Fun bits and pieces and Kandinsky

April 28, 2006

While working, I came across the following fun web-site, where you can create virtual mobiles:

This is part of a "mathcats" website, which is a fun maths web-site at the young kids level (but for anyone else too, of course).

When Mr T and I went to the Guggenheim in New York, I really liked the Kandinskys on display, and bought a print of his work Composition VIII. I've blatantly copied a small image of it:

 Kandinsky - Composition VIII

I very much like Composition IV as well. Here's a link to Kandinsky's works:

General and Special Relativity

April 24, 2006

People have been debating on the "Neutrinos have mass (apparently)" thread about general and special relativity.

As GR isn't concerned with neutrinos, please comment on this post about theories of newtonian physics, special and general relativity and related areas.

In particular, I invite people to discuss any observations or experimental results that do not correspond with the predictions of special or general relativity, indicating precisely how the observations or experimental results do not correspond with the predictions, recognising that these theories are theories of classical physics.

It is not sufficient to say that such observations have been made – it is necessary to detail exactly what is being suggested in as much detail as allows people to make the necessary judgements.

Labels in politics

April 20, 2006

Over at Lavartus Prodeo (a link to which is on the right of the screen), there have recently been, and often generally are, political discussions which to me are all about labels, eg "old left", "left", "right", and so on. Similarly, at Catallaxy (a link to which is also at the right) people sometimes discuss the meanings of labels such as "classical liberal", "left liberal" (or similar).

To me this isn't very meaningful – it seems more like turf wars than anything! I'm not much interested in how people categorise themselves or others, I'm more interested in issues, ideas and the influence of these ideas on societal trends.

“The Final Theory” and other bits and pieces

April 20, 2006

I havn't had much time to contribute to my blog recently, so it's looked a little cobwebby, but nonetheless, I came across a link to a web-page that I had previously discovered, then lost, and had once or twice wanted to refind it, and so I've copied it as a link here.

You'll notice that the keyword in the URL is "The Final Theory" which is a pretty good self-description of the content of the link. In fact, it's an ad for a book which I've seen in the Science section of a Paddington bookstore with a sticker on it saying something like "Physics that goes beyond Einstein and Newton (or Hawking, I forget)". Peruse the link at your pleasure.

I've been writing comments on Catallaxy, Andrew Leigh's site and Lavatus Prodeo recently and ignoring my own site! Oh well. In addition, I aim to finish my first substantial paper soon (maybe in a week) – it's just dragging on too long.

Biology, evolution and ecology are so interesting! I'm still reading Dawkins "The Ancestor's Tale" – it's completely interesting and enthralling, and is almost any well-made documentary on the natural world. Maybe this is a later career for me – studying living creatures and their ecosystems. Or something in international relations (ok, this is a fantasy at the moment, but in the future…), or in Earth science, or climate studies, or whole earth studies. It's easy to think that there are too many interesting things in the world!

I've recently signed up for Seti@home and Einstein@home which are distributed computing projects run by Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing at this link:

Seti is, as its name suggests, concerned with attempted to see if a signal from aliens is in amongst a huge amount of data and Einstein@home "is a program that uses your computer's idle time to search for spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO (see and GEO gravitational wave detectors." How interesting and exciting! I remember reading "Black holes and Time Warps" by Kip S. Thorne in the mid-90s in which he discussed the planning for LIGO and the possibility of success, and to now be helping the project in its analysis of data is great, unexpected, and amazing.

Alas, all the jobs at LIGO seem to require you to properly know physics either theoretically or practically, rather than to merely have the potential to. Oh well!

Neutrinos have mass (apparently)

April 3, 2006

The BBC news web-site is reporting that physicists working in the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (Minos) experiment have inferred that neutrinos engage in "flavour-oscillating" which implies that they have mass:

I'm not certain as to the significance of this except that it may account for some of the apparent "missing mass" of the universe

The web-page for Minos is and the relevant press release is: