I am in some science books. They’ll never make the bestseller lists because they are horribly expensive books, but as a contributor I sometimes got a free one.
My favourite is a non-serious article called ‘Science and the Simulated Organism’ but that’s a story for another day.
It has long been an ambition of mine to produce science books in non-jargon language at an affordable price. Maybe Leg Iron Books will one day achieve that. Books students can read and not say ‘What the blistering fuck does that mean?’ on every second page. That could be fun and useful too.
It used to happen. I still have a copy of A.E. Lehninger’s ‘Biochemistry’ which is probably woefully out of date now but which was invaluable in getting me through the first year of university.
Ah, university, three years I’ll never recall in detail and some of the flashbacks still make me wince. And yet… I learned enough to pass with a good degree and impressed a few professors enough to get me invited on to a PhD course. Oh I didn’t apply for that. It only recently occurred to me that I have very limited experience in applying for any job. The ones I applied for, I mostly didn’t get. Most of them just happened. A phone call, ‘are you interested in this?’ sort of thing. I did begin to wonder if someone was trying to keep me out of the way.
I applied for the janitor job. Well, I called in about the job at 4 pm and was employed at 7 pm. Boss later told me she wasn’t sure I’d be up to it and gave me a chance. Today she sent more texts asking me to come back. I am tempted to put on the uniform for one day and go in, just to see the looks on the staff faces.
Universities are not what they were, some say. Yes, they are, although they are worse now. We had the dopey dicks in charge of the student’s union when I was there (1978-1981) and they insisted we buy life membership to the student union. I didn’t. The bars in there were cheap but so damn humourless we rarely used them. The Cardiff dockside bars were much more fun – back then, before they yuppiefied the whole derelict area.
Universities were always loaded with Leftie idealists and they’d get involved in committees and running the student’s union rather than doing proper student things like drinking and smoking and learning stuff with the remaining brain cells. They never grasped the simple equation that we ‘normal’ students managed to get real degrees in real subjects even though we had destroyed at least 50% of our thinking capacity with strong drink. They, on the other hand, managed to scrape a third in elementary witchcraft and daytime TV while abstaining from anything that could harm what little brain they possessed. Which, on the face of it, was probably a wise decision.
Basically, only idiots join committees and committees should be nothing more than a gateway drug into the secure psych ward or at least the remedial class or perhaps a bag and reservoir thing….
What Frank describes was starting to happen when I was in university. The useless and the downright dangerous-in-a-lab morons were pushed out of the way. Not fired, the union wouldn’t allow it, but shunted upward into admin and manager roles. The dopes were put in charge.
In those days it didn’t matter too much. Nobody took any notice of them anyway. Later though, they took control of the money and then things got very screwed up indeed. Research priorities changed. You couldn’t research for the sake of it any more, there had to be a profit motive.
Then the profit motive took over and it didn’t matter what the results really were, the conclusions had to fit the funder’s declared interests. That’s where we are now. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
Get the right result or next year, you’re teaching HND tractor control.
The Leftie Loonies leave university with a determination to make the world a dark, sad and miserable place. I left university with a 2:1 Hons in microbiology and John Otway’s autograph on a copy of DK50/80. And a hangover. And a job as a research assistant working on oil spill degrading bacteria, that later morphed into a PhD on something entirely different.
You know what? In nearly 57 years, I have never been on any kind of march or picket line for anything.
I don’t believe the world owes me anything.
Neither does the world.