Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blah and boredom.

I'm in one of those moods. Been reverting to my childhood state of reading a lot, writing less, and thinking about writing other things (not science-related at all).

So I don't really feel like blogging.

Had an almost completely brainless day yesterday, which was good in some ways.

Last night we ended up, by accident, at one of these Benefit Our Wounded Soldiers kind of benefit thingees where we watched our local team trounce these poor guys, most of them back from the Middle East for only 1-2 weeks.

Hey, at least they were back.

Anyway it was strange, because I usually don't watch sports at all. The Michael Phelps Show was enough for me this week. Poor guy, he seems to know the rest of his life will be mostly downhill from here.

And I was thinking again about how I hate that sports players are heroes in our country, but doctors and scientists aren't.

In other news, I'm thinking about taking a new student. So far she keeps calling me Dr., which I find kind of amusing, and that worries me.

I'm debating whether I really have the time and appropriate activities for someone new, or if I'm just so desperate for help of any kind that I'm tempted to take a student when I really shouldn't. I need to make up my mind this week so she'll have time to find another person to train her.

And I talked to a friend this week who wants to quit her job, too.

She just dumped the guy she was dating, and hates her boss more than most people (her boss is truly among the worst of the worst).

It wasn't particularly uplifting to talk to her, but it got me wondering about something they've been saying about the gymnastics portions of the Michael Phelps show: that nobody wants to do gymnastics anymore in the US because it's too hard.

Everybody quits, they said.

This could be said of a lot of the old activities of yore, like playing a musical instrument, and has always been said about science and math. And yet somehow there are still enough musicians, aren't there?

Would it be so bad if we all shifted away from our previous forms of entertainment and focused our efforts on other kinds of things, like playing video games? Is it really so different, is it really worse, to play video games than to play a musical instrument?

Is it worse to be good at video games than to be a scientist? Not in some countries, where they laud their gamers the way we laud our athletes.

I find it bizarre that some of these activities are viewed in our society as being brainy or requiring a certain amount of skill, and others aren't.

Speaking of, I really need a new video game. Suggestions are welcome.

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At 2:34 PM, Blogger Neil said...

Yep, I agree whole heartedly. Over on my blog I have recently posted an article saying that we should be proud to stand up let people know that science and technology is cool B-). However, I recently managed to discuss about a product my company has recently developed to decode 2D barcodes. The conversation (in a bar) went from yawn, to interest to gasps of - cool! The highlight was when I described that the maths behind the decoding was developed by a 19th Century French mathematician called Galois who died very young in a duel over a woman he was in love with.
With that, the Medici period in Rennaisance Italy and US science in the 50s - science/tech has not always been overlooked - we can get (and need to) get back there for the benefit of us all.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Unbalanced Reaction said...

I'm not particularly a gamer, so I have no serious gaming suggestions. That said....

I love Katamari Damachy, both I and II. The game is wonderfully kitschy, and nothing makes you feel better after a sucky day in the lab than rolling over people (and hearing them squeal) with a cheesy Japanese soundtrack in the background.

Oh, and rock band, of course.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Professor in Training said...

Yeah - it always amazes me that athletes, celebrities and the like are considered to be heroes, but the people that educate and strive to advance scientific knowledge are continually overlooked in society. The general public do not know what we do and how our efforts play such a positive role in modern society.


On a lighter note, if you're looking for online video games that are the biggest time suck in history, check these out:

At the risk of showing my age, Galaga is the best game EVER :)

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Perry said...

Chess. Ever play a correspondence game? Or are you looking for something... easier?

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...


I have a friend who plays a lot of katamari, so I tried it at her house a while ago. I love many things Japanese, but it was a little too weird for me.

Been playing a lot of Jawbreaker (aka 'removem' or whatever the stupid new name is.)


I never really learned how to play chess. Something about being raised as a girl.

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it really so different, is it really worse, to play video games than to play a musical instrument?

Maybe not, but playing an instrument has something very "organic" about it. Tone, pitch, and timing are awesome things :)

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Dr. A said...

Battle boredom like I do!

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Galaga said...

I have such moments very often these days.


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