So I've now finished my formal education, Graduating with a B S in Computer Engineering, what was important from those ~15 years of formal education? What really effects my day to day life, and world view?

Statistics. I covered the central limit theorem in my high school AP statistics class, in my college statistics class, a couple of my computer science classes, and it came up in my physics and physiology courses. Hypothesis/significance testing which came up in at least as many classes generally is dependent on the central limit theorem. Most importantly are the confounding factors, sampling biases and their implication that correlation does not imply causation. Without these tools, interpreting the media would be hopeless.

Evolution. You can infer a hell of a lot about stuff that exists from that fact that it manged to exist. This applied to gardening, physiology, epidemics, politics, economics and many other areas It applies any where there is replication or growth and selective pressure. I partarticulerly like to use evolution to anaylize the memealogical ecosystem (Ex: the religions we have are the variants that replicate the most successfully, certain types of publications are likely to propagate regardless of truth, etc). Evolution is also a handy algorithm to employ directly your self, as in evolutionary algorithms.

Calculus. I don't care much for learning how to compute integrals and derivatives (software will always do this better than me), but understanding rates of change is critical. Evolution can easily be expressed in the terminology of differential equations: if something exists, and its reproduction rate exceeds its death rate, its population will increase (have a positive derivative). Physics is also greatly simplified and explained with a bit of calculus. For Newtonian mechanics I remembered little more than F=MA, and that velocity is the rate of change of position, and acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. From this I can derive all those other nasty equations in seconds, and it makes conceptual sense.

Exponential growth. The implications of this were not applied too well in most of my classes, but its very important. I'll leave it to this guy:

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