End-Of-Semester Bullets

My first semester in grad school is officially in the books (except for entering some grades in a spreadsheet).  It’s a good feeling, a sense of accomplishment mixed with exhaustion.  (Plus a slight feeling of dread as I try to avoid thinking about the qualifying exam coming up before the start of next semester.)  So how about I distract myself with some quick thoughts and links, in conveinient bullet form…

  • My recent post on creative exam curving got linked to by the popular physics blog Uncertain Principles.  That link, plus the fact that my posting has been light of late, is making my page views graph resemble a Dirac delta function.
  • Julianne at Cosmic Variance has some good Unsolicited Advice, namely, making all of your integrals dimensionless.  I really had this point driven home to me this semester.  I always used to resist my professors’ suggestions to change variables in this way, because I assumed that it was just another step where I might make an error.  In reality, it’s a simple step that will probably save you a bunch of errors.  Plus, now you don’t have to actually be able to do the integral, as long as you know that it’s convergent.  You can just set it equal to some constant, to be determined later.  (Or just say that it’s approximately pi.  Sort of a spherical cow.)
  • One of my favorite xkcd comics in awhile.  The last panel makes me really glad to be done with a certain class that will remain nameless.
  • As I mentioned in a post during the infancy of this blog, I have been living a car-free existence since moving to Minneapolis.  I may do a more full post on this later, but here’s some links about some resources that I’ve been using: car-sharing programs and systems to track the arrival of buses.
  • My #7 Ranked Xavier Musketeers take on the hated Duke Blue Devils in a nationally televised showdown of top ten teams on Saturday.  The Muskies have a chance to avenge the Elite Eight loss to Duke in 2003.
  • It’s cold in Minneapolis in the winter.  Obvious statement, I know.  The temperatures here are actually comparable to those in the Lower Midwest for eight or nine months out of the year, with only a few degrees (Fahrenheit) difference.  But in the winter, it’s 15 degrees colder here, with the high here almost as cold as the low temperatures in Indianapolis.  It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gotten used to it, though.  After several days of subzero high temperatures, a sunny 20-degree day feels like a tropical heat wave.

Well, that’s all i’ve got for now.  Time to watch the rest of this exciting NBA game between the Portland Trailblazers and the Phoenix Suns.


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