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Education Science

Longest Physics Lecture in History? 262

Posted by simoniker
from the if-i-could-turn-back-time dept.
gfrege writes "Perhaps you remember some long physics lectures from your days at school. But as part of a general strike of students at the Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin concerning cuts in funding for the city's universities, some physicists are in the middle of what could be the longest physics lecture in history. It started at noon on Monday, and is planned to run to noon on Thursday. Check out the topics, and if you're in Berlin, come on down. The Babelfish translations of the lecture titles make for some fun reading, too, if you can't make it there yourself."
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Longest Physics Lecture in History?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:47AM (#7626210)
    ...by a single professor, rather than a series of lectures on different topics by different people. Or am I missing something?
  • It can't be (Score:4, Interesting)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:48AM (#7626212)
    as long as this musical piece [bbc.co.uk] by John Cage, also being performed in Germany.
  • by raceface (715858) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:49AM (#7626222)
    Back in the days when I went to school (up hill both ways) we had lectures that lasted all winter. We got to school on day, it snowed 30 feet, spring came, snow melted then we got to go home. And we LIKED it. back in the day.
    • Yeah, but you don't know the topics. I can just picture it now. If they're going to go for physics, and they're going to make it four days long, they might as well make it so unbeliably boring that they break that record, too, right?

      WELL KNOWN FOUR DAY PHYSICS LECTURES

      The Physics of the Q-Tip

      Ether and other ideas that seemed to make sense at the time (taught by this stoned guy they found in the park).

      Physics models without any known application that are difficult to understand (as lectured by a well-k
  • by GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) <joeXbanks@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:50AM (#7626228)
    "The Babelfish translations of the lecture titles make for some fun reading, too"

    "Beautifully (HU) of balls and impulses"


    Again sorry, but you know it's funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... you'll think nothing of staying awake the entire lecture! (for once)
  • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp@gmai l . c om> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:53AM (#7626243) Homepage
    Students at Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin will simultaneously break the world record for sleeping in class.
  • by bolthole (122186)
    what the heck does it mean, that the students are on strike? How the heck can students be "on strike" for anything? they're not getting PAID to take classes.

    now, they could be "demonstrating". but only WORKERS can "strike".
    • Students in Germany are ridiculous...

      1) They get their entire education paid for FREE.
      2) While studying they get retirement contributions paid for them by the government.
      3) They can take their education as long as they would like. For example if it takes a student 20 years then it takes 20 years all the while the German taxpayer is funding the student.

      What they are now trying to do is take away the retirement rights and make them pay a small fee. WELL GEE WHIZ welcome to the real world. Oh I forgot
      • by John Seminal (698722) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @04:00AM (#7626512) Journal
        I dunno if that is correct. Students have to show they are making progress, they can not take 20 years to finish a bachelors degree.

        Plus, there is a reason society should pay for students to go to school. Over the long run, the country will get back more money in taxes than they paid for the tuition. Think about it, if government paid $8000 a year for tuition and another $5000 for room and board, heck make it a cool $15,000 a year for the student, then that would be $60,000 for the 4 years. Now a college graduate will probably make at least $20,000 a year more than a non-college graduate on avarage, and probably much more later in life as they advance in their careers. If government taxed 20% of this extra $20,000 a year, then government would get $140,000 back over the next 35 years. And those are lowball estimates. Consider the extra money would probably push the person into a higher tax bracket (more than 20% taxes, probably closer to 40%), and they will probably be making $50,000/year more than non-graduates after 10 or 15 years of work.

        I do not understand why country's do not offer free college education for all.

        • by GrouchoMarx (153170) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @04:55AM (#7626687) Homepage
          I do not understand why country's do not offer free college education for all.

          Simple. Because educated people are harder to control. Those in positions of power want those who are not to be easier to control, easier to turn into mindless consumer zombies, easier to get to vote for whoever puts out the best commercials rather than has the best platform, etc.

          Universal education challenges the new aristocracy, who believe that you shouldn't get anything unless you can pay through the nose for it. Of course, they can afford to, but no one else can.

          And the society goes to hell for it, with them leading the way. Gotta love it.
        • There are students that study twenty years... These are called never ending students.

          The problem with free education is that people abuse the system. Not a little bit, but a whole lot. The idea should not be free education, but education where you pay a bit. Not so much that it is impossible to attend, but enough to make sure people will treat it with respect. For those that do not have the money to attend the government then kicks in the rest.

          Also flawed in Germany is the argument that everybody MUS
          • Re:Mistaken... (Score:5, Informative)

            by entrox (266621) <{gro.xortne} {ta} {todhsals}> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @08:14AM (#7627219) Homepage
            What the fuck are you talking about?

            Not everybody can get a higher education - you have to earn it first by, you guessed it, getting good grades. This is called the "Hochschulreife". Without it, you are not eligible to even apply to a University. There's ALSO this thing called "Numerus Clausus", which basically says "only people with these grades or better get even LOOKED at" for degrees with a limited capacity. And furthermore, if you don't spend effort to study, you'll get kicked out - if you don't manage to pass the exams in the given time-limit (if there is one) or flunk twice, you'll lose your right to ever take another exam in that discipline again. Forever. For every University in Germany. This means, that if I manage to flunk twice in Mathematics, I'm not allowed to study anything where Mathematics is a part of the degree (Engineering, Computer Science, ...).

            There's also no studying forever: you get one and a half times the specified time of study for that particular degree (in BW at least). After that you'll have to pay tuition fees. But this is different from state to state.

            Who told you that bullshit anyway? Take it from someone who actually studies in Germany...
            • by bankman (136859)
              ...if I manage to flunk twice in Mathematics, I'm not allowed to study anything where Mathematics is a part of the degree (Engineering, Computer Science, ...)

              Not quite, if I were to study mathematics and were to flunk a course, I could still study economics or business even though these include courses in algebra, finance mathematics and statistics. So, while it may apply to engineering or computer science, it wouldn't apply to other courses containing math lectures. And yes, flunking one single part of

        • . Now a college graduate will probably make at least $20,000 a year more than a non-college graduate on avarage, and probably much more later in life as they advance in their careers. If government taxed 20% of this extra $20,000 a year, then government would get $140,000 back over the next 35 years

          This is a fallacy - you're failing to see the wider picture. Graduates only earn more money because being a graduate enables them to rise to the top of the pile. If there were less graduates, the same positio
        • by gubachwa (716303)
          Agreed, unequivocally, 100%. You are absolutely right. Education should be free.

          Now, is this ever going to happen anywhere in America or Canada (which is where I am)? Not bloody likely.

          In fact, tuition is on the rise. In the particular province I live (Ontario), we were recently plagued by close to a decade of neo-con stupidity, masquerading under the name "Progressive Conservatives", that resulted in, among other things, tuition fees more than doubling.

          An education is a right that is as fundamenta

          • OK. Fine. You want free education, then here are the terms:

            No beer.
            No parties.
            No spring break.
            I get to pick your course of study.
            I get to pick where you go.

            You don't like those terms? Then quit whining for me to pay for your education.
      • by HalfFlat (121672)
        Having encountered postgraduate mathematics students and recent postdocs from a number of Western countries, the ones from Germany that I've met have been consistently amazing. The breadth and depth of their mathematical knowledge and understanding is awe inspiring. I can't judge exactly how broad and how deep exactly, 'cause its a lot broader and deeper then my own.

        Correlation not causation etc. etc., but the Universities must be doing something right.

        PS: Australian higher education used to be free. Now
        • While they might know their basics, are they doing anything with that?

          Consider the following URL: http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de/publications/Disc u ssions/comp-ed.html. BTW This is a German website who wrote this.

          Scroll down to the bottom and look at how Germany manages its education. Not pretty and clearly designed to be abused...

          For example catch the statement people enter higher level schooling at 19-20 and leave at 25-30. Geewhiz what are they doing for all that time?
          • I'm not referring to basics, but to deep stuff, honest :)

            I've attended some undergraduate-level courses at a (good) German University, and can honestly say that the pace and workload was much more demanding than the equivalent course in my (also 'good') Univeristy in Australia. This was actually a foreign language course, as regards mathematics I can only judge by the graduates ... Incidently, this particular course did have an associated examination and attendance requirements; failing one or not fulfil
    • by Wastl (809) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:50AM (#7626472) Homepage
      This has always been a little controversial, but there have been student strikes before. You are right, students are not required to take classes, and what the students do is not a strike in the legal sense. On the other hand, if noone goes to the lectures, they are effectively not being held. This *does* have a large effect, at least in politics.

      Also, since a student strike does not hurt as much as a worker strike, the students have to revert to more spectacular means. The one described in this article is one of them. Another media effective action was the demonstration at IKEA last week where many students occupied the beds there and "applied" for educational asylum in Sweden.

      You could say it is a kind of demonstration, but a very specific one.

      BTW: I am not a student, but work as assistant at a German university, so I am familiar with the current situation and the student protests.

      Sebastian

    • .. that subsidised beer won't drink itself, you insensitive clod.
    • by Wakkow (52585) * on Thursday December 04, 2003 @04:53AM (#7626680) Homepage
      What union are they part of? At my school [ucdavis.edu], the TA's and graders are part of the United Auto Worker's Union and were threatening to go on strike [californiaaggie.com]. Yup, United Auto Workers. So maybe the students are part of the Electrician's Union [ibew.org] or something. =)
      • When I was in grad school, our union negotiated for us a massive pay cut. They made a deal which equalized wages between the better paid science/engineering TAs... and the TAs who liked and had time to go to union meetings. Also, somewhere in this process the University decided our earnings were now taxable, which was a complete disaster.

        Thankfully, our deparment stepped in to save us from our evil union and supplimented our income to make up for the difference.

  • by Alea (122080) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:02AM (#7626291)
    ...but I was hoping to sleep in that week.
  • awesome (Score:3, Funny)

    by CanadaDave (544515) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:05AM (#7626302) Homepage
    This is actually a good idea. When I was in undergrad, I usually had about 7 courses for 3 hours per week spread over 5 days, so about 21 hours, but also a tutorial/lecture here and there, so roughly 24 hours, plus labs.

    Wouldn't that be awesome if you could go to lectures for one 24-hour period per week! Then the rest of the week could be used for studying, and doing cool projects and shit. I figure that during the lecturing, you could take some cat naps for like, and hour at a time, and your friend could take notes for you. You could take turns. Ideally all the notes would be available online anyways, so if you took a 6 hour nap, you could get those notes.

    • Then the rest of the week could be used for studying, and doing cool projects and shit.

      Nerd! ;-)

    • ever had to sit through a 2h40 long lecture? the first 45 minutes aren't too bad, the next 45 are bearable, the remaining 70 are torturous (particularly when the lectures run 7:20-10:00pm.) most profs are kind enough to give a break in the middle, but i've had classes with a few who just forget. if you think the length of the lecture is rough on you, it's doubly so for the prof.

      secondly, 6 hours of material is approximately two weeks worth of lecture. think about how much missing even one lecture in the w
      • " ever had to sit through a 2h40 long lecture? the first 45 minutes aren't too bad, the next 45 are bearable, the remaining 70 are torturous (particularly when the lectures run 7:20-10:00pm.) most profs are kind enough to give a break in the middle, but i've had classes with a few who just forget. if you think the length of the lecture is rough on you, it's doubly so for the prof."

        I've had lots of boring lectures. I'd rather get them over with in one sitting. Of course if there were couches or beds, thi

      • Re:awesome (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Prof.Phreak (584152)
        Due to a stupid scheduler at a private school I once was assigned to teach a class for 5 hours straight, from 6PM to 11PM.

        My first reaction was "Heh?"

        My next reaction (after teaching the class for one evening) was "Yey!"

        We got to have a 20 minute break every hour (hey, it's a LONG lecture), and got to go home an hour (or sometimes two) early. Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable semester.
  • by jamesk (18755) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:05AM (#7626305)
    I remember many 3 day physics lectures -- unfortunately most were only one hour in length!!!
  • by sinewalker (686056) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:07AM (#7626318) Homepage
    "Quantum mechanics for pedestrians"

    This sheds new light on the old "look left, look right, look left again" rule when crossing the street: In quantum, by looking at the cars, you can affect their positions!

    Doesn't apply to me (I tried, nearly got run over). Maybe it works if you're blond...?


    • In quantum, by looking at the cars, you can affect their positions!

      My girlfriend's done one better, not being blonde--affecting their positions by _not_ looking at them. It's a great skirt, too.

    • My favourite quantum joke: Heisenberg is driving home late at night when he is stopped by the police.

      Police officer: Do you know how fast you were going, sir?

      Heisenberg: No, but I know exactly where I am.
    • In quantum, by looking at the cars, you can affect their positions!

      Or, perhaps more relevantly, by not looking you can make them both there and not there at the same time. So when you cross the road, there is a possibility that you will be killed and a possibility that you won't be. By arranging the situation so that you will only be observed once you reach the other side, you will get there.

      Truly magnificent!

  • Wowza (Score:3, Funny)

    by illuminata (668963) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:11AM (#7626334) Journal
    I guess this also makes for the largest act of masochism as well. Does it really make sense to do something so heartless to get their point across? And I thought that the mass deforestation done to protest the WTO in Seattle was bad.

    Anyways, what will this accomplish? It seems to me like this will detract from their point, almost as if it's a lighthearted, happy little protest.

    • Anyways, what will this accomplish?

      It proves beyond a reasonable doubt that there are stringed patterns of acoustic energy in the universe that when they hit the optic nerve produce a sedative like effect in biological organisms.

      In other words, it's novocaine for the eyes.
  • by pimpinmonk (238443) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:23AM (#7626385) Homepage
    Wednesday 12-2PM: Schoell (DO) quantum mechanics for pedestrians.
    I'm sure this lecture will deal with the newly found danger of falling through covered manholes due to quantum tunneling, but how at the same time you have a chance of surviving a head-on encounter with a car! This lecture will change pedestrians' lives forever!
  • I am worried... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Seminal (698722) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:34AM (#7626424) Journal
    I live in the USA and I have watched as tuition rates have increased over the past 15 years. I think what this university in Germany is going is very smart. This will increase interest in science and physics. People from the college community will wander into the lectures and listen to professors speak about black holes and quarks. It might inspire a few people to learn more. Meanwhile, in the USA, students will have to find new ways to make money to go to college. Not for inspiration, but as another step needed to get a good job.

    Maybe I am way off in thinking from the status quo, but I believe universities have a responsibility to inspire students, not just "sell a product". I believe this because what happens to people during their college time effects all of society, not just the student. The imagination and creativity of these graduates will determine how much we advance with space exploration, computers, and all sorts of technologies. These new graduates just have to dream it. Just look at the past 40 years, and what graduates have accomplished. Good for the physics faculty to have this lecture marithon. I bet they will be helping themselves recruit more students.

  • Background (Score:5, Informative)

    by 23 (68042) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:51AM (#7626480)
    why the hell are they doing this?


    1.) Here in Germany, higher education comes mostly for free, including attending University. This is paid for by state taxes, mostly.

    2.) There is a huge financial crunch in local communities and the states (Laender), of which Berlin is one, due to prolonged blissful ignorance of reality (tax revenue down) in crazy public spending. Berlin is one of the worst candidates with huge debt, kind of like CA in the US, even suing federal gvt. to bail them out and unfortunately winning.

    3.) Berlin has three full universities plus N colleges and such, sucking up money.

    4.) what's an avg. politician to do? Slash university funding big style, amongst other things, potentially closing one of them down for good

    5.) what's a university student to do? go on strike (IMO not very creative either, but I digress....) and generally raise awareness that higher education is worth its money.

    6.) what's a prof to do? help students out (after all they're in the same boat), by e.g. holding a 3 day continuous physics lecture in the middle of Berlin, for everybody to attend.


    That's why they're doing it. If you or I agree with it, is another question... :-)

    • I am seeing a similar series of events in Hong Kong. We have seven (7) universities here serving a population of 7.5 million people. The govt is having the biggest ever deficit partly due to the economic downturn, partly due to expanded public spending.

      We are getting round to step 4 and 5 recently, too bad our professors are probably not creative enough to try step 6.
    • too simple (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bitsformoney (514101)
      Yes, communities are lacking money but the reason they are taking it from the students now, is not because the universities are the reason for the lack of money, but because students are an easy target. It's easy to make people feel guilty about getting something for free.

      I'm sure most students don't realize that when they're still in university and many will never for the rest of their lives, but having lived and worked in differeny countries with the full range from completely free over subsidized to full

    • Re:Background (Score:5, Interesting)

      by neglige (641101) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @04:46AM (#7626663)
      1.) Here in Germany, higher education comes mostly for free, including attending University. This is paid for by state taxes, mostly.

      Now, yes, but plans are to introduce fees for studying. IIRC, 1000 Euro per semester. There are higher fees in the US, for example, but the two systems are quite different so the fees are not comparable. Whether the fee is a good thing or a bad thing is debatable.

      2.) There is a huge financial crunch in local communities and the states

      Berlin has to save money. True. And again the debate is whether cutting down the financing of universities is smart. Consider that human capital (knowledge) is basically the only ressource Germany has. And universities are generally not well funded. The point "everyone has to save money, so it's fair that universitites have to, too" is certainly valid.

      3.) Berlin has three full universities

      Each has, AFAIK, a different emphasis. And colleges (Fachhochschulen) are inherently different from universities.

      I agree that events like these raise the awareness of the problem. But given the current political climate, I doubt anything will change. BTW, it's not just Berlin. The cuts affect all universities in Germany.
  • by menscher (597856) <menscher+slashdo ... O.edu minus city> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:58AM (#7626504) Homepage Journal
    Everyone's looking at this like it's some crazy publicity stunt to do physics for every waking hour for 3 days. Maybe so, but for those of us who are in physics, this isn't any big deal. I've gone for months at a time thinking about physics every minute I was awake (and losing sleep to it too). Would this have been reported as big news if it were 3 days of biology lectures, I wonder? What about art history?
  • All I remeber... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by faaaz (582035)
    All I remember from my first-year physics lectures is how they made my neck hurt... well, either that or my knees hurt. There was simply no way to sleep comfortably there, though the professors voice sure made it easier.
  • by sakusha (441986) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @04:28AM (#7626601)
    Hey, this seems like the perfect place to try to verify an old bit of physics lore that I only vaguely recall. Maybe a native German speaker (or physics lore collectors) can verify it, or shoot it full of holes.

    The story as I recall it, describes a brilliant but eccentric German physics lecturer. It described an antiquated German grammar structure, now obsolete, but still used by this lecturer due to his advanced age. It was described as "pushing and popping the stack," each sentence was left incomplete, quickly shifting to a new sentence fragment, but omitting all the verbs. Each time you came to the place where the verb belonged, you just "pushed" it onto your mental stack, and moved on to the next sentence. Then when you got to the conclusion, you'd "pop" all those verbs off the stack and speak the sentence endings in order. So hypothetically it might go something like this:

    Mary little lamb, fleece white as snow, everywhere Mary, the lamb; had, was, went, sure to go.

    Now I never heard anything so preposterous in my life. That was, UNTIL I read the rest of the anecdote about this lecturer. Apparently he was prone to using run-on sentences that would last nearly half an hour, which he only realized as the allotted time for the lecture was coming to a close. As the story told it, students would listen to the first half-hour of the run-on sentence, baffled by most of what he was saying, and not taking many notes because none of the sentences were complete or even sensible. Then near the end of the lecture, he'd suddenly have to wrap things up so he'd just spit out 15 minutes worth of verbs, popping them off his stack in the correct order, and all the students would frantically try to copy them all down in their notes, moving backwards from the bottom to the top of the pages, to fill in all the gaps in the notes.

    I don't speak German so I don't have any evidence pro or con about this grammar structure. And I'm skeptical because it would take a genius to remember the last 30 minutes of your extemporaneous lecturing, let alone all those verbs you used in the correct order. But it wouldn't be completely implausible since the German physicists of that era were some of the greatest minds of all time. The story seemed to be told out of respect for his prodigious feat of eccentric speechmaking, as much as it was told as poking fun at the absentminded idiot-savant professor.
    So does this story sound like complete B.S.? Or is it vaguely plausible, if someone straightens out the errors I probably made due to it being about 25 years since I heard this? And if anyone else has heard this anecdote, would you happen to know just WHO it was?
    • Not a native german speaker have a had a few classes, but with my abaility can just handle a menu.
      I have never heard of this, but under German the verb does come at the end of the sentence; so I would put it down as a joke.
    • by falsedan (512906) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @05:37AM (#7626812)
      It's mentioned on page 130 of Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid [york.ac.uk]..
      "The proverbial German phenomenon of the "verb-at-the-end", about which droll tales of absent-minded professors who would begin a sentence, ramble on for an entire lecture, and then finish up by rattling off a string of verbs by which their audience, for whom the stack had long since lost its coherance, would be totally nonplussed, are told, is an excellent example of linguistic pushing and popping. The confusion among the audience that out-of-order popping from from the stack onto which the professor's verbs had been pushed, is amusing to imagine, could engender."
      • Yep, that's gotta be it, I read EGB when it first came out, and uses the push/pop stack concept just as I remembered. How the hell did you remember this was in EGB? Now I'll have to go find a copy because I gave mine away and there's obviously more context around that paragraph you quoted.

        But still, I'd like to hear the original "droll tales" because I think Hofstadter is generally full of shit. And we still have no confirmation from native German speakers that this story is plausible.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      My guess is that the story is simply an urban legend, concocted by some frustrated student of german.

      German is nominally SVO, but in subordinate clauses, and after certain conjunctions, it because SOV. So for example, ich habe den Mann gesehen means 'I have the man seen', which is a typical past tense construction in German. Now, if you make it a subordinate clause, watch what happens: ich denke dass ich den Mann gesehen habe. (I think that I the man seen have).

      As sentences get more complex, you c

    • This complete and utter BS is. As a native German speaker confirm I that although verbs to follow at the end tend not it possible to construct a sentence that to finish half an hour it takes is can.
    • A: Schachtelsatze (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Apogee (134480) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @09:16AM (#7627488)
      I believe what you're referring to must be Schachtelsatze, or "nested sentences", which indeed is a (quite obsolete) rhetorical style in german.
      It's not used much, and if it is, it's generally in literature. Probably 95% of its useage is simply to show off, I'd assume.

      It works basically more or less like this: you start a sentence, and at some word, where you'd like to add additional information about it, you start a subclause. In that one, you can do the same again. Effectively, you're embedding sentences within sentences. Since in German, the verb often comes at the end, once you're through, you must clean up by adding all the verbs at the end. So it's a bit like pushing and popping indeed.

      An artificial, exaggerated example was taken from here [rhetorik-netz.de]:

      german:
      Schon immer mal wollte ich einen Satz, der zwar grammatikalisch richtig gebildet, jedoch durch die Anfugung von Nebensatzen, die durch ein Komma, welches das Verb bzw. das Hilfsverb, das dieserart jeweils erst nach dem Schachtelsatz, der eigentlich den Zusammenhang, der ebenfalls im Nebensatz, der kurz vor dem Verb, welches das Satzende, das das Verb bzw. das Hilfsverb, das durch das bereits genannte Komma, das ja die Nebensatze, die eingeschachtelt worden sind, abschachtelt, ineinander verschachtelt wurde, endlich bringt, wieder entschachtelt, verschachtelt worden ist, erklart wird, erklaren sollte, genannt wird, somit einschachtelt, getrennt werden, verschachtelt wird, ist, formulieren.

      english, (almost) german word order:
      I always wanted a sentence, which however gramatically corrently formed, but through the addition of subclauses, that are with a comma, which the verb or the auxiliary verb, which in this way each time only after the nested clause, that actually the context, that also in the subclause, that shortly before the verb, which the end of sentence, which the verb or the auxiliary verb, which through the previously mentioned comma, which now the the subclauses, which have been nested, nests in, has been nested in each other, finally mentions, de-nests again, has been nested in, is explained, should explain, is mentioned, therefore nests in, are separated, is nested in, is, to formulate.

      english, understandable (sort-of):
      I always wanted to formulate a sentence, that is formed gramatically correct, but that is nested in through the addition of subclauses. These subclauses are separated by a comma, which nests in the verb or auxiliary verb, which then gets only mentioned after the nested clause. The nested clause should explain the context, which also is explained in the subclause that has been nested in shortly before the verb, which de-nests (the sentence) again before the end of the sentence. The subclause thus relates to the verb or auxiliary verb.
      The verb nests sentences through the use of a comma, which marks the nesting of the subclauses that were nested in.

      Hope that helps or at least doesn't confuse more than before...
    • So does this story sound like complete B.S.? Or is it vaguely plausible, if someone straightens out the errors I probably made due to it being about 25 years since I heard this? And if anyone else has heard this anecdote, would you happen to know just WHO it was?

      There likely wasn't an actual person who did such a thing. My father (who is Austrian) told me the story of the absent-minded german professor as he heard it fifty years ago and his understanding of it was as a joke. He and his friends would some

  • by fven (688358) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @04:43AM (#7626649)
    In Australia, university students are required to join the student union on enrolment in any course at a tertiary institution. The union can thus choose to take action on behalf of the students in exactly the same way as any other workers union.

    So even though students are not paid to attend university, their union has legally the same weight as all other trade unions.

    In my city the local representatives have been active organising various protests against proposed government regulation changes (effectively govt. wants to reduce spending on education and force universities to obtain funding through research avenues AND raise student fees - in Australia we have a deferred payment scheme called HECS that partially offsets tuition fees).

    Some of the recent protests have been a day strike, culminating in a lunchtime rally, storming the state Parliament house. How effective? Who knows but the proposed reform bill has been stymied.
    • by sholden (12227) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @05:07AM (#7626725) Homepage
      That's not true.

      In Western Australia, for example, university student's can not be forced to join a union. They actually have freedom of association and aren't forced to pay large amounts of money to an organisation they do not support.

      They also have *better* student services, but simple economics would tell you that would be the case.

    • It was my understanding that though it is called a student union, it's not really a union in the same way a trade union is a union.

      Such things as laws against compulsatory unionization and the like don't apply, for this sort of reason. Also (mainly because it's not exactly relevant I guess) they don't set pay awards, etc.

      [...] effectively govt. wants to reduce spending on education and force universities to obtain funding through research avenues AND raise student fees [...]

      which I believe they hav

  • by Zog The Undeniable (632031) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @06:01AM (#7626883)
    If a lecturer at my university had even tried to exceed the standard 50 minutes, he would have been heckled and/or people would have started disappearing off to the cafeteria for a coffee. Paper aeroplanes would appear when the big hand of the clock drifted past the 11. One of our Chinese students once slept through an entire morning (3 lectures) and only woke up for lunch.

    Kids these days just don't understand that the true point of university is to explore your alcoholic limits and avoid working for 3 years.

  • by kavau (554682) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @10:22AM (#7628064) Homepage
    From the (babelfished) schedule:

    Schoell (DO) quantum mechanics for pedestrians

    Are we going to hear something like the following:

    "If you need to cross a busy street with cars going in both directions, go to a spot where the cars' wavefunctions form a standing wave. Then you can cross safely at the nodes, since the probability of any car being there will be very low."

    ... and other useful advice?

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @11:13AM (#7628588) Journal
    If a reduction in budgets cause the professers to give 3-day lectures, maybe if the Universities ELIMINATED the budgets the professors would teach all year!

    Sounds like everyone wins.

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