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The powerful prevalence of parachesis January 15, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers, engineering, humor, meta, papers, science, work.
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I was going through my to-do list for the week:

1 – Paper review

2 – Paper writing

3 – Patent application

4 – Proposal preparation

5 – Program simulation

How did I never notice before that just about everything I do starts with the letter P?

Oops…I forgot to add “Post to blog!”

And now I will publish…

Three years! July 8, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in meta.
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It seems hard to believe that I’ve been blogging at WordPress for three years now.

In that time:

  • I still haven’t finished my thesis.  Thanks for asking.
  • I managed to keep my job despite layoffs.
  • EngineerBlogs came…and then went.
  • Gigadog and Teradog both showed up.
  • I somehow have managed to keep my sense of humor.

In the next year:

  • I’m hoping to finish my thesis.  Thanks for asking.
  • The older boy will be making the big college decision.
  • The Minion will soon be wandering off to his new job and leaving us for good.
  • I’ll hopefully get back into posting pictures on a regular basis.
  • Maybe I’ll get around to cleaning up the blogroll.  (If you’re not listed, let me know in the comments.)
  • Hopefully you’ll keep reading!

How blogging has helped me: writing July 31, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in meta, writing.
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Blogging has been beneficial to me in so many ways I can’t even begin to count.  At the very least, I have a place to complain about things to my heart’s content.  This has, in turn, prevented me from driving my husband nuts.  Therefore, we are still married.

Aside from that, there is the fact that I write a lot faster and more smoothly than I used to.  Sitting down to write just about anything was difficult in high school.  When in college, I spent a brief time as a journalism major, which got me used to writing.  However, sitting down and doing it was still a chore and my progress could be sporadic and sluggish.

Now, however, I do a lot of composing in my head and that makes it easier to get things down on paper…at least the electronic kind.  Admittedly, I have to go back and revise almost everything.  On the other hand, it comes out a lot better than it used to.  It also doesn’t seem like such a chore to edit.  I’m so used to deleting paragraphs of my own writing on the blog that it doesn’t phase me to do it in more professional compositions.

There are down sides to blog writing.  I have this tendency to uses ellipses unnecessarily, which I’m sure is a result of using them excessively on the blog.  I tend to write in a stream of consciousness voice…  I’m undoubtedly more conversational in some of my professional writing than necessary.  However, I think I can forgive myself since I can now at least get the words out for later editing.

What about you?  Have you found that blogging has made a big difference in your writing?

My little professor February 28, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, homeschooling, meta, teaching, younger son.
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The younger son is really blowing me away in math.  He started 5th grade math yesterday, and we expect him to be through it by the end of the year.  If you’re wondering why this is surprising, keep in mind that he’s only 7.  (My husband and I both shake our heads and keep wondering what we would’ve accomplished had we been able to accelerate in school.)

I will admit that the program recommends students do at least 20 minutes of math per day, and he does 40. I found that he needed some time to ‘warm up’.  It seems like when he starts, he’s not crazy about the idea of doing homework.  He would much rather go play with his Legos (and I can’t say I blame him).  So he spends the first few minutes sighing and agonizing about having to do homework.  Then, after 5-10 minutes, something clicks, and he decides he likes what he’s doing and starts focusing.  So maybe half of the time is productive.  I then have him do another 20 minute session (and by this point, he’s enjoying himself, so I almost never have to remind him), where he seems focused for about 10 minutes or so, and the last 10 minutes, he starts getting distractable.

When we did 20 minutes, he would have to quit just as he was getting into his stride.  I also found that it took him longer to get through things because it had been a longer amount of time since he’d last seen it.  He would forget things that he’d already learned.

It also took me a while to realize that while he may be wiggling and looking around at everything else, he apparently has to move to think.  (If I wiggled around half as much as he did, I’d fall out of my chair.  And my productivity would take a serious dive.)  I keep wondering if he wiggles this much at school, although his teacher has never mentioned it.  Also, I supposed part of it comes from sitting in a desk most of the day.

I really like to sit with him while he’s doing his math.  I don’t usually say much, or I’ll be reading something on my iPhone.  If he gets stuck, though, he likes to talk through the problem, and I am amused at how he sounds like a little math professor.  (Heck, I think he explains things better than some of my elementary school teachers did.)  Last night, however, I noticed that he was supposed to be comparing two sets of equations with numbers regrouped in different ways.  The lesson was on the associative property of multiplication.  The problems involved solving one multiplication expression and then the same expression again with the numbers grouped differently.  It looked something like this:

(4×2)x5=?

4x(2×5)=?

The idea is to prove that you can regroup the numbers and end up with the same answer, verifying that multiplication is associative.  The younger son would solve the first equation and then just type the same answer into the second one.

I said, “Don’t you think you ought to solve that second one just to make sure it’s the same?”

He responded, in my best little exasperated professor voice, “No. Multiplication is associative, so I don’t need to.”

I couldn’t help but giggle.

If he already thinks he knows more than me now, I dread what he will be like as a teenager.

A good week for the blog January 23, 2012

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Last week was kind of amazing.

On Monday, I woke up to a tweet from the ever wonderful @FakeEEQuips letting me know that my blog was the EEWeb Site of the Day.

On Thursday, PhysicsWorld.com posted a really nice write up of the blog for their In Depth section.

I’d like to say thanks to both of the sites for contributing to my 15 minutes of fame.

And don’t worry…I won’t get a big head unless something else pretty phenomenal happens this week. I’m not expecting it.

2011 in review January 1, 2012

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Twelve months of FCIWYPSC December 27, 2011

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GMP recently posted her twelve months meme, and with less than a week left, I figured I’d follow suit.

January – I resolve not to make any resolutions

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions.

February – The presumed snobbery of gifted education

I was having a conversation with my older boy the other day (it does still happen…despite the fact that he’s a teenager, I haven’t become dumb as bricks yet), and we were talking about people we know who are what I’d call “gifted education snobs”.

March – Teaching math without memorization

If there is one thing I learned in my junior level electromagnetics class that will always stick with me, it’s this:

The permittivity of free space (ε0) is 8.854 * 10 -12 F/m.

April – I’m an author!

My morning started off on an awesome note.

May – Homeschooling and teaching with Brain Rules

As many of you know, the older boy is on a partial homeschooling arrangement.

June – Academic year wrap up

The boys have both finished up school, but they are both doing some academic work outside of school.

July – Educational elitism

I came across yet another article rehashing the topic of too many kids going to college.

August – Words of warning

Over the years, I’ve heard two phrases that really scare me.

September – The adventures of Stu Dent in the land of metacognition

As many of you know, I’m teaching a class this semester on academic skills for freshman engineering students.

October – Lack of impact

Things have started humming along now that I have my computer back, and I realized there were a couple posts I’d been meaning to reply to but haven’t had the opportunity.

November – The dangers of waiting at the bus stop

I’m not sure how much I’ve talked about it, but after a couple years teaching introductory geology labs, I was rather frustrated.

December – Working through the pain

Late last week, I got a flu shot.

 

Blue screen of (MacBook) death September 26, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers, meta.
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I didn’t know that macs had a blue screen of death, but I encountered it.  On Saturday, I was working, when suddenly my desktop disappeared and was replaced with deep blue nothing and a moving cursor.

Not good.

I hooked up an external drive, backed everything up (once I rebooted), and then ran some diagnostics.  Looks like my hard drive bit the dust.

I’m in the midst of waiting for things to go through the red tape for the warranty (non-apple) that came with the computer when I bought it.  (The U bookstore was selling specially priced bundles.)  So far, they said I needed to provide a copy of the original receipt.

Yeah, right.

Fortunately, UMN bookstore actually had a copy and sent it to me, and I’ve passed it along.  No clue how long this will take.

So, anyway, now you know I might not be around too much until it’s fixed except maybe on twitter (because that’s the only thing easy enough to read on my iPhone).

One year (plus a bit) July 15, 2011

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Earlier in the month marked my first full year at this blog space.  I have to say that moving to wordpress was a good idea, although there are some drawbacks.  Primary, of course, is the loss of readership.  It did seem like the discussions were more interactive on livejournal.  But that was before they started their new advertising policy.

On the other hand, it seems like whatever I initially lost has come back, especially with the start of EngineerBlogs.  I have to admit that blogging in two places has generated a bit more work, especially when I’m running low on interesting topics.  Aside from more engineers reading this blog, I also see a lot more people interested in education, especially math and gifted education, as well as dog lovers.  Of course, there are still a lot of people looking for information on antennas…and the few strays who are looking for cute blondes or tushes.

Also, I have been rather remiss in keeping my blogroll up to date.  If you would like me to include your blog, please let me know in the comments.

Anyway, here’s to the first year, and hoping there will be many more.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go get an iced tea to celebrate.  It’s been rather warm here lately.

Writing, writing, everywhere…except on my blog April 16, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in meta, papers, pets.
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I’m sorry posting has been so sporadic. I’m in the midst of writing a paper at work as well as stuff for my dissertation (research plan stuff, not dissertation itself). After I spend a day writing and looking up things, it’s hard to motivate myself to write a post. However, I keep putting ideas in my file, so I’ll get to it eventually.  And the paper for work should be done by the middle of next week.

In the meantime, I have cute pictures:

Gigadog was doing her best bear rug impression.  While taking this pic, Microcat had something else up her sleeve…erm…paw.

Oh! You needed to put that dish in HERE?!  Go ahead…I was just trying to get some of that massaman curry up there.

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