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Old 02-06-2015, 12:08 PM   #21
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I enjoy them but I am way to weak on math to get a lot out of them and too lazy to update my math chops.
Yep, I'm heavily drawn toward mechanical engineering and aerodynamics, but my weak math skills (and aptitude) pretty much put the kibosh on that. I keep hoping that some software miracle will occur and I can just type in/draw the "situation" and get an answer, but so far learning the modelling software is an even steeper climb for me than learning the math.
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Old 02-06-2015, 12:18 PM   #22
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Damn, y'all are quite impressive. I can't even get out of bed the same time every day.

I am impressed also. I thought those free auditing college courses was just a feel good ruse by the universities that no one really took them up on. I guess I was really wrong. But then my viewpoint is clouded by the fact that I retired so I wouldn't have to use my brain anymore.


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Old 02-06-2015, 02:35 PM   #23
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I am impressed also. I thought those free auditing college courses was just a feel good ruse by the universities that no one really took them up on. I guess I was really wrong. But then my viewpoint is clouded by the fact that I retired so I wouldn't have to use my brain anymore.


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I retired so that I COULD use my brain. It certainly wasn't getting exercised in the w*rkplace.
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Old 02-06-2015, 07:19 PM   #24
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I have taken a few online classes on statistics and astrophysics (cosmology). I enjoy them but I am way to weak on math to get a lot out of them and too lazy to update my math chops. I find the scientific observations and speculations about the nature and origin of the universe(s) much more fascinating than the supernatural short cut that some deity is the answer. The later just begs the question, whence the deity?
I believe World Science U has a number of non-mathematical (as well as more technical) courses on various physics topics (cosmology, relativity, quantum mechanics) if you're interested. Haven't taken any of these myself, but they look intriguing.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:33 PM   #25
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My previous avatar was Thomas Young... a measure of the arrogance I enjoy in my inner self.
Something about an excellent liberal arts background builds in a thirst to know more about everything and anything. The structured learning of a semester or two of art, religion, astronomy, psychology, physics, chemistry, literature, languages, history and the 12 other disciplines that were part of the process... establishes a frame for building on any new interest. Even ROTC provided a base for understanding strategy and tactics.

The freedom of an uncomplicated retirement (especially in the later years, when the social whirl has past) allows for the most exciting part of discovery... not slowed by classroom or preplanned study courses. Go as far and as fast as the interest calls for... no tests, no "must knows", no waiting for others. Pick up and drop the study before boredom sets in. Nothing to prove to anyone else.

The single thing that has helped me most, in learning from the internet, is using the visual tool to standardize the different page layouts, type faces, type sizes, and eliminating the advertising distraction... is Readability... which I use on all websites.

So, as to the afterlife... much, much on philosophy and the Weltanschauung.
Without the aforementioned "structure" the ability to move from interest to interest... today religion, then medicine, then technology and politics, economics, music... No standards, no tests, no challenges, interruptions or any roadblocks... because... because... there is only one person to satisfy.

Sometimes we become so inured to "following" as a part of education, that we miss the absolute joy of being a sponge to soak up the available.

For the very few times when a mental lull sets in for a few minutes, a quick visit here, is like a shot of adrenaline.
http://www.refdesk.com

Then, of course, there's the matter of vanity... of knowing enough about the world to be comfortable in any area of interest. An example of this, is my recent part time fascination with farming. (We live in a rural area, where many of the most successful people my age... were farmers) I am developing some humility on the subject... much more than meets the eye. A bit of a blow to the ego, but temporary, as latest farming technolgy is leaping ahead of experience.

I have recounted here, my onetime dream of throwing a brick through the bank window, to be put in jail for a month or two... with time to read at heart's content. So yeah... lving a dream... past the point of responsibility and into the wonderful world of yestrday, today and tomorrow. Much more on my plate than Thomas Young ever had. He had to build knowledge from scratch, to grow from seed. I, (we) have only to stroll through the garden and pick and choose the fruits of what has been provided by those who have gone before.

Retirement and age... the best of all times. Philosophy guided by John Milton in his sonnet-- "On His Blindness".
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:38 PM   #26
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I believe World Science U has a number of non-mathematical (as well as more technical) courses on various physics topics (cosmology, relativity, quantum mechanics) if you're interested. Haven't taken any of these myself, but they look intriguing.
i am already enrolled in Andre Linde's master class.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:51 PM   #27
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One thing I always admired about my late Dad was his interest in advanced science and math until very late in life. While during his working life he did more pedestrian sorts of engineering he always fancied himself a great scientist and was taking extension classes in Astrophysics at the local university up until his mid 80s.

Sadly I fear I fall on the other side of the coin. Spent my whole career doing scientific research and now really have little interest in pursuing it into FIRE.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:30 AM   #28
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I've done some formal Zen practice over the past 10 years, and look forward to devoting more time to this when I retire. Specifically, structured meditation periods of at least a week. (Theoretically, you're supposed to be able to "do Zen" every moment, but it's really quite difficult to keep it up in the every-day world. The wonderful clarity you can get from a retreat tends to fade after a few days back in the "real" world.)

Science is fascinating, especially with all the new gadgets available these days to study every aspect of existence, from the structure of quantum particles to the structure of the brain. But I've always thought we should be able to comprehend greater meaning, including what happens after death (and before birth!), without such tools. Science as we know it uses reductionist methods that it seems to me can't yield the big answers, though they could possibly point to them. Seems like a holistic method, something opposite from reductionism, would be the way to go.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:43 AM   #29
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I'm pretty sure it will mostly just be entertainment for me, though - mental exercise. I doubt there's a real pathway to making an actual contribution to a field as an independent entity.
Don't sell yourself short. No pun intended.

Big Nick's story can be your inspiration.

I got published
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:53 AM   #30
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I'm actually considering going to law school. I've considered it on and off again for many years but now I'm free to attend without the incredible stress of having to get into a T1 school or be in the top 10% or do any of the extra curricular stuff folks do to try and make a name for themselves. I think it would be enjoyable and a good challenge for my brain. And I figure if I don't like it, I can stop going.

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:19 AM   #31
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I've done some formal Zen practice over the past 10 years, and look forward to devoting more time to this when I retire. Specifically, structured meditation periods of at least a week. (Theoretically, you're supposed to be able to "do Zen" every moment, but it's really quite difficult to keep it up in the every-day world. The wonderful clarity you can get from a retreat tends to fade after a few days back in the "real" world.)
I live near a Buddhist Monastery that has Zen meditation and Buddhism classes open to the public. I tried one once in the past and was pretty fidgety and bored so I dropped out. But some of the brain and aging shows I have been watching have mentioned the benefits of meditation on keeping your brain healthy as well as ongoing feelings of contentment, so I was thinking of trying it again.

Maybe I will end up like this man :

Is this the world's happiest man? Brain scans reveal French monk found to have 'abnormally large capacity' for joy, and it could be down to meditation | Daily Mail Online
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:37 AM   #32
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I'm pretty sure it will mostly just be entertainment for me, though - mental exercise. I doubt there's a real pathway to making an actual contribution to a field as an independent entity.
Go for it - the Internet has changed all that. I wrote up a paper and submitted it to a scientific journal years ago, and the editors pretty much laughed at me because I didn't have a degree in the topic. I put the paper and related papers like it on the Internet instead and before too long the site they were on outranked many of the obscure scientific journals that rehashed the same old school group think. The site has made its way into the foot notes of a number of books, even quite a few college text books these days - some in languages I don't even know. Just for grins I check my name and the site name in Google books every few months to see where my stuff is popping up. I've always quite enjoyed that over the years. It is kind of a hoot how the Internet has eliminated the old school gate keepers of information distribution.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:38 PM   #33
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I'm a Great Courses addict--have been for years. Just finished a 2 week road trip and completed: The Life & Work of Mark Twain, Influence: Mastering Life's Most Powerful Skill, Foundations of Economic Prosperity and How Jesus Became God. These were all audio courses, but I've done a number of the video courses as well. I can honestly say I've never taken a bad course from them. I've tried a number of on-line sites such as Udemy. Some of these courses are worthwhile too, but the quality pretty uneven compared with TGC.
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:28 PM   #34
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I live near a Buddhist Monastery that has Zen meditation and Buddhism classes open to the public. I tried one once in the past and was pretty fidgety and bored so I dropped out.
I'm wondering if you engaged in the sleep reduction that's part of many meditation regimens? It sounds awful and was something I feared before completing my first retreat, but it can really help you get past the fidgeting by reducing your desire to waste energy on unnecessary thinking. It can take two or three days of reduced sleep and 8-10 hours a day of focused effort before you start seeing the true potential of meditation.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:02 PM   #35
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Don't sell yourself short. No pun intended.

Big Nick's story can be your inspiration.

I got published
Interesting story, hadn't seen that thread before - thanks. Find the right niche, there's a chance of accomplishing something.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:07 PM   #36
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It is kind of a hoot how the Internet has eliminated the old school gate keepers of information distribution.
Great point - not only distribution, but discussion as well. The internet provides some great forums where non-credentialed individuals can get real insight into what's going on in a field.

At this point, maybe it's my own 'retirement attention deficit' that would be the obstacle. So many areas of interest, it's hard to isolate on one.
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:21 PM   #37
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I'm wondering if you engaged in the sleep reduction that's part of many meditation regimens? It sounds awful and was something I feared before completing my first retreat, but it can really help you get past the fidgeting by reducing your desire to waste energy on unnecessary thinking. It can take two or three days of reduced sleep and 8-10 hours a day of focused effort before you start seeing the true potential of meditation.
I didn't do any sleep reduction. I just went to one 2 hour class. During the meditation instruction portion there were maybe 30 people in the room and I estimate 90% of the fidgeting was coming from me. I am not sure if that means I need it the most or maybe it means that is one potential hobby type activity I can safely rule out as being not suited to.
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:30 PM   #38
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Great point - not only distribution, but discussion as well. The internet provides some great forums where non-credentialed individuals can get real insight into what's going on in a field.
Look at Elon Musk. He doesn't have any engineering degrees. Google is hiring more and more people who never even went to college at all:

"After years of looking at the data, Google has found that things like college GPAs and transcripts are almost worthless in hiring. Following these revelations, the company is hiring more and more people who never even went to college.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:06 PM   #39
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Geeesh! All this math and science stuff. I am taking a course later this month on raising chickens! I will able to add that little gem to my CV when I compare notes with my high school chums in 2 years. It will prove that I did not grow up to be the flake they all predicted.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:17 PM   #40
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Thanks samclem and FatCyclist. I've always wondered about The Great Courses. Always looking for something to do on long drives - when everyone else seems to fall asleep. Many of the subjects look interesting.

In the meantime, I am lucky enough to be able to continue teaching and programme development at my local university. I love learning and the students usually keep me on my toes. It's mostly small group and I always tell them that I expect to learn as much from them as they do from me. Back when I was working for a living I also told the students that I was there to get an enthusiasm infusion as well! The two big bonuses are that I can go to any of the university lectures I want and they even pay me a small amount for doing something that I would definitely do for free.
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