25 April 2006

bouncing back on an Olympic scale

Over dinner the other evening, the discussion turned around to sports - specifically, the Olympics. Admittedly, it can be reasonably entertaining watching people run around in a circle really fast. But this gets boring quite quickly - so how to improve on matters?

The central thesis of this post goes along the lines of: all Olympic sports could be a lot better if you include a good length of bungee cord. For example, take the swimming - in lap racing, the competitors just have to swim to one end, and just relax on the return as elastic tension brings them back to the other end. Or the 100m sprint with a 75m cord (which would be amusing in itself). Imagine the hammer throw when the hammer is tied to a rubber band? Or you could combine javelin with sprinting - throw the javelin, and run as fast as buggery to make sure you aren't where the javelin will be when it comes back!

Folks, the possibilities are endless.

17 April 2006

must cut back on the caffeine intake

A couple of days ago, I think I may well have overdosed on caffeine. Recently, I've actually been managing to get enough sleep, but I haven't yet completely adjusted my caffeinated beverage intake to match. We'd popped out of the lab one morning to get some freshly brewed coffee; what I had forgotten was that I had earlier on consumed one of David's evil penguin mints, which on their own contain an obscene amount of caffeine. By lunchtime I was actually breaking out in a cold sweat and was a little too excitable. The practical upshot of all this is that now I can't drink a lot of coffee without feeling weird, and I've actually cut back my intake to maybe a cup of coffee a day, and am drinking a pile of tea instead.

I wonder.. what would Jack Bauer be like on a caffeine overdose? :P :P

Post-phd plans at this stage are still a bit vague (for those of you who might be interested). So far, I only have confirmed one activity I will definitely be partaking in - the rest is still a bit up in the air, including this fabled world-trip myself and Briony will be (eventually) taking. Speaking of spoiled plans - beardquest fizzled out with a whimper rather than a bang. I got a nasty rash so the beard had to go. The progress made before I had to bail out can be seen here.

5 April 2006

the replacements

New and old

The hinges in my venerable nc4000 finally gave way a few weeks ago - specifically, the small die-cast pieces that connected the stiff hinge axis to the base simply shattered into a couple of annoying fragments. This meant that the laptop lid simply hung free, so I had to prop it up against a backing (wall, stack of books, iron, Stonehenge, whatever) to use it. This situation quickly became absurd, so I went to see my dad, who is an expert with fixing all things electrical.

My first suggestion was to glue the broken parts together. As I discovered, contrary to popular belief, two-part epoxy doesn't fix everything. So, what to do? Well, we made replacement parts. This involved finding an L-shaped piece of aluminum, a bandsaw, a file, a drill and of course, a dremel. They were quite fiddly to make (see pictures to the left), but the case only needed minor modifications so that the parts could fit. They are back in place now, and the laptop is ticking away quite happily without any need for any dodgy backboard. If you'd like more details on how it was done, just leave a comment or send me an email :)

In other news, some people seemed to like the quake paper models ;) In particular, see here for a particularly good example of how to get the model built right. I got a great big spike in traffic when the models hit the front page on planetquake. Also: alientrap and thetangentbundle. I'm really glad people are enjoying the models.