The LTLP turns to me. “Can you just have a look at it and make sure there are no obvious mistakes?”

She gives me her ‘I might regret this’ look, that I remember from the Registry Office.

I nod readily. I have always enjoyed helping the LTLP with her science and stuff, and it is always very important to peer review data as espoused by people like famous media scientist Ben Goldacre etc. She is off to do sciencey things in Bristol, and has to take a PowerPoint presentation with her.

I study the slides. To be honest, it is all quite advanced stuff, about science, which you would not understand. I query some of her data.

“Look, I just want you to tell me if there are any obvious spelling mistakes that I’ve missed,” she says.

“I am just trying to undertand the whole, and look at the entire presentation with a holistic approach,” I reply, giving a diagram a critical look. “Now be quiet. It is difficult to check your work when there are distractions.”

Ice crystals form in the atmospheric interval between us.

“Look, I’m sorry I asked now.”

I wave her away. “I am almost finished,” I reply.

I finish checking the presentation with my scientific eye.

“It looks very good to me,” I report, turning to her. “It seems clear and to the point, and there are few of the distractions that you often see on PowerPoint documents. As far as I can establish, the science is sound. However, looking at this slide, I am afraid that the graph looks a bit like a cock.”

“You what?” she replies.

“This graph here,” I indicate. “Where the bell curve thing is quite narrow, and then you have ringed the points at each end. It looks a bit like a cock.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake.”

“I guess my suggestion would be to consider expanding the x axis so that the curve is broader and less tall, and then it would be a little less -”

“Just give it here,” she snaps.

23 thoughts on “I peer-review a scientific presentation.

  1. Dave says:

    Does she proof-read your blog for you?

  2. ajb1605 says:


    Registry Office??

    I put it to you, sir, that the LTLP is no such thing. I put it to you that she is, in fact, your W.

    All this subterfuge – I’m beginning to think Short Tony may be right about you after all.

  3. This would explain the IPCC’s review process, I suppose.

  4. Gordon says:

    Wait, I’ve been trying to put sublime cockage INTO my presentations, have I been doing it wrong all along?

    Actually, don’t answer that…

  5. Back when I was in the USSR, I was often asked to proof-read presentations that people had to make (for one reason or another) in English. I was the last person on the review chain before it went to the Academy’s Party reps. These latter worthy souls were entirely ignorant of any subject outside of Marxist-Leninist dialectic, and their only role was to ensure that every text, no matter what the actual topic, began and ended with an appropriate quote from Lenin and regular references to the leading role of the Party. That was quite literally the only thing they were qualified to do.

    Bit like you and cocks, really, Jonny. You are totally the Communist Functionary of Cocks…

  6. Megan says:

    Hmmm… you wanted to emasculate her power point? There are just so many gender/power issues going on here. I’m off to the sociology folks to see if I can get an honorary PhD for Analysis of Subject B (Norfolk): a Study of Genital “Norms” and the (sub[super]) Conscious.

    Also – bell curves are child’s play. Have I mentioned I had a prof who managed to get a reference to a Greek philosopher into his dissertation – passed by his entire committee? He cited Testikles.

  7. Could everyone please stop talking about Cock and Bell curves.

    You’ll put me in an early grave. No doubt.

  8. Lucy says:

    As the wife of a scientist I particularly enjoyed this. Thanks.

  9. kermit says:

    Don’t listen to them JonnyB. They are ignorant fools. While I would have to this curve to make a definitive diagnosis, I believe you pointed out a very important thing.

    “Where the bell curve thing is quite narrow, and then you have ringed the points at each end..” The ringed points at each end are called side lobes, and usually indicative of insufficient smoothing. Depending on the filter she used on the data, there may have been leakage.

    It’s a good thing that you pointed out the leakage!

  10. kermit says:


    That should read: “While I would have to see this curve..”

    It also dawned on me now that Ivan’s USSR experience does so much to explain his comments here. I hope Megan investigates this.

  11. Hold the phone. Registry Office? What were you doing in a Registry Office, you ring-dodging rodent?

    You sure you’re not getting it mixed up with the Post Office again? I’d bet good money that the only thing you’ve ever registered is your TV set…

  12. JonnyB says:

    I refer the Right Honourable Gentleman to the answer previously given:

    Didn’t Testikles play for Brazil in the 1978 finals…?

  13. Megan says:

    I believe so. The commenters were particularly impressed with his touch on the ball.

  14. Wasn’t he the goal keeper in the World Snooker Championship?

  15. I can’t see that link, seeing as those formspring fascists don’t like my creaky old steam-powered IE6. Can somebody paste the text into a comment?

    As for comedy sportsmen, I reckon baseball’s Pujols (pron: Pooholes) has Testikles beat…

  16. ellie says:

    Were you jealous of it?

  17. guyana gyal says:

    Well, all I can say is this: ARGH! Ladies, never ask yer man for help.

  18. kermit says:

    IE6 Ivan, really?! Are you just being an ironic hipster or did you lose a bet? Nobody uses IE for anything anymore. Firefox is where it’s at, whatever it is.

    How come you and the LTLP haven’t got married?

    I honestly don’t know where the idea that we’re not married came from. We’ve been married for about ten years.

    I am getting really behind with these questions I will do more tomorrow, but I’ve been told to &%$£ off the computer as it’s Valentine’s day.

    3 months ago

  19. Thanks, Kermit. What can I say – I just use what they give me here. And being a late adopter has plenty of advantages, compared with some of my peers swearing at their Macs or wondering why their awesome new OS keeps crashing.

    So she is his wife, but he calls her LTLP. Suggests to me some residual resistance to the role of responsible grown-up, there. Which would be in keeping with being married for ten years but only getting around to punching out a kid after seven. Never mind, Jonny – #2 will seal the deal for you. It’ll be pipe, slippers and woolly cardigan time for you after that. Come on in – the water’s lovely…

  20. spazmo says:

    I was laboring under the same assumption regarding Jonny’s marital status as Ivan, actually.

    So…are congratulations in order then?
    Sorry, but it’s been VERY confusing around here lately.

  21. Z says:

    She changed it though, didn’t she? I mean, once it’s been pointed out, it’s all you can see about it. And either she’d have sniggered when doing her presentation or she’d have expected guffaws from the oiks in the back row. I bet she was really grateful, really.

  22. kermit says:

    Now Ivan, behave yourself!

    JonnyB most certainly never punched out a kid. I’m sure the worst thing he’s done to Severlan is to tie her leg to the fancy antique piano he’s got. I remember there were complaints about her crawling all over the damn place, as babies do, I suppose when you don’t put some brandy in with their milk. I had the brilliant suggestion of tying her leg to the piano so she’d stay still.

    ..No wait I think I suggested that he break her leg. Never mind. Carry on, as you were.

  23. You are very entertaining 😉

    If you’d like, please stop by my blog for a chance to win an original giclee art print…by me 🙂

Comments are closed.