What’s the buzz?

Nothing to do with physics this bit:  My wife was at home yesterday afternoon, and she phoned me at work.  "Err…we’ve got a bit of a problem…."   My immediate thought was maybe the plumber had severed the main water pipe or something disastrous like that, but no, rather different.   "…I kind of heard this buzzing coming from the chimney and then pinging sounds in the fireplace…."  Yes, our house (more exactly, our fireplace) became the residence-of-choice for a swarm of bees yesterday.  Needless to say, we called in the pest control people who have now convinced the bees that this isn’t a good place for them.

And here’s a joke my brother told me yesterday.   "A Greek, a Portuguese and an Italian walk into a bar. Who offers to buy the drinks?".

Answer: The German.

Finally, slightly more seriously, I got some teaching appraisals for B-semester back yesterday. That’s what the students use to ‘score’ the papers they’ve done and the teaching they’ve had. In one paper I had a perfect score – for every question every student had put down ‘always’ – for both questions about the paper they were doing and for my teaching on it. Wow! Don’t get many of those. I should caveat this slightly by saying there weren’t many students in this paper.

However, in another paper I teach on the scores for the paper (though not for my teaching) gave the impression that there were some rather annoyed students in the group. The problem this creates for me is that while I know they are obviously annoyed at something, the scores on the appraisal forms don’t tell me what it is they are annoyed about. (Which means I can’t do much to fix the problem for next year.) Sure – I’ve had some feedback while the course was going, but nothing to suggest they were entering really-narked-with-something territory. Hopefully, when I get to see the hard copies of the forms they’ll be some constructive comment as to what the problems are – otherwise I’m going to have to chase down some students and try to tease it out of them.



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