So France is on strike. It is the weirdest thing to see how people take to the streets to protest.  For me it is a first since neither in Holland nor in Australia have I experienced anything like this.

As far as I understand it the main thing that they are protesting is the retirement reform, however it seems that it this is being used as a catalyst. The Frenchies have been unhappy for quite some time with Mr Sarkozy and I guess when he suggested that the retirement age needs to be increased from 60 to 62 it was all that was needed for people to go on strike and show their unhappiness with Sarkozy.   Not only are many different unions on strike, students have also joined. The very interesting thing here is that there is a clear difference between the campuses. I am at the science faculty, where students and teachers just continued with whatever they have going on. The campus in the city however houses Law, Language and Art students and there everything was blocked for  3 days.   The scientists at least over here don’t seem to bothered with the change of rules. In my lab, while no one went on strike, there is one dude who totally agrees with the strike while my boss thinks that it is necessary to do the suggested reforms. I tend to agree with her especially after hearing the argument of F when I said: but does it not make sense to save some money by increasing the retirement age, with the crisis etc”  He answered me and said that there is deficit the Goverment should just take money from the rich companies and use it.  He was definitely not joking when he said he was a believer in Communism.

EDIT:  Senate has voted, the reforms are made law but major protests are planned for Thursday..  I got caught up in my work and never finished the  post…

What I wanted to say, is that it is really fascinating to me  that people firmly believe in the power of Strike and they obviously do have reason since many things have been achieved using Strikes.   As I said I am not really affected by it, today the trains were running just fine but there is hardly any Petrol in Tours,  there are massive queues at the gas stations and people are actually getting pretty aggressive with each other. .Thankfully I have TESSA and she does not require any gas!

I am not sure how much longer this will continue, the laws changed and people that are striking do not get payed salary so I think it would be hard to keep going for a very long time. And surprisingly, while people do support the strikes, they also nearly all (except F, my workmate) realise that it is necessary for future generations.  Will see what is going on in 3 weeks when I come back from Sydney!





Back from the neurogenesis conference in Bordeaux.  It was very interesting  and has gotten me more excited to do some work. The meeting was pretty small, about 60 people. But the speakers were interesting and being such a small meeting meant that there was a lot more discussing going on. I initially applied to do a poster, but was contacted and asked if I was willing to give a talk, I said yes.   After hearing the first guy speak I  started to freak out, I was soooo out of my league it was not even funny!!  And this feeling continued throughout the first day (it did not help that I still had heaps of work to do on my presentation).  So that evening instead of going for the dinner I went back to my hotel and worked on my talk.  The hotel that I was staying in had given me this MASSIVE room, actually it was more like an apartment, to stay in. I was on the top floor and had 2 bedrooms, a lounge room, a kitchen and bathroom. It was not the cheapest place but I had such a hard time finding a room that when I finally got a positive response I said yes!

The next day I had to give my talk ( I slept for about 4 hrs) and was so unbelievably nervous it was not even funny. I could not even focus on the the talks before mine which sucked since they too were very interesting.  Then it was my turn and it was a bit of disaster, my voice was breaking and I my mouth dry.. it was horrible!! I managed to get through the whole thing, but seriously the worse 20 min of my life.  Luckily I got easy questions and managed to answer them..

After the lunch break there were more talks and one of them was from Piazza.. oh man did he give a talk.. I know his work from addiction stuff but had never seen him speak before.  He openly attacked my boss,  he put up one of her papers and said it was bullshit because there are no models for depression and just went on and on. I was not sitting next to her but was hoping she would say something during question time.. she did not (neither did I) . When I spoke to her after she said that this is what he does, he likes to cause a stir and he only enjoys it more if people engage.. I just thought it was rude and out of line to attack someone like that ESPECIALLY since that paper never once mentioned a link between neurogenesis and depression!!  Anyhoow it definitely woke me up for the last 2 talks.

I am counting down the days before I go on my Holiday.. just 22 to go!!