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'Scientific' web research is no laughing matter

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AJ. column

You may despair at architectural education's failure to extrude just-intime office fodder, and you probably fall about at the need for its wimpish teachers to scrape together 'research' brownie points in order to survive in the new Academe. But it could be a lot worse.

In some departments (not architecture) over at the University of Hertfordshire there is this bloke, Dick Wiseman, who has persuaded the British Association for the Advancement of Science to stump up research funding for what is called a Laugh Lab.

The curious might try www. laughlab. co. uk but if you are under the impression that you can crib jokes for an after dinner speech, think again. The site asks you to rate half-a-dozen sub-Christmas cracker 'jokes'. Give me a dimly illuminated tutorial room and the topological meta-modalities of ongoing intraspatial intervention any day.

You might, however, get a laugh from www. portrait. com, the site of Portrait Displays. It sells serious, useful and inexpensive software and a couple of supporting arms for LCD screens which enable you to view your screen sideways. All right, you turn your screen on its side and view it in portrait, rather than conventional landscape, fashion.

Or even, it beats me why, upside down.

Maybe you do not need this. But think.

Download the free 30-day,180degree-only sample version of Pivot Pro. Install it on the big 21-inch VDU your new partner from hell has commandeered but is really yours. When he has gone to his important afternoon meeting, install and hide the software in some innocuous folder. Press the Pivot Pro button which rotates all his images and text 180degrees.

Next morning draw the senior partner's attention to the worrying fact that the fool has come in, stood on his head, turned his VDU upside down and is now working at it quite happily. The sound of white flapping coats wafts ominously through the office.

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