November 2013 – Allons-y

Allons-y!

November is never a good month for students. No money, bleak weather, shortening days, stomach clenching heating bills and plenty of deadlines, oh yes!  Its cold outside, and if you’re as stubborn as I am with the heating, just as cold inside most of the time. The irony of trying to study heat transfer and thermodynamics in a room where the mercury never rises above 17C isn’t lost on me.

That’s not to say its all bad. The cold weather has coincided with a good run of results for Newcastle which have lifted us to within 1 point of the Champions League places. (This includes a win over Chelsea, which brought me almost as much satisfaction as my calculator spitting out an integer at the end of a very long calculation…..engineers know what I’m talking about.) We’re currently sat 6th, above Man U, which evokes a smug, self satisfied and almost certainly short lived feeling in me.

My nuclear modules gave me the chance to visit Heysham nuclear power station at the start of the month. Being nothing more than a big kid I wandered around gawping at the marvels of engineering around me. Due to security reasons I wasn’t allowed my camera on site, but you can take it from me, the way in which EDF energy has retrofitted the power source from an alien spacecraft truly was incredible. That’s not true, it was actually a series of genetically modified hamsters running in a series of giant wheels to create power. If you don’t believe me you can book a tour of Heysham for yourself, here:

http://www.edfenergy.com/about-us/energy-generation/nuclear-generation/nuclear-visitor-centres.shtml

The end of the November saw the Rugby league world cup final held at Old Trafford, which my housemates and I* managed to get tickets for. It was Australia against defending world champions New Zealand, and at full time we were almost thankful for England’s dramatic, last minute exit in the semi-finals last week. At least it saved us a good hiding. Australia ran out 34-2 winners, as seen by around 75 000 people, including a colourful bunch in the West Stand:

RLWCF bananas 

. (There’s definitely another fruit that would be more appropriate)

*(Doesn’t proper grammar make you sound posh?)
November 2013 will be remembered for something other than rugby or football or being a little bit cold. The 23rd of November was Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special. The build up to the episode saw a special Doctor Who themed physics lecture given by the University of Manchester professor Brian Cox, which is worth watching by itself.

The feature length episode didn’t disappoint either, with every other scene neatly tying together almost all the unanswered questions the reboot has generated since 2005. The episode, which was fairly coherent considering it was following 3 different Doctors in 3 different time zones, was rammed with Easter eggs a plenty:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/paulaersly/greatest-easter-eggs-from-the-doctor-who-50th-anniver
Its always worth discussing how well your work is coming along with your lecturers and tutors. If you’re struggling, chances are so are others. As the project interim report deadline draws closer, it was lovely to hear that the deadline had been extended, even if it was just by a few days. This is time that will be invaluable to so many people, myself included. There’s 18 days left to get it spot on now….

Finally, a merry Christmas to everyone. If you have any free time don’t forget to pay a visit to the Christmas markets, and the ice rink in spinning fields. Mulled wine, pleasant aromas, funny hats. Its everything you need to have a good time!

Markets

Oh and PS: Movember:

Expectation:

Mutton chop homes

Reality:

Reality

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