Posts Tagged ‘lecture’

Spring into Spring with the 2012 Course Guide

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Think you know all the ins and outs of spring’s awesome courses?

Story. Of. My. Life.

Ha. Think again. Here, for your pleasure, I have painstakingly compiled a list of the hands-down most awesome, useful, compelling, frightening, GER-fulfilling, enjoyable classes you could ever imagine. Remember  before Chem 31, Math 51, and IHUM… back when you applied to Stanford? Remember how you raved about how excited you were for the “engaging classes”? After reading this article, you’re going to realize you weren’t just saying that. Stanford is killing it next quarter in terms of super-interesting classes, and you have the opportunity to get in on the action. I know Camp Stanford is tempting, but after reading this article, you might actually want to bulk up your course load with some of these. And, speaking of Camp Stanford, the categories are…

Camp Stanford: Whether you’re trying to recover from the carnage of your winter course load or just getting a jump-start on summer laziness/craziness, here are the best classes to keep the thoughts of warm breezes and fun-in-the-sun swirling in your head until June…

  • EARTHSYS 180B: Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture: A course that lets “The Farm” live up to its name. Get outside and onto Stanford’s community farm and others in the area. Enjoy the sun on your neck and a little dirt on your nose. (3-4 units, multiple times)
  • ATHLETIC 80: Lifeguard Training: Didn’t snag the Google internship you wanted? No sweat. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that lifeguarding is a solid career choice for those  looking to dip their toes in the real world. Make decent cash, get the tan of your life (and hopefully not melanoma… sunblock, guys!) and know that you can save a life if need be.  (2 units, T/Th 12-2, fee)

    Once upon a time...

  • ATHLETIC 51: Beginning Golf: If you were able to make it into this class, I commend you with my highest honors. (1 unit, multiple times, fee)
  • ATHLETIC 320: Backpacking: You might have given up Stanford Sierra Camp to work for a start-up, but maybe this class can scratch your outdoorsy itch before you sell your soul for equity. (1 unit, M 7-9:30) (more…)

TUSGraph: Recorded Lectures

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

For the first time at Stanford, I’m taking a class which I have to watch online. It’s amazing how inefficient this is. I wish I could say it takes me 2.5 hours to watch a 1.5 hour lecture online because I’m replaying sections I misunderstand. Hopefully I’ll settle into the region of learning soon. Today I spent 0 minutes watching my 90 minute lecture, though…

TUSGraph: LectuRING

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

It’s been a rough start to the quarter, kids. My classes have already been disrupted twelve times by cell phones, with the distribution shown above. I’m fairly sure all the emails and texts were on iPhones so they were easily identified, and I assumed it was a call if it was any extended ringtone. Of course, the phone call is the most embarrassing by an order of magnitude for three reasons:

1. You undoubtedly have the weirdest ringtone. No, no one else understands that it is the main theme from the soundtrack of your favorite Bollywood film.

2. Text and email notifications are a simple beep sometimes with a nice background vibration, but calls can last for thirty seconds. Plenty of time to figure out exactly where the offender is sitting.

3. As a result of 1 and 2, the offender scrambles like they are disarming a bomb to turn off their phones. My favorite is either when they frantically open all the pockets of their bag looking for it, or when they almost fall out of their seat trying to get it out of their pants pocket quickly.

Last quarter, someone even listened to a voicemail in one of my small lectures. Appalling.

And for the record, my phone as never gone off in class. Indication of responsible phone etiquette, or lack of friends? You decide.

(Sorry if the icon plot is a bit ridiculous. I’m trying to experiment with different graph styles this quarter.)

I say “Dalai,” You say “Lama”

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I’ll be the first to admit that I am woefully ignorant when it comes to the Dalai Lama (although less full of woe thanks to Kristi’s great background post on His Holiness), but I was still jittery with excitement as I flocked to Maples Pavilion this morning with hoards of students and visitors.  I was eager to hear the man himself speak, and in my opinion, he did not disappoint.  After a brief introduction by President Hennessy, the Dalai Lama began to address the packed arena (but not without a bit of jovial debate beforehand about whether he should sit or stand while speaking.  For those of you salivating to know, he did, in fact, stand)

Although flanked by his long-time interpreter, His Holiness spoke to the crowd in English in a low, raspy voice.  During his lecture – entitled “The Centrality of Compassion in Human Life and Society” – His Holiness discussed both the religious and secular justifications for compassion in life.  He argued that regardless of faith, there are numerous reasons to engage in compassionate behavior (my favorite being low blood pressure).  The Dalai Lama stressed that in order to achieve happiness for ourselves, we must incorporate not only compassion, but also trust, into our lives.   The argument was simple, but the message powerful.  In our wildly complicated world, the Dalai Lama can serve as a reminder that sometimes the path can be clear and simple – even if following it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

While I could go into more detail about the specifics of what was said during the lecture, I’m sure a script will soon be available online for the interested, so I’ll defer.  His Holiness’ talk was followed by a question-and-answer session led by James R. Doty, Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research (CCARE), which hosted the event along with the Stanford School of Medicine and the Office for Religious Life.   Questions were submitted by attendees prior to the event, and included topics such as “Does scientific research on human qualities such as compassion reduce human morality to mere chemical reactions?”  To which the Dalai Lama replied that the mind, at least at the moment, appears to be a far more complicated thing than simply the combination of physical occurences.  How else, he pointed out, could different emotions – happiness, laughter, sadness – result in the same physical reaction of tears?

Although many interesting things were said during the talk, the most striking part of the experience from my perspective was His Holiness’ absolute lack of pretense.  I find it amazing that as renowned and revered a man though he his, his demeanor is completely free of pomp or stiffness – his shoulder sans chip, you could say.  Even from my seat way in the upper deck, I could easily feel his famed humility and good humor.  From unabashedly asking to be reminded the title of his talk to happily recounting anecdotes about his childhood, the Dalai Lama managed to set a informal tone without compromising the sincerity of his message.  His entire attitude was that of someone who doesn’t take himself overly seriously – a true anomaly at a place like Stanford, where taking ourselves seriously just might be a prereq for admission.

Terence Tao Talks About Things That I Can Understand

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
Terence Tao

You're not a mathematician without a blackboard, apparently

Earlier this evening, Terence Tao, math professor at UCLA, gave a talk about “The Cosmic Distance Ladder” as a public lecture on-campus. Although you might think that basically all lectures are “public” since no one is seriously going to kick you out of “Signal Processing and Linear Systems I.” What “public lecture” actually means is that a very famous, very smart, very cool person is giving a lecture on something far below his or her capability to make preppy and only vaguely informed people (like me) think they’re learning and interacting in academic discourse. Before getting too much further, a few details on Terence Tao to show how awesome he is:

  • He got a PhD from Princeton by age 20
  • He won the Fields Medal in 2006 (The Fields Medal is the Nobel Prize for math, sort of)
  • If you’re not convinced by the above, believe me when I say that he is one of the smartest people alive today
  • He’s a blogger!

If I understood the real work that he does, I would go to one of his other two lectures, but being the layperson I am, I instead sat in on about an hour long lecture on the history of astrometrics, or how we figured out how far away things in space are without actually going there. He described the series of “rungs” of progress, beginning with Hipparchus estimating the size of the Earth over 2000 years ago to WMAP estimating the size of the universe today. Using no more than simple geometry and the fuzzy version of physics, he described the series of really good ideas that got us to where we are.

It was satisfying, if very “public lecture-y.” In my mind, I just saw a good hour-long PBS special on astrometrics and can now spout more trivia. The really good trivia, that is, that makes you feel smarter. Did I really want him to talk about his math instead? Probably not as it would’ve gone over my head. Neither did I really need the lecture he gave. Call me a nerd, but I think it was basically just a celebrity sighting for me.

TUSGraph: [rustlerustlerustle]

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

A = Why I never hear the professor’s first few words of explanation on a new slide.

B = Secondary (or reflected) peak due to lazy/sleeping/day-dreaming students hearing their classmates turn the page in the notes, and reacting late.

Yet Another Hip-Hop Artist to Lecture at Stanford? By Now, It’s Common

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Common will "be" at Stanford. Can I make more puns in this post? Don't try me.

Chamillionaire/QD3. Immortal Technique. Matisyahu. Palo Alto has never before been a hotbed of hip-hop–which is probably why they come to lecture, not perform. Or lecture-slash-perform, better known as lectforming, or just lecturing well.

Perhaps Palo Alto’s street cred as a music-lecture scene is going up, because another lecture is scheduled–this time from the rapper Common on Wednesday, May 26. Common is a widely-respected rapper who has more recently ventured into the film world–he can currently be seen in the New Jersey Nets-centered basketball romantic comedy feature Just Wright with Queen Latifah.

More importantly, though, Common does have a history of activism: he is a animal rights-supporting vegetarian (and, according to PETA, a not-to-shabby-looking one). He’s also pledged to stop using anti-gay slurs in his lyrics and censored the N-word after prompting from Oprah.

This event, sponsored by ASSU speakers, promises to be “an evening of music and meaning.” Sound familiar? Last month, Matisyahu was here to talk about the strangely similar topics of “music and meaning.

The details: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010. 8pm. MemAud. FREE with SUID. Doors open at 7:30pm. Get your FREE tickets Monday – Wednesday (5/24 – 5/26) in White Plaza from 12-1PM. 1 ticket per SUID and 2 SUIDs per person.