cabin fever

Tim Eck
Tue, 31 Mar 2020 05:40:02 PDT
There has been some discussion on what to do when you're not allowed to do
anything and I'd like to suggest MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses.  These
are FREE courses you can take online, although lately some have been
offering benefits for paying a few hundred dollars for an upgrade and
EdX and Coursera are the two main affiliations I know of and were created
by some very prestigious universities like Harvard, MIT and Stanford.
Someone I know just retired before the pandemic started and
studying paleobiology on Coursera.
A lot of the time I have a vague idea how something works and only
occasionally realize that isn't good enough.  Like when I realized the
concept of dna replication I learned in high school was topologically
impossible because as the strands were separated, the helix would bind
(torsionally) and replication would have to stop almost immediately.  So I
took EdX's Molecular Biology course and learned about topoisomerase and
lots of other new stuff.  I also took their Introductory biology course
since I realized that had changed a lot in the last 50 years or so.
Then I took Coursera's 'Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of
Relativity' because I realized my understanding was nebulous at best.
Surprisingly this only required high school algebra and you can gain some
appreciation of Einstein's truly different brain.
'Paradox and Infinity' (EdX) does require some facility with mathematical
proofs but you are well rewarded if you stick it out: You can learn about
Cantor's transfinite numbers, understand Turing machines, learn about
uncomputable numbers and follow one of Kurt Godel's proofs.
I can vouch that all of these courses were taught better than any course I
ever took in a brick and mortar college.
Good luck in finding your answers,
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