austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Splish splash

At the final exam, one student took half the pages of his first notebook, folded them all over in a bundle, punched a hole in the corner, and then stuffed the second book inside there. Then he put the string through the hole in the corners of the two books, and in the new holes he punched in the folded-over pages, to put a tight knot in it. I watched this odd behavior for a few minutes before finally asking, what he was doing that for. It turned out he didn't want the nonsense answers of the first part of that book graded, but did want the rest in the other book and the end of the first. I think students don't realize we actually read the exams (and checkers re-read in case we miss things) before grading.

After, I was feeling rather tired and aggravated, so we went down to Bugis Junction for a disorganized dinner (we ended up getting bits from several stands, like chicken-based Shepherd's Pie or meat skewers with rice), and went to the Playful Fountain. This is a neat water fountain, with a few dozen nozzles, that fire in multiple sequences -- some tall pulses, some arcs, and both of those either short pulses, medium streaks, or long runs. So the Playful Fountain gives a nice show that takes a long while to repeat of multiple water jets in different kinds, and it can be quite addictive. Rather neatly there's no explicit drain, but the tiles around it are loose enough to let the water drain out. Also, since the Fountain is outside (and inside; it's kind of complicated) we could see the gentle rain and the lightning, which made for a great backdrop.

The storm grew over the ride home, getting to be both a very heavy rain -- with sheets of water over the road -- and enormous bolts of lightning, including multiple flashes bright enough to make out colors through the night. It was beautiful, and watching the city glimmering in the purple light was a magnificent sight.

Trivia: Attempted trade names for celluloid -- before John Wesley Hyatt's successful name -- included Parkesine (made by Alexander Parkes) and Xylonite (made by Parkes' works manager, Daniel Spill). Source: Molecules at an Exhibition, John Emsley.

Currently Reading: Explorers of the Infinite, Sam Moskowitz.

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