30 November 2007


From a Times article on Giuliani's repeated misstatement of statistical fact, why I hate politics:

“When he talks about New York, people see it,” Mr. Luntz said of Mr.
Giuliani, “and they feel it, and if a number isn’t quite right, or is
off by a small amount, nobody will care, because it rings true to them.”

28 November 2007

Rolling with the iPhone

Tonight I decided to leave dinner entirely in the hands of my iPhone. Nearly everything near the hospital shuts down at about 5, so I asked the ol' iPhone to first find me a fish and chips shop, and then direct me there. I was a little surprised when it popped up "Khang's Fish" in what I thought was a residential neighborhood, but the only place where I knew there would be eats for sure was a 20 minute walk in the wrong direction.

Well, the iPhone held up its end of the deal, but I was confronted with a frequent issue in British take-away food: "Khang's Fish and Chips" also had a giant neon sign: CHINESE TAKEAWAY. Similar to kebab shops that do pizza, how do you reconcile fish and chips and kung pao chicken? Which is a safer bet here?

22 November 2007

Something a little lighter

Since apparently some people think this bl0g has become too much of a "meta-travelogue", I thought I'd post something a little more introspective. I was walking from work to the bus stop to head 'back home' to Oxford from Cambridge yesterday when I bumped into somebody I knew from teaching on a course. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes and then made plans to hang out some time. Coincidentally she's from Newton, so that "some time" could either be while we're both in MA for Christmas or when we're both back in Cambs.

This kind of chance encounter is one of my favourite types of surprise. I had another one a month or two ago when I was walking through Kendall Square and bumped into a friend from the 'tute that I hadn't seen in a while. Another time when these happen often is around conference times, when planes from all destinations toward the conference city are packed with scientists. On my connecting flight from JFK to San Diego in October, for instance, there were five or six people I knew and a handful more with poster tubes who looked suspiciously nerdy. It always make me think more broadly about how many near misses there probably are (somebody you know boards the train in front of you, or pays the bill at a restaurant just before you walk in). In some places, at least, it's a small world.

18 November 2007

Week 1 Update

WtmrcThis past week was my first at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (left). I have not yet found a place to live, so that's occupying quite a bit of my time at the moment. The CIMR is at the Addenbrooke's hospital site, which is similar to every other UK hospital I've seen: a hodge-podge of buildings thrown up over the last 40 years without much attention paid to architecture or layout.

This weekend I've been at the nearby Sanger Centre, teaching on a HapMap course which I was roped into at the last minute. This means I've already been away from Oxford for a week, instead of 3 days as originally intended. I guess I'm diving in faster than I expected! At least this gig is a good way to earn some spare cash.

The city itself is beautiful. We've had clear blue skies and bright winter sun, which makes the day a little easier to face!

12 November 2007


I spent today in Cambridge, both to get the lay of the land and to try to find a place to live. Success in the former, failure in the latter. Pictured at left is the inner courtyard of Gonville and Caius college (sister college to Brasenose). Cambridge generally felt like a slightly smaller, even more medieval version of Oxford (which is what everybody says). It was a cold, blue-sky day, so the city was certainly given a good chance to look beautiful.

My best lead for a house was a very cheap place relatively convenient to where I'll be working. The reason it is so cheap is that it's basically a gigantic frat-house. I'm too old to be living in a place where the kitchens are always full of last night's pizza, and there's literally a band practising in the ground floor lounge. I have more leads, however, and I'm spending two nights in a B&B this week, for my first three days of work (Weds-Fri). Scary, but exciting!

05 November 2007

Back to the grind

ItinWell, not quite. Today is my last day in the USA, after visiting San Diego, Baja Mexico, Las Vegas, and now Boston. It's been a great trip, and pics will be available once I've secured some of the better ones from my travelling companions. At left is a picture (taken with my snazzy new iPhone) of the pub-crawl itinerary from Saturday. It was a great time, despite starting in the tail end of a tropical storm that had worked its way up the coast.