All entries for January 2006

January 19, 2006


A quick entry, but two bike related things:

  1. Almost got hit by a car, whose driver decided not to slow down when joining a roundabout, so i had to pull hard on my brakes, so as not to go into the car.
  2. Overtook a moped, on the flat, oh dear, shame on you, though your bike was running too lean.

January 16, 2006

Shopping Trip

I had been food shopping in over a week, I've barely had time, so I had to bite the bullet and go. I had heard rumours of a Morrison's not far from my residence, so after some brief but fruitful internet based research I set off for the aforementioned supermarket.

Seventeen kilo's of shopping later and my cupboard (pictured) and fridge (not pictured) were fully stocked, and best of all Morrison's fresh bread is great, "the tastiest by far!"

Again a rather superficially deep blog entry by Steven.

Mushrooms and Mathematics

Unfortunately the two topics mentioned in the title are disjoint, but now I'll have a think and probably come up with something where they're not disjoint another time, anyway,

The Mushroom

Fancying a late-night snack after a hard days maths Steven looked into his fridge in horror, as all that could be found was a half a mushroom and some butter (Steven needed to go shopping), soon a plan was formulated, and only minutes later executed. A blend of herbs and spices were put atop said mushroom before it was gently fried on a low-to-medium heat for 2-to-3 minutes. Never had a Tesco closed cup mushroom had so much attention, the eyes of the world were upon him, bearing down, but he stood firm, soaking up the flavours of the hot butter beneath. It was not to last though, the mushroom had to be eaten, as was duly done so. His last moments were captured on film, which can now be shared by all by the wonders of the internetweb.


In the course of writing my second year essay entitled "Classical problems in Geometry" I have been discussing abstract algebra, and polynomials etc. One thing that has always bothered me about the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra is that it uses

\mathbb{C}, which has all these transcendentals, which, if your polynomial is over \mathbb{Q} are rather useless, and they take up a lot of space, in fact most of the complex plane. Now I realise perfectly well that this has all been worked out before, but the point is I worked this next stuff out for myself, which after being spoonfed maths for over a year, is quite reassuring. We can define the "Algebraic Numbers" as the set of numbers that are solutions to polynomials over \mathbb{Q}, they have cardinality \aleph_0! which is so cool, I mean, really, who needs analysis anyway? Also we can't actually write all of these numbers down as radicals, but we can, of course, as solutions to polynomials, which is still a hell of a lot better than transcendentals.
Galois, you were the man, 'till you got shot.

January 13, 2006

Mathematical Rigour

I claim to be a Mathematician which means that I get pedantic about use of theorems and definitions, maths should be very precise. Imagine, if you will, my horror as in a computer science lecture a discrete function was differentiated to prove a Theorem. Now I realise it is just a Computer Science lecture, but it had the word "Proof" written above that statement, and it was a mathematical statement, albeit a false one. Now you could claim that its easier to assume that the function is defined on the reals, and then prove it, but I have proved the discrete case and its just as easy. So there really isn't a reason to give untrue proofs.

Rigour people, Rigour.

January 12, 2006

Pet Hates

I was thinking about all the pet hates that I have, and off the top of my head I got:

  • repetition in mathematics lectures – happens a lot at the moment.
  • Computer Science – need I explain?
  • Cyclists who have flashing red lights on their bike, this may save batteries, but its very annoying before I overtake you, moreover, its illegal.

Well that's all I can think of in the few minutes I've been thinking, if you're one of those odd people that actually reads my blog, I invite you to share yours too.

January 11, 2006

Second Year Essay

I wrote the majority of my second year essay today, how cool is that, both the essay and the writing of it. Now all I have to do is teach myself BCH codes and then write a section on that, and Galois Fields, though I pretty much sorted those out now.

Coding theory is really very cool, Mathematical magic if you will, they allow 3G mobiles, more satellite channels and better space exploration, a small round of applause please.

January 10, 2006

Too long

Follow-up to Filling Time from Math.random(anything, everything);

I did write something, but only half of what I wanted to, so I'll do the rest later…

Filling Time

So I have 45 minutes to waste on campus, Between the end of a five o'clock lecture and the start of Revelation Rock Gospel Choir, I had planned to go climbing, but my plans were thwarted by about 20 others all with the same idea!

So I'm here, in the mathematics dept. blogging about nothing, and now blogging about blogging, errr, a meta blog, how awful! I'll try to find something interesting to blog about in the next half hour, should be fun…

January 06, 2006

First Computer Science Lecture

Today I suffered my first Computer Science lecture, Data Structures and Algorithms, and oh was it boring. Now, i'll admit that the module isn't the most interesting ever, but it could be interesting in places, but it wasn't. I suppose once the mathematical tools have been defined, it will be more interesting, but until then, it will suck, dearly.
But don't get me wrong, not all lectures are boring these days, Algebra II, how cool is that? Rings, ahhh, algebra heaven, can't wait for more!

January 02, 2006

ISBN Coding

For the purposes of my second year mathematics essay I've been reading about coding theory. This is the field that I'd like to be in when I'm all grown up, but I stumbled upon something really cool:
Grab the book closest to you, it doesn't matter what it is just so long as it has an ISBN too (you may also want to grab a calculator for the next part).

Right, take the first digit of the ISBN multiply it by ten and add it to the second multiplied by nine, add it to the third multiplied by eight and so on all the way to the last digit (if the last is an X add 10). Then divide this number by 11, as long as you've done all the computation correctly then you will always get an integer! How cool is that, error detection in ISBNs!

If you want to know how that works, either do a Google search, or wait a week or two until I've written my essay, and I'll publish the ISBN example.

January 2006

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