Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Power Levels

I realized a few days ago that it's been a bit over a year since I started writing on this blog. Wow, time flies a lot quicker now that I'm older. I still remember the summer after Kindergarten, not because of anything I did, but just because it felt oh so long. And every year after that, time has consistently seemed to go faster than the last.

For the past few years, I've been trying to push myself more, trying to increase my level of knowledge and ability. I've consistently applied my "learn a new programming language / paradigm per year" mentality, which I think is great. I figure I've got at least two or three more languages to go before I can slow down that one.

Brief personal history: I started HTML at the end of 2004, and I consider myself starting to really program in 2005, so by the end of this year I'll have had 5 full years of programming experience. I've learned PHP (the whole LAMP stack), Java (which I'm now really mastering), Python, C, C++ (really mastering later this year), JavaScript, ActionScript, and while I 'know' Scheme and Common Lisp I still haven't finished working through SICP. Still, not bad eh? I've done Assembly and am taking an entire course on it next semester. J, R, and FORTH are on my list of languages to study next.

Back to pushing. My senior year in high school, 2008-2009, felt really slow, in the sense that I don't feel like my power level grew as much as it could have. I've been learning a lot of other stuff than just programming, sure. Math, science, rationality, foreign language, history, psychology, etc. (gotta stop myself); I feel like I have a fairly wide net of knowledge as well as considerable depth in some areas. Of course, I feel like a lot of where I'm not deep at is relatively simple material, but that's another issue.

Anyway, this last year has also felt fairly slow. I'm in college now, and yes I learned a significant amount of things, I boosted my power level, but it doesn't feel like it went up all that much. Glancing over all my posts from the last year (I should have over 365 now remember? But I don't have the willpower to do a post a day), it's clear to me I've grown. Nevertheless, there are 24 hours per day, and it feels like I could have grown a lot more.

This coming year I expect to exponentiate my power level. It will be far over 9000! Let me reveal a taste of what I'll be learning just over the next few months, hopefully before February of next year:

The last three are things I'll be doing in school, the rest are things I'm doing on my own. Now, in case some awesome person is reading my blog and already understands these things, please comment so I know you exist! And I don't care if you think in hindsight that these things aren't all that awesome, because they are, and if every human knew them this world would be such a better place. Anyway...

I'm looking forward to increasing my power level a lot over the next year. What is it like to have a mental model not thrilled by the prospect of learning? What is it like to have a mental model only interested in receiving information (maybe, if the moon is right), not going out to seek it? What do people do with their 24 hours each day? Humans fascinate me, and understanding the species is another fun endeavor I have. To any readers, I wish you luck on increasing your own power levels!

Posted on 2010-07-16 by Jach

Tags: books, learning, personal


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