Thursday, 20 August 2015

Aren't you on holiday?

I've been very silent throughout the month of August $-$ no single post, so far. The main reason for that is that we've moved home (although not very far from where we were), which has meant lots of fun...

Highlights of this recent period include: 1) a lively debate with the locksmith who's come to replace the door lock. I was going for a quick and polite chit-chat, but that spectacularly back-fired and I got stuck in a lengthy discussion on immigration (we did not have the same position on the issue). Interestingly, at some point the guy was saying that he was happy with Indian or Filipino doctors and nurses working in the NHS, but he was appalled by the fact that many British doctors shoot off to work in Australia, where they earn more money: "It's not fair that I pay for their training and then they go and work abroad" (I think this was to mean he didn't have a problem with foreigners in general, but with immigration per se). When I replied that somebody else has paid for the Indian doctor whom he (the locksmith) then benefitted from, he said "Uhm... haven't thought about this...".

2) My lecture on Bayesian statistics at the Science to Data Science (s2ds) summer school. I got invited after I gave a talk at the London Machine Learning Meetup. The lecture was scheduled at the University of Westminster $-$ although what I hadn't realised is that it was the Harrow campus, which interestingly is located over 12 miles away from Westminster. This meant that I had to ride through areas of London previously unknown to me, to get there. But despite my whining the day before the lecture, the ride was actually fun. I thought the lecture went well and got a few very good questions, which I always like.

3) Yesterday I had to take my Vespa to get the MOT certificate; I almost always use the same local garage for my Vespa needs, so they know me by now. But strangely enough, we'd never discussed what my job was (they only knew that I ride my motorbike into Central London, for work). Finally, the lady did ask me yesterday and when I said I worked in academia, she replied: "So you're on holiday all month, right?". I think this is quite common $-$ we have a few good friends who I think have never really understood what our job entails and basically think we have to teach a couple of hours a day in term and then may be mark some essays. To be fair, I have no idea what some of their job entails $-$ I know their title, which I usually recite as if I had a clear understanding of it, when I really don't...

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