Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Specter Analysis

So Arlen Specter has finally decided to jump ship and is going to become a Democrat. The obvious reason being of course that the odds of him staying a Senator (i.e. surviving the Republican Primary) are pretty freakin' slim. It's over a year out and and the oposition was already polling ahead of poor Arlen by 3:1.

Well, good riddance to bad rubbish as they say.

Commitee assignments become interesting. Specter is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary committee, but Sen Kyl is the next ranking member on the Judiciary Committee. Thus there is no real change on Judiciary, as Kyl has always been the same sort of backstabing weasel as Specter. (backstabing weasel being defined as any Republican who voted FOR Eric Holder)

Short term this is a pretty big win for the Dems, no doubt about it. However, in the mid-term this is actually good news for the Republicans, as it means that they are finally (after 8 years in the wilderness) finding their fiscal conservative roots.

Admitedly, after Bush, the R’s trying to claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism is going to wear pretty thin. Some of them (The Jeff Flake wing) really are serious about it though. It remains to be seen whether the American public will believe “we really mean it this time” or not.

On the other hand, the Obama/Pelosi/Reid multi-trillion dollar deficits are going to make it a much easier sell. And since Obama is really just Jimmy Carter with a better suit, fiscal discipline is about the only way the R's are going to get back in power.

Monday, April 20, 2009

No one writes quite like The Register

In case you were wondering what Jordin Kare was up to...

And yes it involves LASERS.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ann Coulter on Guns

Coulter nails this one

Oh yeah, when she's good, she's good.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Learning Experience

So, just to remind everyone,

1. I have failed the Physics Oral Comprehensive exam twice.
2. Dept. policy is "we don't give freedback"
3. I have no freaking clue what I need to do to pass.

So I finally managed to track down the director of graduate studies (Physics Dept) in his office today. Now I freely admit I did not really expect this to be a a productive meeting, but I didn't expect it to be inflammatory. After all Dr. Doak is known to have the personality of an inanimate carbon rod.

So my first point was that I was concerned that we would not have a solution to the problem of the oral exams. Doak deferred to bureaucratic procedure. The Graduate collage has guidelines that say you can not repeat the exam within three months, oh, and by the way, the physics dept has decided that the day of the "exam" is the day they deign to tell you the result, not the day you actually did the exam. Ok, so that would put things out another three weeks to the right. *grumble*. Oh,a nd it's not his responsibility to schedual these things, that's a different comitee.

My second concern is that the students are not recieving any feedback. Doak replied that they have never provided feedback. I asked how you can expect the students to improve if they don't know what they did wrong. His response: "It's not intended to be a learning experience"

Yeah, verbatim. It's not intended to be a learning experience.

WTF Over? Seriously. WTF?

Ok, I get his point, the exam itself is not intended to teach, but to test. But if I measure a system, intentionaly make certain no input goes into the system, and measure it again. I damn well ought to expect the same result.

Ok I have "checked the box". I can honestly say I tried talking to the head of the Graduate Program.

By hapensatance my advisor was in his office. He was torqued off about how the department was treating him, and his response to my situation was basically "well I've raised my objections and no one listens to me." Yeah, Funny. I know how that feels. I told him I didn't see the point of waiting untill next year to do this again and wait 3-4 weeks to see if the coin ended up heads or tails. He thought that that was an unfair comparison. Yeah, well it may not be a coin flip, but it's a classic black box. It may or may not be deterministic, but you sure can't tell from the outside.

After class I actually managed to get ahold of Dr. Menendez, who is in charge of the graduate committe (not to be confused with the graduate program). He was vaguely unaware that he was supposed to schedual the graduate exams, but opined that they would probably just do them in August like always. He actually seemed very personable, if somewhat befuddled. No real help though. He did however agree that the students ought to get some feedback.

Box number two.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but what the hell is the point?

Somebody give me one good reason (that is not a sunk cost fallacy) why I should spend one more single dime at ASU or spend a single minute doing any research or taking any classes until I know I can get past this barrier?

So, whatever you do. DO NOT GO TO ASU.
Do not allow your children to go to ASU.
Nor their children, or cousins, or well, anyone you actually give a rat's rear end about...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Disturbing Rush/Rand moment

The smallest minority on Earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. -Ayn Rand

So I was listening to Rush Limbaugh on the way back to work after my Quantum midterm. Honestly he is a much better/entertaining person when he has a Democrat in the White House. Regardless...

What was disturbing, was that Rush was channeling Ayn Rand. Yeah. Rand. Not that I disagree one iota, it's just odd. I don;t expect objectivist philosophy from Limbaugh. To Quote:

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. We are all different. We are all individuals. We are being told to sacrifice our individuality. We're being told we must assemble in other groups of victims. Well, not all of us because some of us are the victimizers. The smallest minority on earth is the individual and thus those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

This is not the Rush I'm used to.