Haven't had enough time lately to post as thoughtfully as I'd like. Too busy in meatspace. Sorry, amigos. Someday I'll be back in full force.
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It's all good man, this semester will be a much more pleasant experience, it looks like. Oh yeah, and my poor girlfriend has just been left out to dry, I really wish I had more time to give. Grad school is such a fucking selfish thing. The list of people I should thank in my acknowledgements sections is ever growing.
I think ResearchGate has the potential to change the publishing process. There's some (very small) chance that a communal peer-review system could be instituted with limited success for up to as long as several months before the system destroys itself or is quietly bought out by whoever. Plus, right now, everyone's scientific contributions are condensed into one easy-to-remember number! Anyway, many of my coauthors are posting full-length uploads, figures and all, of articles that were just published in pay-to-access journals. If I'm remembering correctly, there's some kind of loophole that allows you to retain rights to the content before it's formatted into the way that it appears in the journal...?
I'm interested to know if you're leaning in the direction of a particular discipline yet.
phew OK, finally free for more than a five minute interval at a console.
Comparing our respective situations is worse than apples to oranges, but I guess I'll just tell you what's up with me anyway. Last fall, I took six hours of research credit, where the assumption is that the student works three hours a week for each credit hour (I laughed when I found that out), and three hours of credit for "one" class, classical mechanics.
So first, the research. Some weeks, I only put in fifteen hours, and others it was sixty-five, probably averaged out to just north of thirty. Went to two conferences during the semester. Not by any means normal for the second fall of grad school, but as you know, my project is one of the most competitive in the game, and I'm lucky to have my advisors working so intently with me to get my name out there. I'm writing code (data parsing w/ some calculus), writing papers, reading the publishing record, giving presentations, attending telecons, running some models, etc., so, y'know, exactly what I'll be doing when I get my pedigree. I love it, I think I was born to work on this stuff.
Now, the course. Oh god, what a train wreck. Put on your seatbelts, or skip this paragraph entire, folks, lotsa bitchin' and wallowin'. To start, we covered the first four hundred pages of Fetter and Walecka (skipping chapter 8 only), and used other texts as well several times throughout the semester. My final homework (the last of twelve) covered shocks, hydromagnetics, and all regimes of nonlinear surface (soliton) waves, including tidal bores. It took me so long that I won't be estimating the number of hours, out of sheer self-disgust and embarrassment. We spend the entire time in class deriving the backbone of the theory from first principles, only occasionally pausing to consider a specific example. When I was studying for the final, I realized that the last time I had seen a problem worked out was when I was looking at the study exam for the midterm. This next one's on me; I couldn't even seem to find the time to look at the solutions to the previous homework sets. It wasn't super crucial, because I always managed to complete my homework to 90% or better, even if it damn near killed me. Still, would've been nice to have the time to see how someone else solved the problems, but I just can't afford to look backwards during the semesters. I worked almost entirely alone on the homework and studying, as all the kids in my year took this course last fall. I've also gone into the department's library and dug up old exams from the 1990's in this same course, and it was taught by the same professor! Interestingly, he's really started cranking up the difficulty level since then, in both the depth and breadth of the course. Maybe he thinks that the kids coming through grad school are just getting smarter as the years go by, which is debatable, at best. The students' response to him upping his demands are to work together on the homework, and I believe that they are cheating on the take-home exams. There are several students in the class who suspect a large group of the others to be cheating, and the competition in the grade distribution is very cutthroat, or else I wouldn't bother putting in an extra twenty hours to attempt perfecting the homeworks. After hearing the midterm's class average, I considered demanding that the final be an in-class exam, but had no leverage to do so, since I would be at a conference. Woof. A couple of weeks I only needed twenty hours to do the homework, but most weeks it was closer to forty. Except for the last two weeks that cost me at least eighty hours each to crunch through to get the last assignment perfect (meh, I got a 95%, found out today). C'mon, all of fluid dynamics, shocks, and nonlinear solitons in six or seven lectures of seventy minutes each. No one in the class had even seen fluid dynamics yet.
My undergrad experience was, of course, a bit more in line with yours. Still, I was left to flounder more often than not. Less instruction and more homework, in general, and I think the courses covered a broader range of subjects. Maybe that accounts for some of the discrepancy in credit hours, but nowhere near all of it (see next paragraph). Besides, grades, credit hours, and degrees are just the bookies' way of measuring academic ability. I have a lot of problems with that last sentence, but I try to jump through the hoops. Sometimes.
Oh yeah, and Devac, you're not "normal", even by the standards inside an academic bubble. Embrace it :). Edit: Are you on ResearchGate yet?
Are "practicals" the typical amount of homework time for each class? Do your physics problems for one class actually take you 3 hours or less each week? Are non-Devac people taking longer?
- ...thinks Meryl Streep is over-rated...
First thoughts: "ha, I could shitpost 'THIS JUST IN, DONALD TRUMP SHUNS MERYL STREEP', because obviously, that's something tng made up, right?"
google news search for "trump streep" turns up a fucktillion results
He got me again! Another two minutes Trumped out of existence. Shame. We do it to ourselves, really.
I just wanted to commend you for tastefully posting the stickers in places that they belong. Thank ya.
The best I could do right now would be thumb-tacking an unstuck sticker to a bulletin board. An administrator would detect a disturbance in the force, and promptly trash the thing.
Once, I tried telling a family member about this place, and it's definitely better to just post the stickers randomly in public spots. The people who wind up sticking around are just about always pretty chill.
You couldn't pick a worse demographic to scrutinize, GeekSquad has that market cornered.
- ...until we will get to test it in practice.
Actually, I believe it may be a futile thing to approach experimentally. We might try making successively large and larger treks into the gravity well, but at some point, I think the blueshifting of CMB alone might kill people. I'd have to do the calculation, but again, my instinct is that this would favor larger black holes being more survivable, as you'd get less CMB flux at the event horizon (for something of finite size, like the human body). Ya know? Plenty of other problems too, like time-dilation so extreme that the universe ends while you're down there poking around.
- They don't know it yet, but I'm going to pester some theorists next week about that. :D
I'm interested in hearing how this pans out.
- Joke about Contact or something else? I've never watched it. I can't put my finger on what it is, but there's something about Jodie Foster that made me unable to watch movies with her.
Haaaa! I forgot McConaughey was in Contact, as a priest. No, I was talking about "Interstellar", which I somehow managed to enjoy a little.
First off, you are an absolute beast, and I mean that in a flattering way. I still owe you maybe ten responses in technical discussions, which I just can't seem to dole out right now (see next paragraph). Don't worry, I won't forget. :)
Over my winter "break", I found that the best cycle for me was going to bed at about 9 a.m. and waking up at about 3 p.m., and working 14-16 hours in the interim. I was able to do this for about two weeks without interruption, and I only took the equivalent of about 2 days off over the two weeks. That's at least 75 hours of true work each week. No commute, minimal breaks (mostly stuffing my face), and only occasional distractions. Edit: also should have mentioned that my girlfriend hates me now.
The motivation has come easy, due to the circumstances of my research. I'm spending most of my time not even doing physics, per se, but coding up processing routines and computations for visualizing data, which does occasionally involve some calculus. I've been the first person to lay eyes on an event that will have thousands of papers written about it (edit: hold me to this, I'll update you someday). Every day, I grab the latest downlinked data, and goddamnit if my heart isn't racing when the routines are near completing and I see the plot window building.
Soon, I'll be doing more actual physics that isn't my homework. I'm bursting at the seams with ideas for the future. If I was in a position of authority with enough money, I'd hire coders to do a bunch of this monkey work for me and have more time to read the publishing record, contribute, and put pencil to paper, doing actual physics. I'm not the best at the pencil/paper stuff, but I have some friends who are (Devac included).
And that's why my Hubski activity has been waning ever since you moved in. It's not you, it's me, bro.