Saturday, September 24, 2005

Reason: wavy line versus straight line.


radio city new york

Sorry I haven't updated in a while, folks. I'm sure you were all assuming that my blood pressure got so high and that my carotid artery exploded, but no, not yet. I've just been busy as a bee (I'm that damn clever), and haven't had time to update. Plus, I would have loved to have updated about something involving the class I teach here at the university, but if any of my students were to find it, we might have a problem.

Instead, I'm going to tell you a fairy tale. It's probably NSFW.

Once upon a time, there was a bee. He referred to himself as the "King Bee," and he spent most of his time just buzzing around annoying people, stopping occasionally to smell the roses and drink the nectar out of some sweet flowers. You know, the kind Georgia O'Keefe always painted.

Of course, King Bee needed money to survive, just like all bees in his day. He wasn't getting paid (enough) for his nectar job, so he decided to get a job at the drone factory. Now, this isn't a factory where drones normally work, this is where they are made. King Bee wasn't too concerned with the politics of it all, he just thought it would be a good idea to get a little green on the side.

As time progressed, King Bee rose through the ranks, until he got to the point where he was training incoming worker bees. Most of the time, everything would be totally kosher (because bees are Jewish, not Hindu, get over it), but once in a while, King Bee would have a problem with some of the trainees.

For instance, just a few days ago, King Bee gave his trainees an exam. The exam was mainly issued to see if the trainees could follow directions and solve problems, so King Bee printed off a copy of the answer sheet (not the solutions, mind you), and the trainees would fill in the steps.

King Bee likes trying new things, so he just wanted to see if this would make any fucking difference. That is, would the trainees actually be able to do a goddamned thing this time, if they knew what the answer for each problem was.

For the most part, it didn't matter. King Bee has yet to grade this exam, but he was looking over it and saw so many mistakes. King Bee's favorite example of failure was the following (and I'll try to explain it to those of you who don't know jack shit about manufacturing drones).

There were two problems that the trainees had to actually use their brains on. One of them was comparing the areas of two shaded regions in the plane. The two regions looked very different, but on the first day of your job at the drone manufacturing plant, they tell you how to find the area of a region bounded by curves in the plane. All you have to do is this wacky thing called an integral. In the problem on the exam, the shaded regions had equal area.

The region in figure 1# (sic) was a rectangle.

The other was bound by some terrible function, something King Bee just made up. It was really wavy and crazy.

The most terrible response for this problem was:

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so the area in figure one is greater.

The funniest response for this problem was:

The area in region 2 is greater. Reason: wavy line versus straight line.

King bee has now seen that his work will never be done.

So what's the moral of the story, children? Don't waste your precious time trying to help those people who just don't care enough to take their education seriously. Some of these people are interested in going into aerospace engineering, and they don't even know how to add fractions.

On a totally unrelated note, I have to go to my office pretty soon to grade an exam I gave my students a couple days ago. I even gave them the answers to each problem, and they still managed to screw it up. My favorite complaint is that of the student who claims to have studied for many hours, only to still fail the exam. It's probably because you have no idea what studying is, or none of what you actually consider to be "studying" involves "understanding."

As a tangent, I'm going to get you off my conscience by next week Friday. Man, Ladytron totally owns you.

In other news, I finally picked up "Lunar Park" by Bret Easton Ellis. I can't wait to read it.

And I knew you were just dying to know.

Comments:
Sometimes I think I know why some professors are so terribly boring and bored. After training these worker drones for 30 years, you either die of brain cancer or just don't care.
By the way, Dirk Nowitzki is so fucking sweet, I want to die.

Martn
 
Wow. Sounds like my ex-boyfriend.

I hope your students all die.
 
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