austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

I say I have the answer proven to be true

A student came to my office and sheepishly asked for help on a variety of questions. Some of them were straightforward ``why does C do this,'' which is usually a good question, since I suspect there are parts of C which were created as pranks, and Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan occasionally wake up in the middle of the night giggling that nobody's caught on yet. Some questions were trying to figure out what the right multiple-choice answer for an exam last year was right. For one of them I thought all the answers were about equally lousy, and the question wasn't so hot either, being phrased as it was in the ``what is one reason we do not ...'', and I generally dislike negative-questions. One was a ``why does C do this?'' question from the book that involved a fast shuffle on pointers slipped in four chapters before pointers are introduced, which I hate on every grounds possible, not least because last time I taught this course my students all panicked at this and wanted it explained in every lecture and recitation section and office hour meeting for two weeks up to the exam, and again just before the final.

But we got through all that, and the student was looking better and thanked me for my time. I asked my usual closing question, ``Feeling a bit more confident for the exam, then?''

``No.''

I don't usually laugh at the things my students say. I'm glad mine understood.

If you were wondering how I'm responding to Bausch and Lomb's ReNu contact lens solution being taken off the shelves due to users' eye infections, please don't worry. I don't have contact lenses or wear glasses. My eyes go out in public every day, naked.

Apple reports selling their one billionth song through iTunes. Probably they mean this year.

Trivia: A layer of clouds 300 feet thick reflects back about 35 percent of the sunlight on it. Source: Science from your Airplane Window, Elizabeth A Wood.

Currently Reading: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, by Edwin G Burrows, Mike Wallace. I can see the end from here!

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