Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Ideas worth throwing out?

Unfortunately, like many universities, UQ has become a construction site in the rush to build shiny new buildings, particularly to accommodate the ever increasing expansion of senior management and nice facilities to ``enhance the student experience.''
An extra floor was added to the physics building for the Office of the Executive Dean of Science.
Faculty and grad student offices are being shuffled around campus to accommodate this construction. I am now making my third move in less than eighteen months. I took this opportunity to downsize and toss a lot of old files. While filling a dumpster I saw something I thought was pretty ironic and funny.


  1. You shouldn't be throwing out whole books into the trash. At least recycle them or preferably make them available to others who might use them.

    1. The dumpster was a recycling bin. It was not my book.

    2. Some books can indeed be so useless that one should rather throw them away than making other people wasting time reading them. How ironical indeed!

    3. I was thinking more about the "Lectures in Physics" orange book nearby.

  2. Since the issue of throwing out books has generated some discussion I share an "interesting" email that a colleague received. I have redacted some material...

    ``Dear X

    I have a small problem with the management of the recycling of discarded books and because of our joint use of the premises I thought it wise to include you.

    We discard for recycling many books in our grey bins ... each week with two clearances a week being undertaken by the university contractor. The books in these bins are those that we find damaged, insect and fungal infected or beyond redemption for either individual use or resale...

    Even with our own volunteers we need to reiterate the importance of allowing the managed disposal of these discarded books and magazine to occur. We encourage them not to scrounge around inside the bins for a multitude of reasons ranging from health issues and appearing inappropriate especially on a university campus.

    I have noticed a few people, perhaps including your clients, starting to rummage in the bins. I understand the urge to retrieve and recover something that is freely discarded. One person’s trash is another’s treasure. I wish to offer to your visitors and clients an incentive and inducement by providing, from time to time, access to some of the ‘healthier’ discarded books that we prepare for charities and in this way, see the ceasing of bin scrounging. These books are usually in readable condition and ones that have some remaining intrinsic value. Perhaps armed with this knowledge we could manage this most understandable but inappropriate behaviour....''