Thursday, May 31, 2012


I attended a public lecture last night, along with a bunch of other scientists. It never ceases to amaze me just how bad some scientists communicate. A few simple tips would most certainly prevent the audience from falling asleep. First, don't use crazy big words (and if you must use them, explain what they mean!). Second, make sure you keep to the allocated time limit (a ten minute talk shouldn't go for 20's bad form). Third, don't say things for the sake of trying to sound like you have something intelligent to contribute to the debate (because it makes you look stupid).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I have been emailing my friends and colleagues in Scandinavia. It seems that Swedes are very happy...that Norway came last.

The pretty italian

I went out for dinner with Nathan and a bunch of friends last night on Lygon Street. The manager of the restaurant had the most amazing physique of any man I have ever seen in real life. We are not talking about subjective perceptions of beauty here. He was scientifically beautiful...a strong jaw line, a high forebrow ridge, a v-shaped body. He was almost too beautiful. I couldn't stop gawping. It didn't help that he wore a very tight shirt with the top buttons undone, thus accentuating his sizeable pecs. The only downside was his habit of constantly reaching his hands right down his trousers to make sure his shirt was tucked into his pants....dinner service at a restaurant (no matter how sexy you may be) is definitely not the time nor the place to have your hands down your pants.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Nathan and I went to Albury for the weekend. I must admit that, prior to this trip, I had never really thought about Albury as a tourist destination in its own right. It was always a place to stop during the long trips between Canberra and Melbourne (either to eat, stretch legs, swap drivers, go to the loo, or all of the aforementioned). We decided to go to Albury on this occasion to attend a friend's brother's 30th. We went by train (or at least that was the plan). Nathan booked us first class tickets, which were only $20 more than economy. However, when we arrived at Southern Cross on Saturday morning, the train was replaced by a bus instead. The excuse we were given was that the train was defective (though the cynic in me noticed that there weren't many of us going to Albury so maybe a bus was more economical). Albury itself was much nicer than I remembered (i.e. when used as a toilet stop). The cafes were pleasant and we even did some shopping though, in total, we spent just a little under 24 hours in the city itself (had to get back to Melbourne to do some work stuff). I must check out the nearby town next time though.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Taking ownership

This morning, I read an article in The Age about a girl who is suing her former school because she didn't get into the course she wanted to at uni. I wonder if it is a symptom of this generation (i.e. If you fail at something, it must be someone else's fault). In my job, I frequently have contact with students who don't hand in their work or neglect to read the instructions on their assignments and then complain why they were awarded a low grade or mark. Earlier this year, I met a student who had failed multiple subjects. Rather than taking an introspective look at her own behaviour, she blamed the university system, her teachers and even the subject itself (mathematics) and claimed that her high school teachers told her that she was 'brilliant'. Maybe it's the way we treat young kids nowadays.... Everybody wins a prize....Everybody is brilliant. Propping up self-belief is one thing but delusions of grandeur is not a desirable outcome.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


My sister Joanne turned 30 on Wednesday. Last night, a bunch of cousins and some of Joanne's closest friends came down from Sydney and Canberra for a celebratory dinner. We went to Melba, which has an amazing buffet. I gorged almost exclusively on sashimi and roast duck. As an aside, this is what I would look like if I had a claw for a hand...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Scandinavia x 3

Looks like I'll be visiting Scandinavia quite a bit this year. Having already visited Sweden earlier this year, I'll be there again for a conference in a couple of months. Then, out of the blue, I got contacted by a colleague from Norway asking me to be the 'opponent' on his student's PhD thesis defense at the end of the year. I've never been to Norway before and, even though it will be cold at that time of year, I am very tempted. I would want to make a stop over in Oslo so I can visit my Norwegian friend (a girl I met on the train when she was working here in Melbourne). I know it is not politically correct but I am also intrigued about the possibility of eating some whale (still undecided on that). Apparently hunting whales in Norway is very tightly regulated and is actually a sustainable fishery so I harbour less guilt about eating it there than say, eating tuna, here.