Thursday, 25 February 2016


Day 13530

Been musing a little on the nature of work.
Scientifically, work is done when a force moves something: $W=F \times x$. So gravity, moving an apple from the tree to the ground, does work increasing the apple's velocity. When the apple hits the ground it is moving faster, *bump*.
Alternatively, in a motor, electricity does work ($W=I \times V$) creating a changing magnetic field, which rotates a permanent magnet and turns a thing.
I'm considering all of this sat at my desk pretending to do work. In this case the work is a little more abstract: I am a physicist. I eat food. My digestive system does work breaking that food down into useful components such as fat and protein, which my brain can then use to think about stuff. I'm not a very good physicist, and am currently in the final stages of seeing how protracted I can make my phd. The phd is part-time, nominally 8 years and I'm half way through the 9th.
I'm quite proud of lots of the thesis so far, which I won't go into here. But undoubtedly, if I was a little more efficient at turning food into thought it could have been done by now, there could have been more of it, and my employers would be happier with me and maybe give me money with which to buy food.
I try to run a lot. I'm really not a very good runner. I generally finish near the back, though in recent years a bit less so. I can keep going for quite a long time and have been trying my hand at ultras. I'm particularly proud of this as I was born with club feet (one sideways, one backwards, both pretty straight now) so running is not perhaps something my maker saw in me at the beginning.
For running, the fat and protein from my food is used by my muscles to propel me forwards. I'm a lot better at it than I used to be, though am still a little too heavy, a little too clumsy. I get distracted by tech a lot. I like maps. I like reading about truly inspiring and impressive runners who can run up mountains all day.
I've been feeling a little miserable for the last month as I haven't done a lot of running due to a bad cold, a sore calf, then a really annoying 10 days of weird cold/ chest congestion that is still just about hanging on. It's particularly annoying as being a runner I don't seem to suffer from colds much and am often smug about this, so getting two in succession is pretty deflating. I suspect it is this that is making it hard to do work thinking, as running keeps all the other fundamental processes in my body like my vascular system, digestive system, philosophy system, moral system and lymphatic system functioning correctly.
Hopefully I am just about done with the cold, so that over the weekend I can start doing some work running, which will do work sorting all the other systems out, so that I can do some work at work and get on with working finishing my thesis. Who knows.


  1. Ahem. Bad physicist. $P=I \times V$ P = rate of change of W...

  2. Stop procrastinating and finish your thesis!