…for this semester. I was really trying to keep my head above water, but gulp, glug, I kept on taking water in. There is a pile of marking and two exams coming my way in a few weeks. Anyone that could invite me to their home in Rarotonga? I need to recover from the always brutal semester steam roller.

Despite all the teaching, ideas keep on living for free in my head. Where to next? This is a common question when working in research: at some point the project has to be completed. Perhaps everything went well and the objectives were achieved, the findings were published, the student completed their PhD, etc. Or, perhaps, the whole thing was messy, or unattainable, or the experiment didn’t work out, or we run out of money.

Last weekend one of our students submitted his PhD, with chapters either published or somewhere in the publication pipeline. There is a sense of Where to next? From an implementation point of view, it is a matter of using the results, perhaps tweaking things here and there, but now it is an operational breeding programme issue. That topic will have to wait before I revisit it.

In conversations with a colleague in Chile (A) we talk ideas. Another colleague (B)informs us that our frontrunner was “too applied” for funding. It could make a significant practical difference, at least in my opinion, but the funding body has a strong preference for more “fundamental” research. The same funding body that does not like forestry too much, because it is “too slow”. When you put fundamental + forestry is hard to get results in 3 years of funding. Go figure.

B suggested another idea in which I am still getting my head around. Not quite my topic BUT I am a sucker for interesting problems and learning. Now reading about stuff that’s new for me, and see if I can connect it in a meaningful way to #breeding and #woodquality, and I don’t have to go all the way to Kevin Bacon’s degrees of separation.

I dislike (or should I say hate?) the push of Large Language Models (LLM) for writing. I can’t see the point, because Where is the terapeutic value of asking ‘write 300 words in Luis’ style’? I can, pardon, I need to write this because I can’t stop writing. I have to empty my head: it is 4:30 pm, Friday afternoon, the last day of teaching of this semester. Phew! And that’s how #academia feels today, ladies and gentlemen.