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What a college education "means" in 2014

What is the basic cultural literacy and knowledge a post-collegiate adult "should" have in 2014? Are there certain humanities subjects you assume or expect everyone in your college-educated social circle to have a baseline understanding of - semiotics? Critical theory? Familiarity with a bunch of poetry, drama, novels, sociological texts, art, music? None of that? [more inside]
posted by naju on Jun 18, 2014 - 28 answers

how do you find / hire a researcher (for a freelance project)?

I am looking for one or more professionals to find interesting moments in the history of one of the detroit car makers. someone who can i.e. provide me with information out of which I can make interesting "on this day in 1952, this happened" articles. how should I go about finding the right person for this project? [more inside]
posted by krautland on Nov 21, 2013 - 11 answers

Ill have what the yanks are having.....

If you lived in Britain and were coming back from California with an empty suitcase what would you bring back. Are there things that are a) cool b) curious c) ultra useful d) much cheaper e) unique that you would bring. [more inside]
posted by london302 on Aug 4, 2013 - 50 answers

Online science resources for a liberal arts major?

I want to learn science. [more inside]
posted by Hawk V on Jul 25, 2013 - 13 answers

Horror independent of increased knowledge?

Are there any horror works which do not derive increased horror from increased knowledge? [more inside]
posted by johnofjack on Jul 4, 2013 - 28 answers

What does a 9-year-old boy need to know?

I will be giving a newly minted 9-year-old gentleman of my acquaintance a wallet for his birthday. I was thinking of printing and laminating a card full of important reference information for a young man of his age. Sort of an ultra condensed Schott's Original Miscellany. What should I put on it?
posted by Capn on Apr 18, 2013 - 27 answers

Help make me literate like an engineer

So people like to name-drop authors and works that those who went to university and/or have a curiosity about the world should know as part of the basic vocabulary of being an educated Westerner. For example, "Kant" or "Dickensian", or "Gertrude Stein". I would like to learn this stuff, please. [more inside]
posted by grahamsletter on Mar 20, 2013 - 34 answers

Writers of fiction are smart peoples and they knows stuff

How does a writer like Kim Stanley Robinson, or any writer for that matter, obtain and integrate the vast amounts of knowledge necessary to create a fully detailed and realistic world on the page? [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Sep 22, 2012 - 17 answers

What one book could give me a new, useful superpower?

What one book could pretty much give me a new, useful superpower if I follow it and put the methods inside into practice? In my life, I've come across a small handful of books that have really allowed me to learn to do some things that were previously unthinkable to me, and which I'm able to use all the time in my life. I'm most interested in a book that has actually worked to change your life, rather than one that seems like it would be good if you one day got around to following it. Thanks.
posted by surenoproblem on Sep 12, 2012 - 78 answers

orgasmatron

Is there a name or pathology for this kind of behaviour (in psychiatry)? Basically, it feels like I'm falling in love all the time - with human knowledge - and I keep on pushing the lever because it feels good. [more inside]
posted by leigh1 on Jun 14, 2012 - 20 answers

Memorize ALL THE THINGS

I'm memorizing all of the world capitals. What other flash-cardable things would be useful/impressive to memorize? [more inside]
posted by cmoj on Apr 16, 2012 - 32 answers

We don't need no thought control...

I'm going to college! (fo' realz this time, yo). So, what should I study? (or, How do I learn to stop worrying I won't get to do everything and love just one subject?) [more inside]
posted by Seiten Taisei on Feb 9, 2012 - 19 answers

If you could study anything, what would it be?

If you could study anything, what would it be? I have some free time and a desire to get my neurons firing. [more inside]
posted by MesoFilter on Dec 14, 2011 - 21 answers

Knowing the Future

Can you think of any examples of a famous character in a film (or book) who knew the future, or knew that a big event was definitely going to happen, and couldn't cope with that knowledge?
posted by Marzipan on Dec 8, 2011 - 39 answers

Any jobs that deal with classifying or indexing information?

Please help me come up with jobs where the main duty is organizing or classifying information. [more inside]
posted by stedman15 on Dec 6, 2011 - 13 answers

Gimme shelter

Where in central PA/NY might be unboring to wait out a hurricane? [more inside]
posted by troywestfield on Aug 26, 2011 - 7 answers

Knowing Your Limits/Accepting or Mitigating Intellectual Failure

I have a serious problem with being seen to be intellectually 'wrong'. I need ways to get over it [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 24, 2011 - 26 answers

Daily sites?

I very much enjoy my daily word and poem sites. What other daily life-enriching, mind-expanding sites (or email lists or similar) exist? [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Jul 21, 2011 - 11 answers

Outstanding examples of instrucitonal Flash or YouTube animations?

Looking for outstanding examples of animations and videos that explain a difficult-to-understand concept or topic. Not KhanAcademy-type, but rather interactive Flash works or videos with 3D animation. [more inside]
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Jul 9, 2011 - 12 answers

Where can I find all the knowledge I would ever need for buying a house?

I know I'd like to buy my first house in the next five years. Help me learn as much as possible before I get to the point where I'm ready to do it! [more inside]
posted by lovableiago on Jun 28, 2011 - 19 answers

Was this a snoop?

Was this a snoop? Spouse and I have a magazine stack by the toilet. Was reading the other day and pulled out an old copy of Oprah magazine and noticed she filled out one of those self-assessment questionnaires. As a result I've learned something about her that many, many months of couples therapy couldn't get me to understand about her. I'd like to invoke my new knowledge but I feel like I snooped...or did I? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 20, 2011 - 32 answers

How to find out more about "best practices"?

What I should be reading about the general concept of "best practices"? [more inside]
posted by zresearch on May 13, 2011 - 6 answers

Building a personal library for an autodidactic quiz buff

What books can you recommend that do for their subject what 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' does for science i.e. cover a broad topic in an entertaining and engaging way which is easy for the layperson to understand? I am interested in improving my General Knowledge and want to build a little library of similar books covering topics such as art, film, geography, history, literature, music, philosophy etc. [more inside]
posted by wannalol on Apr 27, 2011 - 35 answers

How do I learn about something very quickly?

How can I learn a large amount about a topic in a few days? [more inside]
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Apr 10, 2011 - 12 answers

What can't the human brain do?

What are some limits of the human brain? I think everyone knows that people can't keep more than 7 items in short term memory, and I was just reading an article here that mentions limits to the theory of mind (A knows that B thinks that C thinks.. etc). What are some other things that it is just impossible to think about or remember or to visualize? I'd prefer actual studies and hard data to anecdotes and folk wisdom, but I'll take either.
posted by empath on Mar 27, 2011 - 24 answers

When Is Ignorance Strength?

When is it legally, ethically, practically, or otherwise necessary for people NOT to know something? For example, I've heard of linguists trying to do research on monolingual native speakers (they can't know another language), or jurors, who can't know about the defendant. Bonus questions: why can't they know, and how is it enforced? I'm particularly interested if a person has to protect his or her own lack of knowledge.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin on Mar 24, 2011 - 46 answers

Negotiating a salary when I know what my friend there makes?

How should I negotiate for a salary at a place I'm applying to, when I already know the starting salary of one of their recent hires? (Anonymous because I don't want to jeopardize my candidacy at this place, or get my acquaintance there in trouble.) [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 17, 2011 - 13 answers

Help me make them think

Please give me your favourite trivia questions that really make you think and scratch your head. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Mar 14, 2011 - 44 answers

How to REALLY read a book?

I am about to embark on a massive technical book reading escapade. Please share your information retention methods. [more inside]
posted by Sentus on Mar 1, 2011 - 7 answers

Learn me!

I want to fill my brain with useful and common knowledge. What can I put in there? [more inside]
posted by sucre on Jan 25, 2011 - 36 answers

Help with Personal Knowledge Management

Need help with organizing and storing documents and files as part of personal knowledge management. Snowflakes inside. [more inside]
posted by theobserver on Jan 19, 2011 - 7 answers

An Educated Mind

I want a liberal arts education without going back to school. What should I do? [more inside]
posted by Fairchild on Dec 18, 2010 - 37 answers

The World is Round, You Idiot

I'm wondering what research has found, in general, about the relationship anger, partisanship, and truth. [more inside]
posted by outlandishmarxist on Dec 12, 2010 - 6 answers

How should healthcare professionals act when they (or their loved ones) are patients?

Health-care workers of MeFi: how do you act around doctors when you or a family member is receiving care? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 17, 2010 - 19 answers

Do I really know myself at all?

How do you know if you are being honest with yourself? What's the difference between making excuses/rationalizing and being honest about the positive/negative of a situation? [more inside]
posted by sio42 on Sep 30, 2010 - 28 answers

Investment for this Dummy.

I have $1000 to invest and I'd like to do it wisely. One problem: I have never invested any amount of money in anything. Ever. Where should I start? [more inside]
posted by Kitteh on Aug 21, 2010 - 21 answers

What's a good way to expand one's vocabulary?

What's a good way to expand one's vocabulary? [more inside]
posted by GlassHeart on Jul 16, 2010 - 23 answers

How would you get to grips with nuclear fusion?

Nuclear fusion physics and tokamak reactors: where to start? [more inside]
posted by the_observer on Jun 13, 2010 - 15 answers

The Theory of Knowledge over Time

Is there a theory or law (formal or otherwise) that postulates that given enough time, "truth" or "knowledge" is more likely to be understood? [more inside]
posted by verevi on May 6, 2010 - 8 answers

It doesn't work that way

"This is how it really works." I'm looking for things you know that work differently than people assume they do. For instance, people usually assume that school textbooks are chosen strictly on merit, when actually it is Texas book events that end up controlling textbook sales. Or like the comment that said "what the FBI does is collect evidence for prosecution. They rarely solve crimes on their own and they rarely prevent them." Before payola was widely talked about in recent years, most people thought songs on the radio got there solely because of popularity. I'm looking for other examples where widely common perceptions about how something operates are not accurate.
posted by cashman on Mar 23, 2010 - 101 answers

How does a non-expert identify experts and important publications?

I'm trying to find a way of determining the "trustworthiness", for lack of a better term, of a scientific study. To do so, I would really like to know if there are systematic methods you can use to map out disciplines in which you are not already an expert. Help me sort this out. [more inside]
posted by PercussivePaul on Mar 1, 2010 - 14 answers

Developing excellent academic general knowledge.

Developing excellent academic general knowledge. [more inside]
posted by ekpyrotic on Nov 20, 2009 - 4 answers

References to books in pill form?

Desperately seeking references to books in pill form. Or liquid form. Or as a tasty spread. [more inside]
posted by Devoidoid on Aug 15, 2009 - 12 answers

Help me update my PC / Windows literacy for the 21st Century

I used to feel pretty confident with computers / IT in general (80s child). Now I need a boost to get back up to speed, especially digging around in the OS / filesystem. Recommend me a good book / website / hands-on project? [more inside]
posted by KMH on Aug 6, 2009 - 7 answers

Insights gained via one's career

What have you learned through your career, major, or specialization that you wish the general public knew? [more inside]
posted by Earl the Polliwog on Jul 2, 2009 - 215 answers

It's what's inside that counts.

I just had an MRI and MRA in response to these issues, and the radiologist's report should be relayed to me in a day or two. I've already had one normal CT scan. I received a copy of all the images from this scan - should I look at them? [more inside]
posted by elektrotechnicus on May 29, 2009 - 10 answers

Looking for indepth online.

Looking for indepth online. Where do you go for indepth analysis and information? The online versions of most Current Affairs print magazines are known to me. I want more Glenn Greenwald, Daily Beast; Andrew Sullivan or Informed Comment. What are the best blogs out there for political and international analysis; not neccessarily UScentric? For instance where do I find out more about the convoluted craziness of Iran or Eritrea? There are a lot of highly intelligent, inquiisitive people around these parts; where do you go to find out what the informed opinion for your interests are? Please don't limit this to just political or current affairs; the best of anything is always worth reading.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 23, 2009 - 16 answers

Alternatives to the mainstream scientific method that have generated real, practical output.

Alternatives to the mainstream scientific method that have generated real, practical output. [more inside]
posted by ajp on Mar 17, 2009 - 27 answers

I want to be smart so I can write clever Askme Headlines

What are some easy, relatively quick ways to learn to write better, think clearer, and express myself better? [more inside]
posted by Bageena on Jan 28, 2009 - 24 answers

Know any good intellecutal websites or thought-provoking reads? Post them here.

What are some other "intellectual" or though-provoking websites like: TED.com BigThink.org Fora.tv Also, what are, in your opinion, some of the best books in the following topics: -economics -investing -psychology -design -religion -self-help [more inside]
posted by meta.mark on Jan 16, 2009 - 27 answers

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