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Thursday, January 05, 2006

'Ere we go!!

This morning (9:20 - the delivery bloke woke me up! :)) I received the first mailing for S330. Also, this morning, the SXG390 FC conference opened. Oh, now I'm muddled!!

I've realised that I ALWAYS prepare for each course in exactly the same way. First, I put the parcel down and just look at it (in anticipation). Then I make tea or have a smoke or something - but I must be comfortable - no distractions - dishes done; that kind of thing. So then I open it. It's always a case of snipping those awful metally strings with the scissors and they always boing all over the place. And then I lift out the contents. And I just look through, giving nothing much attention - just checking it's all there (perhaps sniffing the books). Then I get on with other things - whatever those other things happen to be on any particular day (today it was to chat for a bit on the newly opened SXG390 conf!!) Then, generally after a bit of lunch, I sit down on the sofa, with the parcel contents and go through it systematically. Always I read the course introduction and study guide, all the way through. And I read all the other bits and pieces. And then I look through ALL the books. Then I check I have a new A4 refill pad and pens and pencils etc. And then I open the first book and start reading!!

Did all that today too. Great books - lovely illustrations and photos - great smell. They even provided graph paper! And a quick chemistry tutorial (seems like a lot of students don't understand moles ... well .... )

But it's REALLY HARD! I had read two chapters of the set book (biological stuff) beforehand, and that hadn't been too difficult - but this stuff (geology! :)) - IS!! After only page one, I had had to look something up in the (new) Earth Science dictionary - bathymetric. It's actually just the ocean equivalent of topography. Well, why didn't they say that???? And I only had to read 4 pages, before I had to look up stuff on the internet!! I mean, geoid - I couldn't understand the explanation!!! "Many people find the concept of the geoid confusing". They do? :/ "The crucial point is that although it has 'highs' and 'lows', it is a surface of equal gravitational potential. This means that if we could cover the geoid surface with balls, none of them would show any tendency to roll 'downhill'. Also, a plumb-line would always hang at right angles to the surface of the goid, so it is the surface of the geoid that defines what we think of as 'horizontal'." Oh, I get it now (NOT!)

Best thing I read today was that we're allowed to take the Glossary and Data Bank into the ex*m with us!

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