All entries for September 2005

September 28, 2005

As sure as eggs is eggs

The colloquial expression as sure as eggs is eggs, meaning absolutely certain, probably comes from the mathematical expression x = x.

It's hard to argue against such an expression. If I were to take place in a debate I wouldn't fancy fighting the corner for eggs ain't eggs.

But then I am not a child. When some researchers asked a 12 year old girl to explain what was meant by '3 = 3' she told them it was incomplete and suggested that perhaps it means '3 minus 0 = 3'.

So eggs ain't eggs after all – eggs with no eggs taken away is eggs.

And that's as sure as eggs is eggs.


September 27, 2005

Another 3 years of voluntary poverty

Yesterday I enrolled as a full-time PhD student and I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy it very much. Friends tell me that doing a doctorate suits me down to the ground. I certainly hope so considering the financial hardship that will come with it. It seems I am putting my faith in the adage that if you enjoy what you do, you'll never work another day in your life.

When I tell people what my PhD proposal is about they often laugh.

My PhD is about the equals sign. I guess it's the apparent lack of scope that is funny. Someone suggested yesterday I could spend the first 18 months on the top line and the final 18 months on the bottom line. (Obviously that's ridiculous – I'll also need time to consider the space between the lines.)

But what I love about spending 3 years intensely studying = is the limited scope. Where other students worry how on earth they will slim their proposal down, I have the luxury of deciding how I will broaden mine. And no doubt somewhere along the road I will discover that those harmless looking parallel lines are a can of worms unto themselves.


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