h a l f b a k e r y
The embarrassing drunkard uncle of invention.
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So you're in possession of some shiny-new lovely science
funding to explore the effects of caramel micro-domains
on peanut-peanut interactions, or whatever it is you do.
You want the best possible value for your funding and
least Red Tape, and there's a lot of Red Tape in
risk assessments for this, can't make a virus for that,
allowed to graft those on there, that's criminally
irresponsible/needlessly dangerous and so on. Now,
welcome aboard the SS Science Ship... the SS SS if you
will. Shortly after stocking the ship's freezers with
miscellaneous science stuff, we will head out to
International waters where pretty much anything goes.
There will be no safety inspections during the voyage, so
any dangerously unpainted wooden surfaces or slightly
used radioactive tape will go unnoticed. Furthermore,
paperwork with sections on 'ethics' can be simply filled in
with 'N/A'. This will save valuable time and money.
There are other advantages too, Ph.D students and post
docs will be a maximum of 100m from the lab at all
large steel bulkhead doors help contain the occasional
explosion, there's plenty of water at hand,
electrophysiologists will enjoy the overall Faraday cage
theme suggested by an enormous steel hull. Students
staff will be simple to attract due to the cruise-ship
appearance and balmy cruising environs, cheaper to pay,
due to a lack of tax and easier to motivate due to the
ship's brutal discipline system. Pirates and ethical
protesters will be fought off with a combination of Flying
Death Robots, Fluorescent Attack Monkeys and the
Laser-Guided Long-Range Impotence Ray.
An example of such a Science Ship [sqeaketh the wheel, Jul 25 2012]
||Illegal offshore scientific reasearch? I'm in for a bun!
||I have seriously considered doing this - apparently
some decommissioned naval ships can be had
quite cheaply. Something like an aircraft carrier
would be ideal - the below-decks hangars would
make great labspace, and the ship would be big
enough to be fairly stable.
||The Ark Royal was for sale recently, and may still
||However, I wouldn't particularly seek to do illegal
or frivvling experiments (I do those in my day
job). The main advantages would be (as you
indicated) a freedom from some of the arbitrary
and unnecessary local regulations.
||The ship would have to be set up as a research
institute, I think, with many permanent
scientists. You'd also have to work out how to get
deliveries: there is no way on earth to stockpile
everything that biologists (say) might need.
However, if it's an aircraft carrier...
||Decommissioned Predator drones, replace the
Hellfire missiles with floating parcel-bombs... then
get a long boat hook.
||BUNGCO is on its 3d Science Ship. The first was found adrift with no remaining crew or passengers but some very interesting and proprietary science still aboard. #2 is semiautonomous and we are negotiating for release of the remaining postdocs. #3 is in drydocks being retrofitted to facilitate its rapid launch into the sun, should that prove necessary.
||[21Q], that was exactly the point I was making, so
calm down dear. Strangely enough, there are a
few scientists who don't go into research with the
sole aim of sticking pins into kittens*.
||If you want an idea of the stupidity of some
regulations, take for example:
||(a) I can go to our lab stores and take out £1000
worth of expensive enzymes, and drop them in
the nearest bin; but if I want to order a ball point
pen from a supplier, I have to get the order
approved. This is, in some way, helping to
prevent me from defrauding the taxpayer.
(b) My PhD. students are required to go on a
certain number of courses per year, and to prove
they've been (though not that they've learned
anything), and the courses have to be On The
List. A week spent learning a technique, or
attending a superb practical course that's not on
the list, doesn't count; but "Stress Management"
or "Work-Life Balance Skills" do count, and at least
give them a chance to catch up on some sleep.
||(*obviously, this doesn't apply at NUFSPIK, the
National UK Facility for Sticking Pins In Kittens.)
||//My point was that there was no mention of such
restrictions in the post.//
||Fair point. I believe that, on merchant vessels and
naval ships outside territorial waters, there is a
shipboard tradition of sticking pins in cats at the
change of watch. I have no idea how this can be
prevented but, by god's pancreatic ducts, we shall
||You are clearly unaware of the origin of the cat o'
||I'd go asailing on this ship. Yay. +
||I b'lieve such a well meaning Science Ship was the actual origin of the floating petrol tanker in the movie Waterworld. And see what that devolved into, what with Dennis Hopper and his eye patch and all the grad students devolved into scary low lifes. I don't think I'd let my grad students sign up for such a cruise.
||//Pirates and ethical protesters will be fought off //
Pirates & Protesters would be the least of your problems, I suspect. An unregulated & lightly guarded chemical & biological factory floating around in international waters would be resounding with the clangy noise of military boots echoing off metal walkways before you could light up your Bunsen Burner.
||//I'm sure you know full well I was refering to arms
proliferation treaties.// Headline: "Head of arms
procurement shoulders burden, foots bill."
||Since some of the first projects will involve Stealth technology, backbreeding velociraptors from fossil blood, and Feline Large Accelerator Technology, the term "lightly guarded" may be a misnomer.
||lightly guarded? You did read the phrase 'Laser-
Guided Long Range Impotence Ray'?
||/I'd go asailing on this ship/
||If you brought a W you could even go wasailing. Among the waves so green.