Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Health update - and more important things

My back is 95% OK, showing I didn't seriously damage it last Sunday. I do however have a nasty streaming cold (too much information!) and consequently feel terminally tired and a guest in my own body.

Tomorrow is the last day I have to make the Canary Wharf trip - Friday I'll work at home and then this particular assignment ends. I do find the commute deeply unpleasant for all the usual reasons, mostly summed up in the phrase 'cattle truck'. However, I am mindful that the Andover station platform at 7.00 a.m. (and 6.30 a.m.) is crowded with daily commuters. They obviously all have the right stuff.

Managed to get a glimpse of BBC2's Horizon last night as I cowered in front of the fire (did I mention the central heating is still out of action?). This was presented by "particle physicist and ex D:Ream keyboard player Dr Brian Cox" (here), an experimental physicist.

Dr Cox has fantastic TV presence, and told us absolutely nothing about pop-gravity which hasn't been mentioned (better) in other popular science programmes such as Atom. But before we get too snobby about experimentalists, it's worth recalling that the absolutely fantastic "Deep Down Things" was written by one of them, Bruce Schumm - the best intro ever to the Standard Model (here).

Note to TV producers. If you want to make a programme which gets past your dumbed-down cul-de-sac you could do worse than take a look at the latest, February 2008 edition of Scientific American entitled "The Future of Physics". Using the catalyst of the imminent boot-up of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, theoretical physicist Chris Quigg has written a truly insightful article called "The Coming Revolution In Particle Physics" (here).

I noticed on the train coming back that a fellow traveller (how innocent, nowadays) was reading an Iain M. Banks. Something beginning with "M". A quick look on Amazon and I see he has a new one called "Matter" which has excellent reviews (here). One click later and it's on its way.

BTW, I sit here at 8.40 p.m. sipping a LemSip which Clare thoughfully made for me. Strangely, it seems to be 90% whisky!

Maybe some old Liverpool/Irish folk remedy?