Our institute enjoys a modern, spacious interior design. The central core of the building is made up of a solid 6 floor of nothingness. Well, almost.

There are some “real” plants, a couple of meters high, spanning the first two floors. They create a nice atmosphere and would certainly be missed.

Today over lunch I was told that the maintenance of these plants costs € 10,000 per year. A postdoc at our institute earns about €25,000 per year (tax free). At first we were thinking that this is certainly far too much money to spend on a couple of plants (really not that many) and that more should be spent on the researchers. But then, when we considered the real world impact of most of our work (namely none), we quickly realized that it was actually the plants who are underpaid. At least the produce oxygen, rather than using it up. 🙂

Another brilliant proposal suggested by one of my colleagues (and inspired by my latest tendency to often wear white) was to strongly advocate wearing white as a global fashion. If everybody was wearing white, people would be less inclined to start wars as this would create horrible stains. For this ingenious idea alone he certainly deserves being paid more than our plants. 🙂

Later edit: To prove that he’s serious about this idea, the very same colleague just told me that he bought himself a pair of white pants last weekend.