All 11 entries tagged Degree Related Waffle

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February 07, 2005

The distortion of space–time

I have 6 9am lectures a week for the next 5 weeks.

January 27, 2005

Being a Philosophy Student – harder than it looks

I have spent the last 8 hours (on and off) trying to come up with a 750 word answer to the question:

Explain the distinction between the validity of an argument and the truth of its conclusions, and discuss the importance of this distinction both for mathematics and for experimental science.

So far I've managed 515, with nothing resembling a decent intro. This is, quite frankly, pathetic. I think I understand the question (finally), but still not fully, and I've obviously been worrying about it far too much. I just can't think of enough things to say, so I've ended up with something dry, repetitive, and probably not very good.


I will never be cruel to an arts student again. Honest.

January 24, 2005

Simon vs Hume

Me: I just punched you in the face. Did it hurt?
Hume: Yes
Me: Well does that mean that it will hurt next time?
Hume: You cannot make that conclusion
Me: Ok, lets experiment then

Aaaaaaaaaah, if only.

January 17, 2005

The Understanding Threshold

So it struck again. Lecture 5 rolls around and suddenly us poor physics students have NO idea what is going on. To help you understand I've drawn an Andy style graph, but its obviously not as awesome.

December 15, 2004

God, the creator of assignment specifications

Writing about web page

This was not a module I ever did, but has just been pointed out to me by a friend. You need to read the first page of the document first, or this will make even less sense than it does otherwise.

Also, if you are not a fan of blasphemy, i recommend using the little cross icon in the top right corner of the screen.

1And God spake: "Let there be Light! But only One Light! And it shall be the Light of a Torch!" 2"And Ye shall Behold the Holy Torch that will guide the Righteous across the Damaged Bridge over the Valley of Death".
3And God did create four Tourists to cross the bridge. And they strove mightly to figure how they might all cross the Bridge, with but the single Light to guide them. 4And so they did consult the wise Computer Scientists of Warwick. 5Who spake unto them: "We shall provide the algorithm that ye might pass over most hastily." 6And the Tourists did offer up a great Sacrifice of Pizza and Doritos, so that the Computer Scientists might succeed in their quest.
7And the Computer Scientists did thank the Tourists, and did work most hard[ly] for 7 hours and 40 minutes. 8And then they Proclaimed: "We have worked for 7 hours and 40 minutes, and we have solvéd the problem! Ye shall go Left, and ye shall go Right. And we shall receive great Marks for our work!"
9And they went Left, and they went Right. 10A fourth day.

December 10, 2004

On the unfairness of Final Year Projects

As a final year physics (well, mostly) student, I am required to do a 30 CAT project over the course of terms 1 and 2 of this year. The project is marked as follows:

Assessment: 100% assessed; an interim report in January (20%), a final report after Easter (64%) and a viva examination (16%).

You can probably see from this that I am begining to stress about the interim report, but that is not the reason for this post.
No, the reason is this: I have been led to believe that the 20% is split up into 10% for the report and 10% for the work done in the first term. (Please correct me if I'm wrong about this.)
The project is allocated 12 hours a week on our timetable – this being the recommended amount of work/reading you do for it. Therefore we are expected to do 120 hours of work over the course of the term for a mere 3 CATs.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems hugely unfair. Physics courses in years 1 and 2 are mostly worth 6 CATs (with a bump to 7.5 in years 3 and 4). The amount of work we do for these 6 CATs is 15 hours of lectures (possibly), plus whatever revision/study we put in outside that. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying physics students are all lazy, but it is my experience that most people will not put in much more than 50 hours maximum on any one 6 CAT course. And that's if we're feeling particularly conscientious or stressed about it.

So for the sake of argument, lets say 40 hours for a 6 CAT course. How come we are now expected to do 3 times the work for only half the credit?

Life, as they say, is a bitch.

December 04, 2004

The Principles of Work (aka Simon's Laws of Physics)

1. The Principle of Minimum Effort
This is simple. It is the ground state of all students, equivalent to taking the path of least resistance. No, scrap that, it IS taking the path of least resistance. For as much time as possible we coast through the term, doing as little work as we can, and hoping that no one whispers those two dreaded words: "Pass Degree".

2. The Principle of Maximum Workload
This is the inverse of the First Principle. It occurs once or possibly twice a term, usually in weeks 5 and 10, and applies in the limit when the First Principle fails. Although no one has yet achieved a Grand Unified Theory of Work to combine these two Principles, efforts are ongoing. Unfortunately these efforts are currently following the First Principle, so a positive outcome looks unlikely in the near future.
An especially good example of the Second Principle is provided by the Computer Science department, who like to set deadlines for 3 pieces of coursework to be within about 12 hours of each other. This, of course, leads not only to the overloading and crashing of the BOSS system (for online submission), but also to the Third Principle.

3. The Principle of Maximum Stress
ξ = (W-w)/tn
Where t = time to deadline, W = amount of work required, w = work done at time t, and ξ = stress.
n is a number dependant on t:

Why ξ you ask? Well it wouldn't be a physical equation if it didn't have a random squiggly Greek letter that no one could understand.

W is always negligible, and as t -> 0, ξ -> ∞ rapidly.
For extreme boundary conditions, this can lead to the Fourth Principle:

4. The Principle of Sleep Deprivation
The All-nighter.

December 02, 2004

Amusingly named things

So the term "Node of Ranvier" came up in a Physics in Medicine lecture, and i seem to recall it from AS Level PE

It occured to me that it sounds rather like something out of a MMORPG

"I'll buy your Node of Ranvier+10 for 5000 gold pieces"


stonedben casts Node of Ranvier level 12

Anyone with me on this? Anyone got any other suggestion? I'd guess that biology is going to have the most amusing sounding names for things…

Course Questionnaires – How they SHOULD be

Background material is where we know stuff before the course starts right? Nope. Never happened…

Disclaimer: This is a joke (well, mainly). I do not pick on any lecturers in particular. Honest.

Editing done using a digital camera, Photoshop, and yes, high production values...MS Paint.

December 01, 2004

Thoughts during a physics lecture

Physics lectures have to be one of the most boring, mind numbing things in the world. If you want to stay awake you have to think about other things, or at least criticise the lecturer in your head (or out loud for that matter).

Here's a couple of things I came up with just now:

Variable names can be funny. Three this year in particular have caught the attention of the immature-minded:
Ψt (Psi subscript t - wave fuction in quantum mechanics) which was pronounced "Shi-tee" by the lecturer for 5 weeks.
Rs (R subscript s - the Schwarzchild Radius in relativistic cosmology), pronounced "Are-sub-ess" (Arse-ub-ess geddit?).
Vd (V subscript d - Drift velocity of free electrons in solid state physics) Well, I think this one's obvious.
Oh, and Dirac's Bra and Ket notation.

How can anyone say these things in a lecture theatre and keep a straight face? The most worrying thing is that they probably don't even notice.

Secondly, on the third occasion of writing "fee" instead of "free", i decided that one must be approximately equal to the other. In the limit of r->0.
Sorry, physics/maths jokes are the lowest of the low, with the possible exception of computer science jokes. But sometimes I just can't help myself.

Oh, and finally, the physics in medicine lecturer said yesterday: "There is only one way to measure blood flow. The scalpel, the bucket, and the stopwatch."

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