Thanks to Boing Boing and Reddit, Mr Splashy Pants is in the lead in a Greenpeace "Name a whale" competition.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In order to convert your Drupal install to something more like a social network, install these modules:
(via the facebook Drupal discussion group)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
In the wake of the latest government I.T. fiasco, I spotted this advert on a number of blogs:
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Via a comment in Slashdot
(I am not a particle physicist or a mathematician of the right sort, but I can kind of follow this sort of thing)
Okay, the context is that you've got particles, and they're fundamentally all the same, but they're "turned" in different ways. Think of a ball with 3-color LEDs inside: you can rotate it around three axes, and move it in three directions, and you can also cycle its color and change its blinking pattern. Particles are like that, except that the topology is weird: it's not back to the same orientation until you turn it around 720 degrees, instead of 360 like normal objects. The "gauge group" is the rules for how you can change things. For example, the total color of the universe is white: if you turn something from red to blue, you have to turn something else from blue to red; but you can also create a pair of a green and a purple (anti-green). They write all these rules up in math, and it's tricky because a lot of the features vary continuously (that is, you can rotate something an arbitrarily small amount). And due to the interaction of the rules for one property with the rules for other properties, there are only certain combinations of properties that you can get. They work out all the combinations that you can have and those are what you see as "different" particles that your experiments show. Of course, we don't know what the rules are, and we're trying to figure that out from what combinations of properties we've seen and which ones we're speculating are impossible. And it's hard and takes a lot of calculation to figure out what a candidate set of rules would even mean as far as results. And people are looking at known results and trying to describe them better than "we've done a billion things, and a billion things happened".
Now, the math of rules for how things can interact turns out to be sort of limited; there are basically 4 normal cases, which are boring, and then there are a few exceptional cases, which are interesting. Of these, the hardest to prove stuff about is E8, and it's just now becoming clear what combinations it allows. It's like one of those puzzles where you press a corner and lights change, and you have to turn off all the lights, but it's got dozens of corners and dozens of lights and every time you press a corner a bunch of things change at once, and there are different kinds of corners and it also matters exactly what angle you're holding it at, so there are hundreds of things you can say about each move.
And the mathematicians working on E8 recently said, "well, you can get positions like this and not like that", where "this" and "that" are big complicated lists. And this physicist read that paper and said, "hey, those lists are familiar; I made similar lists of particle interactions". So the proposal is that particles work like E8 in what kind of rules they follow. And it's a really nice theory, because E8 is essentially the most flexible set of rules you can have without it falling apart into just anything being possible (and some rules or properties just not mattering).
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything
A headline worthy of the Onion.
Commentary on Reddit.com
Link to PDF of the paper
E8 wiki entry
Blog reaction to the E8 theory
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Ars Technica has a review of the Linux powered EEe PC mini-laptop.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
About a week ago Wal-Mart began selling a $200 Linux machine running on a 1.5 ghz VIA C7 processor and 512 MB of RAM. While the specs are useless for Vista, it works blazingly fast on Ubuntu with the Enlightenment Window Manager. The machine is now officially sold out of their online warehouses (it may still be available in some stores). And the product sales page at wal-mart.com is full of glowing reviews from new and old Linux users alike.
Posted by Justin Flavin at 2:35 pm
Russia-India joint unmanned moon mission
24 - the unaired 1994 pilot
Smoking Gun uncovers a David Bowie 1976 mugshot
Why suddenly everyone wants to go to the moon
Free Linux ebooks
Skeptics Guide - Logical Fallacies
Katamari Damacy scale model
Monday, November 12, 2007
Alex Navarro takes us on a perilous journey through the mess that is Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. Its 1.0 rating, as of April 2007, is still the lowest score ever given to a game on Gamespot.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Here's are the desktop effects shortcut keys for Feisty Fawn (assuming that you've enabled it)
CTRL+ALT+DRAG LEFT MOUSE = rotate 3D cube
CTRL+ALT+LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW = flip cube face
CTRL+ALT+DOWN ARROW = flatten out the cube. use left-right arrows to select a desktop
CTRL+ATL+UP ARROW = expose all windows in the current desktop. while holding down CTRL+ALT use left/right arrow to select a window. This is like Expose on the Mac
Here's a video showing off Compiz on Ubuntu Feisty:
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Via Google LatLong
"We've all heard that big things come in small packages. Well, in the small town of McMinnville, Tennessee, a group of visionary folks are planning something pretty big: a community-wide effort to develop a 3D model of their town in Google Earth -- the first of its kind in the state. The project, dubbed 3D Downtown, is being led by a non-profit organization called Main Street McMinnville"
"This coming Friday at 9 a.m. sharp, Main Street McMinnville will host a modeling training session to officially kick off the project. Local volunteer modelers have signed on to participate; participants from Google will also be on-site to lead the training of the Google SketchUp Pro and Google Earth Pro software that we've donated to help the effort. We hope this local endeavor will inspire members of other communities to coordinate 3D modeling projects of their own."
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I see on Google Trends that people are searching for "scifi.com/ghosthunters".
Well, if you are one of those people click here to go to the scifi.com ghosthunters website