“If you’re in an English speaking school for 5 hours a day as a kid and your parent is studying the same language for an hour a day while you’re there and the kid learns 5 times faster than the parent, is it fair to then conclude that kids learn better than adults?”
—Scott Chacon, “MIT Scientists prove adults learn language to fluency nearly as well as children.” Medium.com. May 3, 2018.
“Evolution is a nice, big idea. It connotes the glacial pace of an unmeditated act unfolding upon species, concepts, and ecosystems. It certainly doesn’t usually get branded as a feeling. But a couple months ago I felt this thing. Maybe a little like what a mommy feels when her fetus kicks the wall crossed with how the baby feels when it gets its pre-K diploma, and the best word I can come up with for it is evolution. Not the glacial kind, but the real-time, Matrix-flavored kind. I was too busy barreling through the wicked pipe of a 30-milligram Adderall to think about it much when it happened, though. Half an hour into my sunrise dose, I logged into Lynda.com, the extraordinarily put-together training site used by corporate operations to keep their employees up on hot software trends. As an avid Monday Night Football chyron fan, I had promised myself for years that I would learn After Effects as soon as I had the free time; the chemical wave pushed me through an especially potent laziness that has always kept me from becoming the motion graphics expert I knew I wanted to be.
There I sat, glued to my chair, watching the instructional videos on my laptop, guzzling Coke Zero, and practicing in the software on my external monitor. I optimized my posture over the course of the first few hours, ironing out repetitive stress pain as it came along, taking smoke breaks between every chapter: ‘Getting Started With After Effects,’ ‘Learning to Animate,’ ‘Precomposing and Nesting Compositions.’ As the sun dipped below the horizon, I found myself at chapter 19: ‘Rendering and Compression,’ and finally, at dusk, Chapter 21: ‘Conclusion.’ …I internalized After Effects. As the credits rolled, Neo flashed into my head. ‘I know After Effects,’ he said, opening his eyes and staring up at Morpheus through my corneas.”Trent Wolbe, “How I hacked my brain with Adderall: a cautionary tale.” The Verge. July 26, 2012
- Identify what you don’t understand (maybe the most important one)
- Have confidence in your knowledge
- Ask questions
- Do research
…Taking a bit of extra time to take a piece of knowledge that you’re pretty sure of (“there are 65535 ports, Wikipedia said so”) and make it totally ironclad (“that’s because the port field in the TCP header is only 16 bits”) is super useful because there is a big difference between “I’m 97% sure this is true” and “I am 100% sure about this and I never need to question it again”. Things I know are 100% true are way easier to rely on.”
—Julia Evans, “How to teach yourself hard things.” jvans.ca. September 1, 2018.
I would add that the an important pitfall is those things that we are sure is 100% true that aren’t true. Being a philosophical skeptic, this is probably everything.