I know we need universities. We have to keep beer sales up and youth unemployment down somehow. But sometimes the insulting nonsense which the sherry-swilling keyboard jockeys who sleep snuggly beneath their dreaming spires come up with makes you want to drown the lot of them.
We can now be grateful, it seems, that what we know works in practice actually works in theory as well. Professor Tom Adcock, aptly named, of the University of Oxford, no less, has proven that the freak waves seafarers talk about can actually exist.
I’m not sure who pays Professor Cockandbull to come up with this nonsense but I can suggest a couple of good places where he can do some empirical research.
There is a good big hole in the ocean just south of Cape Agulhas. It appears from nowhere when a heavy Southern Ocean swell and a muscular southwester take on the current. I’ve seen that bend the front of fully-loaded box boat, and rip the side shell out of a modern obo. Or if he finds long haul flights too tiring he could slip over the Atlantic and try conning a loaded bulker in a thick northeaster about fifty miles off the US seaboard when the wave comes down the chimney instead of Father Christmas and puts the lights and power out and you think she will never shake herself out of the wall of green water that crashes down on you and you discover that you can pray after all.
A bit of on the spot research instead of doing some light sums before popping down to the senior common room for formal dinner might stop him insulting the seafarers on whom his comfortable life depends. “If your ship happens to sink,” he is reported to have said. “It’s a lot more convenient to say it was hit by a freak wave than that your maintenance was bad.”
Stop and think, Professor. Logic, you know? If your ships sinks after being hit by a freak wave you are not saying anything. The tales of freak waves you see fit to doubt came from those who survived. Those who didn’t deserve more respect from the likes of you.