Wow, it’s been so long since I last updated this thing. It’s been almost a month since I actually wrote a nice long post. All of this is too bad, too, because I really do have a few interesting things to talk about. First, let’s turn to the flood that I – in my own estimation – so beautifully chronicled in the previous three posts.
While the Red River Valley Flood of 2006 will go down as one of the top 10 (perhaps even top 5 in some locales) worst floods ever to occur as far as water levels are concerned, it likely won’t even crack the lists as being one of the top 10 costliest or most damaging floods of all time. Though the flood of 1997 was considerably devastating to hundreds of communities up and down the Red River Valley, it did have the effect of causing people to plan what actions they would take should a flood of similar proportions ever happen again. Additionally, the flood of 1997 forced not only those who lived in flood-prone homes to either abandon them altogether or relocate to a higher elevation but also cities to construct elaborate levees and/or dikes to protect their citizens. Case in point is Grand Forks’ and East Grand Forks’ elaborate levee system that was built using a mishmash of federal, state, and local dollars. The “hills” and walls that you could see surrounding the river in the pictures I posted below are two examples of the protection built as a result of 1997.
So, thanks to the measures taken after 1997, a very, very low number of structures were lost due to floodwaters during this year’s flood. Just about the only damage that the flood caused was to farm fields and country roads. And even then, quite a few farmers whose fields in the southern part of the Red River Valley were completely submerged in the beginning of April have since been able to plant this year’s crop thanks to how quickly the water has receded. That April this year has been consistently warm, sunny, and dry has also helped considerably with evaporation as well.
And that’s about all I’ll say about the flood. The next thing I wanted to discuss was my plans for the next school year, namely the fact that I registered for the upcoming fall semester last Tuesday. The classes I’ve chosen to take, as well as the official descriptions from the course catalog (since everyone loves to read those) are as follows:
Chemistry 341 – Organic Chemistry I (5 credits w/lab)
Designed for science and pre-professional students. Learn about structure and bonding, nomenclature, stereochemistry, functional groups, and spectroscopy (NMR, IR, MS) for structure determination.
Physics 251 – University Physics I (4 credits w/lab)
The University physics sequence is for students majoring in science and engineering. Topics normally covered in Phys 251 include Newtonian mechanics and gravitation, work and energy, rotationally dynamics, vibrations and waves, mechanics of solids and fluids, basic kinetic theory, equations of state and the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
German 307 – Third Year German I (3 credits)
Further improvement of the four language skills: listening, writing, reading, and speaking with thorough grammar review.
Atmospheric Sciences 110 – Meteorology I (4 credits w/lab)
Elements of the atmosphere with emphasis on those processes that affect the global atmospheric circulation.
So all of those courses add up to 16 credit hours, which is a little deceiving since I will actually have about 21 hours of class time per week once you figure in the 7 hours of labs that go along with all my science classes. As far as time goes, my classes will be laid out like this:
8:00-8:50 Organic Chemistry (M, T, W, F)
9:00-9:50 Physics (M, T, W, F)
11:00-11:50 German (M, W, F)
12:30-14:30 Meteorology Lab (T)
15:00-18:00 Organic Chemistry Lab (W)
18:00-19:15 Meteorology 1 (T, Th)
19:00-20:50 Physics Lab (W)
The biggest problem I will have will be with organic chemistry. I so do not want to have a class at 8 AM, much less one that meets 4 days per week. But, there isn’t anything I can do, since o-chem is only offered at 8 AM and, from what I can tell, it will always only be offered at that time. From what I have gathered, it’s been at 8 AM for the last few years from now. And it’s always held in one of the biggest lecture halls on campus, the one in the chemistry building that seats upwards of 200 people.
In taking Third Year German, I’ll be well on my way toward getting a minor in the language, something I wish to obtain by the time I end my junior year and have spent a summer at the Universität Regensburg (which I intend to do next year). Regensburg, by the way, is about 60 miles north of München (Munich) in Bayern (Bavaria). Ich würde auch nicht nur in Regensburg den ganzen Sommer bleiben, denn das Sommerprogramm, das UND mit der Uni-Regensburg herstellte, gibt man mehrere Gelegenheiten, nach vielen anderen deutschen Städten zu fahren. Ich könnte wahrscheinlich auch München, Berlin und Frankfurt sehen.
I did have a bit of a scare in registering for German, however, since I almost had to forgo taking it in order to be in physics at 11. It’s a long story, but what happened was, there was originally going to be two sections of Physics 251 – one with class at 9 and the other with class at 11. For whatever reason, the professor who was going to teach the 9 o’clock class bowed out, and the lecture was canceled. That left 11 o’clock as being the only time anybody could take Physics 251.
But then more people started to sign up for the 11 o'clock class than could be accommodated for with just one section, and another one, this time once again at 9, was created. Of course, my German professor, whom I had previously discussed the problem regarding scheduling with, was very pleased that I would be able to continue on with studying German. He even put in a good word with the professor who teaches German 307, saying that I was one of the best students in his German 202 class.
This brings me to the end of my discussion concerning registering for the fall semester. Something I want to talk about in an upcoming post would be the two field trips I took this past week as part of the Introduction to Chemical Engineering class that I’m currently in. On Tuesday, we headed over to the J.R. Simplot potato processing plant in the northern part of Grand Forks. I actually got to see hundreds (probably even thousands) of pounds of french fries being produced right in front of my eyes. Though the plant was making was making the thick, crinkle type of fries under its own brand name when I visited, the Grand Forks plant produces french fries and other fried potato products for businesses all over the U.S. and the world. Actually, earlier on the day we visited, hashbrowns for the Japanese market were being produced. Meanwhile, on Thursday, we went to go look at the Energy & Environmental Research Center, an interesting private-sector research & development firm that is actually a part of UND.