Archive for the ‘Personal chatter’ Category


Friday, March 19th, 2010

Welcome to the new site!  It’s so clean … it’s so shiny.  It’s so … red.

If you’re wondering where the images in the title bar come from, that’s from a demonstration of the reaction of sodium peroxide and water.  You can watch the whole video here.

If you’re new to the site, take a look around – plenty to see here.  And I promise I’ll post more than once every three months!



Thursday, September 10th, 2009

There’s a reason I never leave my food unattended around students:

The teacher had stepped away from her desk for a few moments around 3:30 p.m. Sept. 2. After returning, she drank her tea and noticed it had a “peculiar taste,” according to a York County Sheriff’s Office report.

The taste of … hand sanitizer.

At the time of the incident, five students were in her classroom waiting on a school bus, the report stated. The students told the assistant principal and school resource officer they didn’t see anyone put anything in the teacher’s drink.

Of course they didn’t see anything.  And whichever one put the sanitizer in this teacher’s drink just wanted to make sure the drink had been disinfected.


Monday, August 24th, 2009

Looks like flu season has started…

The college has received word of the first confirmed case of the H1N1 virus in one of our students.  The student sought treatment and is now recuperating at home. The faculty members of that student have been informed today and students who were attending those classes will be notified by faculty.

One of the drawbacks of teaching is exposure to every illness that comes around – from common colds, to stomach viruses, to the hottest new flu pandemics.  Sigh.

Thought of the week

Friday, May 15th, 2009

We took Cate to Myrtle Beach for the day last Saturday.

Welcome to the ocean

Welcome to the ocean

It was the opening weekend for the new Star Trek film.  It was also the oipening weekend for the Harley-Davidson bike rally.  A thought occurred to me:

Is there any significant difference between grown men who dress up like Klingons to go to a Star Trek convention and grown men who drees up in leather to go to a Harley Davidson bike rally?

Rain on the way

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

As North Myrtle Beach continues to clean up after the fire, I thought I’d pull an NMB picture from the archives.  Here’s North Myrtle Beach about to get some rain in late summer, 2004.

North Myrtle Beach, Summer 2004 - 1024x768.  Click to enlarge.

North Myrtle Beach, Summer 2004 - 1024x768. Click to enlarge.

Disappearing hard drives

Friday, February 13th, 2009

So I’m checking e-mail last night, and something strange happened inside my laptop.  The hard drive disappeared.  No smoke, no odd noises.  Just … no hard drive.

As far as the laptop was concerned, the hard drive had simply been teleported from inside the laptop to inside of Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot.  Poof!  Gone.

So today’s lessons are:

  1. Always keep backups.
  2. Always keep a spare hard drive around for your primary laptop.

Stop: Rant time!

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

It’s the day of the first chemistry test.  Since this is a low-level introductory class, we’ve spent much of the last few weeks learning how to do math for lab work rather than actual chemistry – because when students say they have problems with chemistry, they’re really saying that they have problems with math.

We’ve had extensive demonstrations of how to properly use scientific calculators for routine laboratory calculations.



In short, the students very well know that they’re going to be using their calculators for much of this test.

So … why do students still come to the test without their calculator?  It’s not like there’s a very long checklist of things to bring to the test:

  1. The student’s brain
  2. A pencil or two
  3. A calculator

The next thing you know, some students will be leaving their brains at home on the kitchen table.

Here endeth today’s rant.

Where did THIS come from?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

So, where did this come from?

Snow!  AGAIN!

Snow! AGAIN!

It’s the second snowfall here in my part of South Carolina this year.  (It’s also the second snowfall we’ve had in the last five years.)

This time, though, the college (and most local schools and businesses) didn’t issue a delay or cancellation.  That was unfortunate, since driving conditions during this snowfall were much worse than during the last one.

Let’s just say I’m thankful my car’s got traction and stability control …

We’re not looking for a few good chemists

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Are you a chemistry major hoping for a good job in the next year or two?  Well, you might still have some time to change your major …

According to C&E News, the American chemical industry has shed some 15.000 jobs this past year.  That’s 1.7% – pretty comparable to the 1.9% drop we’ve seen in the whole country.  Unfortunately, these figures are also missing some recent big layoffs from several major chemical companies.


Circuit City circling the drain

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Like Patty just said to me, this is hard to believe.  A huge electronics chain closes down while personal electronics are so popular.  But Circuit City now appears to be gone.

Circuit City Stores Inc. says it has reached an agreement with liquidators to sell the merchandise in its 567 U.S. stores after failing to find a buyer or a refinancing deal.

I felt a great disturbance in the economy, as if thirty thousand workers cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.