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"For research David Pyle has been doing radical things in earth sciences like working interdisciplinarily and colloborating with people other than Cambridge....." -- Alison
In our department it's pretty radical to collaborate with Cambridge, we seem to work with nearly everywhere else! The positive about being a clinical research department working on is that it's naturally interdisciplinary as the clinical side needs engineers, mathmos, biologists, biochemists, physicists material scientists etc to actually progress many of the clinical issues that aren't immediately patient-based.
Sarah S
6:46 PM, 27/10/14
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So, we clearly need a bit more discussion to liven up our Tuesday afternoons. So, what do you think? A trail in the Peak District (Rushup Edge) has just been "maintained" by Derbyshire County Council (DCC). The trail surface consisted of a number of bedrock steps in a sunken lane. These were quite fun and challenging to ride down on a mountain bike. The "maintenance" has involved dumping a load of hard core on the track, making it very easy to ride down. Mountain bikers are up in arms as we see it as similar to demolishing Right Unconquerable. DCC say the trail has been maintained to "benefit the greatest number of users".

As climbers/walkers, what do you think to this? Where do you all sit on the "mountain bikers terrorize the countryside" to "mountain bikers are fellow sports enthusiasts whose wishes should be accommodated" spectrum?
Alison
3:44 PM, 28/10/14
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Are there more mountain bikers using that trail or more walkers? What are the consequences in terms of erosion?
Gillian
4:12 PM, 28/10/14
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Someone said there was a survey that showed there were by far more bikers than walkers but I haven't it personally to see how fair it was! On erosion, it's a sunken lane with a bedrock surface so it definitely doesn't have an erosion problem. There is a path along the top of the bank too but it's pretty narrow and not expanding sideways.
Alison
4:22 PM, 28/10/14
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I don't think I have a general opinion on the mountain bikers are fellow sports enthusiasts/a menace - I think it depends on individual circumstances. If we were talking about a trail which had a lot more walkers than bikers - particularly if it were a trail popular with families with little kids and/or older doddery people - then I'd probably be in favour of a surface which was easier to walk on. Especially if it had previously been suffering from erosion problems. But there should also be trails of a more 'interesting' nature for those who want 'em. I guess the problem with Rushup Edge is that the DCC seem to have decided to turn it from an interesting trail into an easy trail without anything much in the way of consultation.
Gillian
11:41 AM, 29/10/14
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Oh wise oracle, the insurance company will replace my bike like for like for value of 840. But is I go for the cash option its 540. Thing is I don't use my road bike much these days and my laptop isn't insured as it was bought thro my research grant and the university excess is 2000. I.e. To get a new laptop I have to find the money myself. Argh, should I still get the bike which will be nice or take the loss on the cash, or get the bike and sell it on?
Mary
1:22 PM, 29/10/14
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Gill - thanks - useful perspective. I wouldn't say it's really a trail for doddery old people or families - it's at quite a high altitude (for the Peak District!). Also I've found the usage survey here (p8) which shows that bikes are the second biggest user group but only just.
Alison
1:58 PM, 29/10/14
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Just out of curiosity, what's happening for the Halloween social?
(if anything at all)
James
2:42 PM, 29/10/14
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Mary, if you get the bike and sell it on, will you get more cash for it than if you just took the cash from the insurers?
Lina
3:33 PM, 29/10/14
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If you could afford to wait for a while, you could ask one of the local bike shops if they'd sell the bike as new on commission? A 10% fee deducted from 840 would still leave you almost 200 better off.

Are you sure your laptop isn't insured? If it was your personal kit, then regardless of the fact a grant paid for it I'd have expected your contents insurance to cover it. Was it named on your policy?
Jamie
8:13 PM, 29/10/14
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That's worth a thought re the bike. Might get it then see how it goes.

The laptop was bought through the grant and my understanding, confirmed by the dept, is that it always remains the property of the university. I use it, but it isn't a gift to me. Likewise when dad died we couldn't just keep his laptop. Bit of a pain, but there it is.
Mary
12:13 PM, 30/10/14
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So it's University property that they won't replace when stolen?
Robert
1:18 PM, 30/10/14
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They would replace it, but the university insurance excess is 2000.
Mary
1:18 PM, 30/10/14
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But doesn't that mean that your department or whatever gets billed for the first 2000, not you? Or does it mean that you are personally liable for the first 2000?
Robert
1:21 PM, 30/10/14
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Mary, that sounds like a horrible loophole. I think I need to check with my boss what the situation is for us! If you were still funded by that grant, then that presumably means that the university essentially expect the grant to fund a replacement rather than their insurance having to, which seems very sneaky indeed. :-(
Bethan
1:22 PM, 30/10/14
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The grant has finished though so I think it's uni property? I'll check with my admin people. But my mum, who knows a bit about this stuff, thinks I can't claim.
Mary
1:48 PM, 30/10/14
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Oh that's annoying...
Robert
1:56 PM, 30/10/14
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That does sound a bit odd. If the dept wants you to have a laptop which remains their property then it's up to them to insure it - and if they picked a useless policy that has an excess higher than the laptop's value then you'd have thought that was their problem.

OTOH if it's your responsibility to replace it then your own insurance should cover it. My B&C paid out a few years ago when a work laptop was stolen because it was agreed that employees would cover them if they wanted to work from home on them.

It would be unfortunate if this situation managed to fall between these two.
Jamie
2:49 PM, 30/10/14
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I guess the grant would be responsible for replacing the laptop i.e., paying the excess, but since the grant has finished it doesn't need a laptop anymore.

But do you still need an expensive work-capable laptop? Are you now employed on a new grant which can buy you a new laptop? Or even employed directly rather than on soft money - can the university buy you a new laptop? Essentially, if you need a laptop for work then it is up to your employers to provide it, not up to you.
Gillian
3:04 PM, 30/10/14
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We have a similar situation here. I don't know about lap tops but our excess for phones is 250. When mine was stolen I was expected to find the money to replace it from one of my grants (which luckily I had).

It does seem to be swings and roundabouts with university insurance though. We are covered even if we forget to notify the university we are traveling, or if we travel to places the FCO don't want you to go, or we have existing health problems. I can drive any university vehicle - owned or hired. And when I lost my kindle on a plane the insurance paid up the full replacement amount, even though I only had got it on an offer. And they assured me I hadn't committed insurance fraud when my original kindle turned up......
Alison
3:22 PM, 30/10/14
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The grant is now closed and I'm full time clinical now, working at the jr. I've double checked and it's not covered. Not the end of the world, it's only stuff after all and I took care of a patient last night who is my age and dying of cancer which very much put things back in perspective.
Mary
6:17 PM, 30/10/14
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Very long shot, but anyone want to go from oxford to see Fields of the Nephilim in London on the 6th Dec?
Mark
9:28 PM, 30/10/14
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The Neph are still touring? Woah!
Niall H.
9:47 PM, 30/10/14
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"The Neph are still touring? Woah!" -- Niall H.
30 year anniversary show!

Mark

10:18 PM, 30/10/14
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Would anyone like to go see Mr Turner on Tuesday evening?
Mary
5:48 PM, 31/10/14
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who, FYI, is my ex-housemate's ex-girlfriend's brother.....
Alison
11:19 PM, 31/10/14
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no, sorry, a different Mr Turner - he played at the Town Hall on Sept 30th.....
Alison
11:22 PM, 31/10/14
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