February 17, 2005

Desk Reference

The Natural Science Faculty in its infinite wisdom has decreed that we are no longer allowed to buy things ourselves, even using a personal research grant. Instead there is a two stage process by which you put in an order to a 'buyer' who takes it to a certified 'approver' for approval. All purchases, from advanced lasers costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to filter paper have to go through the system and meet the approval of administrators who are not qualified or active researchers. So last week I ordered a copy of The Physicist's Desk Reference, a collection of formulas and tables, and was pleased this morning to open my office door and find a rectangular package waiting on my chair. Which upon further inspection turned out to contain The Physician's Desk Reference. Imagine that two months ago I could have just walked over to the bookstore, gotten a little fresh air, and bought the right book myself (and given the receipt to the secretary). I toyed with the idea of keeping the wrong PDR in order to spice up my lectures with tales from the world of medicine, but since they cut our budget for incidentals to hire more administrators, I can't afford to do that.


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