Tag Archives: learning

3 Types of Students

Applying to colleges made me aware that there are 3 types of students.

The first are students who don’t care about grades, only going to school because it is mandatory. The second are students who care only about grades, only trying in school because in the process of getting into college it is mandatory.

The third are students who don’t want to care about grades. They want to learn things and express things and make things for themselves rather than for the system. Without sounding too pretentious, I think I am in the third group, a very noble group to be in indeed.

Future in an Egg Shelled Seat

Forward: I haven’t been writing much; more will come in the future. Here is a short I composed a while back. This is just fiction, totally sensationalized. Have a great day! (:


I look outwards.

My local library recently remodeled one of its sectors into this new hip thing, and I’m sitting, curled up actually, into one of these egg shell seats. There is a futuristic, ultraslick aura that I don’t know yet what to make of. I mean, the ceiling tiles are porous metal sheets with streamlined lighting. The flooring is this swanky neon that is characteristic of clubs and video game rooms. Speaking of which, there is a video game room, attracting little kids like moths to a light. It is not an natural attraction, moths to a light, phototaxis inducing something that is unable to control, and likewise, the little kids, eyes reflecting the light and seductive obedience, arguing who gets to play Madden next, right here, weirdly, in the center of enlightenment. In an egg shelled seat, I am sandwhich between the the porous metal sheets and the swanky neon flooring, sandwiched between the two slices of what I can only make out is the future.

The kids playing the video games, a couple making out on the geometric shapings of a sofa, and I can catch a couple of swears on the television on some hip reality TV show. And as the middle schooled students, shamelessly flinging their bodies over the iMacs like starved hyenas, I ask myself: Is this the future of the library?

Kant said that doing the right thing for the wrong reason is just as bad as doing the wrong thing. I remember the times when little boys and little girls went to the great white building, not with a passion for the swankiest ‘learning environments’, but for a bulgy-eyed excitement for books.

I look inwards.

I saw there is a girl. I, like the seat I am sitting in, am only a shell, and without the yellow and white core to give me definition, I did the only impulsive thing.


“Hi,” she returned with a tussle of hair. Suddenly, I remember from Friends that 90% of your body’s pheromones are secreted from the head. She had a sophisticated look, with one of those very soft looking scarfs. She, like me, was also applying for colleges in a white eggshell seat. She, like me, was also sandwiched between the future, between the the porous metal sheets and the swanky neon flooring. She, like me, while the world was shifting into something chaotic, is attempting to stand still, resting in her own egg shell seat, upon her future.

“Hey, want to go grab a coffee or something?”

“Sure.” She smiled, and we stood up from our egg shelled seats, moving past the future, us moving while the porous metal sheets and the swanky neon flooring only stood still.

iPad, a gimmick of education

A textbook on the desk, opened to a page, and a blank notebook on the side. Curled in a chair, he should be doing history homework, but instead, he is playing one of those colorful touch games that utilizes animals and cutting ropes and flinging pigs and such.

iPads are simply devices of entertainment. I heavily urge my school district to reconsider their decision of giving students divergent technologies. iPads are counterproductive, usurping valuable energy and motivation. Sure, they are fun, and sometimes even immensely useful, but nonetheless, they are only things, electronic gimmicks that not necessarily contribute educational success.

First, I would like to make one thing clear: I think technology is a necessary conductor of quicker and higher success. My friend uses an iPad as an ebook habitually. My laptop functions as a portable workplace, electronic sketchpad, music making studio, etc. Running with music not only compels me to run further but also faster. I type faster than I write longhand. Technology has made life more efficient and ‘cool’.

However, the demographic at my school given the iPads can care less about using it as an eBook, or a faster way to write. Based on common sense and observation, they naturally turn to the more fun functions of the iPad: games, music, art, etc because they can. When I surveyed a couple of iPad-wielding friends, here were some actual responses:

  • Now I can get on Facebook during school.
  • The star walk app is really useful–I can see where the stars/constellations are without having to be outside. I dont know if it’s more productive.
  • I’m so happy I got one, but iPads are definitely bad because they distract me from doing actual work.

So therefore, we are thankful, school district, but iPads, by nature, are too divergent.

Spending more on cooler things doesn’t necessarily translate into higher academic success. I strongly believe that blindly splurging on technology is quite deconstructive to the classroom atmosphere.

There are many other other alternatives of utilizing technology to promote learning; collaboration projects on google docs or college classes on coursera are both excellent. Let’s not focus on spending as a means of learning, but learning as a means of learning. I hope for the best.

Life is a game, a reflection

I am living a game, a complex stimulation with a balance of structure and exploration. It is play. It is freedom from structure, and yet, I am making it purposeful and fun.

Life is a game, and I am playing it.

A game:

1) must be played voluntarily

Sure, there are goals of life such as to make money, be a great husband or wife, make a difference, etc, but the fundamental aim of the game is to have fun, the undeclared sanctity. Have fun with your job, love your husband or wife, believe and smile at the difference you’ve created. To be coerced to play is to violate this sanctity. One who must play cannot play.

2) is about exploration as much as playing

The framework of a great game spawns interesting strategy and limitless exploration. The best games have an excellent balance of structure and exploration. By exploring, we can be great and interesting, but never perfect. Like chess, we can only be ‘very good’ at life.

Never has there been so much seriousness in having fun and exploring. And, in the end, isn’t that what life is all about? Determine the goal, love the goal, love life, and, most importantly, have fun.

Attractive mathy links

The links below increases in progressive ‘mathy’ difficultyness. You don’t have to understand everything, but I hope you found these links as interesting as I did!

^_^ Here we go.

This, I think, is my favorite game theory video, great real life badassery. One of the contestants pulls a trick that is incredibly clever.

xkcd, my favorite webcomic, is now introducing explanations to silly, hypothetical physics questions.

Some homosexual math statistics. (Don’t worry, it’s appropriate!)

I scored a 0 on this ridiculously simple math test. I dare you to do better.

How to statistically win at hangman. The author goes from a completely random guess to an exact hangman science. (Also, here is a game analysis of battleship, and how to win at it!)

As a visual person, I love math which can be graphically shown. It’s something that I try to do myself. This shows a visual proof for triangular numbers.

This site very clearly demonstrates properties of a fascinating fourth dimension. minutephysics revived my attention on this subject.

Toilets. What is awkward is a very nice math problem!

What is the probability you’re selected as a tribute for the hunger games? Here are two statistic rundowns.

Back of the envelope physics questions. You can learn something every day from these small tidbits. Quite difficult, but very practical questions!

College admissions and affirmative action

This issue is discussed in “Justice”, Michael Sandel’s popular political philosophy course.

According to wikipedia, affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including “race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin” into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group “in areas of employment, education, and business” usually justified as countering the effects of a history of discrimination.

Giving the advantage based on cultural differences rather than merit in colleges admissions. Is this injurous to justice? I know there is a definite disadvantage for me in applying to some colleges–according to the New York Times and USA today, more and more Asians are leaving the ‘race’ box unchecked to balance the playing field.

Here’s my view on the issue.

Everyone is born into an inescapable caste of ethnic, socio-economic, and other cultural differences. These already established factors that one is born into cannot be avoided. Thus, naturally and perhaps unfairly, the people with the most merit tend to favor certain ethnic and socio-economic groups. The Asian culture, for example, stresses education, and subsequently, produces children of higher educational merit whereas the latino culture does not emphasize the importance of education. Is it fair for colleges then to give an edge to latinos who are statistically and unavoidably under-merited?

We can only be sure that the answer is not easy.

Let say a top university gives an edge to latinos, who are shown to be statistically absent of educational opportunities.

However, there are also some latino individuals who are very much blessed with educational opportunities. What should we do with these people?

I think that affirmative action is a great idea in education. A lower class partaking in education increases socio-economic mobility, which in turn, will give rise to the equal consideration of merit. However, just affirmative action, I fear, will never be available as there will always be exceptions (the latino who is blessed with educational opportunities).

A holistic background examination might be too complicated and subject to human errors to be accurate, but to give an advantage or a disadvantage in a one-factor affirmative action decision is a disturbing mistake. Just because a family is latino. Just because one had no parents. Just because a family is poor. No. Merit should be far most important one-factor affirmative action decision.

To all the high school seniors out there, strut your merit, and good luck.

Why I suck at vocabulary

I suck at vocabulary.

I realized that my vocab sucked a month ago when I thought the verb form of demolition was demolite. Demolite isn’t a word; I meant demolish. And my friends made fun of me after that. So I cried.

I tried to memorize vocabulary the normal way first; using flash cards. However, I failed; the words went into my short termed memory and I fell asleep learning them. Falling asleep, I dreamed of a vocabulary wizard tapping my head and I suddenly learned all the words in the world. I woke up and realized it was only a dream. So I cried.

I quickly gave up; learning by flashcards was pretty boring.

So I recorded myself explaining and drew interpretations of vocabulary words. And those words went straight to my long term memory. [below are some examples] I had fun by expressing words naturally without the dullness of rote memorization.

I still suck at vocab.
But at least now I’m trying.

[click images below to enlarge]