that's what they said, whoever they are

But yeah.. Total hell offically started today..a nd ends when the goal is reached...

If you feel that you're shy, unusual, highly intelligent, able to sense the emotional states of others, good at judging body language and inordinately pre-occupied with things that most people are not, congratulations! You are just like everybody else.

Subject: WANTED - working TV/DVD/Video combi SW4
Lack of space means less room for things and gadgets....therefore all in one with less boxes and wires would be ideal.... preferably white or silver ...

She reportedly wears crystals to ward off the evil effects of computers and telephones

well the google advertising system in many respects actually really takes the risk out of advertising. it's actually like having a magic fruit machine where you put for example maybe one pound in and you know that you're going to be guaranteed to get ten pounds out.

That is a complete lie! I don't sleep more than an hour a night, and I feel great! I do not loose any brain function, in fact I once had a dog that kept peeing on the floor. We cured him by when I went to the office party and got really drunk. What were we talking about?

Apparently the rapture did occur last Tuesday as was originally
predicted. All true believers were transported to heaven while the rest
of us were left behind to await the Anti-Christ and the end of the world.
Widespread reports that the rapture had not occurred stemmed from
expectations that the effect would be more widespread than it turned out
to be. The definition of "true believer" was apparently more restrictive
than expected, however, and the only qualifiers were a family of five,
living in Stenton, North Dakota.



swords, shields and librarians

all three sisters now blogging:
oldest middle youngest
please don't allow anyone glimpses behind my veil of online mystery, guys.



what i do all day

somebody asked me recently what i do for my project, and as usually happens, about halfway through trying to explain what it was about, I realised what it actually is about, and how to explain it.

i am trying to prove (actually have proved, now) is a statement about integration, which is basically measurement of shapes. the shapes i am trying to measure are two-dimensional ones, so the whole project is about trying to estimate or measure plane area.

now, the area of a rectangle is defined as width x height. this something which is taken as a given rather than proved, and forms the basis of all other ideas of area. for instance, we know the area of a triangle is 1/2 base x height because for any triangle we can draw a rectangle with these dimensions which the triangle takes up exactly half of.

now suppose we're measuring a shape like a circle which doesn't have straight sides. there's no real way of breaking it down into rectangles or pieces of them. so a good procedure goes like this: draw a grid over the shape. add up the area of all the boxes which are completely contained within the shape. this provides an approximation of the area. if you need a better approximation, do it again with a smaller grid. of course, to the extent that it's approximate, it will be an underestimate, because the area we're measuring is completely contained within the shape.

shapes which like circles, have smooth boundaries, are 'nice' in that we can get as accurate as we like, by choosing smaller and smaller grids. one way to make sure that we are measuring something called 'area' accurately and not just pullling results out of thin air is to apply the opposite procedure: draw a grid over the shape and add up the area of each box which contains any part of the shape. again, this estimate should get better and better with smaller grids. but in this case, we'll overestimate the area, and then our better estimates will decrease towards the area.

what we're hoping when we do this is that the 2 estimates will get closer and closer together, and the true area will be between the two. watch this space to find out why this isn't always as easy as it sounds, and what i'm doing about it..



a dearth of possible keys

the 2wire 1000 series of broadband 'modem'/wireless router, which includes the 1800HG, the standard one recommended by bt for their broadband, comes with 64-bit/40-bit WEP encryption set up by default. the default SSID (network name) is "2WIREXXX" where XXX are the last 3 digits of the serial number, and the default WEP key is printed on the bottom of the unit.

the interesting thing about this is: 64-bit WEP uses a fixed 40-bit key which is a network setting, and 24 extra bits which are constantly changing with each message sent. a 40-bit key works out to 10 hexadecimal digits, ie digits 0-9 or A, B, C, D, E or F. but the default key printed on the bottom of the box is a 10 digit number which only uses decimal digits; ie 0-9. this means instead of about 1 trillion possible keys, there are only 10 billion.

given the well-documented, inherent flaws of WEP encryption, (ie you can find out the key if you read quite a few packets and get a little bit lucky), this seems rather bizarre..



hello from linux!

now working with wireless networking. after faffing around with drivers for fedora core for ooh, about 4 months, everything is now working after 'upgrading' to mandriva 2006 (horrible name).

does this mean curtains for windows?

the mandriva install gave me some problems in that X wouldn't work at first - it started and then aborted with error message "could not open default font 'fixed'". i fixed it by commenting out the line
Fontpath "unix/:7100"
in the /etc/X11/XF86config file. that is to say, i replaced it with
#Fontpath "unix/:7100"

my experience with Linux is that usually at least one randomly selected piece of hardware doesn't work from scratch. this is the first time i have been able to fix the problem working from the command line (using vi!).
once you can open a web browser and get to Google, troubleshooting anything else becomes much easier.






notes & quotes

"wait a minute, juanita. make up your mind. this Snow Crash thing - is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?"
juanita shrugs. "what's the difference?"
- snow crash by neal stephenson

i remember writing code like this

// this is required, or it will not work for some reason
*(char*)*va_arg( marker, char * );
- the daily WTF

pi is not a natural number

"Love is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important."
- Lisa Hoffman


"Who alone has reason to *lie himself out* of actuality? He who *suffers* from it."
- Friedrich Nietzsche


"You might be onto something there, but estimated time left is displayed as a numerical quantity, and people find it reassuring to watch it go down at about a rate of one second per second."
- bram cohen, inventor of bittorrent

you wish

"Illegal activities, even if somehow related to math, are not welcome."
- from the rules of the #math irc channel (chatroom) on EFnet.


"'Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' should be a convenience store, not a government agency"
- random sig



If I were a Springer-Verlag Graduate Text in Mathematics, I would be Robin Hartshorne's Algebraic Geometry.

My creator studied algebraic geometry with Oscar Zariski and David Mumford at Harvard, and with J.-P. Serre and A. Grothendieck in Paris. After receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1963, he became a Junior Fellow at Harvard, then taught there for several years. In 1972 he moved to California where he is now Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. My siblings include "Residues and Duality" (1966), "Foundations of Projective Geometry (1968), "Ample Subvarieties of Algebraic Varieties" (1970), and numerous research titles. My creator's current research interest is the geometry of projective varieties and vector bundles. He has been a visiting professor at the College de France and at Kyoto University, where he gave lectures in French and in Japanese, respectively.

My creator is married to Edie Churchill, educator and psychotherapist, and has two human sons and one daughter. He has travelled widely, speaks several foreign languages, and is an experienced mountain climber. He is also an accomplished musician, playing flute, piano, and traditional Japanese music on the shakuhachi.

Which Springer GTM would you be?
The Springer GTM

i would have liked to be "measure and category" by john oxtoby, a book i have just spent 8 months studying.



sisters are doing it for themselves

little sister
middle sister
big sister, there's an amnesty if you come forward now.


there are only twelve stories

every story is a variation on one of the twelve. this was known to homer but only now have they been identified:
  1. boy meets girl
  2. mismatched law enforcement officers
  3. series of murders at large country house
  4. small girl discovers magic world
  5. love between cowboys
  6. dog walks home
  7. two men wait in park, nothing happens
  8. priest and other man talk while on train
  9. boy meets girl in dystopian future
  10. small-time lawyer takes on big-time corruption
  11. man becomes king in accordance with prediction
  12. asked to help with diy by divorced lady neighbour




i installed an energy saving light bulb today and i wasn't impressed.
it was supposed to be 100w equivalent, which at the time i found hard to believe.
then i came into my room after dark and saw this intense whitish light. it's much less yellow than the normal bulb.
daylight is very important to me. i have a north facing window and walls the blue colour of the sky when it's at it bluest and brightest.
so they kind of soak up light but also give the impression of daylight if you make it bright enough.

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