Tuesday, September 11, 2007

pulling an Erdos

Update: AHA! Found the port that allows me to send email from my new laptop consistently. Now I no longer have to carry the broken one around... assuming I transfer over the hard drive stuff before the taxi comes in 3 hours. Boy do I rely on electronics for communication. Stable email! Stable IRC! Stable cellphone with text messaging! That's all I'm asking - but that's a lot of infrastructure to need.

I enjoy living interrupt to interrupt - I'm working on a ton of projects with a ton of people and responding when they ping me - but I need to learn how to close processes cleanly so I don't leave any dangling obligations when I rush to the next thing. It's very humbling to finally not have anyone (mostly) telling you what to do after 21 years - finally get what you've been fighting for for a long time, and then finding out you don't know what to do with it. I'm starting my unschooling journey as a young adult, but I'm still a very immature learner.

Finally, my travel schedule, in case people want to meet up, do something, and so on.

Sep 11-18 - San Fransisco, CA (Palo Alto, Berkeley, etc. - mostly booked but can meet people Wednesday the 12th, email-available.)

Sep 19-30 - Chicago, IL
(Glenview, Evanston, Aurora, etc. - relatively open schedule, very email-available.)

Oct 1 - Nov 17 - Manila, Philippines
(relatively open schedule after Oct 10, can travel within the Philippines for short trips, intermittently email-available.)

Nov 18 - Dec 23 - Shanghai, China
(relatively open schedule and intermittently email-available after Nov 28, also traveling within China, destinations unknown... yes, I know it's a big country, it's going to be a sort of spontaneous thing here.)

Dec 24 - Jan 8? - Manila, Philippines
(not so much the traveling here; Christmas with the family, so I'm booked, mostly email-available.)

Jan 8? - Jan 15? 2008 - Chicago, IL
(give or take a few days - I'm booked doing an intersession at IMSA, very email-available)

Jan 15? - May 31
2008 - Boston, MA (okay, Somerville. At least that's the game plan so far. Relatively open schedule... so far. Will be going to NYC at least once; I need to visit my uncle in New Jersey, but can extend the trip to see other people and places as well. Very email-available.)

June 1 - August 30 2008 - America. No, really. I'm biking across the United States with Chris Carrick on an appropriate technology tour. Not sure about the email part for this one.

Finally, I thought this was fittting...

Possessions meant little to Erdős; most of his belongings would fit in
a suitcase, as dictated by his itinerant lifestyle. Awards and other
earnings were in general donated to people in need and various worthy causes. He spent most of his life as a vagabond,
travelling between scientific conferences and the homes of colleagues
all over the world. He would typically show up at a colleague's
doorstep and announce "my brain is open", staying long enough to
collaborate on a few papers before moving on a few days later. In many
cases, he would ask the current collaborator about whom he (Erdős)
should visit next. His working style has been humorously compared to
traversing a linked list.

I can't decide whether feeling like I'm "pulling an Erdos" somewhat is a good thing or not (oh, I'm not really doing it now, but I could be moving in that direction). I need to learn how to embroider so that I can stitch "My brain is open" onto my travel pack. And then... what? I can't write math papers at every house. (Heck, I don't know how to write math papers. I don't think I could help with one in a few days. But I could be wrong.) Maybe I could learn how to code well enough that I could do something like Ben Fisher's half hour hacks with people. Or broadening that thought, maybe I could do a teaching/learning swap of lessons in exchange for housing and food for a week. And if they have time, I'd ask them to teach me something too. As I went along, I'd presumably know how to teach more things, but I'm polymath enough to give mini-intro-classes on a number of subjects right now.

I wonder if people would actually go for that, if I could do it for - say, if I could do it for a month? Four weeks, four people, four lesson swaps. It'd be a fantastic way to learn about learning. A really amazing way to do some of my education research (...okay, not technically - I'm supposed to be focusing on undergraduate engineering education, and this is more general self-directed learning outside of institutions). A pretty hardcore way to learn how to teach.

Hmm. Not going to try to plan firm stuff more than 3 months into the future for the most part, but... hmm.

1 comment:

nikki said...

Have you seen this?