So you're bored and like playing with magnifying lenses? Don't have one handy? Try this one.
I'm still alive, by the way. In case you care.
While looking for books and/or computer games (I found Icewind Dale II for $10) at Hastings today, I ran across their Action Figures section. Sitting next to Dr. McCoy is "Jesus, the Action Figure," with "Moses, the Action Figure" right next to him. Also featured are the Jesus bobble head and Buddy Christ, "As seen in the hit film Dogma!"
No, I didn't buy any of them.
I mostly like being a lazy bum. Except that I can't do it. At all. So, in order to avoid boredom, I do several things. Like accidentally screw up my 3D drivers and then fix them (but that only took five minutes, maybe), or read Copernicus, an activity that takes far more time than dealing with my computer. Really, it wouldn't be so bad if the theorems were also explained in nice math terms using sines and cosines, etc. But no, he has to make it difficult. Take this passage, explaining that if you are given all sides of an isosceles triangle and the radius of the circle that circumscribes it, you can find the angles of the triangle.
"For each of the equal sides is to the third side as half of the diameter is to the side subtending the arc by which the angle comprehended by the equal sides is given according to the table, wherein the [360 degrees] around the centre are equal to four right angles. Then the two angles at the base are given as half of the supplementary angle."
The accompanying figure sheds some light on this, but it wasn't until I redrew the picture myself that I understood exactly what he was talking about. However, one really (like really... okay, maybe it's just me) cool thing is that he calculated a table of sines using chords in a circle. Granted, whereas our "circle" has radius 1, his had radius 100000, and whereas we call it the sine of the angle, he called it "Halves of the chords subtending twice the arcs." Good stuff. Anyways, he made this massive table that covers four pages in this book, three columns a page, of sines from 0 to 90 degrees, increasing by one-sixth degree. I'm impressed. The title of this post comes from the last section of Book One of On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres of the same name. Very good stuff.
Yeah... I'll do my best to not blog about Copernicus anymore (or to ever split infinitives). I'm sure Wheeler is sitting there staring at the screen with his mouth open. Or maybe crying like a baby. Or maybe he didn't even read this far because he already moved on. Right. So tomorrow I go to church in Sherman. Maybe that will be post-worthy.
Well, yesterday I finished cleaning and packing, checked out of my room, and went on my merry way. Sherman's only three hours away (two and a half if I don't get stuck behind a semi going 55 in a 70... *grumbles* freaking two lane highways), so it's not too hard to load everything up, drive for a little, and be home. I can't tell... either not much has changed or I've changed enough to compensate. My brother hasn't been in this house during the summer since his sophomore or junior year in high school, I think. Cassie convinced him to go work at a camp all summer, so it's not that strange being the only one around. Although it is weird that my parents and I will be going to see them and their new house on Sunday. But that doesn't exactly effect me directly... it's not like I'm an uncle (or will be any time soon). Gah. That's a disturbing thought. I dunno. Things probably don't seem too different because I spend so much time on my computer or by myself in some other capacity. That's how things have always been around here, and that's how they are now.
Ah, well. I finally finished Le Morte d'Arthur last night. If you ever care to read it, I would suggest the translation by Keith Baines. It's all modern prose, except for a few things (such as inscriptions and the last two paragraphs) that are in horribly middle English. "Here is the ende of the hoole book of Kyng Arthur and of his noble Knyghtes of the Rounde Table... and here is the ende of the deth of Arthur." All in all, a very good read.
Hmm. Now I can start On the Shoulders of Giants which begins with Copernicus' On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres. The book also includes Galileo's Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences, Kepler's Harmony of the World, book five, Newton's Principia, and selections from Einstein's The Principle of Relativity. Clearly, Wheeler needs to read this. I still need to find a copy of Euclid, though...
Well, the physics final went fine. If I get an A on it, I get an A in the class. If I get below a 50 on it, I get a C in the class. Anything in between is a B. I think I got an A. Hopefully.
I suppose this is the end of my "freshman" year in college. When I come back in the fall, I'll be a junior, according to the school. You'll forgive me if I don't make a sappy post saying how great everyone is and so on. I'm not so good at emotions. (Like, duh.) Suffice it to say that I will gladly be coming back to an apartment with the guys next fall. I'm heading home tomorrow afternoon (3-ish), so I should see everyone at lunch, at least. Most of my clothes and books and such are already packed, so all I should have to do tomorrow is clean up the room and hall (floor duty).
I guess that's that.
So I finished up four of my finals yesterday. Look to yesterday's post if you want to hear about Bib Lit and Data Structures. Diff EQ was... well, diff EQ. Not too hard, not exactly a cakewalk. It took me almost the full two hours, and lets just say I'm glad I studied.
Then I had a nice break from 3 to dinner or so. I didn't look over my comp II stuff like I thought I would, but that's alright, I'd finished my studying during the weekend of mad-crazy studyness. So I show up at the education building at 6, in the lecture hall with the girls in my class and some 40 of Solganick's students. Sharpton and Barbour both say that the stack of our five tests was bigger than the stack of their 40. I wouldn't be too surprised; it was fifteen pages. As I predicted, it was an exercise in speed writing for two hours, but instead of 8385609834 fill-in-the-blanks, there were only 7274598723 of them. And instead of being no essays, there was one of them. I was the first one finished (at 7:45), but I didn't really think about my answers too much. I just wrote whatever came to mind when I saw that question. Good stuff. The essay was kind of interesting. I wrote about censorship on the Internet. Naturally, I was against it. Hopefully Batts won't count off too much for my position. Anyways, insofar as I know, Charissa and I were the only ones to finish. She was in the middle of her essay when I left, and she still had 15 minutes. None of the other three had started yet.
I saw the test and started laughing. It was so completely absurd. I don't know if I've learned anything worthwhile in that class, but I can fill in a bunch of worksheets with words straight from a book (or video or other handout). I find it astounding that an honors class can require so little thought. Particularly a class on "Creativity." The most creative thing I did in there was try to figure what I would do if he had another "go outside for two minutes and come tell me what you did" question. We came up with several good ideas. First, "Practicing dimostratzione of sfumato: I didn't cheat on this question," which, of course, everyone would have to say. Also, "Testing the grader's whole-brained thinking with Arte/Scienza: The Last Supper was created in perfect geometric proportion, using the Golden Ratio (φ = 1.618034)," though I don't know about the validity of the above statement. However, for good or for ill, such a question was not on the exam, so we didn't get to use any of our wonderfully creative ideas.
So that's that. My last final (physics) is tonight at 8, so I'll be studying quite a bit until then. In other news, it appears that Brian Taylor and I will be grading data structures homework next year for Dr. Baas. w00t!
So, theoretically, I'm supposed to be taking eight hours of finals today. Something seems wrong about this. But, having already had two of them, I think I can safely say I won't be too burned out by it all. Data Structures took maybe 40 minutes, Bib Lit around 70. Diff EQ shouldn't be too much longer, if any, and Comp II will be an exercise in speed writing for two hours. Naturally, that wouldn't be in response to an essay or four, but rather in response to approximately 8385609834 fill-in-the-blanks. Or something like that.
I'll try to put something up later this evening, but you may have to wait until tomorrow. Or later. Like next week.
But now, I am expected at SAGA. As Wheeler says, "That sucks."
It seems Atlantis has been found yet again. I've heard lots of different theories about it, the most plausible that it's an allegory for Athenian politics or some such thing. Seems much more likely, at least, than Brazil, Antarctica, the Florida Keys, or the Azores. However, there is a lot of interesting evidence that there was a well-traveled civilization before Alexander the Great (one of the sources for the linked map was from his collection).
Now, it an attempt to get more comments, I present you with the following poll: how often do you check your email?