Topics that make your brain hurt

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InstinctSage
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Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby InstinctSage » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:57 am UTC

There are some subjects I can read about for hours and absorb most of the information in there easily. Often I'll go away and be mulling over what I've read, rephrasing it or re-explaining it to myself so I know I've 'got it'.

Then there are things I read where no matter how much I try, I just burn out after 15 minutes. I feel tired, like my brain is sucking everything out of the power grid and it's shutting down. I don't get this term or that term, and I go to research it, and I still don't get it, or how it relates to what I've been reading. And I walk away and can't mull over anything in my head because I don't have much information I can actually explain at all.

Right now I'm trying to learn about audio engineering, and the acronyms keep going over my head. So does a lot of the electrical engineering theory. I'll get it eventually, but I feel like I'm going nowhere because I can only spend so much time on it before I'm braindead and need to think about something else.

What topics make your brain hurt?
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby dizturbd » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:29 am UTC

Right now, pathfinding and memory management in C++. Everytime I try to figure out how certain algorithms work, my brain stops working and I can't piece it together. Doesn't help that I have an assignment on pathfinding to be in for the end of the month.

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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Clumpy » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:50 am UTC

I love the theory behind coding, but shut down the moment I try to read about data structure iterators or different ways of searching through data. I also have trouble with history books that don't go into any depth, or books that try to teach me to learn a language by memorizing words. My mind absolutely shuts down.

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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:57 am UTC

Finance. Seriously, even thinking about it in abstract terms (like, "Crap. I have to sort my bills.") makes my head ache. It's not even the fact that I'm losing money, I just don;t like the process. Tax season sucks just because I have to spend endless hours going over financial dredgery. Ick.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby CrunchyFoodstuff » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:09 am UTC

Mathematical or statistical subjects that could easily be explained using graphs or images, but that are explained in "normal human language" because most people are apparently to daft to read a graph or image. I tend to loose track after a while if it's not explained graphically.
(Ironically, when I use a graph in a presentation and explain what can be seen therein, everyone understands...so perhaps those books and teachers just suck at explaining graphs... :roll: )

Also, anything that uses acronyms a lot and only explains those acronyms once.
Books that do not get to the point.

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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Two9A » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:57 am UTC

Calculus. Whenever I see an integration sign now, I need to go find the paracetamol.

Which makes you wonder why I took electrical engineering at college, with its 6 semesters of calculus.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Zohar » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:07 am UTC

I second finance. Also, politics. I want to know more, but it's very difficult to find accurate information.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby raptor.fortress » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:35 am UTC

Anything electrical. I hate that shit.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Mercurius » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

Ontology in philosophy. As soon as any book reaches that territory, my eyes glaze over and my brain switches off, in self-defence.

I blame Heidegger and Sartre.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby pseudoidiot » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

Economics. It just blows my mind. I can usually grasp things on a pretty small scale (i.e. my personal finances), but much beyond that my comprehension just bottoms out. I took a macroeconomics class as an elective once, and even though I passed just fine, I retained absolutely and didn't really feel like I understood anything anymore than I did before I took the class.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby danpilon54 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:28 pm UTC

I have often come across topics like this in my research, and I have a theory about why it is. I think there is a part of our brains that thinks about things we do not yet understand. It is very easy to wear this part out. I have found that once I realize that I do understand the topic more than I previously thought (I recognize similarities to another subject I know well), then all of a sudden I think about the topic fine without headache. It is almost like I expect to be confused so I am. Maybe Im just weird...
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby gibberishtwist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:45 pm UTC

.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Larry » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:36 am UTC

Two9A wrote:Calculus. Whenever I see an integration sign now, I need to go find the paracetamol.

Which makes you wonder why I took electrical engineering at college, with its 6 semesters of calculus.


Calculus tends to sit quite well with me. If we're talking about concepts that plain refuse to stick in the brain, Logarithms do me in. No matter how many times I revise them it just doesn't stay.

The constant speed propeller gets me as well. I get (basically) what, and why it works... But how to operate one? The finer details? Guh....

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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Tetragramm » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:54 am UTC

4th Dimensional Klein Bottles. Where the 4th dimension is time. You do what to the crap?
Seriously. Try to think out the consequences of this.
I have one plausible one, and three possible ones. Of the three, I think you could only do one of them at a time, or maybe just one at all, and the others aren't possible at all.
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1: This is the plausible one. You wrap the 4th dimension around, so there is no time. Stasis bubble.
2: Wrap the third dimension around, so there is a layer of no depth around you, or in front of you or...
A- Spherical shield, nothing can go through, but time remains the same inside.
B- Planar shield, nothing can get through, but is a plane or plate like object.
C- Wormhole, wrap it around just so there is a line of no depth in between here and there.
Also, I don't even want to THINK about 5 dimensional klein bottles. Suspect if you worked it out you could get time travel.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Orca » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:09 am UTC

Non-linear time. It obviously doesn't go in a straight line since it's part of space and affected by gravity and speed, relatively at least. Yet we can only percieve it as forwards. Damn, what shape is it? That makes my brain go ow.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby InstinctSage » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:33 am UTC

danpilon54 wrote:I have often come across topics like this in my research, and I have a theory about why it is. I think there is a part of our brains that thinks about things we do not yet understand. It is very easy to wear this part out. I have found that once I realize that I do understand the topic more than I previously thought (I recognize similarities to another subject I know well), then all of a sudden I think about the topic fine without headache. It is almost like I expect to be confused so I am. Maybe Im just weird...

I don't know if I agree with that totally. I think when we hit something we don't understand, our brains don't know what needs to be retained and what doesn't. Short term memory only holds a certain amount of information, and our brains seem to be wired such that information that interrelates with other information strengthens our memory of both. If a song reminds you of a certain moment in your life, for example. Orphaned pieces of information (such as facts that don't connect meaningfully to anything else) are more likely to be forgotten.

So then, when you hit a fresh subject, particularly a somewhat esoteric one, unless you can easily relate the information you're receiving to something you already know, it can be really hard to retain it.

It's interesting that you can read a novel and just imagine the story, even if you don't relate to it, but formulas or technical data on subjects you don't relate to can't be visualised in a similar way.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:12 am UTC

Anything involving "alternate forms of time"...multiple time dimensions, the concept of a time dimension that's a "different shape"...the other day I tried to think about whether or not we'd notice if time was experiencing expansion the way the rest of the universe was, and it broke my brain. Inevitably, I end up trying to ask myself what time is, exactly, and usually come up with something like "the first derivative of the universe!" before realizing that I don't know what I'm talking about.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby ameretrifle » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:24 am UTC

Trig. I get calculus. I get the theory behind trigonometry. But when you get down to specifics, and start adding imaginary numbers and radians and whatever the hell else they were going on about near the end of my pre-calc and trig class, my brain just won't hold onto it. Granted, I managed to memorize it long enough to keep my A in the class (my test grades went down all the way to 99, oh poor poor pitiful me), but it is all gone now.

Other than that, besides particularly esoteric philosophy and high-level math, I only usually have trouble with things if they're written in a particularly abstruse manner. Like, most of the philosophy essays I was forced to read, as well as that Law and Sociology textbook that was a living hell to slog through, and the 1920s economics book one of my American History teachers made us write an essay on for no apparent reason.

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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Zeroignite » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:15 am UTC

Bill O'Reilly.
Just... Bill O'Reilly.
She/her/hers
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby laserbeen » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:30 am UTC

Comms engineering systems. I don't know how I passed those subjects at uni.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Encarnacion » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:12 am UTC

To all of you who mentioned electrical engineering, I feel your pain. My wonderful father, who works as a computer hardware engineer, and thus must know quite a lot about EE, has tried and tried to explain the subject to me for the last twenty years. It hasn't stuck a bit, other than I can kind of appreciate the flow of electricity as compared to the flow of water.

I have a few others, too. Higher maths is one of them, let's just say liberal arts really suited me. How one lives in a cold climate is another, I know what snow is, but I think I have a restraining order against it or something. Also, I have not once had a snow day, nor defrosted a windshield, and got my first electric blanket two days ago. Another is music, and can't for the life of me play an instrument nor recognize a note nor sing all that well. Also, and not to make things too awkward here, but how people get through life without knowing & loving YHWH baffles me.

There are other subjects too, but those more upset me than make my brain hurt, whereas the above do not elicit any anger on my part, just confusion.

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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Pizzashark » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:26 am UTC

Anything related to society (sociology?), politics, or philosophy. They're all so ridiculously boring (and pointless) to me, I can't pay attention long enough to learn anything.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby ducknerd » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:19 am UTC

Economics, particularly the stock market.
Self-modifying subjects, such as literary theory (as presented in books).
Some politics.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby diotimajsh » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:44 am UTC

Any real details about physics. Abstract, general, lofty descriptions--hey! Great! Exciting! Equations and specifics? Errhrhghghh.... Kinda the same with upper level maths too, although I'm getting better about that.

Philosophy and other articles heavy with Academic-speak used to make my brain hurt, but now I think it's just particular sections of philosophy--namely, parts I'm not interested in at the moment, or parts that sound intriguing but are way too technical and boring for me to focus on for longer than five minutes.

I'm pretty damn sure I'd be bored by anything related to economics, government, or politics, but thankfully, I don't read anything on those subjects. (I know, I should. But I don't.)



Oh yeah, and Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism". Seriously, wtf, I'm rereading this AGAIN, and the words just keep... slipping away...
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Bulvox » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:19 am UTC

zeroignite wrote:Bill O'Reilly.
Just... Bill O'Reilly.
first off, I put the tv on mute, but the O'Reilly Factor still woke me up.
Secondly, any controversial topic that people will argue about for hours on end, i.e. abortion.
Thirdly, any topic that my friends will argue about for hours on end, i.e. is it possible for a woman to be more pregnant (I shit you not).
Finally, anything to do with Political idiocy.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby LuNatic » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:51 am UTC

Programming; Checking through lines of code to make sure I've got the syntax right gives me headaches.
Forms: Pages and pages of checkboxs, qualifiers, fine print and please sign here.
Maths: Trying to work my way through logarithms and algorithms makes my mind shut down. Especially when things like pi or e come into it.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Bluggo » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

Category theory.

The individual definitions make sense, but as soon as I try to put everything together I can feel my brain trying to escape from itself.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Meowgan » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:15 am UTC

Politics. I don't care, so shut up!
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Levi » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:30 am UTC

I hate time.

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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Toeofdoom » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:20 am UTC

Any new roguelike I try begins by frying my brain. I can eventually work it out, but it's not easy.
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby Actaeus » Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:00 am UTC

Trying to reverse the page-killer trick with the
and the
Spoiler:
. There must be a way!
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Re: Topics that make your brain hurt

Postby ethraax » Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:01 am UTC

Trying to figure out of a function works by reading code, as opposed to having it explained in a book with some diagrams. I can't read code for even the simplest algorithms, like merge sort, let alone something interesting. Luckily the problem goes away when it's explained.

Even more, reading this book, Naked Lunch. It's so... bad. Not one properly constructed sentence in the bunch. Also, wtf is PG? (drug reference). I mean he describes how to take it, but what is it?
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