sounds like my kinda job


Possible research topics:

– Semiotics of the dance playlist for eclectic groups

– Mojito and Caipirinha: comparative analysis of lime and spirit-based cocktails

– Sociology of the incidence of non-alcoholic beverages in gatherings of young professional adults

– Reducing waste levels by prolonging the crunchiness of chips and decreasing chewiness of pizza leftovers

– Novel materials for minimal disturbance of neighbours by sub-woofer throb

– Why Wonderwall? Consumer preference for safe choices in chord and vocal performance

found in Euraxess


consultancy for Sinterklaas

2013-12-06 18.16.10To welcome Sinterklaas in the office this year we presented him with our scientific skills. You can call it a cheap consultancy, in the sense that the Sint now knows where the best behaved children in Flanders are, how to optimize his present distribution route, and other useful things to make his trip more sustainable and efficient, and all for some chocolate, speculaas and clementines. Some companies get big money for this type of assessment, but let’s say the PhD students in our division have a soft spot for gift-bearing semi-religious white-bearded legends.

(It also made me question how the hell does he do it. Our presents alone take almost 7h to distribute! How does he manage the whole Flanders plus the Netherlands in one night? Hypothesis: he poofs them.)

My contribution to this effort was to provide the Sint with some information so he can minimize his carbon footprint. I showed him which presents are responsible for higher greenhouse gas emissions (chocolate is safe you guys, don’t worry) and also evaluated his options to perform the trip between Spain and Belgium. Turns out his doing just fine as he his, with his old-fashioned steamboat. If he and his polemic Zwarte Piet helpers were to take the plane, the carbon footprint would be much much higher.


The Sint’s doppelgänger – Santa Claus – is doing much worse by the way… Although no one’s questioning the ethics of the elfs, his nine reindeers require a lot of animal feed and, as we all know, animal feed production is a well-known source of greenhouse gas emissions. Sorry Santa, you my guy, not this Sint fellow, but truth is: deforestation’s a bitch!

(Disclaimer: please do not cite this extremely accurate scientific data without the consent of the authors!)

the Hermione way

In certain situations, right before I act, a hidden part of my brain thinks I can do it the Hermione way and murmurs a spell into my consciousness.

Dammit, that was my favorite mug!


Where are my keys?
*accio car keys*


look at lower waist *diffindo*



this is a more or less actual dialogue

which took place in my office about that website where people can sign up to go living in Mars.

– Naaaa, I’m not going anywhere where cyanobacteria haven’t been yet.  So, first we send the girls up there and they go all like “photosynthesis! photosynthesis!” and then we can go.

– Why girls and not guys?

– Because girls are more efficient.

– Yeah, if we send cyanobacteria guys they’ll all be like “hey, let’s fight” instead of working to create an oxidized atmosphere.

– True.

– And then we get to Mars and choke and can’t grow vegetables.

– True.


I don’t even know where to start.