Tuesday, November 20, 2007

i'm a Dweeb with a bad back...

...but still a Dweeb.

OK. Here's the deal.

Not much going on.

Been having issues with my back, but that has been going on for years, and probably will continue, so while it impacts my life in big ways, I don't want to moan and whine about it here. Just understand that when I get down with my back, it's like being sick, I have little desire or inspiration to blog.

I've been reading some. Visiting my local library, always a favorite place because they let me borrow books almost free! And have been reading some science fiction. (My library books are almost free because I invariably pick out at least one, one week only book, and get it back late, incurring fines. It's still cheaper than buying books.)

I'm reading Smoke Ring by Larry Niven, a sequel to his sci-fi classic The Integral Trees. It's really good so far but I hate seeing characters I like getting the short end of the stick in life.

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for happy endings. Smoke Ring and The Integral Trees have absolutely amazed me in showing just how fantastic a person's imagination can be. If you think Steven King has a vivid imagination, you need to read some science fiction, some of these authors make him look small-time.

I'm so far behind on my National Novel Writing Month novel that I'm close to throwing up my hands and saying forget it. But something inside me wants to continue. It's just hard to sit there and type for very long.

Also reading bits of other books. The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, a book on the state of theoretical physics today. If you are ever interested in reading about physics, but hate math, this is your book. He covers all the great theories of physics in the past and brings you up to where different physicists are today in their thinking, WITHOUT MATH. There's math in the the appendices for those of us who at least like to flip back there and see the math that goes with the book. Anyway, I've read it several times, and now just pick it up to read favorite parts.

Ever heard of Vedic Mathematics?

I'm reading a book about that too, called simply Vedic Mathematics.

The Vedas are ancient Hindu scriptures covering many areas of life. I'm not Hindu, but their scriptures also happen to contain the foundations of modern mathematics including algebra, cube roots, square roots, and the concept of zero.

Much of the mathematical teachings of the Vedas were lost for, heck, I don't know how long, but were figured out all over again by Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha Maharaj in the first half of the 20th century.

He wrote many of his findings out, and that is what is contained in the book I linked to above, Vedic Mathematics, edited by V.S. Agarwala after Mr. Maharaj's death in 1960. He died before completing all that he wanted to write regarding the Vedas's mathematical teachings.

Anyway, to make a long story short and to give examples, the ways we were taught multiplication and long division in school is painfully slow and awkward compared to the ways put forth in this book, and can be learned so that doing amazing mathematics in your head is easier than using a calculator. As in, so simple that math becomes incredibly beautiful and elegant.

Just the kind of thing I like to read about. I love math, and I like learnin'.

No kidding; if you read the first few chapters of this book, you would want to go back in time and kick your elementary grade school teachers in the shins for making things 100 times harder than necessary.

I never said I wasn't a mean dweeb.

For the record, The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene and Vedic Mathematics are books I own and recommend if you are a fellow dweeb.


Babystepper said...

Well...dweeb, geek, nerd...it's a fine distinction. Reading through your list of chosen books, I remain undecided on where exactly you fall.


Travis said...

Sorry you're having trouble with the NaNo. Hang in there.

Sharon Lynne said...

I'm working with 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade kids in math. It's a lot of fun.

Now you've got me curious about that different way to teach long division!

Qtpies7 said...

I don't want to be a dweeb, being a computer geek is bad enough. I used to be a cheerleader! My husband has corupted me and now I am a nerd, or geek, but I don't want to be a dweeb, too.
However, I would LOVE to learn how to multiply and divide, I can barely manage it on paper.