Monday, 31 January 2011

Rejection for the Masses!

Dear Researcher, Dearest Student,

Do you feel that your research is mistreated? Have your ever submitted the results of your laborious work in a conference or journal, yet only to receive a bitter rejection notification? Do you think that you deserved as much as these foul researchers who got eventually their work published unlike you?

Cheer up!
Now the solution to all your psychological problems is here! And it comes in the form of a journal! The Journal of Rejection!!!: (glorious trumpet sounds)


There is no reason to feel that others enjoy more in this life than you! Universal rejection is here to stay and makes no segregations! Whether an experienced professor or a lazy PhD student, the bitter aftertaste of rejection is here to enjoy...


We first saw this here

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bad project...

Dedicated to everybody that is doing research. I refrain from further comments. I'm just not worthy enough to have an opinion on this...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Time for Protest

You might have heard this already:

This Friday in The Hague there is going to be a large protest against the new law that the coalition government is going to enforce on higher education. In a nutshell, the law is about making students that are late in finishing their university studies to pay tuition for every extra year in the university. Also the university will have to pay a large part of these costs as opposed to what was happening so far where the state was covering all these costs.

It seems really debatable whether this measure is completely towards the wrong direction or the other way round. As can I conclude from my small experience in the university, there is a general feeling among the faculty people that many students should have more motivation in their studies rather than leaning back on the fact that there is plenty of time for them to graduate. Professors sometimes get really pissed off when they see the same unmotivated students failing the same course again and again and taking time out of their research to correct assignments and exams from such people.

On the other hand, it seems that the Netherlands has a special student culture; part of it is due to the university sports clubs and organisations that promote socialisation among students. It is difficult to imagine that such organisations will keep up in the same pace if all their members are stressed with the burden of finishing on time. Also, there is an argument that, under the new law, universities will prefer to help unconditionally the incompetent students to pass their courses on time so as to avoid paying the costs of extra year education. This would definitely drop the level of quality in the Dutch universities. Others say that the new law will just create a system similar to the Belgian one, where students are filtered out en masse in the first year of their studies; if they can't make it they will be forced to drop out in the very first years of their studies.

To get back to Friday's protest, TU/e is totally helping its students to participate; for the exams that were planned to take place on Friday there is the opportunity for the student to join the protest and take the exam in another date. Students are also informed where they can go to make their own banners for the protest! Our lovely TU is definitely supporting the protest.

So, nothing more to be said. If you intend to go, put on your rebellious/streetwise spirit and march for student glory! Here's some music to warm you up:

Cross-linx Festival

On the 18th of February, the travelling Cross-linx music festival will be hosted in Eindhoven (in Effenaar and the Frits Philips Muziekgebouw), after playing in Utrecht and before heading to Groningen and Rotterdam. In it its eleventh edition, this year's festival will have the American indie rock band The National as headliners. The National made it into quite a few 'best albums of the year' lists with their latest album, High Violet, so their live in Eindhoven should be one of the events of the year for the indie crowd here. The rest of the line-up includes Danish post-rock/electronic band Efterklang, Canadian singer-songwriter Owen Pallett, American singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten and experimental indie/folk group Buke and Gass.
See you there!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Art Salon in Eindhoven

Dear modern art freaks, there are some nice news for you:
There is going to be an Art Salon in our beautiful city during the last days of January.

Where: Beursgebouw ( the big grey building behind the station and Piazza )
When: From 27-01-2011 to 30-01-2011
Price: 10 of your precious Euros

Well, I may not say more. You can find more details here. We'll probably come back to this after the end of the salon, among with some good old-fashioned "I-feel-like-judging-everything"-criticism.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Cycle of Rebirth

Oh, although the winter may be cold
the days short and the nights long
a bold summer is approaching
who from this misery will soon free us;
that much is clear from the new year!

 Hadewijch* circa 1250

These few words from the medieval mystic Hadewijch sketch a picture
present in every old culture and mythology: the cycle of life where death and birth
follow one another. Depicted in every year's succession of  seasons, from winter to spring, from summer to autumn.

Just as in the old Greek myth of Persephone, the daughter of earth mother Demetra; Every winter Persephone spends her days in the underworld and nature appears in marasmus. Every spring she ascends to the outer realms and earth mother is in bloom.

So justly expressed in the following instrumental track from the French band
Year of No Light:

* = Hadewijch was a female poet who lived in Brabant during 13th century AD. Her legacy is a collection of poems and writings crimsoned with love mysticism. An obscure figure, and for that even more appreciated. The translation of the small verse in the beginning of this post was kindly provided by Kor Bosch.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A typical Dutch summer day

One of these days, I ran across this vintage Dutch tourist poster. It is unmistakably Dutch: windmills, cows, herrings...and a bright sun over a sea or a lake warm enough to swim in! Well, although some really hot days do occur in the summer, Netherlands is hardly a summer vacation destination. Anyone who has spent more than a year here knows that days like the one depicted in the poster are not the norm. In fact, summer months are usually more rainy than the winter ones and most of the Dutch travel to the Mediterranean countries for their summer holidays. All this gives the (admittedly well-designed) poster an almost surreal feel. So, now a copy of this poster is hanging in my room to remind me, when I get depressed by the winter weather, that I can look foward to a magnificent Dutch summer.