Maria Holland

What Not to Do

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2015 at 10:57 am

Today in English Aerospace Summer Camp (it doesn’t seem to have a name, so I’ll call it that), the students had to give presentations.  It was a veritable What Not To Do for Powerpoint presentations – busy backgrounds with unreadable words overlaid, multiple fonts, slides full of text, crazy animation, no sources listed.  We had told them they could include videos, which of course meant that over the course of the morning we spent about a half hour watching people trying to get their movies to play.  It’s 2015 – when will this no longer be an impossible task?  

Also, most of the videos were just not that relevant.  One guy showed us the trailer for Jurassic World in his presentation about genes and cloning; another showed the trailer for Stealth in his presentation about UAVs, which marked the first time I’ve heard the phrase “ménage à trois” in a scientific presentation.  A few videos were shown without audio, and only one guy was able to tlel us what was going on in the video in English.  

Other odd moments in the morning included the guy who spent several minutes explaining in detail how the people of Atlantis used crystals as a power source, leading me to wonder if he realized that had only happened in a movie.  But then he actually went from there into a discussion of crystal-based power sources like piezoelectric materials, so it ended up okay.  And the guy who presented about Tesla, showing a picture of the headquarters in Palo Alto while I sat there and thought, I went on a date there a few months ago.  

They all thought 10 minutes sounded so long to speak English, but of course you speak slower in an unfamiliar language, so almost everyone went vastly over time.  It was a tiring morning.  

In the afternoon, my friends from the US were visiting Peking University, which is next to my campus, so Cheng and I went over to walk around with them.  I hadn’t been to the PKU campus yet, but it’s quite nice.  I haven’t yet been to the nice parts of Tsinghua, so for now at least I think it’s nicer than my school! 

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There were some nice buildings, but the clear standout to me was the lake.  We got a great group picture:

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and then got asked to take some pictures with some tourists.  They were from Xi’an, and when they heard that the family was headed there tonight, they apologized profusely for not being able to show them around or have them over for dinner.  So friendly!  

We also got a picture with just the kids on the stone ship:

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and one of just me and my labmate:

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I was glad that she came with me – I had invited a few of my labmates, to hear Southern accents if nothing else, but the others had work to do (lame).  

My allergies started acting up later in the evening.  This is really the first time I’ve had any problems, and I wonder if it’s because I walked around for an hour or two without a mask on?  


Today I learned: 

Fission (裂变), fusion (聚变), Hiroshima (广岛), metaphysics (形而上学), proton (质子), neutron (中子), carbon fiber (碳纤维), entrepreneuer (企业家), photosynthesis (光合作用), and conductor (导体), all from the presentations.  

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