The Bran Report

It's good for parts of you that you'd probably rather not think about.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Hours

According to the national guidelines on what constitutes a modular MSc, I will accrue 180 credits over the next fifty weeks. Since each 'credit' is deemed to be ten hours of work, I'm on a schedule of 36 hours a week (assuming no time off for holidays, exams, or the like). However, I've figured out that I need to work another ten hours a week to cover my tuition fees and maybe another two or three to stave off starvation.

Let me tell you, there's nothing more destructive to your self-esteem than when you apply for a job selling popcorn in a multiplex and they don't even call you back.

My traditional occupation (psychological guinea pig) has failed me ths week: the project was, in essence, 'stay awake for money' and it paid real good. Sadly, the only day of the week I could stay in the lab for was at the weekend, and for some reason this violates the ethical guidelines of the British Psychological Assosiation. Other things that violate the ethical guidelines: not telling you the full deal after the experiment is over, taking photos of people, and long lines for lunch.

When I do eventually get my service-sector job among teenagers and stoners, I will wear a badge that says "Ask me about my MPhys".

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Oh, hey, wow. It turns out that I'm not as good at organising my time as I should be. I guess this is what happens when you spend a few months saying "Oh, you want me to move Comptes Rendus? OK, I guess I'll just do that untill the little hand reaches five, then go home and play Knights of the Old Republic". Then someone says "Hey, why doesn't Jsc increase when you increase the operating temperature of polycrsytalline silicon?" and I'm off for four days.

In other news, my sports scientist housemate asked me how to calculate a percentage and "what the point of cos" is.

In still other news, another housemate asked me if I'd ever read Lord of the Rings. I was actually unable to think of a suitable answer.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Two tribes

Although I take every opportunity I can to decry tribalism, I've come to realise that I'm guilty of it to some extent. Of course, I'm far too educated to be concerned by race or language, but there are other, quiet ways.

For one thing, now that I'm living among people who get dizzy when they see logarithms, I'm this close to writing Maxwell's equations on a bit of parchment and wearing it in a box strapped to my arm. I know I'm not the only one who thinks about the world and my place in it that way.

More strikingly, though, is the way I think about newspapers. In this country, a person's choice of paper tells you a lot about them. Personally, I will always pick the Independant, because I like hearing about issues in depth, don't neccesarily care about today's news, and hate firm opinions. Most of the people on my "round" get the Telegraph, a paper so partisan that it's one slow-news-day away from running a cover story with the headline CON RULES, LAB DROOLS.

The odd thing, though, is that I will mentally curse a Times reader for ordering a paper that they know full well is several millimeters wider than their letterbox, whereas when the shifting weight of the sack causes me to swerve madly and crash into a dew-laden bush, all I can feel is a mild remorse that someone's copy of the Guardian got damp.