On Improvement

A poem written in the Heathrow departure hall, my first attempt at some free verse.

On Improvement

I love to learn, to improve, but
How scared of criticism I am!
Why am I scared to compete and
Put my rating and ranking at risk?

The only way to become the best
is to participate and seek feedback
To put what you have done underneath a spotlight
and see if it has been found wanting

How scared I am to offer my opinion
On the topics of the day.
How scared that someone may disagree,
that is may be wrong or ignorant.

But sometimes I take solace that
wisdom is sometimes knowing what you do not,
But is that always so?
Does occasionally one need to choose a side?

A vow to be brave, I shall make,
to no longer be a comrade to fear.
To put my talents and work for others to survey,
That it may be improved and made stronger.


Different Forms of Poetry and Lyric Art

I’m attempting here to catalogue for myself some different forms of poetry so that I can start to write some!

My initial plan is to begin with some small poems and write numerous ones, I’m not going to focus so much on quality at the beginning, just quantity. I’m doing this so that I feel like I have gotten my feet wet and get over the hump of simply just beginning.

With no further ado, here we go!


This form goes:

2 syllables
4 syllables
6 syllables
8 syllables
2 syllables

It also says that the lines are usually iambic which means we have a sort of ‘da DUM’ rhythm with the stress on the off-beats.


A Haiku is made up of 17 syllables with a 5/7/5 syllable count.

It is customary for a haiku to make references to nature, and is associated with a sense of place, where, when and what. They also recommend to not have a sentence per line, as this helps with the flow of the line.

Types of Meter

There are several different types of meter that are used, made up of the type of foot and how many are used in a line

Types of feet:

  • Iambic – A foot that has two syllables with the stress on the second syllable.
  • Trochaic – A foot with two syllables with the stress on the first syllable

Number of feet in a line:

  • Monometer – 1 foot per line
  • Dimeter – 2 feet per line
  • Trimeter – 3 feet per line
  • Tetrameter – 4 feet per line
  • Pentameter – 5 feet per line (iambic pentameter, sound familiar?)

Free Verse

Free verse poems are without meter or rhyme schemes or other rhythmic features. This is in contrast to blank verse which uses meter but no rhyme scheme, these are almost always written in iambic pentameter.







Errors that students make in introductory statistics (Part 1)

It’s that time of the year again – final exams have rolled around and, as a tutor, I’m sitting around marking them. Exam marking can be an extremely depressing or entertaining process, depending on the state of mind and quality of the exams being marked.

I thought it would be interesting to document here my thoughts on the general things that people get wrong, and this can be instructive for students and teachers alike.

1.The Central Limit Theorem means that all samples are Normally distributed.

I had to start with the Central Limit Theorem, I’m not sure that there is anything less well understood as the CLT in undergraduate statistics. Let’s be clear, the Central Limit Theorem says that if our sample size is large, then theĀ sample mean has a Normal distribution. The sample itself does not.

2.Using sample parameters in hypotheses

I see a lot students including things like


and students do not seem to understand the significance of the hypothesis test. Doing this implies we’re checking to see if our sample mean is 50, this is easily checked by inspection, and not very interesting. Students who do this are failing to see the bigger picture, which is we’re using our sample to check if the unknown population mean is equal to 50, this is much cooler!

3.Not checking their understanding

Statistics is a branch of mathematics, which at its base is logic. If it seems like magic, or if it doesn’t make sense to you, I’d check your understanding. Ask questions and be curious, use your teacher’s office hours. I promise it will make sense eventually.