Life, the Universe, and Everything: An Observation

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As a homeschooler, I love learning. I relish bumping into new mysteries of life as much as seeing something unknown become clear. I like watching contested ideas bounce back and forth between their promoters and detractors. Ambiguity is as enjoyable as clarity, as long as I'm seeing progress. But every once in a while, I feel like someone who's been told that "42" is the answer, but that the meaning of such an answer is outside anyone's grasp.

I feel this most acutely in math and science. There is so much in both those areas of study of which I am hopelessly ignorant. I peaked in math at Calculus and science capped out in Physics. So I get very lost very quickly when people start talking about the math behind, say, The Fabric of the Cosmos. Then the science gets fuzzy because I can't recall ever hearing an explanation of how galaxies formed after the big bang, especially since stuff appears to be accelerating away from itself. Have you heard anything about this? What did I miss in high school?

Then I watch Martin Hanczyc's TED talk about life and non-line and I find my mind spinning again. 'What about the "information" he mentioned at the start of his talk (which reminds me of Cosmic Fingerprints)? The presenation seems to fit beautifully with the pro-life movement, if we're going to consider--even remotely--that oil and water is "life like," but I get the feeling Hanczyc wouldn't go there with me. Isn't life more than simple chemical reactions? I get the point that energy keeps us going, but that isn't life... right?'

And so I find that life-long learning continues to be fantastic, but there comes a point where my ignorance and the sheer volume of information is overwhelming. Where do I start? Where do I find the information I'm interested in? And how do I think more clearly about life, the universe, and everything with my ever limited time?

That is one huge benefit to having curriculum: Someone has already taken the time to gather great resources and lay them out for you. The information may be out there in the world somewhere, but there's real beauty in the organization of the information so I don't have to wade through the seas of muck surrounding a topic of interest.

What fascinating topic has caught your attention recently?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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  1. You know, I watched that on PBS and I kept thinking the whole concept of ORDER is a HUMAN CONCEPT. (Or maybe it is some math-y scientific one that I don't know about.) There is just such a great deal of order in the fact that water can take the shape of the things around it (water in a cup, water runs down a hill, etc.). How can an ice cube melting be an example of order becoming disorder?

    Nevermind the math for a minute if I don't even understand simple terms like "order."

  2. Mrs. C, yeah... the more I learn about quantum physics, the more I struggle to get my mind around all of this. I thought things were confusing when I studied electrons and energy levels for electrons... which is very ordered by chaotic at the same time (at least, that's how it feels to me).