Monday, January 26, 2004

Being bratty at school

I'm trying to be good, I swear! The beurocracy is irking me at the moment though. I just spent almost two hours retyping some answers my teacher thought needed redoing. I can't type her exact words, but the gist of the conversation was that she thought I did a very thorough, correct job explaining the topic at hand. However, she marked my paper as wrong because as she was grading 4 other student's papers on the same subject, mine was the only one that was worded differently. She wants me to word my papers in the same way the information is supplied in the binder, so she knows that I'm actually reading it. It doesn't matter if I already know the subject matter and can explain it eloquently. They want it in the format of the binder.

Makes sense, doesn't it? (mutter mutter grumble grrrr)

I used an entire piece of paper to redo one answer. It follows:

Question 9A
By Heather Anne Martin
January 26th 2004

The questions is:

“How long, typically, will two pints of liquid fuel, burning, last?”

The answer supplied in the binder is:

“Two pints of liquid fuel will burn approximately 2 hours at a medium high flame.”

That is a misleading answer. First, two pints of what type of fuel? Some stoves (Such as an MSR
XKG) will burn an hour longer on two pints of Diesel than they will on Gasoline. Second, what
type of stove? An MSR Whisperlite will burn 2 hours, 40 minutes on two pints of white gas. The
old backpackers standby, the Optimus Svea, will burn for 10 hours on the exact same two pints.
The difference? Burn times vary dramatically depending on stoves, conditions and this
case, the Svea burns three times longer on the same amount of fuel.

The binder doesn’t tell me this. It doesn’t compare burn times for different stoves, nor does it
tell me that certain fuels will burn longer then others. It doesn’t offer lessons on picking out a
fuel efficient stove, nor does it have a chart that explains different fuel and stove burn times. It
doesn’t offer a good core base knowledge. Instead, it gives me a meaningless statistic without an
explanation on how stoves and fuels differ.

This is exactly why I don’t agree with only working from the binder. If I were new and learning
only from this binder, I would seriously over pack fuel for a trip, based on the skimpy knowledge
it gives me. The binder needs to be updated.

I’ve included a few copies of the burn time information I found from other sources. It’s
interesting how much brands and models within the same brand differ. My personal favorite is
the Optimus Nova stove. It burns 5 hours on two pints of gas and can boil water in a few
minutes flat or gently simmer and bake for hours. It has lots of really cool features that I’ve
come to immensely appreciate....for instance, when I’m done cooking, I simply flip the fuel bottle
onto its other side. This causes the remaining fuel in the line to bleed out and burn off. When I
disconnect stove and bottle, I have no dripping mess like I tend to notice with other stoves,
especially Whisperlites.

To conclude: the binder isn’t an all-knowing source. Nor is the information contained therein
always accurate. It needs updating. I’d be happy to help if you desire. In the meantime, I’ll
supply my required essays with information contained within the binder, but I’ll surreptitiously
be reading from other sources and double checking the binder information.

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