The Quantum Angler
He never gets Bohred of fishing.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Great Halls of fire

In the spirit of fire-based procrastination, I thought I'd blog about a fire which is currently underway at a building in Albert Hall Mansions. The fire cannot be more than 10 metres from the Albert Hall, and that begs the burning question "is the Albert Hall going to burn down?". Indeed this has been a hot topic of conversation around the physics department today as postgrads throughout the building stopped working and gathered outside for a look at the flames, or maybe a quick smoke. Clearly no one was too worried about getting fired. It was so exciting that many could be seen on the phone calling loved ones, or even old flames, to tell them the news. Luckily from what I saw I can infer-no one was hurt.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It started with a quiz (never thought it would come to this)

Yesterday evening I returned home to find a small nugget of my childhood in a parcel on the doorstep. No, not my Sonic the Hedgehog soft toy, but six packets of Nerds! Along with Creme Eggs, these were some of my favourite all-time sweets. For the uninformed, nerds are small, amorphous crunchy blobs that are either sweet or sour. The basic premise was a box, divided into two compartments, each of which housed a different flavour of nerd; one would generally be sweet and the other sour. How to eat a packet of Nerds was left to the child's discretion, and the excitement essentially came from mixing the two flavours to make a custom sweet.

Interesting Nerd fact from wikipedia:
It has also been noted that there is always one of the opposite color in the package (for example, if you have package of pink and purple Nerds, there will be one pink in the purple section, and vice versa.)

And so, with my box of Nerds in hand, childhood unfolded happily before me. Then one day disaster struck: they stopped selling Nerds! Fortunately by then I was in secondary school, less interested in eating nerds than figuring out how to convince a pretty girl that I wasn't one myself. I literally didn't notice their demise, but it gradually dawned on me over the course of the rest of my life that these things were nowhere to be found, and I was disappointed. There was nothing I could do. That is, until I won a pub quiz in the Holland Club. The tale of said pub quiz is an epic one, which could fill a blog post in itself, but suffice to say each of our team of 6 won £5 for our efforts. But what to blow the winnings on? I certainly couldn't put it to good use buying food or useful items, that would be wrong. It had to be something silly. Then it hit me, a quick visit to eBay and it turned out these things were still around, but only being sold in America. Before I could say "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation", a box of Nerds were hurtling their was accross the Atlantic. And for all this, they're still as tasty as they were a decade ago!

Next target: win £10 on the lottery to get some Toffos.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ode to a laser mode

I once had a diffraction-limited beam
The fundamental mode, it did seem
    But I stuck in a Q-switch
    And noticed a glitch
For my TEM00 was nowhere to be seen