Monday, December 18, 2006


Dr Philip Shepherd


I made it, I passed the viva quite well, with only a few minor changes to my thesis for spelling and missing references etc.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Viva Voice Exam Pending

The state of play is that I have submitted my thesis to Warwick University and now I have an oral exam on the 14th December, where an internal (someone from Warwick uni) and an external (someone not from Warwick) examiner questions me about my work. This can take anything from 2 hours to all day.

Hopefully I will get away with minor corrections but unfortunately I am too late for the January graduation and will have to wait until July 2007 to get my certificate, but the University said they will send a letter to my current employer to the affect that I have been accepted and are just awaiting graduation. This means about £1500 rise in my salary so it is important.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Serialised Novel

About 2 years ago I started writting a novel, it was about an NSA agent in the early 80s inside russia spying for the USA, so I thought I'd serialise what I had up to now:

Chapter One

BBC World Service News report, 12th July 1981: “Richard Dobyfoster, a former employee of the National Security Administration, began his trial today for six counts of espionage against the Soviet Union, charges included conspiracy to commit murder, passing classified information to a foreign government and theft of classified material. The trial is likely to run for six weeks. Reports find he is likely to be held formany years if found guilty.”

Six months ago

Richard Dobyfoster, an undercover agent for the NSA was in Moscow to attend a conference on contemporary Russian writers, he was instructed to attend and ask a specific question during the presentation on Pushkin by Stephany Gould Plecker, in order to identify himself to the agent. Dobyfoster, a small man in his late forties, well suited to the spying game as he has the appearance and stature that enables him to appear almost invisible. Unlike the well-known James Bond type character, the real spy was invisible and easily forgotten. Dressed in a sheepskin coat heavy thick trousers and boots combined with his weathered face and bad posture he did not appear out of place at an academic literary conference. He received an encoded phone call the previous day from his NSA contact in the US, simply to attend this conference and ask the speaker the following question: “Do you find the 1930’s translations of Babetle Deutsch and her cohorts stilted and archaic?” This would identify him to the agent and contact would be made, further instructions would then be provided after contact.

Dobyfoster was rarely nervous before a mission. This time however, he seemed to sense uneasiness that put him on edge. Dobyfoster was totally at home in the Soviet Union, he had been stationed there for the past fifteen years working in a book shop in Vnukovo but secretly carrying out missions proposed by the National Security Administration in the USA. The bookshop was called the Zananie Book Store and held copies of Russian literature and history as Dobyfoster did his first degree and his MA in Russian literature, he spoke Russian without an accent, all of which helped his cover story. Vnukovo was the secret headquarters of the KGB and his friends were employed in the headquarters building, although they didn’t know he was a agent. Dobyfoster found that having friends inside the KGB often helped him, as they would unknowingly leak information in casual chat over coffee or a warming vodka in a bar.

As he approached the Metropol Inter-Continental Hotel he could see the other delegates arriving by car and taxi, he was on foot trudging through the two inch layer of snow that fell the previous night. He had taken a short train ride from Vnukovo. He’d spent the evening there with his friends in a bar discussing decadent matters and getting drunk on vodka and rum as usual. To his friends he was known as Dicky, a friendly character.

Is it worth me carrying on? Do you want to hear what happens to Dicky?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Bug in the Bin

Over the weekend I learned that the government has piloted a scheme to monitor what you put in your bins and to such ends put sensors in 500000 wheelie-bins throughout the country without telling anyone. I wrote an email to the Prime Minister as follows:

The sensors to track and possibly charge people for putting things in their bins will not work! This is of course big brother like and no-one will accept it, moreover the bins will need security i.e. locks as many neighbours will be putting things in other peoples bins and look forward to filthy Britain as people will throw things on wasteland and anywhere except their bins. This is stupid as is your public transport policy. What on earth is going on? are you totally stupid?
I have a 4 liter car and find it is still cheaper to drive to work than take the bus that costs £2.50 a day, the car would cost £2 a day. How stupid is this? Also I hear there may be a £1800 tax per year for high fuel consumption cars, is this true? and if so it will make my car worthless and moreover I won't be able to run it either. Will the government re-emburse me for the loss of money caused by the tax increase?
ps. I have actually bought a cycle to go to work as it cheeper still but the cycle lanes are crap.

The sensors in the bins ridiculous as we find the sensors cost $2 each and 500000 sensors therefore cost a half a million pounds, this is after we find the current government spending wasteful in the extreme and has to beg people like Patrick Stewart to lend them some money.

Please people of Britain vote at your next local and national elections, to some extent we deserve this government because we can't be bothered to vote.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Nottingham, the Arse End of the Universe

Oh dear, I've been here at Nottingham University now for 4 weeks and quite frankly it's a joke. Warwick University I'm so sorry for the stuff I said about you can I please come back?

Nottingham, the crime centre of the Universe is quite a dull place, the city centre is being re-furbished and the one way system that is in all the maps and GPS devices are now all out of date, where roundabouts used to be now dead-ends can be found.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Nottingham University

I am now at Nottingham University in the School of Engineering. I am on an 18 month contract as a Research Fellow for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) for which I will be doing research into Lightning Arrestors and characterising the dielectric to enable a model to be produced that helps predict the material when hit by lightning. Cool huh?

Well I leave Warwick, but still have a presence there as I have a few papers yet to be accepted and usually they ask for other experiments or corrections to be done so I will visit Warwick periodically. Also I have applied for a lecturers job in the School of Engineering, hopefully I will get that and move back before January. Nottingham University have done me no favours really and if I leave it will be their fault.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006



Beckham was informed that Rooney was told he could play in the world cup but they had to give him a Cortazone Injection, Beckham said, "If he's getting a new car I want one too!"

Monday, April 10, 2006


Happy News at Last

Today I found out that the Journal of the European Ceramic Society has accepted my paper on 'Dielectric properties of M-type barium hexaferrite prepared by co-precipitation' YAY, they said it was found to be original work that had been reported and useful to the scientific comunity. How cool is that?

I'm very happy today and nothing is going to spoil it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Long Time No See

Well it has been well over a month since my last post so I thought I'd better update you all about PhD land at Warwick.

So since the 13th February I have been working on the last few experiments I have to do and also writing up my thesis, my magnum opus, that currently stands at 27000 words and 145 pages. I have completed chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, half of chapter 9 and the appendix, only 5, 6, 7, and 8 to go. I estimate 250 pages and 50000 words approx. the number of pages depends on the font used I'm currently using Times Roman 12, however I think 10 is too small and 11 would be probably ok.

I had one big disaster last week. I use some furnaces in the lab that get used by other PhD students also. Last Friday I thought because I had been writing till 2am I would sleep in. At 9:30am I got a text from a friend in the lab asking if I would be in soon, I said "Yeh give me an hour" At 10am I left the house and received a call on my phone, thought it was this guy again so didn't answer it as I was driving at the time, 5 minutes later it rang again so I stopped and answered it. It was Matt from the lab:

"Dude, the lab's on fire!"

"What? When you say fire is it a small chip pan type fire or is it a towering inferno?"

"Flames are coming out the windows, it's the furnaces, what you got in there dude?"

"Errr... Nothing I'm not using it"

"Who is?, the Fire Brigade want to know what's in there and if it's safe."

"Oh... ok... I will phone Kajal and get back to you."

I phones Kajal the materials guy in his office, no answer, I phones his mobile, it's off so I phones his home and gets an answer, a woman answers:


"Hi, can I speak to Kajal please?"

"Who is it?"


"Philip who?"

"Just get me Kajal, the labs on fire at Uni."

"Hello Philip."

"Kajal, the labs on fire, the other student using the furnaces I need to know what he's got in there."

"He is not using it as far as I know."

"Ok what's his mobile number I want to talk to him?"

He gave me his number and I phoned him, he's a hippy type looking guy that wouldn't be out of place in a field of flowers in 1965 and sounds as if he's taken too much LSD. I told him the lab was on fire and to get his arse over there and let the fire brigade know what was in the furnace. I really wanted to shout "Wake up!", he sounded so uninterested and lathargic.

After that conversation I started the car again and continued my journey to Uni hoping that my PhD was not a pile of ashes. The 4 litre V8 power made the journey a short one, I arrived and went to the department to make an assessment of the situation. It was not good, there was fire damage to the roof and floor and over the furnace that was in use. The guy that put it out said the chimney pipe to vent gasses expelled by substances in the furnace had caught fire and basically burnt away.

The aftermath being that the room was cordened off and I can nolonger use that equipment, I need to use the furnace for about 2 weeks more then I can go away and write up continually, but now I don't know what I am going to do. I am negotiating with Physics department to have use of their furnace but haven't got an answer yet.

Monday morning another of the academics came in to view the mess and gloat I think and we discussed the problem, he asked me if I had more work to do in the lab and I said yes a bit more, he was surprised that I was still working and not just writing up. I said yes but there is a few experiments that are potentially exciting and I would like to run them. He was surprised that I still found things exciting and said he hated it. He's been known for being a grumpy little shit lately because his students have not been producing papers and his academic carrer is going down the crapper. he's been behaving like a smug angry kid in the school yard. He commented that I should just wrtie up and that he was able to structure his time whilst he did his PhD. I said well I had timetabled the fire in for the 7th so it was about 2 weeks early so my timetable was all to cock. Stupid shit.

Monday, February 13, 2006


News of the World Gutter Press

After Sunday's headlines I thought it necessary to let the News of the World 'Newspaper', if it can be called a newspaper know just what I thought of them, below is an email I sent them:

Dear Editor,
You are low life scum printing this story of the soldiers in Iraq, do you not realise that these people serve our country and are now put in greater risk wholly due to your story. You are the lowest of the low, you could have just taken it to the MOD but no, you wanted to make money out of this. When retaliation comes and people get killed I hope your money will comfort you. Dirty piece of shit you are,

Philip Shepherd

That got that off my chest.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Omar The Crack Dealer

The man who dressed as a suicide bomber during protests against the Mohammed cartoons was today arrested and taken to prison, Omar Khayam, outside Denmark's embassy in London wearing a simulated suicide bombing outfit to denounce the cartoons, first published in a Danish paper, satirising the prophet Mohammed.

The student was given 6 years in prison in 2002 for possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply which is interesting that he was in London over the weekend. Shouldn't he still be in prison?

From a Muslim point of view, these reactions are understandable. It is regrettable that we in the West don't understand the dangers when we take free speech too far. On the other hand, I think the Muslims have got to understand in an encounter with the West that we in the West are used to free speech and nothing, in a sense, is sacred from it.

Friday, February 03, 2006


The Cartoon Row

Protests are spreading across the Muslim world over the publication in Europe of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

One of the cartoons shows the Prophet wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb. In another he says paradise is running short of virgins for suicide bombers. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet or Allah.

In Indonesia, protesters pelted the lobby of the Danish embassy with eggs and burnt Denmark's flag in the street. Where in Indonesia do you get hold of the flag of Denmark? If I wanted an England flag today, I would be hard pressed to find one. Is there a shop in these countries that sell flags of other countries specifically for burning purposes? They seem to be attacking the Denmark govenment like it has something to do with this and that they are connected to the media but, of course, they are not - unlike in many Muslim countries.

Former Spectator editor and Conservative MP Boris Johnson told the BBC the Muslim religion should not be treated with kid gloves.

He said: "If you are a Muslim and your faith is strong and you believe in God and in your prophet then I don't think you should be remotely frightened of what some ludicrous infidel says or does about your religion or any depiction he produces.

"I think we've got to move away from this hysterical and rather patronising idea that we have got to treat the Muslim religion with kid gloves and not subject it to all the same rough and tumble that we subject other faiths to."

I happen to agree with him for once. Also I think the people demonstrating in London over the weekend, inciting people to kill all Europeans and asking for a European 9/11 should have been arrested. Instead our Police just stopped and looked at this blatant disregard for the law and attempted to arrest people for complaining that the demonstrators were breaking the law.

I listened to talk shows and phone-in programs and discovered that Muslims love Muhammad more than their own families and would gladly give their lives for him. This, I think is a bit worrying.

The issue of religion has always been interesting to me, once it was an amusement but in recent years it has become more and more tiresome. I don't mine anyone having a religion, just don't enforce your beliefs on anyone else and above all respect what other people believe even if they don't have a religion.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Deadline Approaching

This year I'm due to finish my PhD here at the University of Warwick in the School of Engineering. They actually stop paying me on the 1st July this year, I can get a 1 year extention but I don't get paid so I will have to get a job. Therefore, I have to finish for July.

I anticipate quite a close call on submission date and the 1st July and what do I do then? I'm going to need a job of some description. The previous suggestion of applying for a lectureship by my supervisor should on all accounts be taken with a pinch of salt as he seems to be losing the plot somewhat and forgets his name sometimes. He can not be counted on to remember anything you tell him or ask him to do. Quite worrying but understandable as he is the director of 2 companies, the head of department, supervisor to 13 PhD students, supervisor to 5 MSc students, lecturer and has a family. how can you be expected to know your own name under these conditions.

I found out that some people do get funding in their fourth year but that is dependant on who your supervisor is, unfortunately I have the supervisor which doesn't help at all in your fourth year.

Money seems to play a large part in the life of the University of Warwick and influences everything including safety. The area where I prepare my materials should have some safety equipment, it does not as it is too expensive.

I walk around campus and find it hard to believe how the university can expect to maintain student expenditure at the level it does where a coffee costs £1.60 and sandwich costs £1.80, they seem to suck money out of students like we are a never ending pocket.

Do I really want to work for this shithole of money grabbing losers? There is an ugly atmosphere here in the School of Engineering people getting moved about, not enough money, it's people's attitude too, they seem sad, I know you get idiots in every company but the ones here seem be to running the show. My supervisor has transformed into a bit of an idiot lately, he does not remember anything anyone tells him, other members of staff are thinking something is wrong with him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Pub Quiz

Last night I went to a pub quiz in Bedworth with my housemate. We usually turn up just the two of us and have a harmless game to pass the time. We usually lose or come second to bottom because there are teams of 7 - 10 people who cheat. We cheat too but not very successfully, obviously.

However, tonight we thought we would not cheat at all, we phoned no-one. In between rounds the quiz master comes up and helps us out with a few questions etc, there are 6 rounds, the first is a picture round, name this, that or the other and there are 4 rounds on sport, news, blockbusters and general knowledge. The final round is a wipeout round where if you answer any question wrong you get no points at all for that round, answer all 10 questions right and you get 15 points. So the quiz it marked out of 65, we usually get 29 to 36 points. We've been going regularly now for a while and beginning to get a reputation, our team name is 'the two doctors'

This week the quiz master sees we are not doing well and asks us if we want to win. We reply yes of course! There is this other team that has been winning for weeks now and he said it's getting boring for the others so he came round after round giving us answers, and we sat back thinking heyhey, we win. When it came to marking time we thought not to make it look too obvious we put 60/65, but still thought that was a bit cheeky. When the winners and losers were being called out we were sat there saying 'Losers' to every team, then to our horror we came second, to a team that had 7 people in it and got 62/65, what a set of cheats.

We can't even win when the quiz is rigged for us to win it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Feel Good About Yourself

Feeling down?
Feeling Low?
Well read some entries on this web site and feel better about yourself

Friday, January 13, 2006


Tony Prescott

I have read the papers today that told me of Tony Prescott not paying his council tax since 1997, after the govenment policy is to imprison council tax offenders I sent this letter to the Prime Minister entitled Tony Prescott:

Dear Prime Minister,

I actually know someone whom could not pay their council tax as it had increased way above inflation and their pension, you put them in prison, what this actually achieved I do not know,but ignorance of the law is no defense, if I did not know about the congestion charge and went into the centre of London I would get fined non the less. John Prescott should be in prison for this.

What on earth are you guys doing recently? I actually voted for you but since the election things have just been silly, you really have a government there which is embarrassing itself with the chief traffic policeman being in trouble for speeding, Tony Prescott not paying his council tax and get George Galloway out of the big brother house, he is embarrassing himself and he is needed for a vote in the house of commons.

Sort yourselves out please,

Philip Shepherd

You too can send emails to the Prime Minister on this web site

Friday, January 06, 2006


Red Hot

RedOrbit have listed this blog as a red hot blog of the day for the 2nd January, the highlighted the post about experiments to hamsters that Sigma Aldrich does and put a nice picture of a hamster next to it.

Happy days... Blog site has arrived


Greetings to 2006

Another year has started and my PhD should come to an end this year, hopefully ( and I will be henceforth known as 'The Doctor'), around July or August I should submit my magnum opus 75000 words of a brilliant excision into the effects of material structure on electromagnetic waves with an application in mobile communications. Good huh?

My supervisor has told me that the department will be advertising a new lecturers job in the new year to start a new module on RF Communications and he has asked me to apply for it. He's not said "I'm giving you the job" he just wants me to apply for it, which is fair enough. I just need to decide whether I want to be an academic or not, I'm used to industry and the sort of salary it brings. Although the Lectureship brings in £28 - £37k, I'm assuming I will be at the lower end of that scale. Anyway I'll apply and think about it on the way.

Monday, December 19, 2005


What Happened to Christmas?

Today I saw one of the Department Christmas Cards, I first mistaken it for a drinks coaster, the picture on the front was odd to say the least. I was told that it is the University policy to have no religious content on the front of a Christmas card (a very religious event) as fear of offending people of differing religions. After a long year of battling with people being offended by our national flag I was gobsmacked. This is so hypocritical beyond belief. It's not doing any good all this political correctness lark infact it is doing the complete opposite it is separating people of differing beliefs, making each of us think that the other is offended when they are not. What ever happened to religious tolerance?

Christmas is a wonderful, joyous day. For Christians and others it is uniquely important. It is the day that Christ the Lord was born. Many others still rejoice in its message of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. The beauty of this day is so powerful that more than 90 percent of us celebrate Christmas. So it's hard to understand why the word 'Christmas' is being abandoned. Are people so ashamed of this holy day that they don't want the word 'Christmas' spoken in public - not in shopping centres or offices or classrooms, not on television or radio? It's even hard to find the word 'Christmas' in advertisements for Christmas presents. Quietly, gradually but steadily, the word 'Christmas' is disappearing from public view and is being replaced by something called the 'Holiday Season,' with 'Happy Holidays' taking the place of 'Merry Christmas.' Does anyone really believe Christmas is just one in a list of winter holidays? Of course not. We still say 'Happy Thanksgiving' 'Happy Hanukah' and 'Happy New Year.' Yet where has 'Merry Christmas' gone? All of us, including the promoters of the 'Holiday Season,' know quite well that this is the Christmas season. We all know that on December 25, the stores close, hundreds of millions of people go to church, more than any other time of year; and families exchange presents, come together for a festive meal, and wish each other a 'Merry Christmas.' So why are we subjected to this elaborate and silly Holiday Season charade, and who is behind it? No one, it seems. In fact, when we complain about an anti-Christmas campaign, we are told there is no such thing. We're imagining it. The Holiday Season just sort of replaced Christmas. When that argument collapses of its own weight, we are told that other religious groups are offended by Christmas. But that's not true. People of other faiths are not campaigning to stop us from talking about or celebrating Christmas. They are not afraid of Christmas. In fact, as people of faith, they respect Christmas, just as Christians respect their holy days and traditions. So, who is ashamed of the word Christmas, and what are they ashamed of? A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger? Or maybe angels singing, Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men? The vast majority of us find Christmas a time of joy, peace, and hope. Even many who do not share the Christian belief that Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world admire Him as a great moral teacher. Unfortunately, many people perceive Christmas as being offensive to others. And thanks to political correctness in this country, it is seen as the ultimate sin to offend anyone. Since when in a country where we cherish our freedom of speech is it offensive to wish each other Merry Christmas? In reality, there is a small group of people who want to impose their ideas of "political correctness" on the rest of us. MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Happy Birthday Mum!!!

Yes it's my Mum's Birthday today, an indeterminate age although greater than mine, many happy returns.

It is however doubtful that she will see this tribute to her advanced age as she doesn't own a computer and has no idea how to use one if she came upon one. None-the-less I wish her a happy birthday once more!



I've just received an order from Sigma Aldrich, they sent me 100 grams of Zinc Oxide, and 25 grams of Copper Oxide. With the order came some safety instructions including irritation data where they state the results of rubbing this chemical into the skin and eyes of a Hamster, a Rat and a Rabbit. Some of the other results are quite disturbing, it must take a certain type of person to pick up a perfectly healthy Hamster, Rat or Rabbit and rub Zinc Oxide into its eyes and see what happens. It goes on to state that if we inject the embryo of a Hamster with Zinc Oxide it will undergo morphological transformation, what possible safety implications has that on working with the substance in a controlled environment, unless a pregnant woman accidentally trips up with a solution of Zinc Oxide in a syringe and injects herself directly into the embryo. Sometimes human arrogance and cruelty on this planet sickens me.

Sunday, December 18, 2005



The biggest drug-addiction problem in the world doesn't involve heroin, cocaine or marijuana. In fact, it doesn't involve an illegal drug at all. The world's biggest drug-addiction problem is posed by a group of drugs, the benzodiazepines, which are widely prescribed by doctors and taken by countless millions of perfectly ordinary people around the world... Drug-addiction experts claim that getting people off the benzodiazepines is more difficult than getting addicts off heroin... For several years now pressure-groups have been fighting to help addicted individuals break free from their pharmacological chains. But the fight has been a forlorn one. As fast as one individual breaks free from one of the benzodiazepines another patient somewhere else becomes addicted. I believe that the main reason for this is that doctors are addicted to prescribing benzodiazepines just as much as patients are hooked on taking them. I don't think that the problem can ever be solved by gentle persuasion or by trying to wean patients off these drugs. I think that the only genuine long-term solution is to be aware of these drugs and to avoid them like the plague. The uses of the benzodiazepines are modest and relatively insignificant. We can do without them. I don't think that the benzodiazepine problem will be solved until patients around the world unite and make it clear that they are not prepared to accept prescriptions for these dangerous products.

The Medical profession, I think, is fairly ashamed of what has happened. It's allowed this very untrammelled prescribing to go on. My estimate is that there's something between a quarter and half a million people in this country, at this moment, who would have problems trying to stop their tranquillisers. They would need help to do so and there's been a sense that they're difficult to treat, difficult to deal with and a lot of these patients are just kept on their medication indefinitely. No real attempt is made to help them come off ... The Government should tackle this problem face on. There are thousands of people out there who are not receiving treatment, hundreds of GPs who don't know really how to treat these patients. There are self-help groups who are crying out for funding just to keep going at a very low level. I think the Government should now acknowledge the problem and set funds aside, because if the Government doesn't do that, these people will go to their graves with their tranquilliser bottles beside them.

The benzodiazepines are probably the most addictive drugs ever created and the vast army of enthusiastic doctors who prescribed these drugs by the tonne have created the world's largest drug addiction problem.

Dr Vernon Coleman, The Drugs Myth, 1992.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


The Terminator

Arnie “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger has certainly lived up to his name this week by giving the go ahead to the execution of Tookie Williams. Now don’t get me wrong the appalling murders he was found guilty of deserved harsh punishment and in actual fact he has been locked up for the last 25 years. But I can’t help thinking that Arnie showing no mercy is a result of his plummeting popularity in California. In order to save his political career he decided not to save Tookie’s life.

The former actor Arnie relies on the pro death penalty vote and with another election looming next year he used the life and sadly death of Tookie Williams to get some brownie points from the voters. One of the reasons why the Californian Governor denied clemency to the former Crips gang leader was his lack of remorse.

However Tookie has always insisted that he was innocent and had nothing to apologise for. Whilst spending the last quarter of a century languishing behind bars, Tookie turned his life around. Writing a number of books urging young people to stay away from gang culture and bagging a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize in the process. Now does this sound like a man who should have met an end by lethal injection?

Surely Tookie was doing more good alive than dead? What exactly did killing him achieve? I can’t imagine that the relatives of those murdered feel any less loss now he is gone. He was a man that admitted a violent past but then devoted the rest of his life to peace. And in the end was used as political porn to aid desperate Arnie’s flagging career. Oh dear Arnie...

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