Dear Reader

41. “Dear Reader”

Tony Davies of the Institute of Spectrochemistry at Dortmund in Germany has e-mailed me and made several suggestions. He asks that we do not use hand drawn graphics. We all agree, but there is a problem. Many of the articles we use are written rapidly and come in very close to deadlines, particularly the feature articles. No-one gets paid for the work, so we cannot insist on computer drawn diagrams and there is usually no time here in the office to do the work before publication. We will try to correct this situation when we re-vamp the method of production in the middle of 1998. More details to follow.

Tony asks that articles are kept apart to reduce download times and this point is also raised by Vicki Musgrave of the Research Library at Los Alamos. We considered this matter when setting the policy for the Journal at the start and decided to deliberately make it difficult for readers to download individual articles. To our readership and Tony – you are an expert and hence the Journal is not primarily aimed at you – the Journal as-a-whole is valuable because readers cannot avoid seeing articles containing information distant from their experience. The whole idea is to broaden peoples’ horizons. The contributed articles can be sampled individually.

Tony then goes on to ask about our position within the citation indices. The point here is that in several countries the quality of a paper is `measured’ by the bureaucrats, ie. Good journal rating = quality, even if the paper is rubbish! To date, no-one will have cited IJVS so our rating is effectively zero. Further, I try to encourage articles of as wide an interest as possible and frequently the material has been published in another form in a traditional journal. So the answer to Tony’s final comment “This is very important for those of us having to justify putting time into publications of this nature”!!! is – please regard your much appreciated efforts as educational. None of us get many Brownie points out of IJVS but the steady stream of e-mails saying “carry on the good work”, “really useful and it’s free!” etc make it all worthwhile.

42. LARS MARKWORT can always be relied upon to come up with profound thoughts. How about these?


“Well folks, here we finally have the explanation as to why we who are doing a PhD get paid nothing for building up knowledge:

Knowledge = power (1)
Time = money (2)
And, as every engineer knows…..
Power = work/time (3)
Substituting (1) and (2) into (3) we get
Knowledge = work/money (4)
Solving, for money:
Money = work/knowledge (5)


1. Money approaches infinity as knowledge approaches zero, regardless of the magnitude of work

2. Money decreases when knowledge increases.


1 cup butter 4 eggs
1 cup water 1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar 1 tsp salt
2 cups dried fruit lemon juice
1 cup brown sugar nuts
AND 1 bottle whisky

Check whisky for quality.
Take a large bowl, check whisky again to be sure it is of the highest quality.
Pour one level cup and drink – repeat.
Turn on electric mixer, beat the butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add 1 spoontable of sugar and beat again.
Make sure whisky is OK. Cry another tup.
Turn off mixer. Break 2 leggs, add to bowls and chuck in dried fruit.
Mix on the turner. If fruit gets stuck in beaters, prise off with a screwdriver or chisel – whichever is handy.
Sample whisky to test for tonsistency.
Sift 2 cups of salt, or something, who cares?
Check whisky.
Sift lemon juice and strain the nuts.
Add 1 babblespoon drowned sugar, or whatever colour you can find.
Wix mell.
Grease oven, turn cake tin to 350 greedies.
Beat off the turner. Throw bowl out of window and go to bed with Whonnie Jalker.

Lars is based at ISA Inc. in Mountain View, California.