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Femion » School

Registering for 3rd year

May 30th, 2008

I’ve just finished registering for classes for next year. So far, here’s what I’ve chosen:
Fall term:
Differential Equations I
Experimental Physics I
Quantum Physics
Mathematical Methods in Physics
Winter Term:
Differential Equations II
Experimental Physics II
Energy and the Environment
Advanced Classical Mechanics
Science and the Media
My fall term is going to be much more difficult than my winter term. Electrodynamics and Mathematical Methods are both 4th year courses, but I have to take them next year because the physics department at Dal is annoying and only offers half of its classes every other year. I’m excited about Energy and the Environment, which is a class comparing the financial and environmental cost of different forms of power, and Science and the Media, but they’re both 2nd year courses which are math-lite. I would have preferred taking Materials Science over Advanced Classical Mechanics, but alas the physics department is screwed up and I can’t take the prerequisite for that course because it isn’t offered this year.

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December 14th, 2007

I finished my Intermediate Calculus exam about ten minutes ago. I am officially done with my third term of university.
That is all.

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Lunchless next fall

June 28th, 2007

I registered for class today! (I know, not that remarkable, but I’m a DISP kid, I’m used to having all my schedules pre-organized for me.)
Here’s what it looks like:
Fall Term:
Fall Classes:
Foundations of Journalism I
Intermediate Calculus I
Physics Tools, Theory
Astronomy I: sky and planets
Modern Physics
Winter Schedule:
Winter Classes:
Foundations of Journalism II
Intermediate Calculus II
Computer Simulation in Science
Physics Tools, Experiment
Electricity and Magnetism
So. Next year I’ll have Tuesday and most of Thursday off and shorter days than in DISP, but I have no time for lunch on Mon-Wed-Fri for fall, which kind of sucks. I don’t understand. All the classes I take on those days are required classes for physics majors, and there’s only one section of each of them. Why couldn’t the physics people co-ordinate to give us an hour break somewhere in between and make the day a little longer rather than cram everything together? Milton and Staicer (DISP’s directors) should go give them some pointers.
I guess I’m going to have to practice the run from the Dunn to Tim’s or Second Cup. At least I can sleep in a little more this year. But I’m not going to be sleeping, I’ll be using the extra hour to go to the Dalplex and put in a few laps in the pool before breakfast. I have the willpower.
Probably not.

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Meet you at the penis statue

March 27th, 2007

Several weeks ago I was elected the DSU rep of Eliza Ritchie. It

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Barry’s Blunder

January 17th, 2007

When it comes to numbers, I tend to make a lot of mistakes. A lot of stupid little mistakes. I understand almost everything that is taught in physics, calculus and chemistry, but when taking a test or doing an assignment, I have to check my answers three or four times before I get it right. I have always envied the people who can do an assignment and get every question right without having to look it over.
However, I learned yesterday that I’m not the worst.
Yesterday was the first DISP quiz of this term, and it felt like the first quiz I over-studied for. I finished the psychology and biology parts of the quiz within the first twenty minutes, but when I got to the physics section, I hit a logjam. The questions were all about a log floating in a river. However, the weight of the log was stated to be ten times heavier than it should be… the first question was to calculate the density of the log, which turned out to be 8.8 times denser than the water it was floating in. The next question asked how far in the in the log was floating, but of course you can’t answer the question because the log should have sunk. the next questions were about the pressure at the bottom of the log, and what would happen if you put a piece of copper on the log, but of course those questions were all impossible to answer because the log couldn’t float at all.
Thinking that it could have been only my mistake, I checked it over several times. But of course, it wasn’t working. I guessed that the weight was off by a factor of ten because the answers made sense if you divided them by ten, but I didn’t want to make any assumptions. Unfortunately, Professor Ruddick, the physics teacher, wasn’t there, and he didn’t arrive when he was supposed to. I waited for a while, and then I finally called the biology TA over and explained what was going on. The people around me who overheard spoke up and agreed with me. The TA went back down, explained to the Psyche prof what was going on, and the psyche prof started laughing (the psyche prof is constantly mentionning in class that she would have gone into physics if she hadn’t hated her physics prof in university).
After about twenty minutes of waiting in the very cold test room, Barry Ruddick arrived. Immediately, the hands of everyone who was taking the physics test went up. He picked up a quiz, looked it over for quite a lot longer than I think he needed to and said. “Oh. I guess this is a good demonstration of what happens when you don’t think in terms of dimensions.” Nevous laugh. “it’s just an error of typography.”
Right. An error in typography. An error that wouldn’t have meant anything had he checked over his own work before giving us the quiz, or could have been easily corrected had he bothered to show up on time. I realize that it isn’t the greatest tragedy of all time, but I think we were all a little p’ed off after having to stay in the Dunn for an extra half-hour to twenty minutes in the cold and over our usual dinner time.
This event will now forever be known as “Barry’s Blunder”. Unless of course, he makes a bigger mistake.
On a side story, when we were leaving a classmate who was joking about the fact that she couldn’t get the last question broke down in tears. She had mono and was unable to do anything other than sleep for the past couple of days. She had a doctor’s note but because of the strict scheduling of DISP, had to come in an take the quiz despite probably being very contagious and having little knowledge of the subject material because of being unable to study. She had to miss her blood tests to take the quiz, too. The irony, I think, was that the biology and psychology about the immune system, and how it is negatively effected by stress.
Maybe, had she not been stressed out about the quiz, she wouldn’t have been in such a bad shape. Maybe DISP makes you sick.

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Profs, Profs, Profs: the Review

October 20th, 2006

After seven weeks of DISP, here’s what my friend Joi had to say about our profs:

It’s about time i give you all a little overview on my professors =D That is, the good, the bad, and the fugly.
The Good
Number one on the list would most definitely be my Psyche prof, Jennifer Stamp. She kicks ass. She’s hilarious, she teaches well, she’s nice, friendly…everything you could ever want in a prof! I mean, she made me love psyche in ONE lecture. That’s how good she is. And i could never hope to not pay attention in her class cuz she’s that good at teaching. I’m hopin i can get her to oversee my term project next semester.
At the mediocrely good but not particularly outstanding level would be my Chem prof, Patricia Laws. She’s quite a funny teacher who’s easy to talk to and very nice. While i don’t find her to be a spectacular teacher, she’s good at what she does, and is fairly good at explaining things. Though there’s always room to improve, she has all the basic parts one could ask for in a prof =)
And making an honourary mention here would be my Calc prof, Georg Hofmann. Aka Prof Sexy. AHAHHA. Being that we still haven’t departed from “review” area for me and some of my friends, we’ve spent most of our classes oogling him and speculating on his bilecture ring wearing. That is, he wears it every other lecture. He’s a bit clumsy sometimes, but generally very lovable with a sexy German accent and he’s absolutely adorable to boot =P What more could one ask for in a Calc prof? Capability and Eyecandy, all in one!
Finally we arrive at my earth science prof Milton Graves. He’s a hilarious guy who’s charismatic and funny. Just those two characteristics alone make him about 80% better then half the teachers i had in high school. He most reminds me of my old history teacher Stroud, except perhaps on sugar or something. I used to ADORE stroud, and now i adore Prof Milton =D Despite the fact that i have no interest in rocks, he makes lectures much more interesting than i thought possible, and he himself is a very helpful, cheerful, and open guy. Couldn’t ask for much better ;) The Bad
Making a #1 on this list would be my Stats prof. I’ve never thought there existed a truly boring person until i met him. He believes statistics to be exciting. Personally, i don’t understand how his wife could put up with someone like that. My high school teacher, Young, had actually made statistics remotely interesting (ie. not completely brainnumbingly boring), but this guy, and i don’t even bother to remember his name, forces our class to degrade into a bunch of skippers, sleepers, and videogame players. ULGH.
Scoring a second would be my Philosophy prof. I’ll be the first to admit that after Chilelli, Prof Leticia Meynell doesn’t seem halfway as bad, but i’m slightly concerned at her…teaching methods. At two different lectures, i see her waving her arms around with prominent sweat stains in her armpit. ew. Not just that, but she constantly talks like she’s about to have a heartattack. Quite the scary. Really, the only other complaint i have about her is her inability to make Philosophy remotely interesting, but that’s not entirely her fault. I just hate it.
The Fugly
So my bio prof, Cindy Stacier, drives me bongos. Again, she’s not a particularly “bad” teacher, but she has a million bad habits that DRIVE ME INSANE more then bad teaching ever could. First of all, she mispronounces nearly everything. FunJAIH. VEHHsicles. OMGGGG… T_T You’d think someone with a Masters or PhD or whatever in bio could at least pronounce the words properly! ARGHGHGHG. Next to that, she does the standard newbie teacher move. That is, she gives us a WHOLE sheet full of blanks to fill in as the lecture goes on. This is actually generally a good idea, if she didn’t actually go so effin fast that no one can keep up!. That means that no one ever has a complete set of notes and you can actually hear steam coming out of some people’s ears halfway through the lecture.
Psyche / Stamp - You rock. I love you.
Chem / Laws - A more palpable sense of humour does wonders
Calc / Hofmann - You are teh sexy. *giggles* I wanna huggle you!
EarthSci / Graves - Less fieldtrips, less pointless assignments
Stats / that prof - Drop the course. now.
Phil / Meynell - Deodorant and maybe some exercise?
Bio / Stacier - Another 4 years as a Student-Teacher to someone cool =D

In general, I agree with her assessment, although I would be more forgiving of the aesthetic complaints. She’s not the first to complain about Meynell’s sweatspots, but that doesn’t really bug me, I find the topic more interesting than her armpits (and that’s saying a lot, considering the philosophy course is called Ethics in Science). Hilburn (that’s our stats prof) really is that boring, but I suppose that’s what happens when you devote your life to statistics. Graves is still great, although I agree with the pointless assignments.
Joi doesn’t take physics, so I have to add a description of Ruddick. He’s a nice guy who belongs at the beach. Seriously. He’s a oceanologist, not a physicist, and it shows. He wears bermuda shorts and sandals, and takes a long time to think through physics questions, but he’s usually just as late for class as I am in the morning, and he’s very approachable.
So Dad, now you know what your students judge you on. Be cheerful, and don’t raise your arms to high if you have sweatspots.

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Chebucto Head

October 14th, 2006

Yesterday was the final DISP field trip of the fall, to Chebucto head. Apparently it was an Earth Sciences field trip, but we spent the entire time collecting data on species cover and diversity, so it’s a bit hard to call it that. Perhaps they just didn’t want so many freshmen trampling over fragile ecosystems and didn’t want the rest of the class to know that they were missing out on something.
Or maybe Milton loves us.
I should probably stop calling him Milton and get Prof. Graves stuck in my head. Joi calls him professor Milton, which confuses me even more.
Well, non-earth sci dispers, you sure missed out on a lot. You missed out on being able to scratch your heads as you try to tell the difference between five types of grass and the chance to accidently get one of your legs stuck thigh-high in swamp (I lucked out, unfortunately).
Seriously, it was a fun trip.


We’re lookin’ at some lichen (on exposed rock).

A long time ago, Nova Scotia was covered by ice. Then that ice melted and slid off into the atlantic ocean. As it did, it took a lot of soil as a souvenir, so there are many places where the bedrock is exposed or the soil cover isn’t very deep. Glaciers also leave little pockmarks like ice leaves pot holes, which become giant rain puddles with no drainage. We end up with environments without very many nutrients, so plants (like this pitcher plant) have to add a little meat to their diet and digest insects for the nitrogen.

Joi and LanaReplacement (aka Zach). I wish I knew what they were so thumb-upish about.

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Dispers invade the Cove

October 6th, 2006

Today was awesome.
We went to Peggy’s Cove and searched for sea life in the tidepools. The weather was great.


DISPers filling out data sheets after looking for creatures. The lighthouse in the distance has got to be the most photographed place in Nova Scotia.

Group (or Team, depending on your attitude about academia) 1, reformed and better than ever: Kathryn, Lana, Joi, and me (making the stupidest expression ever).

Randomly marking off sections of the intertidal zone to survey.
Obligatory living creature found:

Forbes Starfish, and a rock Crab. These ones were actually alive. We also found hermit crabs, a whole lot of mussels, barnacles, urchins, sea anemone, periwinkle, and several types of sea weed. It was like the petting zoos at aquariums, without all the noisy little kids getting in your way.

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Stalk a Duck

October 4th, 2006

This morning we went to the Public Gardens and followed a Hen around. No, seriously, it was a psychology ethogram of the duck’s behaviour. It was sort of entertaining at first, because our duck, whom Joi nicknamed ‘Soupballs’ (I probably got that wrong. Correct me, Joi.) was quacking and chasing Drakes, but then she just went into the duck pond and fell asleep.


Sit on a bench, hold out your hand, and they’ll come to you.

Not our duck, one similar but cuter.

I see a pattern here. Someone should do an ethogram of DISPers.
I think it would have been more interesting to do an ethogram of the tourists on walking tours around the gardens. Taking pictures of ducks and university students: 10 times. Making comments on the lack of flowers in the public gardens: 7 times. Commenting on how lovely the weather is and hoping it won’t rain: 3 times. Getting excited at the sight of a kilted bag-piper: 45 times.
Silly tourists.

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Horton Bluff

October 1st, 2006

On Friday we went to Horton bluff in the bay of Fundy on a DISP field trip. We were supposed to look for fossils and observe the geology of the region. It rained. I was in a bad mood. I was starving because I left my lunch on the bus. It would have been completely miserable if not for the fact that I was with my friends.


We didn’t find any trilobite fossils, but we did see fossils of giant lizard tracks, and of prehistoric palm tree trunks.

While picking appart sheets of slate to look for fossils, Logan killed a green crab. Oh well, Green Crabs are an invasive species. Logan will now be known as ‘Crab Killer’, though.

A caterpillar hanging on to the bluff cliff. It might be poisonous, but I wouldn’t know. I’m into physics, not entomology.

Joi met the love of her life.

We left him there.

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