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The Life Of A Rocket Scientist, Vol. XVII

The Life Of A Rocket Scientist, Vol. XVII

Warum eigentlich nicht einmal in Neudeutsch bloggen? Na? Eben. Hilfe gibt’s hier.


Think Tanks.

In my (new) rocket lab, these things are all over the place. Tiny cages made of glass providing just enough space to squeeze in one regular or two rather skinny rocket scientists. With their laptops, that is.

Hardly larger than a telephone box

Besides the fact that think tanks occupy valuable lab space and hinder free movement and assembly of rockets within the lab, what is their real purpose?

In practice, they’re used when people need to be alone. Which is once you need to talk to your wife, your husband, your girl-friend, your boy-friend or your possible future employer and none of your fellow scientists really needs to know.*

As conference rooms are a scarce commodity, and even scarcer than lab space, people tend to use think tanks as conference rooms and sometimes miraculously manage to fit in as much as four rocket scientists.** Once the air conditioning inside these things is weaker than the sientists natural odors, they righteously turn into stink tanks. Now you go and try to think in a place that smells like ten soaked dead weasels.

Some of the luckier interns, students and other slave workers get to spend much of their time in a think tank, as regular desks are usually only available should a rocket scientist be out of lab. I admit that having to actually do research in a think tank would make me feel like a gold fish in a bowl, the difference being that the gold fish would get fresh water and food on a regular basis. But after all: They’re interns, students and slave workers, so some of them even get paid.

The original idea of a think tank, as it seems, was to have a place that enables you to think. This, however, implies that outside of those think tanks, i.e. in the majority of the rocket lab, thinking was hardly possible and people were sitting around with a zombie stare and drooled on their rocket blue prints and keyboards.

As this does not apply to all of my fellow rocket scientists, this think tank concept somehow seems bugged to me.

What is more: Who ever thought of calling a think tank think tank?*** It is a known fact that many good ideas were born in the bathroom where space is usually just as limited, but the major difference is that in the bathroom, people cannot watch you thinking, and you cannot watch them drool research. And how could thoughts – and that is not speaking of the more creative ones – ever evolve freely in an environment that is physically as limited as a prison cell built for solitary confinement?

So the “think” in that think tank is obviously just pretending. But what should it actually read?

“Sink tank”**** then makes me see images of the Titanic, long to look for a life boat and finally see Jack Dawson die in the icy sea.

A “sing tank”, however, would in my opinion be a real improvement. Get to sing whenever you feel like it and not molest your fellow scientists with your utter lack of talent. I should make a note of it. Well, I already have.

And still, that “tank” gives it all a martial taste. Like, “I will now man the think tank and shoot me a few of these droolers. And yeah, I will do this by sheer mind power. Better watch your back!”

It seems I will have to sleep over that. Too bad the think tanks in my lab do not have any blinds so you could use them as nap tanks.

*And you’re sure they’re dying to know.

**They need help from outside to get out again, though.

***Whoever it was probably hoped for the development of temporary brain factory like congregations of rocket scientist. Oh well.

****”Sink tank” is what some of the scientists actually say. That “th” can be a little bastard for some people, especially in Germany.