Fire All Phasers.

05/15/2009

Wow I am bad at updating this. Craaaazy week. Rapid fire summary to follow.

I Went up to Seattle after raid over the weekend and had a blast. A totally irresponsible, alcohol and sleep deprivation saturated blast. While up there, I saw the new Star Trek movie. For those of you that have not already seen it: go see it. I don’t think anyone is going to adore it and build a shrine in its honor, but I also have yet to find someone that didn’t enjoy it. And given the amount of people that whine on the internet (hello!), that’s pretty impressive. I’m not a Star Trek fan, and I quite enjoyed it, while many of my friends who are Trek fans also have reported positively. So, wherever you may lie on the Star Trek fandom continuum, it’s a movie worth seeing, and I think it lends itself very well to the big screen.

Feeling particularly irresponsible, I then discovered an old bottle of my crazy pills, and figured it might be a good idea to start taking them again (the pills in general, not the ones that have been expired for a year). I can actually tell when I’m on them, which is a first, and the results at least seem to be positive. Huzzah for medicine.

I finally finished The Blade Itself, the first book of Joe Ambercrombie’s debut trilogy, and am amazed. I can’t remember the last time a book sucked me in like that. I expected to find that everyone ever had already read the trilogy given its obvious quality, but was astonished to learn that that was not the case. So, if you’re one of those people? Stop being bad like me and read it.

Submission to Google Transit is in: I should be misleading you in your attempts to get around the greater Corvallis area sometime in the next six months.

There’s more, but I can’t be bothered to think of it right now as I’m attempting to wade through schoolwork while simultaneously pulling together one of the sketchiest raid rosters we’ve had in Wrath. Ritalin, your first real challenge awaits you!

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Are You Prepared?

05/05/2009

I’m sure you’re all quite aware of the Swine Flu craze sweeping the globe. Fantastically mislabeled as a “pandemic”, the events are garnering a startling amount of sensationalism. If you’re in to that kind of thing, the evidence for an Apocalypse is building. According to Steven Novella of the SGU (which everyone ever should listen to, by the way), historically there has been an influenza outbreak about every 40 years. The last one was in 1918, so we’re overdue for one. Some of the dead have been young health adults, which typically indicates a virulent strain. The entire article is probably worth reading, it has a great deal of information about influenza and the spread of diseases. Anyway, Swine Flu is a mutation (mutations happen quite often, nothing odd there) of Influenza A, labeled H1N1.

So, human-to-human transfer of a fatal strain of Influenza A, and virulent enough that it has potential to become a pandemic. Okay, so that sounds bad, millions of people die. Sucky. But now? Now they come back and zombies. Apparently H1N1 has mutated into H1Z1 (I really hope the Z stands for zombie) in the most sci-fi twist ever. That’s right: now when the victims die, the virus can restart their heart and bring them back with brain damage and chemical imbalances causing extreme violence. REPENT FOR THE END IS NIGH.

I don’t think Swine Flu is going to be come a pandemic; to be honest, with the level of communication and health care available to us now, I don’t know if there will ever be a virus that is allowed to get enough out of control to cause that level of devastation again. And it is entirely possible that H1Z1 is just some made up or badly distorted piece of sensationalist journalism to capitalize on the scare. But if it’s true? It we have a pandemic of zombie-creating viruses? I am ready. Zombiepocalypse? I got this.

Update: Curses, it was in fact just a hoax. Oh well….


P[X<.725] = Uncomfortably High.

05/04/2009

I had a statistics midterm today.

For me, statistics is one of a select group of fantastically frustrating courses. Half of the material is so intuitive one almost wonders if it warrants mention, and the other half is so un-intuitive there is no way you could ever deduce it. No really, whatever you just guessed? It’s wrong. This forces the student to both gain a working understanding of the logic behind the methods, as well as memorize a small mountain of information that is either so unintuitive there’s no way to incorporate it other than memorization, or methods that we must use but lack the knowledge to derive. Now, I realize that at the most basic level this describes just about any class. However, usually when the concepts are this… I don’t want to say difficult because really they are fundamentally simple, but perhaps ‘pitfall-ridden’ would be an accurate descriptor? – the teacher will provide the necessary information as reference, and simply judge ones ability to apply said information. When this is not the case, studying becomes an exercise in attempting to cram as much random information into ones head as possible, because you just know that the solution to one of the problems will hinge on a single line on the back page of the supplemental reading. I think that the learning of the concepts behind the course material suffers because of this, and thus diminishes the class as a whole.

To add to all of this, the class is curved – in the bad way. The mean score becomes a 72.5%, or C, and anything below that goes into C- range, which is failing for courses within your major. That means 50% of the class (more or less, depending on how many students manage to hit exactly the mean) will fail. This to me creates a terrible atmosphere. Not that competition is bad of course, but when students regularly lean on each other to get through a class as a whole, a system in which helping others means directly hurting oneself is just insulting. As for the tests themselves, being unintuitive as they are, one cannot even check to see if an answer makes sense, because the answer is likely going to be no. No it does not. But it could still be right. The course is just poorly designed, which is unfortunate because I rather like both the material and the professor.


It’s Like My Entire Body Is Weeping.

05/01/2009

So I did this cool thing where I went on a three hour walk, and then slept for five hours, and then went to class, and then went on a two hour bike ride, and then didn’t eat the entire time and now I think I may die. Strangely, I feel kind of good right now. Stupid excercise.