December 20, 2007

Brace yourselves for the rush of applications….

Clearly, with our substandard logo, we in the Department of Extremely Clever Things have hitherto been working with, as it were, one arm tied behind our back. (Actually, in the case of Dr. Gottenhimmel it has been with both hands securely fastened behind his back in his “Polish waistcoat” but that is for his own, and his colleagues’ safety). Our lack of recognition on the global stage of Exceptional Thinking can only realistically be attributed to the fact that our corporate logo has not been up to world standards – but we have now addressed this shortcoming.
Thanks to a recent, particularly large and vaguely specified research grant, it has been possible to have our entire Departmental identity refreshed and enlivened – let me remind you of how dire the situation was:
Old, poor styling - could do better! Here is the pitifull excuse of a logo with which we have tried, in the past, to catch the attention of the world’s greatest minds and (let’s be honest) their wallets. Notice the amateur stylings and use of hue; the inexpensive typefaces employed and the resulting lack of impact. No wonder we have struggled to attract the coveted Meadow’s Prize for Exceptional Cleverness back to it’s natural home in our Departmental trophy cabinet, ever since it was lost so unfairly to St. Eggnog’s College, Oxford at the 2004 Droitwich Tanning/Golf Biathalon. I have felt for some time that our rivals have been sniggering up their sleeves in our presence and now it is clear why.

But no more.

Now, they shall have to accept that they are indeed but meagre intellects in comparison, for Warwick Department of Extremely Clever Things is once again able to sport a logo with which it may address the world: behold! New ECT Logo - more of the same?

The first thing that we notice is that our consultants have maintained certain themes from the old logo: the words; the use of rainbow colouration; why, even the stylised lightning flash (conveying the immense speed of thought and other psuedo-psychological concepts).
In fact, quite a lot of it is quite similar.
Fortunately however, we have the reassurance of a professional agency and their impressively substantial bill to remind us that whilst it may look like more of the same, it does in fact represent a global rebranding of significance.
It now just remains to sit back and wait for the student applications and funding opportunites to rise to unheard of numbers. (I must remember to buy Miss Pinchpenny a more substantial calculator to handle the larger numbers!)
It only remains to wish all of our colleagues and minions a very pleasent festive season.
With Best Wishes,
Professor Edwin Marmaduke Bambleweeny, (Director, Warwick ECT)

November 13, 2007

The Future of Extremely Clever Things….

Ah! Can’t you just smell it? The Autumn leaves lie in golden heaps: a new academic year is underway, a new(ish) VC takes the helm and a fresh set of targets cascade down for us all to aim for.
The University’s Strategic intent of being a globally-recognised top 50 institution by three weeks next Tuesday has certainly prompted me (as head of Europe’s premier Institution for Extremely Clever Thinking) to consider how we may best contribute to the corporate goal.
Firstly, after much deliberation with my highly subservient team of minions, I have written a Strategic Objective-Geared Goal, Year 2015 Statement (SOGGY 2015) for the Department of ECT (obviously this supercedes any previous Mission Statements as they no longer conform to current corporate buzzword standards).
Henceforth; “By 2015, 85% of all internationally-acknowledged Good Ideas will originate from Warwick Dept. of ECT”. Strategy:  Use More of This!
Clearly this will be a challange. I will be calling upon all of my staff to make extra efforts in being clever, over-and-above their current background of Intelligence Quotient mediocrity.
It also has to be acknowledged that such an ambitious target will not be achieved solely by thrashing the incumbent staff to greater efforts.
Not at all. This will require inspired leadership.
To this end, I have unleashed Dr. Tristram Quibble, (freshly recruited from Oxford’s School of Vexatious Conundra) to look into establishing an appropriate definition of The Standard International Good Idea. If he has the calibre of brain that I believe I have paid for, we should find that his work will assist us considerably by making the submissions of rival institutions invalid by definition. A good start by anybody’s standards.
However, other improvements will also need to be made.
We in the Dept. of ECT have already maximised our administrative potential (see below) – it is difficult to see how we could improve in this area as it is already practically impossible to get anything at all done.
This leads us to consider our media profile and how it may be raised. To this end, I have entered Dr. Melrose Pinchwibbly for ITV’s next season of “I’m a Celebrity Academic, Give Me More TV Exposure” after the continued success of Germaine Greer in this field (or jungle, or whatever).
It cannot be avoided however, that if we are going to attract the standard of mind that can help us to reach the giddy heights of international recognition envisaged then there is only one course of action.
We need a New Logo.
Watch this space for exciting developments!
Prof. Edwin Marmaduke Bambleweeny (FRSECT and Capt. Golly Club, retd.)
Director, Warwick Dept. of Extremely Clever Things

May 30, 2007

The Search for Higgs–Boson

The ECT community is a-buzz with the news that the researchers of the Centre for European Research Nonsense (CERN) are soon to spark up their Large Hadron Collider (LHC). For those of you who do not keep abreast of such developments (probably because you are more interested in the forthcoming series of Big Brother), let me give a rough idea of how clever this is. The LHC is a 27km long, sub-terrainian circular tunnel on the Swiss-French border. CERN Scientists realise they have built half of the LHC the wrong way roundNo, it is not a French plan to ensure that any invading Swiss moles are returned, exhausted to Switzerland; this is Particle Physics on a scale previously only undertaken on Tracy Island. The idea is that protons are accelerated around the ring, reaching colossal velocities (fortunately only EU protons are used so their details do not need to be verified every time they cross the Swiss-French border). When suitably high speeds are achieved, they are smashed into each other. The debris collected promises to tell us lots of things, from fundamental aspects about the structure of the universe to who exactly did put the bop in the bop-shoo-wop. (Further funding will be needed to address the complex issue of the rammalamma ding-dong). In many respects, it is similar to what Ken Livingstone has been trying to achieve with the privately funded improvements to London Underground’s Circle line but faster and with fewer stops – they hope.
I notice that one of their key objectives (often described in the press as the Holy Grail of modern Physics) is to detect the existence of the Higgs boson. Here, once again, Warwick Department of ECT may be able to offer some help and advice.
We have found him.
In fact, strictly speaking, we never lost him; Ronald Higgs-Boson has been a research minion in our department since 1983. Admittedly he has not published much recently but he has been thinking very hard. All this work on light-speed collisions and fast data collection is interesting but frankly I am surprised at the difficulty our colleagues at CERN seem to be having in “detecting” him – the man weighs eighteen stone and cannot be restrained from singing karaoke at “The Dean’s Wimple” pub every Thursday night.
I just hope that they are not disappointed at our having stolen their thunder – hopefully they can now address other issues with their new toy.
Helpfully Yours,
Edwin M. Bambleweeny (Prof.)

January 23, 2007

A Rational Approach (or two for the price of, well …. two)

Two simple Men of Science, but a host of administrative support personnel...Busy times in the Department of ECT and the strain is beginning to show, particularly within our administrative support functions. Miss Pinchpenny’s financial wizardry was severly hampered by her having to recharge her calculator in order to cope with the flood of purchase order that arrived on her desk last week alone. This increase in workload has been experienced across the administrative functions. Last month we wanted to appoint a new technician and now our HR Manager won’t come out from underneath his desk.
In order to maintain our position as the planet’s premier academic ECT facility, we have decided to follow the glowing example of the government Home Office and our own University Academic Office and “rationalise” our administrative support functions.
In order to necessitate this (sic) we have decided to divide the Department of ECT into two Divisions (each of which may, in the future comprise any number of Schools, depending on the success of the concept, or how the mood takes us at a later date). I shall of course head the Department overall, whilst my minions will arbitrarily split themselves between the two Divisions: Theoretical Innovations Team (T.I.T.s) and Technical Workshops And Testing (T.W.A.T.s). Naturally, each Division will have it’s own staff for finance, personnel, academic standards and moderation, registration etc. etc.
The possibilities for efficiency gains are obviously enormous.
Indeed, whilst these new arrangements may seem (to the uneducated nosey-parker) to be almost doubling our overhead costs, we are assured that these increases will be more than accomodated by the expected improvements in efficiency in these activities. However, just to be certain, we are also closing the Tea Lady’s Christmas Club to new appointees and re-grading all ECT Lecturing and Research staff on new pay scales, based on a new Bamby -related pay-equivalence structure.
As an early indication of the improvements brought about by these new arrangements, I am pleased to announce that all staff will now be able to replenish their supplies of paper-clips outside the currently restrictive window of between 10.00 and 10.08 on the third Wednesday in the month. It will now be possible to entertain these requests on the second Thursday of each month as well, between similar (but probably not identical) hours. Try the office door and see (just don’t be holding your breath, now).
Further improvements in the Department will be posted on (both) Notice Boards.
Yours (in duplicate)
Edwin M. Bambleweeny (Prof.)

January 03, 2007

A new yardstick for ECT Research

Firstly I must offer my apologies for not having written anything in this blog recently to keep you abreast of developments in the area of Extremely Clever research. I know how interested you all are in this important field of academic work – this has (inevitably) been due to circumstances beyond my control. You will recall the MkIV Electrotinklertron that was showing such promise when I last wrote? Well it proved to be surprisingly (and quite unexpectedly) successful at distorting the very fabric of space-time, projecting myself, my incontinent research assistant Alphonse and our Breville toasty-maker some six years into the future. To cut a long story short it is nice to be back. I have seen things that mankind today can only dream of, not least some particularly novel toasty fillings: on a more practical note I strongly urge the good citizens of East London not to get too excited about the 2012 Paris Olympics. Trust me.
Anyway, I would now like to explain an exciting new development in progress at the Dept. of ECT.
I have been intrigued by reports in the press about the plans for the new “Freedom Tower” to be built on the Ground Zero site in New York. Our American cousins seem to be very smug about the design aspiring to a height of 1,776ft – thus commemorating the date of US independence from Britain.
I propose that we inaugurate a similar memorial at Warwick, perhaps substituting the date 1965 and an existing decorative feature such as (for instance) the “Clinton Tree” outside the old Senate (now Coventry) House. I thought that the bean-counters would particularly approve of such a sustainable/recyclable approach to our existing landscape assets.
My proposal is simple and yet (as you may anticipate) extremely clever.
It occurs to me that where the Yanks are missing the point is that their approach requires considerable expense, in the design and building of a bespoke building. My concept allows us to choose a suitable, pre-existing monument and any commemorative date we care to. We then achieve perfect commemorative symbiosis between the two, simple by inaugurating a novel unit of measurement. I have, naturally, carried out some initial research and am in a position to suggest a suitable candidate unit, provisionally termed the Bambleweeny (or perhaps in abbreviated form, the Bamby). This may be best illustrated by example:
Let us consider a feature (e.g. a tree) of height determined to be 10m and a specific commemorative date, say 1965. We then simply follow the definition:
10m/1965 = 1 Bamby (Eq 1.)
Repeated trials have confirmed that such a tree measures, to the limits of modern science’s ability to determine, exactly 1,965Bambys in height. Remarkable. But the best is yet to come! I have anticipated that this proposal will meet with criticism from those cheese-eating Euro-monkeys as not meeting the Systeme Internationale (SI) convention of precise definition as shown, for instance, by their metre. For instance:
1 metre = the length of a path travelled by light in a vacuum during a time interval equivalent to 1/299,792,458 times the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the Caesium-133 atom.
(Personally I don’t think this is particularly big or clever).
As usual, ECT science remains one step ahead. By clever manipulation of the above and Eq.1 we can arrive at the generic Bambleweeny definition:
(Currently perceived height measured in metres) x (all that twaddle above about vacuums and Caesium-133) / (The date you first thought of) = 1 Bamby. (Eq 2)
You will be fascinated to realise that this renders the new unit entirely organic, that is to say, if the nominated structure changes in height (e.g. the tree grows a bit) then the Bambleweeny unit automatically compensates and thus does not spoil the commemorative aesthetic of the feature.
Here in the department we have already switched to using the new unit with partial success. Our coffee room’s weekly order for sugar resulted in the delivery of in excess of 187 tonnes of white granulated, which is proving a bit of a bugger for the ECT Dept. Stores. On the other hand, our senior finance administrator has admitted that finally the SAPS system seems to be working.
I look forward to any comments and invite applications for a limited IPR for one-time application of the new measurement, Pat. Pending.
Best Regards,
Edwin M. Bambleweeny (Prof.)

P.S. This work has been carried out without any assistance from the EU funding council. Bastards.

November 15, 2006

Back on the gravy train….

Ambrose Bambleweeny - great mind and armadillo enthusiast.Ah, how fortune favours the brave (or indeed, the Extremely Clever)!
You will remember, dear reader, that as we left it, Bambleweeny and his chums were hard up against it in the face of sustained and malevolent stupidity from their chief rival, Dr. Quintin Thudpucker. His sneaky efforts to rid our department of ECT status were in danger of succeeding as he influenced the assessment panel’s judgement with his constant attention to irrelevancies ~ “how much did this cost?” indeed!
On day two of the panel’s visit to the Department of ECT, we were explaining the relative successes of our project on “Work-Related Time Dilation”, in which we strive to compress the normal working day into the average coffee break. It was going well, especially as we demonstrated the concept by completing the presentation well before lunch, having not started until 11.45am. As we were leaving, Thudpucker was inexplicably distracted as the lift doors opened, revealing the equally inexplicable complete absence of the lift. How the mighty fall! (actually, we now have the experimental evidence to show that gravity works just as effectively on the pompous and incredibly dim). Two floors later, his momentum was returned to it’s basal state and the paramedics were summoned.
This of course left the assessment panel short of one gnome, but I was quick to suggest a suitable replacement. Dr. Ambrose Wilberforce Bambleweeny (no relation) of St. Hubbin’s College, Cambridge was enlisted (with almost indecent haste) as a man eminently qualified to judge our group’s merits. I did not feel it necessary or appropriate to bore the rest of the panel with the information that Ambrose has owed me a favour ever since I resuscitated his armadillo on the 18th tee of the 2004 Tanning/Golf biathalon at Droitwich.
I think it is safe to assume that renewal of our status as the Warwick Extremely Clever Research Centre is assured. I am so pleased, I think I shall send a bag of walnuts to Thudpucker (currently residing in the North Warwickshire Nasty Contusions Ward).
Yours with smug content,
Edwin M. Bambleweeny (Prof.)

November 14, 2006

Research Assessment

"... a peanut for a brain but a surprisingly astute memory"It is a tricky week in the Department of ECT as we are seeking to renew our status as an ECTRC funded Extremely Clever Research Centre (Warwick ECRC).
Those of you familiar with our work will be excused for believing that this would be a straightforward rubber-stamping exercise, possibly involving a particularly inspired choice of cakes and fancies with the coffee presented to the assessment panel but this is not proving to be the case. All of our recent research programmes have been scrutinised for their contribution to Extremely Clever Science.
Initially, the panel seemed to be impressed by the developments made to the Mk IV Electrotinklertron – a unique machine that flashes lights and goes “ping” in a very satisfying manner. Of course, we could not make the most of all of the recent modifications; notably, the fact that the machine is now capable of determining for itself when funding officials are within range and increasing its display accordingly, automatically going into standby mode as soon as they disappear around the corner. This contributes nicely to our “renewable and sustainable technologies” initiative but may be regarded as purely mercenary by the gnomes with the cheque-book.
Of course we had to downplay our project on “The Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things and their Influence on the Space-Time Continuum”, as this was tragically curtailed when it was discovered that the team’s calculator did not have a square-root button and at the time there were insufficient funds to re-equip.
A major complication is the inclusion on the assessment panel of my arch-nemesis, Prof. Quintin Thudpucker, lately of the Newport Pagnel College Department of Slightly Confusing Problems (university status applied for, but don’t hold your breath). This idiot (and I have the experimental data to justify my choice of noun) is not an impartial judge of my group’s merits: this goes back to 1998, when I black-balled his application to join the Golly Club. The man has a peanut for a brain, but a surprisingly astute memory and I would not put it past the weasely little half-wit to bear a grudge after all this time.
Naturally, I shall keep you informed in due course as to how the assessment review proceeds…....
Edwin M. Bambleweeny (Prof.)

November 04, 2006

The Department of Extremely Clever Things (ECT)

Department of Extremely Clever ThingsI have been persuaded that this “blogging” presents a means of disseminating recent developments in the Department of Extremely Clever Things (ECT) and as the department’s Director, I feel I should embrace this to counteract the obvious lack of Extreme Cleverness that abounds in our academic environment.
It also gives me the opportunity to have a good whinge about the various problems that I have to deal with.
Take my trusty (but incontinent) Research Associate, Dr. Alphonse D. Paellapan as a case in point…..
Whilst this man will never be remembered as the Bill Shankley of ECT, he has proved quite a productive minion – and therein lies the problem.
Last year, his research determined a reasonably perceptive model of the quantum hybridised mass-spaghetti conjecture, resulting in the now well accepted Paellapan Constant. All well and good.
His more recent investigations have yielded insights into cross-linear matrix delamination as applied to the Tinkley-Wimbaum domain and his definition of the so-called Alphonse Conjecture. Tres bien. RAE points a-plenty.
Now, it seems, his miniscule imagination has deserted him and I believe he has started naming his discoveries purely on the basis of whatever happens to be playing on his iPod at the moment of dissemination.
Research AssociatesA recent paper of his went to great lengths to determine the directional influence of a particularly irksome flux which, purely because he happened to be listening to the Ronettes box collection will now go down in ECT history as the Spector Vector. He has obviously moved on to the hits of the ‘90s as today he has presented me with a first draft of his (frankly overly complex) determination of what he proposes to christen the Chumbawumba Number.
Research Associates, eh?
You can’t do research without them, yet it is still strangely illegal to club them senseless when necessary.

Prof. Edwin Marmaduke Bambleweeny, FRSECT, (Captain, Golly Club, Retd.)
Director, Warwick Department of ECT.

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  • wow! Department of Extremely Clever Thing? What does this department teach. Somehow I went to the Wa… by on this entry
  • Dear "Worried", Hmmm. Quite disturbing. (They did indeed look rather young, but I put that down to a… by Edwin M Bambleweeny (Prof.) on this entry
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