Not a waste of time

At the risk of sounding like an opinionated puritanical zealot, I think computer games are a waste of precious time. There is just too much cool stuff to learn and to do to spend hours each day playing stupid games on a computer. Now for the hypocritical truth: I do enjoy sudoku and solitaire on my iPad. Sudoku is a fun challenge but solitaire is an evil time sink that is all-too-easy to justify when I’m feeling wiped out or wasting time doing things like waiting for flights. If I could add up all of the 5-10 min “passing time” moments that I manage to flit away on stupid computer games, I could probably add another serious hobby or write a book. 

Pythagorean

This is not in Euclid, but it is my favorite “proof” of the Pythagorean theorem.

My cousin’s son Matt (either my first cousin once removed or second cousin–who made up this relationship nomenclature???) recently hooked me on a computer game that, in my opinion, isn’t a waste of time. It is even worth doing! I spent hours during a leisurely family vacation at the beach doing this game, and I not only loved it but am willing to suggest that you try it too. The game is based on Euclid’s Elements and is called “Euclid: The Game”:

http://euclidthegame.com/Tutorial/

I must admit that I love Euclid and think that it should form the basis of almost any area of math or science. It is the core of the great books education at St. John’s College, my first college before saddle making. But Euclid goes far beyond STEM, because it is also a wonderful system of logic and reason. It is beautiful art, with nice geometric shapes and relationships. I always use geometry in my leather work, and braiding must trace its lineage directly to Euclid. Prof Frank Weinhold, one of my PhD co-advisors, developed a system of thermodynamics that is based on Euclidean geometry.

Braided_iPad_case.JPG

Geometric braid on iPad case

Euclid is a beautiful example of reason and logic that is also practical and useful in real life, and “Euclid: The Game” captures the spirit nicely. I hope you will all try this game and send the author a donation so that he can continue adding new levels and challenges for future vacations!

While I’m on the topic, I’d also like to recommend a nice interactive Ebook version of Euclid’s Elements by Saltir. It’s the real book but with nice interactive pictures that expand the experience. I bring it everywhere I go on my iPad!

http://www.saltire.com/apps/index.html

Let me know what you think of Euclid and please send suggestions of your favorite not-a-waste-of-time games. 

3 responses

  1. Nothing we enjoy doing is a waste of time. We may look back and regret our use of our time but at the time we enjoyed it otherwise we would not have done it. Value is a relative concept what is value to one is waste to another. If we have enough to eat ( about a billion don’t) and some spare cash we have to fill the time between the cradle and the grave.

    • Excellent points! I just see many people who seem to spend so much time on computer games to the detriment of their health and career. I do agree with you that this is my value judgement and not theirs. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      • You are correct this is compulsive behaviour and sometimes we lose control because we pursue pleasure to the detriment of all else. While a person is in that grip it is impossible to reason with them. There are types of compulsion which society encourages such as the pursuit of wealth or the attainment of physical perfection. Dedication has its dangers since it leads to exclusionism.

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