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!
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