Wherein I Tell of Senseless Labs

I will possibly fail CZ4206, Symbolic Computing, because I had not handed in a single laboratory assignment, and they figure for 35% of the final grade (not really a big deal. My history of assignment-doing this semester goes along the same lines).

However, I had not done the labs for this module not so much because I was lazy, but because they were ridiculously easy. Really. Stupendously easy. It’s Mathematica programming, for god’s sake. I can pick it up in three days, and pass it easily with some reference.

But that’s not really why I think the labs are easy. I think the labs are easy because THE ANSWERS ARE POSTED ONLINE. That’s right, all source code, ready for download. You see, the labs haven’t changed in the past two years the module has been taught, and some conscientious lecturer had posted the answers to the labs online. The less-conscientious lecturers who took over the module never seemed to notice this.

It made no sense to me at all to hand in source-code that was there for free download.

So it was really just a lesson in obedience, that 35% of the final grade in Symbolic Computing. I do not consider cosmetic-changing of source code a skill that should be learnt at University level.

Maybe I should have said something to the lecturer about giving more challenging labs, or removing the source (which wouldn’t have helped – I’ll bet it was all downlaoded at the start of the semester), but my patently chinese manners rebelled against snitching on the poor girls who probably had to download the source, change some variable names and then hand it in.

So instead sat around, too lazy to change a stupid system, too apathetic to bother complying with it, and the only one who suffers is me.

Errr. I think the muscles really are clogging up blood going to the brain.

In other religious news, Benedict XVI received leaders of other faiths and professed an interest in “building bridges of friendship” with other religions. He also remarked that:

peace was a “duty to which all peoples must be committed, especially those who profess to belong to religious traditions.”

Meaning that the ones encouraging war are the godless atheists like me (though I’m really agnostic, but the distinction is usually lost on religous people). I’m surprised at his tolerance for other religions. After all, the Muslims, Hindus and cherry-bush-worshippers of Gogoland are as much heathens as I am, right? Why this unfair distinction? Is catholism growing soft?

Imagine a new world religion, tolerant of all faiths… except for disbelief. A world where religous struggles become mega-conglomerate market-share battles, where you have to choose between Coke or Pepsi, but not-to-drink is a crime against cool (sorry – alliteration fun). The biggest stake-holders, having economies of scale and much more experience than any newcomer, will oust the competition and squeeze the market dry such that small religions can’t survive. I can imagine the showdown – Islam, Christianity (all of which tiny factions will eventually have a merger) and maybe Buddhism (which will be where all the confused people flock, because some denominations support sex). We’ll have charismatic CEOs, profit analysis and checks and balances. Magazines like “The Religist” will actually be read (for YOUR moral education!). Morality will be shored up and displayed to the masses, and due to the intense competition distinct lines of battle will be drawn, with cries of “WE’RE more moral, because we went and built home in Somalia, Nah nah!”.

Okay, perhaps I take it too far. But you know I don’t like any organized religion.

No, not even buddhism. And no, not the cherry-bush-worship of Gogoland. DEFINITELY not that.

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