Driving in to the office today was quite striking. Huge, towering mountains of clouds -- they rapidly alternated between blanketing the sky and allowing brilliant sunshine to light up the world, almost immediately followed by heavy rain squalls. You name it, you got it. And it was still 66°F at 11am! This is the Dog Days of Summer in August?
The Usual Gassy Complaints
Wednesday, when I didn't need gas, it was running at $2.42.9/gal for regular. Thursday and Friday? $2.59.9/gal. So with a sudden 17¢ jump, my 25¢/gal discount from the grocery store was mostly eaten up. Arrgh. And what were they just saying the other day? That crude had dropped below $69/bbl?
Revving Up For Semester 53
Fall 2009 semester starts late this year because Labor Day is so late -- and WMU is actually following the public schools which are required by Michigan state law to open after Labor Day, to help eke out the last tourism dollars -- so classes actually begin on Tuesday 8 September 2009. My PHYS-1060 Introduction to Stars and Galaxies astronomy course is a Tuesday/Thursday course, so the 8th it is! You are supposed to be able to link class webpages to the registration pages. This didn't work the other year, but I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, as faculty I get a different view than the students, so I don't know if it worked right.
Been getting a steady stream of emails about whether one has to buy the 5th edition of the textbook. Well, actually, yes. Now sometimes I am honest and have pointed out in other classes in other semesters that if they are one or two editions behind, it probably won't hurt them. Most of the introductory physics courses are well-established and I don't teach "out of the book" and I don't assign specific homework problems, so that's all right. But astronomy has been very dynamic, what with the amazing array of new tools, upgrades, methods and theory which has blessed the field, especially since the Hubble Space Telescope first flew. So yeah, the 4th edition won't cut it.
"But I was told in the other class (PHYS-1040) that we'd use the same book!" True, but upon questioning I found you took the course three semester ago, so it wasn't adjacent semesters. Sorry. Buck up and spend the bucks.
Updated a number of class webpages, so things are well set up for Fall. Will work on my authorly webpages at dr-phil-physics.com over the weekend and bring them up to date. If I have the time.
I have an ending to a short story to revise for Abyss & Apex -- I haven't actually officially announced that yet -- so I am planning on starting the second sabbatical novel project on Monday. I think I'm going to spend some time expanding my short story "The Gravediggers" to a novel. This was my first story to appear in print, but as an Honorable Mention in the CrossTIME anthology contest it earned no money. It's 2009, which is 2004 + 5 years, so the short story should be released. But I'd have to rewrite it to bring it up to current 29th century universe specs (grin) and if I have to do that, why not look at the novel length? Note: I haven't actually done anything to the story, just taken the word count as the short story stands.
Due Date: none
And now I should probably back up my files and pack up for home. Maybe I won't get rained on heading out to the Blazer. (double-trouble-grin)