Thursday, November 19, 2009

the apparent magnitude of my ass

That is going to be the answer I submit to my teacher on this bastard-child assigned lab that was supposed to be submitted this past Wednesday.

The lab started out easily enough. The title: The Lryae star and its Distance to the Globular Cluster M4. No problem. Start by opening a bottle of wine, because, lets face it, wine is the only way this is going to sound remotely interesting. We're all given 20 images. Click on the right side of the middle circle in each frame, the page reloads and gives a pixel number. Click on the left side of the same circle, page reloads and gives a pixel number. Take 2nd number, subtract from 1st number. This number is the "star's diameter". Record these numbers in Table 1. So far, on par with my math skills. Next, plot those numbers on a graph. So far, so good. I hadn't even finished my glass of wine!

Then, something magical happened. And by Magical, I mean- Dungeons & Dragons crippling bad for other players kind of dark magic happened. I lost the ability to comprehend English. I mean, I think the rest of the assignment was written in English, but there were all these... formulas.... and exponential notations....and fancy squiggly "f's" that I can only assume only scientists can pronounce and dogs can hear. I read something about calculating the apparent magnitude of the stars, then things went dark. When I came to, it was 4 hours later, and a drool spot had formed on my shirt. At first, I panicked. How could this have happened? Someone must've cyber-drugged me!

I did the only smart thing I could think of. I Googled. And Googled. And then Googled some more. Google must've been attacked by that D&D Magic that held my thinking brain captive, because the only results were the fucking assignment I was struggling with. Sans explanation. Sans answers. Sans ENGLISH DISGUISED AS ENGLISH LOOKING WORDS. The sickest part of this lab is Universities all over American AND Europe are using this... abomination of a scientific-frat-freak-hazing-minus-booze learning experience.

Fine. Put the lab away. I worked 12 hours straight at my day job. I must obviously be too tired to read. So, try, try again. This same repetitive logic occurred for 5 days. I pulled out all stops. I switched back to the gatorade of those in Mensa- Diet Coke. I watched a marathon of Criminal Minds. I went on facebook. I caught up on blogs (excellent reads, everyone. You all inspire me to do better, to not be so shallow and sardonic, to share interesting stories and not just...complain. But, much like my diet and exercise plan, I'll start all that tomorrow).

I broke down and emailed the Prof. He was kind enough to give me an extension to Sunday on this lab. I've sent 4 emails to this professor, explaining that he needs to stop sniffing markers I didn't understand step 6, and sadly, I haven't even gotten to questions 1-10 yet. The questions are all based on the results of calculating this stupid moronic douchewad equation, and I'm missing some very crucial data- ie- the synapses to comprehend this bullshit lab, or how to answer it. Those emails went unanswered. It now dawns on me. The Dark Magic cast upon me was directed by the man who calls himself Professor. Bastard!

It now seems I have 48 hours to learn how to use a 17 sided die, and reverse this dark magic. Its my only hope. Otherwise, I cannot be held responsible for my answers to the questions on this lab. Like when I type in "the apparent magnitude of this star is equivalent to to the apparent magnitude of my ass. Or, the absolute FAIL I'll receive when I hit the submit button.