Tag Archives: S216

Turn on, tune in, drop out

Decision made. This is quite an achievement for me, because I’m generally terrible at making decisions. I even disagree with Magic 8 Balls.

I’ve dropped out. Dropped out of S216, but not out of my OU degree. But that is a good thing: there is no guilt here (hoorah!) because I just don’t have the time or motivation for this course at the moment.

Having found myself needing a week’s extension for TMA04, then watching the week’s extension fly past with a satisfying “whoosh” sound, then coming to the realisation that I hadn’t even thought about my project, I arrived at the conclusion that I have too much going on at the moment.

I feel lighter already. It’s an enormous weight off my mind; I can concentrate on building my new business (did I mention it’s called Sunflower Communications?), make sure I actually enjoy my holiday to Germany in September, and look forward to starting S207 The Physical World in October. I’m very excited. It’s all about physics!

The OU has a very good system: I’m transferring 30% of my S216 course fee to S207, so I’m getting 30% off my next course. I’m fine with that, because I’ve got all the course books and materials for S216, so I’ll read them at my leisure over the next few months.

I can’t help feeling that if the course had been more like S104, I would have struggled far less to find time for it. I hope so. S216 has been a disappointment to me, but I suspect that is at least partly my fault – although I still say to the authors: please discover and embrace paragraphs!

So off I go. Good luck to those still doing S216; and bring on S207! Physics ROCKS.


Clouding the issue

Just a quickie. I found this site via the S216 tutor group forum, and think it’s fabulous. Images of clouds from space, looking like you’ve never seen them before. Splendid stuff.



Snow, pain and science

This is going to be a mostly science-free post, as I have been busy for the last couple of days. Busy being a tough cookie, and busy recovering from said toughness.

However, a quick recap of where I’m at now: I am almost at the end of my virtual study tour in the Teign Valley, having just taken a look at the water composition of the river and its tributaries. I’ve got to be honest, the course isn’t gripping me so far. BUT – the books look much more interesting, so I shall not be disheartened.

It’s most definitely more of a “geography with science benefits” course, and I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into the pure science again after this course. Astrophysics all the way, baby!

I am, though, learning a lot about spreadsheets. This is useful, but dull. It’s driving me to drink.

Enough of that, though. I spent yesterday evening doing this: the Grim Night Terror. Here is what it looked like:


Yes, that is snow. Basically, we ran seven miles (it was supposed to be eight, but the ice necessitated a change of course) in an hour and ten minutes. In the snow. It was bloody good fun, and felt fabulous!

During the last mile, I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other – and then there were the crowds of onlookers. It’s astonishing the difference a bunch of strangers shouting encouragement can make. Suddenly, with their help and a man to overtake, I found a burst of speed and crossed the line at pace with a huge grin on my face.

That was nothing compared to the journey home though – four hours in heavy snow, with vehicles spinning off the motorway left, right and centre. It was quite exciting, and completely exhausting. Driving snow gave me flashbacks to my misspent youth…

With a swollen knee – not to mention the swollen sense of pride – I’ve just signed up for this one too: The NUTS Challenge. And I’m probably going to do the Tough Mudder in the summer.

I am this: NAILS. Factoid.

Sign up now. It is fun most excellent.

Cool scientific instruments

Of these, there are many; this much is true. However, by far the coolest scientific instrument I have seen recently is this: the sunshine hours recorder.

Coolest scientific instrument of the day

I came across this during my virtual fieldtrip to the Teign Valley, where I am having a crash course in climate in the local area. We’re trundling around a meteorological station and poking about in the instrumentation.

This device is a thing of beauty. It’s a crystal ball, for goodness’ sake. What’s not to like? And it is simplicity itself. The glass ball focuses sunlight onto the paper chart, and burns a small hole in it. When the sun is behind a cloud, no hole is burned.

Useful things don’t have to be ugly. Here endeth today’s (very short) lesson. I’m off to get me a crystal ball.

Hallowe’en silliness

With the ending of S104, I have been struggling to blog; not least because I’ve been reading as much silly crime as I can get my hands on. On my new Kindle. Which my lovely husband presented me with as a surprise on Friday!

I’ve struggled not only with finding a topic to blog about, but also with the words themselves, which bothered me. So I have devised a plan to see me through until S216 starts in earnest (sometime next month, as I have the PDFs already – nothing like getting a headstart!): I’m going to pick one of the Daily Mail’s “science” stories every few days, look at the original research paper/press release myself, and then write the article as it should have been written. Truthfully and objectively.

But before I begin that mammoth task, I feel I should share with you all a stupendous achievement – our Hallowe’en pirate ship pumpkin. Our lovely friends Dawn and Nick had a party to celebrate their engagement on Saturday night. Dawn is mildly obsessed with pirates, and loves anything to do with Hallowe’en. Plus she’s bonkers. So Joe and I carved her a pirate ship pumpkin.


Happy Hallowe'en!