Ok, well not really, but I have been studying with both Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur (while on my bike). My vocab and grammar are improving in leaps and bounds. It helps that so many of the words are close to or the same as in English and Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish either, but I probably know close to 2000 words, which is all I should need. And it helps that I studied Latin and Greek, albeit a long time ago, so I have decent understanding of conjugation, declension and a strong foundation in grammar.
However, the pronunciation still ties my tongues in knots. I’m truly hopeless. It doesn’t help that there are sounds in Brazilian Portuguese that just don’t exist in English. I’ll keep trying and we’ll see where I get after 24 days of trying to speak and pretending to understand what people say back to me.
The other day I stumbled on the Berkeley Podcast site. Looks like for a couple of years now, Berkeley has been recording and podcasting some of their courses. Ostensibly, this is for students who miss lectures for one reason or another, but the site is public and it’s available to anyone.
Some of the courses offered are really interesting. Here’s a small sample:
Introduction to Archaeology
Bio 1A General Biology Lecture
Bio 1AL General Biology Labratory (sic)
Bio 1B General Biology
Chem 1A General Chemistry
CS 162 Operating Systems and System Programming
CS 61A The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
CS 61BL Data Structures and Programming Methodology
CS 61C Machine Structures
Econ 100A Economic Analysis–Micro
Econ 100B Economic Analysis–Macro
EE 105 Microelectronic Devices and Circuits
You can download them onto your iPod and listen anywhere and if you don’t have an iPod, download them to iTunes and listen at work.
(Is it bad that they spelled “Laboratory” wrong on the site?)
I’m going to be up all night studying for my Essentials of Marketing. I fell behind after the trip to New York and with so much stuff going on, it’s been hard to catch up. I still have 3 chapters to read tonight. Plus I need to go over all the other chapters from earlier in the course. I love the class, but some of the reading is just unbearably dull. i don’t need to get an A on the final or anything. Honestly, I couldn’t give a shit what grade I get. I just need to pass the class so I get reimbursed by the company. I got a B on the midterm. I talk in every class and participation is a large chunk on of the final grade. Our group project, a marketing plan for a company that makes edible toothpicks was late getting going but come on strong after I installed a wiki for our group so that we could collaborate remotely. And the final, well, the final will proabably be tough, and I could most likely pass it without doing any more studying tonight, but I’m going to power through these chapters and make a good showing. Maybe even learn something.
I shouldn’t be surprised as I watch the Christian Jihad in America weave its nefarious way from one aspect of society to another, but this “debate” over evolution is shocking. I just saw a report on the NewsHour about the so called conflict over Evolution. I have no idea how PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown could keep a straight face listening to high school students in Kentucky talking about how evolution is just a “theory”. That kills me. It just a fucking semantic game put into the heads of these sad, sad victims of the absurdist right wing religious agenda makers.
A theory in science is not like a theory you or I might have about, say, why people in this country are such fucking idiots. (I have a theory that people in this country are devolving, by the way). It’s not a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers.
Relativity. Gravity. These are theories. A theory is more like a law than a hypothesis, which is like a hunch based on previous observations. Thusly, Evolution, based upon a set of related observations based on proven hypothesis is a theory. In fact, a scientific theory is even more complex than a law. While a law governs a single action, a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena, such as, um, Evolution. There is no debate in the scientific community. None. It might as well be the fucking written in stone.
Unless, that is, you’re an idiot who thinks that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, carbon dating is complete rubbish (perhaps even a theory) and that man was placed on the earth full form, like Adam and Eve. Someone exactly like Kevin Ham, who’s building the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, as if people in this world needed another reason to think Kentucky is Darwin’s waiting room. Why is this necessary, you ask? Well you can find the answer right in their handy FAQ. It turns out that our increasingly anti-Christian country must return to a belief in the authority of the Bible and be presented with the life-changing Gospel message. Evolutionary indoctrination has undermined the Christian foundations in America.
Our increasingly anti-Christian country? Is that some sort of joke? It’s like these people are living in a bizarro world where the exact opposite of reality is happening. For more laughs go here or here.
Then there’s the whole Intelligent Design scam. Basically Intelligent Design says that some “Creator” (not god, don’t say god, but something omnipotent like god) created everything in the universe. Why? Well, darn it all, the universe is just too fricken complicated for it to have “evolved” to its present state. This is just a well funded attempt to try to hijack science in the name of religion and force creationism back into the classroom. Will it work? The fact that it’s being talked about on the NewsHour is enough for me to want to keep my unborn children out of the public education system.
One thing is for certain. There’s very little intelligent design evident in the classrooms in Kentucky. I weep for anyone who graduates from high school in this country and does not believe that Evolution is as true as Gravity, as true as the Earth revolving around the Sun. Clarence Darrow must be spinning in his grave.
Want to have some fun this morning? Head over the ‘Geography Olympics’ and take their quiz where the US is getting hammered by most of the counties in the world.
The test cannot really determine an accurate understanding of geography since it only requires people have to locate 10 randomly selected countries on a map of the world with the names blanked out with 200 second time limit. You could easily be given really hard countries like Guinea-Bissau or something simple like Brazil.
That said, it’s interesting to note that the US is getting creamed. If you take a look at the world wide results, St. Lucia, a tiny island in the Caribbean, is in first with their 158 participants averaging 69.114. The US meanwhile is in 133th with 57827 geo-quizzers scoring a paltry 54.406. Albania, Rwanda and Burkina Faso are among the countries outgunning us.
Myself? Well, I scored 90% missing only Congo, which to my defense, is a tough one since there are two in Africa. I did nail France, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Indonesia, Solomon Islands just to name a few. (How many people in the world can’t locate France on a map?). I’d love to see a page listing each country and the percentage of people who able to place it on the map. That would be far more interesting.
Your Score 90.00%
United States’s Previous Score 54.427%
United States’s New Score 54.429%
Congrats, you have increased your country’s score by 0.002%
YOUR STATE RESULTS!!
Your Score 90.00%
California’s Previous Score 50.963%
California’s New Score 50.976 %
And you have increased your state’s score by 0.013%
As you can see, I had a massive impact on the scores of my country and state, respectively.
What better way to find out that you couldn’t place San Marino on a map of Europe if you life depended on it than checking out the flash geography quizzes from Sheppard Software. There are tons of quizzes so it should (or could) keep you enthralled for days on end. Really, it could. Ok, so maybe it will divert you for a few minutes. (oh, and if you’re playing at work, you’ll want to turn down that volume).
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Dear J-School Applicant,
Thank you for applying to the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley. At this time, your application file for Fall 2004 is incomplete.
ALL MISSING APPLICATION MATERIALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2004.
IF YOUR FILE REMAINS INCOMPLETE AFTER THIS DATE, YOUR APPLICATION MAY NOT BE REVIEWED.
Please send all missing items to our office as soon as possible. (Our address is shown below.) Missing items can also be faxed to our office at 510-643-9136.
Please DO NOT CALL OR REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL to check on the receipt of materials or the progress of your application. We will notify you when your application is complete.
We will contact you should we wish to schedule an interview. (Please note: Not all applicants are invited to interview.)
Fellowship applicants must submit all supporting materials by the deadline and should be sure to submit their FAFSA form as soon as possible.
Office of Admissions
I love how they don’t bother to tell me what’s missing. That would constitute common courtesy in my book. That is, if I was actually missing some part of my application. I called the School of Journalism, left a message and got this email response:
I’ve received your voice message, and I apologize for the confusion
that the last email from us has caused. Your application is complete. Your email address was mistakenly put on the list of incomplete applicants.
Office of Admissions
Hopefully, Berkeley will take into account the mental anguish that they caused me and grant me immediate acceptance. That’s the policy, isn’t it?
I’m back from my overnight GRE adventure in Tucson and I’m damn glad it’s over. I don’t mind taking tests. Sitting in front of the computer, writing essays and answering questions is no big deal. I feel like I’ve been doing this sort of thing for years. The stressful part is at the end of the end of the exam, when you get to choose whether you’re going to keep your score or cancel it. When you choose to keep it, your score pops up on the screen immediately.
Before the score comes up there’s a sense of foreboding doom. So many of the questions on the exam are so vague using words that will never appear in a newspaper or rarely, if at all, in literture with math questions that have no bearing on reality and are mostly worthless to comprehend. So even though I feel like I have a solid grounding in these subjects from what I think is a superb educational background, there is still a feeling of uncertainty before the scores hit the screen. When they do, I just scratch my chin, say ok and walk away. Despite the instant gratification of knowing I earned a decent score, it’s very unsatisfying in some respects.
What I really want is to see the test and have a look at the questions I got wrong, though, sadly, I will never experience this. What’s the point of taking a test like this and not learning from your mistakes? I don’t really see the point of a test like this at all, unless it is to keep people who can’t afford the outrageous fees (115 bucks) away from higher education.
One thing I did learn during this experience is that I never want to live in Tucson. It’s horrible in the winter and I can only imagine what a hell hole it is in the summertime. I really need to get my tuchus out of Arizona and back to California where it belongs. Adios.
I’ve gone to Tucson to take the GRE. I’m not really worried or anxious about it. I look at it more as a challenge. In studying over the last week, it’s really amazing how much I have forgotten since high school and how easy it is to remember it with a little review.
I took a practice exam with the software that ETS gave me. I finished the test in less than an hour and scored 690 verbal and 690 math. I need to do better if I hope to get into the schools I am applying to do, but like I said, I’m not overly worried.
Wish me luck.
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