austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

If you ever plan to motor west

Three of the dead at the Nicoll highway collapse have been recovered. The search for the fourth, foreman Heng Yeow Peow -- who'd gone in to make sure all the employees were out -- has been called off. It's believed his body is at the deepest part of the collapse; but heavy rains make it more urgent that the soil (landfill, you'll recall) be stabilized before nearby buildings are threatened. There are ominous cracks in some buildings, and those are being investigated; the Land Transport Authority claims damage in a carpark is independent of the accident.

The main contractors for the dig, in a move either compassionate or cynical depending on your mood, have publicly apologized to the families, the workers, and Singapore at large. They're also offering -- no conditions, no signing of waivers, no impairment of future civil claims -- the families of the dead S$30,000 so their immediate money needs are relieved. I want to say that's a classy and compassionate move, but I'm suspicious of kind acts accompanied by press releases. That's my runaway cynicism, though.

And as if to slap Singapore out of its obsession with this (and its comparisons to the 1986 Hotel New World collapse, when Civil Defence was not as organized) there's fresh SARS in China and the horrible train crash in North Korea.

Now on to me, and grading. A tip, in case any students are reading -- when you have asked your instructor to re-consider and re-grade an essay, and your instructor has agreed and has returned it to you with a new grade, do not return to him an hour later to ask ``we were wondering about the essay, could we have more points?'' unless you have a specific answer in mind to his inevitable question, ``For what?'' A little chutzpah can improve your grade, but know when enough is enough. Though it's an inevitable question I was surprised I said it; the look on the students' faces suggested they hadn't thought about it either. Usually I'm less blunt.

And this is more customized to me, but: the essay was one-tenth of the course grade. Therefore, one point on the essay was worth one-tenth of one percent of the course grade. Even five points only brings you up to a mild chance of affecting the final letter grade. You have to give me a reason to think it's worth spending still more time on it. (I also think I'm an easy grader, mind, so I tend to be tough in regrading.)

Trivia: Emily, the partner with whom Charlie Brown learned to dance, was a figment of his imagination. Source: Peanuts daily strip of 17 February 1995, reprinted in It Was A Dark And Stormy Night, Snoopy, Charles M. Schulz.

Currently Reading: The Silver Eggheads, Fritz Leiber. If there's a slow day around here I may give it a review; it and The Wanderer have at least proto-furry elements of interest to those reading me. (I suppose it's my circle of friends; I can't help thinking of Livejournal as a furry gathering.)


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