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Staying sharp academically without sudoku.

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DoItTooJulia Mon 02-Feb-15 21:27:54

I'm 35. Im busy, with demanding career, kids yada yada, and I just feel a bit, well, I don't know, is it bored? sluggish of brain? Out of the loop?

Basically, I miss having interesting stuff to learn about/get into.

Part of my problem is a reading drought, I'm just not reading for fun like I used to and I miss it, but I do read some journals like New Scientist and the New Humanist. I do get the odd London Review of Books, but tbh, I've found it a bit impenetrable at times. I'm not hugely cultured (theatre is a huge turnoff for me). I read the news, I'm interested in politics, but still this feeling of brain lethargy persists.

What do you do to stave this off? What can I try?

Imreallynotpostingthistime Thu 02-Jan-20 01:27:39

bsc bbc bitesize!

bsc Sat 28-Dec-19 18:20:25

Does anyone know how one could study more GCSE/A Level level of content, to learn things one didn't learn in school? I would really like to learn some chemistry, as I only did physics, also maybe geology with it. I assume future learn/open university will all be higher level courses, but I'm looking for Level 2 and then Level 3.

newmum266 Tue 01-Oct-19 05:27:06


Smooshface Wed 04-Mar-15 12:51:42

Apologies for my terrible looking links? not sure what i've done wrong there, ho hum

Smooshface Wed 04-Mar-15 08:27:16

just compiling my list of all this cool stuff!

Only Connect is almost finished for this series, but me and my partner love it!
Used to read blogs like [[] "Damn Interesting"]
i got book [[] How to Solve Cryptic Crosswords] which takes it slowly and has lots of examples and stuff.
People rave about Khan Acadamy which has lots of courses, massive amount of videos to learn new stuff (aimed at schools but don't see why that couldn't be good for people here too! has astronomy section which i keep meaning to watch)

OFrabjousDay Wed 11-Feb-15 16:24:34

Has anyone mentioned Numberphile? I haven't looked at many of the videos, but someone linked to a video which showed the proof that the sum of all integers up to infinity (i.e. 1+2+3+4...) equals -1/12, which was fascinating.


Also, Periodic Videos is a series of chemistry videos made by a professor of chemistry with excellent hair. (I was taught by him at university and he loved playing up to his 'mad scientist' image smile)

ButterflyOfFreedom Wed 11-Feb-15 16:06:15

Try getting your head around The Monty Hall problem...!

funnyperson Mon 09-Feb-15 04:12:49

Yeats of course, and Dylan Thomas.

funnyperson Mon 09-Feb-15 04:09:02

Sorry- only just caught up with this again: someone upthread asked about poetry: I think the key thing is to get an anthology from the library or Barnados and read poems from it aloud, (perhaps to dp or dc even) then you will get a feel for what you like, and the rythmn and the sound. Try the metaphysical poets such as John Donne, the romantics such as Tennyson and Shelley, more modern poets such as ts elliott 'the wasteland' ee Cummings and Ted Hughes, as well as the war poets of course. Burns is nice. Anyway, learn one you like by heart and see how you get on. There are all sorts: lewis carroll, william blake, ae houseman, wordsworth, john masefield, and the japanese haiku, funny ones and sad ones, romantic ones and tragic ones. This one seems appropriate for this thread

By C. P. Cavafy

Translated By Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Redoubtable Sun 08-Feb-15 14:39:08

MNHQ thanks for moving this to a permanent home.

I also got lost in the Waitbutwhy blog after looking for the Fermi pareadox info.
This is for kids supposedly but I find it interesting. Not really a brain stretcher as such but lovely to scroll through. Hope it's of use to someone.

ButterflyOfFreedom Sun 08-Feb-15 13:42:48

Love this thread & have been inspired!! smile

I've signed up for a course via FutureLearn and have read several articles on !

I'm going to start reading more too including nonfiction.

DH has said he'd dig his chess set out & teach me how to play though I'm not sure if that's one step too far at the moment for me!?! (never seemed to like the idea of chess!)


OhMyActualDays Sun 08-Feb-15 10:27:21

Thank you for the suggestions. I found a music course online but then discovered after the first lecture that the book you needed was over £100... Not so freegrin

velourvoyageur Sun 08-Feb-15 06:13:43

JustAnother sorry this is an unhelpful answer, it's an intensive course offered by the uni I'm an Erasmus student at, so in person. Having to pay loads for it and it requiring min.80% attendance is the only way I'd be able to stick at something so difficult consistently for 3 weeks!
Unless you want to travel to central Europe every day grin
Is it hard to get the alphabet in your head? Well done for getting level 1!

Boffin really liked your post, grin at the red cardigan and tractor! Did you go to the RSFSR? If so, I so envy you...

HamstersDontHaveFeet Sun 08-Feb-15 00:35:14

Thanks for this thread. I have been inspired! So many things to explore smile

KingCrimson Sun 08-Feb-15 00:13:35

Thanks for recommending the Wait But Why blog, RichInBunlyGoodness, I read the Fermi Paradox article and it was excellent. Can't wait to read more of his stuff.

JustAnotherControlFreak Sat 07-Feb-15 21:20:10

velour what course are you doing for your Russian? That's the language I'm trying and have level 1 Rosetta stone and another collection I bought whilst abroad but I'm always looking for extra material to help.

BoffinMum Sat 07-Feb-15 17:11:20

I did it at school. Harder than things like French, but easier than Mandarin, on a level with Ancient Greek, I would say. You can now get things like Tatler in Russian which makes the reading matter more interesting than the kind of Soviet texts we had to read. "Do you like porridge, Tanya? I like the very fine modern Russian tractor over there. Now I will wear my red cardigan as it is very cold". When I went over there to visit it wasn't much better in real life wink

velourvoyageur Sat 07-Feb-15 16:33:31

I'm started a three week course of Russian on Monday, three hours a day. A1, so beginners. I think it will need major effort grin but I'm a bit thick me

OP wasn't sure if you're making fun of me or not smile but I learn French and Soviet history dates by copying them out on the computer in groups until they stick then move onto the next lot
Only thing that got me through A levels and uni exams, learning pages off by heart, have no idea how to revise otherwise.

meandjulio Sat 07-Feb-15 14:20:57

OhMyDays, have a look around the Radio 3 schedules/website. Discovering Music is a fantastic programme. The Radio 3 breakfast programme is just like Classic FM these days but a lot gentler and no adverts, and a lot wider range of music so you try all sorts of things. Not sure if Mixing It is still on - I used to love that programme when I was a bit younger and more awake.

whoreandpeace Sat 07-Feb-15 14:12:10

Well done MNHQ!

WereJamming Sat 07-Feb-15 10:12:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Racers Sat 07-Feb-15 10:08:42

Love the Geo quiz, thanks WereJamming!

Tokelau Sat 07-Feb-15 10:01:34

I'd love to learn Russian. I signed up for a class at a local college, turned up, and the course was cancelled due to lack of interest. sad

BoffinMum Sat 07-Feb-15 09:15:03

Learn Russian. Different alphabet, but not so far from English it needs major effort.

FindoGask Sat 07-Feb-15 07:13:26

I study with the OU - I'm working towards a natural sciences degree with a focus on biology. It takes the same sort of discipline as regular exercise and I do enjoy it - it keeps me sharp. The only problem is when I'm in the middle of a module I tend not to have any mental energy left for reading for fun.

I can also recommend a Granta subscription - they bring out four books a year, compilations of excellent writing around a particular theme. You can subscribe for a year and see how you get on.

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