1. They commonly begin with ds^2=... Long story short, I'm teaching myself advanced physics because while I attend a university, I am unable to compete with other students of quantitative sciences because my number skills are piss poor: I would bomb on exams. I'm more of an Arts and Social Sciences guy. Now I have a basic knowledge of calculus: differentiation, integrals, vectors, gradients, curl, divergence etc, and also a TI-89 Titanium handy (this calculator is also one of the reasons I can't do quantitative courses in university- it's a crutch (but I never saw why they should be banned anyway- if you become a respected theoretical physicist is there still a ban on those for you? I think not)), so if anyone feels like helping this physics noob out, that is what I already know. I know that metrics are often used to describe the topology of space time, but how? For that matter, how do matrices like the Minkowski metric [-1, 1, 1, 1] (for short) describe space time? Me no understand, hurrdurr. Also, what do physicists mean by "timelike curves"? It seems kind of an oxymoron to me. 2. For example, the metric of a traversable wormhole is ds^2=-c^2 dt^2+dl^2+(k^2+l^2)(dTHETA^2+sin^2THETA dPHI^2) (sorry, I have no idea how to use... latex, is it?) 3. The Wikipedia article on metrics is too technical for me to understand. I require a theoretical understanding along side quantitative know-how. Thank you very much for your knowledge, should you decide to help.