All entries for October 2005
October 27, 2005
This thing had me buzzing for ages during algebra 2 lectures last year, after about four lectures i gave up and decided to do my degree but it was awesome while i was doing it. GCHQ occasionally put these things out, they're really cool cause half of the problem is they don't tell you the rules they just expect you to work out what the hell is going on.
GCHQ Challenge (December 2004)
There are three parts to the solution. See if you can complete all three.
What is the connection between the men in the first list and the women in the second list?
Which man pairs with which woman?
What is the hidden quotation?
October 25, 2005
I'm not sure whether to do Jailbreak or not, one the one hand it would be really really cool, but it would also be very scary. I usually restrict my thrillseeking to things like trying to get a pancake to flip three times before it lands, but i'm thinking maybe its time to be a bit more daring.
So lets say i successfully blag my way to poland without spending any money, do i have to pay to get back or am i supposed to blag that one too?
October 22, 2005
I’d always regarded John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ as a great song; the music is beautiful, if a little simple, and the lyrics are extremely powerful. However listening to it more recently, while it still stirs in me a desire to put the world to rights, I find myself disagreeing with Lennon’s world vision.
‘Imagine there’s no country’ is fine, he is arguing for true internationalism. I too am inspired by the thought that one day there will be no need for famine or drought, where people consider the concerns of all people as they do their compatriots, where there will be no more war.
‘Imagine no possessions’ is a big no no for me however. I consider myself a democratic socialist, and narrowing the poverty gap is a good thing, but to not allow people any possessions at all is going to an extreme. It brings me happiness when I can spend the proceeds of my hours at the Christmas pudding factory on something I want.
While I am no longer religious myself, I think Lennon gets it completely wrong with ‘Imagine no religion’. It is true that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but this is true of anything that inspires people. Fervent nationalism inspired Nazi Germany. Galois got himself shot duelling with a friend over a woman. If we remove everything about which people feel passionate then we will have no kind of world left. So, to single out religion is a big mistake. Would Lennon put an end to football because of the associated hooliganism.
Lennon was great but he never touched on the brilliance of McCartney’s ‘Let It Be’ or ‘Hey Jude’. Anyway, enough of this rant, I’m going to do some measure theory.
October 21, 2005
Writing about web page http://www.maths.warwick.ac.uk/~jsmith/MathsClub/index.htm
I first saw this two years ago, and having just been reminded about it thought i ought to spread the word. To anyone who's not seen this, its a delightful parody of 'fight club' set up at Gibbet Hill before the department moved, it still makes me smile every time i see it. Did I just break the first rule?
October 19, 2005
So I was sitting at home two weeks before term started attempting my ‘R U Ready for year 3’ questions (the answer was no I’m not ready), when my friend Ursie rings me and asks me if I want to go stay on Hilbre island for a few days. Hilbre is a fantastic place off the coast between the Dee and Mersey estuaries. You can walk to it at low tide but then is cut off from the mainland as the sea rises, and there are only three private houses on the island; the rest is a nature reserve. Obviously my answer was yes, and packing only a spare jumper, a pair of wellies and my copy of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ I went and caught the train to West Kirby.
Anyway we were sitting in the living room having just had treacle pudding with ‘red sea sauce’, a topping we invented consisting of melted galaxy chocolate and red food colouring, when Ursie asks if we want to go for a little row. The sea was calm and looked quite attractive so we decided to see if we could get to Middle Eye, an island about fifty metres away. We proceeded towards Middle Eye with ease and it was not until we tried to turn around that we realised, rather than good rowing, it was an incredibly strong current that had given us such speed. At this point the waves started to break over the causeway meaning that rather than being in a sheltered cove we were now on the open sea.
Over the next 90 minutes we drifted towards Ireland. Ursie was in charge of rowing, Sam was in charge of holding on to the rollocks which didn’t fit the boat, and I was in charge of making up physics to try and convince them we’d drift towards shore in a minute. Eventually three wonderful men from the West Kirby lifeboat station arrived and took us back to the island with our boat in tow. Having made sure that we were all ok and had warm clothes they left us enjoying a meal of sausages and soup as they braved the sea again in order to get home.
Moral of the story, lifeboat men are great people. That’s not really a moral is it but it’ll have to do. I won't be going out in a boat anytime soon anyway.