Sunday, February 22, 2009

A good vid about science

Check this out.

Science doesn’t have the answers to everything we would like to know about reality. What it does have is the most reliable answers and the most reliable ways of looking for answers. When one adopts scientific principles and procedures, one is saying, “I want to understand things as they really are, not simply how I might want them to be.” Science rewards our genuine curiosity, enabling true learning and discovery. It allows (indeed thrives on) openness to new ideas, while fostering a self-critical approach that prevents that open-mindedness from sliding into gullibility. It gives us access to real-world evidence, rather than encouraging us to accept the unreliable testimony of people whose motive may be to exploit us.

Science allows us, with more certainty than any other approach, to distinguish between true and false claims. Because of this, science leads us along the surest and most intellectually honest path to genuine knowledge about the universe in which we live.

Failure Mode: Calculator

I need a new calculator. This is my poor calculator's pitiful attempt to display a screen full of 8's.

Not surprisingly it was hard to get a good snap of the LCD in a dark room with a hand held point and shoot cam so that pic has been desaturated and unsharp masked. As you can see quite a few of the segments are out. Poor thing.

On the bright side (no pun intended), the physics of how LCD's work is a pretty demonstration of the polarization of light. I thought this was interesting (page 6):
Manufacturers of existing large LCDs often reject about 40 percent of the panels that come off the assembly line. The level of rejection directly affects LCD price since the sales of the good LCDs must cover the cost of manufacturing both the good and bad ones. Only advances in manufacturing can lead to affordable displays in bigger sizes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Don't you hate

those blogs where all they post about are the stupid surveys and quizzes they take? I sure do. So without further ado, my latest quiz result:

Between 50 and 100 monkeys

I'm most like Between 50 and 100 monkeys.

Take More Surveys

Thursday, February 12, 2009


The Froy Marriage Test

Froy Marriage Rating = -1304

"Generally speaking, no woman with an FR of under 250 can be recommended, especially to our less experienced friends. FR-minus women are out from the start."

Approximate Risk of Marriage = 100%

Yeah. I'm screwed.

Which NetHack Monster Are You?

If I were a NetHack monster, I would be a floating eye. I see and sense absolutely everything that happens around me. I just don't do very much about it.
Which NetHack Monster Are You?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This is so, so sad.

Name That Movie Villain

A Toast to Richard Hammond

A Beautiful Nutcase

I'm hardly an artist.

In fact, I'm not even close to resembling something that somebody might generously call artistic. My best freehand approximation of a straight line is more like... well... the back of a camel. Yet drawing is something that I truly aspire to be good at. So when I can get a little help from a computer I don't turn away the opportunity. Enter POV-Ray, the persistence of vision ray tracer.

To use POV-Ray you write a description of your scene in an easy to learn Scene Description Language or SDL, which vaguely resembles the C programming language. Then POV-Ray processes the scene description to produce an image.

This is what I, a complete amateur, produced after about an hour of playing with SDL:

If you want to see what real artists can do with POV-Ray I suggest you check out their Hall of Fame gallery. Warning: be sure your chin is over a soft surface. It will drop.

First post (again)

It has come to my attention that a few people actually read my blog (*shock horror*) and I haven't posted for far too long. This is what I do:
  1. Start a project.
  2. Get distracted.
  3. Drop the project.
  4. O(1) months later, feel sad about dropping the project.
  5. Return to step 1.
Step 2 in this case was the Christmas/New year holidays. So, my friends, this is for you: step 5. Consider this my first post of the new year.