Theme Music

I think itâ??s time to choose theme music for the actual defence. Should it be something classic impressive that makes the blood roar (like Carmina Burana) or maybe classic snappy like Carmen. Or should it be monotonous drum & bassâ?¦ maybe it should be more rebellious punk, maybe even Sex Pistolsâ?¦

Or why not Hollywood cheesy like â??Eye of the Tigerâ?? with images of Rocky Balboa training in the original rocky movie?

Fear as Amusement

It is unfortunate that we as a culture focus almost totally on surviving stressful situations. This can be seen as a natural reaction since without survival there is nothing. But the unfortunate side effect is that we forget that the stressful experience will become an experience â?? something to be remembered. What kind of memories can we create if we are fixated on surviving?

What, you may ask, should we be doing instead? I think that we should approach stressful experiences with a smile and the knowledge that this will become a defining moment in our lives. Ordinary mundane episodes in a life are quickly forgotten but the stressful situations live with us, they receive a disproportionate segment of our minds and self-image. Disproportionate in the sense of time since, in general, most of life is mundane while stress is short lived.

In order to change this I am going to make an effort to enjoy my defence. The stress of being interrogated, question, probed and queried is to be put aside. In its place I will view this as an enjoyable experience, albeit an exciting one, but still an enjoyable one. Instead of seeing this as dental surgery â?? all pain and discomfort, I choose to understand the PhD defence as a trip to the amusement park. Wild and frightening rides designed to get the adrenalin flowing but remaining within the realm of amusement.

What a PhD feels like

Itâ??s Friday. This is my last weekend before I defend. I have not been thinking a lot about what happens after Friday but I have naturally been curious about it. Previously, I have asked a people about the actual experience. Most of them seem only to have vague memories of the actual defence. This is not because they defended so long ago as not to remember. It seems to be common not to remember much of the actual defence. It might be the stress or the focus of the occasion but the result is that the audience seems to have a clearer memory than the defender.

Things get more complicated when asking people what the PhD feels like after the defence. Once the idea has sunk in, what does it change? Obviously the shiny new PhD qualifies the holder to apply for new positions, apply for research funding and opens doors within academia to rooms which were previously off-limits.

Despite this, the people I have spoken to report a range of emotions of what the PhD feels like. Everything from â??nothing changedâ?? to â??everything is differentâ??. My preference is towards â??everything changesâ??. The PhD is more than a formal exam and an entrance into the academic guild it is also a effort of great personal importance â?? at least I feel that my experience is this and I may feel a bit cheated if nothing changed.

Today is Annual International Right to Know Day

Privacy International has released a review of the Freedom of Information (FOI) situation in nearly 70 countries around the world, including almost 40 countries from Europe.

The “Freedom of Information Around the World 2006 Global Survey of Access to Government Information Laws”, shows the growth in legislation and practice within this area.

The report also points to many problems that exist, such as poorly drafted laws, lax implementation and an ongoing culture of secrecy in many countries.

The report is being released just prior to the Annual International Right to Know Day on 28 September – thats today…

Events on Annual International Right to Know Day.

Steve! We Wants Greener Apples

Greenpeace has a very nicely designed site to pressure Apple into becoming more environmentally aware. The site is called â??I love my Mac. I just wish it came in green.â??

The focus of the campaign is a letter-writing action where we all email Steve Jobs and tell him we want to be more green. We want the design without the major guilt of raping the environment.

Read the information at iTox & iWaste then join the campaign to persuade Steve to go greenâ?¦

Technorati tag.

Live in Umeå

Tomorrow I fly to Umeå to lecture at the cool and happening Humlab. My presentation will be on my PhD thesis. This is a bit strange in one way to present my thesis before it has been defended but the Umeå date was set before the final date of the presentation and I now see it as an excellent opportunity to give a focused presentation of my work.

For those of you who would like to be there but are not in UmeÃ¥ â??the revolution will be televisedâ??, or rather the presentation will be streamed online (this link will be active tomorrow at 15.00). I told you they were cool in UmeÃ¥.

Toxic Waste Export

When Europe strengthens legislation against toxic waste a sad side effect is the fact that exporting our poisonous mess to countries with less ability to enforce such legislation. Read the detailed reports of the toxic waste trade and the Panamanian flagged ship, the Probo Koala, in Der Spiegel and Greenpeace.

The Probo Koala scandal deals with a load of highly toxic waste. Discharging it in Europe was too costly. Therefore the company and crew dumped the waste on less regulated shores of West Africa. The result was seven dead and more than 40,000 in need of medical help. The government fell earlier this month as a result of the scandal. (via Other Bhopals).

After dumping its deadly cargo on the poor and unprotected the ship sailed to Europe and recieved a clean bill of health. On monday Greenpeace sailed alongside the ship with their vessel Arctic Sunrise up alongside the tanker in Paldiski, Estonia sprayed the slogan ‘Toxic Trade Kills‘ on the tanker and preventing it from leaving.

(via The Orchid)

Crash Test Dummy

I don’t have a car and my main form of transportation is my bike (& feet). My vanity did not make wearing a helmet an option which I cared to consider. But a couple of years ago I realised that I would be very, very annoyed if I was injured in a bike accident since I knew that the smart thing to do is to wear a helmet. So this annoyance made me wear bike helmetsâ?¦

Today I want to thank Bell Helmets for their work. It was raining, I attempted to cross a wet tramway rail, I slipped and ate asphalt – big time.

The pain, humilation and torn clothes are nothing when I look at the damage my helmet took. My head is safe (minor headache) my helmet needs to be replaced. In five days I will have the opportunity to defend my PhD – I don’t know what I would be doing if I had not worn my helmet.

Thanks Bell…