All entries for February 2012

February 24, 2012

Speed Reading: Even though I am a mathematician…

Tutor was Han-Na Cha.

First, on subvocalization: attempting to consciously destroy all subvocalization also destroyed my speed and any comprehension I had of the text. Comprehension-wise, I find the voice ‘reads’ the text a little behind my eyes (and far faster than I could speak it aloud), which I find helpful. Despite this, it’s difficult to tell exactly what I subvocalize: focusing on the process interferes with it.

However, I think reducing it in certain areas will increase speed (while slight!) and possibly (hopefully!) comprehension. This is a very maths-related area, so I’ll add some examples.

Example 1: [1\quad 2], (1,2) and \{1,2\} are all different: the first is a vector, the second a tuple, the third a set. However, I take no time to /read/ the symbols surrounding the numbers - they are merely interpreted.

Example 2: x < 2 is probably pronounced “x is less than 2”, but while reading it as part of a series of equations, I don’t subvocalize it as such - just sort of understanding it. This is an aid to comprehension, as focusing unnecessarily on the symbol detracts from the meaning.

Example 3: \exists and \forall are pronounced “there exists” and “for all” respectively; I do subvocalize these (in full! there ex-ists! bleh!) and (likely) focus too much on them. Taken from my metric spaces notes: a sequence is Cauchy if:
(\forall \epsilon > 0)(\exists k \in \mathbb{N})(\forall m,n \geq k)d(x_n,x_m) < \epsilon
In this case, this example is healthily chunked already - each bracketed section is a phrase and together it forms a sentence. The order is important and only the whole statement together makes sense. Reading it should be a bit slower than a sentence because you actually have to understand each part before moving on - they’re all important.

In short, I suppose the aim here is to become as good at reading symbol-heavy sentences as I am wordy sentences.

In second; my current mode of reading is linear, but jumpy. I begin at the beginning and go forth, occasionally hopping back and forth to section titles to see where I’ve come from and where I’m heading until I reach the end, whereupon I stop. A nonlinear arrangement would likely serve better: the headings, a summary (if present), the end, the beginning, for instance. So I suppose a relevant ‘goal’ is try that.

Emotional Intelligence: An Amnesiac Discovery

Follow-up to Emotional Intelligence: Illness Interferes. Irksome. from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.

On the not-working side: I did a lot of work this week. Unfortunately, it was all on the same thing, which I've been working on for about two weeks. I'd been putting off parts because I thought they'd be boring; they were (incipient boredom), but when my code didn't work I found I couldn't leave it alone - that the solution would come to me if only I stayed at it (unreasonable eagerness). After completing it, though, I feel somewhat burnt out.

On the "I can't remember the last time I felt sad" time: it appears that statement was literal. I felt sad yesterday, but all I can remember from that is "huh, guess I do feel sad, I'll have to blog about that". Unfortunately I cannot remember the circumstances or the reason that lead to the emotion, or how I felt at the time (I am great at forgetting things, clearly). Suppressed or ignored, I don't know. Such a curious happenstance.

February 15, 2012

Emotional Intelligence: Illness Interferes. Irksome.

Follow-up to Emotional Intelligence: Crying as you Solve Problems from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.

SMART goals were twofold:

The first; on the ‘motivation’ side: consider reasons for not wanting to work. Chosen to avoid time management crossover, though I’m not taking that workshop.
Current progress: illness: reasons are “lethargy” and “i feel crap”. Reasons are actually valid, so no progress here.

The second on the “I don’t feel sadness and that’s fine” side, consider why.
Current progress: I was too ill to bother feeling anything but lethargic.

In short, illness meant I accomplished nothing worthwhile, going through my days in a haze, and the primary emotion I felt was lethargy. Didn’t even get fired up.

I did learn that I consider both “lethargy” and “solipsism” as emotions, though. The latter is a philosophy! They’re probably made up of little emotional “elements”, except lethargy might be a “lack” of these elements (anti-elements?). Well, that’s irrevelant.

While I’m actually doing something, it’s fun unless I get stuck. The feeling of “OH!” is great, even if my ideas are completely incorrect, it’s still nice to think back on. Additionally obtaining an answer feels great even if I have the feeling that it’s probably wrong.

Essentially I’ve found a few things, none of which were what I was looking for.

February 04, 2012

Emotional Intelligence: Crying as you Solve Problems

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.


Notice the feeling of not wanting to work on something. Evaluate it. Query the reasons for existence. While working on something, query those feelings, too, for completeness’s sake.

Note feelings of annoyance/anger/frustration when they arise, and why. Note consequences. Query whether this human emotion known as “sadness” would be more appropriate (knowing me, the answer I’ll likely come to is “no”!).

One thing that (likely?) had an effect on my lack of feeling sadness would be my dad’s refrain of “don’t get sad, get mad! Getting upset never helps anything.” – and I think he was right. Depression just interferes with discussing the issue and fixing it; and generally interferes with contemplation. Then again, the latter also applies to anger, which can also lead to impulsiveness, although I’ve also been able to focus it into improving my work – but then I’ve been able to do that perfectly well without that consideration simply from the knowledge that it was wrong or imperfect as it stood, so who knows in the end?

Enough meandering, we’ll see how this plan goes.

February 2012

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