This post is from my notes for the first week of lecture in Wheels of Metals: Urban Mining for a Circular Economy on Coursera, and it highlights—for common metals (iron, copper, aluminum)—useful properties that makes the metal attractive for applications, what applications the metal is used in, where and how the metal is mined, how the metal is processed, and how it is recycled. Read more
Life cycles of common metals
Fall 2014 earth science Coursera courses
It's a great semester for continuing education in the earth sciences at Coursera!
Best trick for learning the seven crystal systems
You can find various websites discussing the crystal systems (see my short list below), but in all honesty, the best way to mastering these systems is to deal with them in 3D. Read more →
12 great intro to optical mineralogy resources [updated]
The following list contains the websites I visited most often when I studied optical mineralogy; these sites saved my butt on more than one occasion! A lot of the sites overlap in information, but sometimes a particular site had that key picture or explanation that was essential for me in understanding a concept. I've organized the sites into two groups depending on whether they focus on explaining mineralogy properties or identifying specific minerals. (Image from Geoffrey Clarke.)
Why I take my notes the old-fashioned way, on paper
The benefits of taking notes electronically seem intuitive. They have improved legibility. They are easier to search. Best of all, thousands of pages worth of paper notes take up just megabytes on a hard drive, saving precious space and weight in one's backpack. Speaking of paper, they save trees: in fact, at a school that emphasizes environmentalism, writing on paper even seems like a faux pas.
Should you study Japanese in college? Why you shouldn't take Japanese
You've already come up with reasons for why you should study Japanese: Japan has a thriving economy, they produce reliable cars, they produce all the best video games, they have anime and manga. From a business and entertainment perspective, you figure Japanese is where it's at.