Thursday, October 25, 2007

planes, trains, automobiles, and beavers

I'm giving a talk at Yale tomorrow. For this, I am taking the first flight out tomorrow to Boston, and then taking the train from Boston to New Haven, so that Friday I can take the train back up to Boston and spend the weekend re-visiting Boston and Cambridge.

I talked to my mother earlier this evening. She was impressed to hear I am giving a talk at Yale. She talked about how proud my grandfather would be if he were alive, that a grandson of his would be flying to the east coast to give a talk at Yale. That cinched the conclusion that I really need to wear a jacket and tie for this.

Yale asked me for a title months ago, and the result is that I'm talking about a project I thought I would have returned to by now but have not. Really, the talk is going to be two, not-yet-published, conference-length talks spliced together into one colloquium-length talk. I wish I was farther along on the projects in question, but I think the talk will go okay if I am not too exhausted from the lack of sleep and traveling. Also, having the research be not what I am working on right now means that I will probably be less adroit in answering any questions than I might otherwise be.

Unrelated: A friend of mine is looking for apartments and saw an ad for an 8th floor unit in a building that a rate-your-apartment service online had a report of some "small rodent" problem. She wondered whether a building with a rodent problem could have rodents all the way to the 8th floor. I said yes. Correct? I also said the only thing for sure ruled out by the phrase "small rodent" was beavers, since beavers are the largest rodent. However, Wikipedia says I'm wrong, and that beavers are only the second-largest rodent, after the capybara. So, question 2: if somebody complained on a rate-your-apartment site about a beaver infestation problem, would an eighth floor unit be safe?

9 comments:

S.S.STONE said...

Only if the apartment building is located in Canada would you be safe from beavers on the 8th. :)

Ang said...

Rodents will go anywhere where there's warmth, water, and food. I had issues once on the fourth floor of an apartment; I don't see why they couldn't haul themselves up four more floors.

Sarahliz said...

Is this a small problem with rodents of unknown size or a problem of undisclosed size with small rodents? If it really is a problem with small rodents they probably mean mice instead of rats. If your friend has a cat mice shouldn't be too much of a problem. Of course if it's a beaver problem a cat isn't going to be much help.

Jamy said...

If it's rats, she'll need a dog, not a cat.

K said...

I would say 8th floor is safe from Beaver..but what about Nutria? They are similar to the Capybara but the North American version. I think they truly rate as ROUS. I stick by that statement, even if it truly identifies me as a nerd.

Ang said...

I heard they're also pretty tasty.

eszter said...

Re your Boston flight, why didn't we realize the other day that we'd be flying out at a similar time? I took a 7:30am flight to Ann Arbor, yours couldn't have been that much earlier. Silly us.

Ken Houghton said...

When I lived a few blocks from Manny Ramirez (we were both MUCH younger), there were mice on the top floor of my apartment building.

Your mother is impressed that you're speaking at Yale? AFTER you spent a year at Harvard?

shakha said...

Is strikes me that "small rodent problem" is an oxymoron. Or maybe I'm not getting it. Any rodent problem is a big problem. Even if they're small rodents.

I've lived on the 16th floor of a building and seen mice. So I'm with Ang. They'll go anywhere.