Entries from August 2006 ↓

Humour

I’m sitting in a small town of Japan and drunk. The room has free internet access, so what else would I do but watch silly videos:

Mac vs PCs

Openoffice stills needs to be better

I spent ages mucking around trying to get proper pdf output for a poster since the rendered pdf’s looked initially awful. Turns out that this is partly due to using the “Generic printer”. Changing it to another printer fixes it. You need to run a seperate program called spadmin, which isn’t on the path by default in linux and it really should be launchable from the main program.

Plus spell checking is busted – I’ve installed hunspell, set up languages and dictionaries and still it doesn’t find any mispellings (note: I put pooasdasksg in as a check, but maybe I’m mistaken and pooasdasksg really is a word).

AmplifyMe

So I’ve finally gone ahead and registered a domain for my website venture.

I hope it will develop into a portal for self-enhancement. Whether through exercise, training, food, drugs or technology. By starting now I’ll be ready for when neural interface technology becomes main stream.

My first second authorship

After a year or so of trying to get this published, my colleague finally succeeded – which is good news for me since I’m the second author (I built the software the research is based on).

Association of poly-purine/poly-pyrimidine sequences with meiotic recombination hot spots

Now I just have to start publishing some first authorship papers.

Edit: Booyah! The same day I write this post I get a response on my phenology modelling paper where I’m first author. The reviewers comments are just minor fixes to my writing – so once I’ve made the changes, I’ve got a paper. This makes me very happy. Although I’ll still be cautious until the paper is actually in print.

Whitcoulls book list

The Whitcoulls book list was announced a while ago in New Zealand. I can’t help feeling disappointed, and will attempt to run down the list making criticisms or congratulations as I see fit. Note that if I haven’t read the book and you’d like to add your two cents to this post then post a comment and I’ll attach your opinion (See, I really do care what you think ;P).

1. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
Gah, I’ve had enough of the “da Vinci” code, I refuse to write “Da Vinci” because that’s just damn wrong. Have some respect for Leonardo. Unfortunately I haven’t read the book so can’t comment in an official capacity, but the fact that people are running around saying there is a Church conspiracy because of this book shows how gullible the public can be. I mean, of course the catholic church is involved in conspiracies, but we already knew that.

Actually the main reason this annoys me is that I loved Leonardo da Vinci’s scientific work and art. I even wanted to get the Ventruvian man tattooed on my back.

I wouldn’t do so anymore of course.

Edit: Most people (that read my blog) agree that Dan Brown should leave publishing and become a foot painter, in a cave, somewhere in the Andes.

Movified: yes.

2. The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
Honestly I’m getting a bit tired of The Lord of the Rings, but I certainly would have preferred it to be #1 instead of the da Vinci Code. Movified: yes.

3. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
I have it on good authority from a English graduate that this book is really really average. Hope they don’t waste time and money on making a movie, oh wait… they are. Movified: In the works.

4. The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
Never read the book, but I did see the movie as a kid and was extremely moved (read: cried at the sad parts). Movified: yes.

5. Angels & Demons – Dan Brown
Dan dan dan dan. Go away Dan. Edit: Tatjna informs me that this is entertaining light reading and gets bonus points for a fantastic description of a particle accelerator. Movified: no.

6. Cross Stitch – Diana Gabaldon
A rivetting journey into how to cross-stitch. The plot is intricately woven into a pretty picture. (I haven’t read it). Edit: Fairy Princess informs me this is a romance novel that is not better than Pride and Prejudice. Movified: All attempts have unravelled (bwahahaha).

7. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
I haven’t read this one either, go read the wikipedia entry. Edit: Alternatively, check out what Tatjna has to say. Movified: yes.

8. The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons
I would suspect that a horseman made of bronze wouldn’t do alot and would make for an absence of plot. Perhaps I am mistaken though. Edit: Again my contact in the know, Fairy Princess, informs me this is a romance novel that is good but not as good as Pride and Prejudice. Movified: unknown.

9. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

10. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1960 novel by Harper Lee, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. A coming-of-age story, it is told from the point of view of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the young daughter of Atticus Finch, an educated lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama, a fictional small town in the Deep South of the United States. She is accompanied by her brother Jem and their mutual friend Dill. Actually, I haven’t read this and that was just taken from wikipedia, my education of this book came directly from the flash overview. Movified: yes.


I will continue down the list with witty comments and silly hijinx when I have the time.

The guy behind “Girls Gone Wild” is psychotic

The story about Joe Francis, the creator of Girls Gone Wild, makes me feel ill. I’d imagine or at least hope that most people who read the entire article would too.

Johari

If you are bored, and you know me personally rather than just as a blogger, then feel free to fill in my Johari profile. If you start one up, then I’ll fill yours out if you comment.

The banality hole in life

As some people may be aware, I suffer from depression and when I say suffer from depression I don’t really mean suffer. Sure it sucks, but I’ve dealt with it for long enough to know how to manage it – the lows drag any motivation out of you and you have no desire to do anything, because no matter what you do you get no enjoyment from it. However, it isn’t always like that, so I can just tell myself to stick through it and they’ll be some good times ahead – even if I don’t believe it at the time. The other thing that is really infuriating abot being low is that I hate myself for being so weak. People say that it is neurochemistry etc. but I can’t help thinking I’m just being a lazy shit that needs to start contributing to society instead of sponging up resources.

During my last dive, I thought about all the things that usually matter and excite me. Things that make life worth living – I have grand plans for a business, I want to contribute to AI research, I want to play/make computer games, not to mention the personal relationships in my life. I didn’t feel anything for them when I was low, there was no point behind any of them, or indeed any point to life that I could reason myself to believe*. The strange thing is, that if I really really think about it while I’m reasonable happy I can’t see any flaw in my logic.

I grew up around Catholicism, I went to a catholic school, but no matter how much I really want to believe all their stories, I couldn’t. The same goes for any other religion that requires you to believe in Gods, spirits, or other supernatural phenomenon. It would be like someone telling me that red is actually blue but we just can’t see it as blue**. Sure, you could take their word for it, but what would the point be?

I did all the scientific subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics. Plus they make you do religious studies at the school I went to, which caused a nice juxtaposition between the sciences and religion. I don’t like to boast, but I was one of the top students at school – or so people convinced me by saying I should get Dux ( I didn’t, because I slacked off in 7th form ). So what I’m trying to say is that I really understood (and still understand) those subjects, and through that understanding I realised there was no reason to believe in abstract concepts like God. Nothing in evidence or my experience requires me to make up some fictional being that has absolute power but chooses to let the world to be fucked up. If anything, such a being should be scorned.

Despite all this, I believe human psychology has evolved to be amenicable to religious belief. In the past we didn’t have much of an understanding of reality, there were so many physical effects that we didn’t understand. It was easy to believe in supernatural beings and mystical forces. Perhaps religion united a tribe, and thus conferred them a survival advantage? They’ve even related a part of brain (the “god spot”) to religious experience – so I’ve often wondered if my depression is a result my lack of religious belief which in turn gives an imbalance in brain activity.

I think that if society and schools are going to teach children science and just how much the universe is indifferent to you, then they should also teach them how cope with living in that universe and how to find or develop personal meaning for their existance. Something to fill the void of where the “god spot” was now that it is fortified against faith in non-existant beings.

* Now, I’ll say right now that I am fine – I’m not in danger of harming myself, I’m just analysing my thought processes when I’m in this state. The point of this post is not to worry anyone :P.

** I’d appreciate it if people who are chromists can refrain from using some weird formulas to prove that this is true, it was just an example damnit.

New hair

After spending lots on a haircut for my birthday in March, I thought I’d do it again. I never liked hairdressers – but when you go to a flashy place the treat you much nicer I think. Espresso, shampooed hair, and actually being helpful with what they think would look cool.

Anyway, results:

Snapple

I find this soo funny that it’s sad.

Thanks Bob for the link to the new comic for me to waste time reading 🙂