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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Coffee break at Civil Engineering Dept, UTP

Some time not long ago (it was 2011), the department had scheduled a weekly coffee break and I was the organizer. It ran for a few times before I was the only one left who attended it. Yes, the final session was only me and a cup of hot coffee in the room and I stood diligently for ½ an hour J.  Since nobody was interested, the coffee break session stopped and I took my broken heart away with me.

Anyway, I think, and the department thinks that it is the right time again to start all over. The reasons we are doing this are:

  • It is a good culture of the academia (especially western Uni – those who experienced this will understand) to have the session to mingle between the PG students and academics. 
  •  Drink tea/coffee, eat cakes (anyone can contribute), celebrate birthdays, newborns, newly married, announcing suprising news (like increased bonus this year) 
  •  Have a chat on writings by Stephen Hawking, Al-Ghazali, Karen Armstrong, Ibn Taimiyyah, Luke Skywalker… anything 
  •  Etc etc..

And this is informal. No attendance will be taken. No penalty to those who are absent.

So I am keeping the day and time, the same as in 2011 every WEDNESDAY 1010-1040 and the same venue 13-02-09. There are plenty of coffee and (sometimes) biscuits and lollies in the pantry, although you have to line up for the hot water from a small kettle. If you have a class, meeting or any other things, that is too bad but you can always come next week, next month or next semester.

I will shoot an email again on that day to remind. In that email, I will also post some comments on some articles I read that I find interesting. Fortunately, I blogged the emails I wrote in 2011. You can read them at http://krenmaut.blogspot.com/search/label/Coffee%20break




Being a bit of a musician myself (previously part-time, now downgraded into a lost cause), musical research will always be an interesting to me to read. Years back, I was very keen to supervise a MSc student to research the underground music movement in Malaysia with Prof Murad Merican.  We even had a candidate ready to register (a school teacher). Unfortunately, it got lost along the way.

Anyway, there was a paper published on musical trend in the USA. Music itself has been debated by philosophers, sociologists, journalists, bloggers and pop stars, unfortunately, not may being explored scientifically. This research, intend to look into the long history of music scientifically. Questions related the increased/decreased of popularity over time, its continuous or rather discontinuity in the evolutionary and when was this happened were tried to be understood. One of the interesting fact of this research was that the tool used to scientifically answer the related questions were previously used in the area of biology/bioinformatics.

The study found that:

  1. There are three music revolutions - in 1964 (The Beatles), 1983 (new wave, disco, hardrock) and 1991 (birth of rap). 
  2.  Claims that pop music is starting to sound the same, that many has claimed, is refuted. There was no evidence for the progressive homogenization of music in the charts and little sign of diversity cycles within the 50 year time frame of the study. 
  3.  Pop music shows a pattern from biological evolution known as punctuated equilibrium, in which periods of gradual change are separated by explosions of complexity (whatever that means!)
Point no 2 is interesting because another study shows that most of us lost interest in new music when we reached the age of 33, simply we thought among others that, new music is getting bland. Although I can fairly say I am not in that category as I am still exploring and listening to new music at the age post-33 :)

The paper can be downloaded for free here http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/5/150081

See you for coffee break!

Day: Every Wednesday (starting 6th April 2011… revived 12th May 2015)
Time: 10:10 -10:40am (official time but you can come/leave as you wish in between. Knock every doors, poke all friends)
Venue: 13.02.09
What to do: Bring your own cup of coffee/tea (hot water, coffee and tea available at Level 3 Block 13 pantry)

Coffee break session 13/5/2015. We are going to be great, guys!

  • We get to know new students
  • We get to discussed about The Beatles and why they are important
  • A Palestinian student reported about the current situation in Gaza
  • We get to discussed about the importance of reading textbooks and scholarly discussions
  • The students get to know that they have to bring their own cup for the coffee/tea for the session :) 

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