Archive for the ‘Personal chatter’ Category

Christmas lights

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

If you were in North Myrtle Beach, here’s what your Christmas lights might look like.

North Myrtle Beach, 12/22/2008 - View #1 - 1024x768 JPG

North Myrtle Beach, 12/22/2008 - View #1 - 1024x768 JPG

North Myrtle Beach, 12/22/2008 - View #2 - 1024x768 JPGh

North Myrtle Beach, 12/22/2008 - View #2 - 1024x768 JPGh

Night life

Monday, December 1st, 2008

It’s nighttime in Atlanta.

Atlanta after dark - 1024x768 JPEG image

Atlanta after dark - 1024x768 JPEG image

Popping a cap

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Here’s a story of a teenager from Aiken county who has some confusion about how to properly pop a cap in someone’s ass:

A Silver Bluff 10th-grader was arrested Tuesday afternoon for bringing a cap gun to school, officials said.


The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the Jackson Police Department, arrested the Jackson teen after a student reportedly tipped off adults that the teen had displayed the firearm in his waistband during physical education class.

Cops and court dates for a dumb kid who brings to school … a cap gun?  It seems like potential jail time is a bit harsh for this sort of offense.  But there aren’t too many details to go on in the story.  (I can’t tell, for instance, if this kid tried to threaten anyone.)

I wonder what would happen if some kid showed up with a pointed stick

Having it both ways

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

There’s some argument on the merits of partial credit – giving students some points for getting at least part of a complex answer correct.  Sometimes, partial credit is beneficial – but the existence of partial credit causes another problem:

Some students simply won’t commit to an answer, hoping to somehow pass on a wave of partial credit.  As an example, consider the question below.  It’s part of a lab write-up where the students measured the pH of a solution of sodium hydroxide using pH paper and other indicators.

Question: Was the solution acidic or basic? _________________
Student answerAcidic, with the presence of base

Of course, the correct answer is “basic” – which was very obvious if the student had even glanced at the directions for using the indicators.  But instead of doing that, this student just thought he’d wing it, get done with the lab write-up a whole minute faster, and try to get points for his answer anyway.

I imagine that students keep trying this strategy because it has worked somewhere before.  But not today.

Be Prepared

Monday, September 8th, 2008

This blog has been very quiet lately.  Sorry about that, but when you’re preparing for five labs a week in addition to lecture courses, things get a little … hectic.

That said, we’re four weeks into the semester down here, and we’ve started our labs.  I normally push the start of labs back a week, so as to avoid having people add my class after we’ve already done a lab and discussed lab safety.

A bit of the lab schedule

A bit of the lab schedule

The Labor Day holiday pushed the start of the “real” experiments back even farther – ample time for everyone to pick up one of these.

The laboratory notebook, also known as a 50-cent compostion book.

The laboratory notebook, also known as a 50-cent composition book.

… so why is it that half of the class comes to lab without even having attempted to buy a laboratory notebook?  It’s not like I’ve forced students to buy something exotic like the $25 lab books I had to buy when I was an engineering undergrad.  Just about every store in the area that sells school supplies stocks these composition books!

Or were these folks simply not paying attention?

You know, if we could figure out how to solve America’s attention-deficit-disorder problem, that would go a long way to solving our other problems.  Just sayin’. 🙂

Miss Regina

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Here’s a visitor to the waters off North Myrtle Beach:

Miss Regina, 1024x768 JPEG

Miss Regina, 1024x768 JPEG

The seagulls, of course, love this visitor.

Beach trip!

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

We’re at the beach again.  Even with the near-record heat, there are still an awful lot of people down here.

North Myrtle Beach, 08/06/08

North Myrtle Beach, 08/06/08

The crowds are nothing compared to the crowds on the Fourth of July, but the traffic is still horrible.  Perhaps we can ask the Germans for ideas on how to improve transit around Myrtle Beach?

WordPress 2.6

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Hey!  WordPress 2.6 is out.  This release is supposed to be easy to install, but I hear that you could cause a star to explode or something if you do it wrong.  Like that’s going to happen…

Supernova 1987a, from Astrononmy Picture of the Day

Supernova 1987a, from Astronomy Picture of the Day

Oh no … what did I do?

This one’s seen better days

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

As we were driving towards Lumberton on I-95 yesterday, we got caught in a bunch of stopped traffic.  Surprisingly, this is not what stopped the traffic**.

[I-95 Crash outside of Lumberton - 6/17/08]

I hope everyone involved was okay.  It doesn’t look like the vehicle fared very well.

**Road construction several miles ahead was clogging up I-95. I’m still not sure what caused this accident in the first place!


Monday, June 9th, 2008

Here’s what I saw through the window yesterday afternoon.

This thermometer was close to the house and exposed to a good bit of sunlight.  The “official” high yesterday was 99F – still quite hot for the beginning of June.

I do wonder, though, who decided how to describe the temperatures on this particular thermometer?  “NORMAL” is 58F to 88F.  There’s no “HOT”, but anything higher than 88F is “VERY HOT”.

Me, I think I’d label anything over 100F or so as “JUST STAY INSIDE”.