Tall, Dark, and Mysterious

3/20/2005

This is not my fault.

File under: Those Who Can't, Queen of Sciences, Know Thyself. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 9:46 pm.

I’m generally pretty candid and introspective regarding my flaws as a teacher, but dammit, there is NO WAY that I could possibly be so bad as to bear any responsibility whatsoever for this one student of mine - the one who needs a B - writing, by way of interpreting a confidence interval for a quiz, What this means is that we are 95% sure that the mean, which is equal to 123, is between 15.05 and 16.95. No amount of bad teaching can produce such nonsense. I may not have been presenting the finer points of sampling as clearly as I might have, but, as God is my witness, I have not been unteaching my English-speaking, college-aged students how the positive real numbers are ordered.

Speaking of this student and confidence intervals: she’d been in my office a few days prior to ask me about the “complidance interval”. She kept repeating this word, “complidance”, and it was fingernails across a chalkboard every single time, to the point that I just wanted to yell CONFIDENCE. IT’S A COMMON ENGLISH WORD THAT MEANS THE SAME THING IN STATISTICS AS IT DOES IN ENGLISH. If this were one of my Asian immigrant students whose English is shaky, I’d have been able to say Actually, it’s ‘confidence’, and my student would have giggled shyly and said, Oh…yes… and then tried it out - con-fi-dence, yes? But Needs-a-B is an anglophone, and a grownup, and correcting anglophone adults on their English is bad etiquette. It humiliates them. It’s like telling someone they have bad breath. So I responded by offering, in effect, what I suppose are the breath mints of mispronounced English, answering every question about the complidance interval in full sentences - Well, to find the CON-FI-DENCE interval here, we need to find the margin of error… And it didn’t take. Now I wonder if I’m even spelling “complidance” correctly. Maybe I’ll find out on the test.

Upgrade, outage

File under: Meta-Meta. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 9:39 am.

Wordpress 1.5 has been installed. Still working out some design glitches, but as far as I can tell, everything is functional. Had a bit of a scare last night when, after everything worked just fine on the test blog, upgrading on the real blog gave me an internal server error. For the first time ever, I think, I was able to debug by myself as soon as my logs updated. ‘Twas the old .htaccess file, which did not play well with the new version. I deleted it, and all is well. One immediate benefit I can see: comments are no longer automatically moderated. One you prove you and your IP not to be affiliated with spammers (one comment’ll do), your comments will go up immediately.

Of course, I decided to do this on a weekend during which I had thirty tests and more than sixty quizzes to grade, as well as a test to set, and a textbook outline to edit. And I need to get this all done today, because I didn’t even take home the five-inch-thick pile of test corrections that my precalc students submitted last week, and those need to be marked by Tuesday. Oh, and some of my precalc students have asked for more practice word problems, which I’d like to give them, because they now know (in theory) how to approach them. Would also like to swing by the studio today; it’s only open nine hours a week, three of which fit into my schedule. Feh.

Anyway, I’m done tinkering for today.

(ETA: no, of course I’m not. Turns out that the feeds have changed; if you’re reading through an aggregator, please make sure you’re using http://talldarkandmysterious.ca/feed. If the folks who control my Bloglines and LJ feeds could make that change, I’d be much obliged.)