On Cyber-Anything

Once again, the news is blathering on about “Cyber Monday” and how a bunch of online retailers are expecting lots of shoppers.

Whether or not those shoppers materialize is still up for debate (the day is young, after all), but I will not be among them.

This is two-fold:

  • I already have too much stuff. I’m looking at getting rid of most of my stuff, either by selling or donating it to those who need it more, and living a simpler, less-cluttered existence.
  • Things prefixed with “cyber” irritate me nearly as much as describing the internet as an “information superhighway”, let alone calling it a “series of tubes“. Anyone referring to anything as “cyber-something” should go die in a fire.


Starting a carbureted engine after a cold-soak of several days, when it’s only a few degrees above freezing, is remarkably challenging. Riding the two-wheeled vehicle propelled by said engine is similarly unpleasant.

In related news, it’s damn cold in Tucson. Denizens of the Great White North may laugh and doff their jackets when it’s 34F outside, but down here, this is We’re-All-Going-To-Die cold.

Small Things

The 21″ telescope on campus recently got an upgrade.

Or, more precisely, the observatory got an upgrade: light bulbs.

Due to various mishaps over the last few years, the incandescent-bulbs-dipped-in-red-paint have burnt out, shattered, or otherwise stopped working. They’ve been replaced with red-tinted CFL bulbs, which run a lot cooler, and have the tinting applied at the factory. Presumably they’re designed to deal with the extra insulation of the red coating without overheating.

That, and one of the PhD students put a red rope light around the elevated platform and steps, so undergrads coming to observe for their classes don’t trip and die on the steps.

Before, it was difficult and dangerous to negotiate the observatory floor due to poor lighting. Now it’s downright festive.

Who knew that such small improvements would be so nice?

No Rest for the Weary

After months of mad studying for the Physics GRE, I’m now applying to graduate schools. One of the steps involved perusing the various university websites getting information about costs, deadlines, etc.

Nearly all of the schools had deadlines in mid-January, while some Swiss schools had deadlines in April. Cool.

About two-thirds of the way down the list, I come across the University of Oslo. Their deadline is the 1st of December. I need to step things up to get the application out and in the mail before the deadline. No pressure, right?

Cultural Hilarity

A friend of mine is Swedish. He recently inherited several firearms from his late grandfather. As part of procedure for inheriting firearms, he is required to undergo a course in basic firearms training. No problem.

Now he’s joining a local pistol-shooting school. Why? First off, he has pistols, and it’s fun to shoot them. Secondly, it’s for “zombies”.

Evidently gunnies are more or less the same the world over.