The Earth Day

Happy Earth Day, Earth! And to everyone on it! (Sorry, astronauts on the ISS, you don’t count. But hey, you’ve got an awesome view out the window. Of the Earth.) It's good to have a reminder about the value of the Earth, our environment, and ways to protect it.

At work, I strive to be environmentally friendly:

  • No recyclable paper gets thrown in the garbage. Any paper that goes into the recycling almost always has both sides used. I admit that I do use a lot of paper--exams, mostly. You wanna help me recycle exams? Heh, nice try. They all go to be shredded and then recycled.
  • Dead batteries from the wireless mics I use get dropped off in an ECOS box, along with my empty printer cartridges.
  • I turn off the lights in my office when I go to class; I also turn off the lights in the bathrooms in Bio Sci when I leave. (Sorry about leaving you in the dark that one time, guy in the stall. Oops!)
Am I a paragon? Of course not. Apparently, I’ve committed the worst kind of enviro-crime possible, twice: having kids. Um, sorry?

Speaking of family, here are some things we do:
  • We don’t buy bottled water; every family member has their own reusable aluminum bottle (so no fighting over the one with zoo animals on it!).
  • In my house, I’m famous for eating food that’s past its expiry date. Long past. Hey, I hate to waste food. What's a little borborygmi?
  • Every garbage day, I put out more blue bags than garbage bags--in fact, no one else on my block puts out as many blue bags as I do. It takes me over an hour a week to clean, rinse, sort, and otherwise prep all of my family’s recyclables.
Here’s a funny story. Before the City of Edmonton’s Blue Bag curbside pickup recycling program, there was the blue box curbside pickup recycling program. Not only did you put your recyclables in a, box, you had to sort everything, too: cardboard vs. plastic vs. clear glass, etc. So when the recycling-pickup person came, they tossed the cardboard into one compartment of the truck, plastic into another, and so on. One recycling day, the recycling-pickup person had (oddly) left behind a large piece of cardboard. When I picked it up, I saw that they had written me a note of appreciation, thanking me for the good job I had done sorting and arranging my recycling. Aww! Thanks, recycling-pickup person!

Could I do better? Absolutely. I could bring my own rechargeable batteries to use in the wireless mics. I could try to always remember to shut off the computer and turn off the lights in my classrooms, if it’s the last class of the day. I could buy products with less packaging to reduce my recyclables.

What are you doing to help save the Earth?

Why aren’t you studying?

The End of Term

Just a quick reminder, in case you've forgotten: the end of term is approaching.

Yeah, yeah--terms papers this, studying that, yada yada. But there's another reason to remember the last day of term. I ask that, if you have any concerns about the marking of any assignment or exams in the course, you bring them to me or the TA before classes end. I'm going to be heads-down marking term papers, and your TAs are students with exams to prepare for, too. Although I've asked them to keep their usual office hours up until the final, they may just have to write an exam during one of their office hours.

Yes, according to Department of Psychology policy, it is your right to wait up until some unspecified time before the day of the final exam to bring your concern forward:

"With the exception of term work for which students did not receive feedback before the posting of final grades, students must initiate a request for reevaluation of term work with the instructor prior to the day of the final exam or in the case of courses without final exams, before the posting of final grades."
So on or after the day of the final exam, however, pfft! that's it. Even if we made a marking mistake, we are not allowed to change it after that day. If there is a significant concern, please don't wait until the last minute. Note that this doesn't apply to simply asking questions to clarify something; you can do that at any time--even after the course is over.

Why aren't you studying?

Teh Wrnog Mnoth

Only a week into this month, and already this isn't my month. It must be someone else's month. Let's see what's gone wrong so far...

  • Major virus scare: I thought a rootkit had infected all of my computers. This happened to my office computer in 2008, so it's not unprecedented. My email app was very slow, so I got a packet sniffer to check out my IP traffic. What are all these connections to!? (Oh, um, I get it. "1e100" means a 1 with 100 zeros behind it: a googol. Get it?)
  • So, no virus, but Gmail is insisting on rebuilding my All Mail folder every time I start Thunderbird, downloading 30,000+ messages. That'll slow things down a bit. Darn you, Gmail!
  • Wrote an important email, and misspelled the address. It didn't get bounced back until hours later. Darn you, Gmail!
  • Getting my coursepack together for spring term, I photocopied a couple of chapters of a book. Then, instead of emailing me the results as a PDF, the photocopier ate everything. Twice.
  • Due to an apparent glitch in HERO (the UofA's online ethics submission/review platform), my ethics application was not reviewed. Instead of taking 5 days, it took 5 weeks. In the meantime, my hands are tied, and I can't get started on my research project.
  • Ordered a couple of things online--both companies sent me the wrong item. Grrr!
  • My PVR stopped talking nicely to my TV over HDMI. Banged my head against the wall (actually, the floor) for hours on that one. Decided to switch to digital cable and get an HDPVR. It didn't talk nicely to my TV over HDMI. The good-humoured tech who came to take a look at it liked the fact I knew what "HDMI" was. But he still couldn't fix it.
  • Tried to get a delicious Nestea from a vending maching right before class and was denied. I got my money back, but it wouldn't give me any delicious Nestea. (And no, I don't want that Brisk crap.)
  • Daughter #1 made me spill my coffee this morning. Oh, the humanity!
Notice a pattern? (OK, except for the last one.) Yup, technology is giving me fits. I'm not superstitious. But if this is your month, you can have it back.

Why aren't you studying?

Find It