A little side project

You may have noticed a little addition on the right of the page. The Daily Male is a new blog set up by 73man who has kindly invited people to contribute. So I joined up and will now do most of my venting there I think and the Swiss Job can get back to what it was created for in the first place, i.e. Switzerland and everything Swiss.

So pop across to the Daily Male and subscribe to it. Better yet, drop him an email and join in the fun. You know you want to!

Ps. The Daily Male is an equal opportunities blog and encourages applications from men, women and any combination thereof. 


Mot du jour…

I know, it’s an easy post, but I’m up against it at the moment. Here’s today’s top word:

stekelvarken – porcupine (in Dutch)

Closely followed in second place by:

schnupfen – cold/runny nose/sneezing without the wheezing! (in German)

So if you come across a dual-nationality, bilingual porcupine breeder with a poorly animal, you’ll have the necessary lingo to get by.

Don’t say I’ve never helped!

I so want to do this…

A while back I mentioned I wanted to be an astronaut. Here’s why:

How to get rid of rubbish in space

How much fun would that be?

Time is tight

We’re up against it now, time is slipping through our fingers like sand and we have to make the most of what we have left.

In other words the Digital TV recorder and TV are going next week! We got the letter in the post with the return address for the digital recorder and it has to be returned before the end of the month.

Of course this means that this weekend is potentially the last time we’ll have the joy of watching complete and utter, time sucking, mind melting, life absorbing crap on the box. I can’t say I’ll miss the 95% of the stuff I watch but there’ll be a few things I’m going to pine after.

Top Gear for instance, a new series of Spooks has just started, Heroes is reaching the climatic end of the first series, Later with Jools Holland has just started up again and of course Christmas would not be complete without The Sound of Music and Indiana Jones.

So this weekend is going to be frantic for numerous reasons. We’ve got dinner plans every evening, I’ve got to work for a few hours over the two days and so I plan to record as much as possible and watch everything I can before we post off the box.

As an aside, if anyone has any tips for hacking acquiring material from a Digital recorder so we can download what we’ve got stored on it(numerous films and the like) onto an Apple MacBook, for arguments sake (cough), then I’d appreciate the advice!

Hang on a second…

I’ve just been perusing my blogroll and reading today’s posts. I nearly choked on my mandarin segment when I saw this story on The Newish Journalism blog.

The Basel based Welfare Group for Disability and Sexuality has started recruiting “volunteers” to have sex with disabled people? My image of Basel has suddenly changed! Can a welfare group recruit people to have sex with other people? If that’s legal then where’s the line between that and everything that goes on in the red light district?

So many questions!

Darwin Award Nominee

This guy must be included in this year’s Darwin Awards.

Man hurt using gun to change tyre

As a scientist it’s good to see evolution at work!

Discuss using references

In the middle of December I have to demonstrate to 3rd Year Biophysics and Structural Biology students on differential centrifugation. Essentially you get a pig liver and spin it really fast until it separates into it’s components. Fun and games for all the family.

I generally approach these practicals with a mixture of trepidation that something is going to go wrong and we’ll look like idiots and a distinct feeling of impending boredom. As demonstrators, we’re seen as the all knowing founts of practical biological knowledge which couldn’t be further from the truth. We got together two weeks ago to go through the experiment we’ll be demonstrating and ended up getting it wrong! Things didn’t go completely tits up, but the results were “interesting”. We’re just hoping the students actually follow the protocol instead of our attitude of knowing better!

Last year I had a student come up and ask me about a section of the experiment. She was wondering why we didn’t include a certain control. The minute she asked I had that feeling of dread that we’d overlooked something. And we had, she was right but luckily it didn’t impact on the overall results. So we congratulated her on finding the problem, sort of intimated that we’d put it there to see if anyone was paying attention and recommended she included it in her report so we could include it in this years practical! All knowing experts we are not, so it’s always a little worrying going into these things.

Students also have the canny knack of always asking the one question you haven’t prepared for. But this year I get to ask back! I’ve been asked to submit an exam question for them to take next year. It’ll only be a small one, but by God it’ll make ’em work! Now whether to go for the old “Compare and contrast” approach or my personal favourite “Discuss with references”, I don’t know but this feeling of power can really go to your head!