Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cocktails... for Science!


Experiments in home-extracted DNA as a cocktail garnish. I'm tentatively calling it a martidna - since people in this country seem to believe anything alcoholic in a martini glass that costs at least $8 is a martini - but that could use some work. Suggestions?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sorry Guardian...

...and I realise that its puerile and immature of me even to notice, much the less snigger, but I completely fail to believe that this juxtaposition of photos and captions was accidental:
Just... no.

(I swear I did not make this up.  Or photoshop it.  Or anything.  Screenshotted in the wild, from the sidebar at The Guardian.)

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Chrissie Pissie: a proposal

A thought I had at last year's Chrissie Pissie, and would like to bring up now in the lead up to the social season:

Can we shift the $15 surly santa presents away from 'gag gifts' towards 'stuff people would actually want in their house'.

Two reasons I can think of:
1. Less clutter in people's houses, more things they remember fondly. I really don't need more geek-themed coasters, cookie cutters or sound emitting devices in my life. I do however want cool coffee mugs, or some lovely tea, or a nice book, or a pot for a houseplant, or a cool kitchen gadget, etc.
2. More meaningful environmental impact. Each of those items takes energy, and water and resources to make. To then have them used once or twice is, in my books, not something that fits with the ethos of most of us.

I do however think that nerf guns/sports equipment that get used on the day and then handed to a child are an exception. But then, they'd get used more than once or twice, so they fit reason two.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Turkey day is approaching....

You have been warned! Batton down the hatches, loosen those waistbands, slow-cooked turkey is a-comin'! Get ready with your servings of grits and jell-o salad. We will once again provide the venue and the birds, and look forward to seeing you all there! Turkenation is scheduled to commence around 1pm on Saturday, 30th November. Dinner will be around 6 or 7 pm as usual.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Get on Up!

I'm sure most of the ForBattle! crowd probably agree with this. Via GetUp! on Facebook:

"Get this: the TV networks are refusing to put GetUp members' ad on the air. Channel 7 refused outright on the grounds that it was "distasteful", while Channel Ten and Channel Nine have told us directly that they won't continue running the ad because it criticises Rupert Murdoch.

"And in a really bizarre twist of events, Channel 9 withdrew the approved ad from broadcast after having accepted payment for the ad spots, and haven't confirmed they'll refund the money.

"They're giving Murdoch a free pass while censoring our free speech. We won't let that stop us though. Can you help us make sure as many Australians watch this ad as possible? It's already been seen by more than 100,000 Australians online - like & SHARE this to keep it growing!"
 So I'm sharing,because I'm really bloody sick of the appalling bias in our media.
 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Finite Haiku

So a funny thing happened in my brain today. I wondered... given that haiku has exactly 17 syllables all up (5/7/5), and that the english language has a certain number of words/sounds, how many unique haiku exist? Well.. I'm still not sure, but I did some poking around to work out the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is that English is a living language, and that haiku is simply a collection of 17 syllables, each from a pool of all possible syllables in the language. While this is very simplistic, and throwing random syllables together is unlikely to produce words let alone meaning, it does future proof against new words that may turn up. And it does provide a maximum number. So how many syllables are there in English? Turns out that I couldn't find any definitive answer, but I did find an article here http://semarch.linguistics.fas.nyu.edu/barker/Syllables/index.txt which again is kind of a worst case scenario. The author refers to 15,831 syllable candidates. This does seem rather large, but I'd be interested if someone else had any good sources on something more accurate. So if we take this worst case of 15,831 syllable candidates, and we have 17 positions to fill, again using a worst case scenario that any syllable can follow any syllable, we end up with 17^15,831 unique haiku - which will include both the nonsense ones and also every possible sensible haiku. It did take a while to find a calculator that wasn't going to fall over punching in that kind of number. Luckily, Wolfram Alpha was obliging and came up with 1.7*10^19479. A stupidly large number. How stupidly large? Well... let's compare it to some other things. For the bridge players out there, there are 5.4*10^28 unique bridge deals. For the chess players, it's estimated that there are 1*10^120 unique chess games. So I'd like to make the number more accurate, but I'm not sure how. Any suggestions? Maybe if I could find the average number of syllables in a word (not in a normal distribution, but across the english language), I could use that and the total number of unique words. Any other ideas?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Sith Names

I was thinking on the way to work this morning - because, you know, youTube videos of babies with lightsabers should probably not be consumed before breakfast - and I've decided to join the Sith.  I mean everyone was all trendy and jumped on the Jedi bandwagon, spawning headlines in the Telegraph like "Jedi the largest alternative religion in the UK" ("alternative" apparently being defined as "not bigger than Jedi".)  So its time to move on to the new hip thing - Emo Jedi.  And more importantly, I want to get in before all the good names are taken.

So the rules for geting your Sith name are apparently simple:
  1) You pick a word you like the sound of that starts with IN.  Like INvader, or INsidious.
  2) You add Darth and lop off the IN.

The problem is that the prefix IN on a word often means "not", so you have to be careful not to end up with a meaning you didn't quite want.  Some names I am considering:

Darth Sulator
Darth Fluenza
Darth Frared
Darth Spector
Darth Cur
Darth K (yo!)
Darth Fidel (apparently already taken by some guy in Cuba who got in way early.)

Some names you might end up stuck with, if you wait too long to join:

Darth Continent
Darth Competent (actually, this is my vote for the new head of our order.  We could use some competence.)
Darth Complete
Darth Attentive
Darth Comprehensible
Darth Hospitable
Darth Ept
Darth Flammable
Darth Fomercial
Darth Seminate

Disney, you're welcome to use any of these you like. Darth Brooks does NOT fit the pattern, and is not allowed.