All entries for January 2007

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.

January 2007

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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
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  • I would be very grateful for the new calculator, my abacus beads are more like dried up currants, pa… by Miss Pinchpenny on this entry
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