Saturday, September 29, 2007

Get Rid of It



I'm buying new furniture for my place and this has prompted me to do a major purge. It is obvious that I have far too many books. The Wodehouse collection is sacred, but I can safely recycle my 1984 undergrad textbooks.
For some reason I really like calculus and did pretty well in it. I even took some advanced Math courses and I'm not really sure why, but they probably had some practical applications back then. Differential Equations and Boundary Variables was a little difficult. There is a "Hello Kitty" sticker on the side of this book - a reminder to me that this book isn't for kids and I better take it seriously or I would fail. No comment on whether I actually passed this one or not however.

Why learn this stuff? Any practical application? Of course!
These particular equations examine ecological situations involving two species, one of which preys upon the other. In the absense of a predator, the prey grows without bounds, in the absence of prey the predator dies out.
These equations are very simple and there are ways of making them more realistic.

I also used this type of equation to study excitable neurons in the Physiology lab.
Maybe I should keep this book. Could come in handy someday.
Just kidding - it's gone; I'll dump it off at some used bookstore. I don't think anybody would buy it on Ebay.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Intro to Masters Fall Group


I teach an Intro to Masters swim class at the YWCA downtown in Vancouver. No really weak swimmers this term and a lot of really fast swimmers. The "fast" lane swimmers are too talented for my class and should be swimming with Paul Cross in the morning, but they like to swim after work so I let them remain in my class. I give the fast swimmers a different workout to keep them busy while I am attempting to do stroke correction with the intro swimmers. The fast lane swims about 1800 metres in an hour (they aren't super fast). Terry keeps the pace up and I just let them go to it.
My lane 1 and 2 Intro swimmers are wonderful and always thank me at the end of the class. I do get in the pool and swim with them and demonstrate what the stroke and drills should look like. My biggest challenge is the woman who goes backwards when she kicks with a kickboard. She has convinced herself that she can't kick. I'm letting her use fins for now (and that's not making a big improvement).
I think it might be useful to write blog articles about common swim problems and how to fix them. If I can't write anything funny then that's the direction the blog will take for a while.