Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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The funny Ig Nobel one, not the ignoble Nobel one

January 19th, 2008 · 2 Comments




Nobel and Ig Nobel together at last

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Here you see Frank with New Zealand’s own James Watson–no, not the infamous James Watson biology Nobel but the deservedly honored (with a 2005 Ig Nobel Prize) author of a paper on Mr. Richard Buckley’s exploding trousers.

New Zealand is a lovely land full of surprises, whose only non-good surprise has been just how hard it is to get internet access even from hotels that advertise “broadband internet.”

Item: Palmerston North Coachman Hotel, where we paid for “broadband wifi” and then discovered that the signal didn’t reach as far as our room.

Item: Albany Executive Inn, just north of Auckland, which charges $4 for your first 20 Meg per day and $.15 more for every Meg on top of that level. Heck, 20 Meg hardly covers my uploads to Flickr!

Item: Jet Park Airport Hotel south of Auckland, which offers broadband in only “deluxe” rooms, and charges an extra $26 per day if you use it.

New Zealand is not alone in the problem, of course. Our worst “yes, we have internet” story was near Poitiers in France, in a lovely chateau (it was not our nickel) where the “internet” was one computer behind the front desk, the very computer where all the chateau’s daily business was done. But if you wanted to check email, the clerk would kindly let you sit in her chair a few minutes and try to access your email through her very slow telephone modem.

Tomorrow, however, we move on to even less internet. Our hotel on the Coromandel Peninsula has “internet” in the sense that you get 20 minutes each day to check up on your email. That’s 5 minutes per Wilczek, since all four of us will be together, something I’m incredibly happy about.

So if my blog goes a bit silent next week, don’t assume that sharks got me–I’ll have lots more to tell you about once we get back online.

Tags: Frank Wilczek · Nobel · Travel · Wide wonderful world

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Improbable Research » Blog Archive » When Watson met Wilczeks // Jan 20, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    [...] historic meeting has just happened in Palmerston, New Zealand. Investigator Betsy Wilczek writes (and writes, also, about this phase of Internet-availability history): Here you see Frank with New [...]

  • 2 Montauk Rider // Jan 21, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    The trade off for great time with family is well worth the derth of broadband for a week. Have a blast.