Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Serendipity and the use of paper wallets

I knew that paper wallets were awesome, even if I did not know why.

Now I know: If the inestimable Jorge Cham, the author of Piled Higher & Deeper, the essential comic for all graduate students, just happens to give a lecture about procrastination, and afterwards sits around signing books, you can saunter up and have him sign you wallet. Thus you have the world's first and only paper wallet signed by Jorge Cham, which is a right awesome level of geekery right there.


My ears are small, luddite mutant ears - they won't stand for foreign technological intrusions into their domain; to wit, I am physically incapable of wearing earbud-earphones for more than two minutes. After that, they are violently expelled - a hazard for man and animal alike.

Wearing full-blown earphones on the other hand, reduces my situational awareness to the point where I would be easy prey when riding my bike. Since being run over while (and probably because of) cheerfully singing along to Letzte Instanz does not list among my life's ambitions, dorky clip-on earbuds are the only way for me to get my rare dose of 'tunes.

Unfortunately, my last pair fell victim to the rough, rough treatment I subjected it to - stuffing it into my back-pack, fishing it out by just pulling on the cable, torturing it for conspiring with my ipod and making me listen to Shakira, etc., etc.

However, I found a new pair, with two ingenious features:

Firstly, the clip-on clip is replaced by the cable itself, which wraps around your ear, and secondly, the cable is not a shitty plastic cable, but rather braided cord-goodness promising a longer life in the wild.

Plus, they were only 20 CHF!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two for Tuesday

My friend Adwoa quite correctly pointed out that I am falling horribly behind in my posting, especially since I loudmouthed about "A post a day in May". A quick look at the bar on the right shows about seven posts in May - and today is already the twentieth!

To rectify this horrible, horrible failure on my part I hereby announce "Two for Tuesday" to go with "A post a day in May". Furthermore, I declare the rest of this week to consist of Tuesdays, so look forward to see two posts a day until Tuesday, the 25th of May!


Yesterday I spontaneously combusted decided to get a new wallet, because my old one was too bulky. But then I remembered reading something about DIY paper-wallets, and I gave it a try.

Following this nice instructable, I had it done in about 3 minutes - and I like it. All my different bank-cards, etc. are held astonishingly fast, and dorky nerd that I am I was able to scribble equations all over it, scince it is made of paper.

I used 160g/cm^2 paper, and am curious how long it will last...

Although I might have to make another, slightly bigger one, because as you can see in the photos my vehicle registration certificate does not fit in properly.

Friday, May 9, 2008


I adore the corridors in the basement of my institute - I always have the feeling that the alien from Alien (and isn't that a retarded sentence if you don't happen to know that I am talking about a movie) will drop down any minute now...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oil & Vinegar

I adore bottles within a bottle, and a couple of days ago MIGROS had a small one on sale:

extra virgin olive oil and balsamico

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Parc de biches

No, it's not the park of the bitches. La biche is french for the hind, although there were no deer to be seen, only some wild boars. The parc de biches is on top of a hill in the middle of Lausanne - and there is a very nice wooden lookout in it.

The stairs are simply wooden beams that span the entire breadth of the tower and are arranged in a double spiral. This being Switzerland, of course, the resulting stairways are one-way.

From the top, you have a nice view over Lausanne. This particular day was rather hazy, unfortunately, so I didn't bother taking any panoramas.

Here is a view straight down from the top, however:

This being the park of the hinds, I expected to find some - no such luck, however. We did find boars and suckling boars, however:

Right next to their enclosure there was a big restaurant - serving wild boar as a specialty. I wonder about where they get their meat from?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Birthday cake

My love had her Birthday today, and accordingly I had to bake a cake. Originally I wanted to fabricate some three-tiered monstrosity, with chocolate frosting, pink marzipan and stuff. But due to a recent injury I had to make do with something that required only one and a half hands. This is the result:

The girlfriend likes muffins, and gingerbread, so I figured those would carry the day. And indeed they did, although they turned out a bit dry. Next time I will add some fruit - an apple maybe, or blueberries. You can never go wrong with blueberries.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Due to popular demand (ha!), a close-up of my injury.
Click to enlarge, but only if you really, really want to.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Recently it came to my attention that I haven't hurt myself for quite some time - no broken bones, no torn tendons, not even lacerated limbs. So quick as a beaver I found the next pointy thing, which happened to be a corner of the mass-screen of my electrode, and sliced my finger good.

By the way, if you ever hurt yourself while dismounting an electrode inside a plasma chamber, and they ask you about it in the hospital afterwards, lie. If you say you hurt yourself while working inside your reactor, they will get all excited, and then you will have to explain in your halting French that it was not a nuclear reactor, and there wasn't any toxic stuff inside either.

So I got three stitches, and now know that if you have to slice your finger open, it is good to do it on the top-side, because there the tendons lie much deeper and closer to the bone. Always good to know, that.

The horrific swelling on my knuckles is due to the liters of anaesthetic they injected me. Horrible stuff, I was tempted to ask them to do without, but didn't, because I am much less manly than I like to make out.