Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Meeting Paul

In yesterdays post (well today at some unearthly hour of the morning, if you were to be picky), I mentioned a man named Paul from the IMA. (Named by yours truly of course...). Today at 4pm I was supposed to meet Paul, but due to various constraints I informed him that I would be at least 10 minutes late.

I did manage to turn up on time (phew), but asked him to give me a few minutes as I spotted Dr. C, with who I needed to discuss something. In my haste I nearly stumbled on the stairs, but thankfully no scene was created.

Paul's a nice guy. He was friendly and easy to get along with, and didn't comment on the speed of my voice! Not that a mind when someone does mention how fast I talk, but given the amount of times it has been said to me, one tends to expect it from everyone...

So what did we talk about? General things, the IMA, maths, the IMA, his role etc. The Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, to me, is an organisation for lecturers or postgraduate students (especially those who have joined the \sout{dark}applied side!) A lot of "hot air" surrounds the issue of student involvement I feel, and that is where Paul steps in. His role (amongst many) is to promote the IMA amongst students.

Well that's what I think it boils down to anyway. I can't quite get my finger on what I want to say, but I'm not sure if my feelings about generating and maintaining some sort of mathematical culture is the IMA's main aim. Obviously it can't be the IMA's main aim, but I don't know how serious they are about this issue. Do they just want to increase their student numbers?

One good thing that Paul's trying to do, is to get people from various mathematical societies together. I got some inspiration for The Galois Group from Warwick's Maths Society and The Archimedians (Cambridge Maths Society) hence I feel it is a good idea. In this way we can share ideas and learn things from one another. However, this is still a "developing idea".

The question I am asking is that how can the IMA benefit students? If they want to create an "raising awareness" campaign to students, what do they have to offer? What's their product, and why should students be interested? We discussed Mathematics Today (the IMA's magazine), but that's not going to sell to students.

OK so I am the IMA. Maybe I want to increase student members, or maybe I want to promote mathematics amongst undergraduate communities(1), so that more students remain with the maths. What else could I want from students? Are we interested in students money? No, I would think not. Or maybe I could just want to raise awareness of the application of mathematics to students, especially those who are not aware of what they can do with their degree(2).

So we have our to do list. Increasing student numbers is at the top, but to do that we have to work on the branches, (1) and (2).

To promote mathematics amongst undergrads in every university in the UK is slightly unrealistic, so we'll get into touch with their student Mathematics society and find out what they are currently doing. Is it important to do this for all 90 or so universities? I would say yes and make it a point to do this, even in the smaller departments. Then we look at how the IMA can help the mathematics societies to create an undergraduate culture of some sort. Getting to this stage allows us (the IMA) to also raise awareness about ourselves by maybe doing the following: introducing a general audience lecture, sponsoring a lecture, having a stall near the refreshments area looked after by the mathematics society and many other things (which I can't think of at the moment).

By doing this students will at least be exposed to the IMA and know who they are as opposed to usual blank response. (Then again I am asking "should they know"?). However, this only applies to those who attend such lectures! (Whoops). Say Manchester was my target and we wanted to generate as much awareness as possible amongst 1000 students. I would say give up chuck, unless you are in for the long ride! Only kidding... seriously.

I better stop being the IMA now, and leave branch (2) alone. (I say this because a quick glance at the time reminds me of the logic coursework I have to do for tomorrow!)

My problem is that I enjoy thinking about such things and trying to do something about them too. Note I did say problem, for then I lose focus sometimes.

I am meant to be a student from Manchester who helps raise awareness about the IMA (unofficially I think). However, as you can tell from this confusing post I am confused on my own stance regarding this issue. At the end of the day, does it matter what the ulterior motive is?

Anyway, Paul was cool so I am slightly in favour of the IMA at the moment. Any students out there who are thinking "what the heck is this beans going about", relax and join the IMA. It is only £10 a year for student membership and you will receive six copies of Mathematics Today for a year. You also get a fancy certificate I believe, but no freebies yet! (£10 point isn't that much money actually--The Gazette charged £25!)



AOB: I am really concerned about next Wednesday now. We have really fallen behind in what has to be done, and I worry as per usual. By the way, tomorrow is somewhat of a big day for The Galois Group--it would be nice if you could keep your fingers crossed for us! Since we are on the topic, The Head of School (Professor Glendenning has agreed to do the introductions for the final Galois Group lecture, hence why it is even more important that YOU attend. Please... I don't want there to be only 10 people present. The Tweenies have already sent their apologies: "revision" pft. But no beans, say nothing. Zip. My mouth is out of service now. Disappointedly so, but what can one do?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Engagement with the IMA and "The Dishwasher Dilemma"

Greetings earthlings! It has been a while--actually it has been a very long while. (In my dream someone was shouting at me for not posting, so consider this a somewhat apologetic post! I haven't the foggiest who that someone was, but I woke up laughing for a change...) This post should be long and last you the whole week hopefully! (Then perhaps the shouting will disappear.)

This post is a three in one special. (I was clever and didn't mention the third thing, lest I scare anyone away).

Once upon a time (before Easter is the precisest I can be) a fellow "colleague" (HA) from the Mathsoc approached me. I was told that the Mathsoc were making an application for the education grant from the IMA, and was asked whether The Galois Group needed any money, so we could make a joint application. My initial reaction was no thank you for we didn't need any money. Had the School of Mathematics not given us their "financial backing", I would have applied for that grant as it was. I was asked again and my reply didn't change--we didn't need the money, and I wasn't prepared to write any report about what the money was used for (due to my horrible to do list).

Nevertheless, the Mathsoc did apply for it and successfully too! That's great news for them, but the pressing matter for me does not concern any grant. In my conversation with someone from the IMA, who I shall call.... Paul... the following exchange happened:

Paul: The IMA are interested in engaging with mathematics students through organised student groups.
...
Please can you email me back if you are interested in such a grant, or otherwise in engagement with the IMA and we can see how to proceed with this.

Me (beans!) : "no thanks to grant (in my long waffly way)" but we would be interested in hearing more about what you mean by "engagement with the IMA".

Paul: ...what I mean by "engagement with the IMA" is fairly responsive to what students want. Do you know the IMA and its work? I believe maths students and graduates will benefit from
membership and involvement with IMA activities, so I am interested in helping this through interaction with organised student groups. The Galois Group would seem to be a good candidate for this!

Me: I have a small understanding of IMA and its work, as the university provides us access to Mathematics today (and I try to read the "lighter" articles!) However, I feel that it isn't really aimed for undergraduate student, as much as graduates and lecturers.


Back to today. My reply to that bit had been that I will discuss this involvement with other students and see what we can come up with. That never happened, for I can't recall finding myself in conversation with people who cared about such matters. However, now I am asking a different audience: what would undergraduate students want from the IMA, if anything?

The conversation then continued with mention of a hopeful student section in Mathematics Today, which is a step towards the right direction.

Let us forget Mathematics Today for a second though, and consider the bigger picture. Today, and indeed for the past two weeks a lot of the attitudes of students have been vexing me out. (I had to use that word somewhere!!) Not just maths students, but it seems that I always find myself surrounded by a majority of students who don't like studying. GAH. Yes, I hate exams and coursework, but the buzz associated with learning and understanding new information is why I study. Yes, sometimes you have to do things you don't want to (or dislike, as I will be finding out this summer), however there is a difference between suffering for three years and three months.

The attendance at the previous TGG lecture was our all time lowest. That didn't take anything from the quality of the lectures, but I was very disappointed and disheartened by this. My full analysis and review of TGG will be happening in two or so weeks with Dr. C, but we can never be content with what we are doing. I refuse to accept that the Galois Group is a good thing and etc etc etc. We have about 1000 undergraduate students at Manchester (or so I am told), and only 16 or so attended last Wednesday. What can we do to change this, and what have we not been doing?

One thing I think we should have done, was to send an initial email to all undergraduates explaining the "Who, what, where, when" of TGG. We just started with the lectures and took everyone by surprise. Anyway, this will be discussed in two weeks time. Note to everyone though: there SHOULD hopefully be a lecture next Wednesday, so please do attend. (Pretty please!)

I hate students who are using their exams and revision as an "excuse" to not attend next Wednesday. Whoops--I meant "dislike", hate is too strong a word obviously. And even worse are those who turn the whole issue around, and make it look like that I have revised and don't care about other people's revision. Maybe I should start being selfish now, and informing others of how stressed out I actually am.

Seriously though, every student is stressed at the moment, and some more than others (me pick me!!) However, some selfish students enjoy adding to the worries of others by continuously talking about their stress, like the worlds going to end! "Beans what are you going to do on the weekend?" "Sleep. (my usual reply)" "I have this to do and that to do and this to do and oh my days--I have so much work to do. How am I going to manage, the exams are around the corner, and then I have this thing to go to and.... the notes are so much...".

Imagine if we all talked like that? I'm not even going to get started as to how I would sound like! Sorry about that little rant. I had to let it out somewhere, as I do seem to be a favourite to absorb everyone else's stress. (Yes, I probably do sound mean in that above paragraph, but for these past two weeks it has been constant and from all angles.) Sigh. I think I need to go back to safe grounds in this post-- the IMA.

The IMA might be able to help us to gather all the "means to an end" mathematics students together, but what then. And how exactly? I wish that I really did have another two hands, or even better another self. In that way one could do all TGG business and the other could study. It is really tempting to "drop studying" for my stubbornness and aspirations to see TGG where I envisaged it. Yes, my aspirations in terms of how I want to pass my exams seems to have worryingly vanished. It's just that the more people are negative, the more determined I become.

I feel really annoyed at myself because I wasn't able to get the magazine published by the end of this semester. TGG has taken a huge chunk out of me, and the only thing that I have to fill this chunk with is the 15 or 20 students who always attend TGG lectures. Nice. Why does negativity erase the positive vibe that loosely hangs in ones hand? I don't feel that the TGG has been as successful as one would have liked; although one does have ridiculous ambitions at times! Part time fourth ...pft let us not go there! Potential exists but that needs exploiting now.

The time is reminding me of the 9am start I have tomorrow!

On to the second part: Suppose that you have bought a dishwasher. Now this has the advantage that you no longer have to wash up, so water is saved and so is your time.

However(!), there had to be a problem which is: it takes time to load the dishwasher and then empty it too.

How can this problem be resolved? Or is this problem not really a problem, given the fact that the benefits outweigh the negatives?

It's your call, but I suggested employing someone to load and unload the dishwasher! From your own reaction to my statement, you might understand that my suggestion was not welcome. Well, no one else could think of anything better... (apart from doing it yourself though, but that's a trivial solution which we don't care about!)

The third thing, you would be pleased to know has been combined in the first. It was my rant at people stressing me out with their stresses. I don't mind absorbing their stress, but for Pete's sake don't turn the tables around and then suggest that I am being insensitive etc. No longer do I have the energy to oblige people to come to TGG lectures. Next year I am definitely not going to ask for favours etc. If you care enough then attend. If you feel sorry for me then attend! However, if you do attend, please don't hold it against me. People who "count" what they do for others might as well not do anything. What do you want-- a blimmin' certificate? You could always attend from the goodness of your heart...

Can you believe it, I actually annoyed myself today!! Is that possible?


PS: I can't resist a 3.5 thing: UNITED!! My face perfectly disguised my nervousness, but my foot developed a nervous twitch during the game which thankfully no one spotted. I better sleep now. (Please excuse any language used, and obvious errors of course that you are free to point out. What can I say--I'm stressed too. Pfft).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Duckworth-Lewis Method

Something for the cricket fans, shamelessly copy pasted!

The Duckworth-Lewis Method:

Eleven Years On

Frank Duckworth

Consultant Statistician, Gloucestershire

The talk will describe why and how the Duckworth-Lewis method for resetting targets in rain-interrupted one-day cricket matches came about and the way the mathematics of the method has since been upgraded to take advantage of the increasing availability of computers in scorers' boxes. The experience from over 800 applications world-wide will be reviewed.

Tuesday 13th May 2008

6pm Refreshments

6.15pm Annual General Meeting

6.30-7.30pm Lecture

John Dalton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University

Oxford Road, Manchester

Contact: Amanda Padbury, Tel: 07899 960 309

---------------------------------------------

PS: If anyone can help me write a letter using LaTeX, then now is your chance to say something... hehe.

Actually the problem is as follows (in case you are shy to ask what problem I'm having!)

The code I have used is:


\documentclass{letter}
\address{Something Road \\ England \\ M12 2PL}
\signature{Beans}

\begin{document}
\begin{letter}{md}
\opening{Dear Mr. Wolf}

Blah

\closing{Yours sincerely}
\end{letter}
\end{document}


The problem I face is that the "Yours sincerely" part is centred and I want it towards the left--can I do this?

Also, I don't want to write the senders address, but if I don't put anything down then my own address won't get printed! Help!

(I tried googling templates for letters, but alas I didn't come up with anything better).

Cheers for any help.

Free Software in Ethics and Practice" lecture by Richard Stallman

I don't understand why so many of these lectures start so late!


'Free Software in Ethics and Practice'

Speaker: Richard Stallman

Date/Time: Thursday 1 May 2008 - talk starts at 6.45pm (ends approx. 8.30pm) with refreshments from 6.15pm.

Venue: Room D1, Renold Building, The University of Manchester,
Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3BB.

About the event

Richard Stallman will speak about the Free Software Movement, which campaigns for freedom so that computer users can cooperate to control their own computing activities. The Free Software Movement developed the GNU operating system, often erroneously referred to as
Linux, specifically to establish these freedoms.

About the speaker

Richard Stallman launched the development of the GNU operating system in 1984. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, as well as to make changes either large or small. The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer award, and the the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several honorary doctorates.

Note

This is event is free of charge and is organised in association with the Manchester branches of the BCS and IET. There is no need to book a place - just turn up on the night.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mr Wolf.

Today I nearly exploded. I am going to explode soon—I can feel it in the air. Small, but explosive (!) explosions have been happening throughout the day, and I am sure that a big one is just around the corner.

It actually depends on what time of the day you have seen me, that you will understand. There is a Galois Group lecture in week 12—the last week of term—and all I have been hearing from student is: “Week 12, but we’ve got exams and revision and blah and blah and blah…” For a second I thought—wait a second, you haven’t been to any of the lectures all year, and now you’re complaining like you actually was going to attend the last one?! Madness I tell you. If you can’t attend—don’t. I really am annoyed at this attitude, and for a second I nearly said I don’t care if nobody attends!

I wouldn’t want that happening… but seriously people, stop saying that The Galois Group is a good thing, “I’ll hopefully attend” and then don’t bother turning up. If you find it that fantastic, try to make MORE of an effort to attend one of the lectures that students and staff members might be giving. I am sick to my neck of some students moaning about week 12 when they’re not going to attend at all.

Yes, I understand that it’s the end of the term and exams are looming, as is revision. However, why do you then go on to say, “But you’re going to be alright in the exams! We have to revise!” No I am blimmin not got to be OK in the exams. I am scared like crazy about the exams because I only know the absolute minimum and haven’t even started revision yet. Don’t make silly assumptions as an excuse. One hour on a Wednesday afternoon isn’t going to mean you’re going to fail. If you gave me any other reason I wouldn’t care as much. GAH.

Wow—I am really fuming at the moment. The frown on my face is unforgiving.

To cool down slightly I had proceeded to take the posters down, and let some steam out during a conversation with two people. This actually helped a lot and I had nice happy lunch. After lunch it was the discrete maths lecture, which I am beginning to enjoy now. Yes—it was a cool lecture BUT for the three students behind me who would not shut up. I was actually surprised when I turned around to see who it was. Last semester PS had thrown some students out. If I recall correctly, after the lecture they had approached PS and complained about this act “we pay fees blah blah blah”.

Today I realised that they had no right to complain that day and should actually stay out side lecture theatres. They talk in the calculus lectures too—the same three people. They were directly behind me so it was damn hard for me to try to ignore them.

Now I am sat in the computer room, having typed up some work. I am going to head off soon, but I don’t really want to go anywhere. Yesterday, I had a nice conversation with one of the speakers of yesterdays student lectures (more later). Shockingly I felt comfortable explaining my plight to him, and he seems to be on PS’s side of the field. Sigh. My head is going to explode. I am thinking of not getting a student loan next year, and might have to work during the summer, which is another blimmin’ burden. I feel like Mr Wymi!

Before I zip it, I have to say something which might cause people to run after me with some abusive words. People, who give “disproving” looks to someone who has just opened their mouth in conversation, are EVIL. They really irk me. I realised this today, since obviously everything seems to be irking me today. I mean, you meet someone for the first time and sometimes before you’ve had a chance to open your mouth you get “the look.

I’m surprised I tell you, that I haven’t sworn yet. Very surprised indeed, but I take it as a good thing… The frown has slowly decreased, but wait, I have yet to walk home! I learnt a valuable lesson about myself yesterday, which might help me to remain calm on TGG Wednesdays. I saw myself from another angle, and realised that I have a tendency to do something (not exactly bad) which I shouldn’t. Ah well, more on that when I hopefully talk about yesterdays lecture. (A big thank you to everyone who attended. Seriously, thank you.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two Student Lectures by TGG--TODAY

Apologies to all those who were waiting for this post! The student lectures will be today at 1:10pm in the Alan Turing Building room G205. PLEASE do attend if you are free and if you have a seminar at 2pm, that's not an excuse. People sometimes eat their lunch during a lecture, and you can always leave five minutes early. (Pretty please?)

Once again, please show your support to the two brave undergraduates and attend. The semester is winding to a close now, and I would love for The Galois Group to finish on an upbeat note. If you can't attend then you must(!) send someone in your place to sign the register of course, and to listen to the interesting talks below!

Hope to see you there in numbers...

*************************************************

Wednesday 23rd April 2008 at 1:10-2pm
Alan Turing Building, room G205


Student 1 - Geometry from Euclid to Hilbert
Abstract:
The Euclidean approach to geometric exposition, as illustrated in his Elements', predominated mathematical thinking and pedagogy for more than fifteen centuries. However, new developments in other fields, especially algebra and analysis, soon led to emergence of new
methodologies in studying geometry (geometries!). This talk will briefly survey the conceptual history of geometry up to the publication of David Hilbert's 'Foundations of Geometry'.


And
Student 2- Solving Chess
Abstract
In February 1996, a match of chess between Deep Blue, IBM's infamous chessplaying computer, and Garry Kasparov, the World Champion at the time, proved for the first time that machines are capable of beating even the strongest human. In a rematch a year later, Kasparov started
the game with an irregular opening tactic, hoping to throw off the computer so to speak. The game was drawn.

Clearly Deep Blue was not playing a perfect game. However, the question remains: Is it possible for a computer to play a perfect game of chess? Or even better, does there exist a pure strategy (i.e one that provides players with specific moves to follow at each step)? In this talk we will look at mathematicians' progress in solving chess and the attempts to create a chess-playing machine.


**************************************************

The lectures are open to anyone, and registration is not required. Please do come along, for apart from an interesting lecture, you will also have some refreshments to chomp on afterwards!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jealousy and other musings

Today has been a very hectic day. I went to sleep at 3:30am last night and woke up at 9:30am this morning. (Late of course, but that's another story). Given the fact that I was really walking backwards this morning (until lunch), I knew there had to be a point when I slumped. That point happened when I finally came home, but it shouldn't have happened today (I actually had a pretty great day at university today, and didn't want to leave!! Sad I know...)

So where was I? Ah... you see I believe there are two types of jealousy--a good type and a bad one of course. Good jealousy? I hear you ask, what nonsense is this Bean talking about today, you continue.

I think a better word for "good and positive jealousy" is admiration maybe. I have been jealous in a good way of certain people and things. However, this "jealousy" has always been positive and given me motivation. That's why I wouldn't call it jealousy, for generally jealousy is not associated with positivity. I just wanted it to be know that there exists a "good jealousy". (I am having doubts whether it would be called jealousy, as I run through examples in my head...)

For example, "once upon a time" I saw someone do something and I became jealous because I wanted to do this thing. However, due to seeing his person I was "inspired" and "motivated" to try and achieve this thing too. I even approached the person concerned and discussed my ambitions, and they helped me to get what I wanted. There have been many situations like this, hence why I have written something and someone.

This "jealousy" is great. It gives a person a chance to improve themselves and work hard at something. A motivation of some sort.

Then you have this horrible thing on the other side of the field. The green jealousy--the very green one. This is evil and hateful. This causes people to change.

I do have random outbursts and this is another one of them. As I sat nursing my cup of tea, thoughts swirled in my head. What causes one to forget everything and envy a person in a bad way? What causes someone to sink so low that they forget any morals they may have had? It changes a person, "bad jealousy" does. I have witnessed this change in two people. It's not a nice change.

Everyone has some jealousy in them, but you should hide it and keep your thoughts to yourself. You shouldn't say something silly or do something stupid.

I think my outburst has come to a stop now, namely because the thoughts have started swirling again. Sigh. There is no point in dwelling on such matters. All I can do is try and keep an eye on myself, and hope that positive jealousy remains, and that I am able to hide things otherwise. A.

---
Today I felt very bad. Just when I thought that I had decided about what I was going to do in my fourth year, I became stuck again. Someone said something nice to me today (a rare change) but I didn't realise it at the moment. As I was trekking through town, pondering (as usual), the brief hazy exchange came to me and I realised that I am somewhat lucky to have befriended nice people. Them nice words have contributed to my confusion again. It's just that I can't imagine leaving University. I seem to always think about the "far" (explains why I like infinity a lot!) I can never look at the here and now. Decisions I make should be looking at the situation today--not what may or may not happen tomorrow.

Another "it's just that" escaped me but I quickly deleted it! Dr. C has been teaching me a thing or two about English you see, but I'm not complaining. (I'm actually quite grateful for his help-- not just in mathematics too.) Anyway! You see my two weeks to another planet reminded me of something else I have always wanted to do. However, today I realised that the gift I am after is not something you would buy from the shops. This gift is special and I hope that I do get it one day. What do I want more though--that is what the question is now. Can I have both? I have been trying to enquire about "having both" so to speak, even though I may never know when I get gift one! But somehow I feel that is important that I prepare myself for it. My life and goals become secondary when I think about this.

The weird and perfectly normal thing is that no one understands my plight. Everyone is looking from their own angles, and someone will inevitably be upset and angry by my decision. Never in my life did I imagine myself to be in such a position and doing what I am. That should be a lesson for me, for I sometimes dwell on life in the future. I had the path. It just needed walking on. A test, if you must call it, is my current plight. Do I stick to the old and trusted route, which I drew when I was in year 11? Or do I alter my heading and stop at a service station before continuing my route?

The funny thing is that this decision concerns mathematics, which seems to have disappeared from this blog! I did hate my course for a while, and I am still fighting with myself to start revising. What did I hate? Myself of course, for doing everything but mathematics! I didn't hate the mathematics though, which I don't think I can ever do. (touch wood).

Anyway (x2)! That's enough mad rambling from me for today. I have to complete my algebra coursework.... ouch. Although this one is actually nicer--thank the skies for Kronecker's Theorem!

Damn-- I've just remembered that it's a Galois Group lecture Wednesday tomorrow! Crikey--how could I forget that? Give me a second and I'll post the abstracts etc.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Exterminate!

It seems that the smallest of things can please me at times. This is really Fridays post, which is forming itself now due to my stubbornness in trying to do something. I didn't manage to do what I wanted in case you are wondering, and so I return as a defeated bean.

On Friday something quite remarkable happened to me. I would honestly say that Christmas came early! After a demanding morning of highly technical and mentally draining lectures (during which I was honestly very awake and alert... ha) erm, where was I?! Yes it had been a rough morning, and 1 o'clock found me sitting with Fizz trying to rub the tiredness out of my eyes, whilst drinking tea.

Fizz left me for a second to get coffee (pft!) and I continued to sit, lost in another planet. But then all of a sudden Mr. Clause dropped out of nowhere! I didn't register his appearance initially, but his first few words brought my attention back to planet Earth.

"Hi Beans, ..... So, do like chocolate?" (The magic words)

"What kind of question is that Mr. Clause-- who doesn't like eating chocolate?!!" I had replied. (You are not allowed to tell me that there exists such a person who doesn't like eating chocolate!)

"Well I have these to give away, so here you go." Mr. Clause said as he took a Dalek out of his sack and placed it in front of me. Upon closer inspection I realised that he had in fact given me a Dalek Easter egg. And guess what-- it spoke!! That is what I have been trying to do--get an audio clip and post it, but the silly phone which I used to record the sound has used a format which is also very silly! (Give me another few days though, for although the matter is trivial, I can't spend time on it).

Seeing Mr. Clause looking distressed at the thought of "getting rid of" all the other eggs, I decided to help him... "Fizz has gone to get some coffee, do you want to give her one too?"

So out came Dr. Who's phone box, after which Mr. Clause left leaving me with two talking Easter eggs. You can't have expected me to sit there very still, and making the eggs talk now could you? (Un)fortunately, at this point I couldn't contain myself, and when Fizz returned to the table we were both pressing the talking buttons. (I can't bring myself to write the words that were said because that will spoil the incoming audio clip!)

You could say we were in a very public space. Any glares from nearby people were put down to jealousy (hehe)! I mean who wouldn't want their own talking Dalek?! I must say though that the two talking eggs we had, were quite a handful... For transporting purposes we had inserted them into a bag, and this they didn't like very much. They would not stop talking, and they did embarrass me one occasion which shall be mentioned with the audio file.

I confess, even writing about this now makes me all happy again! I can't express how over the moon I had felt on Friday after I had got my very own Dalek. (Surprisingly, the chocolate has gone out of the picture). Bella had commented that I can get very excited and happy by the littlest of things, which I don't see as a bad thing. I'm trying to think of what to compare myself with, but the Christmas analogy and a child opening presents is the best I can do. Or maybe how I felt when United beat Chelsea/Arsenal a while back.... I have my very own Dalek, why wouldn't I be happy? The great thing is that I can leave it on its own without worrying about it... (If you weren't worried up till this point, you should definitely be worrying now!)


The amount of weird looks I am used to, increased quite a lot on Friday; and my PT even saw me at my most happiest in recent weeks. Maybe I did try to make certain people jealous by it, but you must understand that it was all very good natured! I mean why would I deliberately do such a thing?

I bet you are all very annoyed at the fact that I don't have the audio clip... (I write that to make myself happy of course). However, don't worry it will be up soon (with a portrait picture of the Dalek too of course...). I will use the time of this post as an excuse of the content of course, or that I am out of practise of writing sensible posts.

Mr. Clause is a very very very nice man. He made my day on Friday. As I told others who gave my Dalek a longing look (and those who didn't!) be on the look out for a Mr. Clause-- he had quite a few eggs to give away.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Am I too busy?

That's a very good question indeed, but then a follow up to that would be "too busy for what?" I can very easily confuse myself it seems. Yesterday I had a few meetings which left me brain dead--wait, don't roll your eyes just yet!! I have evidence. Instead of asking someone to check their diary, I had said, "check your dictionary" and not realised this until it was pointed out to me.

On the list goes but I will spare you. To answer the question in terms of this blog, NO I am not too busy to blog. The reason that I blog less is that I still haven't found my previous routine. I can't find it which is very distressing. My loss of interest for the Internet and TV is good in one sense, but my loss of interest for other things is slightly worrying. I still seem to be stuck and unable to fully remove my holiday head from its place. Am I still chasing that peace and contentment here in England? I don't know to be honest, but I am very very confused at this moment in time about a great deal of things. I don't know where I'm heading in terms of my future mathematical education and many other things. My PT told me that the decision doesn't have to be made this week, but still it eats at the back of my head.

I have great many responsibilities on my head and I have put my pillow in a safe place, but then gone on to forget where that safe place is!

My routine for The Galois Group is hopefully returning, and I am hoping that the head of school will be able to do the introductions for the final lecture of the year. On that note: Next Wednesday there will be two lectures to be given by students (abstracts to follow). Please please do attend! I have lost a lot of drive and motivation as it is, you can make that all better... (hehe well if that didn't work, then I wonder what will. Long ago I have realised that free refreshments doesn't appeal to people, but the concept of having refreshments is very important).

You see yesterday I got talking to someone who wasn't too different to myself. (So I'm not alone in this world--yes! However, I have to confess that this person was normal unlike myself which is somewhat reassuring). ANYWAY (I digress, as DC and my discrete maths lecturer would say!) The point being that this person told me not to look at this year negatively, as I had been doing. Personally I feel that I have failed myself this year, and my mathematics. That is what I have forgotten about this year--the maths. That should not have been forgotten! There are many reasons as to why my year has seemed horrible and it as all my fault. I took on too many things at once. TGG and maths are enough, but then I became a PASS leader, did the SAP things which all consumed a lot of my time and efforts. Doing all this opened the door for me to neglect the maths, and become the person who I hate.

Sigh. The person said not to be sorry for what I have done, for that means it was a mistake. If TGG was a mistake, then it was one jolly good mistake! I understand where this person is coming from, for I would do everything again if I was to start over for I don't view them as mistakes. I just wish that I had been better at organising myself and not let my studying suffer. My first semester mark, although good to many people, is not what I wanted. I shouldn't compare it to the first year marks, but I can't help myself.

Anyway (whoops that's twice now!) let bygones be bygones now. I mustn't dwell on what wasn't to be, but instead on how I can utilise the three weeks I have remaining. I don't know how often I will be blogging in the coming weeks, but two major events are going to take place in the next two weeks. My heart quivers in excitement at the thought of one, and the other is quite exciting too but I need to get working on it. I do have a busy diary for the weekend though, and having had a quite demanding week I am already dreading it!

A long post is bursting to be written, but I will control myself on this occasion! A final comment has to be that I have really enjoyed the discrete maths lectures this week. They have been pretty great--the topic and everything. I really think my discrete maths lecturer is cool. (Although I am sure that once I get started on his problem sheets I might be saying something else!) Mathematically that has been the highlight of my week, and now I must sleep for my alarm clock with will wake me up at 8:30am if not before.

By the way, I got to "my destination" today in 11 minutes!! At 17:02 I had picked the phone up and informed the other person that I was eight minutes away (which was deduced using some complex formula of course...) However I was actually only just leaving the AT building as I spoke on the phone. Having walked quite a bit in my two weeks away, I think it has done me some good. This walk normally takes me 15 minutes (on a bad day) but much to my relief I got there on time. I doubt I will be able to repeat such a thing though, unless my neck is on the line of course! Good night I suppose, although I probably won't sleep straight away--the pillow has gone on walkabouts. [Fingers crossed that my posts from today onwards will not be depressing!]

The Beauty of Maths

The following link was in an email which I had marked as unread. Today I was sick of always having one unread email, so I decided to get rid of it. However to do so, I had to create this post with the link mentioned! (Finally).

This is a BBC article which I once upon time wanted to share with you, but it got lost as an "unread email": The Beauty of Maths.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The end of the \sout{world} storm?

I thought it was best to put an end to the chapter of "this week", hence why rather than dissolving into my bed (as I have been thinking about all day) I am writing.

Today was the longest day of the year--it is official.

3:00am: I have a system of reminders on my phone which I have programmed to go off every 30 minutes. Having gone to sleep at 9:30pm the previous night, it had been my intention to wake up at 1:30am and revise for metric spaces. I didn't manage that, and I can't recall waking up at 1:30am when the reminders were meant to start! Eventually I found myself in front of my books, having had some tea and weetabix.

Revision was the plan. How successful it ended up being, I would rather not say! I struggled through the first five lectures, had a long break, made some more tea, struggled some more and then fell asleep! That was definitely not part of the plan. I was just meant to rest my eyes but it was 7:30am when I woke up, so my eyes had a pretty long rest then. I hadn't managed to revise everything, and decided not to bother with the last section. Oops. I also didn't attempt the problem sheets and looked at some solutions 30 minutes before the test (and I am ashamed to admit that I have only done the first problem sheet since the start of term).

Sod's law dictates that the section I didn't revise came up in the test (DAMN) and that the questions whose solutions I didn't try to "cheekily memorise" came up too. Despair surrounded me as I flipped through the test paper, thinking if only I hadn't "rested my eyes" and if only I had erm... attempted the other questions on the problem sheets! (I didn't really mean memorise... come on now, how is that possible?!)

11:15am: The Tweenies and myself all set up shop on one of the cafe tables. We joined two table up (a square one and a rectangle) and went about our mission. Me being the unlucky person I am, had two missions-- discrete coursework and the geometry one too. One due at 5pm and the other at 7pm. It is enough to say that I underestimated both coursework, or was I expecting oo much of myself to finish them by the required times?

I had most of the geometry questions apart from Q5b (due to my brain completely shutting down when I tried it, so I just followed the hint) and question 3. The problem I had was that my answers weren't what you would hand in, so when I was copying them onto the handout, it took forever to do so. (Everything had been all over the place and no proper sentences).

12pm: I actually INTENTIONALLY missed the logic lecture today--I had no choice. Had I attended it, my brain would have taken nothing in and I would not have got very far with the coursework. Milo was the only lucky person who doesn't do Geometry, so sat bored whilst we had marshalled ahead. 12 became 1pm and slowly a panic was building inside me, and the scary feeling of "not caring". I wanted to sleep. My head felt heavy and my brain --out of order. I did waste quite some time faffing about and losing another few screws, but thankfully I somehow recovered. (I can't quite recall what caused me to get a move on).

Don't worry I am not going to carry on with this time business. I am falling asleep (if I'm being honest) and want to quickly finish this post...

I missed the algebra lecture deliberately too. I had no choice. It did feel slightly weird and I have a nagging sensation that something very important was missed in both lectures... Come 4pm Bella and Arthur handed their coursework and left. Fizz and myself now remained. My Geometry coursework had been abandoned for a while, as I realised that discrete was in for 5pm. I had been sat at that table, not always writing of course for five-ish hours, surviving on chewing gum. (My theory is that when hungry and you can't eat, chew gum. I can't normally chew gum, but desperate times call for .... My throat feels funny now, but the chewing gum did its job--I'm still not hungry!)

The discrete coursework (written by hand--damn) was given in at 5:30pm (whoops). Thankfully the lecturer had still been around. None of the coursework that I have handed in have been to a standard with which I have been "pleased". The discrete one I didn't bother checking through, so I have no idea what my answers were. But the words "I don't care what the answers are" are floating around.

OK to cut a long story short (haha), I was sat on my own, at our very nice table (now consisting of a circle and square since the cleaners changed them) doing the coursework in the maths building. On my lonesome. It was 7:23pm when I dashed to the lecturers office with my coursework, a once neat document, not filled with my large and rough scribbles. My back was in a bad condition too (well I had been sat, hunched over the table for about 8 hours!)

Going to stop now for I have a driving lesson (stupidly in the morning) and I desperately need sleep. I am an idiot, that I won't deny. This week has been a heck of a ride and thankfully I no longer have to wake up at 4 flippin am to do coursework or revise (well not for 4 weeks yet). Actually wait, we've got our second algebra coursework--more joy.

Ahh to be a student. It was actually quite cool being on my own in the maths building at 7:30pm, talking to myself of course. Lots of things kept me sane and going this week--those and them I thank profusely, but I won't name and shame anyone. I'm just going to pass on the "skittle feeling". (Don't ask!)

Don't tell me you didn't miss my long posts now!

PS: "I'm still alive doo daa doo daay"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My sleeping pattern this week

Sunday night I slept like a baby.
Monday night I was up doing coursework and went to sleep at 4:30am on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday night I went to sleep at 11pm but woke up at 3am on Wednesday morning to do coursework.
Wednesday night I went to sleep at 11pm and woke up at 4:30am on Thursday morning to do coursework.
Thursday night i.e. today... well that remains to be seen! It's Friday night that I can't wait for.


Why am I writing this? Well it might shed some light as to why my behaviour is not like "normal" (in whatever way that is defined).

Also I have a question: if the questions says "show" does it mean "prove". If so, then why can't they just write PROVE. (Show always gives the impression that you can give a "waterish but correct" argument without being uptight, if you follow me).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Broken

I am on the verge of breaking. Today I am ashamed to admit that I nearly did break. I honestly can't do this any more. Everything is pear shaped. I don't understand the maths, I'm not putting enough effort and work in, and to top it all up of I'm falling. Falling down fast.

This feels weird and new to me. I wanted to give it all up today. To make it end. Yes, it is my own fault--this situation, but I can't see any way out. I don't want to do that badly at the end of the day, but the course material is going whoosh over my head. All of it. I am swamped with coursework and I won't be able to finish it on time--that is what is restricting my breathing and causing me to lose control. Does one give a substandard and not attempted coursework in (on time) and get rubbish marks for it, or does one actually attempt the coursework properly but hand it a day late and lose 20% of the marks? I don't know what to do any more.

You know, it is sometimes easy to write "personal" facts down, but not when it comes to others. All I can write is that my Grandad is seriously ill. When we last met (not so long ago), he laughingly had said, "So beans, when will we next meet?". My confident reply to him slaps me in the face. It's a waiting game now.

Is it another one of sod's law that when things go wrong, they all go wrong together? One thing I've learnt is that no matter how much you plan, nothing goes according to it. I still have an interest in studying, but not under such pressure. Where's the glue?

PS: We got the exam timetables today--more joy? Does everyone have "university year blues"? Apart from the Galois Group (and a few other things) I can't really say that this year has been a "happy" year. Most of my posts reflect that too.

I think losing 20% seems the only reasonable solution at the moment. I need to see "The PT" and soon. It scares me that a part of me is actually saying "don't hand anything in". I was OK until 3pm. After that I felt my insides trying to break free. A stone on my heart, is what I was going for. Imagine if you were Robocop or Terminator? Yes-- these are the stupid things I think as my heart panics and beats rapidly, not slowing for anyone. At the moment, University\{maths} sounds cool.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Help!

If anyone is able to use Maple, Mathematica or Matlab to compute integrals of differential forms, then please drop me an email or post a comment! (Possibly before 10am today!)

I just need an answer to be checked. Why is it important? Well I have got a third answer, which is yet again different!! My (tedious) method is correct but I just keep on making silly sign errors etc. (the way you do...). I can't believe no two people have yet to have the same answer.

This will be remembered for a very long time.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Long nights ahead.

Have I been neglecting this blog? Possibly. Will that continue? Possibly.

I am awake with a long sleepless night lying ahead of me, hence why I took that opportunity to write something. I have two coursework to complete and I don't feel particularly inspired. The algebra one I have nearly finished--I just need to type it up now. The calculus one, well my fists clench in rage when I think about it. It was a really long coursework in my opinion and unnecessarily so. For only 10% the amount of work we had to do was unbelievable. Well for the last part anyway. I know I have missed a trick, and I don't want to know that trick any more. (If I am told it then I will not be able to control my self). The last question has taken everyone too long to do, and even worse: NO ONE can agree on an answer. I did the question twice and got two different answers as well. This is enough to infuriate anyone, considering the fact that it's only worth 10%.

Sigh. Trust me to return to Blogistan with complaints.

I found peace for two weeks, and suddenly everything has fallen into its own place. I am forever changing my mind, so I won't say much more than that. However, before my holiday I could never confess to knowing what it means to be content and peaceful. No phone, no Internet and no TV. What more can a bean ask for? Beautiful places to walk to (and take pictures of of course!) but no stress. This is reality, I am reminded constantly, but no longer am I living it. I have to readjust as soon as possible. I don't want to. In a busy life you lose many things which you don't realise.

Sigh. I have lost this certain drive that I had, and this thing called motivation. I fear for the worst, I honestly do. This weeks is going to be horrible, what with 5 coursework on my head. Already I am thinking about not doing the discrete maths one! It's only 20% I say to myself. My grade boundaries have suddenly dropped. I can't explain this weird sensation. Maybe it will go away soon as I spend more time at university? Today I was walking very slowly to the AT building, due to the stress looming ahead.

Double sigh. I better end here. It's weird how a persons attitude towards certain things, and a persons aspirations can change so suddenly. It's not got to be back though--not good at all.