I am staying at Tech over break so I can relax. I miss my family, but want to try staying at the university over a holiday just to see what it feels like. So far I noticed that it gives me far more time to concentrate and get work done. (Those semester projects suddenly are much easier than they were previously.) I am also saving time and health by staying here: long car rides have a tendency to make me a little sick.
Clearly, staying here has its benefits. But I miss my dog.
The dining hall is closed during Thanksgiving Break, so I have to feed myself. It is quite a different experience to have to provide food for oneself as opposed to having it provided for you. The break started on Saturday, two days ago.
So how have I been getting my food? My mom was nice enough to send me packages of foodstuffs. Thanks, Mom. Additionally, the MUB serves food on the weekdays over break, but not on Thanksgiving. I also intend to go to Wal-Mart sometime. I was going to go today, but it was snowing, and the MUB is serving food. I'll probably end up going on Friday, because I have just gotten an email saying that they'll serve a special meal on Thanksgiving in the Hillside Place (that's the name of the building behind McNair for those who are staying over break.)
I just realized that Friday is "Black Friday." Maybe I'll get some sweet loot while I'm there. Probably just food.
I am typing this up right now in EDIT. It is terrible. There's also VIM but I don't understand that program. The machine lacks NOTEPAD for absolutely no reason at all. If only they had emacs on these machines. Ugh. The name of this file is BLOG1.TXT. Yay Windows.
I spent most of the day today with the Pep Band. First we had the Parade of Nations, and second we had the first home football game of the year. The Parade of Nations was pretty much the same as last year: I didn't see very many foreign floats or anything, and stayed entirely in the center of the Pep Band. The football game was our Huskies versus Wayne State. We beat them 24-7, quite surprisingly.
I don't go on Facebook very often because the computer labs are always crowded, and to use a computer to use Facebook when so many people are waiting to use computers would make me feel bad. I hope that is sufficient explanation.
On Thursday, in P. Chem Lab, we found the specific combustion energy of Cap'n Crunch. (The other groups worked with other cold cereals.) We did this with a bomb calorimeter, which was pretty cool. Yay Science.
Linear Algebra and Physics are turning out to be the easiest classes in the whole world. I just have to be careful to do the online homework in Physics. Nothing is more painful to keep track of than online homework. This is true. Besides Mastering Physics, those classes are mostly boring. In Linear Algebra recently we learned how to multiply matrices. In Physics recently, we learned one-dimensional projectile motion. I have learned these thing completely.
Unlike last year, there is no engineering fundamentals class keeping me busy with meaningless busywork. However, I still have quite a bit of work to do. Physical Chemistry is medium as well: at least in that class we learn something new. Now we are learning about Enthalpy (H) and Internal Energy (U). At least it's not boring.
My International Law class is very interesting. The Professor takes a very Socratic approach to teaching. The class discussions are very involving and fun. Some of my peers try to stump the Professor with hypotheticals. Amazingly, she is able to answer every one to satisfaction while referencing sources. I, though, am not such an expert: I don't like writing very much, and this class looks like it'll involve a lot of writing. Well, it is a humanities class, and I have to take a few of them to become "well-rounded," instead of an entirely mathe-mechanical engineer (also I need them to graduate). Law, though, seems to be the most logical of the humanities, so it isn't rounding me off that much.
My Chemical Engineering textbook is absolutely fraught with logical and grammatical (even spelling!) errors. I wonder who decided on this textbook. Also, it would not hurt the online lectures to be a little bit higher in their resolution.
This is approximately one year since my first entry! Happy anniversary dear reader.
Today I finish my first week of the fall semester of my sophomore year of college. It is rainy today, and I forgot to bring my rain poncho, so I got all wet. Noisy people are in the computer lab as I write this, so it is rather difficult to concentrate.
The classes I am taking are as follows:
- Elementary Algebra
- Introduction to International Law
- Physical Chemistry
- University Physics I
- Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering I
In Elementary Algebra, I am learning about how to solve algebraic equations. Eventually I'll learn methods to solve equations involving several variables. Today my teacher introduced me to vectors. I have gotten an introduction to vectors in the beginning of every math and science class I have taken at this college. I sure hope I understand vectors now.
In International Law this week, I learned the fundamentals of International Law. On Monday, I learned that International Law is a confederal system, as opposed to a federal system, like our national law. In a confederal system of government, the individual nation-states are sovereign as opposed to the international government. This makes the enforcement of International Law very difficult.
On Wednesday, I learned the three branches of International Law. Unlike in our nation's system, there aren't very clearly defined branches to International Law. The nation-states can create treaties among themselves (Legislative), institute economic sanctions or go to war with nations who break International Law (Executive), and decide whether a treaty has been broken (Judicial). Some International Organizations that also form these functions include the United Nations General Assembly (Legislative), the International Police (INTERPOL), and the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice (Judicial).
In Physical Chemistry, all we seem to be doing is reviewing basic calculus. Right now it's sort of boring. I just want to learn how to blow things up already!
University Physics uses two banes on my existence: the iClicker (a device for the answering of multiple-choice questions in class, sort of like a trivia game I played eating at a restaurant), and Mastering Physics (Internet homework). I hate the iClicker. I hate the extra money it costs me, and I hate the time it takes away from the lecture: every lecture, our instructor asks three or four questions on the iClicker. each of these questions takes a minute each. For 45 lectures total, that amounts to three whole hours of my time answering cheesy bar-room-game-type questions. I also dislike how much our grade is based on our answering of these iClicker questions. At ten percent, it just seems like two much. In my straw poll of my peers, I can tell that most of them don't like the iClicker very much either.
If I were ever to teach a class, I would avoid those two things at all cost.
- Sophomore Year... Wise Fool? (chicagonow.com)
- My first case in International Law that we discussed was AM&S, which is discussed in this article: In-House Lawyers May Not Enjoy Legal Privilege in the EU
- An instructor talks about the iClicker: My First Quarter with the iClicker
Yesterday, I went to the Bavarian festival in Frankenmuth, “Michigan's little Bavaria”.
It was a long parade, almost two hours long. They certainly don't have parades like that in good ol' Port Huron.
Afterwards, we went to the Bavarian Inn to eat dinner. It is a very popular and crowded restaurant in Frankenmuth. I like the tatercakes.
Speaking of food, today my Mom wouldn't let me eat today until I clean the gutters. After studying psychology, I can only infer that she is a parent of the Authoritarian style. She manipulates me with aversive stimuli and hardly ever explains what I am doing. I will eventually end up unable to make decisions properly.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is very similar to Socrates's parable of the divided line.
Freud's theory of the ego is very similar to Socrates's idea of prudence as the auriga virtutum, the charioteer of the virtues.
The Octave logo. Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday, it was snowing. Today it is not. I like it better when it is snowing.
In engineering class, we use a certain mathematics program, MATLAB. It is rather expensive to buy, something like two hundred dollars is my understanding.
There is a free program that is very similar, Octave, that I stumbled upon while browsing the Internet. It is very nice. Installing it is a little tricky though. Here, I'll tell you how to install it on a Mac.
- Download the disk image.
- Double click on the .zip file in the Downloads folder.
- Click on the .dmg file.
- Drag Octave.app from the new virtual disk to the Applications folder.
- In the Extras folder of the disk, click on the .dmg file there.
- From the new disk, drag GNU Plot to the applications folder.
Congratulations! You have installed Octave on your Mac. To run it, double click on the octave icon in the Applications folder. Have fun with those matrices! Mmm … yeah!
In Programming, lectures, and the inverted classroom, Robert Talbert, a math teacher at a small liberal arts college blogs about his experiences teaching MATLAB to college freshmen.