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.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The pros and cons of headphones

The best thing about headphones is the complete level of detachment from the that they afford the user. I've been lost in a world of music all day, and have got loads of code written today. Great! Well done cans.

The worst thing about headphones is the complete level of detachment from the that they afford the user. Whilst merrily coding away, Norris entered my office without a care for covert action, strolled up behind me utterly undetected and jabbed me in the ribs. Cruelly torn from my own world, I shot bolt upright, adrenaline rushing through my veins and produced some serious expletive action.

I guess this is justice on me, since for several days now I've mused to myself about how easy it would be to unleash similar cruelty on Jim2, who not only wears cans but keeps his office door open and sits facing away from it....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Residential Vigilante

Those of you living around Claypath / The Sands may have noticed that new flats are being built behind Ruth First House. This is creating havoc near my house as zillions of lorries and heavy plant (YES! I got to use 'heavy plant' in a post) are trundling up and down my tiny street all day. Literally *all* day, they never seem to stop.

Last night I got home to find a note through the door from some neighbours who are hacked off with it all - they were having a meeting! Sadly I couldn't go because of football training, so I may have missed my chance to fight the good fight against the evil corporation (building company).

Things ratched up a gear this morning though, 0755hrs to be precise, as a lorry began reversing up the street. This is pretty noisy anyway, but obviously the lorry also had a reversing "beep" sounding too. Suddenly, the neighbour who organised last night's meeting stuck his head out of his bedroom window and began gobbing off at the lorry driver about the beeping, specifically he was pissed that it was before 8am. The lorry driver retorted in typical lorry driver fashion (sorry to any lorry drivers out there) and carried on reversing. Incensed by this ignorance, the neighbour remained at the window screaming "you're breaking the law! You. Are. Breaking. The. LAW!"

Of course, he ended up making more noise than the lorry, but I *love* this guy. He's a classic underdog and he's fighting for a noble cause. I hate this building development more than most, and were it not for my chronic apathy and inate cowardice I'd offer to be his sidekick.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


OK, sorry for jumping on the band-wagon that John and Craig have been peddling of late, but this is such an awesome find that I have to share it.

The jist is this: come the "rapture", those who believe in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth will be whisked off to heaven...presumably to live the high-life with the Almighty and avoid things like writing halo morphology software. But what if you're one of Jesus' pals? Surely there are messages you need to send to people whose names aren't on the list? A great big "f*ck you" to members of other religions / agnostics / atheists? Or a more friendly "miss you" to old non-believing friends?

No problem: this guy has set up a server that will fire off any emails you want sending to people come your big moment. As a believer, obviously he'll be with you (formatting the Holy Ghost's broken PC, maybe?) so he has a "dead man switch", much like that computer in that "Lost" program on Channel4. The first Friday after the rapture, the emails will fire off. AWESOME THINKING. Except...

1) What if he forgets or gets hit by a bus? Do all of your mortal enemies get their slating a -little- but too early? Will your mum think you've been taken away when in fact you're probably at the pub?

2) What if power stations are manned by an unusually high proportion of Christians? If the rapture comes, we might find the juice turning off and those messages might lie dormant on a disk for all time!

3) What if he uses XP!? You can't rely on that bad-boy working without someone to kick the server now and again...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sail hoy, two points off the starboard bow

Dear readers,

A fleeting apology for my prolonged absence. Following the excitment of the conference (the Shanks' speech, chatting with PJEP, watching the astro ladies' men do their worst - oh yes Ross and Geach, Nozbo has filled me in), and also having been working like a prisoner of war for months (with jack-shit productivity), I decided enough was enough. I'm taking a few days off to chill.

When I get back, I hope to unleash a Ramsay-esque explosion of awesomeness. DALSIM will get finished, my paper will get submitted, and I'll do loads of work.*

By the way, I sacked off Othello, it was crap. I read Master & Commander instead, and it was great. I'm off to buy the second in the series today (there are 20 in total!). Expect some capital seamanship upon my return to HMS Ogden. Huzzah!


* - Might not be true.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

the conference is in full swing

There are few pleasures for the monastic style life of the theoretical cosmologist: finding that bug in your code, obtaining some results that are new, giving a talk and answering Simon White so that he doesnt laugh at you... today seeing P.J.E Peebles (of CMB, galactic spin, and countless book fame) give his talk was one of them. Although I dont think many of us fully understood the meaning of his last "anomoly", hearing his take on Einstein-deSitter's correspondance, his interpretation of the anthropic principle and his justification of LCDM was a priviladge and a pleasure. I dont want to advocate group - think, but when he says LCDM, I say "Halelujiah".

Numptey boy Ross lived up to his repuatation and gave agreat talk as well: congrats nick!!