Tag Archives: nerdity

FBD, chant with me!

I use the odd rhyme and other mnemonics in my teaching, including online last year asking my class to turn on their microphones and all repeat after me:

“I solemnly swear, to draw the forces, all the forces, and nothing but the forces, on my free  body diagrams. So help me John”. (John is my co-lecturer – and it sounded better than “so help me Kate”). 

But after pondering the dVerse prompt to meet the bar with  a chant, I now have something bigger and… maybe…better… for this year’s cohort:

Now I know ’cause Kate told me

Now I know ‘cause Kate told me

I must master free body

I must master free body

Diagrams that show each force

Diagrams that show each force

If I want to pass this course

If I want to pass this course Continue reading

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Three layers, seven colours

A while I ago I posted a rant about rainbows. It was triggered by a comment that science ruins rainbows by taking away the magic. My argument in that post was that science adds to their beauty and magic because it allows you to “see” so much more in them.
A couple of days ago I was walking across a carpark and it had just started raining. And there was a stunning rainbow on the ground:

Continue reading

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three-way [ 3(C2H2) -> C6H6 ]

Yesterday’s dVerse challenge was to write a trimeric poem. I thought “cool, a chemistry topic! My chemistry is a bit oxidised, but I still remember what a trimer is… right, here we go:

Oh ethyline, oh ethyline
you pretty little thing,
oh my darling little monomer,
from you I’ll make a ring! Continue reading

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need, greed or curiosity?

I’m a little late for the dVerse Monday quadrille, but here is my take on Curiosity:

What drives you?
What gets you out of bed,
out the door,
out of your comfort zone?
Is it need?
Or greed?
Or curiosity?
Need got us out of the trees,
greed got us across the seas…
And curiosity?
Curiosity got us to Mars.

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truss no one

I couldn’t help thinking of my students when I read today’s dVerse prompt, Poetics: build a bridge” I tell them truss analysis is just like Sudoku but more fun – just lay out your equations, fill in the gaps, and truss me, that’s all there is to it! Until the build and test, that is. 

Every member – tension or compression?
Every joint – apply Newton’s second.
Have you considered load distribution?
What external forces make a contribution?

~put theory into practice~

Embody your equations in concrete and steel,
Now do the forces balance, for real?
Have you proved yourself a truss design master?
Or will your bridge feature on Engineering Disasters?

 

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Easter egg hunt – nerd style

Easter Sunday, such a fun day,
watch the children run –
they need to solve the puzzles before
their chocolates melt in the sun.

When my kids were very young, we used to hide Easter eggs for them to find in the little fenced-in yard behind the house. But once they were old enough to read, we set them clues written on strips of paper to follow to find their eggs. Each clue is a puzzle that they need to solve to get to the next egg, with the next clue wrapped around it, and an Easter bunny at the end. Continue reading

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seven colours, a thousand layers

As a scientist, and an educator, there are certain things that really irritate me. “Science ruins the magic” comments are pretty close to the top of the list.   These sorts of comments undermine the efforts of science and maths teachers to produce a scientifically literate next generation who is capable of making informed decisions about climate, health… etc. (And do the people who make these comments complain that vaccines ruin the magic of viruses??)

One of the old standard pull-it-out-of-your-box-of-clichés complaints is that knowing how rainbows work takes away their magic. Continue reading

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stuck in the middle, by blue

For dVerse’s prompt: ‘true colours.
The challenge was to write from the point of view of a colour…

All across space,
we travel as a pack,
none draws ahead
and none lags back.
But once we meet
an interface
ah, that changes,
how we race. Continue reading

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Obliquity II : turn the upper cheek

From summer downunder, for Eugi’s weekly prompt “winter”.  So great to have these prompts back! Thanks Eugi!

Mother earth,
your buttocks are scorchy!
It is time to turn us
away from the fire.

For my northern hemisphere friends – hang in there, the Earth will be turning her upper cheeks to the sun soon, and you’re welcome to it.  (And if you’re thinking winter is when you’re further from the sun, you might want to read Obliquity.)

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cold moon, distant earth (tanka)

For Frank’s Haikai challenge #171 “cold moon”

Sundered by violence,
circling, locked in a dance, she
always shows one face
though her partner turns away,
as they drift slowly apart. Continue reading

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