This accidentally fell out of her pocket when I bumped into her. Took me four goes.

Tuesday, June 10


I Told You!

We're living in a science fiction novel.

Give it about 30 seconds. wink

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Back Off Man, I'm A Scientist

Read the post below first.  Well, I say read, but what I really mean is absorb by osmosis, like a sponge.  The ones that live in the ocean, not the cheap supermarket ones.


All done?



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Ievan Dansen

Via Steven and a quick Google, a post entirely stolen from Accidental Anime.

I only discovered Vocaloid myself today.  Pure coincidence.  The advances in music composition software since I put together my stuff back in '02 have been amazing.

And the mandatory Don't Mix The Memes item from the title:

Yup, that's a computer singing a Finnish folk song in a Japanese accent.

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Monday, June 09


Dr Who And The Books Of Doom

Just watched the second part of Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead.

Very nice.  Very nice indeed.

One of the things I particularly like about the Steven Moffat episodes is that they use time travel as a theme, not just as a premise.  The Girl in the Fireplace and Blink, of course, and even (to a degree) The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances.

And two of the four are love stories as well.

Silence in the Library does particularly well in setting up a classic Dr Who And Then There Were None story (a la Horror of Fang Rock) while at the same time laying out the pieces of a puzzle in such a way that even when you have all the pieces you aren't aware that some of them are pieces at all.  And then Forest of the Dead puts all the pieces together for you, click click click.

I loved Dr Who in my teens, but now that I go back and watch the old episodes, many of them are, frankly, pretty awful.  Thanks to Steven Moffat and Russell Davies (and Christopher Ecclestone and David Tennant!) for bringing me a Dr Who I can love in my very-late-thirties.*

* 41, since you asked.

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Proof We Are Living In A Bad Science-Fiction Novel

In Physics, the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-testing problem is a thought experiment in quantum mechanics, first proposed by Avshalom Elitzur and Lev Vaidman in 1993. An actual bomb-tester was constructed and successfully tested by Anton Zeilinger, Paul Kwiat, Harald Weinfurter, and Thomas Herzog in 1994. It employs a Mach-Zehnder interferometer for ascertaining whether a measurement has taken place.


Start with a Mach-Zehnder interferometer and a light source which emits single photons. When a photon emitted by the light source reaches a half-silvered plane mirror, it has equal chances of passing through or reflecting. On one path, place a bomb (B) for the photon to encounter. If the bomb is working, then the photon is absorbed and triggers the bomb. If the bomb is non-functional, the photon will pass through the dud bomb unaffected.

When a photon's state is non-deterministically altered, such as interacting with a half-silvered mirror where it non-deterministically passes through or is reflected, the photon undergoes quantum superposition, whereby it takes on all possible states and can interact with itself. This phenomenon continues until an observer interacts with it, causing the wave function to collapse and returning the photon to a deterministic state.


[There] are only three observable results:
  1. The bomb explodes.
  2. The bomb does not explode and only detector (C) detects the photon. The bomb must be usable.
  3. The bomb does not explode and only detector (D) detects the photon. It is possible that the bomb is usable or that it is a dud.

In the case of the third observation, the experiment may be repeated to see if the bomb will explode or if detector (C) will detect a photon. On average, this will identify all of the dud bombs, explode two thirds of the usable bombs, and identify one third of the usable bombs without detonating them.

The proof?  This thing really works.

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Thursday, June 05


Final Fantasy XII: First Impressions

Bunny girls!  Air ships!  Shameless disregard for the laws of physics!

And jaggies.  Moving jaggies.  It's like an on-screen migraine.

This is the first time I've hooked up the PS2 to my LCD TV.  Before, I played it on my computer monitor, and before that, on my old computer monitor (and when I say old, I mean the monitor from my Amiga 1000) or my TV.  The larger, brighter screen makes the colour and detail really jump out - but it makes the jaggies jump out too.

Instead of the PS3, Sony should have made a PS2.5.  Nice simple dual-core 1.2GHz in-order CPU, hardware geometry, single-pass texturing, 300MHz 32-pipeline graphics chip, 128MB main memory and 32MB video memory.  Not as amazing as the PS3 perhaps, but it could deliver a very high degree of PS2 compatibility with the power and memory to run HD and/or anti-aliasing, and get rid of those damn jaggies.

Huh.  Does the PS3 support anti-aliasing on PS2 games under emulation?  That might actually make it worthwhile.

Interestingly, according to this chart, the built-in graphics on my motherboard have a higher fill rate than the PS2 - 1.6GT/sec compared to 1.2.  Which isn't saying much unless you know that the PS2 graphics engine had a phenomenal fill rate but was otherwise relatively weak - no hardware geometry, as implied by my suggested spec for the PS2.5.  How times change.

What?  Oh, the game.  Well, let's see.  You can't save in the initial training session, so I'm going to have to run through that a third time.  Yeah, third time.  Turns out you can lock up the game if you go into the location map before it teaches you how to do that.

Oh, and the main character is some git with spiky blond hair.

And yes, I'm aware that this game came out two years ago.  I've been looking everywhere for my PS2 power supply.*  Hey, it took me three years to get around to playing FFX.  At this rate, I'll be firing up FFXVI on its release day - sometime in 2016.  Hey, I still haven't finished FFIII!

* Er, sort of.  I'd found everything except the power supply, and thought I needed to look for that, so I'd put off actually setting the thing up.  Then I realised that in my original-model PS2, the power supply is on the inside...  On the plus side, when I went to scrounge a matching cable from my cable box, I found my missing Canon battery charger on the end of said cable.

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Why Does No-One Tell Me These Things?

Big Pig released a second album?  In 1990, and no-one bothered to tell me?

Big who, you ask?

Big Pig.

You've got to love a seven-piece band with five percussionists.

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The End Is Nigh

The sky in Sydney is red.  The colour of a bowl of water that you've been using to clean a freely bleeding wound.

Kind of cool, actually.

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Wednesday, June 04


Don't Stand Downwind

I have two bathrooms at my place.  The ensuite was leaking, and it was affecting the woodwork around the door from the bedroom, so the maintenance guys showed up today to fix it.  Turned out the shower had never been properly sealed, so they properly sealed it (and replaced the woodwork).  Then we checked the upstairs shower, and it had never been properly sealed either, so they properly sealed that one too.

And asked me to leave them to dry for 48 hours.

Okay, I also have a bath.

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Tuesday, June 03


And Off We Go Again

Cleanup is cleaned up.  Migrator is migratoring.

Sleep time.

Have to get up early, there's a man coming round to destroy my bathroom.

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