Grant Stack Overflow

Woke up slightly earlier than expected. Shall I get up ? Not sure. Time for a shower. No, wait, cup of tea first. Or maybe coffee. Or… aaggh help somebody just tell me !

Here I am in Swindon again, slogging through mountains of astronomy grant proposals. No leaks, no hints, you know the drill. You will have to wait until after Science Board. But it will not surprise you to hear that it is a difficult and stressful process. Halfway through yesterday I suddenly recalled a conversation with me lovely daughter Zoe who told me of something she’d read about the links between will power and decision making, and how we all have a finite reserve of daily decision making capability. You can read opinions about this all over the blargosphere, but I think the source is a New York Times article . Apart from getting irritated whenever the word “energy” is used, I quite liked this.

At the end of the first day last week seven of us trooped off together to the local Chinese. We slumped into seats around of those round tables. I guess we looked kinda glazed. The waitress looked at us and said “would you like me to order for you ?” I needn’t tell you the answer, but will let you picture the look of gratitude that beamed out from all of us.

12 Responses to Grant Stack Overflow

  1. Albert Zijlstra says:

    And it was a good meal. But don’t ask me to grade it.

  2. ian smail says:

    it was fundable/unfunded – but there was commitment on the line so we had to pay for it anyway…

    the indian was better and the thai even better – i’d give the latter a 99 (including 4.5 for international competitiveness and 3 for fit to STFC’s – as yet unpublished – strategy).

  3. andyxl says:

    Of course as we were all so knackered, it got a 2 for Knowledge Exchange.

  4. Ken Rice says:

    Is this comment stream limited to AGP members only 🙂

    • ian smail says:

      …or to anyone who has reviewed a grant this round.

      i would note that the chinese restaurant at least managed to number the items on its menu – so that the discerning customer could identify what they wanted to pay for.

      • ian smail says:

        that post should of course have said: “what they wanted to recommend to someone else (e.g. STFC, or the deputy-chair of AGP) to pay for.” – AGP not being the final arbiter of such decisions.

    • andyxl says:

      Ken – all welcome. But I guess its probably much funnier if you are a member… Something about release of tension..

    • telescoper says:

      Who ordered Rice?

      • Ken Rice says:

        I think what saved me from being teased more at school about my surname was that people assumed I was related to Clive Rice, who was in his cricketing prime at that stage.

  5. telescoper says:

    I think the request for consumables was excessive, as was the full economic cost.

  6. Albert Zijlstra says:

    The article in the NY times is about will power and decision making. But that seems only part of the issue. Energy levels affect the ability to process Information and to respond to new facts and opinions. The example in the article of the judge has more to do with this than with will power. Making decisions is possible at any time of the day, but basing these decisions on complex information takes energy and does become difficult late in the day. Judgments become more black and white, with less grey.

    And perhaps it is not just about energy. levels People with early Parkinsons also have problems with decision making and subsequent actions. Same for people affected by depression. Glucose is not the only chemical which affects brain function.

    In my chess playing days, I remember that playing better (in a relative way) when physically tired. It made it easier to focus on the game, and to ignore distractions.

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