A glossary for research reports

Not the first of its kind, but I liked it. Link.

Scientific term (Actual meaning)

It has long been known that … (I haven’t bothered to look up the original reference)

…of great theoretical and practical importance (…interesting to me)

While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to these questions … (The experiments didn’t work out, but I figured I could at least get a publication out of it)

The W-Pb system was chosen as especially suitable to show the predicted behaviour. … (The fellow in the next lab had some already made up)

High-purity || Very high purity || Extremely high purity || Super-purity || Spectroscopically pure … (Composition unknown except for the exaggerated claims of the supplier)

A fiducial reference line … (A scratch)

Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study … (The results on the others didn’t make sense and were ignored)

…accidentally strained during mounting (…dropped on the floor)

…handled with extreme care throughout the experiments (…not dropped on the floor)

…Typical results are shown … (The best results are shown)

Although some detail has been lost in reproduction, it is clear from the original micrograph that … (It is impossible to tell from the micrograph)

Presumably at longer times … (I didn’t take time to find out)

The agreement with the predicted curve is excellent (fair) || good (poor) || satisfactory (doubtful) || fair (imaginary) || . . as good as could be expected (non-existent)

These results will be reported at a later date … (I might possibly get around to this sometime)

The most reliable values are those of Jones (He was a student of mine)

It is suggested that || It is believed that || It may be that … (I think)

It is generally believed that … (A couple of other guys think so too)

It might be argued that … (I have such a good answer to this objection that I shall now raise it)

It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding … (I don’t understand it)

Unfortunately, a quantitative theory to account for these effects has not been formulated … (Neither does anybody else)

Correct within an order of magnitude … (Wrong)

It is to be hoped that this work will stimulate further work in the field … (This paper isn’t very good, but neither are any of the others in this miserable subject)

Thanks are due to Joe Glotz for assistance with the experiments and to John Doe for valuable discussions … (Glotz did the work and Doe explained what it meant)

C. D. Graham, Jr., Metal. Progress 71, 75 (1957) (actual source)


June 29, 2011 Posted by | fun, Science | Leave a comment

(Fake) quotes

Megan McArdle has an article up where she wonders why someone would post and spread what might(?) be a fake quote by Martin Luther King. Here are some of the responses to the article:

1) “People believe anything they read on the internet if it fits their preconceived notions.” –Thomas Jefferson. (first comment in the thread, had me laughing loudly)

2) “First!” – ‘Adam’ (of course he’s actually fifth though he does come right after god…) – followed by the comment: “Dammit!” by ‘Eve’

3) “False attributions are cool!” — Megan McArdle

4) “Shit, got USA Troops knocking at my door” – O……..

5) “You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t lead a horse to water and make him a boat captain.” — Abe Lincoln.

6) “a small step for a man a giant leap for mankind” –genghis khan.

7) “The great thing about the internet is that you can make up anything and attribute it to anyone you want.” —George Washington

May 3, 2011 Posted by | fun, Quotes/aphorisms | 2 Comments

Costly, but probably worth it!

This had me laughing out loud:

December 22, 2010 Posted by | fun, Random stuff | Leave a comment


Exams are getting closer every day, so please bear with me:


If this guy’s last name was Lambert, that answer would probably have earned him something like perhaps a ‘C’ in my book (he didn’t define all quantities – ie. how much beer did it take for Lambert to go from state one to state two? – and he was asked to write the law, not illustrate it graphically. But the illustration is great!). In case you’re curious, here’s Wikipedia’s entry on the Beer-Lambert Law.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | fun, Random stuff | Leave a comment

Vegan? – No thanks, I’m not hungry…



June 29, 2009 Posted by | fun, Random stuff | Leave a comment

How many firms “deal” with their economic troubles

My previous post on newspapers just reminded me of this strip, which I would assume is actually more relevant now than it was when it was first made four years ago:

2005-01-07 (strategy)

June 25, 2009 Posted by | Cartoons, fun, Random stuff | Leave a comment

If research papers had a comment section…



June 15, 2009 Posted by | education, fun | Leave a comment

Brev till utlandet

A hilarious book by Eric Ericson consisting of letters sent by Mr. Ericson to various firms all over the world, all of them filled with downright insane ideas and proposals (the letters, that is, not the firms – or how is it again?), in which he pretends to have already made arrangements with the firms in question, thus more or less forcing the firms to reply to his crazy letters. The firms’ responses to the letters are included as well. Not a long book, but very, very funny. Below I have copied one example of the sort of correspondence the book is filled with:


First of all, I want to thank you so much for your invitation. I was both moved and surprised. I had not expected it in the least. I will arrive at your place on January 8 as agreed. I will bring approximately 200 small animals and about a hundred midsized and large animals. You should not pet the big animals. I would like you to order fodder for the animals right away. I have chartered a plane for me and the animals, as this is the most effective way to transport the animals. I have asked the airline to send the invoice to you directly. See you soon!

Eric Ericson
Mailbox 412
Birger Jarlsgatan 39
111 45 Stockoholm

Sent to Spółdzielcza Grupa Bankowa, a Polish bank(!). The bank’s response:

Dear Sir,

Regarding to the mail, concerning your visit in Torun (Poland), I inform you, as following:
1. We don’t know you.
2. We have never invited you to Poland.
3. We only deal with banking business – not with animals.
4. We don’t expect you and especially your 300 animals.
5. We will not pay any invoice received from airline.

May 3, 2009 Posted by | Books, fun | 4 Comments

Technological progress

In case you have forgotten, we sure have come a long way in the last 10-15 years…

January 21, 2008 Posted by | fun, technology | Leave a comment

Fry and Laurie

We all know Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie from the Blackadder-series. But did you know that the two comedians have worked together a long time both before and after this, making for instance the television series A Bit of Fry and Laurie?

I didn’t, and I’m sure glad I found out!

September 12, 2007 Posted by | fun | 4 Comments


This comic made me laugh:


I have mentioned it before, but the xkcd-site is just brilliant!

Also, this Python-sketch I only very recently discovered, and it’s very, very good. The Pythons and Rowan Atkinson together, need I say more?

Perhaps I do:

“What is the name of the meat we get from pigs?
… P-p-pork?
No, no, you’re guessing aren’t you? The meat we get from pigs is called Baghdad!”

August 13, 2007 Posted by | fun | Leave a comment

Curiosity is a dangerous thing…

Or maybe: Yet another reason why we shouldn’t expect scientists to win the evolutionary race…

May 9, 2007 Posted by | fun | 2 Comments

Quote of the day

We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme. It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are more concerned with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government, nor to suggest at any point that they sacrifice their credibility by denying free debate on vital matters in the mistaken impression that party unity comes before the well-being of the people they supposedly represent, nor to imply at any stage that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital social problems of today. Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby ulcerous little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive. We are sorry if this impression has come across.

Shouldn’t be too hard to guess where it comes from. And don’t worry guys, of course there’s no need to apologize…

May 4, 2007 Posted by | fun, Quotes/aphorisms | Leave a comment

What not to do…

…when defending your phd.

HT: Peter Klein via Greg Mankiw.

Some of them made me smile. A lot more along the same lines here.

April 27, 2007 Posted by | fun | Leave a comment

Monty Python – German edition

Here, here, here, here and here (a couple of them overlap a little, but this should not stop you from seeing all of them). A little more here. They are, just like almost everything else these guys have made together, priceless. Includes a new version of The Little Red Ridinghood folktale, yet another unforgettable restaurant-scene and coverage of a marathon for incontinent people 🙂

All actors speak in German, it is not a dubbed version. The videos all have English subtitles, making them a little easier to understand.

Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer.

April 15, 2007 Posted by | fun, Random stuff | Leave a comment