Sunday, January 11, 2009

This is what I am reading

Thomas L. Friedman: Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

I've been a fan of Tom Friedman since I had to read from Jerusalem to Beirut. I like the way he explains complex situations in everyday words. I am halfway trough and it's very insightful. In summary, Global Warming, Globalization and Overpopulation are issues that need to get addressed. Now. It urges Americans to take the lead in developing and adopting innovative ways of producing clean energy. I hope the upcoming administration has someone in their payroll who read this book.

Socrates Cafe

I've had this book for a while. In fact, I bought it right before deploying to Iraq, and didn't like it then, but I started to read it again, and it's growing on me. It's about this guy who goes around and sets up these meetings or "socrates cafe's" in order to get regular people engaged in philosophical discourse. I am taking my time with it.

First things First

This one is for personal growth. It's about how to prioritize things and get things done according to importance. It's very good. It has made me look at myself and all the roles I play in my life. However, I feel stressed every time I read a chapter. Because there are so many things that are important to me, I don't have time to do all of them. One thing though, I am making an effort to stay healthy, because I can't afford to procrastinate with that one. So I am making the effort to not over eat, to work out at least 3 times a week, and to take care of my overall health.

Digital Communications

This one is for school. It's for a class with the same name. Very interesting stuff. It deals with the very bottom of all the communication layers. The physical channel. This deals with the problem of sending and receiving information reliably. When you talk on the phone, send an email, watch a video on youtube. Information is traveling through many channels and making it to your device in a way that appears seamless. In reality, that information travels through wires and in the air as electrical signals. All of this is realized with information translated to binary form. It's all zero's and ones. This course deals with channel coding. Meaning how information gets across the physical layer (trough free air, copper lines, water, bouncing off walls, going through your flesh, etc, etc.

and more...

It usually takes 4 or 5 lectures until I lose the prof, but I this time I broke the record, by the second lecture I was lost. The truth is, I suck at math. Well, not really, I love math, but math does not love me. Like any love story, my relationship with math is filled with joyous moments and painful heartbreaking. I used to think I was doing good, then calculus came along and ruined forever. Last night though I started reviewing all the math I took at my undergrad, well, not all, but most, I took out my calculus, differential equations, Linear Systems, and Probability for Signal processing, I meant to do a quick glance at all the chapters so I can refresh all that information, and to get in the math mindset, I fulfilled the latter but not the former. I got stuck in CH1 of Calculus, looking at limits, I remembered, I don't think I ever really got what calculus is about, even after 3 semesters, I was so worried about passing the class, I didn't stop to think about it. Last night I started reading each paragraph and each formula, graph and explanation carefully, and then suddenly I was struck by how beautiful and elegant and mathematical proof is. Reminded me of a mathematician's apology.

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