All entries for May 2006

May 29, 2006


I've been thinking about how often I blog and how this relates to how much free time i have and it's a little odd. Then, being a little bit of a geek, I drew a graph on paint.

Blogging Frequency

As can be seen, when i have very little free time I do very little blogging, and then as my free time increases so does my blogging. But then we reach a point where I have enough free time to start doing things like play civilization and shave and watch neighbours and so my blogging decreases until I have so much free time that I can waste time in many ways including blogging. If i have even more time than that my day loses all structure and nothing gets done, so there is neither any blogging or anything to blog about.

I'm not sure how to incorporate things like when I get attacked by the Romans and so get depressed about Civ for a bit and go and blog, or when I cut myself shaving and decide to cheer myself up by writing an entry, maybe my graph could be improved in some way. Also there's surely some dependency on how much stuff I need to do that i really don't want to, that always makes me procrastinate.

When is a set not a set?

Is there a word for a set which is neither open nor closed? During Fractal Geometry this year Anthony Manning (legend) described a set which is both open and closed as being clopen, a cumbersome word but i suppose it does the trick. A door which is neither open nor closed would be described as ajar, and i think if my one lasting contribution to mathematics were to coin the phrase 'an ajar set' I would be very happy. Not only would this prove handy language, but would give rise to the joke,

"When is a set not a set?"

"When it's ajar!

May 22, 2006

Intelligence vs. Hard Work

Why is it that mathematicians view doing well through hard work as less of an achievement than doing well through natural intelligence? I don't say this with any bitterness, at the moment I'm doing about four and a half hours a day which i guess would put me slightly below average for the third year, there are certainly those who will do better than me off less work but equally there are those who don't do as well and work harder. I just find it odd that on the whole we mathematicians prize innate aptitude for maths above a degree of mathematical intelligence coupled with the willingness to achieve excellence through hard work, surely when we're all slung out into the real world it will be those that who are prepared to work who are going to succeed. There's no glory in being born intelligent, what should really be rewarded is doing particularly well with what you're given.

May 21, 2006

Woo Yeah

Dear Mr Kempton,

Following the reciept of an approved medical report, satisfactory references and Criminal Records Bureau check, we now confirm your appointment to the post of Casual Assistant Park Ranger.

I'm getting payed £6.60 an hour to play in the sunshine!

May 20, 2006

Man Books

I've just finished reading Notes On A Scandal by Zoe Heller which I picked up for two quid from Oxfam the other day. To be honest when reading the back and looking at the front cover I thought the themes probably wouldn't appeal to me, but I saw it had been nominated for the Man Booker Prize so gave it a go. I had assumed that the Man Booker Prize is a varient on the normal Booker Prize for fiction that chooses novels designed for men, either to encourage more men into reading fiction or to get them to read books that aren't stereotypical "mens books". I didn't enjoy the book and I thought it was definitely written for women, and when my mum told me today that the Man Booker Prize is what the Booker Prize has been called since the company Man got involved that explained this books nomination.

Anyway, what I wanted to write about in this entry is "man books". I've read several books that are often called "woman books", a term which i think can be used without demeaning a book nor saying that it will be enjoyed exclusively by women, without meaning the slightest offence to men who do enjoy them, but which describes a book which on the whole will be more enjoyed by women than by men. Some of these I have found to be very well written, such as Notes On A Scandal or The Fortunes Of War, yet I have not enjoyed them where many of my female friends have. I can recognise similar traits in them, for example they often describe peoples clothing and appearance in far more detail than I find interesting and they may have a narrator who is well described and likeable but who I find it hard to relate to. I can see that these are examples of "woman books" that are also very good books.

I find it much harder to recognise good "man books". There are authors like Tom Clancy who write books about guns and violence that I find quite entertaining but I wouldn't for a second suggest that they are excellent books, while I enjoy them enough they lack character development or adequate scene setting. Presumably there are excellent books that have limited appeal for women but I really can't think of any examples and can't see what traits they would have, does anyone care to enlighten me as to what makes a good "man book"? Is there an active ingredient of a good "man book" rather than just the absence of ingredients that appeal to women?

May 18, 2006


Grr, I've just lost money on the Champions League which was going just fine until about seventy minutes.

Last year I made 50p off my housemate Ollie on the FA cup final but then I lost it when I went double or quits on the outcome of the Michael Jackson trial. This year I got 50p off Adrian for the FA cup but lost it back to him on the Champions League. There's probably some kind of lesson to be learnt…..

May 16, 2006

Ode to a Beacon race mug

Now ever since Dave broke the Barclays mug that I got free from an internships fair (it's no longer homeomorphic to a torus) I've had to take my Becon race mug with me to maths to get water. I got it after I completed a seven mile route up and down the Malvern Beacons, an awesome race that everybody should attempt just for the view. This mug even comes with a poem on it, which would make it an extra good mug if the poem wasn't quite so poor.

Ode To A Beacon Race Mug

In spite of all that I know and fear
I'm going to run again next year
So second Saturday in October
I'm joining the few
Who's pain is eased
by the fabulous view

This poem just doesn't make any sense to me, I think it would flow much better if they got rid of second Saturday. In fact then it might be quite a good poem. As it is this mug comes second out of two in the list of my favourite mugs that Dave hasn't broken, it's not a patch on my Britain in Europe mug.

May 13, 2006

Boo for Tescos

Boo for Tescos 'cause I wanted pie and it was shut. Sometimes when I go to Tescos at the weekend Sean is there and he makes announcements over the tannoy, it's very exciting.

The Kempez Half Marathon

I ran my favourite distance run at Warwick again on thursday setting off at about nine oclock which was a bad plan cause it was dark when i was running around the footpaths behind Kenilworth and I find the countryside very scary at night. I'm not sure exactly what distance the run is but it took me thirteen minutes longer than the coventry half marathon which probably means its a little bit further and i run a bit slower cause I don't have a crowd running with me. If you live on campus and like distance running then do this, you spend lots of time in the countryside and very little time in towns, its awesome.

*Start at the Phantom Coach.

*Run to Varsity.

*Go straight over the roundabout and run past Westwood Church to Westwood Heath.

*Turn left at the T junction at the top of the hill and run out of Westwood Heath to the first turning on the left called Red Lane.

*Turn on to Red Lane and appreciate the nice smelling bushes.

*Turn left at the end of Red Lane towards Kenilworth.

*Run into Kenilworth and turn right onto a track immediately after the 'Too Fast' sign.

*Run along this track for ages past a deep dark wood on the left.

*Immediately after the deep dark wood turn left down the hill with the wood on your left.

*Turn left when you cross a stream, I think the footpath is signposted Kenilworth Castle

*Grumble to yourself about the fact that the farmer is clearly pocketing his EU grants to maintain the footpath, go through a few gates and wonder where the footpath has gone, eventually you get to a big field with a marsh in the middle, take the narrow footpath on the opposite side of the field which soon turns into a track to Kenilworth Castle.

*Turn right just before Kenilworth Castle and skirt around the walls and then follow the main exit from the castle to the car park.

*Cross the road that the car park leads on to then turn left.

*Turn right onto Abbey Fields, run across them and to the main crossroads in Kenilworth, turn right and run back to Campus and then to the Phantom Coach.

This is possibly my favourite run, I really like how quiet it is although it is quite scary being lost in the countryside at night and having to rely on your gut instinct that the footpath you're on will lead you to Kenilworth. When I'm used to this and I want to up the distance a little I might find a better way out of Kenilworth, running on the road is very boring but i don't want to go back the way I came or through the farmyard that I tried once.

Sorry if you're not interested in running or Warwickshire or me, that was probably very boring.

May 08, 2006

Five Is The New Four

Follow-up to Four from Kempez's blog

Gone are the arduous days of four hours work a day, Kempez can proudly announce that with the introduction of Fourier Hour he will now be doing a whole five hours work a day. This effort is matched only by his previous stint working in a christmas pudding factory, and whereas the factory work only lasted for six days Kempez hopes to keep the revision up for a whole month. What a guy!

May 2006

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