22 December 2006

Fourier Transforms (2)

I came across this statement in the print version of this article on a hypothetical elementary particle called an axion. The article is on a follow-up experiment to the PVLAS experiment using the double-pulsar system J0737 to test the birefringence of a strongly polarised beam of photons that had passed through a strong magnetic field. Regarding the delicate and exact calculations required to disentangle the change in polarisation (from linear to elliptical) from the effects of various frequency shifts owing to the double-pulsars' orbital and rotational effects...
Owing to the appalling complexities of the timings involved, the system can be regarded either as a nightmare for normal human beings or as a dream case for Fourier-analysis buffs.


18 December 2006

Helsinki Complaints Choir

Of all the weird and wonderful things in the world, this makes it to one of my favourites list

Helsinki Complaints Choir (YouTube warning).

I love this!

01 December 2006

New Family Member!

Even as we smile in amusement at the title Apple gene for colour red found, we eagerly get our grubby little hands on the christmas present that came early....

So we put it together with the rest of the family...

... and laugh at how brand loyalty is automatically inspired from Really Good Products.

07 October 2006

Camera sees Camera... on Mars.

A sublime moment when we actually see humanity's presence on the Red Planet: the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sees the Mars Rover Opportunity along Victoria Crater.

Isn't it beautiful? If for nothing else, enjoy the view of the crater. But I hope the intangible, intellectual beauty of the mere presence shines through.

I wonder when it will take for the pictures to start resembling a small settlement, town, city, metropolis, world.


14 September 2006


Full credits to this post attributed to the fantastic Gutenburg Project (Traditional Chinese B5 encoding) and here (simplified Chinese GB2312 encoding).

As with everything else, there's a bit of revision history going on there. This thing was originally written ages ago, with versions littering throughout the ages. My personal chuckle (cool!) moment came when I read this (which apparently isn't in the 宋 version)


What? okay, so we want to add in 明 dynasty history. Okay. but why are we using 十六世? And this 复汉土... does it refer to the end of the Second World War? It has to be, because it refers to the People's Republic, 民国. The previous part about proclaiming the President, that links in with the Republic, 共和.

This is the beauty of the Chinese language. One can parse history, people, nature, literature, everything, in three-word phrases. Ah. Beauty.

09 September 2006

Remember, Remember the 8th of September....

Remember Remember the Eighth of September
The Enterprise, phasers, and Spock
I know of no reason that Star Trek's first season
Should ever be forgot


01 September 2006

Star Trek turns 40

Star Trek is the first thing I found when I grew up. Or was it I grew up when I found Star Trek? At any rate, my eyes were opened to the new world of possibilities and wonders, and simultaneously blinded to the dangers of staying up to watch tv at 1am (hail broadcasters). Star Trek (pro-fic) novels taught me English, furthered my interest in Science and its exploration and its appllication in exploration. It placed Klingon heat against Vulcan cold, exposed the nobility and travesty of the human condition. It is good.

As a 80's child, Picard, Riker, Data and crew are closer to me than Kirk, Spock, Bones and crew. Archer, Trip and crew are new, so I can't say just yet.

Official word from Star Trek.com

Someone else's commentary. Commentary from Wired

And yes, Paramount will be remastering TOS with enhanced FX and music.

Memory Alpha is a fantastic ST collective-intelligence (borg?!) information site.

Yet not all are satisfied by canon alone. New Voyages: ST:TOS season 4, as it should be. The upcoming episode is written by DC Fontana and stars Walter Koenig, no less! I just finished watching the first episode "In Harm's Way", and it is good. What an interesting philosophy: to view Kirk and Spock and McCoy are contemporary cultural icons that can and should be portrayed by many actors to bring the characters to their full potential. Just like Prospero, or Hamlet, or James Bond. We wait for the episode to be released.

15 August 2006

The one-life Game called Life

I read this somewhere the other day: that Life is a one life game. Use it up. This amateur gamer certainly agrees!

And oh boy... if you are in any way a Trekker, take a look at this. Go Kobayashi Maru!

Which is funny isn't it? Kobayashi Maru. One life game. Heh.

31 July 2006

You can multi-task, but don't expect to learn anything

I love the title of this article on the associated wetware processing that happens when you multitask. Moral of the story: FOCUS on one thing at one time if you want to learn effectively.

As though we don't know that. But it's always cool to have scientific evidence (wooooooo!) to back up the hypothesis.

Go, scientific method!

27 July 2006

Never Surrender Dreams: Faith Manages

Ah, look's like my favourite TV show of all time Babylon 5 is coming back (directly to the DVD), if only for a short while.

I love Babylon 5. It has mystery, intrigue, heroes and heroines, too much grey in the fight between black and white, sacrifice, love, friendship, death, betrayal, spiritual growth. It has the mythical heroic arc. It has a story line that took 4, nay, 5 years to tell, episode by episode on the silver screen. Season 3's "Messages from Earth", "Point of No Return" and "Severed Dreams" remain, till this day, my favourite three-parter story (or according to JMs the writer and master of the B5 universe, one mega-wham episode). Lord of the Rings doesn't count because it's really SIX books in all -- or ONE book, depending on how you look at it, and the two Star Wars prequels both have their ups and downs... again SIX movies, or one.

I remember watching Messages from Earth at 1am on the day of my A-Levels Chemistry Prelim exams... and I was so utterly blown away by the storyline I could not even sleep properly that morning. The story pulled together in one stroke the elements that heralded the whirlwind: our first serious encounter with the Shadows, the deteriorating situation on Earth, tension between Delenn and Sheridan, tension between Ivanova and Marcus, and plain old almost-state-of-the-art CGI back in the mid-nineties... Woot! It was, it felt like you were standing on the edge of a sharp precipice looking down into a void. The shadow is behind you, but you cannot turn. You have to look forward. The Shadow is near.

As they say, Faith Manages. And I'm not doing B5 justice by this excited rant. Take some time out to look through the midwinter.com/lurk site. It's a fantastic resource for the story.

And while we wait with baited breath for the Lost Tales, here's some cube goodies to drool over.

17 July 2006

The Cult of Leia's Metal Bikini

Ah. Leia Costumers! Wired.com has a write up on this costume. The 501st equivalent is here at Leia's Metal Bikini.

And ohmigosh.... Belly Dancing!!!!!

14 July 2006

Unskilled and unaware of it

A great research paper that I encountered some years ago. Good to find it again after so long. Read this. Very good reading, especially if you are in any sort of management or leadership role.

21 June 2006

A Midsummer Night's Dream

I'm sure I've mentioned previously that Neil Gaiman's the Sandman is one of my favourite piece of literary artwork ever. I've been reading 'The Sandman Papers: An exploration of the Sandman Mythology edited by Joe Sanders Published by Fantagraphics Books' over the past few days. The Papers ran almost the entire gamut of academic discourse on the series of work: from the study of female power to the depiction of the trinity of the Crone, the Mother and the Maiden to Asian influence on Sandman's clothing and the associated cultural associations of change and supreme powers, to (perhaps the most powerful idea explored in the Papers) the concept of change. I can't do the arguments justice by paraphrasing the points here, so I will leave in their place a poignant moment that the Papers evoked in this reader.

There's a line that Morpheus spoke to Queen Titania in the Midsummer Night's Dream regarding the granting of the 'talent' boon to William Shakespeare.
But the price of getting what you want, is getting what you once wanted

This is a true statement.

The price, the sacrifice, the 'that which is left behind'. because needs and wants change, and change is the only constant in the universe.


Indulge me, gentle reader, for a short moment (and moments are all we have, in this great river of time, each moment as precious as sunlight through stained glass murals), as Delight presents Badly Written Jingle #1

Ahem. *cues cheapo jinglistic music*
They say money can't buy you love, and
Money can't buy you joy.
But Money can buy you a glimmer of hope
bright against the dreary sky.
embrace debt!
If you're confident of your ROI
embrace debt!
If your future CF brings smiles
embrace debt!
If you know money is the key part of the capitalist system
embrace debt!

Thank you. This has been a Delight Productions.

13 June 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your wake-up call

Am three-quarters of my way through the book The World is Flat (Thomas L. Friedman, 2006 ed) and is already utterly, utterly convinced that the world, and more specifically, the employment market is utterly different from even five years ago. The fundamental question, it seems, is "How do you continuously re-innovate and re-invent yourself" to stay relevant in a world where your competitor, sorry, partner, can be anyone around the globe? How can you not afford to continously update your skill set to remain relevant in the global job market?

Mindshift 1: You want to run like a top dog? Then treat everyone like a top dog. And keep running. Don't stop.

Mindshift 2: It's no longer nation-state vs nation-state. It's no longer company vs company. It's individual vs individual. And they are all your potential partners.

A few 'sticky' ideas for the generalist who should really be a 'versatilist'

0. Education, education, education.

1. 'Sticky', portable skill sets:
  • subject content matter communication skills up and down the knowledge chain: from experts to novices. Learn on the fly. With Google, there's no reason why information scarcity is 100% roadblock.

  • generally communication skills (aka influence)

  • project management skills

  • SMILE!

  • Most importantly, HOW TO SYNTHESISE YOUR KNOWLEDGE into NEW STUFF in the integrative, cross-functional, cross-industry manner.

  • 2. Flexible, hungry, can-do, want-to-do mindset

    3. Always on 24/7/365, jacked into the twin real worlds of physicality and wired (i.e. virtual, Internet-based). Leverage on Globalisation 3.0 and Web 3.0. Skype (or your favourite VoiP provider). No more problems with presentism or absentism! Go have a life! Proviso: mesh work into your life.

    4. Network indiscriminately. Know the center of the network and the tipping point.

    5. Always remember the triple bottom line/corporate social responsibility (or whatever the newest buzz word is right now).

    6. Energy sufficiency and bio-technoloy are going to be HUGE.

    I am enthused/terrified already.

    14 May 2006

    Circle of friends

    Returned from an industry conference in Perth: a nice one, thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat tiring.

    Found a Scientific American Mind Vo. 17 No. 2 on the magazine rack while at the Perth airport. There's a nice article on social circles as elaborated by psychologist Robin Dunbar. He postulates that social circles are hierarchial structures in the shape of concentric rings. In the inner ring is a hoop of three or four, or at most five people, whom we feel our greatest emotional connection to. This is the 'support group'. The next circle holds between 12-20 people with whom we maintain a caring mutual interest relationship. The subsequent level of 30-50 is looser still: these are people we have regular, if only occassional contact. Each circle's number of individual increases by approximately a factor of three. This can be seen in the arrangement of battle units in many countries. The smallest unit consists of 10-15 people, a platoon of 35 and a company of 120-150.

    Did you, as you read the above paragraph, already started to populate your own social circle map with names?

    A google (is your friend) reveals this article (quoting Dunbar) on the value of gossip. The arguments seems very logical, very scientific method even. Scary. Another nice article on gossip here.

    I wonder what this says about the new media of blogs, podcasts, moblogs et. al. The new media at our disposal allows us to talk to potentially many people at once, yet time and again research as shown that new media's subscription is still rather niche. For example, many personal blogs have very small but dedicated readership, often comprising of a social grouping no larger than the second social circle. Are blogs the next incarnation of the quilting circle?

    15 April 2006


    A spin on the original -

    Cognito cognito cognito ergo sum -- Ambrose Bierce

    08 April 2006

    The Fib

    to post
    this tiny
    blog post about
    Fibbonacci poetry
    mathematics with
    of steps

    28 March 2006

    42 is the answer to the Question...

    ...and the question is 'what is the third moment of the Riemann zeta function' apparently, according to this article.


    Personally, I find the related /. forum page hilarious.

    In other news, the same website that published the Riemann zeta function story also published this (Prescribing Religion) and this (the need to study religion scientifically). Is this a coincidence or what?

    24 February 2006

    Brand New Day

    For some unexplicable reason, I'm moved to write the following:

    Through the predawn darkness I spy the first light of morning. Perhaps that's reason enough.

    13 February 2006

    Mind Hacks

    Mind Hacks - Tips & Tools for using Your Brain - Stafford & Webb, published by O'Reilly

    This is a great book, a not-so Dummy's Guide to the practical appreciation of the human brain, and how we can use it... better.

  • Full of wonderful, simple experiments about the senses... more specifically vision and hearing.

  • Full of usage of online materials for simple experiments. You know that your science museum has arrived when your online exhibits are listed alongside more serious experimental psychology studies.

  • Proper citations

  • And most importantly, the first scientific explanation (that I've seen, at least) of why putting a pen between your teeth makes you feel happier (Voluntary facial action generates emotion-specific autonomic nervous system activity Leverson, ekman, Friesen, Psychophysiology 27(4) 363-384), and why you should think that you are great, happy and confident -- and in a way giving some validity to all of that positive reinforcement self-help fairy dusts (concept priming, emotion as a social bonding/communication tool, contextual memory and all that autonomic responses to emotion... again)

  • Why caffeine addiction is less an addiction to the chemical compound itself, but more a conditioned response to the stimuli... and NO, I WANT FRESH MILK ONLY, not that curlish white thing you consider dairy

  • Negatives
  • What about studies that don't support the 100 hacks listed?
  • 25 January 2006

    Space flight (part 2)

    As a follow up to my previous post on Beauty in the Dark (regarding the BOT), here's a rather cool overview of the topic of space flight. And here are nice write-ups on the soon-to-be discarded Space Transportation System. ATO! AOA!

    Would be really nice if the entire resource is available for archival download. :)

    17 January 2006

    Watching Grass Dry

    Heard a classic line from a colleague today: "One thing that is more boring than watching grass grow is watching dead grass not grow". Well, the subject matter was preserved plant tissue after all, but still, the line is hilarious.