Posts from 5th February 2005

Feb 05

The Newton Arms

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 401 views

The Newton Arms, Holborn

What a difference an hour or two makes. Squeezing my way in to this pub on Friday at half six I was pretty sure it was the worst boozer I’d been to in a long time. With precious few tables (though a lot of stools) and a narrow bar area it’s a bad pub for an end-of-week crush, made worse by a distinct smell of pie. “Smell of pie? That can’t be bad!” you might say, but when no pies are actually in the offing it’s frustrating and a bit sickly – especially when the smell also lingers in the toilets.

Still after the initial discomfort things began to thin out a bit. The clientele were unkindly described as “giffers” by the FT staff, certainly they were suited gentlemen of a certain age but not especially noisy. The suits were really the only clue we were in central London – in other aspects the Newton Arms has the slightly ratty feel of a passable outer boroughs boozer.

But gradually it started to exert a charm. The punters thinned out to entirely comfortable levels, and we got some seats on high stools, amidst a curious undulating bar arrangement shaped a bit like a kidney. Partly it was the good conversation that made the Newton Arms seem more favourable, but it has an ordinariness which is refreshing in a part of town so given to refurbs. Still best avoided before about 8 on a weekday, but (if it’s open) this has definite potential for Sunday evening central drinking.

Site News

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 1,032 views

Site News: All the old articles should now be back, and also all the pictures, including the Ultimate Future Shock.

Also! I cornered our lovely host in the pub last night and said “I wish we could do MP3s again”. “Wellllll…..” said lovely host. So we’re going to start doing an MP3 of the week, as of, ooh, tomorrow, and we’ll see how it goes on the bandwidth. There is too much marvellous pop tat in the world for a single weekly MP3 to do it justice, so we’ll focus on only the very most trite, banal, emotionally void and enormously enjoyable examples.

The Physics Detective Part Three — Baumgarden Under the Gun

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 517 views

The Physics Detective Part Three — Baumgarden Under the Gun

I believe Baumgarden’s story. He seems like the “smoke pot on weekends and sip scotch during late nights at the office” type, not the “I carry grudges against everybody and live for revenge” type. As a counterargument, one might question the way he conveniently brought up the issue of negadex (which could be construed as an attempt to shift blame away from himself), which was supposed to be a top-secret material that only a few people would have known about. However, as a top guy in his field, a specialist in laser physics, and undoubtedly a person with a lot of high-level contacts, it’s almost expected that he would have heard about this important discovery through the grapevine. It’s hard to keep those kinds of things a secret for too long.

[technical aside: “negadex” is fiction, but the discovery of negative refraction is not, for discussion and debate over this exciting subject, follow these links]

This story is developing in classic “Who Shot JR” fashion. The more we learn about Jaeger, the more deplorable a person he appears to have been. His enemies had good reason to hate him. At the end of “Part Three”, we learned how he avoided controversy over a withdrawn Nature submission by laying all the blame on his graduate student (in all likelihood, the former student is Jirong Feng, who was mentioned in “Part One”). Shame!!! So now we know that Jaeger isn’t above using the people who work for him as scapegoats, effectively destroying their careers as long as he emerges with some of his credibility intact. Any professor who would take advantage of his students and postdocs in this way would think nothing of, oh I dunno, TOYING WITH THE EMOTIONS OF HIS HOT BLONDE RUSSIAN POSTDOC WHILE PARTAKING IN A TAWDRY AND HIGHLY UNPROFESSIONAL AFFAIR WITH HER.