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6:16pm on Tuesday, 30th November, 2010:

Snow Day


It took me 70 minutes ot get into the university this morning, and another 65 to get home this afternoon, all because of the snow.

This morning, the weight of snow on the pads in the road that traffic lights use to detect vehicles meant that one set of lights stayed perpetually on red unles someone manually pressed the pedestrian crossing button for another set of lights. The queues built up as individual drivers, having sat for ages looking at a red light and noticing that the roundabout in front of them was clear made the momentous decision to jump the lights on the basis that they were faulty.

This afternoon, the problem was a road outside the university that joins a dual carriageway on a slight incline controlled by traffic lights. If you had to stop on that incline for the lights, then when they changed to green you couldn't get going again due to wheelspin. This meant that whereas normally a dozen or more cars could pass through on green, we were getting two or perhaps four cars through, so traffic backed up to the university exit and beyond.

I went in today because I had a 2-hour lecture. 26 students were supposed to attend, but at 10am there were 6 in there. Anticipating this, I had bought a couple of boxes of Cadbury's Heroes chocolates to dish out to them. As the lecture began, more students showed up so I opened the second box I had. If it's going to snow before Christmas, rather than the usual after Christmas, this is going to get to be expensive. Curse you, global freezing!

When the students for the lecture after mine came in and noticed the sweets, I explained it was a bribe to get my own students to give me high marks on the Student Assessment of Courses. Sadly, of course, most of my students didn't show up (that's kind of the point of giving the sweets out), so it doesn't actually work. The ones who show up like it, but the ones who don't show up feel that I owe them some sweets, which doesn't endear me to them. Besides, the students who did show up were rewarded not only with Cadbury's Heroes, but also the most boring lecture of the entire module. So they're not going to rate the course highly either.

Hopefully the class on Thursday will be more fun, if there isn't too much snow and if I can find a colour printer that isn't out of black ink so I can print off the hand-outs I need.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).