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Andy Sebastian

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Exams
    May 2014
  • Country
    United States
  1. Andy Sebastian

    What is TOK exactly like?

    ...well, this is a little old, but school's starting tomorrow so I suppose my very scantily informed advice could be of some use: My personal experience with TOK is that it's probably the least standardized class across the Bachelorette. I had one teacher who never gave us any homework and finalized our grade from opinion pieces we'd right on loose leaf paper about whether or not you think violence is wrong. I had another who assigned stupidly large piles of reading and made us take an absurd exam on logical reasoning. There are a few tips that I think applied to all three of my classes: Work on your public speaking, critical thinking and argumentative skills. There are a lot of students who waste time in classroom discussions mumbling jumbled and redundant thoughts. You can improve your presentation grade, and also make the teacher actually tolerate you, by having something interesting to say and being able to say it without putting the class to sleep. Talking about the subject matter in class may also increase your interest in the essay you're going to have to sludge through later that week, and perhaps give you some ideas....at the same time, make sure that you aren't talking too much, or arguing with your classmates or your teacher too frequently, or you'll start to annoy people.Be prompt and well organized. This applies to basically everything in life, but especially to TOK, where half of your grade is dependent on group work and long essays. In the latter case, literally half of your rubric grade often boils down to putting your name in the right places with the right font. You can make a lot of your report card just by following the rubric and meeting with your partners frequently.Elaborate, elaborate, elaborate. TOK is very PC - the teacher can't tell you you're wrong about any of your opinions unless if you deny the holocaust or something. The teacher will instead grade you on the quality and depth of your arguments, and so you need to have them, lots of them, and lots of supporting evidence. It's also important that your evidence be relevant to your thesis - I know this sounds like obvious stuff, but this is an epistemology course, and lots of teachers are very anal about that part.While the need to use them on more informal assignments may vary, formal TOK vocab such as "areas of knowledge" and "ways of knowing" are apparently a must for the essays that will count towards your IB grade. They sound stupid and kind of are, but you've got to at least pay them lip service to check them off the rubric.Overall, most of the time TOK is actually a pretty fun class, partly because the discussions and subjects are fairly substantial, and partly because it's a very good way to vent and escape from the rigid work and formatting of all your other classes. A lot of students use it as a breather.
  2. Andy Sebastian

    Where do you live?

    Took IB near DC in Maryland, USA. I'm surprised there aren't more Americans around here.
  3. Andy Sebastian

    Guess something about the next poster

    Not at the moment, but oh the memories... NP is lying.
  4. ^speaking of exams, IB has a really weird, unforgiving policy towards missing them. Apparently you're not allowed to make them up even if you're seriously ill.
  5. Andy Sebastian

    Interested in studying engineering? Ask questions here.

    ^you listed mechanical engineering as a field that's doing well in the US. How well do you think it stacks against aerospace and electrical? I am going into university to study mechanical, but a look at employment and salary statistics seem to suggest that electrical pays better and has better projected job growth. Does mechanical have an advantage I'm not noticing? I'm posting in a bit of a hurry so I didn't get a chance to read everything, so I apologize if these questions have already been answered: a) What do you think of the value of a minor in computer science? Are there any other minors you would recommend? b) What do you think of going for a business or law degree after an engineering undergrad, or into one of the sciences? c) Did you find the lab work or the textbook work more difficult in your classes? Thanks for the help.
  6. Hmmm... Better STEM classesGreater course flexibility/more options (some schools don't even offer certain IB classes)Better organization (seriously; maybe it's just my school, but IB suffered several incidents of lost checks, bizarre deadlines and horribly worded exams)Either make CAS legit or get rid of it. Ditto with TOK.Going on about TOK, the idea of having unique "IB only" types of classes is a really intriguing one, and not one they've brought to full potential IMHO.Better quality control (some IB schools are very good - others are a joke)Better advertising to universities.
  7. Andy Sebastian

    Quick Questions

    How could politics be a science, when the vast majority of its practitioners don't even pretend to employ the scientific method? And Sceptyczka, that definition doesn't remotely fit the meaning of "science" at all (how is science "subjective" and "spiritual?") Aniruddh, I don't think most politicians use or care about the findings of political scientists. There's a pretty big gulf between politics and political "science", which, even in its most academic, theoretical forum, hardly fits the definition.
  8. Andy Sebastian

    Mathematics EE - Population Dynamics

    You may have already thought of this, but perhaps you could take world population data every 5 years from 1900 to, say, 1970, using various growth models, make predictions based on each model, and then see which one more accurately approximates the data on the rest of the century from the first 70 years. But yeah, that by itself would be far too simple for a math EE, although it might work for an IA. Have you considered comparing how effective each model is relative to the population and timescale; ie, world population projections vs. bacterial growth, or something?
  9. Andy Sebastian

    Modelling air resistance

    I sort-of did this for my EE. At low velocities, the magnitude of the force of air resistance is approximately the speed times a constant. At higher velocities, the magnitude of the force is the speed squared times the cross sectional area times some constant. If you can track the trajectory of the object (ie, set a camera perpendicular to the plane of motion, and then plot the object in logger pro), you should be able to figure out the acceleration with the second-time derivative, and then by extension the force, and then after adjusting for gravity, deduce the drag equation with some differential equations a little bit outside the scope of IB physics. Or just plot the air resistance (taking out gravity) and do a curve fit. Meh. Now, a good scientific model should be able to make accurate predictions, so you could test the validity of your curve-fit by seeing how accurately it estimates the trajectory of the object with different initial conditions. Of course, if the prediction fails miserably, you could just...not include that part in your report. ^this is all assuming I did my EE correctly. I never really got a chance to ask my adviser about those calcs, so there's the very real possibility that I'm completely wrong.
  10. Andy Sebastian

    Can communism ever work?

    John9: Are inequalities really growing bigger? The absolute income gap in western nations may have increased over the past decade thanks to the recession, but from a more global (ha! bet you've heard that rammed down your throat before!) perspective, third world countries are catching up to us at a respectable pace, and global poverty and mortality rates are at an all time low. Excalibre: I'm not following the point you're trying to imply here. The significant achievements of western civilization in the time since Marx's manifesto came through means that, in perspective, were generally peaceful. That there were wars and atrocities in that period is a correlation, but not a causation.
  11. Andy Sebastian

    Can communism ever work?

    ^...I'm sorry, but where did you get the idea that Communist governments force everyone to take the same jobs and punish all types of crimes in the same manner? I don't recall seeing anything of the sort mentioned in the Manifesto, nor do I see that in any historically communist nation; the Soviet Union had its factory workers, its athletes and its theoretical particle physicists. Not even Stalin was insane enough to think you'd only need one type of job to run a country. You need a half dozen different kinds of professions just to maintain a family business. That aside, I'm not a communist, and I think history has proven Marx wrong on most of his predictions (ie, he thought that the wages of the proletariat would decrease with increased industrialization, yet it evidently did not). I don't think communism is necessary even if you honestly believe it could work, because the past century's amazing social and fiscal advances have proven that you can reach for your utopia through peace, democratic processes, instead of the process by which tens of millions are murdered to get to the same ends (since Marx openly advocated violent revolution).
  12. Andy Sebastian

    What is your religious affiliation?

    Sandwich: You might have a point about the pragmatic effect of Dawkin's bluntness on the subject matter, even though the "rudeness" with which he addresses religious people is actually far milder and less provocative than the hate speech frequently directed at atheists, but on principle I nonetheless think it is important that the social discourse begin to tear down the special and arbitrary "wall of respect", as Dawkins puts it, that religion enjoys. It is antithetical to the concept of free speech that one cannot speak their mind about religion without fear of censorship or disapproval from the PC police that seems to think spiritual beliefs are beyond constructive criticism or debate.
  13. Andy Sebastian

    So you've finished the IB - now what?

    I honestly couldn't care less about my IB scores; my ticket to university is not contingent on them, and none give me any important credits. So to those who really worked hard and shot for high diploma scores, congratulations. Whether you got what you were aiming for, you set for yourself a work ethic, passion for learning and appreciation for the great little things of the various different peoples of this Earth that very few people ever learn, let alone as teenagers, and with continued diligence that habit you will carry with you for the rest of your days. that was my best attempt at something inspiring...I now see why I didn't get a 7 on my english hl...
  14. Andy Sebastian

    Help with difficult mathematical induction exercise

    I just spent a lot of time trying to do the proof an unconventional, possibly not inductive way, but proving it for the case n = 1, taking the derivative of both sides (substituting the gamma function for n!), and then attempting to demonstrate that as (n+1)/2 = (n!)^(1/n) at n = 1, and d/dn of the latter is greater than or equal to d/dn of the former for all n >= 2, therefore the proposition must be true, but the equation was far too complicated for me to solve. graphing the two into wolfram alpha: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28gamma+function+%28n%29%29^%281%2Fn%29+%3D+%28n%2B1%29%2F2 There is only one solution at n = 1. This isn't at all the type of inductive proof you are looking for, but...could this appraoch have potential with some more competent computation? You can find the derivative of the original function (n!)^(1/n): (n!)^(1/n)[-n^(-2)ln(gamma)+1/(n * gamma) * d gamma / d n, where gamma is the integral from 0 to infinity of e^-t * t^(x-1) dt, and d n /d gamma = gamma(-C - 1/x + summation from b=1 to infinity of x/(b(x+b)), where x = n-1 and C is euler's constant. This should never exceed the derivative of (n+1)/2, or else any excession would be transient and/or converging to a finite integral less than that of the difference that already exists bew- Yeah, I'm just thinking aloud. This idea doesn't work, lol.
  15. Andy Sebastian

    IB Math SL vs AP Calculus AB

    Could you give us a little more information about your school's math cirriculum? In my school, the "math SL" is an exam, but it's not necessarily a class - I have forgotten whether or not the equivalent of pre calculus is called "math SL" or "pre-calculus SL". Either way, for us, the class, if it exists, does not overlap with calculus. We are actually expected to take AP Calculus, and are allowed to take the math SL that year. It goes like: [pre-IB] analysis and functioins -> IB pre calculus SL --> AP BC Calculus ------> Multivariable Calculus (not IB) and/or HL math IB math studies -----> AP AB Calculus Calculus with Apps So, here, junior year you could take the math SL or the math studies SL, and senior year you could take either of those or the math HL.
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