We don't have to do homework in the Astronomy class - instead, we're given a list of questions to research on the web, and those questions show up on the test. We've also been provided a list of websites to search for the answers to those questions. It sounds like an easy process right? Wrong.
After the first set of questions left me pained and groaning, after I'd spent a couple of hours searching the internet (and not just those websites provided, but other astrobiology websites, google, nasa, anything) for the answers, I ask Neil if he'll help me. I figure, maybe it's just man-logic and I don't know how to surf the web like a guy would. For those of you out there who don't think there's a difference, sit one person from each sex down at a computer and send them to the same exact websites, and ask them what they see. The men will focus on different things than the women. They will.
So I get Neil to try and figure it out, and even he, knowledge/internet god, can't find what I'm looking for. I decided to take the professor up on his offer. He'd said, at the beginning, that if we had trouble we should call him.
I called him, and proceeded to try to tell him the answers I'd thought I'd cribbed together from dozens of articles I'd read. What did he tell me? "I can't tell you if you're right, because that would be giving you the answers. I can't tell you where to look, because that would be giving you the answers. I can tell you that some of the parts of your answers are wrong."
Helpful? Oh, sure. To use the vernacular: NOT.
So I get the homework assignment for this current test, and it's only one question. I think 'yippee!' there's no way I can fail to find the information he wants us to find. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Two solid hours of online research later (and yes, you doubters, actual research, not me plunking in websites in between responding to email, but search after search after search), I decide to give it up. 2 hours of astrobiology, and I can't find the reference to F. Hume anywhere. I find a whole lot about the origins of the universe. Wacky, weird, wonderful, informative information, but nothing, absolutely nothing pertaining to some mythical groundbreaking discovery that happened late last year. I give up. I figure, who cares if I miss that question, right?
We received an email tonight. He'd misspelled the name.