Researching Trends

Clifford algebra representation
Clifford algebra representation


I met a very helpful second or third-year grad student¹ that really helped me out with finding interesting research assistant positions. There are two for which I will be applying for. One will be for next semester, and the other one will be for next year, running for a whole year from July 2010 to July 2011². There was no way that I would have been able to apply for these this year. Still, it’s going to be interesting. That only leaves me to check out all of the profs with grants at my university to see if they need a RA for this semester. I think that it will most likely in PDEs since NTNU received some major funding on two large PDE projects.

One of my colleagues is an SAT tutor to some senior high school kids. This is paid quite well, something around 3 times what a usual foreign ESL teacher makes in Taiwan³. I’m going to see if I can teach something similar. It would be different from teaching English. The good thing is that I have taught math before, as well as science. What’s really interesting is that I wouldn’t have to work that many hours. I doubt that many hours are available anyway. Two hours would be the same as 6 hours of ESL teaching.

Lamy Safari
Lamy Safari


The day was mostly spent doing errands and catching up on some much needed sleep. I was pretty tired but I managed to sleep enough. I’ve still got 27 algebra problems to solve. One of my classmates made a strange comment. He wondered why I was spending so much time trying to solve the problems, since I had found the solutions online. I said that this was how I learned, solving problems by myself and only looking at the solutions when I was finished or when I couldn’t solve the problem after a certain amount of time.

I was sitting behind an annoying girl this week. She was a ‘yes man’, always agreeing with what the prof was saying. It really annoyed me because she kept nodding and laughing at the prof’s jokes. I don’t know why I was so annoyed. Probably because of the fakeness involved. She was just giving the prof some face, but it was bad. My wife said that students like this don’t go very far. She has them in her classes too, and they grate on people’s nerves after a while.


Old Nancy has been having trouble ever since the weekend. The muffler was acting up. I only realized yesterday that it was about to come off. The holding clamp had broken off. I had the muffler replaced with a brand new one. The mechanics gave me an estimate on what it would cost to replace the clamp. The thing is that it’s part of the motor assembly, so it’s pretty expensive. I asked them if they could weld it. They said that it was possible, but that it would have to wait until Monday. Sounds pretty good.

Fast Nancy made really loud noises over the last few days, loud enough for me to consider putting my iPod on again while I’m driving. Anyway, the muffler has been changed and she’s going to get welded on Monday.


On the Moleskine class note-taking front, everything is pretty good. They are a joy to use and some people in class have even commented when they see my notes. I usually use a Sakura Micron 0.3mm, but I’ve slowly eroded the tip. This type of pen was made for inking, not writing. I’m going to try writing with a Lamy Safari next week, with a fine nib and black ink⁴. I’ll also try getting a cheaper Staedler 0.3mm fineliner, but I like the Sakuras a lot for the quality of the ink they use. I think that in the smaller plain paper MS XL, there might be some bleeding if I use fountain pens. I know this because the Pilot Petit 1s that I use from time to time bleed a bit. This isn’t the case for the bigger A4 plain paper MS.

* * * * *

[¹]: I’ve actually been told that he’s a 4-year grad student and they don’t know if he will graduate. I haven’t asked him about this, but he has mentioned that he is studying algebra. He’s always hanging out in the office and has got a sweet setup, with a fold-away bed.
[²]: One of them actually has entrance exams in linear algebra and analysis. By that date in 2010, I should already be getting ready for the PhD exams, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve always excelled at linear algebra.
[³]: I’ve been told that the minimum wage for foreign ESL teachers has actually gone down or frozen for the last 15 years. I’ve taught at a foreign-owned school and I found the teaching a bit too intensive. It’s really draining because you are standing up for hours and marking, while you are supervising your class. That’s one of the reasons why I went into Kindergartens and buxibans. It’s a lot easier.
[⁴]: The Pilot Petit 1s that I have write too wet to use as a main pen in class, and the nibs of the other fountain pens† that I own are too thick to use for class notes, as they require fine nibs. I might even have a Mont Blanc hidden away somewhere. I’ve been wanting to repair it for ages.

[†]: Stephanie’s blog has really been interesting to read. I like how she reviews inks and fountain pens. Her artwork is also very beautiful. I’ve added a few more pen blogs to my feeds.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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