Monday, September 26, 2011

More Recent Happenings

  1. My class is still dull and lifeless. They refuse to talk or discuss. In order to force them to read, I am making them do lame freshman things like email me the day before the reading is due with one thing that they found interesting or surprising, one thing they found confusing or didn't agree with, and one issue that is worthy of further discussion. Clearly I am out of practice at teaching.

  2. I teach one class with 18 people in it. I can't really say too much about them here as individuals. Can I say that I am hoping that a couple is forming out of one of the groups that works together on the collaborative activities?

  3. I am off coffee. My life is dull and empty. When do the happiness receptors grow back?

  4. My new glasses arrived. Well, the frames arrived a while ago, and then it took a while to get lenses at the eye doctor's office. Don't like the line placement on the bifocals, so I'm making them re-make the lenses (at no cost to me). This is the sort of service that I get for paying Real Money at a local business.

    Don't mock the glasses. I had to choose from six options that fit me. You can mock the hair because I have not been able to muster the energy to wash it since Saturday.

  5. The reason that I own so many pairs of shoes is because that is one of the few categories of apparel and accessories that actually come in my size (7.5). Strictly speaking this is not exactly true, but I have found good strategies to compensate for my stupidly narrow feet (AA width with AAAA heels). Perhaps this is why I have come to favor shoes with laces and buckles. Also, I have gained a bunch of weight lately, so I now wear a 2 in most normal clothes.

  6. Maybe I am drinking, like, a mug of wine right now. Perhaps I am trying to compensate for my lack of happiness receptors?

  7. And maybe I am feeling guilty for drinking a mug of wine at 7 calories per gram of alcohol because I kind of miss wearing a size 00?

  8. I am working on a crazy project at work. It is the awesome super perfect storm of crazy. All of the boring science nerd computer scientists seem to have opinions about this project that range through various shades of negativity and dismissiveness with a shade of confusion mixed in. I totally love this project. More as we get closer to publishing something.

  9. Somewhat relatedly: Some people in the PR machine at NSF also love this project (hint: it is not physics or computational chemistry). They have directed a few computational scientists to help me out on it. The computational scientists don't really get the project, which is annoying. Also, they are being super-dismissive towards me, which was just super-extra-annoying. Normally I don't use a signature block in my emails, but when I wrote back to them I created one so that I could be sure to identify myself as "S. Rudbeckia Hirta, Ph.D." They may have more experience in specific types of programming, but the real challenge here is mathematical -- and fairly algebraic, at that. Our method of parallelism is really, really easy, too: It's serial code that needs to do a bunch of independent runs. My colleague has a script that can launch all of these in the background in a clever way while pinning each of them to a processor.

  10. Without saying too much more about this project, many parts of it remind me of the types of questions that were raised when considering problems when I worked for the Federal Government. There are no exact parallels, but some of the ways I learned to think about a problem and what questions to ask have come in handy. I suspect that the computational scientists who have been sent to help do not have this sort of experience.

  11. I had a party this past weekend. It was OK. And I have a lot of leftover wine.