Today started, after I stayed up until 2:00 am last night studying, with my linear algebra midterm. There were three problems: compute an SVD, demonstrate some knowledge of eigenvectors and eigenvalues, and evaluate an expression that looked like zero on your calculator, but wasn’t. I think I did OK on everything but one part of the second problem.

After probability, Renee and I hit the Commons to grab some lunch. Renee was beating herself up because she had mistakenly thought 10^-20 was close to 1, rather than 0…so I told her about the problem I know I’ll get dinged on. The question was something along the lines of “for a system that has no exact solution, the least squares solution is always unique. True or false?” My answer? “Well, the SVD gives us a solution we call the minimum-norm least-squares solution—and so, ostensibly, the least-squares solution isn’t necessarily unique.” Renee cracked up when she heard my response, and was only barely able to regain enough composure to give me a high-five.

She stopped obsessing over her mistake after that, though…so my answer was good for something. Just not my grade.

The official handout for my number-theory research paper listed today as the day we needed to declare a project topic. So at lunch I pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote down a few topics, and titled the sheet Project Declaration. This seemed to tickle Dr. Schmidt’s fancy—I guess he had some vision of me aggressively staking my claim, probably akin to the Spanish declaring land in the name of Spain—because he made repeated mention of turning in “topics, or declarations,” by five PM this evening.

I seem to be doing a decent job of making people laugh today.

My other midterm was in OB, where I think I did a decent job. My performance probably won’t win me any awards (e.g. the Pulitzer), but—then again—it won’t win me any awards (e.g. the Darwin Award). My hand wasn’t nearly as damaged as it was after the first OB midterm, too, which was a nice perk.

I should have done so much this evening: listen to some guest speaker, sleep, watch The West Wing, sleep, go see Matrix: Revolutions, sleep…instead, I was stuck researching a topic for tax class. Dang.

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