Sunday, 7 March 2021

The Which Hunter

Here follows the story of my adventures with an obscure rule of English usage. Brace yourself.

The story begins in my first year of graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of the emeritus faculty was Eugen Merzbacher. Many years previously he wrote what became a standard quantum mechanics textbook. It was so ubiquitous that when one of my fellow PhD students visited the university before accepting their offer of a place in the graduate program, he was utterly starstruck to discover that he would be hosted at Merzbacher's house. He breathlessly recalled his time in the home of the maestro. "I couldn't believe it! In the morning Merzbacher cooked me eggs!" 

Monday, 8 February 2021

Coronavirus Update: A UK-dwelling Kiwi faces his mistakes

It is just over a year since the severity of Covid became undeniable: China began its strict lockdown on January 23. Remember that? An unprecedented measure that we were told would be unthinkable anywhere else. In some ways it was: the worst of the transmission was stamped out in six weeks, by early March, just as other governments were scrambling to prepare their "we were taken by surprise" excuse.

I was faraway in Rome, but on January 31 two Chinese tourists tested positive at a hotel. We already knew that it took seven to ten days for symptoms to show, so we anxiously watched for signs of further infections a week later. After two weeks there was still nothing, besides reassuring photos of Spallanzani hospital in a state of over-the-top precaution. Crisis averted. 

Friday, 30 October 2020

The Gimlet

Let's face it, the plague is here for the winter. Your government has failed you, so you must rely on yourself. Or, more realistically: on alcohol. 

Fear not, friends! I bring you salvation and succour, in the form of a lime green waterslide of a drink, that will have you swishing and sloshing and whooping all the way through to Spring -- and beyond. Allow me to present The Gimlet.