General Happenings

So, life goes on at Harvard…

Happy Belated Birthday to my ‘little sister’ Laura Hammonds @ Millfield. Have a great year! Not sure whether she wants people to know her exact b’day, so a belated greeting is a good choice!

And congrats to Amy Yuan, Katy Hebditch and Clarice Rarity who also got into NYO!

Okay, and now on to life here…

In Expository writing, we are currently analysing theories of humour – theories by people like Aristotle, Cicero, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Hutcheson, Herbert Spencer, Sigmund Freud, Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais, and Henri Bergson. Many different theories, they can be ‘kind of’ classified as superiority, incongruity and release theory. At least that’s what was said to us when we started. However humour itself seems to be much more elusive and doesn’t want to be generalized. Incongruity causes laughter which causes release, and creates a sense of superiority in some cases? And Hobbes doesn’t seem to be talking bout humour at all, and so on. I’m currently writing my 2nd draft, mainly comparing Hobbes’ and Hutcheson’s theories.

In Computer Science, we are chugging along as usual – I have a midterm exam next week, which I am hoping will be okay. We have covered pretty good ground for only having 2 months of classes – we are programming in the ‘C’ language, which, I must say, is quite low-level compared to what I have done before (having to pre-declare all variables and their types, fixed array sizes, function declarations, etc), and the level of style and strictness required in writing is quite high, since they want to turn us into ‘good programmers’, such as always freeing memory, passing errors through recursion without global variables or ‘exit’ and ‘abort’ functions, etc. The last project that we did was a prefix calculator which would take in a prefix statement (e.g. ” * 3 + 5 2 “) and print it out in (normal) infix notation ” 3 * (5 + 2) ” and then evaluate it into 21. This was done using a linked binary tree. I had trouble with memory leaks for a while, but were later on solved.

In Applied Math 21, we have just finished series (limits, sums, tests for convergence/divergence) and now we are on to multi-variable calculus, partial derivatives, etc. Very simple compared to those doing stuff like Math 23 / 25 / 55 which are much much more theoretical and generally much harder.

In Freshman Seminar, we are currently looking at different sorts of scales and their tunings, we built integrating and differentiating circuits using op-amps, as well as a non-linear amplifier (which I made using diodes to get different amounts of amplification on different parts of the circuit, and I will try sending just one part of the signal to be differentiated, but not the whole signal), etc. We are also covering Fourier series / transforms, which is more ‘mathy’.

I have probably been practising too much piano over the last 6 days, which is the cause of finding a glorious and marvellous piece (Ondine, by Ravel, from Gaspard de la Nuit). It is an amazing work – especially the colours and the release in the climax. Go see Sheet Music Archive for the score [in PDF]- climax on page 9.

Trombone is okay, having ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days for my lips, but it is coming along. I am trying to achieve more secureness in my upper range, as well as tonguing technique. In Jazz Band we are currently preparing for a Latin / Afro-Cuban / etc concert with guest percussionist Bobby Sanabria, who, I must say, is a very interesting person.

Harvard is playing Yale next week, in (American) football. It promises to be the most exciting game of the season, seeing that Yale is our ‘enemy’ and there is a lot of competitive spirit going on. The reason why I’m talking about football now is because being in the band is an integral part of the game – we do halftime shows (formations), march down the streets of Cambridge (the US one) and generally be loud and obnoxious.

So life is okay. It can be busy (stayed up until 4am doing work just the other night), however, normally busy in a good way.

1 thought on “General Happenings”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *