That was today?!

So as I compose this post early Friday morning, I am trying to remember back to the beginning of today, which sure seems like a long time ago. See, I’m not up early, I’m up late. I got up about 10ish Thursday, and wrote Jake a message on his board, about the upcoming campout. I went and worked on my EGR homework (which must be done on the computers in the labs, because I don’t have the necessary program) for a while, discussed with Eric how the formula we were supposed to use seemed to have an error, as it required the factorial of zero, and then worked some more. I was then writing the code, and forgot to include the condition that would prevent the (as I thought) illegal calculation of STUFF/0!. It returned a value, not an div by zero error, which made me wonder, and I discovered that according to both the computer and my calculator, 0! is 1. Conceptually, factorial is the product of all the integers from one to the number, so 5! = 5*4*3*2*1. Logically, 0! should be 0.

I decided that the computer probably wasn’t wrong, and left it at that. I went to lunch, and then to Calc class, and talked to Eric (who is in my calc class, too) about my discovery. We then asked the prof before class, and he explained a bit about the gamma function, and how using this function, you can get a formula for the factorial of non-integers, and for things like 0. Then he thought a bit, and realized that the question fit almost perfectly into what we were doing today, which is review for the integrals test, including integration by parts. So we covered it in class.

I came back to Villa, checked with Jake to see what he had to say about the message, and called home to tell my dad that it turns out that we were covered, and didn’t need him to come in this evening with firewood for the campout. I went to Howard hall to check out a sleeping bag, and then realized that riding my bike over there to save time might not have been the best idea. I was able to re-arrange the pad and sleeping bag so I was capable of riding back, but it took a bit of work.

I went back to the engineering building, finished my assignment a few minutes before class, but then realized that I had forgotten to account for the (somewhat lacking) speed of the printers, which are quite likely older than me. So I waited a few minutes, and then had to go to the lecture late, and without my assignment. He let me go and re-print it after class, and I don’t think he’ll deduct, as the time stamp on the printed page is about 5 minutes after the lecture ended. I wasn’t up there still working on the assignment.

I went over to the commons for dinner, and then went back to Villa. As I came back, I heard a bunch of people in the lobby, and remembered that there was the Villa BBQ tonight, and that I had signed up to have a meal taken from my plan, so I could eat there. So I had a burger. I miss breakfast often enough that I rarely use all my meals, anyway. I watched the second half of “Joe Dirt” for the second time, and then the BBQ was over.

About an hour later, I went back to the lobby to watch the third preliminary match in Villa Jeopardy. I had intended to sign up, but hadn’t gotten a partner. Wednesday, I went down to watch, thinking that I might be able to recruit someone else, as I knew there to be a few empty slots. It worked, and I recruited Luis to play with me. The team that won our match hit some lucky breaks, including being made up of an avid “Family Guy” fan and a sports fan, as two of the categories were “Family Guy”, and “WCC Mascots” (our school competes in the West Coast Conference, WCC). The questions were a mix of general trivia, and stuff specific to the school and the dorm. We did well over all, and doubled our score to 6000 in the final round, but not enough to win. But as there were three qualifying rounds and four positions, there was one wild card slot, to be given to the highest scoring second place team.

The three teams competing in the third round made a poor showing overall, and our high score (second highest among all teams) put us in the finals, played immediately following the third round. We took a (small) early lead, and kept it through the end of the double jeopardy. At this point, we had 3400, and the remaining team had 2000. (Two of the four had negative scores at this point, and so were not eligible to continue.) The category was “Founders”. We went conservative, and wagered 601, which would have put us one point over the other team if we both got the question right.

The question came, and was to give the (correctly spelled) full name of the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the order of priests who run UP (this school) and Notre Dame. I wasn’t expecting that question, but given the rest of the questions, I should have. We did not know, but fortunately for us, they didn’t either. That left Luis and me the victors. We will each get a $20 gift certificate tomorrow, to a local restaurant. That was an unexpected bonus, I had just wanted to compete for the title.

After Jeopardy, they started setting up for Cafe Procrastine, (slogan: “Everything else can wait.”) and as I actually didn’t have anything to procrastinate on, I helped set up a bit, and then stayed out the whole time. I helped Hendricks clean up afterwards, partially. He’s going to save the dishes to tomorrow, which I don’t mind, as I didn’t really want to do that anyway.

Several people stayed in the lounge after, including Cean who was playing guitar, and Lindsey and Sheena, who were conducting an informal survey on men’s opinions on women. The question posed to each male that entered the lounge was something like:”Imagine your ideal woman, except that she has no soul, or insides. Describe her.”, or basically, what (superficially only) was considered hot/beautiful. Answers varied, but almost always included the qualifier “and not too skinny”. Lindsey had been discussing this in a class, and was interested to hear what men actually thought. This led to a whole discussion, and then the secondary question, which is the exact opposite of the first question. Interesting topic, but one that is hard (for me) to speak on. It most likely comes from my relative lack of experience in the area.

We stayed out talking quite late, and then some of us decided to play Settlers of Catan, the game that took a few hours when we played it on the retreat. It was well after four o’clock when we finished.

I came back to the room, talked to Nik for a while, replied to a few things at PDP, and got the update on the Jonathan Maas story. See, the former administrator of Aloof, where I hosted my website, is named Mike Judge. There is another Mike Judge, famous from Saturday Night Live sketches, Beavis and Butthead episodes, and the movie Office Space. The Mike I know received a piece of fan mail the other day, and decided to reply back. The fan asked for a job as an assistant, so we’ll see how this unfolds.

As I’m writing these last few sentences, I looked outside, and realized that it’s getting light. I only have one class tomorrow (the other two were cancelled), at 11:30, and it’s just a lecture. I’m still planning on going, because it’s my Java class, and were in the thick of methods and classes, which I haven’t ever used before. I’ve heard of them, and understand the concept pretty well, I think, but the odds are if I skip, that’s the day he’ll assign something in class, and explain the secret password, that if stored as a string to a particular variable, will give an automatic A on the next assignment, or some equally critical concept. And I can’t justify skipping just because I stayed up late, when I stayed up just having fun.

It’s amazing how fast it gets light. We’re due for sunrise any minute. I think I’ll go to bed and miss it. I’ll get enough sun on the camping trip, which I just realized I never got around to explaining, and I’m not going to start now. We leave Friday afternoon, and get back Monday, so I’ll explain the details when I get back.


[EDIT 3/14: Cleaned up a few typos, added the Gamma Function link, as I realized that I was one of the few sites ranked on Google talking about the “factorial of non-integers”.]

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