A strange report emerged from Texas last week. According to a Houston TV station story, a college instructor taught the wrong class to her students and no one realized what was going on until shortly before the final exam was administered. That’s right, a whole semester went by before the instructor admitted she had been teaching the wrong material and the students couldn’t figure that out on their own.
According to the report, the students had signed up and were supposed to be taught an introductory course in chemistry. The instructor instead, taught a much more advanced chemistry class. This is where I start to ask questions. First, as an instructor, how do you not realize you’re teaching the wrong material? I was a teaching assistant for two years when I was at grad school. The first thing I did at the beginning of each semester was to announce and write on a board the name of the class that I thought I was teaching. Then everyone knows if someone is in the wrong place. Am I teaching the wrong class? Are some students in the wrong place? It gets figured out pretty quickly. How the instructor didn’t double-check her course assignment is beyond my comprehension.
Next, why didn’t the students clue in on this earlier? The news story reports that the students were all failing the class and getting terrible marks. Isn’t that out of the ordinary for a normal grade distribution? Especially for an introductory class. Also, wouldn’t the textbooks be different for two different classes? Let’s just say the intro and advanced chemistry classes used the same textbook. Wouldn’t it seem strange to the students that they didn’t start at the beginning of the book for the class? I fault the instructor and the institution mostly for this debacle but in my mind, there was ample room for the students to fix this earlier.
The school in question is part of the Lone Star College System which are essentially community colleges so perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on everyone involved but it still is weird that the problem wasn’t discovered until the end of the course. I’ve seen some strange stuff in my years in higher education but this was a first.
As I was getting ready for bed this evening I heard police sirens outside. That’s not strange because living in a big city, you hear that a lot. I decided to look outside my living room windows anyways because I’m curious like a cat. Just down the block, in plain view, I saw four police vehicles had pulled over an SUV that was stopped at the side of the street.
I grabbed my binoculars. All the police vehicles had their doors open and the officers were arrayed behind the doors with their guns drawn. This was no speeding ticket. I decided it was time for my telescope. Using that, I could see more clearly and in greater detail. The driver of the SUV had his hands stuck outside his window. The police ordered him to exit the vehicle which he did with his hands up. He walked back towards the police vehicles where one officer then cuffed him and put him in the back of a squad car. They then ordered his female companion out and she too walked back towards the police vehicles. She too appeared to be cuffed but not put into a vehicle. Everyone then seemed to start talking. A minute later, the female had her hands free. Then the driver of the SUV was out of the police car and he wasn’t in handcuffs anymore. About a minute more of discussion all around and the driver and his companion were walking back to their SUV. They started it and I saw the driver pull out a “clicker” and they drove into the parking garage of the apartment right across the street! They were literally just feet from their home when they got pulled over.
The rest of the police vehicles just took off in different directions. I’ve been hearing sirens going off since then. It’s clear something happened and the authorities are looking for a vehicle like that SUV. Oh wait, this tweet literally just got posted while I was writing this. Two people shot about a ten minute walk from my home. No wonder I’ve heard and seen so many police vehicles in the area. Well, I’d like to know more but I need my sleep. I’m guessing there will be news about this tomorrow.
UPDATE: Wow, according to this tweet, one of the victims made their way to the police station, which isn’t exactly close to where the shootings apparently took place.
So I forgot to bring my phone to work this morning. I realized that fact just as the doors were closing on my train ride in. I had nothing to look at as commuted in. I began to imagine how awful my day would be, not knowing if anyone had texted or called me. Normally, I don’t get many calls or texts on a daily basis but I kept thinking this was the day where I’d get lots.
Practically, texts and phone calls would be the only thing I’d be missing. Every other means of communication, e-mail and social media was still at my fingertips all day while I sat at my desk. All day though, I wondered if anyone had called or texted.
When I got home, I found my phone on my desk, barely depleted of its battery. There were a few notifications for e-mails that I had read earlier but no calls and no texts. All that worry for nothing.
Today Facebook announced they are going to acquire Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift headset. Oculus, who hasn’t even released a commercial version of their headset, will join the social media giant in ways that people can’t even imagine right now.
Early this week, Disney announced they are purchasing Maker Studios who operates some of the most successful YouTube channels. The purchase price is half a billion dollars, which signals that making YouTube videos is no longer some small market venture. When a company that owns both Star Wars and Marvel decides to buy YouTube content creators, you know it’s something serious. Some of Maker’s founders, include Lisa Donovan and Kassem Gharaibeh. Donovan was one of YouTube’s first stars, who went under the name LisaNova. Gharaibeh, better known as KassemG, was filming videos for his channel on the beach just last month. I’m not sure how much of $500M they will both get but it’s a safe bet they are now millionaires several times over.
Both of these stories have confirmed what I’ve known for a long time now. Just working for someone else will never get you rich. Sure, you might wind up comfortable but not rich. The founders of Oculus and Maker got rich by being smart and working hard but they also had a piece of the action. They owned a stake in their fortunes.
If you want to be handsomely rewarded for you work, you need to have ownership in that work. Not every company will be bought out for millions but it’s something everyone should consider. How can you be part of something valuable?
In the video above, someone who sounds like President Obama plays one of the most popular video games on the market now, Titanfall. It’s not important what game he’s actually playing but the message he’s trying to convey to the other players while the game proceeds.
Sure, that might not be the real President speaking but I’m guessing he isn’t too far off from what the actual President would want to say to young Americans. I also give credit to the players for listening to his message as well.
This evening I had dinner with my parents. It was a rather nice dinner. I was explaining to them how my new job was different from my last job. One of the things I mentioned was that my new place of employment has more free food than my last place. My mother picked up on that and said that it was a shame I wasn’t doing my “summer of me” lifestyle anymore. That lifestyle consisted of lots of rest, lots of exercise, lots of time outdoors, and a healthier diet. She lamented how I was sitting at a desk for hours at a time and probably eating worse. She then mentioned that she thought my face had gotten pudgier and rounder since last summer.
That’s what I love about my mother and Moms in general. They’re straight up honest with their kids and don’t sugar coat nothing. In particular, my own mother loves commenting on the weight of her children. She’s verbalized her observations about my sister’s weight numerous times over the years, more frequently leading up to my sister’s wedding banquet a few years ago. It’s a good thing my sister has a healthy dose of self-esteem so she can laugh about such matters.
To be clear, I only weigh three pounds more than my slimmest weight during the “summer of me”. I’m currently at 158 lbs and have been since the early fall. It’s unlikely the three pounds went all to my face so I’m not sure what my mother was seeing today.
This evening I was trying to clean parts of my apartment when I got distracted. I get easily distracted when I clean because I’d rather do other things than clean. It will literally take me days to clean my apartment because I can’t focus long enough to get things done in a reasonable time frame.
Some of my friends employ a cleaning service to clean their places. One friend says his cleaner comes once a month and does a thorough job with his apartment and it only costs him $60. For the time and effort that I seem to waste in my clean up routine, $60 seems like a reasonable amount.
Of course, I’m slightly neurotic which means I know if I employed a cleaner, I’d feel like I would have to do a pre-clean before the real cleaning. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’d be partially embarrassed at how cluttered some things would get. Does that defeat the purpose of getting a cleaner? Yes, slightly but at least I wouldn’t feel so bad for the cleaner.
I haven’t made a final decision about this yet but I sure would love to come home to a sparkling apartment once a month.
So yesterday I received a message on an online dating site. I don’t receive that much interest from women so this was a bit of a surprise for me. It was a very short message, where she asked me where in the city I lived.
Curious, I looked at her profile. It wasn’t written very well and then I got to the section that listed “first date” suggestions. She simply wrote, “Dinner. You pay.” It wasn’t written in a sarcastic or joking way either. From the way the rest of her profile was filled out, I could tell she serious about that.
I didn’t need to see much more after that. I deleted the message and then
looked at some porn began reading some of my favourite Walt Whitman poems.
So the last time I worked for my current employers, one of my co-workers got me eating a specific kind of toast at work. I was sitting at my desk one morning when he came around and placed a plate on my desk. On this plate was a buttered slice of cinnamon raisin toast. Now some of you know that I don’t really like raisins in my food but I thought it would be impolite to turn down an offering of food. So, I ate the toast. It was a revelation.
The combination of the cinnamon, the copious amounts of butter, the sweetness of the raisins, and the crunchy texture of the toast was amazing. I tried making cinnamon raisin toast almost daily after that but the bread would run out quite quickly. I started buying cinnamon raisin bread at home, that’s how much I liked it.
That job would only last two and a half months. Once the job ended the toast at work ended and for some reason I stopped buying the bread at home.
Now I’m back and they still buy the cinnamon raisin bread. I’ve started to make the toast again. Just this morning, I had two delightful slices where I wasn’t shy with the butter. Oh, it was so good. I then had a sandwich for lunch and in the afternoon, I realized how much bread I had eaten. Two slices of toast and then two slices from the sandwich. All I could think of was the carbs I had eaten. I’m more carb aware now than I was before.
The toast is good but I need to eat it in moderation now. Oh carbs, why you so delicious?!?!?!
It’s a bit early but I think there might be an increase in pollen in the air. A few years ago, I developed a very slight allergy to what I think is pollen. This manifests itself in itchy eyes for me. The effect is quite mild and doesn’t require to me seek out medication.
For the last week or so, my eyes have gotten the tiniest bit of irritation at night, on days where it has been sunny. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it’s the pollen.
Ok, now that interesting post is over, here’s a chicken with a plunger stuck on its butt (this was done to simulate how dinosaurs walked).