Sunday, April 18

Substitute teacher.

Hello, I'm your substitute teacher this week. Yes I know, it's only Sunday, but I wanted to get started early. My goal is going to be to intrude in your sleepy little lives once in awhile to teach you something you may find worth learning. In the process I will surely learn more too, or crystallize what I know, and practice explaining all sorts of varied topics in easy to understand language and hopefully in a way that is enjoyable and deserving of your time. If I do my job well, you may learn a thing or two, and I'll get to practice my writing skills on a semi-captive audience.

I'm going to start simply by gauging your interests. Could you please just put the following ten subjects in order from what you are most interested in to what you find to be least interesting? I know it's heavy on sciences, and you are free to suggest other categories, but these are areas where I feel some of my strengths lie.


I've done most of you a favor and put math at the bottom for you already. Many of these disciplines have some overlap, break up into many interesting sub-fields, or contain one another like Russian dolls. In reality nothing is black and white, nor is it neatly categorized like the "departments" are in a university course catalogue. Real life is messy (complex) and our attempts to pigeonhole aspects of it into labeled boxes is mostly an exercise in futility.

But also one of utility. Since it's not usually convenient to discuss "Life, the Universe, and Everything" as the late Douglas Adams put it, we are forced to make concessions to the artificial division of the whole, and in some cases it works better than in others. The concept of evolution by natural selection, for example, is the driving theme within biology (without it biology is just zoology - or stamp collecting, as it has been said), but it's lately been insinuating its way into quite distinct disciplines as well, like economics, sociology, human history, psychology, and even cosmology - sometimes with startling results that afford new insights into the interconnectedness of all knowledge; the common themes that unite matter, energy, and information at the most fundamental levels.

For now though, if you would, I'd like it very much if you could just leave a comment ranking the above traditional disciplines in order from your most favored to least, and that will be a good start. Thanks!


Hans said...

Anthropology, physical and cultural
some on:
Geology, History, Biology, Philosophy

less on Physics, Chemistry, Cosmology

way less on Technology and Math!

;o} I have to buy a new lunch pail today!

Metamatician said...

Lunch pail eh? I don't know if you're pulling my tail or not. Probably are.

Thanks for listing your favorite subjects!

billybytedoc said...


An Gabhar Ban said...

Hmmm.. I can't place some before others and I hated to even have to pick between the top 6. They all fascinate me. :) And math isn't last!


Metamatician said...

Thanks though :)

I know how you feel.

Raelha said...

History, Philosophy, Anthropology, Biology, Geology, Cosmology, Physics, Maths (with an English spelling :p), Chemistry, Technology.

The first three are close, the second trio also - I wasn't sure where to put Physics since I mostly relate it to what I had to learn at school, which was never made very interesting and which I could never fully understand, though now I know it can be a lot more fascinating, though I'm still not certain I'll be able to grasp it - then maths and chemistry almost joint with technology tailing along at the back.

Basically, I'd like to know more about the first nine because, well, just to know. Technology is last because it'd probably be useful to know more, not because I find it that enthralling.

Metamatician said...

Thank you, and good explanations too :)

BTW you're the first person to follow instructions and actually put all of them in order of your preference. Commendable yet understandable from a teacher!

The rest of my readership is very creative it seems. Which is a good thing as well, and they get their points across, even if its in an unorthodox way :P

Thanks everyone so far...

Raelha said...

Hee, I'm forever telling my students "Always read the instructions, and then read them again".

Metamatician said...

Hooray for that.

I don't mind independent thinkers, but sometimes following orders is nice too :-)

I do appreciate how each person who comments on my blog has his or her own personality, which tends to come out in the writing.

Sometimes that tells you a lot about a person!

You're a person with a very orderly mind, even if you feel bombarded from so many directions by life that you may feel in the midst of chaos, nevertheless I've observed that the way you ultimately deal with all those various things is pretty systematic. That's probably your way of dealing with them without losing your mind!

I deal with things sporadically and chaotically, and I stress a lot. I could use some more mental ordering. I make a lot of lists and reminders, but they end up just as cluttered as the mind that made them, and I don't always follow them. I'm just sort of a tornado with legs sometimes.

Other times I sleep all day because there doesn't seem any reason to get up... :-|

Raelha said...

Maybe you're right, it stops me from going potty. Though I've been having a few of those wanting-to-sleep-all-day days recently, mainly because it's easier to lie in bed aand ignore everything I think I should be doing. Most of the time I make myself get up and do something that needs to be done, then I feel better, feel I've done something useful and can then enjoy relaxing.

JOVIAN said...

TRUTH please!

Metamatician said...

@Jovian: Sir, yes sir!

@Raelha: If you need to go potty, please go! Do us a favor and use the lady's room, though ;-)

I know 'potty' means 'crazy' in British-ese but it sounds funny to us yanks, to whom it usually means "to pee" lol...

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