Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pete Doherty's Hands

Did you see Johnathan Ross? They are giant,

I spend the night having nightmares that his giant hands were going to come for me. How can he play a guitar is it an oversized childs toy one?

His meaty farmer fists are about twice the size of his face, what is going on here are there other celebrities with giant extremities?

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Rise of the Irish murder

The trial of Rachel O’Reilly’s husband for her murder is the main headline on newspapers and the top story on news programs. Why is this case is so mysteriously gripping? In “the Decline of the English Murder” George Orwell summed up the ideal murder to grip the media watching public.

“The murderer should be a little man of the professional class…living an intensely respectable life somewhere in the suburbs, and preferably in a semi-detached house... He should go astray through cherishing a guilty passion for his secretary or the wife of a rival professional man, and should only bring himself to the point of murder after long and terrible wrestles with his conscience... The means chosen should, of course, be poison. In the last analysis he should commit murder because this seems to him less disgraceful, and less damaging to his career, than being detected in adultery”

Instead of poisoning with all the forethought and cunning that requires we have a brutal beating but otherwise the details seem oddly similar.

Orwell summed up the reason why these domestic murders so gripped people saying they were the “product of a stable society where the all-prevailing hypocrisy did at least ensure that crimes as serious as murder should have strong emotions behind them.” The hypocrisy was the belief that a murder was preferable to the shame of an affair and of divorce. No “why” has yet been proposed in the Rachel O’Reilly murder trial. The murders which gripped the public imagination in Orwell’s time were the type that people could in some way understand the motivations of lust and social standing behind them. What is frightening in this case is that the level of interest in it suggests that people can understand a crime that is seemingly without motivation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Feckin Vikings are back

They have recreated a Viking longboat and are sailing it towards Ireland. Right see you at the round tower. I told you that new Ikea store was just a ploy to sneak more Nordic people in to help invade.

The longship is due in Dublin by August 14, when celebrations are planned.

I wonder how many celebrations there would be for reruns of other invasions? I bet the Poles would love a rerun of 1939, my how they would chuckle merrily at that one.

If the longships were not bad enough these horn headed half wits drive around Dublin in military vehicles. The Viking Splash Tour might seem like some sort of touristy laugh but what other invasion would be rerun daily for tourists?

Wormhole energy

There is talk about using solar power in Australia to heat air make it rise and thus drive turbines.

Could you use wave power in a similar way. Think of the wormhole on the Inis Mor Aran island waves at the base crash into it and force air up the shaft of the hole. The wormhole is a handball alley sized shaft of about 12 m by 6 m. Say the average wave is a metre high and you get 12 a minute. So you have 70m^3 of air moving backwards and forwards constantly. This should be a lot easier then building a solar power tower as the tower part is already made by nature.
There are not that many wormholes like this around but there are plenty of cliffs. Could you use a cliff to make up one side of the tower and rig the other side of the tower off the cliff? The main problem with wave power is the force is so strong as to wreck everything. A strong see can pick up boulders and throw them through your machines. A system such as this avoids this problem by putting the turbines far away from the sea.
Using cliffs to turn waves to wind to power could it work?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Number Theory Hacking

Every now and again you I see a sum that I try and code up into a scripting language to see if my intuition about the problem is right.
So on page 237 of Pickover's "A passion for mathematics" is see an interesting problem.
Find x where y is an integer and x squared times 1597 plus one is an integer.
So I coded this up in Ruby as

puts "trying to find y=sqrt(1597xˆ2 + 1) problem"
while !y.integer?
puts y

The answer is a very big number. So big that using a static language is likely to lead to errors as saying int x or somesuch will lead to overflows. However ruby just keeps churning away without yet reaching an answer.
So my question is
1. How do you rapidly code up these number theory problems?
2. What language has the right mixture of rapid programming and speed of execution for doing so?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Change the scientific method

All programs used in the calculations for a paper should be open source

People make mistakes. Programs people make make mistakes. These result in the wrong results appearing in scientific papers. When this happens the scientists put their hands up and admit the mistake which has to require pawn shop balls. We need to change the scientific method so that these mistakes happen less often.
The scientific method changes as we learn new things. Double blind tests for instance come from about 1950. For details of changes in the scientific method listen to this

The time has come to change the scientific method to take the use of software into account. All programs used in the calculations for a paper should be open source. This means we are not just relying on noticing errors in a papers results but can gauge accuracy by examining the source code and running our own tests on it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Leftie Greens

Why are the green party left wing? Should right wing conservatives not seek to conserve the environment?
Looking at the Green parties principles none seem left wing.
• All political, social and economic decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level.

Down right libertarian in fact probably slightly right wing as almost all these decisions can be taken at the individual level and so will lead to market effects.
• Society should be guided by self-reliance and co-operation at all levels.

hmmm oxymoronic
• The need for world peace overrides national and commercial interests.

Ever since the invention of nuclear weapons, and the development of the ability to kill everyone, everyone has recognized this to be true.
• The poverty of two-thirds of the world's family demands a redistribution of the world's resources.

This last one sounds left wing but it does not say how redistribution will occur. If it is we will take money from rich people it is left wing. If it is we will free up trade to allow poor people earn more it is right wing.
We Are For...
• A basic income for all citizens.

Left wing
We Are Against...

• The depopulation of the countryside and over-crowding in the cities.
Like Pol Pot? Left wing
• Control of industry by large national and multinational companies.

Most right wing people would support removal of subsidies on big business so this is not necessarily left wing
• Land and property speculation.

This is left wing.

Grim Thoughts

Who should get the few mechanical respirators that can mean the difference between life and death?

Why should you care about ventilators? Lets do the sum based on
How likely something is (In the next 50 years say)
How bad it is
How much you can do about it

So to take large meteorite strike of earth
Not very likely in the next 50 years
Massively bad
Not much. Ask that your tax money goes into investigating it is about all.

Take a bad car crash
Pretty likely
400 people a year in Ireland so not likely to wipe out society
Lots. Seat belts, speed limit, don’t drink and drive

Influenza Pandemic

Very likely
Very bad. !918 had over 50 million deaths.
A bit. At a personal level live healthy and maybe stock up on face masks. Ask that your tax money goes into investigating it. And I believe you can make real research steps.

Can you make a respirator to keep people breathing? Can you train up to care for people on respirators from your current skill set. Can you access medical records on the last influenza pandemic to help assess the general power of certain cures?

By this I mean that in the 1918 epidemic Americans found

Only one therapeutic measure, transfusing blood from recovered patients to new victims, showed any hint of success.
George Whipple
Did any researchers from other countries confirm this result?

It could be that ventilators are not the choke point in delivering care in an influenza pandemic the choke point could be something you know about. So think about it and see if there is anything you can do.

Ha Ha, I am not dead

A H5N1 pandemic has not happened yet so we should just forget about it?
Steps by public health car workers have meant that an influenza pandemic has not occurred. It does not mean that no influenza pandemic will occur.
As Dr Seuss put it “to us their gift was time”

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Geological Porn

There is now a phone line that you can call to listen to a glacier melt.
I am told the phone line is constantly engaged. Which makes me conclude that people will do mind numbingly boring things in order to be made feel bad about the environment. Mind you the success of "An Inconvenient Truth" should have told us that already. Based on this idea I am going to start the following high toll services
1. Entropy Live: listen to static as the universe head towards heat death
2. Live images from the ozone hole
3. Extinct species webcam. Look at our skeleton of the dodo.

Also does anyone think the idea of geological features having their own sex chat lines kind of odd? What other Karst related 1890-wank lines will be created?
Glacial passage feels a flood pulse coming
Virgin passage needs exploring*
Listen to these filthy mud pools*

*warning no actual sounds are present in this recording

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Grave Robbery

I am pretty sure it is wrong to have a ghoulish fascination with grave robbery but here goes. If you know any other famous corpses that have been dug up can you tell me?
Abraham Lincoln: Failed attempt to abduct honest Abe.

Benny Hill: Apparently they were trying to steal the gold and jewels he was buried with. Do you think they made that “de de de ditta de de de ditta” noise as they dug? Can you picture the police chasing them around the graveyard?

Gram Parsons

Oliver Cromwell: posthumously executed. These royalists really want to make sure a job is done don’t they?

Alistair Cooke had his bones stolen. This was nasty for him but worse for the people who got them put into themselves.

Most saints: the Catholic Church get all voodoo when it comes to bones of holy people.


1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

When the moderator asked nine candidates to raise their hands if they "didn't believe in evolution," three hands went into the air

By the dictionary definition you would have to believe in it. Who believes there is no process of formation or growth? Now it could be interpreted as a question about the theory of evolution but that is different. It is not just a quibble the difference is similar to "do you believe in justice" and "do you believe in justice in North Korea".

Suppose we asked a group of Presidential candidates if they believed in the existence of atoms, and a third of them said "no"?

What is the current view on this? do electrons exist when they are not being measured?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Glasses Fixing

Why do opticians fix glasses for free?
I have gone in a few times to a random optician with my bent pair on glasses. They always say that if they break them tough, or words to that effect, and then bend them into shape of put the lense back in for free. In what other business can you walk into a random shop and get your product fixed? A mechanic who fixed the car of anyone who came along for free would go out of business pretty quickly. Why do opticians offer this free service? Is it done in all countries?

Stand back I have got a word

Words are weapons ones so heinous we should keep them locked away. The military should make sonic grenades to stun people. These when thrown into a room containing a minority will say words so vile that they will be completely incapacitated.

Throw it at Irish people and when it says “Mick, Paddy” they will fall to the floor unable to move. Of course this only works if it is said with an English accent saying it in an Irish accent is completely inoffensive. This does lead to certain problems the “Ginger” grenade probably will not work as it is hard to tell someones hair colour from their voice.

It does not matter whether the word is used as a slur to humiliate someone it only matter who says it.

"There are no dirty words, only dirty minds." - Lenny Bruce

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Duracell, ginger nuts, kipper, Carrot-top, copper-top

Gingers chill the fuck out. Kids are bastards, people are bastards you will be called names, now lets get on with our lives. No people should not call you names, but if we stopped people doing half the things they shouldn’t do life would be no fun. The sterile moribund infantile really fucking dull society that would result in everyone being insulted all the time is not a place I want to live in. If avoiding that means some moron makes a joke occasionally I will live with that.

And it is not the same as racism, homophobia or sexism. No one ever got hung from a tree or stoned for having red hair. Comparing name calling to racism is like comparing apples and thermonuclear warheads.

Take the whoremogering cripple Larry Flynt. He has the balls to be friends with people he disagrees with. People who sued him. This scumbag even went to jail so that you can get offended and no one else has to care. He fought to stop a situation where “All anyone would have to prove is that "he upset me" or "she made me feel bad." The lawsuits would be endless, and that would be the end of free speech”.

And you why don’t you grow a pair? You might get slagged over having glasses or being Canadian or being southern Canadian so what? No one is perfect, everyone is disabled in some way. Everyone is either too old too young too smart or too dumb. Suck it up, life is far to short to care about what other people think. Do you take offence at something I say? I do not care. I find it offensive that you expect me to change and hide my opinions just so you do not feel bad.

I think God is sending us a message: "If you can't take a joke,
go fuck yourselves."
--Woody Allen

Friday, June 01, 2007

Shopping line economics

Why do you let people with few items ahead of you in the paying line of a supermarket? Presumably it is more annoying to wait when you know you will take a short time to do your transaction. At what point do people decide to let someone ahead of them?
It would seem to be based on
1. Number of items they have
2. Number of items the person behind you has
3. The length of the queue. It seems that if the queue is long letting someone ahead of you is of less marginal return.

It is not in the supermarkets interest that queue skipping happens. Bulk purchases take less time for the amount of goods then small purchases. As in each item takes a second and the paying bit takes 30 seconds so you would like lots of items and few payments. So shops would prefer big purchases. Letting people ahead of you rewards small purchases by reducing the waiting time for them which supermarkets should want to discourage.

The must be some generally accepted graph of when it is expected for you to let someone ahead of you. If you have any evidence of when people are let ahead in a supermarket queue please comment.