Category Archives: School

My Professor in the NY Times

I took a class, at Johns Hopkins University, last semester called Stars and the Universe. I’ve enthusiastically recommended very few classes to my friends, and this was one of them. He’s a great professor who makes the material understandable and entertaining — and even inspiring, at times. I was constantly impressed by his ability to use analogies to help you understand. If you take the class, you’ll learn a lot about astronomy, and you can learn it even if you aren’t a science person (so says the philosophy major). Some of the things you learn about are mindboggling, such as the existence of dark matter.

The professor, Adam Riess, was actually involved in the discovery of dark energy. His thesis involved getting more accurate measurements for the distance to Type Ia supernovae by correcting for dust. He was a member of one of those groups mentioned in this NY Times article about dark matter, which won the Shaw Prize.

Anyway, here’s the part where they quote my professor:

Nor is there any solid evidence yet that dark energy is or is not varying with time — if it is not constant, it cannot be Einstein’s constant. Adam Riess of the Johns Hopkins space telescope institute, a key member of Dr. Schmidt’s team, said, “The biggest thing we could learn is by ruling that out.”

He added, “We have a suspect, but we’re not ready to convict anyone yet.”

Not a huge quote, but cool, nonetheless.

It finally may have caught up with me

I have pretty bad time management skills. So, I had an essay due at 9PM today that I started today. Only, it was really really hard to start. I had so much trouble focusing. I got it in just in time, but I wasn’t very confident about the essay. Not a good sign.

Every time I get an essay back and get a good grade, I say, “Whew. Dodged another bullet.” I may not have dodged this bullet. Maybe it was overconfidence in my ability to finish essays. I’ve got two more due next week. I’m going to tell myself to get them done earlier. I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

I guess the biggest problem at this point is making myself care.

Screw Hopkins

I shouldn’t have to wake up each morning dreading going to class, hating every single second of class and every second of work I must do for those classes. I shouldn’t go through the course catalogue for next semester extremely unexcited about every class in it. This semester solidifies it: Coming here was a bad decision.

Also, screw the Republican Party this time around. Make sure you vote Democrat tomorrow for House and Senate.

Is College Hurting My Education?

There are so many things I want to learn. Perhaps it’s just my inefficient time management, but I haven’t really been able to do much outside reading, aside from keeping up on the news. I need to read more presidential biographies, texts related to democratization, etc. Of course, I had time to do this over summer and all I got done was essentially one, albeit large, text on the Marshall Plan. (The other book I never finished because I didn’t find it very useful.) It’s rather disappointing.

There’s no doubt I’m learning things in college, but I’m doubting the model of learning. I mean, I like lectures. They teach me so much I couldn’t find in the text alone. Still, I don’t feel like I can properly immerse myself in topics I really enjoy.

Right now, despite my provocative blog entry title, I’m thinking it’s more me than the college experience. I just need to learn to prioritize (among other things). The biggest problem is that when I have a big project looming over my head, I can’t get anything else done. I feel as if devoting time to these side projects is bad. But then, I just end up wasting the time anyway. What’s the difference? Perhaps, I should stop procrastinating.

At least I managed to drop a class. It should be easier to find some type of balance now.

Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School

This article pissed me off: Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School.

Right after a quote about supposed discrimination against Christians, we get this ending paragraph, “In June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a California atheist who wanted the words “under God” struck from the Pledge of Allegiance as recited by school children. The appeals court in California had found that the phrase amounted to a violation of church and state separation.”

… what the hell?

Tell me, what the hell does that have to do with anything at all in the article? Nothing, actually. It’s just a sneaky way to make people think that taking the words “under God” back out of the Pledge of Allegiance equals persecution against Christians. Sorry, wrong.

There’s just a few minor differences. First off, the Pledge of Allegiance did not originally have “under God” in it. That’s why I said “back out” in that previous sentence. We got through two world wars without saying “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. Yeah, that’s right, the “greatest generation” did not start out saying “God” in their Pledge of Allegiance. How’s that for tradition?

Second difference: the word pledge. It’s a pledge of allegiance! Can you get that through your minds?! Not a document of historical importance. (Again, I must note that “under God” wasn’t in there in the first place.) It’s a PLEDGE! Doesn’t that mean something to you? Doesn’t it mean that it means the government is endorsing God if it’s in the pledge of allegiance? If you agree, then I must inform you, there’s a little thing standing in the way of keeping “under God” in the pledge… and that thing is called the Constitution.

… which brings me back to the Declaration of Independence. I don’t know the context, but I think it’s stupid to ban the Declaration of Independence. It’s stupid to ban all historical documents that have mention of God. There, I said it. It is stupid. Because that’s misrepresenting history. But let’s analyze this situation a little deeper: It is not discrimination against Christians to ban these documents. Why? Because some of the Founding Fathers were deists. It’s not specific against Christianity. So there. Nyah.

Anyway, the real point non-technicality point I want to make is: So what if the Declaration of Independence says “God” in it? People wave that around as if it’s proof of God. Yeah well, there’s a little thing standing in your way again, and that’s the Constitution. Guess what’s the basis of our laws? Guess… I’ll make it easier. Multiple choice: Is it A) Declaration of Independence, or B) Constitution. If you answered A, you are wrong.

The Constitution is the basis of our laws here in the United States. So, you can wave around your historical opinions, but I’d rather stick with the document that makes us a more perfect union.

It’s not okay if the teacher has a specifically Christian agenda and is shoving said agenda down his students’ throats. It’s okay to have these documents if he’s teaching real history, not his evangelical version of it. Wait, you may ask, why can’t the teacher teach it if he wants to? Isn’t it a freedom of speech issue? No, it’s not. The teacher is getting paid by the government, and is working at a state institution. The teacher is essentially acting as a state official in his position, and the state cannot promote a specifically Christian agenda.

If you teach that some of the Founders were deeply religious, you must also teach that they so valued religion that they deemed it necessary to separate it from government. The personal views of some Founding Fathers do not make this a Christian Nation. And so, before I end this entry, I must invoke the Constitution one more time. Remember, the Constitution does not say any god made this nation, but starts out with “We the people”.

You Just Got Served… by the Math Club

I don’t know what the hell exactly I’m doing in the math club, but I joined, and today for the join a club thingy, Chris brought his turntables. Yes, turntables for math club. We totally drowned out any other sound. I don’t know what it had to do with math, but it attracted people to sign up, and that’s all that matters right?


Do you go to my high school, ******? If so, you should come to the football game this Friday. Why? See me Drum Major, conduct the national anthem. See Jazz Ensemble perform “The Jazz Police” at half-time. The pep band is going to be uber-cooler… we’re going to play “Yeah” and more pop songs as the season progresses. Leave suggestions for songs here.

Really tired of BS

I can’t get used to school. Especially the work. Because, in order to complete the work, I have to go back into BS mode. I have to re-learn how to BS to finish all the dumb assignments.

One tiny problem: I’m tired of BS. I don’t want to do it anymore. It’s destroying my soul.

So, I’ve been going on a poetry writing craze, searching for the truth. It sounds weird, but that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s to keep my soul clean, so to speak.

Way Out Basie and Worksheet

Way Out Basie can go to hell and die. In that order.

My worksheet can follow it.

School is hurting me. Physically. Seriously. I just busted up my chops playing that song for a taped test, and I still have one more song to go.

My worksheet is just stupid. I refer you to this rule.

Yeah, I’m complaining, and this probably has no direct meaning to you. So what? There have been so many times I’ve wanted to complain lately, but I didn’t write it up. You’ll just have to put up with this rare occurance.

More Parachuting Tomorrow

Because of the first day of school, I feel really really jaded right now. And dead. So, I’ll continue my narrative tomorrow. However, I will not leave you completely empty-handed!

Euh… you can read this from last year, Elegy for Summer. It’s a long poem.

Check out Lloyd’s first item from Wednesday’s entry. The other day, I was looking for Tom the Dancing Bug, visited Salon, and came across the Olympic coverage. Lo and behold, when I later visit Lloyd’s weblog, I found out that I had already read one of the linked articles. I suggest you read them.

By the way, when I was over, Salon was playing their TV spot for their day pass. It was a good commercial. See if you can find it.

One more thing!

Moreau has introduced a policy, I affectionately call the Digital Moreau Copyright Act — an allusion to the DMCA that’s causing so much real trouble right now. This policy is that if Moreau is mentioned on any weblog or IM chat, etcetera, it becomes Moreau’s business. I guess they don’t want potentially damning gossip to come up, but the way it was presented was an awful like bullying. The web is free. Free to communicate information.

Anyway, to make a statement, from now on, any future reference to Moreau will be censored. Say hello to ******. I suggest you pass along this meme, fellow ****** students, to show your protest as well.

EDIT: What I meant about gossip was that they don’t want it to hurt other students at ******. There’s another incident I should reference, regarding rumor, but not regarding weblogs… but I’ll talk about it the day after tomorrow because I want to finish my parachute story.

School Election Irony

This happened during the time my weblog was down, and I just now remembered to write about it:

This time around, for the senior class elections (I’m going to call it that since I’m going to be a senior next year), a lot of people ran. In my The Inherent Communist Nature of Schools piece, I characterized my student elections as “Stupid Human Tricks.”

I guess some people have caught on to this vibe, and recognized that this does nothing to prove your worth. Practically no one dressed up. However, instead of showing that they were qualified, all they did was proclaim, “I don’t need to entertain you… I don’t need any cheap gimmicks.”

Then, comes my friend, Mr. Ryan Foley running for senate. He is the only one dressed up, sporting a grass skirt, straw hat, and coconut bra. He gives an entertaining speech, and thus distinguishes himself from the other candidates. I remind you that there were quite a few candidates, few very unique.

Ryan’s new nickname is “Mr. Senator,” because he won the election.

Now, isn’t that ironic?

Maybe you don’t need a cheap gimmick, but you definitely don’t need the anti-cheap gimmick: blandness.

Quick Quip About My Math Class

My math class is so below me. It’s not that I know the material; it’s that I can learn the material without paying any attention in class. My teacher is boring. Graphing is too tedious. Homework is supposedly practice, but I don’t need that practice. I have a nearly perfect score on tests. The class is practically a waste for me. On the plus side, I did get a new picture done on my calculator, which I’ll soon be adding to my website.

Oh and note to self: reply to some comments on this blog that I haven’t replied to yet.

Math Homework — What’s the point?

I’m supposed to be taught the topic during class. The homework is supposed to be practice. I don’t need this “practice.” I can get A’s on tests just fine without doing the homework. I can learn the material perfectly well without homework. So, tell me, what’s the point of doing it? Just because it’s graded? That shouldn’t be my motivation. Because math homework is useless to me, I don’t feel that I should have to do it, and I don’t feel that I’m unreasonable.

Last Week of ATDP

It’s the last week of ATDP! Whoo! Not that I hate ATDP, I just feel like ATDP has gone on a little too long. I’ll try to scramble the week after and get things done that I haven’t done yet, mostly stuff.

Will write tomorrow…

New School Schedule, whoo

For anyone going to Moreau, here’s my schedule:
1 – Precalc – Rubio
2 – Hon English – Weltchek
3 – French 3 – Schroeder
4 – AP US History – Wilder
5 – Lunch
6 – Wind Ensemble – Newton
7 – Catholic Social Teaching – Armstrong
7 – Maj. Religions – Steeb
8 – Lunch
9 – Chemistry – Fryman
0 – Jazz Ensemble – Newton

For anyone not in Moreau, that schedule probably has no bearing for you and looks kind of funny.

I have a bad feeling about Junior year. I’ve already got tons of HW, and school hasn’t even started. And just like how school hasn’t started, I haven’t started the dumb HW.

Freshman year, I had Ms. Rubio for a sub. Most boring teacher I’ve ever had for a sub. I can’t imagine next year. Oh well, extra sleeping time. By the way, this is the third year in a row I’ve gotten math first period.

I’ve got to read 4 books for English. I already hate my teacher, and I don’t even know her.

Other factoids: 5 on AP Bio exam, 780 on SAT II Bio. All my slacking off really paid off.

Follow the black line

I got my Lego robot to follow a black line. Wow, I feel so special. I have to say, though, this isn’t half bad for homework. I’m slacking again with updates. Perhaps I should try updating when it’s not late at night. June is almost over. I’m starting to feel somewhat panicked that summer is going to be over before I know it. Hopefully, I can combat this panic with summer euphoria and become carefree once more.

TA Experience

The biggest difference between being a TA and being a student is the lack of sleep as a TA. Yes, during class, when bored, I sleep. Sleeping is always the best option. But, up at the front of the classroom as a TA, I can’t very well sleep. What kind of example does that set? Furthermore, I’ll repeat the I’m at the front of the classroom. Unlike some people, I don’t have a computer to mess around with.

Being a TA isn’t so bad. I can’t particularly say that I enjoy it, but at least I think I’m going to get community service hours for it. I do like having a bit of authority. It helps that I’m older than everyone else in the classroom (except the teacher, of course). It’s a weird feeling being older than all the kids in the classroom, instead of being among peers. I’ll get used to it quickly.

After only one day on the job, I haven’t done anything real exciting. I’ll see what happens as summer progresses.

ATDP Has Begun

TAing is a different experience than being in the class. Will write day after tomorrow.

Day after tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow’s topic is a movie I finally saw last Sunday: The Matrix Reloaded.

Today’s topic: telling you about tomorrow. One of my summer goals is to get a streak of 30 days of blog updating. Of course, this is feeble next to some people. I’m doing this now so I can further ingrain the habit into my mind, and to help me get to bed before midnight. G’nite.


We now interrupt and preempt your regularly scheduled blog entry from the Agnoiologist to bring you a special announcement: SUMMER IS HERE!

I’m free! I’m free! I’m free! Hooray! I’m going to have so much free time to do crap. It’s going to be great. I’m happy, happy, happy.

Okay, can’t really talk coherently now because I’m so bubbly with joy. That’s what new-found freedom does to ya. Not a worry or a care anymore, because it’s over. That’s the part that sets me free the most.

So, I updated my comic, Majestic, the Crime-Fighting Falcon today. I thought that piece was masterfully done.

I’m still going over names for my card game. I had a some candidates that were sortof synonyms for Speed, like Swift, Rapidity, Expedience, Brisk, and a couple of eccentric names, like 3-card pile-up and boobfart. I think I’m going with Swift, so far.

I guess the real 2nd part of the immortality blog goes up tomorrow. Then, day after, I’ll explain my card game a little more. I forgot to mention what happens when you get stuck. Sunday, I may get to see the Matrix Reloaded. I have not seen it yet. Can you believe it?

Whatever… Wahoo for no school. Man, it’s going to be weird waking up tomorrow and not having any responsibilities whatsoever. Anything I want to do. Yes. Finally free.

SAT II Bio: Blah

I didn’t get to go to the ATDP orientation today because I had to take the SAT II: Biology test. I actually got a test that was fairly easy for a change. The AP Biology exam took 3 hours, and had an essay portion. This one was only 1 hour long. There are two sections you can choose E for ecology and M for molecular. I can’t really see too much of a difference between the two. I chose E because easy starts with an E. I knew most of the test, and even with the stuff I didn’t know, I was able to reduce my choices enough that I had a good chance of getting the answer.

I hardly studied at all. Friday is my unofficial “Sabbath,” my day of rest. I don’t do any work on Fridays. EVAR! (spelled intentionally with an A) I’m already burned out with bio from the whole crappy AP Bio course, and the earlier AP Bio test. From practice tests I took way before, I know I’m going to get at least a 700. Just a question of how much over.

Eating somehow gives people an “unfair advantage” when testing. Can anyone tells me how this works? Are you going to encode the answers in your alphabet soup or something? Maybe people will smell it, get hungry, and can’t test properly. Whatever. I mention this because my friend was eating oatmeal before the test. I think it was cinammon apple… vital information, my readers.

Since I couldn’t go to orientation, I now have know idea if I need to do any HW, etc., for the class I’m taking. I also don’t know what I need for the class I’m going to TA. I’ll probably call the instructor tomorrow. Oh, fun thing happened with my classes. Introduction to Robotics changed its schedule. Before, the class I was TAing was on the same day. Now, I get to go to class 4x a week. Oh well. I’ll get a lot of stuff done on BART. Last time I planned TPV out a long way through. I even wrote down storylines that’ll probably last me a couple of years, if not longer.

Palpable Summer

Oh, I can feel it in the air. It’s the general feeling of summer. It’s hard to explain; I just feel it. As the school year nears its end, I can feel a difference. It’s been especially heightened since the seniors left today. The feeling didn’t start until last week. Every other day was simple drudgery.

Now, however, now I have a sense of what seems to be happiness. No, better than happiness: freedom. I keep thinking, “Don’t get your hopes up; there’s still some time left to serve,” but I can’t help it. Hope. Freedom. Happiness.

People always says the year goes by too fast. I don’t. It goes by slowly for me. I’m still half-expecting more drudgery, but summer is actually here. It felt like it would never end, but it’s finally here.

Actually, I think my perception of time has been shifted since Sept. 11, 2001. Before then, I’ve mostly felt time was going just fine. That year, I had trouble remembering the order of what had happened over the year, because Sept. 11 seemed so not long ago, yet it had happened in the beginning of the school year. Ever since then, I’ve never quite felt the same about time and its relative speed of passing for me. I dunno, maybe I’m just weird.

In any case, I can’t wait for summer to get here.

Anecdotal Evidence for School’s Inferiority

As the year winds down this quarter (date-wise — work-wise it’s speeding up), my grades have actually been going up. Many people struggle to stay on task to keep grades up. I, on the other hand, don’t struggle with this. No, I’m not immune to the effects of laziness and procrastination. I don’t struggle because I am lazy. I’ve been doing less work and putting in less effort. I’ve gotten progressively less organized. Beginning of the year, I had separate subject binders with dividers. Now, I don’t use any dividers. The papers are lucky if they even get into the rings. In some classes, my book is my binder. I just stuff all the papers in the front. I’m becoming less of a so-called good student, but, on the whole, my grades are getting better!

For AP Bio, we have these crap study guides. I used to fret over these, especially when answers were nowhere to be found in our book. Now, I put less time into them and just put my best guess if I can’t figure it out and that’s the end of that. I was getting B’s on them for a while, and now I’m getting A’s. In English, I had the rough draft for a research paper due. I went into timed-write mode and got the thing done within a couple of hours. We were supposed to have four body paragraphs, but I couldn’t think what to put in a fourth body paragraph, so I cut it out. My teacher once-overed all our first drafts, and he didn’t find any big problems in mine. Hah! He said it looked good, and didn’t want me to tell him if I hardly spent any time on it. I laughed a little, but didn’t tell him.

Also in AP Biology, I used to study for tests the night before and pre-read the chapter before we went over it in class. My second-to-last test, I didn’t even read the chapter and I received an A. My latest test, I studied during lunch and I still got a B. Let’s see… should I a) study a bit and get a B… or b) study during the last minutes of lunch and still get a B… I’m going with choice b). Or, I suppose I could study a lot and get an A. Sure, like I’d put that much effort into it.

I’ve got theology HW due tomorrow but I’m not going to do it. I have a little thing called a late pass. The year is close to ending, so I figure, Why not use it now? The only thing I’m putting effort into is a certain theology project. But that’s a video project, and I’m having fun doing it. I’m using Legos and doing some stop-motion animation. I’ve got Jar Jar Binks in it, and a man-eating flying shark.

So, the moral of today’s blog is: Do less work. Get more lazy. Reap the benefits.

School Makes People Sick

School is making people sick — literally.

Kids are encouraged not to miss school. I’ve even heard teachers and administrators tell students to go to school even if just a little sick, especially during testing periods. According to my school handbook, a student can miss no more than 7 days per semester for any one class, otherwise the student will receive no credit for that class. Granted, being on an alternating day schedule makes that a little more bearable, but still… This applies to excused absences. Band activities during the school day count for this. Thus, kids that are sick are coming to school. And they are transmitting the disease to other students. Everyone gets sick! Hooray!

Okay, that’s a pretty weak argument, but I’ve got a (somewhat) better one… Schools are not that happy of a place. They give a lot of work and that creates a lot of stress. I’ve noticed that a bunch of tests, projects, etcetera are always assigned at the same time by every class, with a lull in between these busy times. Since the biggest assignments are assigned at the same time, students are very busy. This unnecessary busyness (unnecessary because it seems teachers intentionally assign all projects at the same time) creates a lot of stress. Stress weakens the immune system, making them more prone to getting sick from all those kids who should have stayed home, but couldn’t. (Maybe that argument wasn’t better.)

Okay, I think I am just too sick of school figuratively, so I have to make up a whole bunch of junk describing how schools makes kids sick literally.

Graphing by Hand

Graphing by hand is for losers. It is dumb. I hate graphing. I must speak to my math teacher about this. Why did I buy a graphing calculator if I do this by hand?

So, AP Bio test was completed owned by me, even though the announcements came on during our test. Damn bastards. They’re reporting it to the AP Board (they have to). If those idiots make me retake the test… I hope it doesn’t come to that. It wasn’t a big incident, or that long, so they should ignore it.

Soon, I should be back into the swing of things with more substantial updates.

Sleep, Memory, and Tests

Sleep helps long-term memory formation. I think I read that in Discover magazine at one point. Relevance? I must get enough sleep for that test.

Next time you’re sleeping in class just say that you’re helping build your long-term memory capacity.

AP Bio: Too Much Memorization

I hate AP Biology. I feel as if there’s just enough stuff to memorize that I can’t quite memorize it all. I’ll restate that too much emphasis on memorization is bad for learning. Let’s see how much I actually remember at the end of summer.