The Thing About Watches Is That They’re Timeless

Sunday 18th May 2008

According to my Mum, in any case. Made me lol for quite a while after she said that to me on the phone earlier today.

Anyway, exams are almost over! I’ve almost certainly failed Friday’s though. The paper generally was troubling, but about 5 minutes before the end I realised that I’d done a fairly important part of the first question wrong. The question was basically work out the reactions for this (apologies for quality of drawing):

Arch Question

Working out the vertical reactions is easy, so I got that bit fine (frankly I deserve to be shot if I cocked that bit up, it’s AS-level stuff). But for the horizontal reaction, I got H=P. Which is just wrong, however way you look at it. I’d assumed my mistake was just an algebraic one (cancelling something by accident, or whatever). To work out the force, you assume the horizontal displacement at the supports is zero, and then you equate that with the partial derivative of the strain energy with respect to the force. You get a nice equation, do some whizzy maths stuff, and the force (hopefully!) drops out. One of the terms in the equation is the partial derivative of the moment with respect to force (H, in this case). My error, realised just before the end of the exam, was to differentiate wrt x…

Of course, getting that bit wrong meant that my answers for the next bits are wrong too.

For the first time in my exam-taking career, I was suitably pissed off that I wrote a note by the side of the mistake. “I realised with about 5 mins before the end of the exam that I should’ve differentiated wrt H, not x. This probably explains the silly answer on the next page…”


In other news… I think I’ve expressed my displeasure before with the fact that I’m gonna miss the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend, due to a field course. I’ve just come across this, which just annoys me even more. It’s one of the worst races of the season (because apparently it’s hard to overtake cars on a bumpy, twisty, narrow road at 150+mph…), but as a spectacle it’s fantastic, and it’s actually one of my favourites. Fast cars on essentially normal roads is not a sensible idea, for any sane person anyway, and watching the drivers there is just mind-bending:

In the wet, it’s something else. I’m gonna get Mum to record it at home, but that means avoiding news for a week (and no-one texting me the result…). Utterly annoying.

Posted at 2:03 am | Posted In: MotorsportRandomStuff Tagged:



Sunday 18th May 2008, 6:11 am

That diagram makes my eyes bleed. Took me a while (and a look at the filename!) to realise it was some kinda arch.

10 days until my exams start. Fun times.


Sunday 18th May 2008, 8:32 am

I divided 10 by 2 and got it equal to 2. This effectively messed up 20 marks of the paper on something that, as everyone didn’t hestitate to mention, was “one of the easiest questions”

That was annoying.


Sunday 18th May 2008, 9:01 am

Bad luck. I sympathise, big time, because it’s just so easy to do, and when questions carry the marks through like that… yeah…!

Writing the note’s a plan, though. It means they have to give you method marks, at least, and they’ll probably look more favourably on you for the rest of the paper.

And at least it came out to be something obviously wrong – in my Linear Algebra exam on Friday, I was Gram-Schmitting and a stupid error half way through resulted in the length of a vector squared being negative. If it had come out positive (and still wrong), I probably wouldn’t have noticed that I’d done x^3 times x^3 = x^9. Arithmetical stupidity ftw!


Sunday 18th May 2008, 10:40 am

Shame to hear that! It all makes no sense to me but must be incredibly frustrating to someone who knows they got it wrong.

Just think, you’re nearly finished and can ignore it all for a while. That’ll be cool.


Sunday 18th May 2008, 5:38 pm

@Andy: Yeah, it’s a pretty poor diagram. Turns out it’s hard to draw an arch with a mouse…

@Flix: ow, that’s gotta sting. I remember a physics exam a few years ago when we had to plot some stuff on a graph for one of the questions. One of the axes went from 0 to 0.2 (or something like that). I got hung up on it for far too long because “0.200 doesn’t fit on! It’s much too large!”.

@Lucy: when I wrote the note I wasn’t really thinking “well, might get me method marks”. I was more thinking “you fucking retard, this doesn’t even make sense!”. The note was as much as way to vent my own fury as it was an exercise in getting marks… Sadly the rest of the paper didn’t go much better.

It’s nice to hear about other people’s numerical numptiness in exams though. Makes me feel less stupid :-p

@Hannah: I’m really looking forward to ignoring it all! I’ve got quite a few things planned for the first few weeks after exams, and it’s gonna be great (assuming it doesn’t rain). I get the feeling it’s gonna be a good summer.

No comment on Monaco. How predictable :-p


Sunday 18th May 2008, 8:25 pm

Oh trust me, you can always come to me for numerical numptiness, exams or no. Oakley was always despairing of me (in front of the class if you remember!) for messing up a matrix question or something by doing 1×1=2! It’s a right pain, actually – I make that sort of error way too often…


Sunday 18th May 2008, 8:26 pm

Oh, and what did you expect us to say about Monaco?

“We’ll be glued to our seats watching it and text you the result straight afterwards, hahaha!”?


Sunday 18th May 2008, 8:57 pm

heh, fair enough.

And I didn’t, which is why it was predictable :-p


Tuesday 20th May 2008, 1:10 pm

How’d your last exam go, sir?


Wednesday 21st May 2008, 11:56 am

Could’ve gone better, tbh.

All over now though! :-D

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