Archive | September 2004

snobs tonight

time to
go to the first snobs of the year. gotta try and drag everyone out –
today is not about being studious. tomorrow morning is for that.

Covariant, contravariant – what the….?

Today we
started the relativistic side of quantum mechanics in detail. Despite
the title my suggest I am actually enjoying it. We learnt some rather
nifty maths today, four-vectors. In fact these are damn useful. My lecture
explained these quite well and despite at first being lost I think after
rereading it I have it – well for the moment. It was quite daunting
to be one of the few who have not done this before. I am informed that
this cause is not often taken up by astrophysics students! I am sure
I can cope, I am damn interested so that should help.

First day of term..

…"welcome
back" we were greeted by the Head of School, as he said this I
thought. "our last year". Time to feel contemplative, nah
– got too much work to do! We had a good start, the projector in the
small lecture theatre did not work – it turned out to be a new switch.
No one had told the lecturers – great! Well it wasn’t a huge problem
for us. We then had Quantum Mechanics 4 – time to do some real Physics
I think. It was ok a nice slow intro – I hope it stays at this pace.
I then sorted out some project stuff and almost feel to sleep in my
last lecture at 5 which was superconductivity – I am shattered.

Blasted
University computing accounts

I also
had a problem today trying to login to the Uni computers. The computing
suite within the Physics department is now centralised within the University
and could I access the computers? NO! I was annoyed and also they are
charging us for printing. At least they have give us £2.50 worth
of print credits. I eventually gave up and went up stairs to use the
astrophysics groups computers.

X-com!

Yesterday
I decided to get one of my favourite games ever out. This is X-com:
Terror from the Deep. It is an excellent game. I was very shocked that
it worked in XP without any problems. Well that’s what I thought
until I came onto the battle part. Leaving the battlescreen causes it
to crash as XP doesn’t have the right files. Damn. What to do, umm Google
I think. I got on to: http://commanderx.xcomufo.com/downloads/important.html
which had some very interesting information on how to get this classic
game to work. One of these ideas was DOS BOX, http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/,
this is an excellent piece of software and once I realised that I had
to mount my drives, using: mount c c: to
mount the c drive and that I had to do the same for the cdrom drive
it worked fine.

More
info about x-com can be found at: http://www.xcomufo.com/

Kalashnikov vodka

I
saw a link on a site today that said Kalashnikov vodka so I had to look
it up and yes the maker of the AK-47 assault rifle, one Lt. Gen. Mikhail
Kalashnikov, is now making vodka under the same name. I just hope it
isn’t as deadly. Grants is the exciting vodka (well it used to be) now
Kalashnikov can be the deadly vodka I guess.

See:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/09/20/kalashnikov.vodka.reut/index.html
for more.

Freshers fair / week

Freshers
is over – well the stuff I need to do it. Thank god. I don’t think I
could cope with another fair full of people who aren’t in the least
interested in joining Astrosoc. The ones who are (or who are mildly)
interested are great to talk to because I love to talk about Astronomy
and promote it. Then there are the ones who think it is that "geeky"
they laugh at you when they walk past and see the flyer. Nice. Thanks
for that you idiots. Heck I don’t laugh at the cheerleaders even though
I think it is a little funny. In fact I would even give it a go so that
I could actually understand what they do.

Astrosoc StandRock Soc

The
best thing that happened today was me and Geordie renaming Astrosoc.
Various things came out such as R’n’B soc, Usher soc, 50 Cent Bottling
Society – I could go on and on. This meant the flyers went faster and
maybe some of them will be read at a later point but I do doubt it.
All in all it has been a shattering week and at moments annoying and
frustrating. Its over now, my last freshers fair. Yippee!

To
celebrate this being all over we went to the pub which turned into a
trip to snobs.

Beer vending machineMe, scary!

China gets ready for F1

Today
I saw a few pictures from the Chinese grand prix
and wow! The track looks stunning, can’t wait to watch it.

Just
look at this across the race track:


Picture courtesy BBC Online

Wow
– ultra modern. More here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/3685394.stm

The Physicists’ Bill of Rights

My
house mate Geordie (otherwise known as Andrew) showed me this http://www.geocities.com/gohhanpin/PhysicsHumor_right.htm
today – it is brilliant. I think it quite accurately, well within systematic
errors, describes physicists. Here is the bill of rights (more stuff
on the above site):

The
Physicists’ Bill of Rights

Author Unknown

We hold these postulates to be intuitively obvious,
that all physicists are born equal, to a first approximation, and are
endowed by their creator with certain discrete privileges, among them
a mean rest life, n degrees of freedom, and the following rights, which
are invariant under all linear transformations:

I. To approximate all problems to ideal cases.

II. To use order of magnitude calculations whenever
deemed necessary (i.e., whenever one can get away with it).

III. To use the rigorous method of "squinting"
for all problems more complex than the additions of positive real integers.

IV. To dismiss all functions which diverge as "nasty"
and "unphysical".

V. To invoke the uncertainty principle whenever confronted
by confused mathematicians, chemists, engineers, psychologists, dramatists,
and andere schweinhund.

VI. To the extensive use of "bastard notations"
where conventional mathematics will not work.

VII. To justify shaky reasoning on the basis that it
gives the right answer.

VIII. To cleverly choose convenient initial conditions,
using the principle of general triviality.

IX. To use plausible arguments in place of proofs,
and thenceforth refer to those arguments as proofs.

X. To take
on faith any principle which seems right but cannot be proved.

——————————————————————————–
Copyright 1995, The American Physical Society.
The APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this
newsletter provided that attribution to the source is noted, the materials
are not truncated or changed.

Freshers kicks off

Today
was the freshers conference in the physics department. Time to get the
posters out and the vocal chords going. All in all astrosoc had a good
day with members, we got quite a few less than I was hoping. More soon
hopefully. Lots seemed interested. Two my freshers fairs to do, come
on – just what I need. I am gonna be shattered for the start of term
at this rate.

A second computer

I decided tonight that I have had enough of not being able to use Linux and windows at the same time. I like windows for gaming and music in general and I like Linux for the other more technical stuff. Well I am still new to Linux but want to learn. So I have decided to build a new computer – on the cheap. I don’t need anything too fancy. In fact I have brought a motherboard and processor off ebay for £30. I have coming a cool case as well.

blax storm case

The case is important though, so it can fit in with my theme (some mods will be needed to this case but it is a great start). I got this from xcase.co.uk – a great site. The place I got my last computer case from which is brilliant. Now I will have one computer one side of the desk and another on the other – great 🙂 Geek central.