noideadog: (science)
Sam just reminded me of this and I spent the last ten minutes sitting at my desk laughing my ass off (Sorry, coworkers).


What are birds? We just don't know.
noideadog: (Default)
This time on Nerd Nite:

why quantum mechanics doesn't mean we are omg all one
the [lack of] evidence for alien abductions
the sexual behaviour of insects (and discerning spiders).

The last one I was at:

the Enigma machine
a sociological analysis of Wolverine over the decades
what we learn from New York census data.

I <3 Nerd Nite
noideadog: (drum)
Molasses cake. You might think it's ok, that it might just work, that molasses have an unfair reputation, that they don't have a bad reputation at all and that you'll like them, that it'll add zing to your food, that, boy, that's a lovely olde worlde type of thing to use and won't it be charming. No! No! It isn't! "Blah, blah, spice cake makes about fifteen servings", they exclaim. Spice cake makes a fla-fumph as it lands in the bin, that's what spice cake does.

Please be careful. Stay the hell away from the vile molass and all its ilk. ([livejournal.com profile] bringaisce will probably post pictures later)

This has been a public service announcement.
noideadog: (brain)
It´s 43 degrees here in Seville. I´m so impressed. The hostel lady said that an orange alert has been declared, and that it´s recommended to stay indoors between 12 and 6pm. The internet says that this was declared some time in July and is not news, but it´s good advice all the same. It´s my last day on holidays. Sure I could go take a bus tour or a boat tour or buy some presents for people or something, but naw. 43 degrees. You could argue that drinking beers, talking to people and posting on livejournal is what I do at home, and therefore a waste of holiday time, but it´s too hot to argue for long, so you´d probably get bored and accept one of my spare beers. So I´d win, either way. Hurray!

Yesterday.. oh boy! Yesterday was incredible. I did a city tour of Granada as a default thing to do since I only had a couple of days there. At stop number 2 (museum of federico garcia lorca, iirc), the commentary added Also at this stop is the Science Museum, containing a planetarium, a butterfly enlosure, an astronomy garden and.. oh, other stuff you wouldn´t possibly care about. Honestly, I´m sorry for even mentioning it. Let´s get back to talking about the poetry of Gran.. hey, where´d you go?.

I watched bright blue butterflies discover interesting flowers. I did that wonderful mental shift where you´re looking for the stick insects and then you realise everything you´re looking at is stick insects. I set my watch by an astrolabe. I took an extraordinarily powerful two hour tour of the Titanic exhibition and did not cry even a bit and you can´t prove anything. I discovered that a giant squid is REALLY BIG. I thanked a statue of Marie Curie for being a female nerd, in case it could get back to her somehow. I solved all of the knot puzzles except one (so angry at failure, but the sun was making me die, and I had to leave. Still, no excuse.). I watched a lady set up pieces on a giant chessboard and saw her break into a delighted smile when a passer-by said spanishspanishspanishKasparovspanishspanishspanish?. I found my way through a plant labyrinth. I made a fountain go using a solar panel. It was so cool.

When the sun got too much, I almost left, but decided to take a quick detour and photograph a statue of Darwin I´d seen earlier. I sat on the other seat at the table he´s occupying (and had a little mental conversation with him where I said "have you considered monkeys?" and he said "Monkeys are of no interest. Let us speak of ducks." and.. it was pretty silly, but you have to understand that I was walking around the park in high glee and chuckling, having expected to spend the day saying "Hmm" at an interesting archaelogical feature of the monastery or something), and therefore was in the perfect viewing area for the falconry exhibition that happened to be going on at the time. Falconry! My whole table was in shadow when the bird flew directly over my head. (Darwin was unmoved).

The bus journey to Seville was delightfully uneventful, apart from meeting some Neapolitans. The guy spoke english, but the girl didn´t. When he went for a smoke, she and I had a great prolongued non-conversation where I tried German and my tiny amount of French (judging from the books I bought, I reckon I can read French at the level of a fairly stupid 7 year old), she tried Italian and Spanish, and we ended up looking at the pictures in our guidebooks and communicating in the names of the places we´d visited, madey-up words that seemed plausible, and laughter, the international language of "I have no idea what you just said but I think you´re a nice person". It was lovely.

I helped water the hostel plants today, which reminds me of my own. [livejournal.com profile] mr_wombat, could you chuck some water on the geranium, if you haven´t recently? The chillies probably wouldn´t have made it either way.

Home tomorrow. Work on Friday. Life returns to normal, but now it´s September, month of motivation. It´s a good time to re-enter real life. Are other people making new-school-year resolutions?
noideadog: (weirdofreak)
Two conversations from the hostel kitchen:

An Italian dude frying sausages in beer. "An experiment", he said. "Sausages are German. Beer is German.". And then he shrugged like "the rest is too obvious to explain.". "Good science", I agreed.

One of the guys working in the hostel had ancestors in Ireland. They weren't Irish, but they lived there and were big in politics. Had I heard of his father's father's father's brother, Eamonn de Valera? I.. uhh.. thought I could bring him to mind, yeah.

I had sangria and potato omelette for lunch. I rode a rattly old bike over bockety cobblestones[1]. I bought a ridiculous hat, so that the sun would lose at killing me. I had tapas with Kaarin, an Alaskan doing an architecture postgrad in Rome. Mostly I sat around. This is a great city for just sitting around.

[1] Boneshaker is a lovely word. So's haberdasher incidentally, though this isn't related to anything.
noideadog: (science)
Hey, [livejournal.com profile] mollydot, the chillies have started to grow :-D

I have a small pot of four types of chillies. Today they hit phase two of their instruction page which is to wait until shoots are visible and then move them out of the wardrobe. Little scribbly tendrils have started appearing these last few days, so all that's left is to let them finish growing, harvest them and do chilli-eating science. I can't wait.
noideadog: (science)
Here follow accounts of a pair of journeys into the supernatural world of The Cookie That Knows Stuff. If I didn't hate their taste so much, this could be ongoing science. Is it ok to read the Fortune without eating the Cookie? I think it probably isn't. It smacks of Using Powers Lightly, which is something popular culture has told me never to do.

Fortune cookie 1 (a couple of weeks ago)
Taste: vile
Fortune: "Be wary if a pal ask for monetary help, or else you might get into trouble and end up in court."
Analysis: That's unusually specific, isn't it? No pals have asked me for monetary help though, so I haven't had a chance to be wary. I'm saving it up. I have a reserve of wariness all ready to be called into play, and no moneygrubbing pals to release it at. No court for me, thank you very much. Is it possible that I have unconsciously warded off the pals who were considering requests for financial aid? Maybe the knowledge of my potential for downfall has caused it to be impossible? Maybe the cookie failed? I have no way of knowing.
Result: Neutral

Fortune cookie 2 (a week ago)
Taste: vile
Fortune: "It wouldn't do any harm if you spend a moment relaxing to pass time."
Analysis: Wouldn't it? Can it be only coincidence that this was the weekend I had a Mild Cold? My weekend plans (Friday night drinks for a coworker who's leaving the country, Saturday in Kells, Sunday morning applauding at Tina's irish dancing competition, Sunday afternoon at the bottle bank and then at the pub) all had to be cancelled, and I lay in bed sleeping for 12-hour stints, reading and watching DVDs. And, you know, it wasn't bad. In between I couldn't help rearranging my bookshelf, defrosting the freezer and other house stuff like that, but those are relaxing too, in their own way. Much more than tearing around the country would have been.
Result: Positive. I woke up before my alarm today. That hasn't happened since.. well.. it's been a while.

In Mountain View, [livejournal.com profile] bringaisce and I bought X-rated fortune cookies ("not for the children!"), where the great philosopher Fu Ling Yu (See? Get it? How much you much be laughing!) made mildly smutty comments based mostly on bad puns. I was pretty disappointed actually. If you can't get decent porn inside bad-tasting snack food in America, I don't know where you'd have to go for it. Land of the free. Pff. You disappoint me.

OMG. I'm totally making porno-cookies for our barbeque :-D I can't believe I never thought of that before.

Aaanyway. We get fortune cookies (no porn) in here every week or so, and I reckon I'll keep following the instructions and see where that goes. Please forgive me any odd behaviour in the next few weeks. Assume that the cookie told me to do it.
noideadog: (science)
From [livejournal.com profile] nickipedia.

This is.. I don't have words enthusiastic enough for how good this science is.

Best LJ username ever too.
noideadog: (hair)

omgwtfrofl.JPG
Originally uploaded by worse than hitler.
Do you know these chat abbreviations? After rocking the "How does routing work?" and "Whack-a-Spam" portions of the San Jose tech museum, Sara, Karl and I were pretty sure that we were Internet Gods. And then we were faced with this. There are at least five there I had to look up. Dam' kids think they're so clever with their HHOKs and LYMYs.

The inventions section had a "name the inventor" game which included a picture of Vint Cerf as a wholesome looking teenager. I forgot to take a photo.

I recommend the tech museum if you're in the San Jose area. It's entertaining and educational and has an IMAX, which is everything you can ask from a good museum I guess. (Well, t-shirts in small or medium would have been nice too.)
noideadog: (science)

straws.JPG
Originally uploaded by worse than hitler.
I was changing jobs and then Glen was busy being ductally probed and then I was away, and still it seems impossible that it's been three months since we did any science.

This evening's effort was very limited in scope, and rather too enjoyable to make me feel that we're really responding to the call of the scientific vocation. Nonetheless, I present to you an experiment designed to determine the factuality of a curious piece of post prandial nomenclature: are After Eight Straws really functional straws? (I assure you that we waited several hours after eight pm before proceeding. Sloppy science proves nothing!)

They wouldn't lie to us, would they? )
noideadog: (brain)
From [livejournal.com profile] olethros

Time travel! The International Earth Rotation Service have announced that a leap second will be added on 31 December 2005, the first one since 1998.

The International Earth Rotation Service. That's just cool. That it's not called.. like.. the Terrestrial Geophysical Motion and Boring Names Bureau is even cooler. Say it with me. The International Earth Rotation Service. Man. That just rotat.. rocks my world. (I'm on my own with this one, aren't I?)
noideadog: (brain)
From [livejournal.com profile] poon

The theory of relativity, explained in words of four letters or less :-)

http://muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/txt/al.html
noideadog: (science)
From [livejournal.com profile] sshi

Very funny and devoted science. Nine volumes of
Steve, don't eat it!
noideadog: (science)
We've made science before. I mean, hell, we've spent whole evenings doing nothing but make science. But when I came in this evening, and Glen said "I got you a present", I somehow knew that this one would be something more. Something important. Something really debilitating. As Glen said, I don't think we made science as much as committed it. Dear people of my friends list, please allow me to present


the best science we've ever made.

noideadog: (Default)
This was stuck up on our notice board when I arrived home yesterday.

An educational diagram, by [livejournal.com profile] mr_wombat.

noideadog: (science)
There's little I love as much as improbable science. Luckily for me, it's Ig Nobel time of year, when prizes are awarded for achievements "which first make people laugh, then make them think".

Although all of the recipients (which include the entire nation of Nigeria) are worthy, I'm particularly pleased that the enormous medical contribution of Greg A Miller of Missouri has finally been recognised. The obvious physical alternation associated with dog neutering adds a stigma to an already traumatic event, and his work on artificial replacement dog testicles will allow many a dog to regain his pride and self-respect. He's a good man. This award is well deserved.

I should be working, so I'll let the Guardian's science correspondant take you through the rest of the winners, here.
noideadog: (science)
G([livejournal.com profile] mr_wombat): Want some plantain?
T([livejournal.com profile] cartographer): I don't know. What happens?
G: Step one, I fry it. Step two, we eat it.
T: Hm. Don't think so, thanks.
G: There's an optional step three where we're screaming "oh my god it's 4am why won't my ass stop"?
T: ..wait. This is science?
G: Obviously.
T: Can I put soy sauce on one.
G: No! Anyway, they're Jamaican or something.
T: Jerkyhmmhmmmmangohmm.. rum!
G: ...
T: Hang on, no, it's probably irresponsible to throw rum on a hot frying pan.
G: By god, in the name of science, you're throwing rum on this frying pan.

Rum is poured on the frying pan. It fizzles appealingly. We eat the plaintains.

G: That's not bad.
T: Mm. Yep, better with rum.

Conclusion:
Good food. Disappointing science.

G: Not all science has to be exciting and dangerous.
T: *sigh*
G: Tim's going to have a seizure.
noideadog: (science)
"You take a live monkey -- this is illegal, by the way -- and you cut the top off, .."
noideadog: (science)
I have at least one spare ticket each for the Universe and Hypnosis events. The other two were booked out. Boo! There seemed to be loads left for both of those btw, at the Temple Bar Information Yokie down on Wossname Street. You know, beside that Chinese food place.
noideadog: (science)
I'm pretty excited by the fact that there's about to be a whole week of science appreciation in Dublin. Next week is the BA Festival of Science and there's an extraordinary number of events going on. As the website's quite rubbish, I recommend you download the programme and have a look at the event list that starts on page 35.

Unfortunately most of it is happening during working hours, but I'm hoping to head along to some of the evening events. Anyone interested in any of these?


  • RCSI INVESTIGATES: FORENSICS PATHOLOGY AND DNA FINGERPRINTING
    - Organised by: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
    Date : 05/09/2005 - Time : 19.00-21.00
    Location : Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St Stephen's Green - Cost : Free, ticket required
    Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland experts explain the intricacies of forensic science. State Pathologist and Professor of Forensic Medicine, Marie Cassidy, will detail her role in a forensic investigation. DNA expert Professor David Croke will reveal how DNA fingerprinting has helped to revolutionize forensic science. Anyone with an interest in the forensics of a crime scene will be fascinated by these two lectures. no prior knowledge is assumed, you just have to be over 18 to attend.

  • HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE
    - Organised by: National College of Ireland,
    Date : 06/09/2005 - Time : 19.00-21.00
    Location : National College Ireland, Mayor St, IFSC - Cost : Free, ticket required
    Take a trip back to the dawn of creation with David Moore of Astronomy Ireland. See how the stars and our own solar system of planets were formed. Find out about the latest missions to our near neighbours - Mars and Saturn. Learn about nebulae, black holes and supernovae. This lecture is aimed at beginners wanting to learn more about the universe.

  • AN EVENING WITH RICHARD WISEMAN AND SIMON SINGH
    - Organised by: Irish Skeptics Society
    Date : 07/09/2005 - Time : 20.00-22.00
    Location : Royal Dublin Society - Cost : €5.00
    A lively and high entertaining evening with eminent psychologist Richard Wiseman, and possible guest appearance from Simon Singh (TBC).

  • HYPNOSIS: MYTH OR MIRACLE?
    - Organised by:
    Date : 08/09/2005 - Time : 19.00-20.30
    Location : National College of Ireland, Mayor St, IFSC - Cost : Free, ticket required
    Psychologist Peter Naish discusses and demonstrates the science behind hypnotism. Does hypnotherapy really work? Is stage hypnosis just a trick? The evening will conclude with an optional group hypnosis session, for those who would like first-hand experience

  • RIVER DODDER FIELDTRIP
    - Organised by: Irish Wildlife Trust
    Date : 11/09/2005 - Time : 11.00-13.00
    Location : Dropping Well Pub, Milltown, Dublin 6 - Cost : Free, ticket required
    River Habitat fieldtrip along the River Dodder to see the local wildlife, flora and fauna, including birds such as kingfishers, herons and yellow hammers. Also a great opportunity to explore Ireland’s plants and invertebrates.

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