Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ah the joys of the collegiate experience

I had originally planned on writing about rifles today, a topic near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, my mornings belong to writing for filthy lucre and blogging is relegated to catch as catch can. Since I have Kenpo in about an hour, there's no way I'd finish a post on rifles.

Whilst in the Navy (ie. during my misspent youth), I was a sufficiently motivated, studious, and, frankly, brilliant (and humble) to finish a bachelor's degree just slightly before my twenty first birthday. Long story short, my education officer pulled a fast one on a bunch of us and we never got credit for most of our classes, about two thirds of them in my case. When I originally wrote this, I went into detail about the whole thing, but realized that even after all this time I remain sufficiently livid so as to be incapable of writing about it coherently.

Moving on.

A few months ago, I decided to go back to school. Doing a little math here, it's been...lessee divide the square of C by the cube root of zero (what? I live outside the flow of normal time)...aha! Eight years since the last time I took a class more academic than how to treat a sucking chest wound or not offend the women or minorities I worked around. Things have changed a bit.

Oh! Sounds like story time!

"But why do they use just zeros and ones in binary? Why not use zero through nine? You could have more information in the same space." This said with the assurance of one who is confident of revolutionizing the field.

A plethora of response came to mind. You know, such trivial things as not being able to simply imprint actual digits in the flow of electrons. Things like on...and off. Maybe a reference to Morse code to illustrate how information is transmitted with only two options. Instead I shoot back with, "What? Because the tiny little cables and electron paths are two small for bigger numbers."

I know, I know, I'm an ass. What do you expect me to say in a conversation that's taking place in a political science class?

"Wouldn't it be worth it to make them just a little bigger? You could at least use three and four."

At this point, I'm just wanting the little wart to shut his month, but since gratification in that regard was not forthcoming...

"You'd still have too many heat dissappation problems and major diminishing returns in volume to processing power and storage capacity."

"Why do we have to use zero and one though? They're the most useless numbers in the world."

I'm sure my tormentor has a vast and metropolitan experience of the world, and this is just a lapse. After all, we all know (right?) that they're actually the two most important intergers. I mean, there are entire FIELDS of study in math and science that rarely, or never, work with values that aren't between those two.

So yeah, I really was about ready to flatten this kid.

"Because they're the smallest ones with the highest value ratio."


"No, drop it. You don't know what the FRENCH FRIES* you're talking about."

"But zero..."

"What?! What is so ALL FIRED* wrong with the current method? You know, since it's the only one that will work unless we stumble on a completely new theory of electronic operation!"

"I just don't like zeros."

Wow. All this from a...wait for science major. Guess how many classes he's failed! If you guesses 'all of them,' pat yourself on the back.

Not all my fellow students are like that though. In my stats class there are two girls, who sit way in the back of the classroom just ahead of me and the guy I sit next to. In a roughly linear (sorry stats midterm was yesterday) fashion, test scores increase with distance from the teacher. This being a statistics class, I decided to write that phenomenon up sheerly for grits and shins.

We were debating actually giving it to our teacher, until the review session last night. The teacher asked questions with varied awards (arranged ala Jeopardy), and divided the room into teams by rows. The last two rows being largly empty she teamed the four of us up. Being the older and more mature member, I decided to stop answering questions upon realizing that even if one of the other teams got every answer right, we would still win. Now it seems to hand in that little bit of observation would just be rubbing it in. Something my fellows seem all too eager to do.

Ugh, how did I become the guy who has to wrangle both the idiots and rambunctious smart guys? I used to be the rambunctious smart guy...

And now I'm almost late for Kempo. Darnit.

*Not what I really said, this is a reasonable kid friendly blog.

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