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Every calculator you'll ever need, for free

The Omni Calculator site is a stunning treasure trove of free calculators.

Image source: Dusit/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • 1,175 calculators attempt to solve every everyday math problem for you.
  • All free to use, it's amazing how many aspects of life get a calculator.
  • Bookmark this collection — it's hard to imagine you won't someday need it.

It's true that high-school calculus teachers torture their students with them, but it's also true that once some degree of mastery is in hand. Mathematicians love a good — efficient, clever, and useful — formula.

These things aren't just for classrooms or advanced scientific applications, either. While it's amazing that formulas predict what will happen if we slingshot a spacecraft around some distant celestial body, they can also be part of our earthly lives calculating all sorts of everyday things.

In any event, for many math heads (carefully typed), slinging formulas together and inventing new calculators is just plain fun. Last week, for example, UK physicist Steven Wooding sent us the link to a calculator he and a friend constructed that predicts contactable alien civilizations. That was fun, but the site to which he directed us is nothing short of dazzling: It's called Omni Calculator, and it's a mind boggling repository of 1,175 calculators whose purpose is to help everyone get to the right answers in their personal and professional lives.

A mathematical treasure chest

floating math equations

Image source: Alexey Godzenko/Shutterstock

Want to know exactly how many balloons it would take to send your house airborne, as in the Pixar's "Up"? No problem. Hate running unexpectedly out of toothpaste en route to bed? Live your best life. Ditto toilet paper.

Some of the calculators are pretty profound, too, such as the Every Second calculator that shows just how much happens in the world every 60th of a minute — it's an enthralling set of numbers.

Fun stuff aside, Omni Calculator is an absolutely staggering collection, an incredible resource for normal people and professionals—from doctors, to chemists, to financial advisers, to construction teams, and more.

Who is behind Omni Calculator?

color blocks with the four basic math symbols

Image source: rawf8/Shutterstock

Omni Calculator is the project of a Polish startup of 24 people dedicated to helping others solve all of the small math problems in their daily lives. The company manifesto:

"In a surprisingly large part, our reality consists of calculable problems. Should I buy or rent? What's my ideal calorie intake? Can I afford to take this loan? How many lemonades do I need to sell in order to break even? Often times we don't solve these problems, because we lack knowledge, skills, time or willingness to calculate. And then we make bad, uninformed decisions?"

Omni Calculator is here to change all that — we are working on a technology that will turn every* calculation-based problem trivial to solve for anyone.

The asterisk says, "within reason."

It all started when founder Mateusz Mucha built a unique web calculator. It could calculate in any direction without a fixed input or output. He invested $80 in translating his Percentage Calculator into 15 languages and stood back as the app was downloaded 4 million times, and counting.

At some point Mucha changed his goal: "Instead of calculating one thing, we'll calculate all of them — for everybody." To serve this aim, all of Omni Calculator's calculators are free to use, developed by the company in collaboration with all sorts of experts.

Go spend some time looking around and bookmarking tools for your own use. You're pretty much guaranteed to find something that solves a problem with which you're struggling. At the very least you'll come across some amazing calculators that will get you thinking about unexpected things.

COVID calculators

Omni Calculator also provides a special set of calculators that allow you to crunch COVID-19 numbers for yourself, from a social distancing calculator to one that can predict when your next stimulus check should be due.

Should you "hack" your sleep pattern?

Living like a genius and finding ways to "optimize" sleep is not necessarily good for your health. Here's why.

  • A seemingly common trait of geniuses like Nikola Tesla and Leonardo da Vinci is that they operated (and excelled) on very few hours of sleep per night. BrainCraft's Vanessa Hill explains that while unorthodox sleep patterns may have worked for them, your mileage may vary. Attempting to sleep like a genius could "wreak havoc" on your brain and be detrimental to your health.
  • There are three different types of sleep patterns: monophasic sleep (one chunk at night for a recommended 6-8 hours), biphasic sleep (two chunks in a 24-hour period), and polyphasic sleep (three or more chunks in a 24-hour period). While sleeping, you cycle through four stages: two light, one deep, and one REM.
  • Switching sleep patterns can disrupt these stages, as can consuming alcohol. So while attempting to maximize your creative time, you may be denying your brain and body the time it needs to recover, which can be dangerous.

Learn a new language—super fast. Here’s how.

According to a man that knows more than 20 languages, the key is to start in the middle.

  • Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann says there is indeed a fast track to learning a new language. It involves doubling down on your listening and reading.
  • By taking the focus off grammar rules that are difficult to understand and even more difficult to remember, you can instead develop habits by greater exposure to the language. Kaufmann likens the learning process to a hockey stick.
  • In the beginning you make major progress as you climb the steep hill of the hockey stick, whereas the long shaft of the stick is the difficult part. Because you're not seeing day-to-day changes, you might lose motivation. So, stay the course by consuming content that interests you.

Mind hack: 7 secrets to learn any new language

Now is the perfect time to take up a new language. Self-motivation and commitment are key to mastering this fun and useful new skill.

  • Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann has learned parts of 20 languages. He's come up with seven tips to help anyone attempting to learn a new language in their spare time.
  • First, you must commit the time and keep motivated. If you don't enjoy the process of learning a language, you probably won't get very far. Maintaining a positive attitude is key.
  • The sense of achievement in mastering a language is a profoundly positive experience. Focusing, at first, on vocabulary rather than grammar will help you in the long run.
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Kids today are lacking these psychological nutrients

The key to raising indistractable kids is to first determine why they're distracted.

  • When it comes to the rules and restrictions placed on children, author and Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer Nir Eyal argues that they have a lot in common with another restricted population in society: prisoners. These restrictions have contributed to a generation that overuses and is distracted by technology.
  • Self-determination theory, a popular theory of human motivation, says that we all need three things for psychological well-being: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When we are denied these psychological nutrients, the needs displacement hypothesis says that we look for them elsewhere. For kids today, that means more video games and screen time.
  • In order to raise indistractable kids, Eyal says we must first address issues of overscheduling, de-emphasize standardized tests as indicators of competency, and provide them with ample free time so that they can be properly socialized in the real world and not look to technology to fill those voids.

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