Gark Open House 2012

Another year, another open house chez Gark – but this year is a special one! Not only do you need to distract us from our wedding anniversary, but this year you need to try TEN TIMES HARDER on the grounds that it’ll be our tenth anniversary. For those who are planning to bring tin-based goods, please note that it’s unlikely to be cold enough for tin pest to be a significant issue (unless they’re intended for the freezer). Fare will be much as in previous years – cake, mince pies, mulled wine and assorted nibbles. Please RSVP so that we… Read More »Gark Open House 2012

Adventures in academic bureaucracy

So, I’ve just accepted an external examiner role at a university in Yorkshire. As part of the paperwork, they’re asking for passport photos of yours truly, signed by my University’s HR department. They haven’t said why; it could be to satisfy UKBA, or it could be to assure themselves that I am a member of academic staff at my place. I’ve spoken to our HR, and they’re as bemused as I am, to the point of showing a marked an understandable unwillingness to sign the photos. Of course, given that we’re now down to one part-time HR officer in the… Read More »Adventures in academic bureaucracy

Kitchen clutter

Passing on memes is like posting new content, isn’t it? Here’s one doing the rounds: * * * Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don’t use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of. There are additions. I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese boards, cheese knives, crepe makers, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, pie funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini… Read More »Kitchen clutter

Sic transit gloria LMU

Following some irregularities, the UK Border Agency has revoked London Metropolitan University‘s visa license. Not only can the university no longer recruit overseas (non-EU) students (a major source of income for all UK universities, and one of the few things that stops them from going bankrupt), but their existing overseas students have been told that they have sixty days to find alternative visa sponsors or they will be deported. LMU have estimated their annual income from overseas students at around £30M, about 20% of their total income. They currently have over 2000 overseas students.

Liveblogging Eurovision 2012

So, here we are again! We’ve got the folk dancing and traditional music out of the way, and we’re now getting a recap of last year’s winning song. And here we go… UK: The #hump has already wound me with his pronunciation of ‘love’ as ‘lurve’. Also, dull song. That’s the anticipation of disappointment over and done with. Hungary: I can find very little to say about this song, positive or negative. Complete non-entity of a song (albeit less so than the Hump). Albania: And the first non-English language song (hurrah!) “I land my airplane of the lightless runway of… Read More »Liveblogging Eurovision 2012

This means nothing to me

Next month, just after Easter, I have a business trip to Vienna for a project meeting (hopefully – the project coordinator has *still* not sent the details for a planned meeting that’s now less than a month away), and so , the and garklet2 (WINYOLJ) are coming over to make a short break of it. We’ve been trying to enthuse the with the idea of the trip, but he’s currently being quite grumpy and negative. On the way to school this morning, I broached the subject with him again. After an initial “it’s boring”, he advanced the notion that it… Read More »This means nothing to me

How not to pass exams, part 2

Following this email, I’ve now had confirmation from both of the course leaders at Oxford that the scanned documents that the student had sent me were in fact the take-home exams for their courses. The student had merely said that “to give you an idea of the content and difficulty level of the material, please find attached a few questions”, and conveniently left out that they’d sent me the instructions for two assessed pieces of work. I mentioned this to L (one of the professors in my research group) while we were waiting for a research seminar to start this… Read More »How not to pass exams, part 2

How not to pass exams, and a life update

Yesterday evening I received a mail from a hotmail address which read as follows: Dear Dr Nicholas Gibbins Good afternoon. I am soton student doing some work on an extra course in computational complexity and Data and knowledge bases. I am finding some of the material difficult and was wondering if you might be able to help me or, if you might be able to direct me to a post graduate who could tutor me on the subject. To give you an idea of the content and difficulty level of the material, please find attached a few questions. I will… Read More »How not to pass exams, and a life update