My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

4 Articles in July 2013

  1. Universal fat jokes, Doctor Who will be everywhere, and apparently the Internet is no longer for porn

    I’m comfortably ensconced (this is the correct word) in the well-worn couch in my grandparents’ basement. In a few hours I’ll be on an Air Canada flight to Thunder Bay, where I shall while away my summer in whatever manner pleases me (think coconut milkshakes, ninja dance parties, and suffocating under a massive pile of library books). Until then, though, things happen on the Internet.

    • We should be getting a Doctor Who 50th anniversary special trailer any time soon, because they screened it at Comic-Con. But apparently, according to the comments section, that isn’t going to happen. However, I am somewhat assuaged because the special will be simulcast around the world, which means I don’t have to worry about spoiling it for my dad (or Twitter spoiling it for anyone else).
    • Watch this “in memoriam” video for the myriad characters who have died during the first three seasons of Game of Thrones. Spoilers, obviously.
    • In an interesting spot of science news, evolution might be more predictable than we thought. It’s hard to get testable hypotheses out of macro-evolutionary theory, thanks to the time scales involved, but scientists are always finding ways around that.
    • Also, on the
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  2. Home for the summer

    Well, I’m not home yet. As I write this, I sit in the basement of my grandparents’ home in Waterloo, Ontario. They are a nice stepping stone between England and Thunder Bay, and I elected to spend a few days with them before flying the second (and considerably shorter) leg back home.

    But I am in the process of going home, which they say you can never do, but I’m a rebel that way. It has been a long schoolyear in many ways. In other ways, it feels like the year has gone by exceedingly fast. I am somewhat in awe that I have finished my first schoolyear as a teacher.

    Travelling home begins with a two-part bus journey from Bury St Edmunds to Gatwick Airport. This takes about four and a half hours. I was excited about returning home for the summer, but as the bus pulled out of Bury, I had a slight feeling of melancholy. I’m attributing this to anxiety around travelling itself. This attests to how comfortable I’ve become in England, that leaving it for home evokes both anxiety and relief rather than simply the latter.

    I’m not a fan of the entire process involved in…

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  3. Have you got “swag”?

    All this week has been “Transition Week” at my school. The school operates across two sites, creatively named “North” and “South”, which were formerly two separate schools. Some teachers work across both sites; others, like me, are based on a single site—I spent my entire year on South site. Next year, however, the entire school is moving into new buildings on the North site. This has been a move several years in the making, and with the departure of this year’s Year 11s, only Years 9 and 10 remained on the south site. They have to go to a “new” school next year and mingle with new peers.

    So this week, each year group has had its own Transition Day. They all come to the north site, in non-uniform clothes. They meet their tutor for next year (if that teacher is here already; some new staff aren’t) and participate in a series of structured activities in the morning: graffiti, drumming, and sports challenges/teambuilding. In the afternoon there is a fête, with a few student-run stalls and various supervised activities: Segways, quad bikes, a climbing wall, zorbing, and more. It’s a fun chance for students to relax, meet their counterparts…

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  4. Science is awesome in this week’s link roll

    Eight days of school left, and then I get to return to Canada for a month! I had a nice dinner in Norwich on Friday with the math department. My train ride home should have been uneventful, but I stupidly forgot my suit carrier on the train from Norwich. So it’s somewhere in London Liverpool St Station, with any luck, and I get it back.

    I didn’t have that many links to share, and I was busy last weekend, so I held them over until this week. But that means I have much more to highlight!

    • I’m always happy to read about how the atomic bomb has changed our world. Wait, that sounded wrong. Let me start that again.
    • I’m always interested to find out new side-effects of using atomic bombs in our atmosphere. For instance, it’s possible to determine if a supposedly pre–World War II painting is a forgery by checking the quantity of certain isotopes, like strontium, in the paint. Atomic testing has markedly increased such isotopes in the atmosphere, so paint manufactured after World War II is different from paint manufactured before! Now, scientists have used a similar process to confirm that our brains grow new neurons
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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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