|Hmmmm . . .
||[Oct. 6th, 2005|10:39 am]
Phrembah (a potato-like mystery)
You know . . . This is weird. I just hope it's not bad weird. I would have been the last one out of the Physics Termette final last night except this other guy, out of simple politeness, backed away from the door and ushered me through.
I worked on a lab once with this guy. He was one of the ones who couldn't figure a percentage. We ended up with two measured quantities. For each of them we were to calculate the percentage "error," meaning the difference between the measured and predicted values. So, I showed him how to do the first one. Then he asked, "How do you do the other one?" "Exactly the same way," I said. I looked over and he was putting down the same numbers! "No, no, no. You need to use the other numbers. Just plug them into the same formula." The instructor came over at that point and asked him how it was going and I discreetly backed away and went and finished my lab. The instructor was still with him when I left fifteen minutes or so later. This was the guy I might have finished behind if he had not let me pass first.
I've taken six tests in two classes with this instructor and always found them eminently doable. In fact, I think I got perfect scores on all of them. The problems haven't been easy -- not by a long shot. But this particular professor always puts, say, fifteen problems on the test and has you do ten, but only ten, of them. And he always has an extra credit, no harm, no foul, problem at the end that has to do with something that he didn't cover in depth in class -- something you'd only know if you actually read the book. Anyway, you can pick and choose your problems and that makes it easy not to get stuck on something that you just can't get.
I couldn't say the test last night was easy, but it wasn't any harder than his others.* So, I'm wondering again: Am I just slow? Are these other folks just better at this than I am? I don't care if they are, but why am I all of a sudden the last one out the door on exam day?
I did talk to the guy who finished the Database Design test first. On the problem where I thought you couldn't do what she asked because the required fields weren't present, he said, "Oh, well, you had to add the fields." What? You don't add customer name fields to a company vehicle tracking table. What for? I'm sure people do it, but it's piss-poor design practice.
It'll be interesting to see how the instructor interprets it.
Like I said -- hmmmm . . .
. . .
*I'm pretty sure I got the extra credit right, too. You were supposed to estimate the power output of the sun -- four point something times ten to the twenty-sixth watts, if I did it right. No wonder my steering wheel is hot when I get in the truck after class.
Oh, Google, you tool, you! Yes, some university site in the UK agrees: four point something times ten to the twenty-sixth watts.