The Circle Constant War

So I was romping around the internet as usual, and I found this:

https://tauday.com/tau-manifesto

I won’t talk much about the article itself so you guys can check it out, but dang, I’ll just say that it was somewhat enlightening.

We all know that pi is a constant you magically get by dividing an arbitrary circle’s circumference by its diameter, but isn’t it odd that we don’t really use the diameter that much? Instead, it’s radius this and radius that. The unit of turning is even called the radian.

Then why don’t we use 2π as the constant, because the radius is so much more important? Thus, 2π was given a name, Tau.

τ = 6.283185307179586… = Circumference/Radius

To all you #TeamPi guys out there, don’t worry, I’m not trying to spread Tau propaganda or whatever you call it (not really). I still respect Pi Day and the effort behind pi, but I think that intuitively, Tau is a lot more correct. I still have more digits of pi memorized than tau, and I consider myself slightly neutral in the war between constants. (Slightly leaning towards tau though)

I never knew it would come to the point where math would have strange politics that lead to so many debates and arguments, but there we have it. We now have a civil war of tau versus pi, in which pi is still in the lead. But you never know, maybe one day, people will accept tau as the one true circle constant.

What team are you on?

High School

As a continuation of the previous post, I’ll talk a bit about my high school. Make sure you’ve read that post before this one, or you’ll be confused.

In the beginning of the 2016 – 2017 school year, for some reason I absolutely didn’t care where I went to high school. I didn’t think it was important seeing as I was this proud douchebag who thought the world was his oyster. I don’t even remember how I had planned my life back then, I don’t even think I had a plan for it.

But it all changed when this guy took me to an anime festival called INORI in Bandung’s State High School 3 (SMAN 3).

Getting accepted into a State High School requires you to be ranked among other potential students based on your Middle School National Exam (4 subjects, total score of 400) score. If the number of applicants exceeds the quota, the lowest get kicked out. So it really is a top cut.

You see, SMAN 3 is this elite school of the smartest youth of Bandung. Out of all of the other State High Schools, SMAN 3 almost always tops the charts with their high passing grades and high average test scores. And it’s relatively simpler to continue to a better university the better your school is here in Indonesia (not necessarily).

While the two of us were shopping for anime posters (I bought a sweet Kirisaki Chitoge calender) and playing odd boardgames, my pal was also somewhat advertising the school to me. His sister went to the school, as did his mother, and his grandmother, and the rest of his family with the exception of one uncle, so they had the same expectations for him.

I was instantly hooked with the overall studious aura of the place, the aesthetic garden, the classes, the smart people (and ghosts because it’s apparently haunted, so that’s a plus) roaming around the halls, the tables (I don’t like standard Indonesian wooden tables) and there my motivation kicked in. I wanted to go there.

Image result for sman 3 bandung

Over the year, I studied and prepared by myself (my own school’s help was disappointingly minimal) and there it was, the exam.

The first subject was Bahasa Indonesian, or the Indonesian Language. The exam tryouts were usually a grueling 50 questions where most of the questions required some abstract form of inferring to extract the correct answer from four answers which were basically identical. And the actual exam was exactly that.

Second was Math. Don’t need to go into detail with that. It wasn’t much of a problem.

The third was English. I’m great at English! Right? According to this exam, nope. The exam was shitty, riddled with grammatical errors, tons of things copy-pasted from Wikipedia, and the questions made no sense.

One of the questions had some sort of sweet Father’s Day card detailing appreciation to the father receiving it. Normal stuff. The punctuation was bad though. Then came the answers.

What can we tell from the text?

a. The writer of the text is going to be a father.
b. The writer of the text is informing the reader how to be a good father.
c. A father wrote the text for his kids.
d. The writer of the text is inviting the reader to a Father’s Day party.

What kind of abstract inferring do I need to use? The text had absolutely nothing about anything above.

And that was only one of the 50 bad questions.

Finally was Science. The physics problems were okay, the biology was a tad bit more trivial than usual. Other than that, no complaints.

A month later, the scores came out. I got an 88 in Indonesian, a 97.5 in Math, an 86 (wtf) in English, and a 92.5 in Science. That totaled up to 364/400. Last time, the lowest score to get into SMAN 3 was 373. Welp.

My friend was more skillful than I was, and probably had a lot more hours of after school practice. He got a 371.

But he was like, “Naw man, what the heck, just try signing up for it. This year, the average scores went down by 40 points.”

So we signed up for SMAN 3 another month later. I got a +7 point incentive for my house distance (the closer your house is, the bigger the incentive) and he got a +6. So I was 371, and he was 377. If you got kicked out of the list for your first choice, you would be put into the list for your second choice unless you got kicked out of there too. Then, you would have to go to a private school.

I picked SMAN 5 as my second choice. SMAN 3 and SMAN 5 are literally right next to each other. They share the same address and building. Once upon a time in the Dutch days, they were together as one school known as the Hogere Burgerschool te Bandoeng which was already elite in the past. Then for some reason, they split into two schools. SMAN 5 is also one of Bandung’s best, hovering around the 2nd and 3rd place usually.

Unfortunately, I was kicked out of the list three days after I had signed up. My friend wasn’t though. He got accepted into the school of his dreams and subsequently became my school neighbor, because I got accepted into SMAN 5, right next to SMAN 3.

It’s not exactly what I had expected, but I’m not too surprised either. Actually, now, I honestly think that 5 might actually be more ‘me’. But I’ll leave my stories about my first days in 5 for later on. Rock on, guys!

Image result for sman 3 bandung

Congrats, you survived this post. Thanks for reading!

Indonesian Schools

Hi guys. In future posts, I may talk about school and stuff, so maybe it’d be best if I explained a bit about how schools work in Indonesian.

First and most importantly, elementary school is 6 years and not 5. Hence, middle school is from 7th to 9th grade and high school is from 9th to 12th grade (thus destroying the term ‘sophomore’).

Between elementary school (SD) and middle school (SMP), you have to take a mandatory national exam, which has three subjects; Indonesian, Math, and Science. The next school you go to is very much effected by these three things.

In middle school, things are still very much like elementary school. The natural sciences haven’t split and become their own subjects yet, and remain together simply as ‘Science’. Also, there isn’t really a structured credit system, and everything just follows the curriculum.

Now in high school, things change. There are paths you can go along. You can either be a Math & Natural Science student or a Social Studies & Humanities student. In other schools, there are Literature or Art categories, but in my school, there aren’t.

Indonesia is very biased and people often get pressed into Science when they don’t really belong there, because ‘if you’re a science student, you can go wherever you want. If you’re a social studies student, you’re limited’.

Things also vary depending on the school and curriculum.

Oh, and some teachers don’t give their full effort teaching you. Tardiness and stuff doesn’t matter, because they’re teachers! So if you go to school in Indonesia and this stuff happens, don’t fret. It’s just Indonesian nature.

Here’s another thing. Here in Indonesia there are state schools that are operated by the government, which are usually named by a simple number. I go to SMAN 5 Bandung or State High School 5 of Bandung. There are also private schools, which vary in quality, and there is an undeniable correlation between quality and price (remember that).

The extracurricular activities are also pretty cool, I guess. Scouts (pramuka), PMR (Red Cross), and Paskibra (the guys in charge of ceremonies and raising the flag) are standards. My school is famous (I mean it) for its extracurricular activities, and I’ll elaborate on future posts.

That should suffice as a short guide.

Sohcahtoa Variations

We all know Sohcahtoa. It’s that one handy mnemonic universally used to remember that the sine is the opposite over the hypotenuse, the cosine is the adjacent over the hypotenuse, and the tangent is the opposite over the adjacent.

I was looking around for Sohcahtoa variations to see if there was anything better to use to teach kids rather than some arbitrary mnemonic that sounds slightly Native American.

After extensive research, I have found the absolute best mnemonic. It’s a bit inappropriate, but that’s exactly the reason why high schoolers will remember it.

Are you ready?

Some old hippie caught another hippie tripping oacid.

Hahah! Isn’t that just perfect?

How did you remember the basic trig ratios in high school?

Physicist? Surely You’re Joking!

Anybody get the reference? The… title… reference? Surely you’re joking? No? Meh, alright… I’ll keep this on topic, and I’ll try to stray away from why I haven’t been posting for such a long time (psst, it’s exams!), not that very many people read this anyway…

So! That’s that and this is this! In this post, I am announcing the path I want to take in this life. And that path is a path of SCIENCE!

SCIENCE

And heck yeah, science bitch indeed Jesse! Well, the truth is, aside from academics and learning things, I’m kind of useless (most of my hobbies involve big hands, and my hands are small [insert sad face]) and I have to work up my way from the ground instead of being able to float on a cloud of talent and genetics as many others have.

My cloud of talent slash genetics however, is floating me over the ground in the talent of curiosity. Wait, what’s that? It’s not a talent? Oh. Never mind then.

The thing is, my passion in learning things tends to be a bit more than your average John Doe (no offense to people named John Doe, like that psychotic guy in Se7en) and I have found that I really like physics.

“What?! Physics? Surely you’re joking, you fit better in math! Or computer science! Or chemistry because you keep talking about Breaking Bad! Anyway, your math grades are better than science!”

Well, strange all-knowing third person-esque narrator who is commenting in my post (but not really because this is all just a hypothetical conversation I’m having with my fingers), I must say that yes, my math scores are better than science. But I like physics better than math, and I must say I am better in physics than math. And why is my math better you ask? Well, oddly enough, Indonesian curriculum has not split physics and biology and chemistry at this point in my colorful spectrum of education, and… I’m mediocre at best in biology.

Why oh why is the eternal good boy student mediocre in biology you ask? I, for one, blame the curriculum and questions and curriculum and questions and also how it all revolves around things and names and not systems and processes.

The great physicist and teacher of all teachers, Richard Feynman, once said, “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”

Aaand, that just about explains it. I am quite fond of understanding things, but I despise science by rote. That just takes away all the fun in it, doesn’t it? Where’s all the curiosity and discovery? Curiosity killed the cat you say? Well, in a way, Indonesian curriculum killed curiosity!

Aaand, I am off track (although the number of a’s in my long version of ‘and’ is consistent, hurrah!) and getting all Douglas Adams with my randomness, so I’ll just say what I wanted to say this whole time.

Physics is awesome, and I will be chasing it and chasing it until I can call myself a physicist, just like many of my many role models. Cheers, man!

(And no, I have never watched a full episode of The Big Bang Theory.)

(And no, I’m not trying to be a physicist just because just about everybody who people consider extremely smart is a physicist (ahem, ahem, Newton, Einstein, Hawking, ahem) although it may be a contributing factor.)

(And no, that was not the last and no.)

Unproductive

Hello people of the internet. It’s been what, a week maybe, since I’ve last posted. I can’t find the post history anywhere to make sure, but that doesn’t matter.

So, as you can see, I’ve put this post under most categories, because being unproductive has EVERYTHING to do with EVERYTHING. For starters, I was sick. Then after that, it became an excuse.

“Why aren’t you pressing words together?” I asked myself not too long ago.

My inner me replied with, “You’re sick and irrelevant anyway.” And I was cool with it.

But not to worry folks, I’m going back in production. With my last day of finals tomorrow, my spare time will be going up and up. There is an undeniable correlation between spare time and the end of finals.

Actually, never mind, I have MORE finals on the 19th – 21th. I just fail to understand curriculum sometimes.

I also haven’t worked on the logo and the banner and whatnot, haven’t even tried, to be honest. I’m blank on the ideas there, so you guys could comment some logo ideas (or even make me one if you’re annoyed with Tesla and Thunderbird sitting up there).

Well, I blame my Pokemon Nuzlocke and Breaking Bad, because they’re a lot more fun than being productive.

And yes I am, Mr. Heisenberg, yes I am.

-R

Khanacademy

KA.png

If you’re a student and you don’t know what this site is, I’m not really sure where you’ve been, because this site is extremely useful for studying.

I’ve been using khanacademy.org since I was younger, when the overall interface was kind of weird, and everything was still focused on math. No worries, now Salman Khan’s Khanacademy is a lot better than it was earlier, with tons of videos teaching you practically anything textbooks have to offer.

There are also fun little challenges and the ability to ‘master’ certain skills and earn badges to flaunt to your friends. You can also earn energy points, which unlock avatars for you to use.

Aside from that, the beautiful thing about this site is that it truly believes that primal memorization makes you a shadow of your true potential. It aims to help you understand what school is forcing down your throats, all without charge. Say no more, I have provided the link. Just click on the picture.

-R


I should actually be studying now…