Skepticism

Afternoon Inquisition 10.7

***Pre-post pitch: 2009 Calendars on sale now! 2010 Applications now being accepted!!***

I know nothing about (American) football, or any other team sport.  I like watching live events, but that’s more about spending time with friends. One friend lives and breathes (American) football.  He sees it as part game, part fight, part art.

When I watch a live game with him, I feel his passion, and feel like I’m missing out.  I want to know more, want to love a pack of muscle-bound, sweaty, sometimes angry men like he does.  (You know what I mean.)

What do you know nothing about, but would like to know more?

a.real.girl

A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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66 Comments

  1. Ooh ooh, this is an easy one for me:

    Pi.

    Seriously, today I was reading something that mentioned the area of a sphere, and it just really struck me that this digit is so integral to absolutely everything, and why is that? I have no idea. None. I am pi-ignorant.

    So, the next book I read will be about pi, and that’s that.

  2. I know almost no actual physics, and I’d really like to learn more. I’m not really attracted to particle physics, more to nuclear physics and astrophysics. My dream has been to start studying physics for the last two years, a dream which soon enough would come true.

  3. Car repair.

    I can change a tire, fill up with gas, add oil, and replace windshield wipers. I am the product of growing up in a house with a mom and two younger sisters.

    I am completely at the mercy of every car mechanic I come across.

    Them: “Sir, your camshaft has cross-circuited with your transmission’s wheezer valve, and you’ve developed of steering compuction in the spleenal basin.”

    Me: “Ummm… shit.”

    Them: “Yes sir. Your flange brisket tortion could cause a complete breakdown in your primary trouser hose.”

    Me: “And that’s bad.”

    Them: “Yes, sir. We don’t want locusts.”

    Me: “What will it take to fix it?”

    Them: “At least two major credit cards.”

    :(

    a.real.girl, you find someone who can tell me about cars, and I will tutor you on football until you can coach the Chargers.

  4. @phlebas:

    a.real.girl, you find someone who can tell me about cars, and I will tutor you on football until you can coach the Chargers.

    I had this idea years ago, that I tried out on the JREF forum: a swap meet, where you swap talents. I wanted to learn knife-throwing, so my friend Merc taught me. In exchange, I offered to teach anyone else something I know, like guitar or juggling or whatever.

    I recently heard that someone had set up a web site that did something like that, but I’ve since forgotten the name of it.

  5. @mxracer652:

    Cars are easy, they’re just basic logic. You know any French?

    Nyet!

    Masala_skeptic took a bunch of French lessons a few years ago, but she never learned to swear, so what’s the point?

    rebecca: If you ever remember that site, let me know. that would be fun to read regardless. I think Real Car Nollij can only come from working with the parts.

    I think what I really need is a EnglishMechanic dictionary. Or maybe I need to stop following astronomers on Twitter and start following NASCAR pit crews…

  6. Things I know little about, but would like to know more:

    Hinduism

    Global warming

    String Theory

    How to play piano (That’s more of a skill I would like to develop. I think I understand the basic idea fairly well. You press down those little thingies in a particular pattern.)

    How the phrase “too logical” can be used as a criticism

    Training a parrot to say “It’s The Floyd, man” when Pink Floyd comes on.

    Clockworks

    The square root of a million

    Morphic Resonance

    Radio station program managers (what are they thinking?)

    How to make hearts seem as sexy as breasts so we can have more reasonable research funding priorities.

    I am a Hedge

  7. I want to know more about pretty much everything. I just don’t have the time or patience to learn it all. I’m fairly ignorant about lots of things, including:

    Cricket
    Math (beyond Algebra)
    Physics
    Chemistry
    Painting
    Home Maintenance
    Vehicle Repair
    Photography
    Animal Husbandry*
    Literature of non-English-speaking countries
    Cooking
    Comics

    So yeah…pretty much everything. I’m perfectly happy getting WikiKnowledge about a lot of this stuff, but I don’t have the time to get as in depth as I might like, especially with math and the math-based sciences…I’m very slow at learning math and have to do literally everything slowly and by hand or else I’ll mess it up.

    If I didn’t have to work or ever pay off student loans, and if I didn’t have to, ya know, do homework and exams or whatever, I’d probably stay in school forever.

    *Does anyone else always imagine “Animal Husbandry” to be the act of performing marriage ceremonies for animals? Because it totally should be. I’d be ALL OVER learning that.

  8. Science in general!

    I love hearing smart people talk about it, I love learning new stuff about it, but then if I try to hold my own in a discussion or re-explain something I learned to someone else, I can’t do it! Or, at least, I can’t do it as well as I’d like to.

  9. There are three things I’d like to get me head round;

    1. Cantorian Set Theory (infinates, transfinates, skullclutching maths that puts people in mental hospitals)

    2. Incompletness Theorm (“There exsist numerous positive proofs in any arithmetic system that can not be proved from the axioms of that system”) i.e. the mathmatical proof some things are just unknowable.

    3. The Euler Identity. Believe it or not, an imaginary number to the power of an imaginary number is a REAL number. Think about that.

    *The Incumbent Mrs Sugden insists I add “People” to the list. Can’t think why.

  10. Linear A! I could either win fame and fortune by translating inscriptions on vases or else write in a perfectly indecipherable code that nobody but me can understand. So probably the former, then, because that sounds like more fun.

    Up until recently, sewing was an item on my list. I recently got a brief introductory lesson, though, so I get to scratch that one off. W00t!

  11. Marine Biology and the undersea world in general, for me. Loves it; nearly completely ignorant of it.

    And sailing. Definitely sailing.

    ‘Course, there’s not much I don’t want to know.

  12. Art. Oh, sure, I appreciate some art but it’s more of a “hey, that’s kinda neat” thing. I know people who can look at a Monet and become absolutely euphoric. I have no idea what that’s like.

    Well, that’s not entirely true. I suppose it’s similar to how I felt when I visited the Wright Memorial with my son. We stood there, looking up at the monument. I told him, “this is where it all began” and tried not to choke up.

    I wish I could feel that way about a Modigliani.

  13. Financial markets and economics. Even now, because while the markets have tanked they have far from ceased to exist, I’d like to learn how to invest and watch the market. I’m fairly ignorant. I know what the Dow Average is, but not it’s significant nor what it’s comprised of.

  14. How much wood a wood-chuck would chu… oh, it’s not worth typing out.

    Wild animal training.

    Car repair +1

    Another language +1 (though I can’t claim I “know nothing”… I speak a smattering of a bunch of languages, just none well enough to carry on a comfortable conversation about Skepchick thongs. I promised myself I would learn Hindi, Japanese, and German before I die, though.)

    …As a general rule, though, I don’t let myself know “nothing” about any subject I’d really interested in. I spend an awful lot of time on Wikipedia to start, then at the library (or, budget willing, the book store) to flesh it out.

  15. Car repair, I’m so with you guys on that one. Actually, since I was asking so many questions last time I was at a mechanic, the man kindly suggested that I take a class in basic car repair to satisfy my curiosity, and so that “a pretty little thing like you doesn’t get stranded on the road.” Even gave me the name of a school… if I could only find it.

    Um, what else. Ancient history. I know very little of the ancient histories of mankind, but I would love to know more, really immerse myself in it. I feel as if there is this intangible “being in it” that one does not get from the usual schooling in history. Throw in pre-history, too. Really, anything that’s so far removed from my own culture.

    My thesis work. The more I do, the less I know. *sigh*

  16. What I don’t know could fill a warehouse but I really enjoy reading about history. In my opinion, it would be awesome to know more about the Indus Valley civilization. Their cities were huge yet archaeologists know very little about the people who lived there, and their language has yet to be deciphered. Unfortunately, what I really need is some kind of time machine.

    So in place of that I would like to learn a foreign language… German or French, I think.

  17. I’m going to join in with the people who said they’d like to know more about chemistry. It’s a fundamental science skill that I never took at school beyond the early stages and I know I have the ability to learn, but… all those squiggles!
    Molecules look like the most complicated venn diagrams all squashed up with the fun stuff inside and me just hanging round the box.

    I have chemist envy.

  18. @Detroitus:

    Partial Differential Equations. I don’t know why, but out of every math class I’ve ever taken, this is the one that is kicking my arse.

    In my experience, there are two possible causes for your trouble.

    1. For some people, mathematical thinking just doesn’t click. If you have been in multiple situations where partial differential equations are presented, this reason most likely does not apply to you (these people tend to get stuck at algebra).

    2. Lack of a good teacher. This is a solvable problem. You just need to find a good teacher. Don’t bother looking at a university. If you are near any small teaching colleges, I suggest you look there.

    I am a Hedge

  19. @Im a Hedge: Good advice. Unfortunately I don’t have many options as far as teachers go since I’m already at a university. Usually I’m quite good at mathematical thinking, within reason (physics major), but this material just isn’t clicking.

    Meh.

  20. I would like to learn more about

    1) Physics in general (particularly anything that has to do with black holes and string theory)

    2) Car Repair

    3) Philosophy (I am currently trying to read up on this one)

    4) Astronomy

    5) Poetry (I have tried my hand at this, and I’m not sure how it turned out)

    6) Camping

    7) Caving

    8) Neuroscience

    9) Egyptian Mythology

    Wow…after listing these things, it makes it sound like I know absolutely nothing at all.

    … “It is a wise man that knows he knows nothing.”

  21. Oh…and I would like to learn more about proper English, because apparently I DON’T KNOW IT.

    My quote SHOULD read:

    “It is a wise man who knows he knows nothing.”

    …and now I hang my head in shame as my English major boyfriend frowns at me disappointed.

  22. instead of just knowing about, i’d like to experience Kate Beckinsale in bed.

    on only a slightly more serious note i’d love to learn the ins and outs of Kate Beckinsale i mean superstring theory and quantum loop gravity. ’cause i just know THEN i’d be able to marry them in just the right way to have an awesome TOE.

  23. Time travel! That would be totally sweet!

    If I knew how to time travel I could go back in time to…

    Hold on a sec. Someone’s at the door. Probably another stupid political poll!

    Naw, just some loser that looked like a slightly older version of me babbling utter nonsense about the future.

    I hate those damn Jehovah’s Witnesses!

    Now where was I?

    Oh yeah, time travel. Yeah, that would be cool.

  24. I read a ton, but one can never read enough, of course. So like many who read, I know a lot about a little and a little about a lot. I can usually find a common thread or an interesting or strange twist on any conversation. But nothing can replace living in a special moment, creating a memory forever.

    I was planning a trip to South Africa. Hopefully, I’ll still get to go. They have a side trip that involves jumping into a cage amidst Great White sharks. It might not be the brightest idea I’ve ever had ( I saw Jaws … I know what happens in those cages ), but I can’t can that ” I wonder what it’s like” thought out of my head.

    Bottom line, I want to know more about the world I am a part of, travel as much as possible, explore other cultures as well as our own , utilizing all my senses to absorb as much as possible, processing life while living life, intelligently planning yet enjoying the rewards of serendipty, so I can know more about the people of this world, our creations, and our environment first hand. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the surprising hopefully awaits me.

  25. More stuff I’d like to learn more about: Advanced Logic, know the basic stuff (especially sentencial, I do have a degree in computer science after all) but know very little of that which gets more complex than that and very much more interesting.

    Evolutionary algorithms. Nuff said.

    I’d like to relearn Japanese and learn Hebrew, maybe some Arabic, German, Ancient English, maybe some Latin, relearn Spanish, etc.

    Update and further my knowledge of marine biology. I’m a bit of a shark enthusiast, so I know a fair bit about them but certainly not as much as I’d like and I’d like to learn more about giant (and other types of) squid.

  26. I’d like to learn more about education, as in how to teach people.

    How to play a stringed instrument.

    And religious history, actually. I know a bit, but I’d love to have a better understanding.

  27. Math and wine.

    I know just enough about calculus, number theory, etc for it to blow my mind, but not enough to actually understand what the heck is going on. I took four calculus courses in college, and it’s already (less than 4 years) COMPLETELY fallen out of my brain.

    And I could drink a glass (or the entire bottle, since it’s already open) of wine everyday for the rest of my life and probably never have the same one twice. That’s kind of intriguing to me. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to buy a bottle of wine that doesn’t really suck. I mean, even when I’m going for the fancy stuff. We’re talking upwards of 12 or 13 bucks a bottle, WITH my Kroger Plus card.

  28. Where to start? If I were rich, I would spend my days in Sheltie Rescue and my evenings at school. I want to die with more degrees than a thermometer. :-D

    Nuclear and Particle Physics

    Higher Mathematics (i.e. past College Algebra. Math and I don’t like each other.)

    My pilot’s licenses past my Private license.

    World literature

    Several more languages

    I have no musical talent, so I won’t even try that…

    Advanced aerodynamics

    Plumbing and electrical work

    Electronics

    Astronomy beyond basic concepts…

    So much to know, so little time…

  29. Killosaur42 … a million years ago, while I was in hebrew school, I doodled the class away invented a language that only I could speak. I thought it cool to know something so obscure.

    … if only I had learned hebrew, I’d have accomplished ALMOST the same thing :)

  30. Hmm… There are a bunch of topics that I’ve looked up, but still require me to scratch my head. However, here are two things that I haven’t looked into much yet:

    the Pioneer Anomaly
    machine learning

  31. @astro_boy:

    machine learning

    This turns out to not be nearly s cool as it sounds. It’s really just algorithms for classifying stuff. I’m not saying you shouldn’t lean about it. I just want to let you know, so you don’t get your hopes up too much, because it sounds so much cooler than it is.

    I am a Hedge

  32. Statistics. And math in general. I passed high school algebra by the skin of my teeth, and repeatedly failed whatever remedial courses I had to take in college (one of the reasons I dropped out eventually).

    And languages. I’m fairly fluent in French, but I want to learn more. As in, all of them. Doesn’t matter how obscure – bring it on!

  33. History! I was a high school honor student and had NO use for history. My history teacher wrote in my yearbook (in ink dammit!) that she was “sorry I couldn’t awaken in you a greater interest in history.” Now it fascinates me. Bummer.

    Outside of that, Q-Physics would do it for me, but if I said I understood it Dr. Richard Feynman would jump out of his grave and call me a liar.

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