This is obviously the second half of the huge history course that I wrote about a couple of months ago. This second part is, if anything, even larger, comprising as many weeks and with videos that add up to a significantly longer duration. Naturally it’s also the part that will be most familiar and perhaps most exciting for people, including as it does in its scope the two World Wars, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and even everything up to the 9/11 attacks.
This is the first online course I’ve taken on history and it’s a huge one, covering the entire world for the period stated over the course of seven weeks. Roughly speaking, its focus is on the transition between the ancient world and the modern one. Offered by the University of Virginia, it is taught by Philip Zelikow, a fairly prominent diplomat and foreign policy expert in the U.S. government, notably serving as the executive director of the 9/11 Commissioner. He’s probably more of a public policy expert than an academic scholar of history but it still means that he a major heavyweight.
I’ve been ramping down my participation in the Coursera MOOCs of late, mainly because I’ve taken just about all of the introductory courses that I can take and because what’s left that I have any interest in is a bit too in-depth for a casual learner like me. But it’s also because as I get older I’m more set in my ways and getting lazier about truly exercising my mind and getting very involved in tricky subjects. This course, the follow-up to the Introduction of Philosophy course from the University of Edinburgh that I took earlier this year, is an unfortunate example.
It’s been a while since I wrote one of these as I don’t travel all that much. South Korea is also a very common destination for Malaysians, so I won’t waste time talking about the itinerary and will restrict myself to personal observations.
- Their tourism infrastructure is excellent, amazingly so. Since my wife organized the whole trip, this is more her talking point than mine but it’s hard not to notice how seriously they take the industry and how well run their promotions are. We found their tourism promotion office in KL to be extremely helpful, both in providing the usual set of useful and updated information and by offering free T-money chips to start off with.
Sometime this year CIMB Securities started sending me a Daily Trading Ideas report every day by email. They’ve been touting it as investment advice that is immediately actionable. Now, CIMB’s analysts’ reports have a rather poor reputation and are often the subject of mockery on the LYN investment forum, mainly because of their extremely optimistic price targets assigned to stocks. But it’s hard to objectively assess how wrong they are since in theory it is perfectly possible for stock prices to deviate from what they ought to be worth even across extended time frames.
Technical analysis is a different matter. I may not know much about the subject and I certainly don’t know how to do it, but I do know that its supposed to predict market movements in the very short term based completely on momentum factors that are not directly connected to stock fundamentals. This means that it should be possible to assess the accuracy and usefulness of their stock tips. To be safe, I collected price information for their stock picks for the Malaysian market only for 21 days following the publication of each report beginning in around July 2015.
Algorithmic Thinking is the final part of what Rice University now calls its Fundamentals of Computing specialization on the Coursera platform. My previous posts about this specialization are here and here. This one is taught by Luay Nakleh, who also appears to be the newest member of Rice’s online team.
I had a bit of a lull while waiting for the second part of an algorithms course to begin on Coursera and so while browsing the site, noticed this “study at your pace” format course. Since both my wife and myself are crazy about dogs, I thought that it might be a good course for the two of us to go through together and likely has insignificant homework. It’s run by Brian Hare of Duke University.