• Black Hole Radius, or How I came to love the LHC

    I allowed myself to become rather distracted by my second years last week as the class was finishing. They were talking about an episode of Horizon that discussed General Relativity and theories of Quantum Gravity. What followed was a free ranging discussion on the nature of infinity, mentioned briefly in the program. But we also […]

  • Models, Perception, Science, Religion, Martial Arts

    This is quite a long and detailed article, if you have no vague interest in meta-physics or philosophy and associated ideas, it may hold little value for you. You have been warned! I doubt that any human being lives directly in reality. None of us has an exact understanding of reality and generally I suspect […]

  • Unusual dates

    This Friday, the time from the start of the Unix Epoch will be 1234567890, as noticed by Linux Pro Magazine, and no doubt others. Mathematics, being in many ways really the study of patterns is always interested in these kind of things. We are now several years on from 19-11-1999 where all the digits in […]

  • Crashing Cars, an answer?

    Every year I attempt to visit my old PhD supervisor Brian McMaster (old in the sense that my PhD is now a thing of the past, I am making no reference to the man in question!) at Christmas time to have a quick natter and exchange gifts. I was squeezed for time this year since […]

  • Crashing Cars

    Consider two identical cars, each travelling at a constant velocity v towards each other. Suppose that they crash, and to simplify things, let’s not consider any rebound. Then the energy of each is kinetic in nature and so the energy of the crash is given by Ok. That’s a nice way to show the energy […]

  • Einstein and Eddington

    On Saturday night, quite by accident, I sat down to watch “Einstein and Eddington” on the BBC. Einstein has been an inspiration to me from an early age, and I’d known a lot about his life and work, and for many years a picture of him has adorned my room or office, though not at […]

  • In 2008, you might still need to lie about your OS

    Today my sister-in-law, Siobhan, asked me to help her debug her brand new Sky ADSL set-up. She told me her PC, with a wireless adapter, was connecting OK, but she couldn’t get onto the internet at large. I was relieved I had decided to throw my laptop in my bag when I came down to […]

  • Email Latency

    Like lots of people who are too hooked into technology for their own good, I tend to receive loads of emails a day, even after the huge quantity of spam is removed. Sometimes it’s easy, and fast to respond to a given email. Once in a while I get an email from someone that I […]

  • Runs on mailing lists

    Today I spent the day at the chemistry department in Edinburgh University demonstrating (at their invitation) OPUS with Ron Laird. I frequently receive these sorts of invitations, and that’s nice, but it’s a whole day to go there and back again. I got home and checked my email, and saw dozens of emails about a […]

  • Battlestar Galactica near Earth

    I have to say, I’ve enjoyed the “re-imagining” of Battlestar Galactica immensely so far. When it first aired, I thought it was a pretty corny idea, and didn’t watch it, but I watched an odd episode here and there, and I began to realise that this was probably the most slick, dramatic, special effects laden […]