:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 ::


I have a list of gripes with fundamentalist Christians, which I will not go into as I'd probably screw it up and get myself into loads of trouble. I will, though, link to Hesiod's thoughts on the disconnect between their beliefs and their moral code.

[A]s has been pointed out by many, many commentators...it's kind of funny how fundamentalist activists tend to pick and choose WHICH biblical instructions to push.

Jesus' admonitions against greed, avarice, and war are usually ignored, or hushed up. Especially among Christian fundamentalists who are also political conservatives. This foolishness is skewered with great skill and effectiveness by Al Franken in his "Gospel of Supply Side Jesus."

By the often ignored standards set by Jesus, George W. Bush is one of the most ungodly men ever to occupy the Oval Office.

But, he's a "believer," so it's OK. Assumming, of course, that he truly does believe, and isn't just affecting piety for politcal purposes.

The whole post is good, and I suggest reading all of it.

:: The Squire 9:43 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 ::

Something I Should Probably Read All Of Soon

Via Atrios, a series of Foreign Policy essays I can understand.

:: The Squire 1:02 AM :: email this post :: ::


More Stuff You're Not Hearing About

Dave Neiwert writes about the politization of the War on Terror in respect to the lack of coverage or attention being paid to domestic terrorism.

A public campaign against domestic terrorism is problematic for political reasons: It runs directly counter to the kind of "war on terror" that has been marketed to Americans, and which is in fact the centerpiece of Bush's 2004 re-election campaign....

...Most of all, this is a real issue of public safety that should transcend politics. After all, this particular Bush-administration/media failure may also have a real-world impact -- especially if one of those cyanide bombs goes off.

:: The Squire 12:42 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, December 28, 2003 ::

I Just Don't Understand

How hard can it possibly be to put the cart back into the coral? Huh? Seriously, I was out hunting for the LotR Trilogy Edition Risk (of which I now own the last set in Michawaka) and at not one but two parking lots there were carts one and two parking spots away from the coral. I mean, I'm lazy, but I don't even stoop so low as to leave a cart next to, but yet outside of, the coral. Not only is it stupid, it's dangerous, considering the wind we had today - if it were just a bit stronger, there would've been marauding carts causing problems and damage all over the parking lots. I often wonder how such people manage to live with so little grey matter, then it occurs to me that it must be the people missing the social part of the brain that goes "Hey, other people exist in the world besides myself!"

On that note, I'm going to bed.

UPDATE: Thanks to my gf for the spelling check. Bet you didn't notice it, though.

:: The Squire 10:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, December 25, 2003 ::

It's Basketball Season Again

NCAA basketball is in full swing, and even though I don't drink, I'm gonna share one of my favorite drinking games with y'all. Aren't you so lucky? First, turn on a basketball game that Duke's not playing in and that Dick Vitale is announcing. Then, every time Dickie V. mentiones Duke, drain your beer.

You'll be smashed by the end of the first half. I gurantee it.

:: The Squire 11:01 PM :: email this post :: ::


Oh, Yeah

Merry Christmas, Festive Festivus, Whatever.

:: The Squire 9:46 PM :: email this post :: ::


No News From Mars

Apparently ESA is having some problems picking up a signal from the Beagle 2. Well, the US and Russia can welcome them to the club - getting things to work/land on Mars is a hard thing to do, apparently, with a 2/3rds failure rate.

:: The Squire 9:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


The Haul

What I got for Christmas:

The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
Beastly Things by Wiley
T-Shirt that reads on the back "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves" with a matching Mousepad
Maroon and Grey long-sleeved shirt
Wool Sweater suitable for camping
Neverwinter Nights Gold Edition
Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow on CD
Willow, The Fifth Element, and Harold and Maude on DVD

I also managed to find my I-Book, missing since Thanksgiving, so all is relatively well for me. Now I just have to bring my computer in from the garage and let it thaw so I can play my new game.

:: The Squire 9:20 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 ::

What Is This?!?

I go home and ignore the majority of the internet for a few days and Brad Delong decides to be more prolific now than he has been this past month. He has thoughts on The Key Problem of Modern Liberalism, the Origins of a Christmas/Boxing Day Tradition, and the Congressional Budget Office's awarding of the Worst Fiscal Policy, Ever award. Oh, and his kids had to drag him away from a gizmo that makes waffles in the shapes of barnyard animals.


"Where else but at Williams & Sonoma could you find a waffle iron that makes waffles in the shapes of farm animals?"

"You're not thinking of buying it, are you?"

"And it's on sale! Only $76!"

"Think of how humiliated your children would be to have their friends be served waffles in the shape of farm animals!"

"Must... purchase..."

"Help! Help! We need to pull him out of the store! He's been trapped by advertising!"


"There. Aren't you glad we pulled you out of that store before it was too late? We don't need a waffle iron that makes waffles in the shapes of farm animals. Nobody needs that."

"We don't need very much. All we need is enough food to not be terribly hungry, enough clothing to not be shivering cold, enough shelter to not be miserably wet, and enough books to not be deathly bored. Everything else is a 'convenience' or a 'luxury'."

"Why isn't he saying that we need to buy the waffle iron to stimulate the economy?..."

What's sad is that my own father, who himself holds a Masters in mathematics, was for a few days also saying that he wanted such a waffle iron.

:: The Squire 8:54 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 ::

I Pronounce Thee...

Hesiod has a well thought out Democratic stance on the issue of Civil Unions.

:: The Squire 3:43 PM :: email this post :: ::



I miss my broadband.

:: The Squire 2:06 PM :: email this post :: ::


Da Grades

In the interests of partial disclosure, I am listing my grades for the semester. I've mentioned all these courses over the past few months, so it's not a secret the classes I was enrolled in this past semester.

Course Grade Grade Pts. Hours
PolS 100 A 4.00 3
CHLTH 206 A 4.00 2
CHEM 231 B+ 3.33 3
CHEM 234 C+ 2.33 2
MCB 250 A 4.00 3
MCB 251 A 4.00 2

Semester Average: 3.643

I hope my semester avg. is high enough to keep my spot on the Dean's List.

UPDATE: Well, it appears that my creative spacing didn't work out well. Anyone know how to make a table in HTML?

:: The Squire 1:51 PM :: email this post :: ::


As You May Have Guessed

I'm on break now, hence the absurdly light posting. The only reason I'm posting now is because I'm home, alone, with no movies I want to watch, none of the books I want to read, my computer's not set up yet, and I don't have access to the car when both the parents are gone, so I'm stuck here, bored. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

:: The Squire 1:48 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, December 21, 2003 ::


Our Unelectable president has gone Ka-Boom.

(Watch the secret service swoop in over this one.)

:: The Squire 7:26 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, December 20, 2003 ::

Tired of This Crap

K, so even though there are people with Saturday finals, the dining room didn't open til 8am (did me a ton of good, seeing as I had an 8am final), the busses aren't running when it's freaking cold out, and when I do get to breakfast there's no good warm food (like french toast or pancakes). It's like they want me to fail.

Speaking of failing, I don't think I failed the PolS 100 final - I don't think I did spectacularly on it, but I did well, and considering I had a 97.6% going into the final, I'm not too worried about not getting an A. Last exam is the dreaded CHEM 231 at 1:30.

:: The Squire 9:45 AM :: email this post :: ::


Too Damn Cold

At 0853 it was 9°F with a wind chill of -1°F. If you heard any wet snapping noises during the PolS 100 final, those were my digits coming off due to cold.

Today, last year, it was in the upper 60s. What gives?

:: The Squire 9:40 AM :: email this post :: ::


I Survived

I think I did well enough on my CHEM 231 exam to keep my A in the class. We'll see. For now, I'm happy that I'm done with finals.

:: The Squire 4:03 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, December 19, 2003 ::

I Will Not Ask Questions

I got 28 out of 30 on a bio lab I didn't turn in.

:: The Squire 7:13 PM :: email this post :: ::


More Shrillness

As Krugman's been writing for years about Bush's general maliciousness and incompetency, we liberals expect some good prose out of him on the subject. He, of course, delivers:

The capture of Saddam Hussein has produced a great outpouring of relief among both Iraqis and Americans. He's no longer taunting us from hiding; he was a monster and deserves whatever fate awaits him. But we shouldn't let war supporters use the occasion of Saddam's capture to rewrite the recent history of U.S. foreign policy, to draw a veil over the way the nation was misled into war...

...To top it all off, the ongoing disorder in Iraq is a clear and present danger to our own national security. A large part of the U.S. military's combat strength is tied down in occupation duties, leaving us ill prepared for crises elsewhere. Meanwhile, overstretch is undermining the readiness of the military as a whole.

Now maybe, just maybe, Saddam's capture will start a virtuous circle in Iraq. Maybe the insurgency will evaporate; maybe the cost to America, in blood, dollars and national security, will start to decline.

But even if all that happens, we should be deeply disturbed by the history of this war. For its message seems to be that as long as you wave the flag convincingly enough, it doesn't matter whether you tell the truth. [emphasis mine]

:: The Squire 3:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


Slipping Quietly Into The Night

Paul Krugman writes about the death of social mobility in the US.

:: The Squire 3:12 PM :: email this post :: ::


So That's What He Does In His Free Time

Prof. Bellini, whom I had for MCB 150 in Fall 2002, has identified a protein likely involved in chromosomal packaging. For those not familiar with cellular bio, not much is known about how chromosomes actually form, so this is in fact a major breakthrough.

:: The Squire 2:27 PM :: email this post :: ::


That Was Easy

100 questions on my CHLTH 206 final completed in 45 minutes. Can you say, "A"?

:: The Squire 2:25 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, December 18, 2003 ::

My One, My Only, My Precious

Instead of studying this evening, I'm going to go see Return of the King.

:: The Squire 5:38 PM :: email this post :: ::


Mission Accomplished?

Hesiod has declared success in the googlebombing of Unelectable's online biography. I'm not so sure. Not until the moron's biography becomes what you get when you type in "Unelectable" and hit "I'm Feeling Lucky" will the googlebombing be a success.

:: The Squire 5:28 PM :: email this post :: ::


Speaking of Squirrels

Foamy's pissed about all things holiday-related, while Germaine does the Bob Dylan thing.

:: The Squire 9:25 AM :: email this post :: ::


That Wasn't So Bad

I survived MCB 250 - now, after a nap, I'll study CHEM 231 ::gag::

:: The Squire 9:09 AM :: email this post :: ::


Secret Squirrel

So secret, he can't just climb on trees, he climbs on the window screen of my third floor dorm room. Apparently he climbs all the way out on one of the tree branches by my window, jumps onto the screen, and grabs with his claws. He then proceeds to climb around the screen for two to three minutes, with no apparent rhyme or reason, then jumps back off the screen and runs down the bough and away from my window. Odd little squirrel.

:: The Squire 9:07 AM :: email this post :: ::



The Power Plant only has one chimney going. Oh, well, I shouldn't worry my pretty little head about it - I have my MCB 250 final to take in the morning and I need some sleep.

:: The Squire 12:07 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 ::

Closer To Home

Former Gov. Ryan (R-IL) was indicted on federal charges today.

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was charged in a federal racketeering indictment today with taking payoffs, gifts and vacations in return for government contracts and leases while he was secretary of state...

...The indictment alleges that for more than a decade Ryan let his friends wield great influence in state government and profit from his positions as secretary of state and later, governor. Ryan allowed some of his friends, who were not state employees, to steer state contracts in return for bribes and gave others insider information that they could profit from, while ignoring complaints of wrongdoing from employees and others.

In return, the indictment alleges, Ryan and his family received illegal cash payments, gifts, vacations and personal services from his friends and associates. The indictment did not list a dollar figure for Ryan but said members of his family got cash loans and gifts totaling $167,000.

The 91-page indictment charges that lobbyist Larry Warner, a close friend of Ryan's, collected cash from state vendors and landlords and funneled it to Ryan and another lobbyist. Warner already has been charged in the case and has pleaded not guilty.

The indictment also charges that Ryan himself directed payments totaling more than $300,000 to prominent lobbyist Donald Udstuen, who earlier pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

"The charged conduct by former Gov. Ryan reflects a disturbing violation of trust,'' U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement. ``Ryan is charged with betraying the citizens of Illinois for over a decade on state business, both large and small.''

This looks to be developing, more on it later if I feel like it.

:: The Squire 2:21 PM :: email this post :: ::



TA told me the wrong day. CHLTH 206 Final's on Friday, not today. ::grumble::

:: The Squire 2:02 PM :: email this post :: ::



The conflict for the CHLTH 206 exam is today at 1:30. My TA's review session is today at 1:30. How helpful. Wonder which one I'll go to.

:: The Squire 12:29 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 ::

One Down, Four to Go

I just got back from my MCB 251 final and I was the first out of the room. I didn't think the exam was all that bad, meaning either that I aced the test or bombed it horribly. We'll see sometime soon. Next up is CHLTH 206.

:: The Squire 8:02 PM :: email this post :: ::


Timliness Is Everything

As I'm taking a break from studying for CHLTH 206, I find this article via Atrios about an arrest in the uptight state of Texas.

"It makes you wonder what they're thinking out there in Texas,'' Davis said. "They sound like prudes, with antiquated laws. They must have all their street crime under control in Texas if they're going to spend tax money arresting us.''

For the past year, Webb has sold the company's line of vibrators, gels, lubricants, strawberry-flavored nipple cream and "edible passion puddings.'' The merchandise is offered for sale in private, Tupperware-style parties to women who may be reluctant to visit an adult novelty store.

I don't care about your religious views, but there are priorities, and street crimes tend to have more social reprocussions than what people do in their own bedrooms. And Republicans talk about government waste - sheesh.

:: The Squire 1:57 PM :: email this post :: ::


They Got To It, Eventually

The DI covers the No Child Left Behind Act and how lacking a piece of legislation it is - but then again, liberals already knew that. As I haven't seen the physical paper yet, I don't know where it was put, but my guess is that they did a good job of burying it.

:: The Squire 9:20 AM :: email this post :: ::


There's More of Them Than You Think There Are

In the process of covering the trial of an East Texas man convicted for posessing chemical weapons, Orcinus digs up a long and detailed list of recent large caches of weapons held by right-wing extremists, all ignored by the mass media.

:: The Squire 9:06 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, December 15, 2003 ::

Another Cool Online UIUC Toy

In the vein of the visual schedule arranger I blogged about earlier, one of my friends sent me to a Study Group Finder website, where you plug in your class data and see who pops up in your sections. Cool, ain't it?

:: The Squire 9:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


So Much Studying

So little time.

:: The Squire 7:38 PM :: email this post :: ::


And If You THought Things Were Going Well

Hesiod provides us a link to a site totalling up the Iraq Coalition Casualties. Ya know, all those flag-draped coffins we're not seeing?

:: The Squire 12:05 PM :: email this post :: ::


The Quotable Roommate

Me: In case you haven't noticed, the stairwell reeks because they're painting the walls.

Roommate: Great, I need to lose a few more brain cells before this test.

:: The Squire 12:01 PM :: email this post :: ::


Much Rejoicing

Saddam's been captured. Huzzah Huzzah. So far, the best commentary I've seen on this development has been by the Nation's David Corn.

The capture of such a murderous fiend is good news. Hussein deserves to rot for the rest of his days in the underground rat's nest where he was found. But the apprehension of Hussein does not justify the war. In a way, it is the least that Bush could have done, after invading under false pretenses[Italics mine]. He told the American public that it was necessary to bomb, invade and occupy Iraq--rather than engage in more aggressive weapons inspections--to neutralize the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He claimed that his administration possessed incontrovertible proof that Hussein had such awful weapons and maintained operational links with al Qaeda. Seven months after entering Iraq, the Bush administration has not been able to produce evidence to support its central case for war. Instead, Bush and his comrades have increasingly discussed the war as an operation to free the Iraqi people from the repression of Hussein. And nabbing Hussein certainly has allowed Bush and the defenders of the war to push further this after-the-fact justification. Following Hussein's capture, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist disingenuously exclaimed, "The reason we were in that country in the first place are being realized." Not at all. Hussein was found not with WMDs but with $750,000. But what was good politically for Bush was also good for Iraq and the world.

And, considering we haven't found and WMD's, Saddam's denials that they exist aren't suprising either.

I also wonder what the Vegas odds are that this guy's just one of Saddam's body doubles.

:: The Squire 4:49 AM :: email this post :: ::


There Are Many Ways to Teach

Brad Delong finds a way to teach vectors after a confrontation with an extremely muddy hill.

3: What happens if, just before the parent reaches the top of the muddy hill, a child at the top of the muddy hill loses control of America's Silliest Dog, which then jumps on the parent who is one step from reaching the top of the hill?

Answer to 3: The sliding force S is 177 pounds. When 40 pounds of dog-force is added, the total force pushing the parent down the hill is 217 pounds--more than the 200 pounds that the friction force can counteract. The parent's feet slip out from underneath, and the parent slides down the hill feet-first belly-down.

Good explaination, even though I dislike his depiction of F as pushing instead of pulling.

:: The Squire 4:41 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, December 13, 2003 ::

I Miss Aniversaries

For example, this site turned 6 mos old on the 8th and I missed it. Because of the accumulation of so many posts, the weekly archive list at left has gotten absurdly long. As a result, I've decided to switch to a monthly archive system. Yeah, I know it'll make posts harder to find, but all three of my regular readers should be able to deal with it.

:: The Squire 3:22 PM :: email this post :: ::



It's Reading Day here at UIUC (on a Saturday and therefore useless, I know, but it's something that's been argued about for years) and how have I spent it so far? By working IEMS and sitting on my butt watching Flash cartoons. That my exams don't start until Tuesday isn't helping my habit of procrastinating either.

:: The Squire 3:15 PM :: email this post :: ::


I Just Don't Understand

Why people can't deal with sharing a room or a bathroom. It's really not that hard, and you really need all that privacy? No, I didn't think so.

:: The Squire 6:42 AM :: email this post :: ::



As many may know, online I am a very private person. I say whatever I want and freely admit my associations with certain groups, but my name and those of people I personally know stay off the blog. I don't need some wacko deciding to get to know me better, and I definitely don't need crap like this.

:: The Squire 5:40 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, December 12, 2003 ::

Beyond Belief

It's amazing to consider the length I will go to put off doing laundry.

:: The Squire 7:16 AM :: email this post :: ::


I'm Gearing Up

For the Mission-Statement type posts I promised back when I started this blog. For an inkling behind the title of the blog, check out this really old post of mine.

Even though I live and go to school in a "blue state" I am amazed to find out how many people here are a) republicans and b) able to easily swallow W's spin. It makes political discussion here very confrontational, as many people seem to want to cling to their wrong viewpoints that the Bush Administration gives them. Hell, I occasionally get the "How dare you criticize the president?!?" schtick which really pisses me off. It's like these people don't understand that it's impossible to be considered free if you can't exercize your freedom.

:: The Squire 7:09 AM :: email this post :: ::



I've been quite prolific this week

:: The Squire 6:59 AM :: email this post :: ::


Why No Comments?

The time has come for me to start spelling some things out. I don't have a comments section for a bunch of reasons, primary among them is the fact that this site has, oh, maybe three regular readers including myself. These people can usually IM me, email, or talk to me in person about stuff on the blog. Secondly, putting up a comments section would be a pain in the ass, vastly hampered by my lack of HTML expertise. Thirdly, see that little hyperlink up at the top of the page that says "contact"? Ya know, I do like getting things besides methods to increase my manhood in my inbox. If it bothers you that badly, you can go actually, gasp, email me, and it'll likely get posted (along with my own comments, of course - I do run the show around here).

Note: the pain in the ass arguement also goes for why I don't have a sitecounter either. That, and I really just don't care.

:: The Squire 6:48 AM :: email this post :: ::


Unclear on the Concept

Alright, certain right-wing trolls who shall remain nameless in reciprocal spite, on issues of social importance, being in the majority does not by default make you right. Besides, I thought part of the conservative/Christian ideology is that it's more courageous to stand up alone for right than to be silent and safely part of the crowd. Oh, wait, that type of philosophy is reserved for those who subscribe to Liberation Theology, a progressive take on Judeo-Christian theology. I'm sorry. I assumed you wanted to do some actual GOOD once in a while in addition to spouting off.


:: The Squire 6:35 AM :: email this post :: ::


Brad Delong Makes A Discovery

Memo to Self:

Put on fancy white long-sleeved starched pressed work shirt with cufflinks after, not before, one takes dog outside to play in mud.

:: The Squire 4:41 AM :: email this post :: ::


Hmpf, I Didn't Know That

Apparently there's a cafe/eatery on the second floor of Bevier Hall - this may merit looking into...

:: The Squire 4:32 AM :: email this post :: ::


I Got Mine!

McKinley's run out of flu vaccine, but no worries, dear readers - I got my shot the first day they were available, October 1st. For all those left without - now you know to get yours early before the season looks like it's gonna suck.

:: The Squire 4:27 AM :: email this post :: ::


So Hard To Get Elected These Days

TBOGG thinks that a bunch of people are Unelectable.

:: The Squire 4:03 AM :: email this post :: ::



Against the wishes of at least half his own party, Nader's considering a run for the Presidency, again. I'm quoting someone and I'm sorry 'cos I forget who to credit, but lots of greens need to realize that in presidential politics, voting is not therapy. You go for what CAN happen, not what SHOULD. What this country needs is anybody but Bush (the Unelectable, Miserable Failure), not four more years of him screwing up our country's future because somebody thought that the Democratic party isn't progressive enough. Besides, the Green party needs to build up a strong local base, and it's not gonna do that if it's spending money on running a presidential candidate.

:: The Squire 3:32 AM :: email this post :: ::


They Needed to Say This?

Apparently the American Vetrinary Medicine Association found it necessary to state that wood chippers should not be used to euthanize poultry.

:: The Squire 12:46 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, December 11, 2003 ::

Running Endorsement

I too support Stranger's Law.

:: The Squire 2:46 PM :: email this post :: ::



The Resident-in-Chief is unelectable.

Let's just see what Google does with that.

UPDATE: He's also a Miserable Failure, though you wouldn't know that if you listened to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

:: The Squire 2:40 PM :: email this post :: ::


Wow, They're Doing Their Jobs!

The White House press corps actually grilled Scott McClellan yesterday. It's actually quite funny to read how they make him dance to avoid saying that the awarding of funds for reconstructing Iraq is being used to punish those who opposed our unlawful invasion of Iraq. My favorite of the bunch:

Q Scott, one of the reasons for the decision is to ostensibly protect U.S. security. Could you explain what security threat Canada poses, and why would countries like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Colombia be allowed to bid on contracts?

I'd like to note here that the US-Canadian border is the longest undefended international border in the world.

:: The Squire 2:52 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 ::

Chem 234 Wish List

As posted on the CHEM 234 discussion boards under NOTES (with one slight edit - bet you can't find it - and one major one).

Things I Wish would be changed in CHEM 234:

1. Make the course reinforce CHEM 231.

Seriously, this is bad. We're going over Aldol stuff NOW when we did the lab on it TWO MONTHS ago and the lab lecture on it even earlier. Ditto for the Nitration lab. Instead of clarifying what's going on in 231 by providing hands-on reinforcement in lab, we are introduced to topics 3 weeks to a month ahead of when they're introduced at an understandable level in 231. We are then forced to write up our lab reports in relative ignorance (even with attending the not very illuminating lab lectures) and then have everything made clear to us in 231 the day we turn the labs in (if at all before they're due). The end result is mass frustration and confusion instead of the (I assume) intended enlightenment. In order to fix this, no only should the unknown and aldol labs be switched, but the rest of the course be restructured so that labs follow, not precede. The presence or absence of students taking only CHEM 234 without 231 should have no bearing on
this important improvement to the structure of 234. As we're all, as bio or chem majors, paying extra tuition to pay for our lab expenses, I expect 200+ level labs to be better, not worse, than 100-level introductory labs.

2. Make the exams test knowledge.

Instead of testing what I've learned in lab, the exams tested how well I memorized the answer keys to previous lab exams. This is by no means a fair way to measure students' gained knowledge of chemistry, nor is it ideal. 105/106 manage without exams, why not 234?

3. Make the grade page useful.

There is way too much crap on the grade page. We're not graded on the notebooks, why are they there? Half the prelab quizzes aren't on the page, and those that are appear eight times - all with no grades recorded for them. I much prefer not having to hunt for my grades, and having the possible point totals on the grade page match that listed in
the syllabus would go a long way towards making our lives as students easier.

4. Post the exam and lab grades promptly.

The chem department prides itself on how fast it returns student's exams so that they may learn from the particular test of their academic progress and apply themselves appropriately. When compared to 231 (where 5 days is considered a long turn-around) you people make sloths look fast.

5. Make report requirements explicit in syllabus.

Don't tell us to reference a certain page in the textbook - what the textbook wants is different from what you want (we don't get to see the MSDSs for one). Also, clearly state what you want for referencing the textbook (as most have not done so in a laboratory setting before) and establish a standard of what literature data must be included in each lab.

6. Get rid of the textbook.

There are many labs in which the book is not used altogether. In fact, out of 820 pages, I doubt we used more than 30 of them. With publishers inflating textbook prices over 100%, we as students can ill afford to pay for hardly-used textbooks. Instead of making us by the book, instead make your own procedural manual (just like 105/106) and have it
published and available in the campus bookstores. It's more cost-effective and doesn't make the students pay for stuff we don't use. Just don't fall into the habit of MCB 251 and start using terrible grammar and not updating the entire manual and syllabus every semester.

7. Better organize the Syllabus PDF

There are a bunch of blank pages in the PDF. They can be safely deleted. Also, update the checkout procedures to reflect that bunsen burners and the affiliated equipment are no longer used in lab. This, of course, assumes that a printed lab procedure manual is not made.

8. Don't expect students to attend a lab during 231 lecture

We can't miss the lecture for the accessory lab. I'm sure most professional and graduate schools would rather we missed this currently pointless lab (see #1) than the rather important lecture. Besides, if we can't attend 231 lecture, how are we to understand what is going on in 234?

9. Read the discussion board postings.

As the TAs are usually less than helpful in answering our questions outside of lab, having a professor drop into the discussion board and answer questions, even if only once every other day, would make a lot of students' lives easier. As it currently stands, it's often a case of the blind leading the blind and can be hit-or-miss at best.

10. Make sure professor knows what's going on.

Having the professor not know what is in the drawers does not inspire confidence in the competency of the CHEM 234 staff and faculty as a whole.

11. Remove excess equipment from the drawers.

Why did we have drying tubes, test tubes with sidearms, and 25x200 mm test tubes? They were never used in lab and served only to clutter up the drawers, increasing the chance of broken glasswares.

I doubt any of these changes will actually occur, but at least I said them.

:: The Squire 5:44 AM :: email this post :: ::


What I Would Like to See

The person who does best on the CHEM 231 final not have done his/her prelecture quizzes and end up failing the class.

:: The Squire 4:46 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, December 09, 2003 ::

Something Completely Different

Via Atrios, Bush apparently signed the recent medicare bill while Sousa's Liberty Bell March (a.k.a. the theme to Monty Python's Flying Circus) was playing in the background. Cool doctored pic in the post too.

:: The Squire 10:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


When Business and Public Interests Clash, Guess Who Bush Sides With

Why bother listing the travesties that are the Bush environmental record when Meteor Blades at DailyKos has already done so.

:: The Squire 7:57 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, December 08, 2003 ::

I Hate Macs

They're counter-intuitive, have only one mouse button, no scroll wheel, and hide all the options so that an IBM-compatible (bet it's a while since you heard that phrase) trained (reared?) user can't find them. The mouse cursor also doesn't move fast enough, and the keyboard seems made to prevent you from typing fast as the keys are so slow to depress. Did I mention that I hate Macs?

:: The Squire 11:43 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, December 06, 2003 ::

Yeah, That's a Great Way To Make Friends

Dr. Josh sends us to read this article in the New York Times.

As the guerrilla war against Iraqi insurgents intensifies, American soldiers have begun wrapping entire villages in barbed wire.

In selective cases, American soldiers are demolishing buildings thought to be used by Iraqi attackers. They have begun imprisoning the relatives of suspected guerrillas, in hopes of pressing the insurgents to turn themselves in.

...In Abu Hishma, encased in a razor-wire fence after repeated attacks on American troops, Iraqi civilians line up to go in and out, filing through an American-guarded checkpoint, each carrying an identification card printed in English only.

"If you have one of these cards, you can come and go," coaxed Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, the battalion commander whose men oversee the village, about 50 miles north of Baghdad. "If you don't have one of these cards, you can't."

The Iraqis nodded and edged their cars through the line. Over to one side, an Iraqi man named Tariq muttered in anger.

"I see no difference between us and the Palestinians," he said. "We didn't expect anything like this after Saddam fell."

The practice of destroying buildings where Iraqi insurgents are suspected of planning or mounting attacks has been used for decades by Israeli soldiers in Gaza and the West Bank. The Israeli Army has also imprisoned the relatives of suspected terrorists, in the hopes of pressing the suspects to surrender.

The Israeli military has also cordoned off villages and towns thought to be hotbeds of guerrilla activity, in an effort to control the flow of people moving in and out.

Yeah, that's great. Make a nation of Arabs think we're treating them like Palestinians. And people wonder why Iraqi insurgency is so prevalent...

:: The Squire 5:27 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, December 05, 2003 ::

Dubya as....Heretic?

I wouldn't have gone so far as to say it myself, but someone much smarter and more Theologically inclined over at The Nation does.

:: The Squire 8:03 PM :: email this post :: ::


Much Rejoicing

No more chem lab, ever.

:: The Squire 4:01 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, December 04, 2003 ::

Give a Little, Take a Little

Even though they're more of a pain in the ass to do, chem labs write up a helluvalot nicer than bio labs.

:: The Squire 10:15 PM :: email this post :: ::


And the Republicans Are STILL In Denial

One of the big messages I took away from IB 150 is that global warming is here and that we're all screwed 'cos of it - with ever-mounting evidence supporting that position.

:: The Squire 8:40 PM :: email this post :: ::


Good To See It

A non-violent priest actually speaking out. God bless him. (via a long chain of links)

:: The Squire 8:36 PM :: email this post :: ::


A List I Like

From Pandagon's 20 Most Annoying Conservatives of the Year list comes Ten Rules for Being A Campus Conservative:

1.) Complain how you're shut out of every forum on campus by going to every forum on campus and using it to complain, prominently.

2.) Complain about how your professors are liberal, even though they grade your work fairly and accurately.

3.) Complain about the use of academic "buzzwords" in course descriptions without having actually taken the course.

4.) Complain about how much everyone else is complaining about your complaining.

5.) Complain about how nobody debates any ideas while strictly limiting your debate to telling everyone else that their ideas are horrible and shut out the ideas you can't actually elucidate.

6.) Complain about how the cable system doesn't carry Fox News, and complain when you get it but someone else signed up to watch Monday Night Football.

7.) Complain about campus oppression, and then inaccurately throw activist buzzwords at every liberal you can find.

8.) Complain about how you can't get spaces or funds to bring conservative speakers to campus to complain about the lack of conservative ideas on campus, ignoring that the space you wanted was taken months in advance by other groups.

9.) Take Econ 101. Complain about everything in barely informed economic terms.

10.) Complain about every stupid thing done on campus in terms of liberalism, no matter how apolitical it is. Bonus points if you can blame oversleeping for your 8:30 class on Paul Krugman.

See how easy it is? And it takes advantage of the natural talent that every collegian has, regardless of race, creed, income level or background: bitching about shit.

:: The Squire 6:26 PM :: email this post :: ::


The CHEM 234 Exam Is Tonight

And I Am Screwed.

:: The Squire 12:11 PM :: email this post :: ::


Fun Political Physics Joke

Too bad we can't get Bush to be Schrodinger's Cat... (via Atrios)

:: The Squire 12:41 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 ::

And The Facts Come In

Apparently this morning's rude awakening was caused by a faulty alarm, not by any specific moron. And I was all ready to call out the Brute Squad too....

:: The Squire 11:49 PM :: email this post :: ::


...And So Reduce The Surplus Population

I do hereby propose that anyone who thinks that funny prank would be to pull the fire alarm in a dorm at 3:37 in the morning and then pull it again just after the first alarm is turned off and everyone allowed back in the building should be put to death.

:: The Squire 3:55 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 ::

Attention, Residents!

If you get a bunch of fizz out of the soda fountain in the dining room, don't pour out the fizz - it's a waste of perfectly good pop. Instead, drink the fizz, then continue filling the glass.

:: The Squire 2:20 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, December 01, 2003 ::

Bank Error in Your Favor

Dining Services gave me the points for the week of thanksgiving - when I and everyone else on campus was at home and dining services didn't operate. Basically, I have an extra 4500 credits (one credit roughly equals one cent) to do whatever with. I won't spend them quite yet, though - I get the feeling this is a computer glich that they may decide to correct in a manner most detrimental to everyone's credit balances.

:: The Squire 1:25 PM :: email this post :: ::


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