Thursday, July 25, 2013

Present to Present

I have been sitting down for far too long today. Class began with a quick talk about polarization. It was quite interesting. He demonstrated how differently polarized things can interact. He also told us about the applications in sunglasses or 3d movies. Bill also talked a little bit about birefringence. After spending about twenty minutes talking about these topics, it was time for presentations.

First up, the last exponential group, Newton's cooling, presented, as they did not get a chance to present yesterday. Then it was time for Hersheypark presentations. Our presentation went fairly well. While we had less interesting data, we did just about the best we could with it. I would say that our presentation was one of the funnier ones. Most funny bits were added at the last second,  as the previous group was entertaining. Most presentations were fairly good, but there were a lot of them. Time dragged on and on. Almost all the presentations dealt with the specifics of their ride, without talking about interesting information that could be applied more generally. In addition to making the presentations less interesting, it also made it hard to say much about them.

Before all the Hersheypark presentations finished, it was time for the guest speaker. The speaker spoke about TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury. The lecture was decent. The speaker was a fine orator, but I was not that interested in the subject. I was amazed at the sheer quantity of TBI. Millions get TBI each year, and for many it's chronic. Boxing is one of the most dangerous sports in terms of TBI. A match is over when one of them can't get up - when one of them gets TBI. Many other sports are dangerous as well, such as football or soccer. While a player may not get TBI each time, they crash into each other hundreds or thousands of times. Even if just a couple of these collisions cause TBI, that's still a lot of TBI.

After the speaker, it was time for lunch. While I will miss the smart people here, I will miss Insomnia Cookies too. Those things are so delicious. After lunch, there were three more Hersheypark presentations. I was ready to be done with class, but we had only done two-thirds of the presentations. After a short break and a group photo, it was time for interest group presentations.

The interest group presentations were a bit more interesting, but it was also later in the day. It was fun to learn what the other people did. The quantum group began with a funny quote from Richard Feynman: "Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it", while playing Also sprach Zarathustra, the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Our presentation went fairly well. We mostly just explained the concept of a cloud chamber and what we did, as we didn't really have any data.

After class, I headed over to The Last Word Used Books with Connor. Unfortunately, I did not see the cat that was supposed to be there (though I did see its food dish). I did purchase House of Leaves. I then taught Connor a bit of programming in Unity. Next, I went to dinner with Mike and Mr. Hillyer. After dinner, I picked out a Penn sweatshirt at the Penn bookstore. I returned to my dorm and relaxed.

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