MITx 6.002x – week 3: So what exactly is an “expo dweeb”?

It’s just before 11am on Saturday morning and I’m already through week 3 of the course, having successfully completed the homework assignments and the lab. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m now getting into the swing of the material, or because the course has moved onto digital logic and devices like transistors and diodes that I’m comfortable with, but it seems to have become considerably easier going this week. I certainly find it easier to conceptualize these things than simply chasing mathematical formulae around circuits consisting just of voltage and current sources, that’s for sure.

I’m not sure that I really understand why the hypothetical non-linear device that we were introduced to was called an “expo dweeb”. Perhaps it’s a cultural or age thing, but I just didn’t understand why it was called that. To my ears, “expo dweeb” sounds more like an insult than a name for a device. If someone can explain to me why it’s appropriate and/or funny, perhaps you could leave me a note in the comments!

Overall, the lecture sequence did rather drag in places this week and could certainly have used a little judicious editing to remove 20 or 30 minutes of spoken material which really didn’t add anything to its presentation. However, the video demonstration of how linking a non-linear to a linear circuit creates distortion by playing a Britney Spears track through it was certainly amusing. I’m of the opinion that the distortion probably made her sound better, rather than worse …

Onto week 4 I go – incremental circuit analysis, dependent sources and amplifiers are up next.

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Reader Comments

    • tim

      Hi Shafz,

      Thanks – but I realised that it was a made-up name. It’s just that to English ears of my age, “dweeb” sounds more like an insult than an appropriate name for a hypothetical device!


    • tim

      Hi Darney,

      Thanks for the comments – and yes, I understand that it’s the lecturer’s name for a fictitious device. My point was that “dweeb” is an insult on this side of the Atlantic – a subtle difference that is rather politely documented by the Cambridge English Dictionary – English: (slang disapproving) vs American: (slang).

      There is a serious point to this. One of the original aims of MITx (and EdX too) was to be international in outlook, but the unnecessary use of slang acts as a barrier to internationalization. I seem to remember from the MITx forums for the first 6.002x presentation that some students who didn’t have English (or American) as a first language struggled somewhat with this “joke” – possibly even moreso than having to deal with imperial measurements (feet and inches) in one of the early exercises!

  1. parishightech

    I agree. I’ve been wondering about this use of “dweeb”.
    I take it as just another piece of slang that escapes me. Like “Acme corporation” beloved of US comic books. I just don’t like missing the joke.
    On the other hand, I burst out laughing when I saw Facebook using “poke”.

Your thoughts?