Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website,

Tuesday 31 August 2010

As stated previously the word "blog" is a horrendous affront to the very decency of the spirit of the English language. Here is a list of alternatives.

Monday 30 August 2010

A Comparison of the Relative Terrors of the PhD Viva with Those Experienced During the First Driving Lesson

So I recently experienced both of these, and without doubt both cause utter terror on some level. One rests on your knowledge of (typically) the past 7-8 years of study, the other, on how much Top Gear you've watched... Or rather, on your skills at precision movements with your feet whilst looking in multiple directions, changing gear and controlling a rather hefty lump of metal moving at 20-30 mph. Now I understand why cars used to be preceded by a person waving a red flag. Bring them back I say.

Since this is a blog and not a facebook post, sadly this makes it difficult to start a campaign to re-instigate said flag-bearers. I shall have to remain content with an short comparison of the two, both of which are extremely surreal experiences.

There you have it - the driving lesson is clearly worse (unless you have a real bastard of an examiner, in which case they're about equal). At least for a PhD you must have, at some point, absorbed some small level of background knowledge, if only by sheer chance from being in a university for so long. Whereas the amount Jeremy Clarkson can teach that's actually relavent to anyone at all is, if anything, even lower than one might expect.

Sunday 29 August 2010

On the Subject of Blogging and the Multiple Purposes of this Online Journal

Ah, blogging. The last recourse of failed journalists, the bored and desperately lonely alike (all of which form a nice summary of Nick Robinson). And indeed those who have rightly found that Facebook is, in every possible and conceivable reality, the website of Beelzebub himself.

More to the point, it's for those with too much to say and no-one to say it to. Which shall likely be the case for my good self in a few weeks time, as I embark on a three thousand mile (as the crow flies; it's closer to five thousand as the plane files) voyage across the Atlantic to the tiny (0.4 Waleses) island of Puerto Rico. In this "web log", as they are unfortunately known, I shall relay to the world the experiences of life far away from home in the distant tropical lands of the Caribbean. Or, to put it another way, I shall blather loudly into the void of cyberspace and become ever more bitter and twisted due to lack of readers.

For those luckless fools who have, against all probability, just stumbled in here from the web, I shall be studying distant galaxies with the Arecibo radio telescope. Why ? Mainly because someone broke my Arecibo mug and I want a new one. Be sure to visit my far more important site, , which showcases my CG artwork. I will also use this space to update the world about my latest CGI creations that you can find therein, you lucky people.

In the coming weeks I shall regail you with tales of the struggle of getting a visa, learning to drive, the horrors of transatlantic flights, and many other wonders quite beyond your wildest imaginings. As and when appropriate, I'll also post reviews, but the main feature will be my cynical rantings about things which meet with my stern disapproval (for instance, blogger's spellcheck doesn't even know the word regail ! what gives ?).

However, I believe a suitable first task would be to find a better word than "blog", which has far too many toilet-based connotations. "I'll be down in a minute, I'm just updating my blog" is scarcely better than "Just a sec, I'm playing with my Wii". Who thinks up these terms ? Chris Evans ? Who put him in charge of modern techno-etymology ?