October 24th, 2010

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Poem for Sunday and Johns Hopkins

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We got up very early on Saturday and drove to Baltimore for the most enjoyable by far of our college visits, at Johns Hopkins University, which served us both breakfast and lunch in between brief talks, tours, demonstrations, and views of a lovely campus made even prettier by perfect fall weather that went from cool and clear to sunny and crisp. The day was geared toward science and engineering students, so after bagels, muffins, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and a brief greeting by the dean, they sent everyone off to a choice of more than a dozen departments for an introduction to how the majors work at Johns Hopkins (Daniel is particularly interested because they allow interdisciplinary double majors and all students work directly with professors -- there are no classes taught by graduate students, and most of them are quite small). We went to the mechanical engineering and computer science departments -- both of which had Halloween candy on offer as well as demonstrations ranging from solar panels to radio design -- then went to lunch, which was a sandwich buffet including vegan wraps, before taking the campus tour. This is the only campus visit where we actually met as many faculty members as students and administrators, and both the campus and the program were really impressive.


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Since it was still mid-afternoon when we left Johns Hopkins despite some time spent watching competitive Quidditch, we drove to the nearby Maryland Zoo, where we looked at some of the changing leaves in Druid Hill Park and walked through the Africa region -- since it was cool out, most of the animals were awake, so we got to see a playful baby elephant, rhinos rolling in the mud, warthogs chasing each other, cheetahs pacing, a mother and baby chimp snuggling, and seagulls trying to mooch food from the penguins and cormorants. We also went to the Arctic zone to see the snowy owls and polar bears, plus the Baltimore Ravens (named Rise and Conquer) who serve as the zoo's team mascots. It was a fabulous afternoon but we were tired when we got home, so between the early and late innings of the Phillies-Giants game, we watched Blazing Saddles, my all-time favorite completely politically incorrect movie. ("Why do I always get a warped one?") Maryland and Navy both won against Boston College and Notre Dame respectively so it was a good sports day in that regard -- if only the NL pennant race had ended differently!