Friday, 21 January 2011

I'm definitely fighting something off - my whole body is stiff for no reason, my throat is still slightly sore, and I woke up after a long sleep still quite exhausted. But, no fever and I'm not stuffed up. Maybe it's related to the massive life decisions looming closer and closer... Or is it just because the monocloud is back?

I woke up in a slight state this morning after a very stressful dream of losing objects while changing from buses to trains on the way to a concert (perhaps because I lost my new hat last week on the five trains it took to get home from the I Fedeli concert in Bremgarten - have a new new hat now). It annoys me when I have to relax again after waking up - morning is normally my most productive time of day. The usual distractions of Facebook and CBC news weren't doing it for me so I read up on the present state of space elevator design, and then decided that it was a pity I didn't understand calculus.

In high school I spent my last few years spurning the arts and sciences because I wanted to become a musician. Of course I don't see any conflict there anymore, but at the time I remember feeling strongly that my over-analytical mind was getting in the way of playing. It was, to be fair, but I'm not sure that becoming ignorant of calculus and biology was the way to develop trust in my intuition. I also remember thinking that if I found later on in life that I really needed to know these things, I could learn them auto-didactically - and this in the era that my Internet exposure consisted of an email account and Trombone-L...

Finally, after limited success at coming to grips with Bernoulli's Equation in December - the crucial equation in the mathematical modeling of wind instruments - I began to revisit the question. Now being unable to read about the weight/tension/distance relationship on a cord of carbon nanotubes (or will they use the less conductive boron nitride nanoribbons?) is finally getting me to the point that I've decided calculus, both differential and integral, is something I need to know. And maybe a bit more chemistry so that I can appreciate why elongated bucky balls of 1 mm thickness can suspend over 6400 kg, instead of just being extremely impressed

Now that the Internet has come of age, it didn't take a lot of digging to find this video, the first in a series, by Gerald Strang. Many kudos to him. An MIT professor, his explanations are brilliant, and he's just awkward enough to make me absolutely sure he's teaching the world calculus as a labour of love. I think that draws me in much more than if an actor were to present this lesson from a script. I'll let you know if I stick with it.

Incidentally I'm both more awake and more relaxed now. Perhaps both neural and cardiovascular exercise are useful in combating the ill effects of monocloud.

1 comment:

  1. You might want to check out iTunes for calculus too. A search for calculus in iTunes U turns up quite a number of promising hits.