I am becoming convinced day by day that Stanford is the greatest institution of higher education in the world. Rarely do I hear anything negative about the school and often do I hear things that are very positive. I am thoroughly impressed with their apparent to educate the world.
Considering of all the traffic that come to my blog, over two-thirds of it come from my study music post, I figured I might throw out a second one as I have some new ones, including a new one that came out last week. By way of introduction, I love to have music when I study, but I typically cannot handle my normal rotation of music. Lyrics and music that is too attention grabbing distracts me far too much and is actually detrimental whereas I feel when I have music conducive to studying, it not only renders my experience more enjoyable but enhances the quality of my session. As such, I have compiled quite the library of study music. People constantly ask me for it, yet I can hardly ever remember on the spot, so here is a compilation of it all. If you would like to check out part one, click here.
With a title like this, I imagine most people expect me to post something about the Honor Code or some other draconian rule. To be honest: the Honor Code almost never interferes with what I'm doing anyway. I've actually come to appreciate it. The only way it really affects me in an (arguably) adversely manner is that it forces me to shave before I go to the testing center or to play intramural sports. Other than that, it doesn't interfere with anything. On the flip-side, it means all of your professors inherently trust you. For my computer science final, my teacher just handed us the paper and told us not to cheat and let us turn it any time that week. He just told us to remember the Honor Code and that was that. I can't see that happening at many universities. In that respect, I love the Honor Code.
Yeah, I skipped the last few days of blogging, but I ended up being really busy. Okay, so I found a really cute girl and just spent as much time as possible with her, but I digress. I'm just going to jot down some final thoughts I have. I may post more as the conference evoked quite a bit of thinking in me.
1. I was asked several times why I was at Evolution 2010 if Mormons didn't believe in evolution. I know I've touched on this already, but I feel that members of the Church and people that aren't part of our church need to realize that the Church neither confirms nor denies, as far as I can tell, the existence of evolution. The official stance of the Church [PDF] all talks about how man is the offspring of Deity and has says nothing more. Some people want to extend this to mean that the species is immutable, meaning that God created animal as it is now and that they do not change. For me, that's as preposterous as still claiming a geocentric universe. If you look at morphological or molecular data, it's impossible to say otherwise. Might I add that the fact that species evolve is of little religious interest either.
2. Having met with a few students and one of their professors, I'd recommend going to the University of La Verne to anyone seeking an undergraduate in the life sciences. Yes, the tuition is ridiculous (something like $15,000 a year) but the individual attention they give to their students is unreal. The associate professor I met really impressed at me and especially the emphasis that she put on undergraduate research. Amazing really.
3. Evolutionary psychology is another fascinating subject of study. That one has a lot more moral and religious implications and I'm not entirely sure to what I subscribe and to what I don't, but it's interesting to entertain nevertheless. I'm reading that book, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, and it's extremely interesting.
4. Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland is ridiculous and delicious simultaneously. Look at the menu at your own peril. I personally ate an "Old Dirty Bastard" and it was incredible.
5. Multnomah Falls outside of Portland is beautiful and certainly worth the short trip to go there. It's also worth the hike to get to the top. I'd recommend it to anyone with time to kill in Portland.
6. Despite how much I enjoy it, bioinformatics lectures are comparatively boring, especially you could be learning about selective sexual adaptations and pressures. Who would have thought cricket sex was so interesting?
7. I'd love to research the social dynamics of a conference like this. The way people interacted with me was most curious. I feel it's worth mentioning probably 40% of the conference was professors, 45% were masters, PhD, and post-doc students and 5% were undergrads. My initial fear was of all the interaction with the higher educated people like the post-docs and professors, but in the end they were the most friendly people. They were giving golden advice left and right. They loved to explain their research to me and come down to my level to help me understand. A few even offered me positions. I initially thought I'd congregate with other undergrads but they ended up being the ones with the chip on their shoulders. The girl I presented next to at the poster session seriously cold-shouldered me. I felt like I was in third-grade getting the silent-treatment. It blew me away. I guess it just shows that people tend to discard their insecurities as they become more educated/experienced.
As reported by ESPN earlier today, the Mountain West Conference officially announced the addition of Boise State to the conference, making them just the second addition since its inception (the other being Texas Christian University.) For those MWC fans (and now Boise fans) pulling for automatic qualification, this is huge news. The Mountain West now has four football powerhouses: BYU, Utah, TCU, and Boise, putting us on even footing with most of the other conferences. There's no reason not to give the MWC an automatic qualification.
UPDATE: Part 2 added with more study music added. Check it out here.
If many of you are like me, you have issues studying to the music to which you normally listen. Or at least for me, I have issues studying to music with lyrics. It tends to distract me and draw my mind into the lyrics and out of my study material. The silence of simply studying sans music just makes the experience worse. So how can we rectify the problem? I have compiled a list of my approved studying music complete with tracks for your sampling pleasure.