Hands down, chemistry. The other sciences are neat and all but chemistry teaches you how to easily create things that go boom.
Other: History. Teaches you why you should learn how to make things that go boom.
I love reading about history. I only wish it was taught better in school.
I too liked Chemistry.
I ended up taking Chemistry at the local college after I graduated HS. They actually had real nice equipment and it made the experience so much better. I really enjoyed it and still think about doing it all over again just for fun.
No need for classes. All the information you'll ever need is online for free. Really, once you have a few gallons of nitric acid, the world's your oyster as far as things that go boom are concerned. I wouldn't advise trying home brewed peroxide-based explosives though. TATP, for instance, is damned nifty but it's also a good way to lose a hand.
What I learned in H.S. Chem... Table salt, melt it, add a couple DC electrodes, that's all you need. Just don't throw the stuff in a swimming pool.
Avoid all contact with metal, particularly copper-containing metal.
Start with half a cup of 6% peroxide. Add 2 tablespoons and 2/3 teaspoon of crushed hexamethylene tablets, commonly available as wax-coated solid fuel pellets for camp stoves. Stir to dissolve, and start to cool the mix with an ice bath. Add a quarter cup of citric acid. Stir to dissolve. Immediately filter it, keeping to liquid, to get rid of undissolved crap like wax. Let the liquid sit for a day or two, so that crystals form. Filter it again, this time keeping the crystals. Wash it several times with water, then with alcohol. Let it dry.
You should have about 4.5 grams of white powder. It is enough to blow a hole 1/4-inch deep into a concrete floor. I never got it to go off by hitting it with a hammer, so it is decently safe. It ignites easily. It will transition to Mach 25 detonation if you slightly confine it, for example in a pen cap that isn't even sealed up. Spread thin it just flashes like gunpowder, but add a shaving of wood on top and it'll detonate.
Unlike TATP, it won't sublime and thus get all over. Like TATP, it degrades, becoming inert after a few weeks.
Advice for keeping your body intact, unlike mine: if you are fucking around with it, doing stuff like igniting tiny bits of it with a shaving of wood on top to cause detonation, be aware that detonation shock waves can propagate to a larger container that might be sitting nearby.
Chemistry certainly is fun. Not only can you learn how to make things that go boom, but you can also learn how to make things that make the world seem amazing!
But in all seriousness, I preferred physics, on the grounds that calculating where projectiles will land, and then launching a few to test your math, is just plain fun.
Physics is what made other subjects like mathematics and software fun...
There is no boom without physics, and to understand physics you need to be fluent in math. Chemistry is your first abstraction layer, followed by biology. After that, everything is politics
Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com]
Obligatory SMBC. [smbc-comics.com]
He missed off philosophy. If done properly, it's arguably more fundamental than mathematics. The trouble is, it's frequently not done rigorously enough and is an umbrella term for lots of fields so not sure where that would put it in the "purity" stakes.
He missed off philosophy. If done properly, it's arguably more fundamental than mathematics.
I'm not so sure (at least with mathematics as it is done today). After all, philosophers still claim to say something about the world, the humans, etc., while mathematics is about abstract ideas that need not have any relation to reality.
That's a good point but some branches of philosophy focus solely on abstract concepts too e.g. philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language. I'm sure there's a lot of crossover between mathematics and philosophy. I suppose logic is one of the biggest areas of intersection. You could even make a case that those who first derived the rules of logic were doing philosophy.
I took a 100-level philosophy class 10 years before I took discrete math, and the first third of that discrete math class was the material from that philosophy class. Philosophy has a bad rap for being a bunch of stoners mentally masturbating around paradoxes and opinions, but philosophy also has rules and structure.
Were the early mathematicians philosphers, or vise-versa?
Biologists think they are biochemists,Biochemists think they are Physical Chemists,Physical Chemists think they are Physicists,Physicists think they are Gods,And God thinks he is a Mathematician.
Or, another (shorter) way it goes:
Physicists defer only to mathematicians, mathematicians defer only to God.
but chemistry teaches you how to easily create things that go boom.
Bah [wikipedia.org] - because, yeah, you need chemistry for it, but chemistry 's not enough.
I love Math but damn bitch don't love me none!
To this day once in a while a take a course in higher mathematics just to remind me that I'm like the poor little child staring into a candy shop: so much to have, so many delicious things and I can't have them.
After math, physics; hands down. Of course other subjects were (and are) very interesting: history, philosophy, software, hardware.
I have a degree in Engineering and a degree in Law, so my interests are many and varied but I will never do biology or chemistry, too many foul smelling things and icky too!
But if I had to pick one it would have been electronic principles at Lackland Air Force Base, because the instructors actually blew shit up. The instructors were total bros and ex-military civilians who would curse and tell dirty jokes (as well as allow the students to do the same), let us watch Pulp Fiction and Wallace and Grommet, and showed us very informative demonstrations about plugging 115 VAC into microprocessors and small capacitors. Specifically the course content was basic ohm's law shit, time constants, clippers/clampers, and clockey digital stuff. Was quite a bitch to get up at 4am and start the day with PT though, because it made staying awake a struggle and the blues we had to wear to school were known for aggravating the morning wood that the lack of sleep caused.
- Software Engineering was great because we did the whole app/Tomcat/SQL thing and it was encouraging to see that a complete system could be built by 1 person in a relatively short amount of time if necessary. Frankly it's amazing that more people aren't teaching themselves how to roll their own systems, this is all shit people can learn and roll themselves with only a cell phone and dev machine as requirements.
- Multimedia Programming was great because we reinvented the Photoshop effects wheel with code, a true A-ha moment.
Now some classes I hated:
- Internship sucked ass because Diversity University allows only internships that serve the public good, like charities or city government, so I because I couldn't serve an internship with Lockheed Martin I didn't learn dick about actually using my skills. On top of that the internship class was used as an opportunity to shove PC bullshit and White Privilege up our asses, and we had to read finger-wagging anti-White bullshit from Harvard-educated Jews and other bullshit like "Black in Silicon Valley" that was really code for suggesting that Blacks are just an untapped marketing demographic to be exploited. Goddamn is it good to be graduated and be able to express my support for President Donald Trump without fucking over my education. Being on the university mailing list was fucking hilarious during the election, the university president sent out a professional but whiny "Fuck Trump" e-mail to everybody and it was obvious that a good number of students were dissatisfied with the PC bullshit going on at the school.
- Chemistry is a fucking rad science but all of the strict needless little lab rules really killed it for me, having to use sig figs was super-infuriating and being forced to working with others (lab partners) always sucked ass because I always got paired with lazy idiots. The last straw was being required to memorize all of the mono and polyatomic ions and their charges. I had such bad times in chem that the experience caused me to switch majors from bio to computer science. Probably a better career move even if the biz is chock full of H1-B stinkies who lower wages shit in the break room sink.
this is all shit people can learn and roll themselves
You overestimate the attention span, and capacity for learning, of your fellow homo sapiens.
I know of only one electronics training program at Lackland. I spent 52 weeks there. The other school was "dog" school.
You put the president in bold? What?
Chemistry ... really killed it for me
When I was a teen boy I read the then much more recent books like Ignition! about the development of rocket fuels in the 50s or Gergel's insane autobiography of being a small time OSHA-free EPA-free organic chemist in the 40s and 50s and I was entranced, but reality struck that unless I developed a time machine to go back to 1930 or so, AND found a way to be one of the couple of guys who had a lot of fun without dying, I was going to be bored to death with chemistry.
Only a couple guys in history got to play with Florine based rocket fuels or OSHA-free organic chemistry synthesis in 1950, the rest of the time its pretty boring, but as you mention electronics is fun because from their invention until today, people have been goofing off sticking small electrolytic capacitors across the power line to blow them up. Tantalum's are even funner because there's no labeling standard and the always blow up eventually but blow up faster when hooked up in reverse (did I mention the lack of a labeling standard?). And "smoke emitting diodes", I don't know how people can F up simple power supply circuits other than intentionally but those labs were crazy, and those idiots are probably designing pacemakers and nuclear reactor control systems now which is pretty scary.
Seeing this survey made me realize that this year will mark the 30th anniversary of my graduation from college.
My favorite subject was Computer Science, that being my major. Back then we had classes where we built our own D-flip-flops, and used breadboards to construct basic circuits. This was so we'd understand what the fuck was really going on at the machine level. From what I've seen of recent graduates, colleges don't do things like that anymore, at least not for the software folks. (maybe some high end place like MIT still does, but not the run-of-the-mill programmers I've had to deal with lately) Of course back then they made the freshman computer courses use punch cards, although no one did in 'real life' even then. At the time I thought the profs just wanted us to know their pain, but with the wisdom of age I realize it was probably just that the punch readers hadn't been fully amortized yet.
Back then, what I enjoyed about building software was that you got to do everything. C was (and still is) my first software love, there was nothing the machine could do that you couldn't tell it to do. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, and too many programmers can't keep track of memory use or pointer logic. We'd have to build our own data structures, from scratch, every program! Ah, youth. Now all that stuff is prepackaged, and programming is boring as hell.
I'm retired now, and long since fell out of any real personal interest in software. Writing software and designing database for 30 years'll do that to you, I guess. I got tired of yet another hotshot new hire coming in and telling us how we should put everything in the cloud... feh. Soul dead now, I guess.
The only other subject I liked in college was a 3-quarter series on Greek and Roman history and culture, Classics it was called then. The course was a good prof, one the rare ones, although it took her a while to comprehend that, yes, the sole computer science major in her classes really did understand and enjoy that stuff. She even tried to convince me to change my major, in my senior year to boot, but I couldn't even learn French in high school, let alone the Latin -- and Greek! -- that a real classicist would have to learn.
I'm rambling. I'm old, we do that. I'll stop now, so feel free to castigate and deride me now. It seems to be in vogue these days.
Dude! Class of '88 - BS from a major private institution. The main thing I learned in those 4 years is that "the man" can raise tuition from $10K per year to $20K per year in the space of 4 years, just because they want to and people were apparently willing to pay.
I especially enjoyed how the CS program was entirely theoretical and programming language design was taught in pseudocode with the occasional snippet of Pascal. My university didn't even use C which I needed to learn on my own.
It's completely irrelevant since there are absolutely no jobs anywhere in the "tech" industry and anyone who earns a CS degree is doomed to starve to death in poverty.
The question should be: "What was your favorite distraction in college before you graduated into the real world where economic opportunity doesn't exist?"
Don't make me shove this boot up your cloaca.
Bring it on, robut bitch.
Kiss my shiny metal daffodil!
When I was in Aerospace, it became quite obvious of the pecking order...
Number 1 was the organizational skills of the executive, knowing who to place over who, and how much power he should delegate to each. This skill was worth about 6 million dollars a year.
Number 2 was the leadership skills of the managerial level. They used leadership skills to set what the level below them would be allowed to do. These were valued up to aroung $600K per year or so.
Number 3 was the do-ership skills of the engineers. This topped out about $100K. The good ones were highly skilled at doing dog-and-pony shows. The ones actually mechanizing the dreams were lumped at the top of the last group, and were quite expendable.
Number 4, the last group, was the craftmenship skills of the builders/assemblers. Their worth was between about twice the wage of a fast food chef, and the lowest level of Engineering. Maybe topping 60K or so. And these people came and went like the tide, according to which company got a government contract. These people actually built the things we sold to the Government, and had first hand experience on exactly what to do to make one that works, and one that looks like it will work and won't.
Number 5 is the highly educated engineer who volunteers to clean toilets at the soup kitchen. This is the guy who can't find a job because every job is taken by talentless bullshitters whose only skill is sucking dick. This is the guy who offers to do volunteer tech support for the soup kitchen, but is told, "We contract an Indian tech firm." This is the guy who offers to hook up the soup kitchen with cheaper internet, but is told, "We already have Comcast." This is the guy who is treated with suspicion at every attempt to apply any skills because, "You would have a job if you were any good." This is the guy who gets fired from a volunteer job at the soup kitchen because, "We can find someone more likeable to clean our toilets."
Always wear gloves when emptying the garbage in the women's restroom, because they throw tampons in the garbage.
This is the guy who is treated with suspicion at every attempt to apply any skills because, "You would have a job if you were any good."
Yes, that is the problem with the story. It's not that hard to find a job.
It's not that hard to find a job.
Here's the problem with your assertion. You're lying.
Words have meaning. Lying means intentionally stating falsehoods. Truth is never a lie as a result.
Where exactly is your evidence that he believes his claim to be wrong? I certainly don't have that impression.
You're probably right. He's just a moron.
It depends. If you don't lie and claim you've used a certain technology for longer than it has actually existed, then it can be hard to find a job. If you don't seem "likable" (actual introverts not welcome), it can be hard to find a job. If you don't follow arbitrary dress codes, good luck finding a job. If you don't have a piece of paper but are more educated than the vast majority of people with said piece of paper (autodidacts don't exist), good luck finding a job. Essentially, you need to become a run-of-the-mill bullshitter and kiss the status quo's boots to increase your chances of finding a job. People with principles want no part in that. Have fun with your self-employment.
Translation: no one wants to hire an asshole with no qualifications (but some skills). Anyone who isn't an asshole with no qualifications is a bootlicker.
"What was your favorite distraction in college before you graduated into the real world where economic opportunity doesn't exist?"
In about '94 or so you couldn't get a job with this Linux and "internet" stuff. Sorry yo, we're professionals here and only use SunOS and Ultrix and AIX not this Linux stuff and we prefer SNA using source route bridging and SDLC bridges, that IP stuff is interesting but just a flash in the pan. You seem like a bright kid, maybe you could pull biaxial cable and bus-n-tag connectors and terminate token ring cables until you learn the professional stuff. Well, it paid the bills. Things turned around after awhile. My salary quintupled, IIRC.
My favorite SunOS memory from about '93 or sometime in the 90s anyway was mtools was a new software suite and mostly worked however a corrupted floppy would cause the SunOS kernel to crash and at the time I was kinda a unix noob so I crashed about 10% of the machine room by carrying my floppy from machine to machine trying to get it to work. Amazingly I didn't get in trouble but one of the older sysadmins, a real dinosaur from the unix 80s, did give me a WTF lecture which I guess was my punishment? While the end users were screaming but ignored? Thats kinda how things rolled back in the very old days. No one wanted to admit you could crash the kernel with a buggy userspace program so it was all kinda papered over and ignored.
My second favorite distraction was chicks like the one who picked up one of the world's first linux distro cdroms and asked what those guys sound like.
While it wasn't my most frequent distraction (IM & email discussion lists), my actual favorite was to hang out on Usenet, particularly the Ultima Dragons newsgroup, which more often than not tended to focus on topics completely unrelated to our shared interest. (The most memorable example being a long thread in which a bunch of us attempted to convince one member that most women do wash their genitals, as he had commented offhand that he didn't like giving oral sex because his wife refused to do so and claimed nobody else does, either.)
I started out spending time on Usenet again back around the time Soylent News came out, but the lack of decent Linux clients — like ones that don't hardcode line-breaks — caused me to drift away again. I tried using Wine to run old copies of the programs I used back in the day, but can't manage to get the fonts to not be distorted & jaggy without making them gigantic.
This one time, at band camp, I stuck an oboe in my pussy, and I lost my reed in there, and I had to wait until my period to get the reed back. Then I switched to choir, pitches!
Do you know David Guetta?
Yuh. My body is 40% Titanium [jango-raid.ml]
I'm definitely biased, but my favorite is Intro to Logic on both levels. As a student, I loved the way it formally covered the thoughts and insights I had on how to reason. I also liked the way that it connected set logic to stuff I had learned in mathematics. And then when I thought everything had been covered, the last week covered MVL (specifically null-based unknowns, like in SQL) and fuzzy logic.
As a professor, it is such a great feeling to watch a class go through it. Even though a good chunk of the class takes it as a Gen Ed, everyone seems to get something out of it at the end. For some, it is the realization that RAA and conditional proofs are valid forms of argument; others love the evolving history of Aristotelian AIEO syllogistic logic, through prepositional, symbolic, predicate, modal, HOL/MVL/fuzzy/dialtheism, and beyond; other love the link to mathematics; others like the link to electrical engineering; others like the link to computer science and engineering; others like the formality in a sea of otherwise "soft" classes they take as Gen Eds; some like the discussions of informal logic and named fallacies; and some even take it on purpose to go on to the advanced logic classes.
Done correctly, it really is the class with something for everyone.
Logic is pretty cool. Was funny to discover my girlfriend and I knew many of the same things, she from studying philosophy and I from math and physics. :) Not something you see every day.
Definitely one of my favorite classes way back in Uni. I was a microbiology major, but I took the comp-sci version not the philosophy version, and we wrote proofs in a programming language called MIZAR on an then-already-ancient MTS mainframe.
The weird thing is that they wait until 1st or 2nd year University to teach this stuff. I've met so many otherwise intelligent and educated people with no grasp of simple logic. It is so incredibly useful in "real life" that they really should be starting in 1st grade.
Logic wasn't my favorite, it was the hardest class. But I got the most out of it. I'm so thankful that I took that one. Because I use it for so many things every day.
intersex transgender studies
Software. Started with interpreted BASIC in the 70's. (that's NINTEEN seventies.) Instant gratification to run a program but without the happy ending.
Learning Pascal in about 1981 was elegant, and was mind opening. Functions with locally scoped variables. Recursion. Data structures processed by recursion. Modules (aka "units"). Brief dabbling in 8086 assembly to write fast display code for IBM PC hardware screen buffer to enable pop up windows, saving, restoring window contents, arbitrary scrolling of a confined rectangular area of the screen, etc. Dabbling in M68000 assembly to write Mac desk accessories, system service programs loaded at boot time (the icon parade), and link the 68000 code with the main body of code in Pascal.
Learning Lisp in about 1986 was way more mind opening. The whole idea of "symbollic" processing. Pattern matching. Unification. Logic programming. The power of Macros. Lazy lists (a subset of lazy evaluation). A taste of functional programming with higher order functions. Building parsers. Seeing a much easier (but slower execution) way that workable compilers could be implemented. Of course studying different implementations of garbage collection. Searching a problem space for a solution. Minimax for two person zero sum game play. Planning the movements of a hypothetical robot arm to achieve a goal.
If you can live in an R&D playground in the 80's and 90's, I highly recommend it.
As for study? Yea, in School, definitely software. But the thing is: never stop studying and learning. Always be learning. There came a point where I could no longer know everything that was going on. So I specialized my interests and have a shallow level of knowledge on some subjects.
Tip: learn not only the level of abstraction that your peers work in, but what goes on below that abstraction. And even the level of abstraction below that. Soon you become the answer guy that everyone comes to. People line up at your office door. Managers eventually take note of that.
Those were the days. I experienced them as well.
These days, I feel I am playing with legos... any of which may be taken away and replaced with something similar at a whim of management ... and they expect me to make something that works out of it.
Lunch and recess.
Those who fail to learn History are doomed to repeat it. Usually in summer school.
Avalon: Volume 2 - Those Who Fail History Are Doomed To Repeat It [avalonhigh.com]
Teaching dinosaurs to sit, lay, rollover.
You insensitive clod! Closely followed by Art. Followed by smoking out in the parking lot.
Then again, there were no computers, or computer courses when I was in High school.... Who knows? I could have been the next Bill Jobs!
I just notice that the poll's page title (the one that goes into the browser window's title bar) seems to get chosen randomly from several polls, instead of matching the current poll.
Before I hit "Reply", it was "SoylentNews Poll | How long have you had your ...".
I too have noticed this behavior once. Strange. I don't remember what my title said.
I rounded out my Computer Science degree with courses in Philosophy each year. It was awesome to be able to exercise both halves of the brain while at Uni.
While I obviously benefited from my CS coursework as a developer, I think that Philosophy, in hindsight, may have been even more valuable. It taught me that there isn't necessarily a "right" or "wrong" answer to some questions - just the ability to argue a case intelligently. It also helped me to appreciate that there are differences of opinion that can be equally valid, and to see things from other perspectives (which can also help you to identify weaknesses in both sides of an argument). Really helpful stuff when you have to deal with corporate politics in large organisations.
Yet ended up frigging around with Electronics, then Computers as a career.
There are several others which are shared by numerous people here, but surprisingly, Tax Accounting was one of the favorite classes I had ever taken (albeit I did poorly).
Considering the following in-class assignment: "Meet Bob Smith, CEO of a private manufacturing company, revenue of $5m a year. He currently pays himself a salary of $250k a year. List literally every way you can to save him taxes. Now rank each of these ways from 1-Perfectly-Legal to 4-IRS-Glimpses-You-Are-In-Jail."
We came up with everything from 1-Reincorporate in Delaware for passive holding tax, through 4-burn down the inventory storage warehouse and get the insurance money tax free.
Who says tax planning has to be boring?
The sciences were easy due to having concrete answers.
Speech challenged my weaknesses.
I was expecting Child Anatomy.
your favorite course of study
When I was 19, it was all "F this liberal arts BS I wanna engineer, I have to take sociology WTF?"
When I was night schooling for my CS degree a couple years later "I love liberal arts, I know all the CS stuff from on the job so I sleep in those boring classes, but the liberal arts classes are full of beautiful single chicks and its fascinating (the liberal arts, although the chicks too)"
Things in life should not be so complicated, when one can prove that a right triangle was originally a square, sliced into two equal parts. I think my memory needs to be upgraded from 64M