Thursday, July 16, 2015

Heated Hypothetical Discussions

In class today, we started off by proving the link invariant we learned yesterday (tricolorability) by showing each possible coloring of Reidesmeister moves, and showing that the ends don't change when the Reidemeister move is performed. Then we learned Dowker notation, which is a way to convert knots into strings of numbers so that they can be written down and described more easily. At first, we all thought that it wasn't that useful, since there were many possible Dowker sequences for each knot, depending on what part of the knot you start at (since there's nothing about a knot that implies an end or beginning). However, the class soon realized that each sequence took you back to the same knot, just a different orientation, so the notation does in fact work (for most knots, anyway, but the exceptions are more complicated, and very specific).

In juggling, I couldn't find anyone who wanted to practice passing, so I learned the basics of poi. Poi are weighted balls on the ends of ropes, and they are swung around in patterns. It is very easy to hit yourself with it, and they are hard balls that pick up a lot of speed when they're being swung, so it wasn't especially surprising that I was the only on who wanted to learn. (One of the boys watching said that I was lucky to be a girl, because I didn't have to worry as much about if it hit me.) In the last fifteen minutes of class, we all went outside to the lawn, and the teacher demonstrated using the bullwhip that he had. We all knew that it would be loud, but it was unbelievably loud, so loud it was almost painful. It was like a gunshot at close range.

After dinner, we all went to the rotunda for a presentation by the Admissions Office. I expected it to be a lot about how awesome Vanderbilt is and how they have a holistic admissions process and that everyone should apply (like most information sessions), but luckily it wasn't. We were divided into groups and each group was with two admissions officers. We got example applications from three different potential students, and were told to decide as a group which to accept, which to reject, and which to wait-list. It came to shouting several times as people argued for or against one candidate. One in particular was Jonathan, a mediocre student who didn't seem to try very hard, but who was a world-class rower and had good SAT scores. As Miranda said, "World-class rower, world-class slacker!" In the end, he was wait-listed.

In other news, if you read this blog post earlier (originally posted the evening of July 15) and it seems slightly different now, that's because it was unfortunately somehow deleted from the blog and had to be rewritten.

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