xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

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xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby riboflavin » Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:51 pm UTC

All you kids still at school (oh, wonderful times) - do you think xkcd has at all affected how much you enjoy science and/or maths? If your teacher is rubbish and you dread going to his lessons, has xkcd helped you plough on and put up with the shit lessons?

I'm curious.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby x2017 » Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:13 pm UTC

Mh, don't think so.....it's more like "I like math and therefore like xkcd", not the other way round

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby riboflavin » Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:15 pm UTC

Good. The world needs more people who like science and maths.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Rouse » Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:17 pm UTC

Actually, yes. It has. Upon discovering xkcd I became really inspired and motivated to learn.

:)
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Qoppa » Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:41 pm UTC

Somewhat, yeah. Since I started reading xkcd, I've taken an interest in physics. I used to absolutely loathe physics (and thus never took it in highschool), but it's grown on me.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Chai Kovsky » Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:15 pm UTC

It's made me slightly more receptive to programming, which previously intimidated me. I'm not particularly good at maths, but I get the xkcd jokes. The physics flies over my head, but I still think it's cool.

Overall, it hasn't really changed the way I live IRL, but I'm not quite as hostile to it in attitude as I could be, thanks to xkcd.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby iamacow » Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:56 pm UTC

I've always liked math, but the xkcd forums have definitely fostered a greater interest in math and science for me. Mostly I just lurk and read the math forum. Frequent exposure to topics helps me get familiar with things even if I never learn them on my own. Seeing things for the first time in classes can be intimidating and seeing things outside of class first gives me a good feeling. I used to just go to class and enjoy a little bit of looking around outside my usual class stuff. Now I'm going to take the putnam exam (and probably 0 that beast) and I actually study things outside of class (gasp!).

tl;dr xkcd (mostly the forums) has added to the enjoyment of math and science that was already there.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby riboflavin » Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:19 am UTC

I'm glad to hear it. I agree that even if you don't understand this stuff, the exposure to it can still be beneficial. Some people would be intimidated by it or scared off with the "science is too hard and is just for scientists, so I don't need to know any of it" attitude that is frighteningly prevalent. The light-hearted tone of the comics might still not make the science/maths accessible, but at least not intimidating.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Snowdream » Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:22 am UTC

I actually use XKCD as pictures in lessons... kids LOVE this comic.

This and Super effective...
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Grunger » Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:55 am UTC

althoug this comic it's not related at all with my area (biology) I found it very inspiring on the way of "learning science and have fun doing it", and also live the science on each hour of my life, giving me a more analytical (or absurdly surreal) vision of the world...and shit like that

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Ashi » Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:26 pm UTC

I think xkcd helped fuel my interest in science/math. My older brother was the one that really got me into the two and helped teach me a lot, and, subsequently, introduced me to xkcd. He's at college now; I'm still in HS. I don't think I would be quite as enthusiastic about science and math if it weren't for xkcd; I'm looking into getting a dual-major of physics and engineering.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby riboflavin » Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:56 pm UTC

Snowdream, are you a teacher? I think it's great that you use stuff like this in lessons. The Far Side is also pretty amusing (though rarely useful or encouraging of health and safety rules).

Also still glad to see other people finding xkcd scientifically uplifting (is that too bullshitty?). The "fun" bit is something teachers (at least in the UK) try to do more and more because it's a way to get pupils who would otherwise not be interested a little more engaged with it. Unfortunately if over-done it leads to the expectation that it must always be fun and then the less exciting stuff gets dismissed. In chemistry, that normally amounts to fire, lots of pretty colours, things that go bang or things that fly across the room.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Ashi » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:16 am UTC

riboflavin wrote:The "fun" bit is something teachers (at least in the UK) try to do more and more because it's a way to get pupils who would otherwise not be interested a little more engaged with it. Unfortunately if over-done it leads to the expectation that it must always be fun and then the less exciting stuff gets dismissed. In chemistry, that normally amounts to fire, lots of pretty colours, things that go bang or things that fly across the room.


Fire and such is cool and all, and does get a lot of students' interest, but for me, the most absolutely exciting thing I've done in regents (NY, sorry :wink: ) and AP Chemistry so far was learning about different aspects of quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle, and the like. Just formulas, theory, etc. I'm really into particle physics, you see :oops:
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Sungura » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:57 am UTC

A friend told me about xkcd when I was in my second year of college (and already majoring in biochemistry and minoring in applied mathematics) so...no. xkcd has not changed my appreciation of science/maths. However, there are sometimes comics that reference something I do not know, or do not know enough about to quite understand how it is funny. So then like a true nerd I spend a decent amount of time looking things up about said topic. :D
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Liet Kynes » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:05 am UTC

x2017 wrote:Mh, don't think so.....it's more like "I like math and therefore like xkcd", not the other way round

//Class 13 in Germany atm


Its pretty much the same for me. I've always liked math and science. Xkcd (along with many other things) has just helped me further my love for the two. :)

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Ashi » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:23 am UTC

Liet Kynes wrote:
x2017 wrote:Mh, don't think so.....it's more like "I like math and therefore like xkcd", not the other way round

//Class 13 in Germany atm


Its pretty much the same for me. I've always liked math and science. Xkcd (along with many other things) has just helped me further my love for the two. :)


OH GOD.
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...and at the risk of morphing into a troll, those two comments seem to make sense. It'd be hard for someone with no interest at all in math/science to get very attached to xkcd, as the disclaimer at the bottom of the page (sort of) states.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Liet Kynes » Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:29 am UTC

Ashi wrote:
Liet Kynes wrote:
x2017 wrote:Mh, don't think so.....it's more like "I like math and therefore like xkcd", not the other way round

//Class 13 in Germany atm


Its pretty much the same for me. I've always liked math and science. Xkcd (along with many other things) has just helped me further my love for the two. :)


OH GOD.


I am confused. I admit the the little face is a tad creepy but I 'm still confused...

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Monika » Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:25 pm UTC

I was always interested in math, science and programming.

xkcd has increased my interest in and knowledge about internet memes ;) .


On another note, I just saw "Return to School" on the bottom of this page and thought "hello no!" <g>.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Snowdream » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:36 pm UTC

XKCD for me appeals to me on a lot of levels:

As a Student, Teacher, Techie. I have a love affair with the sciences, but my inability to like math prevents me from going to deeply into the subject.

Sadly, because I never went that far into math, I can't do any of the trigonometry and calculus I come across in my daily life... how awful.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Giannist » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:46 pm UTC

Thanks to xkcd (and awesome college professors), I can proudly say I'm no longer a liberal arts major. I already loved science, but was never motivated enough to take the plunge.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby mrayner » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:53 pm UTC

I don't know a lot about some of the topics discussed in xkcd, so I research those topics. So you can say that it inspires me to learn, but I don't know about an "appreciation of science/math".

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby The-Rabid-Monkey » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:47 am UTC

I've always had an interest in maths and science, and XKCD has just helped that along.
To be honest, reading the science forum tends to get me motivated to do my homework, and study etc.
Also it's given me a new light on teaching, from all the teachers here, although my awesome physics and chemistry teachers probably helped too. I've always been interested in the idea of teaching, and now I have a plan to Major in Physics and Chemistry, and then head off to teachers college. :D
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby the tree » Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:40 pm UTC

I'd say that XKCD (not just XCKD) has deterred me from thinking that I can only be trendy and/or intellectual if I'd taken an English degree or similar.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby HeroicFail » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:37 pm UTC

I do enjoy science and math classes more. xkcd exposed me to some advanced math/sciences and got my interest. The different ways math/science have been used in the comics pushed me further down a science path.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby mgcclx » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:58 am UTC

xkcd sparks the math vs physics battle between I(MATH) and another kid(PHYSICS)
which we try to prove what we love is truly superior, with all kind of support possible
xkcd have them both...

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby fishyfish777 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:59 pm UTC

After XKCD, I've become pretty interested in programming, especially python.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby TZer0 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:47 am UTC

I was into math/science before I was started reading xkcd.. however.. I've been a little more eager to start programming (which I have) after reading xkcd.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Guy Fawkes » Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:47 am UTC

I'm not entirely sure if I like math and science, but I appreciate them and xkcd has made me more inclined to pursue interesting topics of study in these subjects.

Let me explain. I'm fairly competent at mathematics. In fact, I really enjoy the satisfying feeling of solving a challenging word problem that requires innovative solutions, like those on the SAT. However, as I aged through high school, I found mathematics as a course continuing to deviate from logical thinking and abstract concepts, transforming into "memorize the equation and plug in variables" class. Math was plagued by poor teachers who used busywork, notebook checks, and other arbitrary grades (like biographies of mathematicians) to pad out students. The problem was that math teachers in general (at least from my experience as a high school senior) tend to focus more on rote memorization and tests that reward savant-like thinking (all knowledge and no understanding). I found what had been interesting and different from other classes become a boring exercise in repetition - teachers would assign far more homework than necessary and even in my so-called "Honors" courses the class would be plagued with students who were devoid of any independent though. Math became less about the why and more about the what if you will.

The problem culminated in my eleventh year math course. I was getting terrible grades on notebook checks, which require that students be able to quickly pull inconsequential facts out of a notebook crammed with vignettes on mathematicians, and locate ages-old homework problems among a clutter of useless facts, but little knowledge. The teacher gave extra, unannounced points to the students (all girls) who had decorated their notebooks with pretty colors, despite the fact that coloring (and the entire assignment in general) lacked any educational merit. I found it shocking that the teacher considered herself as adequately preparing us for the rigor of college.

Needless to say, my interest in math evaporated quickly. In fact, I started doing very poorly in the course - a penalty accrued from my poor handwriting, slow note-finding (I didn't date notes the first semester), and the most terrible tests ever formulated - they were simple memorization exercises, but I find it very hard to memorize several chapters worth of formulas, postulates, theorems, and the like and be able to name them, although I'd likely have been able to solve any problem were the the equations provided. I found myself having to confront my guidance counselor and explain why I was failing this math course but had a 780 on the math section of the SAT - a 99th percentile score.

Of course, this doesn't really matter - my interest has been rekindled with my physics teacher and xkcd (though mostly the former, I admit). I had the physics honors teacher last year and was deeply interested in the conceptual physics, although some of the math was a bit intimidating. I got a B in the course and considered taking AP Physics, but opted to take AP Biology instead. My friend took AP Physics and many times I have him explain the most interesting lessons. He explained one experiment about weighing things in the school elevator as it accelerated, decelerated, and changed directions. I was captivated. While I'm not really considering a mathematics major in college, I recognize my natural curiosity and keen logical mind so I plan on taking a few introductory mathematics courses in college to make up for the lackluster education I received in high school. Of course, way leads onto way, and who knows how deep into the math world I'll delve?

By the way, I've already learned a lot of the "softer" math and explained it to my AP Physics friend. By softer, I mean game theory, lateral puzzles, etc... although some of this, despite relying on math, is hard to quantify as mathematical as such.

BTW, first post.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Synthuir » Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:06 pm UTC

...Yeah. I like maths, I guess... If our teacher spent the time teaching us how to do the lesson and not how to get the answer, I think I'd like it more. But I've always been in a double-advanced maths class, so I guess I'm good at it...

Science I have always liked, to an extent. I reject most of the more theoretical branches (which turn out to be the more interesting ones) in place for more solid ones like BioChem, which I've just started to get into.

If anything, xkcd has given me the idea to protest my school's lack of AP Computer Sciences classes. The closest we have is a Computing for College and Careers/ International Business program (which I'm in), but it just teaches you to operate Word better and in more advanced ways than anyone ever needed to know. Well, that and PowerPoint presentations to the class, which I think I'll like very much.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby xanich » Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:51 pm UTC

Rouse wrote:Actually, yes. It has. Upon discovering xkcd I became really inspired and motivated to learn.

This is exactly the same way I feel. I've always been interested in programming and computers, and therefore math / science, but xkcd has really opened my eyes to just how random and fun some of it can be, and in doing so actually made me pay attention in a few of my classes.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Grunger » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:29 pm UTC

Guy Fawkes wrote:I'm not entirely sure if I like math and science, but I appreciate them and xkcd has made me more inclined to pursue interesting topics of study in these subjects.

Let me explain. I'm fairly competent at mathematics. In fact, I really enjoy the satisfying feeling of solving a challenging word problem that requires innovative solutions, like those on the SAT. However, as I aged through high school, I found mathematics as a course continuing to deviate from logical thinking and abstract concepts, transforming into "memorize the equation and plug in variables" class. Math was plagued by poor teachers who used busywork, notebook checks, and other arbitrary grades (like biographies of mathematicians) to pad out students. The problem was that math teachers in general (at least from my experience as a high school senior) tend to focus more on rote memorization and tests that reward savant-like thinking (all knowledge and no understanding). I found what had been interesting and different from other classes become a boring exercise in repetition - teachers would assign far more homework than necessary and even in my so-called "Honors" courses the class would be plagued with students who were devoid of any independent though. Math became less about the why and more about the what if you will.

The problem culminated in my eleventh year math course. I was getting terrible grades on notebook checks, which require that students be able to quickly pull inconsequential facts out of a notebook crammed with vignettes on mathematicians, and locate ages-old homework problems among a clutter of useless facts, but little knowledge. The teacher gave extra, unannounced points to the students (all girls) who had decorated their notebooks with pretty colors, despite the fact that coloring (and the entire assignment in general) lacked any educational merit. I found it shocking that the teacher considered herself as adequately preparing us for the rigor of college.

Needless to say, my interest in math evaporated quickly. In fact, I started doing very poorly in the course - a penalty accrued from my poor handwriting, slow note-finding (I didn't date notes the first semester), and the most terrible tests ever formulated - they were simple memorization exercises, but I find it very hard to memorize several chapters worth of formulas, postulates, theorems, and the like and be able to name them, although I'd likely have been able to solve any problem were the the equations provided. I found myself having to confront my guidance counselor and explain why I was failing this math course but had a 780 on the math section of the SAT - a 99th percentile score.

Of course, this doesn't really matter - my interest has been rekindled with my physics teacher and xkcd (though mostly the former, I admit). I had the physics honors teacher last year and was deeply interested in the conceptual physics, although some of the math was a bit intimidating. I got a B in the course and considered taking AP Physics, but opted to take AP Biology instead. My friend took AP Physics and many times I have him explain the most interesting lessons. He explained one experiment about weighing things in the school elevator as it accelerated, decelerated, and changed directions. I was captivated. While I'm not really considering a mathematics major in college, I recognize my natural curiosity and keen logical mind so I plan on taking a few introductory mathematics courses in college to make up for the lackluster education I received in high school. Of course, way leads onto way, and who knows how deep into the math world I'll delve?

By the way, I've already learned a lot of the "softer" math and explained it to my AP Physics friend. By softer, I mean game theory, lateral puzzles, etc... although some of this, despite relying on math, is hard to quantify as mathematical as such.

BTW, first post.


some random teacher of mine, an inmunologist, gave me TEH ANSWER to that problem...
¿why you want us to memorize these concepts instead of learning the relations betwen them, and visualize the logic in those receptors, hormones, cells, or whatever....?
because there's too much information... at least in biology/medicine, the info avaliable of almost any theme is doubled every 3 years, and our teachers and doctors need us to learn more and more info. , despite of the efects on conceptual learning and relationships betwen them. And there's more info, and the relations exist in the books... and you can learn them, but with time, it deppends more and more on your self-interest on the given theme, than in the teacher's ability to explain. They do have the hability, and in more-than-you-think cases it's very good, but they don't have the time.
So when I get home, i grab my book and read, and read, and read, and think "damn, my teacher is right", books are too big to read them in your free time, and there's too many important info for you to learn it by conceptual relationship, and you have to assume the sad reality of just memorize the important, close the book, and go to sleep before sunrise.

PD: sorry for my bad english... im from southamerica :S

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Allenr » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:05 pm UTC

xkcd gives me some good questions to ask my physics teacher when I hang out in his room instead of going to statistics. Also, gives me something to do while I'm sitting in my digital design class, which is pretty much Adobe Illustrator 101.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Phrozt » Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:32 pm UTC

I don't like math. At least I don't like the type of math on xkcd. It's the kind where I finally met my limit. Math was the easiest subject in the world to me in high school, but as soon as I got past calculus, my mind simply could not comprehend what was going on. I went from being at the top of my class to barely understanding concepts that were repeated to me multiple times from multiple sources. It's a dark day in my personal history, you could say. Sure, I might get the basic idea of the concepts, but I can't rattle them off like I could everything else up to that point.

That being said, I appreciate xkcd, because I at least remember the terms and the basics of advanced math concepts, so I get the jokes, and the fact that I get SOMETHING out of knowing these concepts actually makes them worth the time I took to try to learn them.

So thanks, xkcd.

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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby keeperofdakeys » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:29 am UTC

mgcclx wrote:xkcd sparks the math vs physics battle between I(MATH) and another kid(PHYSICS)
which we try to prove what we love is truly superior, with all kind of support possible
xkcd have them both...


well at my school the physics teacher and main chemistry teachers 'jokingly' say that there area is better; math is used in both after all, and it is much more superior (as illustrated by http://xkcd.com/435/).


I am naturally good at math and I only found XKCD a while ago, but I still find the forum interesting; out of the forums I know this is the most in-depth forum for the subjects it covers, that also has quite a wide user base. I'm sure there is a big future with me and XKCD.
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Figment » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:12 pm UTC

I've always loved math on my own, but couldn't stand it in a classroom setting.
I'm now proud to say that xkcd has helped me to deal with teachers who absolutely refuse to make math the exciting thing it is and boring classrooms by adding a dash of humor.
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Rolling20s
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Rolling20s » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

I don't know if the comic has caused me to be more interested in math or science, but I definitely respect the ability of the comic to incorporate those things in a manner that is both funny and (perhaps unintentionally?) informative. It's possible that my view on this topic will change as the years go on as I am starting school again in a month and I am going back to get an Engineering degree, as opposed to the English degree that got the first time around. I kind of skated through the first degree, and this one will require a lot more work and effort, especially in the areas of math and science. So, we'll see.

mysteri-blue
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby mysteri-blue » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:54 pm UTC

i have to say, any appreciation of science i have gotten due to XKCD has been undone by my school's science faculty. for the maths part, i cant say i enjoy it but its alot more enjoyable.

still, i have learnt alot of things about maths that i will probably never use and my geekiness has skyrocketed. THANKYOU xkcd for making my life on the interwebz alot more pleasurable and geeky!

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3clipse
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby 3clipse » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:55 am UTC

x2017 wrote:Mh, don't think so.....it's more like "I like math and therefore like xkcd", not the other way round

//Class 13 in Germany atm


This. I got into xkcd because I like science, not the other way around. And when I got into it I was in high school.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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Probably Human
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby Probably Human » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:56 am UTC

XKCD convinced me to take programming as one of my two electives next year. I don't know if I'll like it yet, but hopefully I'll be able to understand more of the jokes.
Maybe if my signature is witty enough someone will finally love me.

keeperofdakeys
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Re: xkcd's effect on your appreciation of science/maths

Postby keeperofdakeys » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:31 am UTC

Probably Human wrote:XKCD convinced me to take programming as one of my two electives next year. I don't know if I'll like it yet, but hopefully I'll be able to understand more of the jokes.


There's an easy way to tell if you'll like programming:
1. Find a cat, preferably your own.
2. Tell it to go over there.
3. Restructure your command until the cat obeys.
4. Die from brain hemorrhage since you can't figure out how to get the cat to move.
5. Realise seconds from death how to.
6. Come back to life, try the command which you know is right; optional(kill cat since it doesn't like to listen).

Replace, in the above: cat with file

this is programming


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