Posts Tagged Teaching

Cubelets

Complexity in the natural world is fascinating, don’t you think? In the most complex systems, we can look deeper to find a network of interacting elements. Little beings loving and dancing scientific hobscotch(?) using their tiny little brains to make the most wonderful things happen – TOGETHER.

Emergent properties in Complex systems and robotics explained by a hilly-billy guy with a funny (dutch?) accent – just made my day:

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Free Ivy-League Education

Stanford University offers free courses, mainly in Computer Science. Most closely related to the topics of this blog and the heart of yours truely probably are some of the following :

From the FAQs:

How much does it cost to take the course? Nothing: it’s free!
Will I get university credit for taking this course? No.

In a nutshell, I very much like the idea to attend courses because one is interested in the topic per se, not for grabbing a title. That’s the spirit.

Thanks for hints to Esther Wojcicki (teacher and journalist) via google+.

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Happy (hardware) hacking!

If you thought that for developing your own piece of integrated hard- and software, say a weird 3D input gadget, a table that lights up inside in various ways or other crazy things you’d need a degree in electrical engineering or physics – think again.

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

From my own experience, I can only confirm that Arduino is a great thing to hack yourself into various aspects of your (digital) life – here is a nice documentary I came across on vimeo:

I just finished my first project with it – and I am quite happy it all works!

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Networks and Presentations: déjà VUE ?

The Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is an Open Source project based at Tufts University. The software seems quite mature (current release v3.1.1)  and strikes me as a crossover of a graph visualisation/layout and a mind-mapping tool, resulting in a different way of sharing and presenting information – think prezi.

VUE, the Visual Understanding Environment, is an open source concept mapping tool, licensed under the Education Commons License. Although originally developed with a focus on educational needs, VUE has grown to be used by people in many organizations working on engineering, graphic design, creative problem solving, construction, writing, and more. VUE 2 introduced the melding of the map with presentation tools, allowing people to advance from the linear nature of traditional slide paradigms to a more flexible model allowing presenters to walk their maps in dynamic and visually controlled manner.

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R-omes aren’t build in a day

where R ∈ {Prote, Interact, Gen, …}

Tommy Carstensen

[…] built a model of DNA out of LEGO bricks (of PDB entry 2DAU, to be precise) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the PDB. The clip also has educational value, explaining some of the basics of DNA structure and more.

[posted by Gerard J. Kleywegt via pdb-l mailing list (pdb-l@sdsc.edu)] For all those which are under the jurisdiction (=curse?) of the GEMA: the video (mp4) can also be found here.
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Understanding Schematics


While tinkering with my arduino-board (a project loosely related to processing) I came across this video on Make: explaining the basics of electronic schematics.

 

It reminded me of this wonderful and thought-provoking article by Y.Lazebnik “Can a biologist fix a radio?–Or, what I learned while studying apoptosis.” (see here for the .pdf).

Another example of how complexity arises from combining relatively simple building blocks, and how we go about understanding and reverse-engineering complex systems in different disciplines.

(found via SchockWellenReiter)

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Green Tea, Free Textbooks, Free Thinking

At green tea press, publishers of “How to think like a computer scientist” (available in 3-4 different flavours including Python, Java and C++), “Learning Perl the Hard Way” and “Physical Modeling in MATLAB” a couple of new titles are available. Among them is “Complexity and Computation” by Allen B. Downey, who also wrote “Think Stats” and runs an interesting blog: Probably Overthinking It.

This book is about complexity science, data structures and algorithms, intermediate programming in Python, and the philosophy of science…

Sounds just like some of my favourite topics rolled up into one delicious package! If one insists on the classical DTF (DeadTreeFormat) version: printed hardcopies can be purchased from Lulu.com. But the best thing is that all the titles are all available as .PDFs for free, since the textbooks can be downloaded under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

It’s also worthwhile checking out their Textbook Manifesto, concluding with the statement: “There’s just no excuse for bad books.“, and the entry on “Free Books: Why Not?“. Maybe there is a lesson for scientific publishing in general? Enjoy!

(found via SchockWellenReiter)

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