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Education is Investment

“Education, if done right, is an investment and not consumption. And often we do not invest because it takes effort and is painful; and so does loving someone.” – a nugget of wisdom from our Introduction to Finance course lol

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Why is there evil in the world? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do so many bad things happen to even good people? Why do good people suffer? For monotheists, the problem of evil is extremely difficult. Monotheists have to perform all kinds of amazing intellectual acrobatical tricks to explain how an all knowing, all powerful, and perfectly good God allows so much suffering in the world.

The Law of Religion Segment #2, Brief History of Humankind

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European Women in Games Conference 2013

Got a sudden invitation to European Women in Games Conference. About 100 women from attendees to speakers, all talking about games, it was unreal! (only a handful of guys in the room) I was like Oh Wow you’re a girl and you know exactly what I’m talking about! It’s amazing, can’t remember the last time I talked to a girl about games, must have been years ago.

Highlights include the co-founder of Revolution Software (Broken Sword series – LOVE), and Rhianna Pratchett, who is the game writer for Tomb Rider AND the daughter of Terry Pratchett (I’ve seen the father and now the daughter, so that was unreal too).

A bit of industry insights: Media Molecule (Little Big Planet) seems to be the Google of the UK game industry, in terms of office culture. Quite a few girls from King, which is the people behind Candy Crush games (I don’t play, but too many people do it seems!). The company is based in Sweden and London, and they’ve gone up from 200+ people to 550+ in very short time – I’m guessing because of Candy Crush. A few girls from the big players i.e. Sony and EA. A small division of Criterion EA (Burntout/Need for Speed) is working on a secret new IP, that is NOT a racing game. The sale of GTA V in 3 days has outdone what Harry Potter movie makes in months, which marks the fastest selling of any entertainment property, including video games and feature films. GTA V was made in Edinburgh, Scotland btw.

Pretty awesome day šŸ™‚

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Courses on History of the World

Brief History of Humankind by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

I’m just starting to follow course on Brief History of Humankind by University of Jerusalem, which might be the most controversial course I’ve seen to date. It’s interesting that any kind of deep discussions into humankind history leads to discussions of religion – proven by the numerous threads already going in the discussion board. I’d love to say I don’t oppose religions, but so often they get in the way of understanding the world and tolerating other people that I have my doubts. Faith could be blinding, and being blind is horrible.

https://class.coursera.org/humankind-001/class/index

We are now in Week 6 and the courses get more controversial as we go. Dr Harari is so amazing and funny, I think I got serious student crush on him.

The other interesting history courses are:

A History of the World since 1300 by Princeton University

https://class.coursera.org/wh1300-002/class

I just started this one, but I’m feeling pretty good about it.

The Modern World: Global History since 1760 by University of Virginia

https://www.coursera.org/course/modernworld

Coming in January 2014.

Now what we need is Medieval History and Renaissance Era, and we’re pretty good at covering major periods of history, don’t you think?

On a related note to that, another course came to mind:

Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction by University of Virginia

(again Virginia?)

A lot of fiction reading for this one!

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Startup Engineering

by Balaji S. Srinivasan, Vijay S. Pande, Stanford University, 17 Jun – 9 Sep 2013 (12 weeks)

This is one of the most valuable course I attended. I’ve been meaning to learn new technology for some time, but lack motivation and focus. In this course I got to learn about node.js, github, bootstrap, amazon web service, heroku, and tons of new little trinkets and resources.

I had a final project in mind, on creating a hub for book-giving between people in the rich countries and the poor countries, where price of books are prohibitively expensive, starting from Indonesia. But I admit the potential amount of work overwhelm me, and at the end of the day we didn’t get to learn much about dealing with database (we did, a tiny bit at the end), which would be essential to do this project. So I’ve decided to give it a rest for now, and continue with another IT course offered by coursera: Computational Investing, Part 1.

I aim to do at least one IT/CS course at a given time, and do however many other courses I can handle, “for fun”. There are so many I want to do, so many interesting ones running, that I got overwhelmed! It’s like eating a buffet dinner and you want to stuff yourself silly with every single food item. While everything looks so delicious, I realize there is no way I can eat all of them while keeping myself sane. I need to cut back a few things. So with heavy heart, I need to prioritize just 2 courses, seems at most 3 at any given time, and do the others another time. The dilemma of a learning addict šŸ˜¦

 

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Fairy Tales: Origins and Evolution of Princess Stories

by Kevin Yee, August 2013

Possibly the most fun course I’ve had to date. It’s super short with only 4 weeks of content, and the lectures aren’t even that long (a couple of 5-15 minutes videos each week). But gosh, fairy tales. Can it BE more attractive?

This is also the first Canvas.net course that I do. Not sure if I’m ever going to do canvas platform again, as Coursera is obviously the more superior, but who knows, if the right course appears again.

As soon as I started working through the course there’s no stopping me. I just want to keep going back to it. The technology challenge sections were a surprise element. I even got to make and upload my first youtube video, wow. We also got introduced to a bunch of free tools / websites on the internet to remix short clip, comic strip, and poster. Like I said, a surprise element.

We’re doing Cinderella on Week 1, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty on Week 2, Rapunzel and the Frog Princess on Week 3, and Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast on Week 4. I have read all these stories in the past, but learned a few new things about different origins and authors, especially the Italian authorĀ Giambattista Basile (I’ve been somewhat familiar with Charles Perrault and the Grimms Brothers).

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Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World

by Eric Rabkin, University of Michigan, 3 Jun – 19 Aug 2013

Another fantastic literature / humanity course that I was doing in conjunction with the Fiction of Relationship, which was nuts really. I managed to read and wrote essay on Frankenstein and Hawthorne and Poe’s short stories. From the reading list I had already read The Grimm’s Fairy Tales (obviously), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Dracula. There’s no way for me to complete the course this time around though as we needed to complete at least 7 essays. I got left behind on Week 6 on Wells as the reading got more and more ridiculous (size wise).

Luckily the course will happen again in October, so I have a couple of months to catch up. I’ve since read H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man and the Island of Dr. Moreau. (Again, an unbelievable feat for me!) Later on to Wells’ 2 short stories, A Princess of Mars, Herland, The Martian Chronicles, and The Left Hand of Darkness. So still quite a few books to go and I’m not completely confident that I can read them all even for the second round, but I’ll try. I’d most probably skip the last book Doctorow’s Little Brother as it really doesn’t sound interesting to me.

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The Fiction of Relationship

by Arnold Weinstein, Brown University, 3 Jun – 26 Aug 2013

My first ever MMOC course and it was fantabulous! I finished the first part of the course, which includes reading from Prevost’s Manon Lescaut, Jane Eyre, Melville’s Bartleby + Benito Cereno, Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Yeah, I can’t believe it myself! I had been in absolute reading slump for ages, and this just took me right out of it. Perhaps what I need is a little direction and a higher purpose. Professor Weinstein and Coursera was like manna from heaven. It led me to a bunch of courses from The Great Courses website (more by Prof Weinstein), more reading, and more learning more than ever. I’m officially an MMOC addict!