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This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

Mishmash - A Mostly Harmless Column

Apr 26 2001 16:47
Silly Names; Library Profiting from Students; ICU Carnival Losses; IC4 Tackle Apathy; Brain For Hire
Mishmash, by Kevin a random entity who doesn't know nothin' about nothin'

The UK’s largest single employer of scientists, the Defence Evaluation and Research agency is undergoing restructuring, the majority of the organisation will begin trading as a new company on 2nd July. Following the increasingly ridiculous trend which has seen the post office dubbed Consigna, British Gas - Centrica and Anderoid Consulting – Accenture, the new company will be given the abstract name QinetiQ. The justification for the choice of meaningless and downright silly word is an excellent example of pure bullshit: “The name has been derived from the scientific term, kinetic (phonetic: ki’ ne tik), which means 'relating to or caused by motion'. This in turn comes from the Greek, kinetikos based on 'kineo' which means ‘to move’. It was carefully chosen as the outright winner from an original list of 400 which resulted from extensive analysis of all our capabilities and strengths. QinetiQ was seen as particularly distinctive and reflects the organisation’s spirit of innovation and creativity but also energy, motion and progress. It is a positive name, with expansive, bold, and assertive overtones, underpinned by a good, solid, technical ring.”

Dr Chris Towler Imperial’s Director of Strategy Development has not explicitly ruled out the Imperial College taking on a new abstract name. As always Kevin believes in Lollipops. It is thought that should a re-branding become necessary the college is more likely buck the abstract trend and opt for something which gets straight to the point, such as the “Imperial College Research Services Inc. – We Find Shit Out.”, recently suggested by a student, and is gaining popularity in some areas of the college.


Towards the end of last term the central library made an astonishing admission. In the course of a year they take over sixty thousand pounds in copying and printing charges. A large chunk of this money, in the region of twenty grand is pure profit. In an effort to justify this blatant ripping off of students the library attempted to claim that the extra money, which enters a slush-fund to be spent freely by the library, was very useful in paying for extra services which are not budgeted for. Examples of such services were not forthcoming, and Kevin is probably not alone in finding difficulty in thinking of a single aspect of the library’s activities which could be described as non-essential. Kevin would like to see the library funded to an adequate level which would enable it to run copying and printing at cost price.


The end of term carnival at the union made a loss for the first time ever last term. With just over two hundred people out of a capacity of 1200 turning up, the takings on some tills (at £13) didn’t cover the staff costs, and they were even having difficulty giving away all the free alcohol provided by their sponsors. Some people have been right to suggest double standards, between the way that ICU centrally runs its Ents, and what is expected of clubs and societies. The union would not have allowed club or society to go ahead with such an event – the plug would have been pulled at some point during week running up to the event, and losses estimated at "about five grand" minimised.


IC4Life are attempting to deal with the problem of student apathy and appear to be making a genuine effort to find out why students are unhappy with their service. As a reward for attending a meeting allow student’s to communicate their complaints about the network and telephones in halls those who attended got free tickets to an ice-hockey game, where they were treated to a corporate box and unlimited free food and drinks for the evening.

A Petition for better services from IC4 has been created by a DOC student.


Imperial’s Rector Sir Richard Sykes recently introduced his executive committee to a group of visitors to the college, describing a little about each person’s areas of responsibility. On coming to Dr Chris Towler Imperial’s Director of Strategy Development, Sykes reputably said: “This is the man to whom I delegate a large chunk of my thinking.” … now Kevin would quite like one of those...

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Discussion about “Mishmash - A Mostly Harmless Column”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Apr 27 2001 10:28

Examples of how the library would use the profits from the photocopying and printing I'm sure would include keeping the central library open an exrta 12 hours a week next academic year hmmmmmmm

The electronic journals, another one I sure the Pro Rectors are too mean to fund

But you would know that being an Acting Academic Affairs Officer

2. Sam   
Apr 27 2001 10:44


There comes a point in the planing of any event, where it would cost more to pull the event than it would to run it at a slight loss. Certain costs were committed, and by the time it was realised how unusually low the ticket sales were, we had booked some acts, booked the draping etc. We maintain that we made less of a loss by running the Carnival than we would have done by pulling it.

Apr 27 2001 21:49

Since Kevin orginally prepared this for Felix (or at least showed me a hard copy a few days ago which he said he was sending to John); I guess we have to choose between two possible conclusions:

  • Kevin has been sacked from Felix (again)
  • there won't be a Felix on Monday

Somehow, I think the latter is more likely...

Apr 28 2001 14:06

I believe that access to electronic journals and reasonable opening hours are essiential core services of a university library.

I don't think the library should be making a profit from photocopying and printing whatever they're going to spend it on.

As for Felix - Yet again the issue is not even planned to come out on Monday.

Apr 28 2001 18:13

To be honest, its hardly surprising that the library make a profit on photocopying. They seem to be using the same Xerox copiers on maintenance contracts as the rest of College - and yet the price they charge is twice that of the DocuCentre on the Walkway.

Apr 29 2001 16:06

According to Mustafa they charge twice the amount that DocuCentre do at the same cost to them. If that is any where near accurate how on earth do they only manage to make a profit of one third on takings? Assuming that DocuCentre only breaks even then the Library should be making 50% profit!! Given that one would expect DocuCentre to make a profit the library should be making more than ?30,000 not ?20,000! I can't help wondering where that ?10,000+ is going.

May 02 2001 13:36

Yeah, we were due to come out yesterday, but the print shop closed due to "civil unrest". When it does arrive it could take me a little longer to deliver as I got beaten up by riot police while photographing police hitting peaceful demonstrators with batons for next week's Felix! Sorry guys, what can I say?


May 02 2001 16:09

How about you do what you're paid for instead of going on anti-capitalist riots?

May 02 2001 17:10

Well Heepsie, what I do in my free time is my own business, and I was there to cover it as a news story (part of my job) anyway. How about if you stick to trying to become a doctor rather than spending all your time as a union hack?

May 03 2001 08:32

The day I see Felix appear at all the main campuses, I'll be out of the Union like a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised next Thursday...

May 04 2001 18:53

I notice that the comment on ICU in the mishmash column above was censored before Felix made it to print...

May 04 2001 20:57

If you read some (very old Mishmash's) from last year, you'll find Kevin complaining about John C promising to be "soft" on the Union and planning to "give the sabbs some space".

13. stef   
May 08 2001 13:32

I think its the Mish Mash in the very last issue of Summer 2000 Mustafa.

Closed This discussion is closed.

Please contact the Live! Editor if you would like this discussion topic re-opened.


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