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Describe something difficult you learned at university in a simple way watch

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    I'm interested to learn random things from other degree courses!

    The task is to describe something difficult you have learned at uni, but in a simple enough way that somebody with no background knowledge would be able to grasp the concept.

    Enjoy
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    This isn't exactly difficult, nor is it something I learned at uni since I already knew this beforehand but have you ever wondered how data travels around the Internet? For example if you send an email or request a webpage or send a snapchat how does that actually happen?

    Put simply, it's a bit like sending a letter only it's also a game of pass the parcel and the letter is cut into tiny pieces. Let's say you want to send something over the internet. That something is first broken down into smaller chunks of data, usually of a uniform size. Each of those chunks is put into an envelope with a bit of identifying information. That envelope is then put in another envelope with a bit more information. This continues until the chunk, now called a packet has all the information it needs to get to the destination. That packet is sent out onto the network and routed to a destination, kind of like how the postal service routes your mail through a few different sorting offices before it gets delivered. And just like the postal service, sometimes data gets lost. One of those envelopes could have information related to fixing the lost data.

    So to give an example, let's say you want to send a movie to your friend. The movie is broken into 10 or 20 or 100 chunks depending on the size. Each of those chunks is then put in an envelope and numbered so they can be reordered when they arrive. That envelope is then put into another envelope with the address on it and all the envelopes are sent off into the network. Maybe they arrive in the wrong order but that's fine because as we open envelopes we can reorder the data. Maybe the 5th envelope didn't arrive, that's fine because we can see it's missing when we reorder them so we simply request chunk 5 again.

    This of course is incredibly simplified, there are lots of other steps involved, you don't always do error checking and so on but it's a really basic overview of how data travels from one computer to another.

    And since we are talking about the postal service, you might have heard of port numbers. They're a bit like different letter boxes for your house. So you might have a letter box for junk mail, another for bills and a third for normal mail. Computers have thousands of available ports and different types of traffic uses different ports. So if you request a webpage, that's HTTP traffic and it should come through on port 80 (or port 443 if it's HTTPS). If you were to block a port, no traffic would be able to arrive through it, so if you blocked traffic on port 80, it's unlikely you'd get webpages.

    Again, that's also super simplified and missing a lot of detail
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    Life lesson: You're really not as important as you think you are.
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    (Original post by Volibear)
    Life lesson: You're really not as important as you think you are.
    I think it depends what you mean by "important". I agree with the idea that as individuals, we don't necessarily deserve everything we want.

    However, every person is so important in that the decisions we make every day have a huge impact on the world. These decisions might be having a positive chat with a homeless person, cutting down on the amount of plastic we use, or deciding whether or not to run and help somebody who's in real danger. Deciding whether or not to have children, for example, will most likely end up having a huge influence on the future in a way nobody can predict now.
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    That writing 85,000 words is an iterative process, which is likely to involve writing over 120,000 words, when re-writing and editing are taken into account.
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    You can learn a lot about the history of the earth's climate through rocks. Asking what the oceans or monsoons were doing thousands or millions of years in the past might sound like a nebulous and impossible question to answer, but there's actually an amazing amount that you can learn from things called "proxies".

    A proxy is simply anything that is preserved in the geological record that responds in some known manner to some environmental parameter. A nice, easy to understand example is fossil leaves. There's a good amount of evidence to support the idea that as CO2 rises, the number of stomata (pores on the surface of leaves that are used for gas exchange) on leaves increases. If you collect lots of data from well-preserved fossil leaves, you can thereby try to work out how atmospheric CO2 has changed over time.

    Let's say that we're uncertain about our fossil leaf-derived CO2 reconstructions (which is reasonable, because we can only carry out empirical studies on the connection between CO2 and number of stomata for the modern environment). Are there any other independent ways of trying to understand how CO2 has changed in the past? The answer is yes, and this kind of multi-proxy approach is now widely used to try to reconstruct a number of environmental variables that have changed in the past such as temperature, precipitation, ice-extent and ocean circulation. Staying on CO2 for example, there is a pair of minerals called Nahcolite and Trona which are only stable at particular CO2 concentrations. The thermodynamics of this mineral transition isn't going to change back in time so you can have confidence that these minerals will behave the same now as they did millions of years in the past. Unlike a proxy like stomata, Nahcolite-Trona only gives you a minimum/maximum CO2 concentration so doesn't allow you to make quantitative reconstructions. However, if you find that your Nahcolite-Trona transition agrees with when the transition ought to occur from other proxies, that starts to build up a case in favour of that proxy's legitimacy.

    It's a fascinating area and there are so many ingenious chemical systems that have been used to reconstruct lost worlds.
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    The hardest thing I've learned at uni is probably Sanskrit. Pali was quite easy once I had a handle on Skt (though I'm not as developed with Pali simply because I don't spend as much time with it).
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    (Original post by gjd800)
    The hardest thing I've learned at uni is probably Sanskrit. Pali was quite easy once I had a handle on Skt (though I'm not as developed with Pali simply because I don't spend as much time with it).
    Perhaps you could try and teach us a concept you had to learn when learning Sanskrit to make it relevant to this thread?
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    (Original post by Volibear)
    Life lesson: You're really not as important as you think you are.
    What makes you say that?
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    (Original post by Leilan)
    Perhaps you could try and teach us a concept you had to learn when learning Sanskrit to make it relevant to this thread?
    Hmm. Ok. I'll do two, compound construction (or one type of) and sandhi.
    So like German, Sanskrit can have ridiculously long compound words, sometime upwards of 20 words joined into one single 'super word'. it is thought that this is where German inherits it from, actually. So take a word like

    puṣpadhūpagandhamālyavilepan acūrṇacīvaracchatradhvajagha ṇṭāpatākābhiḥ

    This is actually ten words with the majority of words given in their nominative forms, and the final constituent member declined into the instrumental plural (so the context of the whole compound is 'by' or 'with'). Depending on how compounds are constructed depends on how we understand them.

    What we actually have, then, is this:

    puṣpadhu-upagandha-mālya-vilepana-cūrṇa-cīvaraccha-tra-dhvaja-ghaṇṭā-patākābhiḥ

    Which loosely renders in English as this:

    flower-scented-garland-perfume-aromatic powder-robes-protecting-banner-bell-flags

    Not forgetting the instrumental plural declension, so it renders as

    with the flower-scented-garland-perfume-aromatic powder-robes-protecting-banner-bell-flags

    It's fairly obviously a description of an action applicable to the rest of the passage, the context of which is honouring a book of scriptures. it sometimes helps to read these backwards, in which case we'd have something like

    [honouring] with flags, bells, banners, protections, holy robes, aromatic powders, perfume, and garlands of scented flowers

    Onto sandhi, if we look back at the first two words in the compound, we see this:

    puṣpadhūpagandha
    Which is really this:

    puṣpadhu-upagandha

    Notice that where the two 'u's meet, they form a single, 'long u'. This is a process called sandhi and it is designed to change final/initial sounds so that words might be spoken easier than they would otherwise be.

    So in this example, trying to utter a final u and then go right onto an initial u would be difficult, so we instead merge the two u into one longer u sound. There are a lot of rules around this, and lots of combinations, so it's not always this straightforward, but the basis is always the same - ease of speaking.

    It can make reading the stuff really hard, especially if you are unfamiliar with the words being used in the first place!
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    (Original post by The Night King)
    What makes you say that?
    In my opinion, a lot of children are brought up to think that the world essentially revolves around them, and that people will always care or praise them if they do good things. This extends to the spoon feeding that happend at school. In my opinion, once you get older, and people stop being nice to you because they have to, or telling you well done for everything, the realisation that you really aren't that important in the grand scheme of things starts to sink in. Universities don't care about you, you're just another lump of cash. Sure there will be places in the world where you will be important, people in this world you will be important to. But in general, nah.
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    (Original post by Volibear)
    In my opinion, a lot of children are brought up to think that the world essentially revolves around them, and that people will always care or praise them if they do good things. This extends to the spoon feeding that happend at school. In my opinion, once you get older, and people stop being nice to you because they have to, or telling you well done for everything, the realisation that you really aren't that important in the grand scheme of things starts to sink in. Universities don't care about you, you're just another lump of cash. Sure there will be places in the world where you will be important, people in this world you will be important to. But in general, nah.
    Idk man, can’t really relate. I feel important and others are really supportive to me. Maybe you just got unlucky with the people surrounding you.
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    (Original post by The Night King)
    Idk man, can’t really relate. I feel important and others are really supportive to me. Maybe you just got unlucky with the people surrounding you.
    That's untrue. I'm important to them, I know, just like they are important to me, I could live without the supportive people I have in my life. This has nothing to do with the people directly in my life and people I directly have contact with through volunteering etc. But I know that in the grand scheme of the world I'm just a speck that will eventually die and become a forgotten part of history. Like most people.
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    (Original post by Volibear)
    That's untrue. I'm important to them, I know, just like they are important to me, I could live without the supportive people I have in my life. This has nothing to do with the people directly in my life and people I directly have contact with through volunteering etc. But I know that in the grand scheme of the world I'm just a speck that will eventually die and become a forgotten part of history. Like most people.
    Well yeah the last part is true indeed. That’s just common sense though lol. If we are talking in the grand scheme of the universe then yeah I agree with your initial point.
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    (Original post by Leilan)
    I'm interested to learn random things from other degree courses!

    The task is to describe something difficult you have learned at uni, but in a simple enough way that somebody with no background knowledge would be able to grasp the concept.

    Enjoy
    that's a nice idea. beneficial to all of us to read
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    (Original post by Volibear)
    Life lesson: You're really not as important as you think you are.
    Accepting your place in the grand scheme of things is important for perspective, I find.
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    Your senses can be unreliable. You can be deceived by illusions, hallucinations, and so on. If the senses are proven to be unreliable some of the time, then they could theoretically be unreliable all of the time, and not show you true reality. Thus, there is no way to prove for certain that you're not a brain in a vat hooked up to a computer, as that is a legitimate possible working explanation for what you see.

    Something else I learned that's semi-related to this: First year philosophy is ****in dumb.
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    I would, but everything I know is far beyond the comprehension of you scrubs.
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    (Original post by Retired_Messiah)
    Your senses can be unreliable. You can be deceived by illusions, hallucinations, and so on. If the senses are proven to be unreliable some of the time, then they could theoretically be unreliable all of the time, and not show you true reality. Thus, there is no way to prove for certain that you're not a brain in a vat hooked up to a computer, as that is a legitimate possible working explanation for what you see.

    Something else I learned that's semi-related to this: First year philosophy is ****in dumb.
    First year is generally introducing people to the greats and to the shock jocks and getting people to think a little bit outside the box. Putnam's argument about BIVs is actually surprisingly nuanced.
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    (Original post by gjd800)
    First year is generally introducing people to the greats and to the shock jocks and getting people to think a little bit outside the box. Putnam's argument about BIVs is actually surprisingly nuanced.
    tbf I'd probably like it better if I hadn't done the majority of it at A level already. Also there's a lot of Descartes and he's just not very good...
 
 
 
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