Friday, April 27, 2007

Brain dead

Firstly, before I continue writing anything else I must warn you that this post is going to be a typical Friday post (but maybe slightly worse!). The thing is that today is the busiest day of my week- five hours at uni and obviously the in betweens.

I will pause for a second and think of 'structuring' this post. That's actually a load of codswallop, since structure is beyond me at this moment. I've been suffering from lack of sleep, well a messed up sleeping pattern to be honest. Thursday was great because I'd had good sleep, but last night for some reason I was in the mood to do 'maths'. Obviously since this mood comes and goes, I took advantage of it. I did my mechanics coursework and more of that will be discussed later. Then I did my linear algebra homework- well question one anyway, since we hadn't covered the material for the next question. The natural option at this point was to sleep, however like I said, maths was upon me so sequence and series it was. I chugged through the question sheet, did some other random questions and even found a coolish site on sequence and series. Now I've previously been set on trying to understand the proofs of this module. Yes that is important but ultimately by doing the questions I'm grasping the stuff better. So the proof 'understanding' is taking a back seat- as long as I know what the theorem is telling me, I'm ok for now.

As you can imagine, for a dodo like me, being able to chug through questions was 'nice'. I mean I obviously had problems and these went to the standard list for the example class. (Although unfortunately I did spend way too long being stubborn on understanding one concept). It was early morning when I finally called it a 'day'. So maybe I can be forgiven for a robotic post? (You see on Friday's I'm mentally zonked out and don't really want to do maths- so blogging is the natural option!). This morning I was sick. Weird- because normally you know when these things happen! My mum tried to shove honey down my throat in the morning, but I dodged her attempts and headed to uni.

The calculus lecture today was mind boggling at times. Well the first hour anyway. I see all these words- central gravitational fields, motion in a plane etc and I know that they should be making sense. I should be able to explain and understand the concepts, but it's all slightly hazy. Maybe it's because I've told myself that forget about calculus revision until after the sequence and series exam, because I'll have 10 days for it. You know it's slowly coming together, but not yet there. We did something about orbits today and it was pretty 'cool'. However I have a question for you, which I hope that most of you will know the answer to. Why do we have seasons in England, or generally in any country? Now you see I can't really remember what my initial response would have been, but I'm darn sure that it was the wrong answer. I'll give you a clue before you think it's the same answer which I had possibly thought: the earth's orbit around the sun is only slightly elliptical.

We had to fill some feedback forms in today, and obviously I don't mind doing that! I must point out that I didn't write, 'mechanics suck' but something along the lines that I suck at mechanics! :D There is a big debate about whether these are useful, and I believe that they are. Some people may take the mick but I mean there's nothing wrong with telling the lecturer what you found cool about their course is there? Key word- constructive. (and maybe an odd 'lame' joke!).

After this lecture it was naturally the linear algebra lecture. Bella didn't talk today! :D I think this was because we were all in our own zones today, well for a while anyway. (Bella normally talks when sat next to Panya, however when she sits in between Fizz and myself she doesn't talk!) As always it was a pleasant lecture, and I learnt quite a few things concerning the real world. I didn't mind this, since it seems that during this semester I have overlooked doing others things which I enjoy, like reading books. The celebrated Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich has died at the age of 80. He seemed like an interesting guy, although I've never really taken an interest in music. (However I do own a Czech Classics by Zdenek Macal, which you might have difficulty finding!). Something funny happened today, and before Prof S changed his mind about recommending the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, I jotted his name down! Now I'll probably look into his work, but on the link the word existentialism stuck out. I hadn't heard of that word until college, when Mr Hu had told me about it. (You see I've also been one who carries a lot of names around!). Anyway he recommend the book Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka which was indeed an interesting read. (Gosh it's been ages since I've read a good book!).

Got slightly distracted there by 'real world' things, but I guess it's important to have a nice balance of interests. Also came across a new 'arrow' for writing if and only if, which I can't seem to locate on LaTeX. Oh, I don't know why but when Prof S asked for the dimension of the basis of an mxn matrix (I think) I said mxn. Obviously not loud enough to be heard, but my heart was pounding nevertheless- I mean I put it down to not feeling well in the morning, but I don't know what's wrong with me! (Just a chicken I guess)!

After this we had a shortish lunch and went to the sequence and series lecture. Dr M didn't look to good, and I agree I think it's that time of the year! Once again not many people attended, and I have stopped caring about this. I mean there's nothing which can be done about this and it's the end of the semester soon.

After this lecture I went to hand in my homework, (only question one), and then proceeded to the example class. Now there's two reasons why I seem to like these example classes. The first obviously being that Dr C is one of the staff present, and the second being that after that hour or so I feel 'on top of the world' so to speak. Maybe this could be called just one reason, since ultimately this is due to Dr Coleman! I was asked today whether I was looking forward to the semester ending. My natural response was no, since that signals the exams starting and I don't in a weird way want lectures to end. I mean the year seems to have been so short, compared to say the college year. Thankfully this wasn't deemed too weird! (Although I did use the PASS scheme as an excuse to do maths in the holidays as well!).

Naturally I had gone prepared to the example class - my standard list not just having questions about sequence and series. I also learnt another important thing today: just because others are inconsistent doesn't mean that I should be. Sweet. I even dared test Dr C on a question, but obviously he wasn't phased by it. :D (thankfully!). The on top of the world feeling is due to the fact that I get my problems solved which results in me generally feeling positive about things. I mean I was quite pleased that I'd proved something correctly, (although I'd once again done it the long way round!) and understanding the notes was also good. It's unfortunate that today, I erm... didn't attempt to 'borrow' the register! (damn my short-sightedness!)

Now onto LaTeX. I had a printed page of my coursework which I'd used the back of to do some questions, since it'd been printed twice. Anyway, a word of advice if you're using TeXnic Centre. Before you edit your document, copy everything you've typed up and paste it to notepad or word. I learnt the hard way, but alternatively like it was suggested to me today, you could leave lots of spaces between parts of your work so it's easier to edit it later. I hadn't done this and last night, whilst editing my coursework, I deleted the wrong question. I composed the document and then saved it without realising what I'd done. So later on when it came to printing it out and triple checking, I realised that something was not right. Thankfully I had saved the pdf file in my p-drive so I had the work I needed saved! However at the time when I tried to somehow undo my stupidity I really freaked out.

I have now typed it up again, for completeness, but thankfully it wasn't as much as I first feared. LaTeX is pretty cool and my coursework looked pretty darn cool, although the same can't be said for it's content! It seems that Dr C spotted a misplaced bracket, and one can hope that the person marking the coursework will overlook this error. (Maybe I should check through the errors thing). Oh, and I should put fullstops after writing maths equations and the align bits. (Fair point, since essentially it was part of a sentence).

The example class banter was as always present, and it seems that I'm known as the 'bean who sits at the back of lecture halls who pesters lecturers'. :D (Hmmm, I'm not sure of the truth of that statement but will double check upon this and report back!). I did suggest that I won't attend Dr Coleman's lectures next year, but he obviously wouldn't want that (erm.. that's coming from my mouth)! I mean how could he after we've planned that if someone is talking continuously I'm going to point them out to him whilst he's lecturing. ;) (I wouldn't really do this, but it's a cool plan nevertheless). The question is do I trust the staff at the example with information about my eyes! It slipped out of my mouth, honestly. But what's the worse they can do? (Write really small on the board is one thing!).

My banana nearly went missing, but no one takes the banana whilst I'm around so it was saved. :D Yes I'm persisting by talking about the banter, namely to stop me from writing about something which happened just a while back. Before I forget, I don't know whether you recall me 'accidentally' falling onto the control panel of the lift? Well today it got it's revenge and tried to kill me! As you can deduce from this post, I survived (thanks to my folder). The question is have I learnt my lesson? Erm... what's the question again? ;) I say bring it on for round two!

PS: I really am brain dead at the moment!

PPS: The dentist people are pretty silly since they sent me an appointment for the time that I have a Linear Algebra lecture. However I'm thinking it's a conspiracy theory, since Prof S suggested that the dentist appointment was more important! I'm going to put that down as a joke, since the dentist may be important, but not more important than maths. :D


steve said...

Also came across a new 'arrow' for writing if and only if, which I can't seem to locate on LaTeX.

How about \iff, \Leftrightarrow or \Longleftrightarrow? (The capital L is important there as a small l gives only one line). I can't remember if I've mentioned The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List for a list of zillions of symbols.

beans said...

I'd forgottent to check that document, and thankfully I've eventually found it. Thanks!

It was \leftrightharpoon (but this code doesn't seemt to work in the Texer.)

I prefer the \Leftrightarrow symbol since the harpoon one kept on flying of the line!

steve said...

You forgot the s :) \leftrightharpoons works in Texer.

beans said...

That's the double harpoon one, but there's just a single harpoon arrow from the link you provided which has no s. (which doesn't work in Texer).

It's using the mathabx package.

steve said...

That explains it as the Texer can't use every package - it uses amsmath and similar.