28 December 2007


Music is very important in life. People use music for various music reasons. I often find myself listening to particular songs in preparation to doing battle for something. For example, before the CH302 final, I distinctly remember listening to a particular eurobeat song over and over at almost 80% volume. Eurobeat kicks ass in that aspect of pumping me up for a test, but also increasing stress, really eustress, the kind that is probably responsible for most of my grades.

It would be appropriate to think of my mind as some kind of large maelstrom. Listening to Eurobeat only adds angular momentum to this storm, making me hyped before the test. I then take the test, effectively high off this added energy. The only after effect is that when the test is over, I think to myself - What the hell just happened? I then obsess over my performance.

Other times call for different tunes. For example, before my interviews, I need to decrease stress levels, so I usually listen to something very structured like Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (Allegro). I find it neither pessimistic nor optimistic, just confident. The kind of music that should be played (before and during) when fate executes its will.

Nevertheless, some classical music actually increases stress. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake has this effect. Try listening to it at a moderately high volume. I feel really messed up inside when the forte part starts, like there is no justice in the world. It's winter break, and I feel panicked for no reason when this one shuffles around. Other songs can actually almost make people cry - (Waltz of the Flowers, etc.)

Even then, music doesn't always cut it. The day before my last MCAT, I spent almost 2 hours looking at pictures of airplanes and videos of takeoffs/landings. This works wonders.

Pop music on the other hand, is meant to be extremely catchy. I do not recommend ever using pop music for any reason other than finding ways to ridicule _______ (insert your favorite band here), although there are exceptions.


The catchiness of pop music will cause problems. Inadvertently, certain phrases will be stuck in your head, which will repeat endlessly. That being said, Maroon 5's "It won't be soon before long" is an awesome album. So is "Songs About Jane". Please let me join you, Maroon 5, as chief entertainer.

In any case, find something that suits you. Just don't start making music (unless you're really good at it) i.e. don't turn into a damned hippie. Playing pre-written songs and calling yourself a 'band' doesn't make you musicians, rather, cheap emulators. My $100 speakers can do better than your $1000 set of instruments.

22 December 2007

Good semester

A good semester is one without any regrets. This has indeed been a good semester. Well, here's some more news. I think I'm on track to graduate magna cum laude in Physics, and I think I'm going to UT-Southwestern medical school.

That felt weird; I almost never talk about myself. To celebrate, I bought myself a Wii game:

Those of you know that know anything about this, it looks great in HD. Kickaess. See that wireless keyboard in the picture? No one realized that it was powered. You guys could have been having so much fun messing up my typing. Oh well.

I came back from Corpus a few days ago. Pictures in a few days (once I figure out how to set up a flickr account)

09 December 2007

New site, same old idiot.

As you can probably tell, the site has had an update. Yes, I used a default Blogger theme. The most important change however, is that I got myself a domain name.


Yea! How awesome is that? I have a presence on the web now!

Most of you that know I exist know I'm applying to medical school and whatnot, but if you've noticed, I usually refrain from talking about the MCAT or admissions. Whatever, I'm going to medical school.

Well, let the ranting begin. For todays discussion, please refer to the front page article of the latest Vector newsletter.

+/- GPA grading systems. I've read a lot about this system, and I am in complete favor of it. Yes it would make grading harder and perhaps add more stress, but overall, this doesn't mean GPAs will go down. It means that students won't be screwed when they get a high B or a high C.

In fact, ideally, incremental increases in grade should amount to incremental increases in GPA. In fact, everyone I know that's against this policy likes the fact that they can get away with A's by getting mediocre A's (<92).>
These people are complete freeloaders/assholes. Yes, there are some valid arguments to this. Time for an analysis.

Quotes right out of Vector itself:

The faculty has decided what is best for them and not necessarily the students.

Actually, the new system imposes more work on faculty, so it's not really "better" for them, but a student that gets a 88/89 or a 78/79 is much better evaluated.

I was unaware of this proposal until now.

Um, whose fault is that? Idiot.

+/- are for high school.

No. Actually quite a few colleges use it. Also, what's wrong with implementing a high school grading policy? A grading policy is a grading policy. Thanks for wasting my time with a moot point.

I don't think the faculty council really cares about student opinion.

Everytime something bad happens, the "lack of care" argument is always present somewhere. It doesn't work. Just drop it.

If there is no A+, there should be no A-, plain and simple... this idea that an A+ would show up on your transcript is insulting!

What's so insulting about an A+? I'd love an A+ on a transcript. I think you mean to say "no A+'s would show up is insulting". This is somewhat of a valid point - I want to see some A+'s on transcripts.

Why is UT trying to bring down its best students?...Engineering is already hard enough to get a 4.0 without the +/- grading system.

Yes, so. This will help you. Stop complaining.

What assurances do I have that employers and graduate admissions offices will weight +/- GPAs appropriatly?

Good point. My idea is to phase it in slowly, making sure that the system is equally represented in all the majors. In time, graduate admissions offices will know about UT's policy. Heard of Caltech? Many Caltech classes place everyone on a bell curve and run with that. A 3.0 from Caltech means genius.

It reduces error. I don't see why it's such a big deal.

YES. Thank you. Error is reduced. Enjoy your life.

The current grading system measures grades rounded to the nearest 10 points. The A +/- system would round grades to the nearest 3 points. This implies that students can be [sic] evaluated to a degree of accuracy which is unrealistic in a large college course.

This is the best argument against the new system I have read. You're absolutly right, 3 points doesn't define anything, but does 1 point? (89,90) The whole system can be brought down if professors sat down and agreed about this.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have is that this and other valid points are not being discussed and instead, people are complaining that their GPAs will go down, that they won't be able to pull that 4.0 using a 90.5.

I was once in a class called Fundamentals of Biochemistry, CH369. My final grade in the class was 98.6. Yes, you read that right, 1.4 points away from perfection. There was another ass-we-shall-not-name, who ended up with a grade 10 points lower. WAIT! Isn't that a B? This guy was curved up to an A. Now I'm not saying I have a divine understanding of biochem, but, it's certainly better than a B.

To be fair, there was another class, called Physical Chemistry, where I got a 90.5, securing a 4.0. I liked it, but I know it's not fair.