Final marking of projects

More image processing marking today…

I powered through the second half of the student report sand videos and assigned marks for them all. Then I had to spend a half hour or so pasting all my comments and entering the marks into the university’s grading system. Although the students work in teams and I only had 7 teams to mark, I have to paste all the comments individually into each student from each team, so it’s a huge amount of copy-pasting. Then I mailed the professor to say I’d done, and to pass on some comments for specific students that he may want to investigate further to adjust marks if he deems it necessary.

I finished all this… about 9:30pm, following my two usual Sunday evening ethics classes. So it’s been an exhausting day.

Oh, it was also very windy today. Gusts reached 85 km/h in Sydney. I had the windows open for fresh air, but closed them halfway through the day because it was so tiring listening to the wind. I went out for a 2.5k run at 6pm, and I saw this:

Fallen branch in high wind

The wind had broken a branch off a huge liquidambar tree, and the branch had fallen onto the power lines. The leafy end of the branch is tangled in the power lines as you can see, while the bottom end is on the ground. I kept my distance and reported it to the electrical grid authority, who dispatched an emergency response crew right away to deal with it.

New content today:

Marking final projects

Today was dedicated to getting stuck into marking of the final reports for the university image processing course. I have a bunch of 40-odd page reports to read through, and 20-minute video presentations to watch, and then decided how to allocate marks in a bunch of scoring categories, and also write up comments for the students.

I got through about half of the reports and videos today, and hopefully I can finish the other half tomorrow.

I took some time out at lunch to get some fresh air on a walk with my wife and Scully. And we went out to get some pizza for dinner at our favourite local Italian place.

And that was about it for Saturday!

New content today:

Ark Nova

Today was games night, at a friend’s place. A few people couldn’t make it, so we only had four – which was perfect for a game of Ark Nova. I’ve played this once before, about six months ago, and wanted to give it another go. It’s a long game, and we began about 7pm, and didn’t finish until around 10:30. I came third, but had fun playing, so that was good.

The reasons I’m still up tonight writing this afterwards is that I made a loaf of sourdough this morning and set it aside to prove during the day, intending to bake it around 4pm before I went out for games. But my wife got home from work just before 6pm and said, “When were you going to bake this bread?”

If I let it prove overnight and try to bake it in the morning it’s going to be a mushy mess, so I had to bake it when I got home from game – now. Which means I need to stay up for an hour after I got home, rather than fall straight into bed.

Earlier today I started marking the final project reports for the university image processing course. I haven’t had time up to now, but I need to get them done over the weekend, as the professor has set a deadline for the marking to be completed. So guess what I’ll be doing all weekend?

New content today:

A new ethics class for older kids

I mentioned the other day that I was thinking of starting a new ethics and critical thinking class on Outschool for older kids. Today I put together a class description and submitted the class to Outschool for approval. I expect it should be approved pretty quickly.

With the class description I included topics for the first four planned classes:

  • Crime and Punishment
  • Free Will and Determinism
  • How to Rig an Election
  • The Meaning of Life

Pretty ambitious, but I think I can pull it off! Assuming it’s approved, I’ll start scheduling classes to begin after Christmas, and leave them until then so new students can find the classes and enrol.

Here’s a photo of an Australian brushturkey that I managed to get extremely close to with my phone the other day.

Brushturkey close up

There’s one of these (a different one to the photo) currently guarding a nest mound near my place. Whenever I walk past, it chases me, trying to drive me away, until about 25 metres from the nest. It’s very protective and chases everyone away, although it’s not aggressive and backs off if you approach it. Soon the chicks will hatch and it will abandon them to their fates. They’re really curious birds.

New content today:

And another quick late night post

I think I still need to catch up a little on sleep after that ISO meeting a few days ago where I was waking up before 4am each morning. But I’m getting there.

This morning I had my weekly face to face ethics class at the local school with my Year 6 group. Half of them were away today, doing an orientation day at a nearby high school, since they’ll all be moving on to high school next year, after the Christmas holidays. (This is different in some countries, but here in Australia primary school is Years K-6 and high school is years 7-12.) Anyway, the remaining kids suggested that because half the class were away we should do something different and just have a general conversation about some topic of their choice. Not wanting half the class to miss the conclusion of the Determinism topic, I indulged them, and we actually talked about high school for most of the lesson. I made sure to steer the discussion to thought-provoking questions, like asking the kids if they thought they’d keep contact with friends who were not going to the same high school, or if they thought that expectations of behaviour and maturity would be different there, and so on. It was actually really interesting.

I asked the kids what they wanted to do after school as a career. One girl wanted to be a lawyer. Another girl said, “Three things. Number one: an artist.” Now, before the kids arrive, I get their early and set up the classroom by moving desks and making a circle of chairs so we can sit around it and talk with no distractions. I often have a few minutes to wait for them, and I’ve looked at the artwork they have pinned up all around the classroom, and I had noticed that this particular girl’s work is good, possibly the best artwork in the class. So I mentioned that I’d seen her artwork on the walls and thought it was good.

She continued, “Number two: A YouTuber.” So then we had a discussion about the realities of being a YouTuber, and how likely it was that you’d actually make any money out of it. Most of the kids were fairly realistic about it, saying you have to be really lucky to get subscribers and then the pay rate is pretty low per view, so you need millions of views. They actually seemed to know more about the details than I do! And then one of the boys said that he is currently making about $300 a month doing Twitch streaming of games! Wow.

Anyway, after this diversion I asked the girl what her third career choice was, expecting something else along similar lines, and she said, “Number three: a neuroscientist.”

After getting home from the class, I took a train into town to pick up a game I’d ordered: Azul: Queen’s Garden. My wife and I enjoy the first three Azul games, so I wanted to get this fourth one in the series. I browsed around a bit looking for any other suitable games to buy for the fortnightly games nights with my friends, but didn’t find anything that struck my fancy.

I got home just before midday and then went for a long walk with my wife and Scully, over to the Italian bakery at Cammeray (this is different to the other, closer bakery at Naremburn that we go to more frequently), where I had a slice of pizza and a small pastry with custard and raisins in it. This place makes the best pastry.

This afternoon I tuned into the live NASA feed of the Artemis 1 launch. I was a little worried that the countdown delay would push the launch into my online ethics classes for the evening, but they managed to launch it just before 6pm my time, so I got to see it take off just before beginning my classes.

New content today:

A quick late night post

This morning I finished writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips, and then got stuck into photographing them. I had to do this today as my current batch ran out tonight. SO I also had to assemble some new comics to queue up for the remainder of the week.

I finished photographing by lunchtime, when I went out to drive over to my wife’s work and pick up Scully, who she’d taken in to work this morning (it’s nice to have a dog-friendly office!). I took Scully a couple of suburbs away to a French patisserie to get some lunch, before coming home.

This afternoon I assembled some comics and started working on some new Darths & Droids stuff as well. I took Scully for a walk and popped into the supermarket to grab some salad leave and falafels for a quick and easy dinner, before my three ethics classes tonight. These were on the new topic of generalisation, which is actually a retread of the second topic I did, a couple of years ago when I began running these classes. None of the same students are still doing the class, so it’s a good chance to reuse some material.

New content today:

Count my ethics classes… 1… 2… 3… 4… ah ah ah!

I’ve had three online ethics classes for kids on Monday morning for ages. (Well, morning-ish. Because of daylight saving changes I shift these classes two hours later in my summer, so that they are the same time for students in the USA and Canada, who form the majority of the kids in classes that are early for me, since that corresponds with afternoon/evening in America. Anyway, in winter I had the classes at 8, 9, and 11am. Now that we’re on summer time and the US has gone off daylight saving time, the same classes are now at 10, 11am, and 1pm for me.)

But one (Australian) student’s parent asked if they could move from a Friday class to Monday to better suit their schedule. Last week I had the kid in the 1pm class, but the parent was hoping for one later than that. So I created a new class at 4pm, which I ran for this student for the first time today. It’s the first time I’ve had four online classes in one day. Hopefully I don’t find it too busy!

I’ve also had the thought to start up a new class, for kids aged 13-15, rather than the current 10-12 age range. I have a few kids who are 13 and noticeably more mature than many of the others, and it might be good to move them to a more advanced class. I have some topics in my ideas list that I’ve avoided so far as they’re probably a bit too complex for 10-12 year olds, but might work well with a slightly older group.

On the weather front, we had 37 mm of rain overnight, almost all of it between 1 and 3am. The noise of it woke me up and it was really heavy for a while. It had stopped by sunrise though, and the day was warm and sunny… and humid.

The flood emergency in central New South Wales continues to get worse. The floods began 62 days ago now, and the Commonwealth Government declared it a natural disaster today. State Emergency Services has requested help from New Zealand, and emergency personnel from there will be arriving tomorrow to assist. This is the first time in history that international assistance has been requested for any emergency other than bushfires, and we’ve also requested assistance from Singapore and the USA. Here’s a news article if you want to see some photos or read more.

New content today:

A well-earned sleep in

After my three days of rising at 4am to attend the ISO Photography meeting, I could finally sleep in this morning and catch up a bit on some of that missed sleep. So that was nice.

In the middle of the day Scully had an evaluation test to requalify as a Delta Dog. She did this back in 2019, just before COVID hit, and my wife took Scully into the local hospital to meet patients as a therapy experience for them. But COVID cut short the visits after just a few months. Now they’re up and running again and my wife wanted to start doing it again, but the dogs have to requalify every two years, so Scully needed to do the evaluation again.

We drove out to the venue, about half an hour away, through rain. When we got there, the place was almost empty. This was in contrast to last time, where there were dozens of dogs and owners there, and my wife and Scully had to wait about half an hour for their turn. This time, they took Scully and began the evaluation right away. Unfortunately this meant that Scully was still looking around for me (I stayed in the car, to avoid distracting her), and she ended up being too distracted to pass the obedience and handling part of the evaluation. So… she failed.

There’s another evaluation in a couple of months, but I’m not sure if my wife will want to try it again.

I mentioned the rain… yes, it’s back. The forecast today was up to 25 mm, but fortunately we didn’t get nearly that amount. Inland New South Wales, however, has been deluged again, with many rivers and catchments already flooded, some of them at all-time record levels just a week or two ago. News reported today that 40,000 square kilometres, or an area larger than Switzerland, was now cut off and inaccessible due to floodwaters.

Some dry weather would be nice.

New content today:

Photography Standards meeting day 3

I was up at 4am for the third morning in a row for my ISO standards meeting. We had another technical session on camera pixel specifications, which is a new addition to camera definitions that was raised at the previous meeting. After that we did the administrative stuff of recording action items and resolutions and so on. The meeting finished around 10am, leaving me the rest of the day.

I was pretty tired though, so didn’t get a lot done. I went for a walk with my wife and Scully for lunch at the bakery, where I had a mushroom pie, followed by a lemon meringue tart.

For dinner tonight I made potato, rosemary, and feta pizza, with pesto sauce rather than tomato.

Potato, rosemary, feta pizza

New content today:

Photography Standards meeting day 2

I was up at 4am again this morning for the second day of my ISO Photography Standards meeting, dialling into Apple in Cupertino via Webex. Today we had technical sessions all day, including:

  • tripod safety strength;
  • autofocus repeatability;
  • a proposal from a guy related to some of the high dynamic range stuff we discussed yesterday, suggesting additional applications to office printer equipment;
  • image flare;
  • depth metrology;
  • and a proposal for a new work item on a standard relating to measuring the Shannon information theoretic information capacity of photographic images, for the context of determining usability of cameras for machine vision.

There was some very interesting discussion and I was diligently taking notes throughout, so I can report at the follow-up meeting for Australian experts.

After the meeting ended around 11am my time, I took Scully out for a long walk. We walked out to the long headland where the ferry wharf is and I had her chase and retrieve a tennis ball for a bit to run around, and then we walked home again.

Some photos I took on the way. A framed view of the city through an old sandstone house’s veranda:

House with a view

View over the local harbour swimming area (fenced off in the lower part of the photo):

Baths view

The local creek (view looking down from the bridge above):

Berrys Creek

This afternoon I had a couple more ethics classes on Secrets. And then for dinner my wife and I drove over to the Thai restaurant that we go to sometimes, a couple of suburbs over. Given I’ve been up at 4am two days in a row now, I was pretty tired. And given I had breakfast and lunch an hour or two early each (since I got up so early) I was really hungry by dinner time. So it was nice to have a tasty meal that I didn’t have to cook.

And here’s Scully, relaxing with some of her toys:

Scully and toys

New content today: