Monday, October 20, 2008

Local goals reviewed

This weekend, I successfully
  • emptied one inbox (zero!),
  • finished my grading,
  • straightened out business with former landlord,
  • had two synchro practices and went running,
  • cooked (a week's supply of daal and cookies),
  • did laundry (necessary),
  • gained another RSS subscriber (yo R.!),
  • caught up on my desperate sleep debt from the end of last week, and
  • ordered a new keyboard (but not the swanky one C. lent me).
It remains to
  • empty the other inbox (41),
  • read a paper before the M11 seminar,
  • find my ballot,
  • complete an assignment,
  • achieve my weekly thesis-writing goals (particularly large this week),
  • find the necessary receipts to be reimbursed, and
  • follow-up on the many contacts I've made this month.
I could accomplish all these things tomorrow if I set aside the thesis-writing, but that strategy generalizes poorly. And if all I do is thesis-writing, then I won't accomplish any of the goals, plus I'll burn out all my mathematical neurons in one session. Moderation.

This post's theme quote reflects my puzzlement at some students' solutions:
On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’
I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. -- Charles Babbage

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