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Tomorrow I’ll finally meet Jacqueline. I’ll try to make her do exactly what I want.  🙂

Jacqueline is the “daughter” of Sylvia and all three of us will participate in the La Marmite at the Course de l’Escalade.

“La Marmite” is just fun run over 3.4 km … in costume. We’ll all put on funny/silly cloths and have Jacqueline in our middle. Jacqueline, in case you haven’t realized yet, is a life-size puppet. So we’ll try to make it look as if there are 3 runners, although there are really only two. We’ll see how this goes.  🙂

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(If you don’t know this quote.)

Who should a defense talk be given for?

For the reviewers of your thesis (who have read the thesis in detail anyways)?

For the chair of the committee (you usually does not read your thesis in advance)?

For your colleagues (who will at least share some common background knowledge with you)?

Or for your family (you might share the last name with you but probably not a lot of knowledge about your research subject)?

Ultimately, it depends on your own goals and also on the committee members. Still, if somebody asked me for advice on this topic now I’d tell him (from my own experience) that the talk should not be “too accessible” (as was the case for me). At least in the last 10 minutes or so just loose the rest of the crowd, throw in some proofs, go into depth, show off a bit.

In the end, this issue is probably not too crucial though as the grade of your thesis (… in Germany you get a grade for your thesis …) is hardly ever affected by the presentation you give (at least in the domain of computer science). So I’m still glad that I got positive feedback from friends and colleagues outside the domain of information retrieval, even if the “shallowness” of the presentation then motivated the referees to ask some questions which were not directly related to the main contributions of the dissertation. So at least the defense really deserved the name of (self-) defense at the end.

I’m looking for suggestions:

This weekend there’s a triathlon (short distance: 1.5k-40k-10k) here in Lausanne. I’m pretty much not in shape at all (… I went cycling twice in the last 2 months …), but this distance is always possible to finish. But, as “competing” certainly won’t be fun, I was planning to have my first costume triathlon.

Not an easy endeavor however, as I will need not just one but THREE costumes.

Swimming: I was thinking about putting a periscope on my back. The more “obvious” choice would be a shark fin, but this would be pretentious, especially as I’m a really slow swimmer. So: Does anybody have any good idea how to make a solid, water-proof periscope? It would probably be attached to my body with a regular belt I guess. So it would sit just over the hip. Sliding should not be a problem, as I hardly move in the water anyways. 🙂 [… actually: I guess I’ll try to buy some sort of short tubes in the right shape. This should work!]

Cycling: No good idea so far. It should certainly somehow involve the bike itself. I could attach a carrier to my bike and then put something on top of it. Plus I could fix something to the frame or the steering bar. Nothing too heavy though. Ideas?

Running: The bunny with the carrot dangling in front I’ll save for the costume run in Geneva. Other ideas? I could wear the shirt and shorts backwards and then put a mask on the back of my head. Needless to say that I’d then cross the finishing line walking backwards. Other ideas would be very welcome!

Thanks for your help!!

I hope I’ll be able to have this experience in just under 2 weeks. At least I’ve now registered.

The naked facts about global warming

If you’re in Switzerland, then why not come and join the event?

I just did a quick test-run in my costume for tomorrow. Just to make sure I can actually run with a helmet on my head and (toy) money dangling in front. I can.

I ran for a bit through the Bahnhofstraße (main pedestrian shopping street in SB), then along the Saar, turned around, past the opera house and finally across the Sankt Johanner Markt. It was really fun. You get the whole spectrum of reactions. Laughter, smiles, looks the other way, “look at that twit” etc.

The word I heard most often was “Geldschein” (money bill) when someone from a group finally realized, what was dangling in front, and explained it to the others.

Now I’m all set and ready to … GO!

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