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BranKetra Blog

Summer 2015 Term and Thoughts on Continuing Education

With a few weeks of the summer term done, I feel like sharing my thoughts on my courses thus far. I am taking two courses, calculus & analytical geometry and java programming. Calculus & analytical geometry is a challenge for me because it is presenting advanced mathematics in an online-only format. Sometimes, it is easy and just review, but there are other times when entirely new definitions and theorems are shown to me for the first time. I really like applications problems because they help me remember ways to approach a variety of situations mathematically.

I remember when I was riding through downtown Nashville during the Spring semester and I was estimating the hypotenuse of skyscrapers based on given positions at ground level. Now, I am wondering about the time intervals when I can perform a super in given positions in Ultra Street Fighter IV and how I can best defend against a variety of attacks from different characters in given attack positions. Thinking about mathematical concepts keeps my mind clear.

During the break between the spring and summer terms, I studied C# on lynda.com. With that and some knowledge of C as well as C++, Java programming has been mostly familiar with it being a part of the C family of languages. Some parts of this programming language are distinctly different from the others, so I need to better familiarize myself with certain features for this course. Making simple programs with it is, as someone might guess, simple. I have some ideas about how to make a web application with Java.

Besides that, I am narrowing my choices of a university to attend. My major might change, but it shall at least be related to computer science with choices such as information technology, electrical engineering, or software engineering. Next, minoring in philosophy has become a goal that makes sense to me as a good choice. Critical thinking is an important skill to have and one ethics course, alone, greatly increased my apprehension of abstract thought. Another reason why it is a good choice is because higher education has standards of decency that discourage foul behavior which means that discussions about important issues shall be treated with care. This is very appealing, to me, because that means that even the least acceptable arguments shall still be respectful to philosophers and they shall be scrutinized for the logical qualities of their statements and arguments.

Another thing is online learning. I have studied in about half a dozen online courses for college credit and I consider myself as part of a generation that is changing the way humanity learns. Instead of only brick and mortar classes, online courses offer a different, and often more challenging, way to study. edX is partnering with Arizona State University to offer new college students a path to starting higher education online.

This is awesome because improvements are sure to come to online learning platforms. I would like to continue as a part of that. I am not interested in partying. I am going to college to learn. There are advantages to brick and mortar campuses like meeting people, but I would like online learning to advance to a state in which I can meet with people digitally in a way comparable to in person. I intend to continue giving potential for that.

That is all, for now.

Learning a Higher Education in Germany

Hello, everyone.

I have been researching opportunities around the world to continue my higher education. During what I am calling an investigation, I have been served a reminder that Germany offers students a tuition-free education at many of its universities. Also important to me since I am a beginner at the German language, some colleges offer entire programs in English. As Germany has historically been a scientific hub for knowledge, I would like to see if this might be the best option for me to complete my Bachelor of Science in computer science. Naturally, my intention in attending school in that country includes improving my deutsch and experiencing life with the locals (and other international students), so I would be engaged in every aspect of life learning a new language.

If there are any colleges teaching an all-English computer science program then I shall find it.

-Berlin

For those of you who have studied in Germany, feel free to share your experience as I would be grateful knowing about my options, and for the rest, expressing your views on higher education outside of the United States is welcome. In addition, you are welcome to express any experiences you have had with Germany and the German people.

How I am Doing

School

As the time of the year is nearing March, I wonder what all I can do with the education I am learning. I say that with regard to my favorite current course, philosophy. In it, I am reading about various topics and answering questions about them. What is an interesting aspect of the lessons of this course is that they are not teaching me how to think, but rather why abstract thought is important in an elaborate way. I have noticed that I have become better at thinking about major issues and not only because my grades show that, but because my approach to other fields of interest has become more based on deductive reasoning or logical.

Besides that, I am participating in Math Club and I have begun playing chess again to participate in Chess Club. Philosophy Club is meeting next month and I intend to join in on that discussion. Some say that the apprehension of knowledge is actually a recollection of it. I do not agree or disagree with that idea at this point, but it is a view that I shall consider for what it is worth with regard to my academic program and beyond.

Books

With my Kindle, I have about ninety books, now, and most of them are (legally!) free. In general, they are popular titles that have been read throughout the ages.

I am currently reading the following ebooks:

  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • A Brief History of Time
  • Franklin's Way to Wealth or, 'Poor Richard Improved'
  • The Journals of Lewis and Clark, 1804-1806
  • The Republic
  • On the Origin of Species
  • Theodore Roosevelt: an Autobiography
  • Walden, and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

One particular paperback book I am reading is On the Shoulders of Giants, edited by Stephen Hawking. It is supplying me a new perspective on the great works of physics and astronomy. I find that I can own a copy of a collection of some of the greatest achievements of the human mind for under thirty dollars (USD) fascinating.

Each day, at least one book is read and something new is learned or utilized as a reminder of that which has been studied, previously, by me.

Music

I recently bought a Soprano Baroque recorder. I had a few recorders in grade school and I enjoyed music class and band. I am relearning how to play. Next, I intend to get an keyboard and violin as well as another trumpet to relearn how to play that as well. Playing music helps me think, so instruments and possibly lessons are a worthwhile investment, collectively.

Video Games

I have been playing few games for a few minutes at a time every once in a while because I have been preoccupied with other pursuits. When I have played something, it was usually a fighting game such as Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Injustice: GAU Ultimate Edition, or Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Earlier this week, I had some hands-on time with Street Fighter X Tekken for the first time. It is not bad, but I prefer SSFIV:AE.

Additionally, I got Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy. Its main attraction are its music tracks. The actual gameplay is essentially a series of QTEs sequences that produce a single sound that is intended to sync with the soundtrack. That said, its simplicity does not make it a bad game. In fact, I have enjoyed every time I played it without projecting an idealistic or notional state of mind towards it; Final Fantasy music is quite good.

Bodybuilding

I have started bodybuilding again with a interest in growing my chest and biceps before focusing on anything else. Once I grow those a bit, I shall move on to what needs work next, so everything is proportional.

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At the risk of being thought of as grandiose, I intend to keep this schedule and enter university in Spring 2016. One of my previous blog entries discussed how I was accepted to a good school. An update for that (as you might guess) is that I have decided to continue studying at my current college, for now. I feel driven to accomplish these goals and I realize it is a more complex situation than "just doing it." The value of utilizing my mind for my goals and career is definitely an attractive idea and especially so for the purpose of self-actualization. =)

Reading Materials

Over winter break, I have been preparing for my next set of courses by visiting websites with video footage and readable materials. Until now, something I have not invested much time into is any ebook format. After doing some research, I found that there are many, many of them available and tens of thousands are legally free. With a kindle or other ebook reading device and a program called calibre, I have been increasing my library. At the rate I am going, ebook files shall be my main type of reading material, soon.

Readers, what is your primary format of book reading material?

When Worn by Hobbits, The Ring of Power is a Metaphor

I was wondering about the J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit and LotR Ring of Power which belongs to Sauron. I have reason to believe that one of its powers when worn by Hobbits are elements of literary symbolism. When Bilbo or Frodo Baggins wear the One Ring on their respective fingers, they disappear. Throughout the story, their characters degenerate into that which values Isildur's Bane above all else. The act of physically disappearing is a metaphorical loss of self because their bodies, part of their character attributes, are removed while wearing it. Its power is useful for the characters in the stories and educating for readers as to an understanding of how evil the Ring of Power is.

Marvel's Black Panther

"Black Panther" is actually a ceremonial title bestowed on the king of Wakanda as the leader of its people. There are multiple tribes in the country of Wakanda and the Black Panther rules over them. To earn this status, a warrior must defeat a current Black Panther in combat. It is actually a hereditary title, but it has been earned without fail for numerous generations. For the majority of their history, the chiefs of Wakanda all concealed their nation's presence from the outside world and lived as an advanced society.

When a meteorite made out of Vibranium violently collided with the earth during T'Challa's childhood, his dad, chieftain T'Chaka decided to continue hiding Wakanda from the outside world in order to keep safe its resources. With many events transpiring including the Fantastic Four being invited by T'Challa, years later, Wakanda began international relations. Doctor Doom's attempt to use Wakanda's Vibranium for his own purposes resulted in Black Panther rendering all of it inert with the resolution of participating in the world at more collective level. He was married to Storm of the X-Men for a time.

The Black Panther is a skillful in a variety of practices from hunting and tracking, to inventing, science and to politics. The Panther possesses a Ph.D in Physics from Oxford University. The Wakandan Panther chieftain is considered one of the eight smartest people on the planet, a genius in physics as well as advanced technology, and a brilliant inventor. In addition, T'Challa (see my avatar) is extremely thoroughly trained in gymnastics and acrobatics, a master of African martial arts different from one another, and contemporary fighting forms that do not adhere to any particular creed. As every Black Panther before him, he has been granted the strength, experience; and education of all the chieftains who were the Panther.

Being king of Wakanda, a country rich to unknown amounts, but estimated due to its advanced technologies and Vibranium meteorite, the Wakandan Panther is one of the wealthiest people in the world.

In normal settings, the Panther's collection of weapons and military equipment includes a Vibranium-weave suit, an "energy dagger," and a portable supercomputer.

I chose the Black Panther for my avatar due to these reasons. Why did you choose yours?

Studying languages

It is December the 16th and I have been studying a few languages. Mainly, I am studying Japanese and French, but I also study German and Spanish. Given my home in the Southern U.S., Spanish is the most relevant besides English, of course, though I do not intend to stay here for too long (thus the multiple languages).

I was studying fifty words a day, but then I took my parent's advice about languages and applied it. Plus, knowing words does not mean knowing grammar. More practically, I decided to learn phrases at the same time as individual words to understand the languages faster (not only Japanese). This change has helped.

After Thanksgiving, December Cometh

A few days ago, I met with my family at the residence of my relative. It was a celebration of our family's unity throughout our struggles.

There are some things I would like to hear more and less of, respectively. I expect to experience what I would like as I continue my education at college.

Science is an ever-increasing necessity for me to further develop my world views. Much of what I know is religious in nature and I feel that for a more complete worldview, I need to study and practice scientific principles. Not only that, but a continued study of philosophy--ethics, in ancient and contemporary contexts shall aid me in apprehending the universe as it is rather than how it might be. I believe that whatever the truth about religion is, the study of the laws of the universe is key to understanding higher power as we are not meant to live in ignorance by any fundamental force of righteousness. I wonder if there is anyone out there who shares my view.

Poetry and drama are great subjects. I recently watched the Hamlet, Directed by Kenneth Branagh. It shows that William Shakespeare was an extraordinary poet and dramatist.

I begin calculus next semester along with computer science courses. As a transfer student, my college experience is complicated by my education history, but that is not a detriment to my experience.

Someday I will get another telescope and look at the planets beyond the asteroid belt again like I did years ago.

November Wellness

In November, I would like to write about my recent activities. To start, I have been studying my classwork and it is going well, for the most part. My employer and I agreed that my best course of action is to devote the time I would be at work to school, so I resumed my leave of absence. Target has been very kind to me throughout my year plus with them and I will not forget it. Next, I got accepted for admission to a fairly prestigious university. The interesting thing about my acceptance letter is I had not sent all of my transcripts or ACT score, yet. In every college I have been to before this, they signed off documents from a list comprised of those items to consider me for admission. I suppose my entrance essay was very well received. This opportunity is too good to pass on, so I am taking it. :) I feel great about being acknowledged like this and I intend to start next spring. Perhaps a relative of mine can be persuaded by the potential chance for admission into higher education and substantiate his knowledge with a degree to increase his wage potential and also broaden his access to information.

Maybe I can work a day a week and decrease my time utilized for other extracurricular activities. I intend to remain a moderator on GameSpot as my team has treated me well and I enjoy the thought that users have more opportunities to discuss acceptable topics without being flooded with nonsense (spam, disruptive posting, etc.).

Throughout the month of November, I have been playing Destiny more than any other game, but I did play some others.

They are:

  1. Super Metroid
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
  3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  4. Thief
  5. Super Mario 3D World
  6. Team Fortress 2
  7. Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition
  8. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
  9. Tekken Tag Tournament 2
  10. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
  11. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
  12. Mega Man Zero Collection

I have clearly been keeping myself busy with games.

I also began a new workout regimen. It is not newly designed, but it is a new experience for me. It is ten weeks long and I am not very much into it. I lost ten pounds already and I am feeling better. I got some garcinia cambosia and colon cleanser. Those are working well for me because I certainly am more energized and I have been sleeping better than before I got them and started this regimen. In addition, I stopped drinking high calorie and high sugar drinks. Also, I eat about a handful of food per meal as a self-imposed limit. I read about that meal portion idea on the internet and it is making a positive difference in my fat percentage. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I will be back to around 8-12% percent again. Right now, an educated guess is that I am at about 15-18%. My intention is to eventually reach five percent, but that will be a while since I am not going to be unhealthy for that goal.

October Update

It is the tenth month of 2014 and I am well into my courses. With enough time to study, but not enough time to work, I have been doing well and I intend to transfer to a university next semester. My immediate goal is to pass my courses, but my second-most important goal is to get a car. I intend to get something that is reliable as the main trait of it. Given the opportunity, I am going to study on campus while living at a dorm, but a car is useful in that situation, too. Most likely, I am going to a school in-state. However, I may go to school out of state if I am accepted. My next semester is less than three semesters away. Depending on which school I attend, I am graduating in one to two years! I have lofty goals, so my academic career is not finishing with a Bachelor of Science (that is not to say all lofty goals go beyond a Bachelor's program). I am grateful to have a support network of friends with similar interests, family who believes in me, and acquaintances willing to help given mutually advantageous circumstances. Some have been kind enough to help without any demand for compensation.

In other news, I got a new console and several new games.

Console; PS4

Games:

  • Destiny
  • Wolfenstein: A New Order
  • Thief
  • Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition

I also purchased some new films.

  • Captain: America: The Winter Soldier
  • Thor: A Dark World

Fall has been exciting so far and there is more to come.