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Thermodynamics was not something I expected to think much about after high school, but as I grasped my coffee cup with both hands while going up the stairs at work, I found myself thinking about thermodynamics and the transfer of heat, and about how wonderful it is that these concepts exist and have been explained.

It suddenly got very cold here around the middle of the week. On Wednesday when I left work, my watch told me that it was 18 degrees (Celsius) outside. I was surprised and thought it must be a mistake. But when I got outside, I felt like it was about 10 degrees, the air was so icy cold.

So on Thursday morning, I got a coffee from the cafe a few floors down from my workplace. They have a tendency of making the coffee quite hot (or a friend suggested I might just have a sensitive mouth that cannot handle high temperatures), but that morning I was grateful for the extra hot coffee, as I could allow the heat to warm my cold hands.

As I walked back up the stairs, I thought about the idea of heat energy, and of the movement of molecules caused by this energy. I thought most of all about how heat always goes from a warmer object to a cooler object, and about the concept of specific heat capacity, which explains why different materials absorb or lose heat at different rates.

And I thought about my high school chemistry/physics teacher, and about that semester of learning thermodynamics, and how most teenagers who don’t intend to pursue science or engineering careers probably think it’s all pointless. But how positively wonderful is it to be able to experience these phenomena — like the phenomena of heat transfer — and be able to know why and how it happens?

patches and bandages

We’ve had a lot of rainy days and rainy weeks this year, and I’ve discovered that it doesn’t take much for everyone to get sick of rainy weather. It must be something about the gloomy grey, and the fact that everything is always wet, and nothing really dries properly because there’s so much moisture in the air.

Of course, it’s all the more wonderful when the clouds disperse and the sun reappears. Oh, we can do laundry again! And our towels will be dry before we use them again!

I took advantage of the good weather to cycle to work yesterday. I made it to work in what I believe to be record time, averaging almost 21km/h. I felt good the whole day, right up until I cut my thumb in the afternoon while trying to cut up some boxes. (It sure is hard trying to keep an injured thumb inactive, especially if it’s on your dominant hand.) It was at about this time that I seriously questioned my decision to not have coffee that day.

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lockdown cut-down

I have found an unexpected benefit from this whole lockdown situation, and it involves coffee.

Prior to lockdown, I would get coffee from the hospital cafe on most days that I work. When lockdown rules came into place, they no longer allowed use of keep-cups. An understandable rule, but this has been one of the greatest disappointments of all.

At first, I continued to get take-away coffees, now in disposable cups, but eventually the guilt got to me. I decided to cut back.

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let’s catch up …maybe

These last few weeks have been pretty hectic. Everything’s a bit of a blur. I’ve been doing a lot of overtime at work because of this new arrangement in place involving other hospitals. (Can’t say too much, of course, because of privacy reasons or whatever.) I just worked six consecutive days – some of which were 11-12 hour days – and I am quite exhausted, but also not. I think I’ve just been running on adrenaline all week because I only had a total of maybe 3 cups of coffee and one cup of tea the whole week (and the most recent two beverages were probably unnecessary anyway).

Well, maybe we’ll call it adrenaline and fear/panic. There have been many times these last few weeks when I’ve felt like I was working as if my life depended on it. It’s like a fear of death (i.e. consequences) or fear of God (i.e. management – except I’m not really afraid of management; they’ve been very supportive). Continue reading

’twas the month before Christmas

It’s not even December yet, and the major TV networks have started broadcasting Christmas-themed shows and movies. Well, to be fair, it probably starts – at least – by about this time every year. The shopping malls, etc all had their Christmas decorations up weeks ago, so I suppose TV isn’t really the first to the party anyway.

I only had a half-day at work yesterday, finishing up at midday. I stayed back to have lunch, and went down to the cafeteria to put up more posters for The Compliment Project. I was quite chuffed to see that, of the two I’d put up on Monday, one had had all the tags taken (or I assume so, anyway, since the poster itself was no longer there) and the other had most of the tags taken. There’s also been a good response at my pharmacy (I’d put one up in the staff tearoom) but the one I’m most pleased with is the one I put on my local community noticeboard:  Continue reading

it starts with 1

The other day, a friend of mine shared a photo of a large-scale sculpture of a couple of fish made mostly from plastic bottles. The sculptures are displayed on a beach (I think in Brazil somewhere) and were intended to draw attention to the amount of litter found on beaches and in oceans.

However, scrolling through the comments attached to the photo, I found out that the bottles were only glued on (with an apparently flimsy glue) and, over time, have begun falling off the sculpture. Kind of ironic, but I suppose the message was still getting through.

The photo was initially shared on FB by an organisation called “1 Million Women“, and came with the harrowing prediction that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. After browsing their FB page briefly, I followed the link to their official website, and actually ended up spending about an hour just reading articles there.

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