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lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 23, 2017

    I don't mind doing it but I'm worried this is my dad's way of roping me into helping out at the store. I suppose from his point of view I look like I've given up on life.

I've seen something kinda similar happen to students in my research group. When new students come in, they typically get handed a small project that they can contribute to that gets them some experience doing research, their name on a publication, and a bit better idea of what the field is about.

If they don't make much progress on coming up with their own project, their advisor pushes them to take the next step on that initial project, and the next, and so on. Even if it's not what the student really wants to be doing, that kind of project makes sure that they don't end up spending a decade getting a PhD.

I guess my point is that if your dad is leading you into helping out at the store, you should feel happy that your dad cares about you, but if that's not ultimately what you want to do, you should be taking steps to figure out what it is you do want to do.

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 23, 2017

Yep, it is exahusting especially if, like me, you're an introvert and any kind of interaction with people takes energy. On top of that, it's unlikely that you'll really see the fruits of your work -- the foundation you build with them now won't really begin to show until they build on it in higher-level classes (and maybe even projects/work after they graduate).

Since I stuck around at the same university for undergrad and grad school, I've had the pleasure of running into senior students that I tutored or taught when they were freshmen and having them tell me just how much they benefited from my efforts. That's one of the best feelings in the world.

So, keep at it! Things may seem futile now, but in the (very) long run they will be better people because of you.

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 23, 2017

I think the formatting engine got both of us on mathematical notation =]

mk, we really need a TeX math mode so I can stun you all with my abuse of fonts, font faces, superscripts, subscripts, and various brackets and unpronuncable symbols!

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 23, 2017

Unfortunately, most students haven't been taught mathematics well at any point in their lives. The week before the fall semester starts I teach an algebra review class to incoming freshmen, and I'm amazed at how poor some of their math skills are (for example, confused why 1/x + 1/y is not 1/(x + y), or reducing (5 + x) / (5 + y) to x / y).

It's a travesty that students can get this far in life without really understanding what's going on, but I don't think it's all their fault either.

Fortunately, they have you! Better late than never, as they say. So here's my advice on teaching mathematical rigor to people:

1. Be as excited as you can be. Rigorous argument is not necessarily the most enthralling of things, but people pick up on whether you care about something and that can make a big difference in their opinion of the topic.

2. Be patient. You've, perhaps subconsciously, spent years developing the understanding you have of the subject; they have not. That can change, but it won't happen right away.

3. Ask them questions. Building connections between ideas might come naturally to you, but it does not to everyone. Try to nudge them to see relationships between things, even if you/they don't fully explore that relationship and why it exists right away. Walk them through your process of seeing why a solution is right or wrong.

4. Think about what guides your intuition for problems and explain what you can of that process.

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 23, 2017

This Tuesday pubski thing is still throwing me off!

I listened to Zooropa again yesterday -- it had been a while and my music tastes have changed quite a bit between then and now -- and was surprised by how much I liked it.

By way of comparison, here's Bertha as of this week:

(check out that ridiculous gnome beard)

I wish! The closest I have is this picture of Bertha:

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What is a sandwich?

    the classic "what is bread" maneuver

Truly, a debate tactic for the ages.

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: "Make Journalism Great Again"

    “I told you last night it could get worse. Awful. Particularly if 4chan is accurate as to the identity of the driver,” he wrote. They were not.

"They were not."

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 9, 2017

Birds

Chicken coop and run is just about done. We moved the birds out there on Saturday and they seem to be enjoying it quite a bit. It's twice the size of the box they were living in in our dining room.

Look at this handsome roo:

Broke out the OA torch and "forged" some brackets for the ramp from the coop to the run out of a bit of rebar. In the process of making these I broke a drill bit, but I was able to re-grind it myself and it still cuts great.

School

My advisor told me to take this week off and I am following her advice and trying not to work on much related to research or teaching or whatnot. Instead I'm trying to wrap up a handful of projects that have sat too long at the almost-done stage.

Ambitious Project

Not being content to merely finish stuff that I've already started, I have begun a new undertaking. Some friends of mine run a colo "business"/hobby and want to offer cheap Raspberry Pi colocation. You can buy "Compute Module" Pis that are pretty much the CPU + RAM + a few capacitors on a PCB that will fit in a DDR2 laptop RAM slot.

I have started drawing up schematics for a backplane that has everything else those compute modules need: USB, Ethernet, power, storage, etc. It'll be quite interesting -- doing Gigabit Ethernet trace layout requires a bit of EE black magic -- but hopefully the end result will be really cool. Right now we're guesstimating that we can fit somewhere around 150-200 Pis in 1U if we can manage to get power and heat to cooperate.

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