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Spring 2009: The parent of all course conflicts - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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Spring 2009: The parent of all course conflicts [Nov. 13th, 2008|07:09 pm]
Lindsey Kuper
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COGS-Q 700  SEMINAR IN COGNITIVE SCIENCE (3 CR)
              11079          02:30P-03:45P   TR     JH A107   Hofstadter D
                 TOPIC : THE MIND AND THE ATOM
                 ABOVE CLASS MEETS WITH HPSC-X 521

is open to any student, graduate or undergraduate, regardless of department or affiliation -- but enrollment is capped at 25, which means that the 25 people who are there will be the .06% of the Indiana University student population who want to be there the very most. It goes without saying that those are 25 people I think I'd like to hang around. We're going to be reading about and discussing the time period from roughly 1850 to 1930 when the concept of the atom was being developed, covering not only scientific findings but also what we can glean about what could have been going through the minds of the scientists who were finding them. Who knows if Doug Hofstadter will (a) ever offer a course again (b) that requires no cognitive science background (c) during a time when I will have no research or teaching obligations to fulfill? The thought of missing such an opportunity makes me feel awful. Meets Tuesday/Thursday, 2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

MUS-X 070  UNIVERSITY CHORALE (2 CR)
               9710          02:30P-03:50P   MTR    M005  Gray W

is the choir I've been singing in since school started. It's intense. I love it. In the spring, we have two concerts: the Schubert "Missa solemnis" Mass No. 5, and the Benjamin Britten War Requiem. (Schubert, my favorite composer. And the frickin' War Requiem.) Our director is in charge of choral programs here, which means that it's ultimately his decision which ensembles people get to be in, and leaving the group probably wouldn't be a great way for someone who wants very much to keep singing in ensembles this good or better to demonstrate her supposed commitment, not to mention her notional musicianship. On top of all that, it's the best group I've ever gotten to sing with, and the thought of having to leave and not be in a choir again makes me feel awful. Rehearses Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, 2:30 p.m.-3:50 p.m.

Blast. What do I do?

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: stereotype441
2008-11-14 01:00 am (UTC)
Peter's coin flip trick. It's the only way to make agonizing decisions like this.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-14 01:10 am (UTC)
Coin flip "trick"? Is there something to this trick, or does one just...flip a coin?

Dammit, Paul, I thought you were really going to tell me what to do! Well, I guess you did.
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[User Picture]From: pmb
2008-11-14 01:34 am (UTC)
Flip a coin. When it lands, are you happy or unhappy? If you are unhappy, then switch! It was, after all, just a stupid coin flip.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2008-11-14 03:53 am (UTC)
It is an excellent trick :)

Although -- Lindsey, it seems pretty important to take a Doug class at some point!
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-11-14 08:06 pm (UTC)
variation: register for the class with the lower odds of getting accepted. Use the college as your coin.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm already registered for both. I'm just going to have to drop one.
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From: boojum
2008-11-16 07:43 pm (UTC)
A variation of this that I used quite successfully for a while in college: ask some unsuspecting person, "Red or blue?" When they answer, immediately and without bothering to think about it, declare which outcome their answer meant.

I think there are different circumstances / people who work better with one or the other variation, but I don't know who/what.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-11-14 08:28 pm (UTC)
Piet Hein, poet and inventor, wrote this poem (I can't find the original date, probably the 1940s, but it was published in a collection in 1969)

A PSYCHOLOGICAL TIP

Whenever you're called on to make up your mind,
  and you're hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find,
  is simply by spinning a penny.
No -- not so that chance shall decide the affair
  while you're passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
  you suddenly know what you're hoping.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:20 pm (UTC)

Dan Friedman actually quoted Piet Hein to our class a few days ago.

Put up in a place
where it's easy to see
the cryptic admonishment
T.T.T.
When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it's well to remember that
Things Take Time. (Danish: Ting Tager Tid)

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[User Picture]From: linettasky
2008-11-14 01:22 am (UTC)
This breaks me, and I don't even understand the things Hofstadter will be teaching. SCHUBERT! BRITTEN! Brilliant dude!

Flip a coin.
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[User Picture]From: kel_e_o
2008-11-14 01:54 am (UTC)
Seems like a tough decision. Personally, I'd go with University Chorale... I find that a music class is a welcome reprieve from lecture/discussion courses... no matter how interesting the material. And this music course is double plus good a'cause you'll be singing something by your favorite composer.

Is that one seminar worth what might potentially be a whole 2-4 years of happy goodness that you might get from participating in University Chorale?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-14 05:13 am (UTC)
Well, if I leave U. Chorale next semester, it doesn't mean that I can never be in the group again. I could audition again in fall '09, and even if they didn't put me back in U. Chorale, they'd have to stick me somewhere. But I think that leaving would hurt my chances.

I would actually be okay with switching to a different choir for one semester, if it meant I could both sing and be in the cogsci seminar. But the frustrating thing is that all of the choirs have rehearsal times that conflict with the seminar, except one: the Pro Arte Singers, which was the group I didn't make the callback for!

So, one thing I could try to do is audition for Pro Arte again -- or simply ask if they'd let me sing with them. I'll talk to my choir director about what the options are.
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[User Picture]From: deepdistraction
2008-11-16 11:52 pm (UTC)
They might be more understanding if you told them about Hofstadter's admiration for J.S. Bach. It might make the difference between them never wanting to deal with you again, and perhaps grudgingly letting you into a group next year if you promise never to pull such a stunt again.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-17 01:10 am (UTC)
Ha! Well, maybe I could work that the other way, by pointing out that the Hofstadter course is scheduled in such a way that it conflicts with twelve of the thirteen choral ensembles, including the one that's specializing in Bach, for cryin' out loud.
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[User Picture]From: deepdistraction
2008-11-17 04:36 am (UTC)
Good grief. Someone needs to inform Professor H. of this unfortunate synchronicity. Then again, maybe he arranged it this way on purpose. Perhaps such conundrums delight him and he seeks out ways to inflict them on students like yourself.
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2008-11-14 09:29 am (UTC)

Listen to me because I'm loud

Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter Hofstadter

In conclusion: Hofstadter for the intellectal strain-induced aneurisms win.
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2008-11-14 09:30 am (UTC)

Re: Listen to me because I'm loud

Also, take excellent notes and share them all with me. Or just sneak a digital recorder in there. Hofstadter podcasts for the SUPER WIN!
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Listen to me because I'm loud

I'm not much for sneaking a recorder in there. I'm not much for making recordings at all, actually, but maybe a friend of mine who's taking the class can be convinced to do it.

If I take the class, I will take great notes. I promise.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2008-11-14 03:19 pm (UTC)

Re: Listen to me because I'm loud

I heard on the internets somewhere that Indiana is taking applications for new cogsci/robotics grad students...

Edited at 2008-11-14 03:20 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2008-11-14 05:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Listen to me because I'm loud

Alas, I can't pay back the debt of my last Master's degree with a teaching assistantship. I don't think.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-11-14 08:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Listen to me because I'm loud

deferment for the win?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Listen to me because I'm loud

Can you pay it back by being unemployed?

(I'm not trying to be a jerk, really. I just think it would be totally frickin' sweet if you came here. The application deadline's in two months.)
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2008-11-14 08:08 pm (UTC)
why bother going to a party with Hofstadter when you could just read his books?

why bother to sing when you could just listen to records?
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:51 pm (UTC)
But I hate books and records.
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[User Picture]From: deepdistraction
2008-11-15 02:46 am (UTC)
You will be sad if you give up University Chorale for a semester, but you will be sadder if you pass up the opportunity to take Hofstadter's seminar, I think. But why not push the envelope. Perhaps you would be allowed to remain in the Chorale if you only attended the Monday practices (surely they'd rather have you there some of the time than none; let THEM decide if you'd be allowed to perform the concerts given your reduced participation). Or perhaps there are ten people right now begging Hofstadter to offer his seminar on Wednesdays & Fridays instead of Tuesdays and Thursdays, and adding your voice to that mix would convince him to make the switch.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2008-11-15 07:32 pm (UTC)
Well, I went to talk with Mike Gasser a few weeks ago. He said that one might work with particular groups from Linguistics and Psychology (I forget which ones, unfortunately) in the course of doing a phd on machine-translation; he gives the vibe that he's got pretty good connections with those groups.

(what would you want to work on?)
(did we talk at the omg wtf bbq? ... if not, why not?)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:25 pm (UTC)
You didn't talk at the OMG WTF BBQ because Wren wasn't there. He's been at Johns Hopkins since fall '07.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:55 pm (UTC)
GASSER/RUDNICK/THORNTON PARTY '09.
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[User Picture]From: deepdistraction
2008-11-16 12:20 am (UTC)
If computer science doesn't work out for you, you could be a party planner
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2008-11-16 12:17 am (UTC)
He is :) He was like "okay, when can you start? I need students" when I spoke with him.

And, from your above comment -- L^3 sounds right up your alley. Mike seems to care a lot about morphology; one of the first assignments from his class is about it, whereas in previous NLP classes I'd taken it was barely even mentioned.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:31 pm (UTC)
Joint cogsci/computer science Ph.D.s are allowed and encouraged. I don't know too much more about it than that. I'm probably going to end up doing straight-up programming languages. Or theory. We'll see.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-15 10:53 pm (UTC)
I figure I'll refuse to acknowledge the existence of any side but the functional/theoretic side.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2008-11-17 01:05 am (UTC)
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's one of my goals for 2009.
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