Two astronomers. Separated by only 22 degrees, 58 minutes of latitude, 33 degrees, 29 minutes of longitude, yet seemingly worlds apart. Their common goal: figure out the very nature of the Universe and its womenfolk.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

PDFs and Pat

I have been severly reprimanded by rob for an admitted slacking in posting my mundane ubanities on this site. So in an effort to rectify my laziness, I have decided to express some punditry.

The first order of business is to lambast the defunctional inept acrobat reader on my machine. Portable document formats are actually pain-in-the-ass document formats, as my adobe reader is temprenetal to say the least. Half the time it takes 45 seconds to open a file (DO I LOOK LIKE I GOT 45 SECONDS TO WASTE???) the other half it reads "done" with nothing but a tepid, pasty, pink northeastern-havent-seen-the-sun-since-june skin like color (the kind of thing readily on display on north road). Why, at an institution of unparalleled supercomputing excelence is it so hard for my adobe acrobat reader to act like an adult? All of a sudden burritos "I cant view pdfs" is starting to sound familiar...

The second point Id like to hammer home is my love affair with Pat. Not only does that woman know how to pour a good (relatively speaking) cup of coffee - always nailing the perfect ratio of milk to coffee, but she goes that extra mile to find me my custard creams. She also has learned how to add quickly which saves me time (DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE 45 SECONDS TO WASTE???). Glenda on the other hand's callous disinterest in her job is visible by the rancous cups of sludge Im forced to drink. The milk - to - coffee ratio is all over the place, occasionally resembling a latte and occasionally as black my feelings for her. She nervously laugh as though Im about to report her to the stasi for resisting collectivization and she cant calculate to save her pension.

Dont get my started on Lynne, whos tatoo has scared me into fearing reprisals if I even think anything negative about her (nervous laugh).

Friday, March 24, 2006


A bit ofva follow on here from Jim's rant on - adverts just don't try anymore. This one particularly gets on my wick:

The new perfume 'Lovely' by Sarah Jessica Parker. Where do I start? How about the name - have the advertising guys not got a thesaurus? How dull! What's next - 'Good' by Calvin Klein? 'Nice' by Ralph Lauren? 'Fragrant' by Estee Lauder? Then the brand. Sarah Jessica Parker - so can anyone have a perfume these days (well yes actually, take Britney and Beyonce)? But she's a talentless dog. At least Britney dons a school uniform and Beyonce shakes her assets. But SJP? Nothing of note since she was in Flight of the Navigator. Then there's the ad - just the aforementioned bint rolling around like a stuffed pig in a dress. I bet the perfume stinks of piss anyway.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Sheesh, will I ever get chance to do some ruddy work? Last week seemed to be unproductive, the week before was a joke, what with the astrolab, the Masterclass and two days of post-grad interviewees to deal another one appears today, plus my old man was on the blower for 30 mins. Then a special theory lunch. I WANT TO WRITE MY PAPER AND HAVE A NIGHT AT HOME AWAY FROM AN SSH PIPE.

You know, after a gruelling (although enjoyable) 60 minute run with Greg, I'd have enjoyed curling up with Geachy's Vietnam book, a bottle of ice cold Becks, and sat there with Man City vs West Ham on in the background. But alas, no, here I am with an IDL window open.

And Noam didn't turn up today, denying me some office banter. And the SET people haven't my photos for the press release. And the chuffing decorator keeps feeding me cock and bull about his no-show on Saturday. There are so many useless numpties in this world, how the hell we ever invented the microchip or paranormal detections and eliminations I'll never know.

Only good news - Steve Wilkins got accepted at the IoA. Well done Steve, I'm envious. I'd be there in a shot.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Try whistling this...

My first post in some time; seemed like the blog might die but Noam has kept it going nicely. So, an eventful few days. Last week saw the successful completetion of the Masterclass for the 2005/6 kids - big pat on the back for Greg and I methinks. Well worth the stress.

So, as Noam commented we had some of the potential PhDs in the office on Thursday and Friday. A real mixed bag. On the plus-side, it was nice to see three ladies pitch up - the group really needs some gender balancing so here's hoping they made the grade. The guy Noam mentioned also seemed well-adjusted - Alastair Edge tells me he was formerly one of his M.Sci. students. I'd like to see him get a position*. Then there were the odd ones: notably the Oxbridge pair. One couldn't talk and the other couldn't shut up.

The weekend was excellent - got to Hampstead without incident on Sunday and spent a nice afternoon watching Sky Sports and wandering across the Heath with Jonny Church before heading into Holborn for some Belgian ales. Later met up with Tobias and had a couple in Leicester Square.

Sunday was fantastic - grabbed a fry-up with JC in Vauxhall before taking a flight on the London Eye, then hit Westminster to abuse some MPs with tales of the simulations. Met my Lincoln MP (and her cheeky PA) and chatted to some like-minded (!) PhDs before presenting my work to the judges. Had a raging argument about CDM with one of them (who later emailed to say he loved our argument) and then came home with a prize for my efforts. I even caught an early train and got in a few chapters of Geachy's Vietnam book. Top bombing.

* It goes without saying that we want Steve to get the position he deserves too, given his talents, work for the ICC and also his sexploits.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Meeting the MPs in the PM

Roberto Crainius is in London impressing Parliamentarians with his big super computer, whilst I alas am still stuck in durham listening to Hughs 24 minute recording of ACDC's "You shook me all night long". O the good old days when my PhD was half way done when one could afford to go to london and waste time meeting MPs... Congrats rob! good cv material and (hopefully) a fun experience. just dont throw any purple flowered condoms at TB.

I still cant believe we are paying for Stotties taxi rides. Im gonna break my leg and demand a chaffeured limo service to and from work as well. Milk away if you can.

Friday, March 10, 2006

new fish for the post grad fish tank

Boy am I sick of talking to the new potential phd students. One of them was wierder then wierd (he seemed to be an infant in disguise), one looked like an axe murderer, the girl got scared when she saw the "name the weapon andd inventor" picture round of my pub quiz., One guy from Durham via UCL was dressed in a sharp suit which I thought made him stand out from the crowd of wierdos...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The old God Vs Science Debate

Tonight there is going to be a great god versus science lecture instead of the at times tedious wednesday seminar. I cant wait to see some theolgian present the arguements in the boxing ring and then the questions wherein the scientists and the religious slug it out.

I have finally (after ca, 3 months) found a safe way to identify satellites in takashis hydro simulation. Yay for me.

yesterday I fried either the mother board or the cpu or both of my trusty xgpc31. now its gone. and all of alans help and all of alans fiddling couldnt put xgpc31 back together again. I have to use my laptop until its fixed. Oy Vey!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More tired than a Dunlop factory.

My God, it's only Tuesday and I am Maurice Mickelwhited. Stuff is rapidly catching up with me and I need to sleep. Kat is currently being interviewed for a potentially great job, so neither of us have slept for the last few nights as she prepared material and suffered crises of confidence.

Meanwhile I've survived another year of the journal club; got some useful comments from JRL, Ian McCarthy (if Ian doesn't make it big in astronomy there's no justice in the world) and, unsurprisingly, Richard Bower. I love the way Richard straddles the observer / theorist divide and far from plays Jack of All Trades, but rather appears to have mastered both. I'm envious of that capability. Still, the comments may have generated me a couple of month's worth of more work, so perhaps my gratitude should be limited.

Picked up a great suit at the weekend from Moss Bros, although the daft buggers failed to sort the adjustments out for yesterday so I can't collect it now until Thursday, what with the Masterclass coming up tomorrow. Still, I should look sharp as a razor for my big date with the MPs on Monday. Good job, because my poster deserves it - I'm more than happy with how it came out. Shame none of the work is mine really.

I'm currently, frantically, writing a water-tight new code to make synthetic datacubes for Josh Simon at Caltech. From the little dialogue I've had with him, it's clear he's a sharp cookie so I'm going to need to be on my toes. Need to give the A-Team an overview of his papers tomorrow...another night without sleep tonight then, and that's before I have to deal with whatever the fall out of Kat's day might be. I'll need a couple of single malts on Friday night...if anyone's interested please let me know.

Monday, March 06, 2006

When the town beats the gown the town gets arrested

funny anecdote of the weekend:

Me and cornelius were sipping algrave coralejo tequila and 16 year old laguvulin islay whiskey at about 1 am when we heard a scuffle outside. "why did you it me, why did you it me?" then bam punch to the face, smack down. two inebriated bodies hit the ground. rolling pushing and pulling. In a futile effort to get them to stop beating echother senseless I screamed out of my window "police police!". To my surprise about thrity seconds later one police woman and one police man show up. they pry them apart. then they start talking the drunken geordies down a little. then someone touches a woman across the street and one of the guys erupts with a "dont fahking touch er, dont fahking touch er" the police depserately try and contain him. Hes lashing out kicking and screaming. Then it got violent. The male cop slams him to the ground while the police woman holds him in a headlock. Then another police vehicle shows up and four cops bungle him in the back the whole time kicking and screaming bloody murder. the last thing I heard him scream was "fahking souvern cunts dont get arrested do they?"

welcome to the town beating the gown... why did I buy a TV license?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thank big-bang nucleo synthesis its friday

That precioous day has come as it does every 7 days. Time to go out, get pissed, whatch motherwell versus celtic, get in a fight wif som geeza, ruin my liver and eat some haggis.

I love britain.

A new dawn.

Great work Jim, looks like the whiskey club is well and truly established now. Here's to many enjoyable drinks! Bottoms up.


Antipodean Detection

Nice to see that our blog has caught the attention of the Blog-grandaddy Nic while he's over at AAT. His round up of our raison d'etre couldn't be closer to the truth.

Was too exhausted last night to work any further on the talk, so I must finish it this morning. I hate giving talks because it usually exposes a lack of basic understanding, particularly when Schurch throws in his trademark "I'm no cosmologist, but.." question.
Anyway, I buckled and went to the quiz...a mistake. I'm now even more tired than I was last night. I blame Geach for this.

Next Wednesday I have to deal with 20 school kids and some quantum mechanics. The following Monday I have to tell some MPs about disk galaxies. I might hibernate over the summer.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thursday morning, 10am

Not quite a Simon & Garfunkel title, but then again I haven't robbed a liqour store. Big news about poor old Stotty. WHAT a man - walking around on a broken leg all week ( That's the sort of spirit Alan Sugar would appreciate.

So, I'm up for the Journal Club talk tomorrow, and the /data disks on COSMA are still nowhere to be seen; henceforth neither is my talk. Have wasted plenty of time today already trying to get .avi movies to play in Keynote to no avail, so content is thin on the ground. It's all going Pete Tong in OC320 today.

Don't worry, only another 75 more to go....

Friendly greek boys

This morning radio four had a program on "friendship" in ancient greece. Its the kind of friendship Gary Glitter is into.

Word of advice for anyone trying to identify small galaxies in SPH simulations: ITS HARD. Every method has its short comings, FOF, subfind, Mesh based methods, Dark Matter substructure. You name its got problems.

Is a system considered a Milky way if its largest satellite is only one magnitude fainter then the central galaxy?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Health Concerns

Libeskind is mental. But you've got to love him. Still, I worry that without Richard's calming, dead-pan demeanour in the office I might actually go mad.

On other news, another Wednesday flies by without me going to the seminar. Lensing shmensing. The office is empty...time for a little Kenny Loggins to help the time pass while I frantically cobble together some more f90.

"After tasting sunset, one of life's simple joys is playing with the boys." Was it Kenny, or Jim Geach who said that?

Just when you thought the state was too controlling,

I have been advised to express some form of self-censorship in the fear that some of my antics might offend fragile people.

I dont care I will still lambast and hate on scientologists, fundamentalist radical islamic militants that want to turn me into human homus, disgraceful holocaust deniers who are being buggered by turks in austrian prisons, anti-darwinian monkeys, archidorks, warmongers, pub-quiz rejects and brussel sprouts.


We both forgot to mention the single greatest grievance we currently have, and that's the disappearance of our beloved Titania. We're 24 cpus, 48Gb of RAM and a datastore short of a picnic at the moment. May the return of our beloved machine be swift.

WIll the real OC please stand up?

Roberto Carlos has set up this blog so that presumably we have a forum to whine about:

1. our codes crashing
2. our codes not compiling
3. the fact that a picasso just got stolen from the carnival in rio (crazy brazzilians)
4. people without personality wasting our space-time continum
5. muppets
6. losers
7. bad whiskeys
8. annoying attributes of girlfriends
9. I am nil

Like stepping on virgin snow...

Crain takes the first step on the remarkable journey that the Libeskind-Crain blog will surely become. Better mention the day so far:

1. Am fighting a bug in my baryon fraction code...needs sorting so I can get my results for Friday's talk.
2. Had a meeting with the A-Team (CSF, ARJ, VRE). Nothing unusal happened.
3. Went over to e-Science to drop Nick Holliman's disk back, then hit the ITS to get some accounts for the Masterclass kids. Useless buggers over there.
4. Made a blog.