I skipped this morning’s seminar on the fracture mechanics of nano-paper (not really my thing even in English) and worked instead. I’ve spent most of this week working through the derivations in a paper that’s similar to what we want to do. (I have to understand where all the equations come from in this analysis of a single material before I can do it in two.) Some of it’s easy, but some of it’s not, and I’d say I have about 80% of it now. Today I spent an [really, another] hour trying to figure out how to get something that the authors said was “straightforward to obtain”. Actual quote:
it is also straightforward to obtain
Phrases like “tedious but straightforward” generally strike fear into my heart. I always wonder if it means the author saw it somewhere, and assumes it must be straightforward but knows it to be tedious, and so has not done the derivation independently. I think these guys did, though, and I got it eventually. Yay!
I went to lunch with the guys and got cold mixed noodles, so I had my food first. I took advantage of this first-time occurence to buy four cups of Sprite for each of us. They’re always getting watermelon for dessert, or occasional treats like Sprite or ice cream for everyone, but between my restricted meal card and general lack of a clue as to what’s going on (example: I still don’t know where they actually buy the watermelon), I’ve never been the one to buy them. It was nice to do something for them for once.
Over lunch, I told them about the events of yesterday. I told them about the party, and how it was about America’s national parks. There was some confusion about this, because I was describing the different events and activities they had, and which park they were representing. America has more than one national park? they asked. Um, yes. They only knew about Yellowstone! I think the name is what confuses them; they know about the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, but they thought Yellowstone National Park was like Our National Park, so I tried to explain that “national park” is more like a category.
I also told them about the events of Sanlitun. They confirmed that we got screwed. How would you have fake bills, they asked – anything from an ATM is trustworthy, apparently. They said if someone says to your face that a bill is fake, then it probably is, but if they disappear with your money and come back to tell you it’s fake, then you’re being scammed. I asked, but it wasn’t clear to me if this wouldn’t happen to them because they’re not foreigners, or if it wouldn’t happen to them because they wouldn’t let someone out of sight with their money. Either way . . . it wouldn’t have happened to them.
I stayed late at work, and discovered that they turn off all the hallway lights after 8 or so. There will still tons of students working, though. Fun Friday night!
Today I learned:
The Chinese words for senator (参议员), wetland (湿地), eigenvalue (特征值), and constitutive relation (本构关系). You just can’t learn words like that in a classroom!