Author Archives: WittyKnitter

Money makes the world go around

This post is cross-posted to Thesiswhisperer.  Clearly, it’s aimed at research students (PhD and MPhil), but I thought it might also be of interest to readers here. The funding of research training is one of the things I’ve discussed in my PhD. Do you feel that your institution is putting pressure on you to submit […]

Inhabiting Fiction Part 2

About a year ago I picked up The Children’s Book, which I’d put down months earlier after failing to really get engaged in it, and, as with Wolf Hall (which I talked about in my last post), I was lost in a past world. Not that I want to go to this one – it […]

Inhabiting Fiction Part 1

Last year I read Wolf Hall. Devoured it, digested it, was mildly obsessed by it. Googled various characters to understand how Hilary Mantel was retelling and balancing the generally accepted histories. As a good Catholic I was brought up, of course, to believe that Sir (St) Thomas More was the goodie of this period of […]

What does ‘online learning’ really mean?

It’s been a long time since the idea that people could learn while interacting with a computer (or other electronic device) was new. People in our Engineering faculty talk about testing students using computers in the 1980s, and claim that as ‘online learning’. At the Uni where I work there’s been a group of people […]


From China, the intriguing news that scientists have genetically modified cows to produce milk with human proteins in it. This is not the same things as genetically modifying cows to ‘produce human milk’, as it has been reported. To me, this is a truly bizarre story. Presumably, this project was the result of several appalling […]

The new face of the research student

In yesterday’s copy of The Australian there was an article about a new book by Frank Larkins, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Melbourne, in which he opines that there should be fewer PhD students, and that they should be full-time, on an increased full scholarship: “I would opt for fewer research […]

What will they say when you’re gone?

I often read the obituaries in the Sydney Morning Herald. When I first came to Australia (1998), alongside the usual parade of worthies, local and international, there would be a fair sprinkling (especially in the weekend edition) of rich eccentric British people – minor royals, members of the landed gentry, toffs of various kinds – […]

How to sell a car

Used car salespeople generally have a very low rating in the public’s estimation. Some of you may remember the poster of Richard Nixon with the words “Would you buy a used car from this man”, a tagline credited to New York political journalist Noel Parmental.  (I found a copy here.) I once discussed the purchase […]

Happiness comes from within

In January of 2009 I wrote this post. Here’s the first paragraph: In yesterday’s Herald the irritatingly smug Prof Bob Cummins popped up again to remind us that people who live in the Inner West of Sydney are the unhappiest in Australia. Apparently people who live in a small town in Victoria (popn 4000) are […]

Crafty ways of making money

In her 2006 book Thrift to Fantasy: Home textile crafts of the 1930s-1950s, Rosemary McLeod traces the history of home-based handwork in New Zealand. With beautifully detailed photography, she shows examples of women taking pride and displaying their creativity with scraps of fabric and thread, making beautiful aprons and oven clothes from hessian (usually washed […]