Saturday 23 March 2013

Reasons to be cheerful

What I’ve learned in 11 weeks:
Why radon is dangerous (it’s the polonium, stupid).  The difference between a thermistor and a thermocouple.  That nitrous oxide is created by internal combustion engines because it’s HOT in there and the carburettor is delivering 80% N2. The potassium content of bananas; the alcohol content of poitín; the calcium content of milk, the magnesium content of milk o’magnesia; the moisture content of malt;  the sunset yellow content on Lucozade; the pH of tea. Less is more. Why the ozone hole is bigger over Antarctica than the Arctic (it’s the continental weather, stupid).  How to use a spectrophotometer – and begodde it’s used every day. The hardship and heroism that people go through to get an education. That far more CO2 is fixed by marine algae than all the trees on the planet.  Five different ways to measure the concentration of glucose in water.  How to be productive in 10 minutes between lectures.  How to do molarity calculations. How not to do molarity calculations.  LESS is MORE. How to get the IRQ - interquartile range - in ExCel.  How to do an ANOVA - analysis of variance – in ExCel, and get the correct answer, without having a clue about what you’re doing or what you’re done. That the two tiny peptide hormones oxytocin and vasopressin are produced in the posterior pituitary, are 80% identical and their genes are next door to each other in the genome. How a ditsy approach to syllabus may have good learning outcomes.  That young people are brave in the matter of public speaking.  How to retrieve the number of the missed call from my Cisco phone (thanks TKD!).   That not knowing is the springboard to understanding.

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