No science this week. Brian Trumbore kindly suggested I take
the week off in view of the Thanksgiving holiday. In view of
what’s happened this past week, I feel as though I do need a
break. Longtime readers of this column will know that I spent
over 36 years at Bell Labs before retiring in 1989; at that time, it
was AT&T Bell Laboratories. A few years later, I found that I
was now retired from a company by the name of Lucent
Technologies, which took over Bell Labs as part of a spin-off
from AT&T. Under Lucent, we retirees lost a long distance
telephone discount plan, a death benefit equal to a year’s salary
and our dental plan coverage. Last week, President Bush
approved the merger of Lucent with the larger French company
Alcatel. With the French in control, you can guess that I’m a bit
concerned about my own future and that of what was once the
premier R&D laboratory in the world.
Furthermore, in last week’s column, I ended with reference to
my renewed interest in college football, spurred by the sterling
performance of the Rutgers team and its 9-0 record. Then I
tuned in on the game at Cincinnati Saturday night and was
immediately concerned when I saw the Cincinnati team in their
black uniforms. I recalled reading some years ago an article
purporting to have data showing that teams in black uniforms
have an inherent edge over teams wearing other colors. My
concern was justified and Cincinnati trounced Rutgers 30-11.
Finally, yesterday saw my last golf of the year – a round with our
Old Guard organization at our municipal par 3 course. Even
with holes as short as about 60-80 yards, not one of our
threesome managed to hit a green off the tee! In a rousing show
of ineptness, I managed not a single par and carded a 41 on the
par 27 venue. As I said, I welcome the holiday break.
Have a good Thanksgiving.
Allen F. Bortrum