Something Fresh

Almost escaped from teaching. Maybe Ye Olde Blogge can Arise Again. But what, but what, is burning to be said ? Here is a shortlist.

(1) The title is for Professor Smail. First ever Blandings novel. But people have sent me emails saying “we cannot live by Wodehouse alone” so better stop there.

(2) The NOAO consultation has proceeded apace. The latest issue of their newsletter summarises the results  which seem to be that (a) we are relatively cheap really; (b) 4m telescopes will still do some groovy stuff; (c) we need 4m telescopes to train more astronomers. All true, but I can’t see this sort of stuff gripping the likes of Michelle Turner-Overdrive or whatever her name is.

(3) Meanwhile an AURA review into how to run Gemini  recommends it just gets swallered up by NOAO. Luckily the Yookay isn’t involved any more, so there is no need for us to splutter. Leave that to the Canadians.

(4) A new age of optimism dawns ! Wommers jetting around the world making positive noises, kissing people’s hands, and shaking babies. (Shum mishtake ? Ed). THES had an interview  and STFC had its own Hello John  news item. Better than a Dear John letter I suppose. But I drift. No sooner was JW in place than SKA leapt into the future .

(5) Presumably SKA will happen sometime after the lost decade. This economy stuff is a tad depressing what? Watched the Fred Goodwin show on the Beeb last night. Then I noticed that I am in possession of a cheque from ABN Amro, the toxic bank which RBS cleverly bought just before the dam burst. Better cash it quick.

Much of the world of finance seems like vapourware. Credit default swaps ? How did anybody think they were doing anything real ? But the effects are real and scary. Merkel and Sarkozy are proposing, as far as I understand, to make Keynesian economics illegal from now on. Wuh ? Now every day our futures lurch from side to side as “the markets” respond wildly. This is nuts. Like some crazy machine with the feedback loops all wrong. I reckon the economy needs a spot of systems engineering. We need to turn on some damping Cap’n ! Can we get someone from the ATC or RAL to take over ?

All I need now is guest posts expanding the above shortlisted items. Then I can go and do me christmas shoppin.

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6 Responses to Something Fresh

  1. Norman Gray says:

    > Much of the world of finance seems like vapourware.
    > Credit default swaps ? How did anybody think they
    > were doing anything real ?

    One of my favourite arxiv papers: http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9710148 (financial) arbitrage as a lattice field theory. That makes it seem pretty real to me….

    This sort of thing, by the way, is what _really_ annoys me when folk talk about leaving university to go to The Real World. _I’m_ in the real world, dammit, of matter, forces, and all; this is in direct contrast to the economic/accountancy world which is so thoroughly intangible that even as apparently simple a question as “how much money is there?” turns out to be tantalisingly subtle and complex.

    Weirdly, when I googled to find that paper, I thought that “arbitrage site:arxiv.org” would find it pretty promptly. Nope: “About 2,230 results” — whit?

  2. […] well that ends well,  suppose. and it’s nice to be back online. Even the e-astronomer has managed a post while I’ve been […]

  3. ian smail says:

    i disagree – i think you can (almost) live on wodehouse alone.

    …for topic 6 – what about the future of JCMT (or in more woeful terms: “The future of UK submillimetre astronomy”)? its all happening monday/tuesday at ATC.

  4. honoriaplum says:

    I concur with Ian Smail.

  5. Alan Penny says:

    “(5) Presumably SKA will happen sometime after the lost decade”

    http://www.skatelescope.org/about/project/

    2024 Full science operations with Phase 2
    2020 Full science operations with Phase 1
    2018-23 Phase 2 construction
    2016-19 Phase 1 construction
    2013-15 Detailed design and pre-construction phase
    2012 Site selection

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