Friday, August 03, 2007

Cheaper than racing cars

Belt sanders were one of the first power tools used in the growing field of power tool drag racing wherein a pair of stock or modified belt sanders are placed in parallel wooden channels and fitted with long extension cords. Each heat begins when a common switch or individual switches triggered by the racers energizes them, causing the sanders to race towards the end of the track spitting wood dust along the way. Stock sanders race down a 50' long track, while modified sanders race on a 75' long track.

So says Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Defining Fitness

Moderately interesting program on Radio 4 concerning fitness, trying to answer the question “what is it to be fit (enough)?” It's part one of the Am I Normal? series. It's mostly concerned with the lower end of the fitness spectrum, and how to move up a bit. I don't think they answered the question very well but they brought up some good points on the important of fitness as a major contributor to health.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jobs For Nerds

Got a PhD in Maths? You'll be in good company if you get a job writing for the Simpsons! Awesome!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

96p don't come for free

Is it possible that ebay has the worst website in the world? So long as there is MySpace it can't be true, but ebay must be duking it out for one of the top spaces on that list. I recently concluded my first transaction using ebay (selling 4 assorted bits of household stuff we no longer want) and while the transactions went smoothly gawd durn does that website make me sick! So much visual noise. It doesn't need to be so hard, but when you're top dog in a big market you don't need to worry about design. To be fair I think most of the big name websites look like they were designed by a three year old, but at least Google keeps their pages clean.

Lots of little incidents recently. Two that stick in my mind are the cops outside a neighbours house (didn't find out why, as no-one was home), and our ill cat (boo! But getting better now.)

PS: The post title is what I made on one sale after PayPal took their cut. As the buyer collected the goods I don't know why they didn't pay cash.

Friday, June 15, 2007


5:20am and I'm awake. Rain is hammering down outside. It's a good time to be awake alone, though I doubt I'll be all that pleased come midday.

It's been a week of rain and little incidents. The bonsai cat killed a sick pigeon, covering the back garden in feathers. I found a dead cat by the side of the road. I eavesdropped on some amusing interactions between the local kids in the park (I'm sure we were just as bad in our youth). Also managed to do some work, sort out most of the robotics kits, and contribute my bit to Untyped's code release on Monday. If I'm not a complete zombie today I hope to get the forward/backward algorithm for POMDPs implemented.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

One Week's Food

Week's Food 1
Originally uploaded by Noel Welsh
As a rejoinder to a post I did at Untyping, this is a photo of most of one week's food as purchased on Saturday at the markets. If you click on the picture and follow it to Flickr you can see the rest of the food in the next photo. No, we don't eat cat. Total cost was about 48 pounds, a bit over budget.

BTW, if you read this blog you probably want to read Untyping as well, which is where all the non-personal stuff goes.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Not awesome: stupid inflamed forearm tendons. Probably not awesome: waking up at 4:35am today. I felt so awake! Let's see how I am at noon. Might be awesome: NIPS paper deadline today. Awesome: paper accepted to ICFP 2007. See you in Freiburg. Next stop Stockholm!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Need More Power!

Conference paper submission deadline on the 9th. Today the whole building is powered down for some spurious reason. Today I lose all the experiments I've been running on many many computers for the last month. So, no trip to Oregon this year.

In other news, the money sink known as our car had it's N monthly service yesterday. All went well, but when I went to fill it up with compressed dead trees the petrol hatch wouldn't open (the spring is MIA). Stood around like a fool playing with the damn hatch whilst the queue behind me grew and grew. The person behind me was kind enough to get out and help, though her first question was to ask if I'd pulled the release lever. Yeah, I thought of that. Eventually got it open.

It's been a grumpiness inducing couple of days. Things can only get better!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Today, A Hero

Today I rescued our cat from a tree. This is certainly the most heroic act I have performed this week. To be specific, I woke up our neighbour to ask him to hold our ladder. While he was getting dressed I went half way up the ladder to advise the cat against jumping, which appeared to be his wont. He then climbed down to me, so in fact I only half rescued the cat.