Sunday, May 29, 2005

Average of 10: new personal best time

I did some cubing yesterday morning and got a new best time for an average of 10: 34.22 seconds! Scrambles and timing was done with JNetCube, following the rules for average of 10.

Here are the details.

----- JNetCube Best Average for Sat May 28 16:18:29 BST 2005 -----

Average: 34.22

Fastest Time: 27.95
Slowest Time: 42.53
Standard Deviation: 04.42

Individual Times:

Solve 1: 40.62s
Scramble: B U B U' F' D L D' B U' R' U2 B' D2 U' R2 U' F U' L F R' F D2 L

Solve 2: 30.17s
Scramble: U2 B2 U' F2 D2 R' U' R U2 F2 U' F R' D B D2 R L2 U' B F' D' L2 F2 B

Solve 3: 34.97s
Scramble: B' U' B2 F L2 U2 L2 B' D F D2 R' D' F R D' F L' B' R D U2 B2 D' B'

Solve 4: 31.48s
Scramble: F' R' L' F' L2 D U F2 L B' D2 L B2 F2 R B U R' D L F' R2 L2 F2 U2

Solve 5: (27.95s)
Scramble: L U' B F2 U F' U D2 F D' L' D L2 U B2 L' F D' L F2 D' F2 B U2 B

Solve 6: 42.44s
Scramble: L D F' D' F' U2 L2 U D L F' B D2 F2 R' B' R U2 F R2 B' U' L' B D2

Solve 7: 30.96s
Scramble: F' B2 U L2 U' L D' F' U2 F2 R D R2 U2 F B2 L R2 B' L U' L' B2 D2 L

Solve 8: 30.11s
Scramble: U2 F U2 F2 U' R2 B' L' U' B' U' B D' R2 B' F' R2 L' U' F2 D2 F L' B2 U'

Solve 9: (42.53s)
Scramble: B' F R' B2 D2 U2 R2 F' L' B L' F' R' L' F' U R U D2 F R' D U2 L' B2

Solve 10: 34.17s
Scramble: B D L D' R2 B L2 F D2 U' R B' R' U F2 U' F R2 L U2 D' L2 B' U' D

Solve 11: 30.94s
Scramble: R2 B' U R F D' R U' L' D' F2 U' L' U L U2 D' B D' R' B U B D F2

Solve 12: 36.32s
Scramble: R2 F' L D' R2 B2 F' R2 B F L2 R U' R' B' D2 L2 R' B2 U2 F D U' B2 D2

Scrambled cube

More weather ramblings: addendum

The important thing that I forgot to mention in the previous post is that the Weather Panel for Canberra is showing the week leading up to winter, whereas the London one is obviously leading up to summer.

Heading towards summer in London
Heading towards summer in London

Heading towards winter in Canberra
Heading towards winter in Canberra

Saturday, May 28, 2005

More weather ramblings

At the beginning of the week when I checked Weather Panel on my iPAQ, I saw the following. This once again confirmed for me that London weather is horrible compared to Canberra weather.

London weather
Crap London weather

Canberra weather
Nice Canberra weather

Turns out that by the end of the week, the weather in London had improved and it was a nice sunny day on Friday (about 27 degrees Celsius). On the train on Friday morning I picked up Metro (free commuter newspaper) and read that it was going to be a similarly nice sunny day on Saturday, but would be colder and greyer again by Sunday. The thing I found quite ridiculous about this is obviously not that the weather would go crap so quickly, but that two consecutive days of 27 degrees is considered a 'heatwave'. Yes, seriously. The newspaper said something about 'the heatwave will be over by Sunday'.

BTW, this is what the Weather Panel had to say about Arlington. All over the place - everything from happy suns to grumpy thunder clouds with lightning. Crazy stuff.

Arlington weather
Crazy Arlington weather

Monday, May 23, 2005

PhD in trolls

Camilla Asplund Ingemark has researched trolls for six years and has now written the first doctoral dissertation on the subject.

Her study describes the world of trolls according to the beliefs in the folklore of Swedish-speaking Finns.

Hello. I'm a troll. Would you like to PhD me?


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Marriage statistics in Australia

Median age at marriage: 31.2 years (males) and 29.1 years (female).
Median age at first marriage: 29.2 years (male) and 27.3 years (female).
Percentage of couples who live together before marriage: 75%
Percentage of marriages in which neither party had been previously married: 66%

Champagne and confetti

Saturday, May 21, 2005

London weather is still crap

Despite Peter's claims, the weather in London is still crap.

Here's what Weather Pixie has to say about it.

Unlike Weather Pixie, I'm not smiling about it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

London weather is awful

The weather in London is crap. Crap. Crap. Crap.

rain cloudrain cloudrain cloudrain cloudrain cloudrain cloud

People keep telling me that it will get better, but I've been here for six months and it's still crap. Actually, that's a little too harsh. The weather has changed from really crap to slightly less crap, so there has been some improvement. And there has been one day in the last six months where an overcoat wasn't absolutely necessary.

cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud

Canberra is not especially known for good weather. However, compared to London, the Canberra weather is awesome.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Name generator generator

I came across this Name Generator Generator. I did a couple of them. Here are the results.

My magical Potterized name is Hermione.

My Harry Potter patronus is: Siamese Cat.

My Care Bear name is: Funshine Bear.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy

Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy
from Hamlet's Cat
by William Shakespeare's Cat

To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,

Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell.

To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt.

To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten?

Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?

Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.


From the book: Poetry for Cats : The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse by Henry Beard

Friday, May 13, 2005

More mobiles than people in Norway

I saw a news article recently which said that the number of mobile phone subscribers in Norway has recently exceeded the number of people. And it's not just the Norwegians who love mobiles, apparently the same can be said of the Lithuanians.

Here are some statistics from the article:

  • Norway -- 4.7 million registered cell phone subscriptions in 2004, indicating that 102 percent of the country's total population has become portable
  • Norway -- more than one in six households, or 17 percent of the population, last year said they did not have a home phone
  • Lithuania -- 3.7 million people in Lithuania were mobile phone subscribers, which was more than the national population of 3.4 million
No one wants landlines anymore!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Buttered Cat Principle, Part II

Upon further research into the Buttered Cat Principle, I found the following rebuttals to the original theory.


When a cat is dropped, it ALWAYS lands on its feet; and when toast is dropped, it ALWAYS lands with the buttered side facing down. Therefore, I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat. When dropped, the two will hover, spinning inches above the ground, probably into eternity. A "buttered-cat array" could replace pneumatic tires on cars and trucks, and "giant buttered-cat arrays" could easily allow a high-speed monorail linking New York with Chicago.


Allow a humble engineer to comment. In the described mode, the buttered cat array will drop like a stone and go splat. The toast is on the cat's back, so its feet are free. Presumably, the toast is butter side up. Dropped from any height, the cat's feet OR the buttered toast both are attracted to the ground, and there is nothing to stop the descent to splat-dom. It is the cat's BACK, and the UNBUTTERED side of the toast that repels the ground. For the "buttered cat array" to work, the cat must have four pieces of toast attached to its paws, with each paw firmly planted on the butter side. THIS array will then "hover, spinning inches above the ground" as the toast tries to flip over to the buttered side and the cat tries to spin so it's back is upright. -- Stan P

"Would you believe that I actually tried that buttered-cat thing, it didn't work and my cat scratched the shit out of me...?" -- Kain O

I am sorry to have to spoil your grand hopes of the perpetual motion machine but: The proposed revision to the buttered cat array will simply not work. In order to have the assembly work properly, the center of gyration would have to coincide with the plane through which the junction of toast and paws pass. The current proposed configuration has two masses joined together, which are of extremely unsimilar masses. The resultant center of gravity would be; depending upon the breed of cat; approximately 1/4" above the belly of the cat. The forces acting against the approaching ground, working through the junction of sole and butter, causing the assembly to rotate around the off-centered point of gyration; resulting in the cataclysmic disassociation of all parts in common. Not to mention the loss of life and limb of any laboratory worker foolhardy enough to try and get one piece of buttered bread onto a cat let alone attempt this feat four times. (Everybody knows that the cats' disposition in indirectly proportional to the fifth power of the cats discomfort.) -- Jeff B

The other thing to keep in mind is that you'd have to be careful where the cat is the northern hemisphere, the spinning cat would, of course, spin in a counterclockwise direction, ala hurricanes and toilet bowls. South of the equator, the reverse would be true. A regulatory commission would have to be established to prevent mean spirited people from dropping buttered cats ON the equator, which would cause them to spin both ways at once, either turning them inside out or making them politicians. The truly perverse would tie the cat's feet together, apply the buttered toast, and then watch with glee, as the reverse g-force applied to such a concentrated area would shoot the cat up into the sky like some furry rocket. You have to be careful with these things. -- Rev. Glenn F."


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Buttered Cat Principle, Part I

A couple of people emailed this to me. You've probably seen it before. It's one of those emails that does the rounds every now and then. It's pretty funny so I thought I'd post it here.

Question: If, when you drop a buttered piece of bread, it drops butter side down and a cat always lands on its feet. What would happen if you took a piece of buttered bread, strapped it on the back of a cat (butter side up) and dropped it?

Answer: Even if you are too lazy to do the experiment yourself you should be able to deduce the obvious result. The laws of butterology demand that the butter must hit the ground, and the equally strict laws of feline aerodynamics demand that the cat must land on it's feet. If the combined construct were to land, nature would have no way to resolve this paradox.

Therefore it simply does not fall.

That's right you clever mortal (well, as clever as a mortal can get), you have discovered the secret of antigravity! A buttered cat will, when released, quickly move to a height where the forces of cat-twisting and butter repulsion are in equilibrium. This equilibrium point can be modified by scraping off some of the butter, providing lift, or removing some of the cat's limbs, allowing descent.

Most of the civilized species of the Universe already use this principle to drive their ships while within a planetary system. The loud humming heard by most sighters of UFOs is, in fact, the purring of several hundred cats.

The one obvious danger is, of course, if the cats manage to eat the bread off their backs they will instantly plummet. Of course the cats will land on their feet, but this usually doesn't do them much good, since right after they make their graceful landing several tons of red-hot starship and irritated aliens crash on top of them.

Fiddley kitty

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

(Almost) everyone has read The Da Vinci Code, or read HP5 or seen Titanic

Peter and I were visiting some friends last weekend. I noticed that their bookshelf contained a copy of The Da Vinci Code and a copy of Harry Potter 5. I mentioned that I had read The Da Vinci Code and HP5 but Peter had not (Peter is partway through the fifth Harry Potter book).

I concluded from these two pieces of information that Peter must be quite unusual. Hasn't everyone read The Da Vinci Code?? Hasn't everyone read all five Harry Potter books??

Peter added that he also hasn't seen the Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet Titanic movie. I then concluded that Peter must be the only person who hasn't read either of these two books or seen this film!

Peter thought this assertion was worthy of a blog entry. Mikal replied to Peter's blog entry claiming that he was even more unique because he hasn't read any of the HP books!

Crazy stuff.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Cutest eBay item ever: Name this Kitty

A nice lady is looking to adopt a stray kitty who's been visiting her apartment every day. She and her two kitties, Poustaki and Figgy, like the stray kitty and are happy to have him around, however, due to expensive vet bills for Figgy (who has asthma) and Poustaki (who has cerebellar hypoplasia), she can't really afford the set-up costs to adopt the stray kitty.

So, she came up with clever the idea of auctioning off the naming rights to the kitty to raise the money for the vet bills! Click here to visit the eBay auction for naming the kitty or here to email the nice lady about paypal donations.

Below is an adorable slideshow of Poustaki, Figgy and the yet-to-be-named kitty.

Poustaki and Figgy's Excellent Adventure. Slideshow used with permission.
Poustaki and Figgy's Excellent Adventure

Thursday, May 05, 2005

You are SO in my bed!

A couple of people sent this pic to me recently. Very funny!

You are SO in my bed!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Cloned kitties

This story is a little old, but the kitty is so cute that I'm going to post him anyway.

Little Nicky is the first cloned-to-order pet in sold in the US. He was cloned by the Californian company Genetic Savings and Clone.

GSC's website has pictures of other adorable little cloned kitties, including Peaches and Little Gizmo. They are both very cute. Speaking of cute, I met two other GSC clones last year at the New York Cat Show - Tabouli and Baba Ganoush.

Tabouli and Baba Ganoush
Tabouli and Baba Ganoush

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A lot has happened in the celebrity world recently

I picked up a magazine at the supermarket today and discovered that a lot has happened in the celebrity world recently.

Apparently Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are officially an item now. I had heard the rumours months ago but didn't know that they were true. I also read that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are an item!? The particular article I read was quick to point out that Katie was closer in age to Tom's daughter, Isabelle, than she was to Tom. Hmmm.

Other shock news in the magazine was that Britney has been putting on weight since becoming pregnant. Oh the scandal!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Firefox extensions

I have been pretty happy with Firefox since I switched to Firefox from IE a couple of months ago.

After reading Colin's blog, I discovered that there are heaps of cool Firefox extensions and themes. The first extension I installed was ForecastFox. I plan to install many more.

As for the themes, I pretty quickly found the purrfect theme for me - cats! Check out the adorable buttons.

Firefox theme - Red Cats
From left to right these buttons are:
back, forward, refresh, stop, home, progress of downloads,
mail, open in new window.

Firefox theme - Red Cats
From left to right these buttons are:
open in new tab, bookmarks, recently viewed pages, cut, copy, paste.

In addition to the customised buttons, there are several other cat-ified features attached to this theme including a status bar of little fishies and cat icons in the bookmarks menu. Cute!