M.Phil thesis

On Friday the 20th, I may head into London to get my thesis bound. The print shops there seem to be significantly faster and cheaper than those in Oxford. They are also likely to be somewhat less busy, given how significant a share of the Oxford graduate population seems to have materials to submit by […]


One thing about studying climate change is that you never know where you will find new information. Have a look at this segment from James Burke’s Connections. He is talking about the Little Ice Age, which began in the 16th century. Much of what he says about adaptation is relevant, in an indirect way, to […]


Some figures, for the curious:


Since the thesis needs to be dropped off for binding in eight days, it will surprise nobody to hear that I am working energetically on it. More than anything I have worked on before, it is a vast, sprawling thing. The main tasks now are consolidation and tidying. I very much hope to have a […]


When doing academic reading, you sometimes run into the equivalent of a slow moving recreational vehicle on a winding, mountainous, two-lane road. The thing has such bulk and you cannot hope to push it forward, and yet it would be perilous to circumvent entirely. As such, you get stuck behind it. I carried around Keohane’s […]

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By now, I have doubtless crafted a groundbreaking and compelling document, in which every footnote jumps off the page with ecstatic energy. As such, I am probably strolling along the coastline now, looking southwards in the evening light. Alternatively, six days of reading may have left me so utterly lacking in the ability to focus […]


Five days without web access has been the longest stretch I have experienced in about two years. It is amazing how utterly useless a computer now seems when it isn’t connected to the internet. First came the abandonment of gaming, in favour of blogging and chatting with friends by instant messenger. Then came the general […]


I wonder how different thesis writing was back in the days of typewriters. On one hand, many operations would be extremely frustrating. You would need to redo an entire page to correct a single error, for instance. On the other hand, people were probably less susceptible to being overwhelmed by the amount of information at […]


About 72 hours into this trip, I have 21 days left before the thesis actually needs to be handed in at the Examination Schools. Since it will need to be printed by the Friday prior (April 20th), it actually needs to be submitted for printing by the 18th. Hopefully I will come back from Devon […]


With luck, the first full day on this thesis writing retreat is proving useful for the conversion of heaps of notes and myriad random thoughts into well-sequenced textual arguments. I hope my fellow program members are finding equal success and that those lucky enough not to have theses to write are enjoying their liberty.