Sunday, 31 August 2008

Leaving home

This is brilliant!

via Christian Pwnage, great site BTW. Grow into these trousers... >>

What do mathematicians do?

Judging by this they make impressive videos presentations. Credit to: Étienne Ghys of the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France. See Science News for a good article on this video.

Great graphics and big maths fit together so well.

Starting with projections of the spherical Earth onto a flat plane, that's 3 dimensions displayed in 2, the video takes you through the steps to visualising 4 dimensional objects by projection into 3.

Later, in part 5, they move on to complex numbers, which are just like normal numbers but with an imaginary bit, a multiple of the square root of -1, this adds extra dimensionality to all numbers (the imaginary part is at 'right angles' to the normal number line, this gives the complex plane).

On to fractals where the easiest way to think of them is in the complex plane.

Through topology, described by intersecting complex planes. Doughnuts seem popular here.

Finally they consider the work of Bernhard Riemann some of whose geometries paved the way for the young upstart, Albert Einstein.

Happy viewing.

via Jim Downey at Unscrewing the Inscrutable.
I was just recovering from learning overload when I found they are planning 'Dimension II' - whoah!!!

Consider a spherical cow... Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Jethro Tull - Locomotive Breath

Oh Yes...
Live 1978:
Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 29 August 2008

I should never talk about work

So I won't; but I jumped on the bus home tonight and who was there but my office senior from work. No probs, she's a top Yorkshire lass, we live nearby to each other and there's one best way home.

We said hello and I took the seat in front. It was free and I just wanted a snooze...

But something in the situation reminded me of this:
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea'es us,
An ev'n devotion!
From To a Louse by Robert Burns

<grin> Hi Boss! Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

You Scratch Your Back, I'll Scratch Mine

Now here is one to keep an eye on, BBC News reports:
A devout Shia Muslim has been convicted of child cruelty after forcing two boys to beat themselves during a religious ceremony, in an unprecedented case.

The jury at Manchester Crown Court found 44-year-old Syed Mustafa Zaidi guilty of two counts of child cruelty.

The boys, aged 13 and 15, were forced to beat themselves with a zanjeer whip, with five curved blades.
It seems these two young guys knew what was expected before this ceremony, they had seen it before. Add in a bit of teenage bravado and yes, they agreed till they saw the reality of what Zaidi had in mind for them. Not like this wimp here, no blades for him!

More like this -->

Then the guys bottled it and quite rightly.
Zaidi admitted he had asked the boys if they wanted to beat themselves and allowed them to use the bladed whip.
"allowed them", WTF, like it's in any way sensible to flay the skin off your own back. They were being intimidated.
He denied his actions were wrong, saying: "This is a part of our religion."
Right. Oh, sorry, that makes it OK then - NOT.

I hope these young gentlemen have learned just how batshit insane some of their elders really are. Keep thinking for yourself guys, you will get there. Just don't let the braindead bastards like Zaidi suck you in again.

Zaidi told the court: "It was an emotional time and the children were happy, they asked for it. No one forced anyone.

"If I'd known this would be the result of breaking the law I would never have done it."

Yeah, sure.

Note for diary:
Zaidi will be sentenced on 24 September.

Update: Zaidi convicted. Grow into these trousers... >>

Your Inner Fish

Back in 2006 Neil Shubin, Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy (try saying that after you've had a drink) University of Chicago, rocked the paleontology and evolution scene with his team's unearthing of a fossil revealing the transition between aquatic and land animals. Named Tiktaalik for reasons you'll see if you watch the vid, it's one of the most important discoveries in understanding the origins of terrestrial animals.

Shubin talks about his science and his recent book, Your Inner Fish.

Part 1

Part 2 is below the belt.

Part 2

There's also a flash slideshow at Chicago Uni.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday Heroes

I hadn't seen any of these clips before, but Ahhhhhhh...


More below the belt:

The Last Supper.

Check out oldgregg23 for more.
The caress of a tentacle to PZ Myers.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Genius Of Charles Darwin

Richard Dawkins presents a 3 part series on the life, works and legacy of the 19th century naturalist Charles Darwin.

Broadcast August 2008 on C4.

Richard Dawkins' Genius Of Darwin - Episode 1 - (Part 1/5)

Here are playlists for each episode:
Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3
Much more below the belt:

Not covered in Dawkins' series is the emerging science of epigenetics which just goes to show that the Theory of Evolution is itself, err, evolving.

The Ghost In Your Genes - BBC Horizon (2006)

NOVA ScienceNOW have a shorter video (introduced, surprisingly, by Neil Degrasse Tyson) and there is more here.

There's also some good reading in the blogosphere from Pharyngula and erv, or watch them in discussion on Bloggingheads.

Finally, just to 'teach the controversy' as many ardent followers of the Abrahamic religions demand these days, here are creationist Christians Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron with their demolition of evolution.

You just can't make this shit up!
PS look up Cavendish banana, the most commonly eaten banana in the world. It's a cultivar which has to be propagated by farmers because it is seedless, ie sterile, so without mankind to take cuttings it would not fucking exist!
PPS the quote from Darwin about the evolution of the eye (~4:50) is taken out of context to the point of untruth.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 25 August 2008

Robot controlled by rat neurons

Gosh, this is doing the rounds of the intertubes just now.

Kevin Warwick, a cyberneticist, and Ben Whalley a pharmacist both from the University of Reading in the UK have interfaced rat brain cells with electronics to control a simple robot. Reading Uni has a press release, and this article from New Scientist magazine has the low down.

NS have a short video:

More below the belt:

Here's another clip with a bit more substance from Reading Uni:

And ITN take note when you make posts on YouTube...

Put things in the right category.

Sci-tech is not comedy. Wankers.
Grow into these trousers... >>

The Bible Unearthed

Here's a fascinating documentary on one of the most important subjects in modern culture.

Prof. Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Neil Silberman of the Ename Centre of Public Archaeology in Belgium explore the archaeology of the Levant casting doubt on the historical accuracy of the biblical Old Testament.

It's in 10 chunks of about 10mins each but here's a playlist for the whole programme.
While surfing around for background to this broadcast I found the Atheist Media Blog, yet another site I will have to visit regularly. This lead me to The Atheist Jew who has a longer article. From there I found KafirGirl who is effing awesome. Read along with her from the Koran. Yes, that's right, just do it OK! Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 22 August 2008

Random surfing, The Muppets - Mnmn

Ha Ha! Big grins - Mnmn

Grow into these trousers... >>

Random surfing: The Who - My Generation

The Who - My Generation (Marquee Club 1967)
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 18 August 2008

Robot makes Rubik's Cube look easy

A robot made from a Lego kit has been built to solve a Rubik's Cube.
Brilliant! Full story at the Telegraph link below.

Video from via via Skepchick.

Game over! Grow into these trousers... >>

Cleck-Fest 2008

Well, seeing as you ask, it's
next weekend.

So if you're in the Leeds - Bradford area and like your music raw and local, join the thronging dozens:

Mead Hall @ The George

Doors open ~7.30pm till late, £5 a night.


Friday 22 Aug
The Vegas Getaway
Clouded Lights

Saturday 23 Aug
Alex Richardson
Black As One

Sunday 24 Aug
The Victims

Plus our fave DJ Tommy Bedlam (who has the coolest taste!) Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The "Stone Age Embrace"

Excavations at Gobero, Niger have uncovered the earliest recorded cemetery in what is now the Sahara desert1. Dating back to almost 8000 BCE the burials are excellently preserved and give a unique look at the people and their culture from a time when the desert was green with plant life and blue with open water.

But the most beautiful image is below the belt...

'Perhaps most incredible was the 2006 discovery the Stone Age Embrace—a Tenerian woman facing the remains of two young children, their arms posed and hands interlaced. Pollen remnants from underneath the skeletons shows the dead had been laid on a bed of flowers. "This is a landmark burial—there's nothing like it in prehistory," Sereno said.'
National Geographic 2008

via guestblogger LisaJ at Pharyngula.
1. Sereno PC, Garcea EAA, Jousse H, Stojanowski CM, Saliège J, et al. 'Lakeside Cemeteries in the Sahara: 5000 Years of Holocene Population and Environmental Change. PLoS ONE 3(8): e2995 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002995 2008

Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 16 August 2008

The origin of the number 1

A light hearted Terry Jones documentary about counting.
The Story of 1
(BBC - 2005)

via Online Documentaries 4 U
NOTE: this looks like a great blog for scoring your documentary fix. Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Gay Scientists Identify Christian Gene

Via Ed Brayton at Dispatches From The Culture Wars

I hope there is some truth in this, well it tickles my fancy anyway :)))))) Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Traveler IQ Challenge™

A fine test of your geographical knowledge. Accuracy and speed both count so have a couple of goes first to warm up, it's only fair.

My top score: 349093 - so far :)
It is a bit addictive.

This Traveler IQ was calculated on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 08:03PM GMT by comparing this person's geographical knowledge against the Web's Original Travel Blog's 2,931,716 travelers who've taken the challenge.

Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 10 August 2008

If you are out and about at night in the next few days

Look up!

The Perseid meteor shower reaches its maximum in the early morning on August 12th but there's a good chance to see shooting stars anytime over the next few nights. Grow into these trousers... >>

Time for some Grateful Dead on this blog

Ahh, chill out time:

Grateful Dead - Scarlet Begonias (Part I)

Part II is below the belt.

Grateful Dead - Scarlet Begonias (Part II)

Grow into these trousers... >>

Weeing down my trouser leg #4 - Big style

The world's most offensive joke.
A comical documentary from Channel 4 in short (5min) chunks.
NOTE: probably NSFW

1/9 - The Holocaust

Links to the rest are below the belt.

2/9 - Race

3/9 - Disability

4/9 - Princess Diana

5/9 - Paedophilia

6/9 - Tsunami

7/9 - Scousers

9/9 - Islam (winner)

Was I offended in any way? No, but I could have been if I didn't understand comedy.

Did I laugh? Yes. Outloud.

I thought the winning joke was best because they didn't need to tell it or show cartoons. The real joke was the reaction of those claiming to be offended. They are the ones I laugh at anyway.
And I loved the VW ad:

Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A fishy quiz

I'm Andy and
I'm a Hammerhead Shark.

Andy, based on the results of the quiz, the fish you're closest to is a Hammerhead Shark!

As an extremely adapted predator, you use your oddly shaped head to increase your ability to find prey. Your eyes and nostrils are located on both ends of your hammer shaped head. Your vertebrae are especially designed for quick turns and maneuvering. Ranging in size from 3 feet to 20 feet long, you can weigh up to 1,000lbs. You feed on fish, crustaceans and especially enjoy eating rays. You prefer warm temperate and tropical water, and can be found swimming along coastlines and continental shelves in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean and Black Seas. You may even catch a tan while swimming in shallow waters. During the day you often swim in large schools, sometimes containing more than 100 fellow hammerheads, but prefer to hunt alone at night.

As true with most shark species, you are in danger of becoming extinct. Highly sought after, your fins are considered an expensive delicacy (used to make shark fin soup), your liver oil is often used to make vitamins, and your skin is use to make leather. While people are not legally permitted to catch you, you are often caught by longlines and driftnets, and rarely make it out alive. Grow into these trousers... >>

Cool guitar playing

Just tripped across this video of guitarist Preston Reed via Little Green Footballs. After a bit of listening around I think this track Ladies night captures his playing a bit better:

But for real skill IMHO, delve below the belt.

Martin Taylor , here's Down at Cocomo's.

Look out for Kwame (sp?) from the 4 Martins DVD, it's in the extras. Genius!
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Another quiz: 'What Breed of Liberal Are You?'

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

OK, it is a bit American... Grow into these trousers... >>

The Antikythera mechanism

This object, and some other fragments found in the early 1900s off the Greek island of the same name, is a complete anachronism. Dated to 150-100 BCE nothing similar is known till a thousand years later. The mechanism seems to have been made to calculate astronomical events and positions and is of remarkable complexity for its age.

Results of a new X-ray study[1] suggest that in addition the Antikythera mechanism also displayed the timing of the original Olympic Games.
You need a subscription to Nature to read the full article but there is a great video available here. It's worth watching.

EDIT: it seems you may not need a subscription to read the article. The video is still good to see.
1. Tony Freeth, Alexander Jones, John M. Steele & Yanis Bitsakis 'Calendars with Olympiad display and eclipse prediction on the Antikythera Mechanism' Nature 454, 614-617 (31 July 2008) Grow into these trousers... >>

Is it ice? Part 3 - Yes!

Water on Mars:
Photo credit : Rob @ Bayblab

OK, I've dithered about this. Pull up your trousers here and here.

Not that I ever really doubted that ice was present on Mars. The polar caps have been known to be composed of water ice(15%) and frozen carbon dioxide (CO2 - dry ice - 85%) from a long time back.

But you want that final cherry. The tension has been well, tense; with oven doors failing to open correctly, fears of a short circuit and claggy Marsdust but finally the robot arm has delivered a (small) scoopful of the solid stuff to a properly working TEGA slot. Photo credit: NASA

This instrument gently warms up the sample and measures the molecular/atomic weight of the gases which evaporates off. Guess what, at 32°F (0°C for the non-Americans) a phase change was observed - that's something melting. In the evolved gases, a signal with a mass of 18 was detected!

H - Hydrogen : atomic weight = 1
O - Oxygen : atomic weight = 16
H2O - Water : molecular weight = 1+1+16 = 18

What were you expecting, some alloy of Lithium and Boron?
Dihydro quodrahelium (He4H2)? Nah, look it up. That was water. I am convinced, but what I want to know now is did they see any deuterium 2H or any 18O. These are heavy isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen and the isotope ratios can provide a lot of information on how the ice may have formed.

In the same press release from NASA a five week extension to the Phoenix mission was announced. This will keep data coming back until early November rather than stopping at the end of August. After that the Martian winter will be setting in, light levels will fall and the solar panels will cease to work. Phoenix will freeze :(
Update: Emily Lakdawalla notes the sample was too small to observe a deuterium to hydrogen ratio. Oh well, better luck next time.
Grow into these trousers... >>