Category: Education


Hmm where to start, well the beginning is probably the best place, so here goes. On Friday 2nd May a number of heathens, members of the Kith of Yggdrasil, descended upon the British Museum. It was a Kith outing to the Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition and to a talk given by Professor Neil Price about Magic, Sorcery and the Viking Mind. The talk was free and well worth going to. If you can find you tube videos of it or if the British Museum staff have put it up on the website yet, watch it. It is so interesting and certainly calls into question some of the stereotypes we have of the Vikings.

The talk lasted 40 minutes but I find myself wishing it was longer, Professor Price has obviously researched his subject well and put all the loose ends and snippets of insight we have into Viking beliefs and made sense of it all. Turns out that there is a distinct link between sex and magic as well as between violence and magic, can’t help but chuckle at that. It would also seem that there are a lot of contradictions. Vikings are supposedly one of the most homophobic civilisations to have existed, magic was supposedly the woman’s domain too. However we find that Odin is the master of magic and we find records of male magic users. To be a male magic user was to be ergi, that is unmanly, cowardly, and all sorts of things not stereotypically male, (or as one of the group pointed out…. possibly gay…. and ergi, he thought, roughly meant cock sucker) though we find in the eddas and sagas a lot of incidents of this, Thor dressing up as a bride for a start, not to mention there was a very nice statue on display in the exhibition of Odin, wearing a dress. I wouldn’t be surprised if ergi was just applied to those individuals who didn’t fit the gender binary, this is of course just me speculating.

So the exhibition itself, wonderful items on display, I really enjoyed it. Just a shame that we were being crammed in like sardines. I hate crowds at the best of times, so being hemmed in so closely did not do my nerves any good at all and when you have selfish people pressed up against the glass of the displays so no one else can see it’s infuriating. Why don’t people have any manners or respect for other human beings, also managed to pick a ‘fight’ with some Americans… I’m sorry but if someone who knows nothing about Heathenry or Loki starts slagging him and his followers off I am going to get involved, thankfully these ladies were wonderful people to talk to so it turned into a discussion more than a fight. I am going to have to try and go again so I can spend more time looking at the items and  perhaps go earlier to evade the crowds.

Once we all made it out of the exhibition we had a small sumble outside by the replica longboat… let’s just say the boat also got doused with mead. Had a fun day out and ended up first in Atlantis Bookshop and then a pub called The Plough. I think I need to go on Kith outings more often.

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A-Levels!

Okay it’s late but I got my A-level results

Physics: b, b, b, e, e, u……. averaging as a D over all for the entire A level… guess which units I’m resitting.

Maths: c, d, b,….. average a C for the AS….. guess what I’m resitting.

So there’s the results and the new academic year starts on September the 5th, I’m going to get those bloody B grades I need, if I end up getting higher than Bs on the resits, well that’s an added bonus. I am going to get my fat arse to Reading University and study meteorology.

ARGH Exams!

I got my exam timetable today, okay so I already knew when the exams are happening but it’s really starting to hit home now, I have just over two weeks before study leave begins, and three weeks before the first of my exams. What’s worrying me even more is with just two teaching weeks left, we haven’t finished learning the physics syllabus. In the words of Timon and Pumba from The Lion King “Now is a perfect time to panic!” I know I shouldn’t panic but I tell you what the stress is really building up, especially after getting back my absolutely appalling mock results… nothing above a C. Even so a C isn’t bad given the circumstances, just getting back from an anime convention and a friend passing away. My worst result was an E on unit 4.. the one where the c1 and c2 maths creeps in and all that complicated mind bending jargon and equations that deal with gravitational, electrical and magnetic fields. I thought quantum was a head fuck, I can actually complete the quantum questions, fields, hell no they confuse me so much. Well revise, revise and revise as much as I can and hope the fields concepts finally click in place in my memory before the exam rolls around. Wish me luck.

What’s in a number?

I’m going to be a complete geek and admit that this conversation I had with a friend and this resultant post came from discussing π (Pi) day. It started off with the posting of a comic strip discussing π day and that on March 14th at 1:59 am you have the first six digits of the mathematical constant π (3.14159). I also made a comment that I was rather worryingly the only person in my maths group that understood why it was π day. Goes to show that too many people rely on calculators and can’t remember the first few digits of the constant. Copy pasted below is the resulting conversation, what my friends have said is in bold, my replies in italics. Names are omitted to keep their anonymity.

Friend One: There is no fourteenth month, thus it is not pi day. We could have a day like 31/4 but 30 days hath november april june and september

Actually it’s the UK that has it wrong, a date and time should be written YYYY/MM/DD/hh/mm/ss/ that’s the standard notation for date and time, especially where navigation is concerned.

Friend 1: At least it’s in the right order- the US just jumps about instead of going large-small or vice versa

True

Friend 2: Do you have a citation to where it shows that time should be written from Large to Small?
I thought it would have been the other way round from an efficiency point of view.

My celestial navigation books.

Friend 2: So that’s from a navigation point of view, not from a time keeping point of view.

Exact time differences are calculated that way too, I’m guessing it’s more a general mathematical point of view than just navigation though. You use the same format in count downs as well like that Olympics waste of space in Trafalgar Square, you see that format on game release date count downs in Game stores.

Friend 2: But marking time as it moves forwards, you count forwards from the smallest to the largest, from 1 March 2012, 2 March 2012 and so on…

That appears to be specific to time moving forward though, look at currency and other numbers, the largest unit is recorded first, pounds, then pence, dollars then cents, large numbers say 1,000,000 are recorded millions first, hundred thousands second, tens of thousands, thousands, hundreds, tens then “units”, if there were a decimal after that you would gradually get smaller take the meter, you go meter, decimeter, centimeter, millimeter, micrometer, nanometer, gradually getting smaller.

Friend 2: You are talking about numerical values rather than the transition of time though.
With regards to the transition of time you have to count upwards, without a second you can’t have a minute, without a minute you can’t have an hour etc…
So under that rationale dates measuring time are measured in days, months and years.

Minutes and seconds are also measures of distance across the globe, degrees, minutes, seconds but that’s neither here nor there. What are years, days, hours, minuets and seconds if it is not a numerical value given to denote how much time has passed? Instead we could be using Radians to measure how far through one rotation of the earth we have traveled through, with one complete rotation being 2π radians. Without the time that has gone before how can you measure what time is passing. With time you also count backwards, at least where timezones are concerned.

Friend 2:The recording of time existed long before the notation was used to navigate.I’m talking about the measurements of time with which you measure what day it is i.e. Third of March, you comparison of the measurements of distance, even though it uses similar notation, is irrelevant.If I asked you what the date was, you wouldn’t say ‘it’s 120 miles since the 1st of the month’. Much like the answers to ‘How far have you traveled to get here’ wouldn’t be ‘6 hours’. :-/

Very true, though it makes for interesting pondering.

So after all that what is in a number? A single digit can represent so many differing things and yet the same thing. Don’t even get me started on negative and imaginary numbers, that’s most certainly the realms of pure mathematics.

ARGH – Results Day

Well today was results day and I did atrociously. I need to get a b grade over all in both physics and maths, I got C grade in the two modules I sat in January. Well it means I’m sitting seven exams in May/June rather than five. I hate exams.

I don’t know what it is but I absolutely fail to understand why the younger generation these days have a complete and utter disrespect for everyone around them. I remember going to school and once a week we had a lesson with the head mistress teaching us about being courteous, the importance of a sense of dignity and to carry yourself in a dignified fashion, we were taught the importance of manners and respect.  I hated those lessons because I found them a little dull, but at the end of the day they’ve done me a lot of good. Why does such a practice not continue in schools today. It was only eight years ago that I left secondary education. It shocks me to see how much had changed in what is such a comparatively short space of time.

Hell I know I was a stubborn little so-n-so at times, rude on occasions and yes when I got riled up I swore like a trooper (and still do) but I was never as bad as the younger generation of today. I still held a great amount of respect for my elders and betters. As I see it they’ve lived life, and they can teach me from what they’ve experienced. I’ve seen the growing lack of respect towards teachers and older generations, and first hand with my mother. My mother is a teacher by profession and it was only last week that when she asked one of her students (this young man is 16) why he had lied to her about doing his holiday homework he said to her it was none of her business and would make no difference whether he lied or not. He just shouted and ranted at her in the school corridor for the best art of ten minutes and what makes matters worse is that there is nothing my mother can do about it. She has to deal with the verbal abuse, all she can do is report the student to the principle and it gets ‘dealt’ with from there. Nothing ever happens though, then it’s just a matter of time before the next student hurls verbal abuse at my mother, or any other teacher.

It’s not just with teachers though, I was on the us earlier today heading back from college and it’s a packed bus, always is that time of the day. Stopped at a bus stop as the bus does and people get off, though this arrogant toe rag needs to get off the bus but instead of being polite and saying “excuse me” he shoved passed me and several other people, I ended up being shoved into one of the metal uprights in the bus and got a bump on the head as a result, not to bothered about that, bumps and bruises heal. I was more concerned that the force of the impact broke my Kindle e-reader, which was stowed in the pouch pocket at the front of the jumper. Before I could say anything the lad had pegged it off the bus at speed. I’m really peeved off about that as the Kindle was a gift from my parents for my 25th birthday and with a price tag of £149 to buy a replacement. I can’t afford that kind of money, at least I still have all my books backed up on my computer. Why do the younger generation have such an attitude problem. I’m not trying to tar everyone with the same brush here because there are some genuinely kind, courteous and well mannered people amongst the younger generation. It’s just a great shame that they are, unfortunately, the vast minority. Is there anything that can be done to change this worrying trend? I sure hope so.

January Exams

So the January exams are over, now to wait on the results and  prepare for the summer ones.

Physics 1: I think I’ve flopped that one. The particle physics questions were nice. I managed to answer them though the electricity side of the paper though. I don’t think I did well on that at all. I think I’ll be resitting that in the Summer exams. Well we shall see what happens on results day.

Maths Stats 1: Not a bad paper as far as things go, but with one exception. The second question, it was about probabilities and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t answer that question. Well that’s 8 marks down the drain, no A grade for me, well that’s not technically true I might get an A grade providing I get every single remaining mark on the paper.  Roll on March so I can find out the grades.

The Results Are In

I have the results back for my mock exams. Some are good while others are absolutely abysmal. Though I will admit I only concentrated on revising the topic areas that I have real exams for in the the next two weeks which is maths stats and physics A module 1 (particle physics and electricity)

So the C1/C2 mock exam: E – yea that was atrocious, thank goodness those modules are not until May

Physics A, Module 2: borderline C/B: Not bad considering I didn’t revise, that will be an A grade by May 😀

Maths S1: A grade! Weehee

Well the first of the real exams is tomorrow, lets hope its a nice paper that I can get a good grade on. Wish me luck!

The Mocks Are Over!

But the real exams are still to come.

Wow I don’t think my brain has been this fried for a very very long time. Well Four hours worth of mathematics exams will do that to your brain. Funny thing is I fell asleep in one of them See I’m doing my actual Stats 1 module on Jan 17th (wish me luck) but I had to do both the AS mock (the group taking the paper in June) and the A1 mock (people sitting the paper on Jan 17th) I’ve completed the S1 syllabus but anyway I ended up sitting both papers, A1 in the morning AS in the afternoon, the A1 is harder it covered the whole syllabus, the AS one only two chapters so I completed the second paper which is supposed to be 90mins long in about 45 minutes and then fell asleep. I’ve not done that in an exam since Key Stage 3 -laughs- Hopefully it’s not a bad sign. Though I’m pretty sure one of my idiot classmates was trying to copy my paper while I was answering the questions. The class mate in questions averages a U in class, if you get a grade that bad, after a whole term then why the hell are you still taking the course? Though, as a sadistic as it sounds, I kinds like not feeling like the idiot in the class for a change.

So maths Stats 1 on Jan 17th and Physics module 1 on Jan 12, I am not going to have any fingernails left by the time they roll around.

Exam Time!

It’s been seven and a half years since I last sat an A-level exam. You would think that I would be used to the idea and know what to expect. Hell no! I’m as nervous as hell and I wish the other students who are sitting A-level modules this month the very best of luck. Given that I’m at least 8 years older than most of the students there I would have thought that pre exam nervousness wouldn’t be an issue anymore. Oh boy how wrong was I?

So that’s one mathematics mock paper out of the way, three more mocks and two real exams left to go. Two hours of physics tomorrow four hours of maths on Friday then a small breather until the real exams hit on the 12th and 17th. Wish me luck!