Abroad in Wales
The Ministry Get Serious About Little Green Men
I was in Pontypridd Market today doing some souvenir shopping when I heard this come over the seller's radio. The Ministry of Defense is releasing a decade's worth files on UFO sitings in Great Britain. As part of their Freedom of Information Act, the government is releasing the files after several inquires were made. Over the next four years, over 200 files will be made available online for public viewing including written accounts, drawings, and video footage.
I laughed so hard when I heard this, I think I creeped out a local or two.
One of the accounts goes like this. Staff and patrons of a pub saw an object with red and green flashing lights heading in the direction of Gatwick Airport, London. Hmmmm. It's dark, probably foggy (it was during February, so, not too big of a leap there) and they saw green and red lights heading toward an airport. Must be an alien spaceship.
So, you'll have to sift through gems like that to get to the really interesting stories. The MoD is even releasing accounts given by police officers and military personnel, including an account taken from US Air Force airmen stationed in Suffolk.
But, kudos to the MoD for finally releasing its files. Now, if only the US would release the Blue Book files.
Here is a link to the BBC site.
Stopping Kitchen Fires - One Toaster at a Time
So, I was pulling an all-nighter to get some work done. At about 2:30 I get up to stretch and make some tea and toast. I put my bread in the kitchen toaster and start the kettle. Now, it's a communal toaster, so I really should have taken a peak inside to make sure it was clean. But who seriously does that?
I'm leaning against the radiator, letting the heat untie the knots in my lower back when I smell the smoke. I look up to see a six inch flame coming out of the toaster!
So I do what any wise young woman of world does in this situation. I try to blow the sucker out.
I unplug the bugger, pop up the bread, and was two blows away from grabbing the fire blanket when I finally get the flame out. No harm done. My bread wasn't even browned! But I look inside the toaster only to see four or five blackened chunks of crust sitting on the bottom and stuck in the coils. So I dump it and go out into the hall to let the other girls who were still up and chatting what had happened.
A phone call and ten minutes later, we had this new, bad-ass toaster. If it looked any cooler, I'd say it were a Cylon.
(If you got the Battlestar Galactica reference, that makes you awesome. Just don't send me any season four spoilers, because the UK bites and won't let me download any of the episodes.)
Posted at 01:07PM Apr 19, 2008 by Jill S Brink in General |
It totally snowed last week! And not the hail, malformed, pea snow stuff we got in March. But real, flake snow! Here are some pictures I took from my window.
Posted at 12:32PM Apr 19, 2008 by Jill S Brink in General |
Dissertation, Coursework, Revision, and Repeat
Finally nearing the end of the school year.
I turned in my dissertation last week. My brain still hurts a little. But it was worth it to finally conduct my own research - basically on my own. To put it simply, I investigated the effect of stereotypes on short-term thought patterns. Can thinking about smart people help you perform better on that next test? Early research says yes. I learned a lot about how to set up experiments that work, how to find participants, and how to analyze and critic my own methods. I have plenty of idea from this to last me through graduate school and while I need a break from the research field for a bit, I'm excited to continue this line of research as early as next year.
Yes, next year, when I get to write a whole other thesis. There is a word for what I am. A masochist.
Also turned in all my course work for the year. Two of the papers on the same day as my dissertation. That was a delight. But no more class for the year. Just revision. Thank goodness I only have three tests. But I really have no idea what to expect for one of my philosophy classes, and its the first one up. So studying should be an adventure.
But I'm not too worried. I still have a few weeks until finals start. I've already planned out my daily study schedule - like a dork - and should be plenty prepared for the challenge. Bring it on, Glamorgan!
Posted at 12:12PM Apr 19, 2008 by Jill S Brink in General |
Why the British Empire Fell or Why I Can't Get Anything Done On This Island
I think I have finally solved one of the mysteries of history. I know why the British Empire lost its grasp on the globe.
Lack of coffee. Real coffee.
You just can't find it on this island! Gah! We have yet to see a drip machine anywhere. I saw a one-shot French press in one store only, and good luck finding coffee beans let alone a grinder for them. Not even the campus 'cafes' have real coffee - theirs is from powder, too! The only place to get a decent cup of coffee here is in Cardiff, a twenty-five minute train ride away.
Instead, in a pinch, I must resort to this stuff.
Freeze-dried coffee. Yum-yum. That was sarcasm.
It even looks like cat litter. I have to use so much sugar and milk to make to palatable, its barely worth the caffeine buzz. I only drink it when I have 9 o'clock class.
Travelers be warned. If you want coffee in this country, be prepared to pay £3.50 for a cup of Starbuck's finest. At least their lemon-poppy muffins are still good.