weather works, but not as well as I’d like.
  • Since that rant post I also did some research on chronotypes, which resulted in a seemingly popular article on this site. I had noticed that my teeth alwas hurt at 2am, but not before and after. All of a sudden around 2am I get bad toothaches around my bad molars, but by 3am the pain is gone and doesn’t come back till the following night, no matter when I go to bed, and no matter what I have eaten or drank. Brushing my teeth, using antiseptic mouthwash, oil-pulling, or any other treatment doesn’t prevent the 2am ache from starting, though asprin works to dull the pain before it goes away again. I wondered what sort of circadian-linked cycle is causing these nightly toothaches, and in the process of reading about daily tootchache patterns, I read a lot about chronotypes too and filled out a research questionnaire that established that I am decidedly and extreme late chronotype. (http://www.bubblews.com/news/3472647-are-you-a-night-owl-or-an-early-bird)
  • Last night I realized I have still only read the first 100pgs of James Fenimore Cooper’s book, The Spy. Cooper is a sloppy author, just as Mark Twain said he was, and it is often hard to follow his writing, so I tend to read a few pages and then wander off the do something more entertaining, like handwashing laundry, washing dishes, weeding, or writing bubblews posts. So I went online and did some research about the music of the era just before the US War of Independence (1770’s). I put together a spotify playlist of just music that the people in this dull book would have had available, and settled in to read with this suitable background music. I still only read another 100 pages, but it’s better than what I was doing before. I still have that playlist going now, currently playing Bach, and maybe I’ll finish this book today, finally. (My mom recommended this book, and loaned it to me, so I ought to at least give it a fair chance of being good by the end.)

So, that was my intellectual adventures since the 21st (2 days ago). What have you read/watched/learned about lately?

About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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