austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Don't know what a slide rule is for

Is this student sufficiently knowledgeable to skip my course? That's the question before me, and it's a good one. I've never before been asked whether a student might skip a course. You could aruge well that I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable to skip, much less teach, this course. The interview went fine, considering I lacked any not-stupid questions and the other instructors only asked follow-ups on mine. Administrators want me to have an opinion now.

The student offered an incredibly long and convoluted program he'd written, so I know he can write mind-choking code. And he wrote a small program showing one equation-solving algorithm. He gained my esteem by pointing out how the program was deficient -- in some cases it doesn't find solutions too accurately -- but lost some of that by making an incorrect guess about why. Decisions I'd be unqualified to make even if the data weren't ambiguous: that's what I'm here for.

Oh, and I spotted my first Singapore flag of the season today. I've mentioned before, it's illegal (or was until very recently) to display the flag except in the weeks around National Day; well, that's August 9. 'Tis the season.

Trivia: During his Mercury flight Gus Grissom's heartbeat reached a maximum of 171 beats per minute, and only dropped below 150 beats per minute for a few seconds of weightlessness. Source: ``Physiological Responses of the Astronaut in the MR-4 Spaceflight,'' C. Patrick Laughlin, and William S. Augerson, Results of the Second U.S. Manned Suborbital Space Flight, July 21, 1961.

Currently Reading: Profiles of the Future (1984), Arthur C Clarke.


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