Monday, September 04, 2006

The School Bell Rang

Since I am here for school I guess I should write a little about it. My first week was interesting. Orientation day was a long day of learning about Swedish academic procedures. The Swedes love computers and internet technology. All my classes include some internet program which I need to use to communicate to my profs and to hand in all assignments. It sometimes gets very complicated. Even in class the computer crashes once and awhile and interrupts the class.

Another interesting computer program is the online textbooks. I have not had to buy a textbook yet, but a login access to gain permission to use the electronic textbook. It costs around 40 bucks and gives you a large reference section which includes textbooks from other engineering courses. By the way, the campus bookstore is student run and they sell at the usual high price. The place is somewhat disordered and easy to slip a textbook in your bag.

Classes are suppose to begin on the top of the hour, but KTH has a interesting tradition. Academic quarter. This is a grace period where students are given 15 mins before class to show up, meaning the professor will officially start class at quarter after the hour. Why this tradition? I do not know. Perhaps it is the way their computers handle schedules.

In the four classes I have this semester, there are about 50 students from 30 different countries. Five of them are Canadian. The rest are from all over; Venezuela, Mexico, Iran, Germany, Australia, France, China, Pakistan, etc. It is quite a group. Everyday, I speak french, spanish and english to someone. This will definitely help me keep up my other languages. Swedish will come soon, as I am slowly meeting some Swedish people which will help with the immersion. So far the best teacher is the transit system. A wonderful voice in each bus and train tells us the name of the next stop and I learn how to pronounce certain letters properly. What a country!

On Friday, a guest lecturer from the Swedish Energy Agency spoke to us about sustainability in the world. She was not a Believer of Peak Oil, but nevertheless she had some very interesting facts and statistics to present. Hopefully I will get her lecture notes soon and post some of the more interesting graphs. Her talk focused on where the world was and how the world can change when it comes to energy. She had some experience travelling to developing nations and setting up co-operative electricity companies. She strongly believes that energy is the number one solution to lift the yoke of poverty in the developing world. Her numbers and facts surely pointed to this, which I tend to agree.

Energy provides time and employment. When people are employed, they can lift themselves out of desperate poverty. There are probably exceptions to this, but life is generally better when people have good work. Affordable and accessible energy is difficult to achieve. Converting energy is expensive, this is why renewables are seen as a solution because they eliminate the fuel part of the economic equation. I know all of you that have played Power Grid understand this idea!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yoke, not yolk.

3:44 AM  
Anonymous VinaB said...

did you bring a red apple to your professor yet, it might help with your grade. my bell is ringing tomorrow, so i go a few macintosh ready. cheers Dave.

11:10 PM  
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2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice articles, keep writing them.
love dad

3:43 AM  

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