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It occurs to me that there are certainly no shortage of meaningful challenges I could take up within academia. There is, for example, the challenge of proving that I could do research that other people will actually get excited about. (This, regrettably, has not been true of my thesis to date, and I don't see much reason to expect that that will change in the future.)
So the question to ponder, then, is why doesn't this challenge inspire me?
The easy answer is that I don't seem to have any ideas bubbling within me needing to get out, but I think I have watched enough good science being done to know that it's not always (or maybe even usually) like that -- and in any case Peter has enough good ideas to keep any three of me occupied. Is it simply true that my interests have moved on? Hm.
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