Midterms!

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I love midterm week. You can just feel people getting smarter! Everywhere you look, books are open. There are panicked looks on faces. No one has slept in days. Feels like home.

In honor of all the students here in Malibu who are getting smarter this week, here’s an article about an actual hand-on-a-stack-of-Bibles invisibility cloak. If you have a couple of minutes, it’s an interesting article, and you don’t have to understand physics to understand the article.

Here’s a video that is apparently pretty well-known in psychology circles (any truth to that Whitney?). If it’s not, it should be. I’m sure the creator of the video is pulling a quick one on me. Anyway. It takes like a minute to watch the video. Follow the instructions. And no cheating.

And finally, in honor of all those who are studying linguistics. Here’s an edited version of the movie Fargo. It’s about a minute and a half long. This is the Yeah Remix of Fargo. If you enjoy laughing at Northerners saying the word Yeah, this video is for you.

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16 Responses to “Midterms!”

  1. Whitney Says:

    Ahhhh, you are a sadist professor, too, I see. For some reason the panic surrounding midterms always made me giggle on the inside. I mean, really, a couple hours per day would’ve mitigated the night-before panic. But what fun is actual preparation? Then you can’t be so cool as to say, “Dude, I stayed up all night studying. I don’t know if I can pass this sucker.” It isn’t very hip to say, “Yeah, I studied one hour every night for this class and last night I went to bed at 10:00, had a good breakfast this morning, and I’m sure I’ll get an A.”

    I LOVE THAT VIDEO!! Well, the original anyway. (I can’t find a link to the original, but it is kind of creepy.) This is remake–a good one. I used it every semester in Intro when discussing selective attention. My students always made me show it 4-5 times. They thought it was “wicked” and “sick” and other adjectives that I can’t repeat here. And yes, it is very well known. It is clear evidence of why eyewitness testimony is not reliable. It is very important to psychology, and could be boring, yet is one of the most popular sessions I ever get to teach.

    If you Hippos haven’t watched it, DO IT. Follow the instructions. It’s fun for all ages.

    I’ve never seen Fargo, but Joe loves it so I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of this.

    Well, enjoy your week. As soon as the students midterms are over, you get to grade lots of papers.

  2. Whitney Says:

    Hey, who here is on facebook.

  3. Michael Lasley Says:

    I’m on facebook. Look me up and you get to see pictures of my nephews.

  4. Michael Lasley Says:

    If Joe loves the movie Fargo, then he should get a kick out of this edit of the movie.

    The video is really cool. It worked on me. I’m pretty sure I should never be an eye witness for anything.

    I feel for some students. The ones who actually work hard throughout the semester but who really stress when it comes time for exams. But. I don’t feel sorry for the students who just don’t study until right before the tests. The students here seem to be pretty good about staying on top of things for the most part. But there are some who are hurting right about now because they partied too much the past few weeks.

  5. Whitney Says:

    Yippee! I have a new friend. 🙂 I love facebook. It allows me to waste an extraordinary amount of time.

    I don’t think Joe can access video from his work PC because he called to ask what the video was. I’m sure he’ll come home and look at the Fargo clip immediately.

    I always felt for those really hard studiers, too. I sometimes felt they worked so hard most of the time they should be exempt from exams. But then there was the student who NEVER came to class, and didn’t do ANY (seriously) homework (which was 30% of the grade) and asked me during finals if there was anything she could do to raise her grade. I was thinking, well, even if there were, you’d have to raise it by 60% points just to pass. I never felt like raring back and punching a student except for that moment–but I didn’t–I did like my job and wanted to keep it.

    Why is everyone else MIA from the Hippos?

  6. urbino Says:

    Interesting video. Worked on me. We watched a different one when I was in law school, to demonstrate how a dozen people watching the same series of events can come away with very different accounts. They definitely shake one’s faith in eyewitnesses.

    I have nothing to add about midterms, but I’d like to point out that the Cleveland Indians have a first baseman whose last name is Garko. Anybody got any idea what ethnicity that derives from?

    Oh, and I’m facebook-enabled.

  7. captmidknight Says:

    Interesting video.
    I spent a little over 35 years flying airplanes, and, if you’re going to live long and prosper in that business, you quickly develop the ability to concentrate on essential tasks and ignore a lot of extraneous, distracting stuff like people talking on the radios and other things going on in the cockpit, so when it said to count the passes by the players in white, I was all over it – dead meat. I was tuned in on the task at hand and missed the gorilla completely, of course. I’m sure that was the point of the exercise, but it really is amazing what you can miss visually that in slightly different circumstances are perfectly obvious.
    Thanks for the link Michael.

    As for mid-terms:
    I’m sure all you guys who are now teachers never sat up all night cramming for tests, or ever walked around with that 1,000 yard stare afterwards. Now that you’re on the other side of the desk, tell me that pay back isn’t sweet. Maybe just a little?

  8. michaellasley Says:

    I wasn’t a great student as an undergrad. I didn’t study like I should, so all my suffering was self-inflicted. I stayed up many a night cramming. Especially if I didn’t care too much for a class. I teach writing classes, for the most part. So their suffering is almost always self-inflicted. I even try to stagger my assignments so they can’t just write their essays all in one night — they have to show me multiple full-length drafts. And it hurts me if they just write a paper all in one night because I then have to read and come up with some response for a really bad essay when all I really wanna say is: why didn’t you spend more time writing this essay?

    But yeah. The only time I actually enjoy inflicting suffering is when there is a smart aleck student who thinks they know everything. Then it’s kind of fun to see them humbled a bit during test week.

  9. Whitney Says:

    Cap’n, I laughed out loud at your post. Of course, as an undergrad, I was just as bad as most of my undergrads about cramming. I remember once I drank so much coffee during a cram session I had a worse hangover than any alcohol had ever given me. Iiiick, thinking about it makes me nauseous. But I never blamed anyone but myself for those times. I was fully aware that I would’ve been better off taking my own grown-up, professorial advice, but it was just not the “fun” way to do it!!

    I’m like Mikey, it’s only the “I deserve something from you” students who I truly get a kick out of their suffering. The vast majority make me giggle primarily because they are me 10-13 years ago, and they don’t realize that my advice to them comes from years of experience! 🙂

    Good call on me, though!

  10. Whitney Says:

    Also, the note about selective attention & being a pilot is really very interesting. It fascinates me the psychological requirements for different careers. I guess that’s why I’m an industrial pscyhologist. I could really delve into that, but, um, I’m really caught up in watching “The Bachelor” at the moment. I need to focus on the really educational television being provided me for such a small price.

  11. captmidknight Says:

    Whitney,
    Glad an old geezer can still get a chuckle out of the young intelligentsia.

    More on the psychology of airline pilots – some might argue that it falls in the abnormal area – later today, when I have time, but here is a short, true story about exams:

    My son went to Harding Academy in Memphis from kindergarten through high school – valedictorian of his class of 1988 – and then went to Harding U. A lot of his friends at HU had gone to public high schools and so were struggling a little in the mandatory bible courses. He would show up for an 8:00am Old Testament Survey or some such class, still half asleep from a late night – he became a past master at the “combat nap” between classes – and see his friends sweating bullets over some test or pop quiz that he had completely forgotten about. His buddies would be in a panic over some list of judges or kings or whatever, and couldn’t believe he not only hadn’t studied, but didn’t even remember there WAS a test. Having done this bible stuff since the first grade, however, – in an academic setting, not just Sunday School once a week – he would then proceed to get a 93% or something. Several times, his friends were ready to throw him in the Lily Pond.

  12. mrspeacock Says:

    I am proud to report that I caught the gorilla on the first viewing. So either I’m a genius or I have ADD. More likely, I just don’t follow directions.

    About study habits: Being an art major somewhat cured me of my cramming ways. If you’re taking a written test, at some point you can stop studying and just hope you do well. But you can’t turn in a half-done painting and pretend it’s finished.

    I’m a facebooker, too.

  13. Olivia Says:

    I think any student on the technologically adapted spaces on the planet probably has a facebook. It’s kind of awkward, actually.

    Isn’t midterm time just fantastic? It puts a small hop in my step.

    But no, I haven’t listened to In Rainbows. I’m a tad bit frightened that I won’t like it. I have Radiohead on such a high pedestal that I would hate to ruin it with one uncomfortably released album. :/

  14. urbino Says:

    But you can’t turn in a half-done painting and pretend it’s finished.

    Sure you can. Just think of that famous portrait of Geo. Washington. You just have to have a sufficiently artful explanation/interpretation.

  15. michaellasley Says:

    Wasn’t that what the whole Surrealist movement was about?

  16. mrspeacock Says:

    Let me rephrase: You can’t turn in a half-done painting and expect your professor to think it’s finished. Although one professor did ask if I would be comfortable leaving my work less “done.” Heck, yes!

    For the record, nobody really knows what Surrealism was all about.

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