No sooner had I posted a long mope about not making anything cool than I realized that wait, I have. I just haven't been sharing it. D'oh.

This is how I used to take notes in math, physics, and engineering classes in high school and college. I've lost most of those notes, unfortunately - I didn't think much of them at the time and chucked them with the rest of my school stuff when the class was over, but when Sebastian started up at Olin I began to hear grumblings about long-forgotten topics. Partial derivatives. Eigenvectors. And then, several evenings in a row, double and triple integrals, and how the textbook was extremely non-helpful at explaining them.

After several nights of this ("read the textbook!" "It doesn't help!"), I finally dragged out all the calculus textbooks I had (yes, I collect textbooks - stop laughing at me!) and sure enough, he was right; all of the explanations were excruciatingly boring. Heck, I understood double and triple integrals, and reading the textbook chapter on them made me want to smash a window with my water bottle - they all spent 5 pages or more obfuscating a perfectly simple thing. So I whipped out some paper and a ballpoint pen and wrote: we're going to explain what double and triple integral are, what they're good for, and how to solve them. WITH PENGUINS! And then I kept on drawing.

There actually are penguins in that document - just not in the section I used for the screenshot. You'll have to read the full thing to meet Fritz, the Homework Penguin. Little Fritz sketches used to adorn all the assignments I turned in for math and physics classes when I was a freshman.

If you want fritznotes on something you're wondering about, feel free to ask - if I've got time, I might make them. All fritznotes are licensed under CC-BY-SA.

A few rules:

  • They have to be fairly small topics - no fair asking me to explain all of Calculus in 2 pages! Think "textbook chapter subsection" - so not even "sort algorithms," but something as specific as "quicksort." I'm most familiar with math, physics, and computing - but I love challenges, so if you ask questions about, say, Gaelic grammar, I'll do my best (but it may take... longer).
  • Any level is okay - I'll explain anything from 3rd-grade multiplication all the way up through Gauss-Jacobi sums (though I'll need help refreshing on the latter - it's been years since I did anything more complex than introductory abstract algebra).
  • In addition to the topic, give me something you know and like, and I'll try to work that into the notes too. For instance, Newton's Second Law of Motion and skateboarding (easy), or isolation amplifiers and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (...less easy - I'm not sure how I'd do this one yet, honestly, but I'd figure it out).
  • I don't have to know the thing in order to create fritznotes for it, but it'd help if you sent me some pointers on resources I could learn from - wikipedia pages, articles, book titles, etc. I have, in the past, translated semiconductor journal papers, anthropology books, etc. into more entertaining forms of English - so that's another option, "fritznote summaries.") Alternatively, if there's a topic you understand and want to teach to other people, and want fritznotes to hand out about it, spend a little time teaching me and I'll draw up a fritznotes on it for you. Ok?

Okay. Go for it.