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Guide To Binoculars November 9, 2015

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy.
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If you’ve read any of my posts about buying a telescope, you know that my first piece of advice is to consider binoculars. Here is a lovely, concise guide to what to look for in binoculars.

Source: Guide To Binoculars

Fatherly Advice for a good class January 21, 2013

Posted by aquillam in teaching.
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My dad was a high school science teacher. Back when I was in grad school and started teaching physics labs, I used to ask him for a lot of advice. Some of it was pretty basic advice, like how do you write an appropriate exam (if you think 5% of the questions are “A” level, and 70% are “C” level, you’ll probably have a B- average exam.)

However, some of it was more general advice. The three most important things he ever told me was about how to create a good environment for your class. Here’s his advice:

  1. Have clear expectations. Nothing ruins a class more thoroughly than uncertainty. The students need to know what they need to do to pass, and to get an “A.” Use a fixed grading scale so they’ll know how much work they’ll have to do and be willing help each other.
  2. Give them tools they want to use. There’s no reason to make them cart around a graph-paper lab notebook if you don’t need them doing frequent graphs, and there’s no reason to make “physics for the math-phobic” students read a vernier caliper if you have digital ones available. Now-a-days, I’d add that you should give them tools, like a google doc study guide, to enable collaboration.
  3. Always remember why this is interesting or necessary. Don’t waste time with the irrelevant.


6 Steps To Find A Job For Soon-To-Be College Grads | Here & Now January 4, 2013

Posted by aquillam in Uncategorized.
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6 Steps To Find A Job For Soon-To-Be College Grads | Here & Now.

I was listening to the radio and the guy said something like “the most important thing you can do to start your job search is a blog.”

Considering that a class blog is always a huge challenge because students aren’t familiar with blogging, I thought this was interesting advice. The rest of the advice is pretty good too.

If you (or someone you know) might be starting a job search soon, give it a listen. It’s only 8 minutes.

Bertrand Russell speaks to the future August 4, 2011

Posted by aquillam in Philosophy.
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Sometimes I start writing things, but then I reconsider what I’m writing, not because I am reconsidering what I have to say, or because I don’t think it’s worth saying, but rather because I don’t want to be just another noisemaker, saying the things that have already been said.

Especially when it’s been said so much better by someone else. Someone like Bertrand Russell.

Watch this, you’ll see what I mean.