…somehow I am losing the ability of slicing my life into little blogable episodes. Well, actually, I’m not losing it altogether but the episodes I can think of have become so small that they are hardly worth posting.
I have, however, (at least I think so) gathered enough episodes to make for blog entry.
Working for ABB is a great thing. It is really, really nice to do some hard, honest physical labour in-between studying and thinking. A great feature are the actual tests. Especially the “internal arc tests”. Imagine a circuit breaker switch in a big housing (approx. 2 by 2 by 2 meters) which is to be tested for the operator’s safety. In case of an internal fault (an arc) there must be no harm to persons in the vicinity. So what is done is the following: a tiny wire in the housing (which provides a short-circuit) is loaded with 40 kA (40,000 amps – your kettle probably needs 10 to 15 amps) evaporates and therefore leads to an arc. Due to the heat the air inside the housing expands and pressure builds up. The housing has to withstand that pressure. It is possible to think of this test as a crash test for switchgear. You destroy something on purpose to see whether people operating it will be hurt. Man, those are bangs… KA-BOOOM!! (It’s the child in me that likes this job so much…)
Another thing is with the newspaper. Due to a lack of affluence I had to cancel the liberal, slightly left-wing daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. Instead Tanja and I now receive the weekly “Die Zeit” which is also liberal and very intellectual. Well, that’s not the point here. We also ordered a trial subscription of “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” which is a less liberal, slightly conservative daily. All three are highly recmommendable papers living up to the highest standards of journalism. After 3 years of left wing journalism, however, it is really hard to read a conservative newspaper – even though I have recently found myself becoming more conservative than I had ever been before. But it is nice (or annoying, depending on the mood) to observe how the same pros and cons, the same facts about a topic can be arranged in different ways, which accordingly create the different political stance of newspaper articles about the very same phenomenon. It’s probably a good thing to change newspapers every now and then to remain aware of this.
Thirdly, I now know the topic of my final oral exam in English. Well, the literature part of the final oral exam. It will be two cross-sections of American literature. First: “America in non-fiction”, including the following works:
Edward W. Said: Humanism and Democratic Criticism; Mark Twain: Life on the Mississippi; Ralph W. Emerson: Self-Reliance; Nature; Henry D. Thoreau: Walden, or Life in the woods; Hamilton, Madison & Jay: Federalist papers; Benjamin Franklin: The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin AND EITHER Henry Luce: The American century OR Thorstein Veblen: The theory of the leisure class.
And this is only the first cross-section. The other is: “War in American fiction” and will include:
Ambrose Bierce: The coup de grâce, The affair at coulter’s notch, One of the missing, An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, One kind of officer; Joseph Heller: Catch 22; John Dos Passos: Three soldiers; Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse-five; Ernest Hemingway: A farewell to arms; William Faulkner: Soldiers’ pay; Norman Mailer: The naked and the dead; James F. Cooper: The last of the Mohicans.
Quite a lot of reading. I’m not sure whether I should be happy or afraid. On the one hand I’m looking forward to this great input of scholarly and literary expertise to my humble knowlege container. On the other hand I am frightened by the sheer amount of reading. Fortunately the exam will only be in January.
So far so good, this is about all the news I’ve got for you now.