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Why I like science

It has been a fairly busy and stressful week or so since I last gave an update. Not a lot of any particular interest has happened, although I am working on a fellowship application. For those who don't know, a fellowship is kind of like a job application, except that you also have to do a detailed job description as well. Given that it is the first application I am writing, it is quite stressful and a little scary, but I'll get through it. Or not. If I don't get it, it isn't the end of the world.

Also, a look at my calendar revealed that the camera I'm using for my equipment is due back soon. This came as a little bit of a shock, as it had slipped my mind that it is only on loan. About one hundred experiments (each repeated five times) later, and I have probably got good value from the time I have had it.

Today was quite an exciting day though. I was working with some materials with some quite interesting behaviours, and I have the feeling that some of the things I saw today are things that haven't been seen before. This is quite exciting, and if I can make sense of it could have some good, interesting ramifications. This is why I like science.

Besides that, more househunting. More on that when we are successful.

I suppose that if I'm not gonna write a lot about what I'm do, as usual, I can pad the post out with a story:

Another world, another time . . . in the age of wonder.

A thousand days ago, this life was green and good until the Kettle cracked. For a single piece was lost, a shard of the Kettle. Then strife began and two new races appeared: the cruel Skeksis, the gentle Mystics academics.

Here in the department of the Kettle, the Skeksis took control.

Now the Skeksis gather in the sacred chamber common room where the kettle hangs above a shaft of air and fire. The Skeksis, with their hard and twisted bodies, their harsh and twisted wills. For a thousand days they have ruled, yet now there are only ten. A dying race ruled by a dying administrator, imprisoned within themselves in a dying land. Today, once more they gather at the Kettle as the first sun climbs to its peak, for this is the way of the Skeksis. As they ravage the land, so, too, they learn to draw new life from coffee. Today, once more, they will replenish themselves, cheat death again, through the power of their source, their treasure, their fate:

The Dark Kettle

But today, the ceremony of morning tea gives no comfort. Today, a manager lies dying. Today, a new manager must seize the office.

A thousand days ago, the Kettle cracked. And here, far from the department, the race of academics came to live in a dream of science.

Ok, you get the point. Cut a long story short: Jen is a postgrad who's supervisor can't find anything more important for him to do than try to fix the kettle so that the bureaucrats and administrators would get off his back and let him do some work rather than filling in endless paper trails and spending $100 worth of Skesis-power to buy a 20c pen.

Jen believes he is the last postgrad in the department, all the others having been removed by cost-cutting measures, until he meets Kira who is written into the story to conveniently make up for all of Jen's shortcomings, for moral support, and to try to make the story appeal to girls as well as boys.

Jen finds the broken piece of the kettle while procrastinating working very hard in the lab. He gets depressed as he goes through his mid-PhD blues and almost throws the piece of kettle away. Kira talks him through it, as she is a useful plot-device.

I could work the bulbous Podlings into the story as undergrads, even pushing the analogy of them being distilled for their money to keep the bureaucracy going. But I'm not going to.

Anyway, after lots of implausible events where Jen and Kira miraculously escape capture and/or death or even worse - having to fill out forms and do more paperwork, they find a sewer leading into the common room have to go through a whole lot of shit to get into the common room. They do so, but the Skesis manage to subdue Kira with forms. Jen makes it to the kettle, fixes it, makes some coffee, and in their gratitude, the Skesis give him a whole lot of paperwork to do, too.

What? You want a happy ending? Watch the movie.

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Rev's page

Guido's musings about soccer, politics etc in Australia

The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.

The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.

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