Starting at the peak – week 62

PhD Life

It is the first week of 2019 as I am writing this; staying at my parent’s house for the conclusion of 2018 had me gain two kilograms in weight. I am training for a half-marathon at the moment and consider it extra fuel for training. I will soon be back to baseline.

I have started the year on a peak, as far as my weight is concerned.

As this will be posted long after the Christmas/New year break, it doesn’t make sense to ask if you had a good time. Personally, it was great for me, it was my only break of the year, and it was well timed. I was starting to get bored by the end of the break, and for me, that suggests it was around the correct length of time to have off.

However, it seems my colleagues have taken advantage of the fact that New Year’s day fell on a Tuesday and have taken the rest of the week off as well. The usually busy lab building was deserted except for a few people that had things to be getting on with. I was one of those few people.

I spent all of Wednesday extracting nitrites and nitrates from lettuce samples, then spent the following two days analysing the samples. The reason I was doing this is: partially because I can, but also because these compounds are quite contentious as far as health is concerned. They have been implicated with some adverse effects, mostly in infants when there are a particularly large dose and some health benefits regarding the cardiovascular system.

What remains to be seen is how these dietary components change as they degrade. The positive or negative health aspect may exist when the crop is harvested, but are they still in similar quantities when the consumer actually eats them? This is what I am looking at.

I have got all the data from this particular experiment, and all is left to do is the data analysis, which happens to be my favourite part. I shall make some time to do that next week. I have a lot of monotonous lab-based stuff to do next week so it will be nice to do something where I actually have to engage my brain. Unfortunately, doing a PhD isn’t only mentally stimulating work, there is still a lot of the mindless grinding in there.

I have mostly fallen back into the routing I had before the Christmas break; however, I have been watching slightly more television than I did before and this has taken up some of the time I used to use for self-improvement. The time in the evenings from about 8pm onwards needs to come back under my control. I need to get back to using this time to practice coding.

I haven’t set any new goals for this year, resolutions are not something I usually do; I am one of those people who will set new goals on the spur of the moment rather than waiting for a certain date. I feel as if I am in the middle of a four-year grind and I am living a kind of hermetically sealed life. After I have completed my PhD, I suspect there will be a large void that I will have to fill with lots of smaller goals.

But until then, the grind continues.

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

17 thoughts on “Starting at the peak – week 62

  1. That was a neat article! I love learning new things. I think it’s wise to use a vegetable as the basis of your question/lab work, based on what I learned from the article. And a good job using a widely-consumed and generally accepted as “healthy” vegetable, at that. What kind of lettuce are you using?

    I’ll be interested to read about your results!


    1. I like the theme of this, but I assume you knew I would. The idea of a personal God seems to be changing in your mind. Stephen Hawking devotes an entire chapter to this idea in his book ‘Brief Answers to the big questions’.


    1. Initially it was really easy to see the improvement. I was learning the basics and just drilling it. Now i Have the problem of what to do with the rules and what to write about. Which is mucg harder to gauge progress.


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