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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Bits & Pieces [20100305|14:28]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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On my commute I was privileged to overhear the conversation of a woman who seemed to be the embodiment of prejudice. Every sentence that came out of her mouth was a complaint about the injustice of the world, as inflicted upon her by the following people: her son's teachers ("He was sent home for having his shirt-tail hanging out"), e-mail spammers, travelers/gypsies ("They pinched four of my chickens"), the Japanese woman her brother married, South Africans and the Irish. In fact, I think the only people she left out were asylum seekers, and if the train ride had been longer I'm certain she would have gotten there eventually.

~*~


Perhaps not only in Cambridge (or Oxford) would you hear the announcement, "If there is a Professor Evans on the station, please return to the ticket office. Professor Evans, return to the ticket office." But I'd be willing to bet that only in Cambridge (or Oxford) would you see not one, but two people - who weren't together - on the platform turning around to go to the ticket office.

~*~


The mathematicians with whom we share our building periodically put problem sheets in the lifts. The mag team packed ourselves into the lift on our way out to Friday lunch one afternoon. We perused the problems. One caught our eyes. It read, "Is it possible to fit a bigger cube through a hole in a smaller cube?"

Me (chemist): "It depends on the materials. If the bigger cube is made of aerogel, then yes. If it's a solid block of stainless, probably not."
Her (mechanical engineer): "No, it depends on the quality of the design for the collapsible frame of the bigger cube."
Him (physicist): "How big is the hole? Or is it black?"
A pause
Me: "Why do I get the feeling we've somehow missed the point?"
linkReply

Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-03-07 20:12 (UTC)
The question is, will we ever escape from it? We seem to keep coming up with new ones.
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[User Picture]From: doccy
2010-03-05 15:36 (UTC)
So long as it's not too much bigger, sure. Just hope that the smaller cube stays intact once you've carved the massive hole through it.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-03-07 20:12 (UTC)
Right. Carbon-fibre cube it is.
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[User Picture]From: doccy
2010-03-07 20:33 (UTC)
Aye, carbon-fibre with a square hole carved through it at a 45% angle from the horizontal, from one corner to the opposite. Drop it through the hole, then move on to existential questions such as "But what is a hole? And what, when you get right down to it, is a cube? If we put the larger one through the hole, has it passed through? Or do we just think it has?"

*tries looking more 'wise' than 'constipated'* ;)
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-03-07 20:13 (UTC)
Sometimes I worry that our minds are so open, our brains have fallen out and we haven't noticed yet.
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[User Picture]From: minirth
2010-03-06 01:49 (UTC)
Me: "Why do I get the feeling we've somehow missed the point?"

You are so awesome! I love this story!!!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-03-07 20:22 (UTC)
Thank you. Also, I believe the answer is yes.
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From: tdj
2010-03-06 04:40 (UTC)
Me (chemical engineer): What's the activation energy?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-03-07 20:14 (UTC)
I believe it's forty-two.
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[User Picture]From: painted_dreams
2010-03-06 04:52 (UTC)
That conversation you overheard reminds me of what happened at my work the other day. We had this older white woman come in and call all the black people at the library criminals. She called our branch manager (who is black) a criminal and our one of our librarians (who is white) prejudice.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-03-07 20:24 (UTC)
Such people make you wish it were possible to discriminate against bigots by refusing to serve them. Unfortunately, this has the side effect of turning you into a bigot yourself. Ah, irony.
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