All entries for November 2006

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.

November 2006

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