February 22, 2005

Greek Hunting

Well, the day has almost come and gone, and life was quite a bit better than I had expected it to be. I turned in my research paper for OT Backgrounds a day early, so I actually had time yesterday to finish my journals and study for the Architecture test with Scholl. The "studying" involved looking at the review sheet and saying, "Yeah, I know how to do that."

I awoke this morning, refreshed and ready to face the glorious morn-... yeah, I don't believe it, either. It was morning. And I had a test (and a Fatness test, but that hardly counts) to worry about. So I trek over to Glaske to watch a terribly ... bland presentation on Kate Chopin's The Awakening Though the discussion afterwands was remarkably entertaining, it will have to wait for another post, or perhaps I'll just point you to someone else. At noon, I took the Architecture test, which was long, but not especially difficult. Then to OT Backgrounds, then to Fatness, where the "test" took all of ten minutes, then I went back to Longview Hall to pick up the trig.

While there, I decided to turn in my Architecture homework that was due last week. Well, Dr. King and Ms. Knouse were standing in the hallway, so I just walked up and handed it to him, saying that it was "last Thursday's homework." Well, Knouse was amazed that I (of all people) was turning homework in late. So I mentioned how I had been working on a research paper, and journals, and King's test. So I stood there and talked with those two for a while, before Dr. King decided he ought to head home.

After that, I went to talk to Dr. Baas, because I was right there, and Dr. Baas is just generally cool. So we talked about the possibility that I would change majors, the latest assignment he has us doing for computer theory, the weather, etc. He asked me about what I did in my "outdoor time," which I took to mean "Do you exercise regularly?" asked congenially. Well, I never really exercise when I'm at school; I simply don't make the time for it. He thinks that it would be wonderful if we set up a frisbee golf course on campus somewhere. I have to admit, it would be rather enjoyable.

After this, I ran over to the HHH offices to talk with Dr. Hummel about the Greek program at UT. The impression I got was that I would have to talk to lots of people and get lots of special approval in order to have the Greek credit transfer as 12 hours instead of just 6. The problem is, if it only transfers as 6, I probably could not step in to Intermediate Greek I next semester, because my Greek vocabulary with be quite a bit different from that of the LeTourneau Greek class. However, I get the feeling that Hummel with certainly try to help me out with this one.

But what do I, a CSMA, want with Greek credit? Well, I was looking at my degree audit, and noticed that I only need 48 more hours, which is twelve hours per semester for four semesters. So instead of loading myself down with honors classes, I looked into adding another major or minor. I found that I could almost change to Computer Science, B.S. and Math, B.A., but for the language requirement on the B.A. Thus, Greek. Contrary to what I had thought earlier, this would not be a double major in the traditional sense of the word, but actually two different degrees. Hummel informed me that I could not have done this a few years ago, because the University had some policy that said no one could receive more than one degree at a time. But Hummel apparently had a hand in changing that last year, so I should be good. So, if I can get this to fly, I'll be graduating in Spring 2007 with a Computer Science, B.S., and a Math B.A. with an English minor and honors. Technically, since these are two separate degrees, I could get the CSBS with honors and math and English minors, and the MABA with honors and CS and English minors, but that is just a little ridiculous.

Next step: getting approval from Dr. Jarstfer for the Summer program at UT to count for 12 hours of foreign language.

Posted by Gallagher at 11:32 PM

February 16, 2005

Life is Being Kind

It seems I have caught a break during my week of writing. As I was finishing up the Egyptian section of my research paper yesterday evening, I realized that I had was over the minimum requirement by almost a page and a half. This struck me as a Good Thing. So this morning after chapel, I talked to Dr. Hummel about cutting back my paper from the math of the Ancient Near East to the math of the ancient Egyptians. I showed him my eight pages, and he said that that would be fine. So now I just have to finish up talking about the pyramids and how astronomy related to Egyptian religion. All in all, I'm looking at a much lighter weekend. I only have five journals to write. And a program due Friday week. And a test in Architecture on Tuesday. This means that I actually get to go to sleep before 3 this week. I am pleased.

Posted by Gallagher at 11:59 PM

February 15, 2005

When it Rains...

I have wonderful news. Beginning February 22, I can resurface from this mountain of work that is looming before me. Until that time, I have

  1. February 16: test in linear algebra. Not too bad, I hope. Time allotted: 1 hour prior to exam.
  2. February 22: A research paper on math in the Ancient Near East for OT Backgrounds. This focuses mainly on the Egyptians and Babylonians, and is trying to grow to 15 pages. It only needs to be 6. Time allotted: As much as possible.
  3. February 22: American Lit journals. These have not yet been started. Time allotted: As much as possible after the research paper is completed.
  4. February 22: Computer Architecture Exam. Time allotted: none yet.
  5. February 22: Concepts of Lifetime Fitness Exam. Time allotted: none.
  6. February 19: Evening of culture and sociability, i.e. symphony and dinner. Time allotted: 3-5 hours.
  7. February 20: Church. I'm really going to try to make it this week. Time allotted: 2 hours.
  8. Most days in between: regularly scheduled programm homework. And grading. Time allotted: sure, why not?

I'm really not looking for sympathy, but just expect me to be even more reclusive this week. Also don't be surprised if I am more irritable at squealing girls in the Ice Cave. Sadly, I don't think I'll have time to finish my performance as Hamlet, which probably bothers me more than anyone else. I suppose I ought to make myself a DND (as opposed to D&D) sign for myself. I'll just put it on my white board.

*takes deep breath*

*dives in*

Posted by Gallagher at 04:17 PM

February 13, 2005


Slashdot recently linked an article about a random number generator that sees into the future. Well, this all terribly entertaining, perhaps even interesting, but I'm still skeptical. I am, after all, me. In case you don't want to read the article, it basically says that there are 64 random number generators scattered about the world that continuously, randomly create either a 0 or 1. The scientists claim two things about these "Eggs," as they call them. (1) Shortly after major emotional crises, the Eggs create more ones than zeros. For example, the Eggs "spiked" at the funeral of Princess Diana, the American elections in 2000, September 11, and the December 26, 2004, tsunami. (2) These Eggs actually predict major events a few hours before they occur; four hours in the case of September 11, and a full day before the earthquake that caused the tsunami.

This clearly sounds like crack science. If anyone thinks this is legitimate at this point, the last nail in the coffin is coming. The groups FAQ says,

How do you make the leap that the deviations from randomness are related to world events or consciousness? After all, when you find a deviation you can check the news and ALWAYS find some world event that is taking place, because world events happen every day. There are never days without world events anymore, so it seems that there is a possibility that this is just a coincidence.

The leap we make is only to ask the question. The answer seems to be yes, there are correlations. With regard to your concern that we can always find a special event to fit the data, we fully agree. However, we do our experimental work the other way around from what you have inferred. First we make a prediction that some identified event will have an effect, then we assess the data to see the actual outcome. Though some people suggest that we should do so, we never "find a deviation [and then] check the news", because you are right -- it will always be possible to find some event that we might imagine was the cause. The GCP methodology is prediction-based. Before the data are examined, a prediction is registered, with all necessary analysis specifications, and only then do we perform the analysis that allows us to quantify the correlation and assign it a probability against chance.

Gee, this seems normal. Especially the last part, where they only perform analysis after a prediction is registered. Logically, they cannot find any "anomalies" when they aren't searching for them. Thus, if these "spikes" occur regularly every few days, it is not surprising that one would occur shortly before a "major world events."

On one hand, the scientists probably would not want to put their careers on the line if they didn't believe they were on to something, but it seems so absurd. On the other hand, if they really follow that procedure, the flaw is obvious. All in all, I thought it was entertaining; I've always enjoyed hearing about the paranormal. Besides that, I needed to post.

Posted by Gallagher at 01:32 AM