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+ - Starting on intermediate maths?

Submitted by hughbar
hughbar (579555) writes "I haven't done any 'real' maths since university about 40 years ago. I wasn't useless, but not that great either, I had to do some elementary quantum mechanics and the kind of arithmetic that an empirical scientist always needs.

I'd like to start on a little more, but every entry in Wikipedia seems to lead to another entry. Can't find the end of this piece of string. Should I specialise? Is there a book or course that covers university entry and first year maths for non-mathematicians [for example, people switching major subject]? Any ideas on this welcome, I'm ready to start but just don't know where to start."

Comment: I'm 63 and learn new things (Score 1) 306

by hughbar (#46518357) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?
The secret is probably that [like many anoraky people] I enjoy the new things, I'm a neophile. Also, I'm not afraid to be mediocre at some things, I enjoy, a luxury I have because I don't use everything I know 'professionally' nowadays. But, if you don't enjoy technical stuff and do it 'just for money', it's harder to learn.

A couple of open source projects, however small, probably help as well, to 'fix' knowledge. 18 years pfui, get off my lawn...but seriously, yes, you can.

Comment: Listening, reading and writing (Score 1) 161

by hughbar (#46322255) Attached to: The Neuroscience of Computer Programming
I'm a fluent French bilingual, but I learnt as an adult in Paris where they are about as patient as New Yorkers.

There's a huge difference between listening, where you have no control over the speed of delivery/level of difficulty and reading where you can take your time, look up 'words' [or pieces of unfamiliar syntax] and writing, harder than reading but you can still pace yourself and work around difficulties.

Otherwise there's anecdotal evidence that 'extra' natural languages are easier after the first one. I feel that's also true of programming languages, the first one is alien, lots of alien concepts [variables, file handles, operations] and the next few, in imperative languages contain the same thing with different syntactic candy. It's to do with memory, usage and repitition then, less with conceptual grasp.

Comment: Re:You are a debt serf (Score 1) 81

Agree, nearly everyone is a debt serf. If you have family, work for salary own a house, went to university and do most of the 'ordinary' things that people do in developed countries, you probably have substantial debt. People don't 'choose' to be unfree, the current arrangements compel them in the course of living their lives.

I personally have very little debt and, as a result [apart from being quite old] don't work all year, every year. Now just IMAGINE if people started doing that [actually, apparently a serf had about 100 days holiday, religious festivals included, in the middle ages] the SYSTEM would break down and people would DO WHAT THEY WANTED. Of course, they've been taught to want Facebook, Caca-cola and expensive sneakers, so maybe it wouldn't be too bad, would it?

Apologies for the sarcastic capitals in the post. We really need a 'new' financial system that serves the 'people' and not gov, large corporations, the banks and all these other layers-of-shit, to use the technical term. Meanwhile, people need to wake up to the fact that, every day, they're being gamed.

Comment: In the UK, we used to give grants to study. (Score 2) 321

by hughbar (#46140903) Attached to: James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering
We used in the 1960s/1970s to give grants to study at university rather than the USA-style debt/indenture system we have now. At that stage, we had fewer universities, since we hadn't converted our polytechnics, many of which were rubbish, into 'universities'. Also, most of the degree were in actual subjects, science, maths, engineering and english, history, geography, for example.

Now we have media studies, we had kite flying for a while at Thames Valley. In short, the worst of all possible worlds, basically by 'financialising' the system and expanding it in a very thoughtless way. The debt and high fee make it difficult for working class kids too, in my time they would have had a full grant, though they would have probably had to work a little in vacation time. I did.

So I agree somewhat with Dyson. He's a little younger than me and probably remembers the older system.

Comment: Re:"Modernizing" museums is a blight on the world (Score 4, Insightful) 99

by hughbar (#46073359) Attached to: Bletchley Park's Bitter Dispute Over Its Future
So agree. Used to take my son there in the late 1980s, when everything was pretty similar to my childhood. Basically, wonderfully engineered things with handles and buttons. I went recently with my nephews and much of this is gone, gradually replaced by superficial, patronising displays.

Comment: Re:it's been twenty years, or forty (Score 3, Interesting) 120

by hughbar (#46065437) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?
Although, this is [without a doubt] young male troll-talk, I'm going to answer:
  • - It's a lot simpler to find software that's as 'near' fit as possible, cuts down on custom code
  • - You may have to maintain custom code, to keep up with changes in the core project, additional resource
  • - This is a volunteer gig, so I'm anxious not to write thousands of lines of code for it
  • - It's fun for everyone to exchange information about this, it's a very common problem
  • - If it's a small set of mods, I'm going to try and get some of the local kids to do them
  • - [in reply to the specific trolly-talk] Nope, I'm not asking for community custom mods

Good luck to you sir, but please grow up a little!

Comment: Re:it's been twenty years, or forty (Score 2) 120

by hughbar (#46065261) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?
Thanks! I'm the submitter, I'm 63 and have spent most of my life in IT. There's several 'near' fits to this problem, usually using CMS software, but it's still interesting to look for 'closer' fits and, in general, learn from others. 'Learn from others' is always fun, almost more than shouting at the kids on my lawn.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen