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2nd Sep 2007

09:54 pm - References you expect your nearest and dearest to get... answers!

Answers to my earlier personal quotes quiz.

Ten references you expect your nearest and dearest to get... (contains some spoilers)Collapse )

So, osymandias got the most (and was the only one to get number 10), with louisekdyson in a close second! Congratulations, you are obviously my nearest and dearest. I fear, though, that isn't much of a distinction. I suspect my family would get none of those (my mother has watched a lot of Buffy, but as background to other tasks; my brother-in-law has read 7 and 9, so he might get them) and my housemate claimed not to recognise any of my quotes (though I know he has read/seen many).

I can probably pimp/lend any of these to anyone whose interest I may have peaked.

11:19 am - The Nerd Meme

Caught from pmcray and parrot_knight...

I am nerdier than 93% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out! NerdTests.com says I'm a Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

I'm sure there should be a "do you have an urge to fix this test?" question.

17th Aug 2007

03:25 pm - Meme!

Caught from emily_shore, with secondary infection from brightlywoven.

Ten references you expect your nearest and dearest to get...Collapse )

6th Jul 2007

06:42 pm - Shaun The Sheep

It's quite sad, really. For months now, I haven't been able to get the song for Shaun the Sheep out of my head. Well, rather than being the only one infected, I think it is only right that everyone else be.

And for the really sad, here are the wordsCollapse )

15th May 2007

11:52 pm - too. much. cheese.

Normally I would consider this an oxymoron. I don't know what's wrong. Must be old age. Or sunspots. Or the imminent destruction of the world by a subatomic black hole. Anyway, I'm just back from the Cafe du Soleil, which geroge, jackfirecat, and others(?) may remember. Just one measly fondue did it for me.

Speaking of black holes, I was amused to see a note to the effect that simulated black hole caused our software to crash. I'm sure this sort of thing will grow old quickly, but I'm not used to thinking about (even the remote possibility of) creating black holes at work (SF is another matter, cf. John Varley).

I thought this was quite a fun clip about running BaBar on YouTube. I've managed to get out of doing shifts on BaBar, despite working on the experiment for 10 years now (that lack of shift-taking would be scandalous, if I weren't involved in so many other "collaboration service" tasks). Still, I'd like to do some shifts before we stop data-taking, so hope to take shifts later this year.

13th May 2007

01:28 am - Verdigris Deep

oo, oo...

The Hatted One told us this was on its way (and warned us about the scary bits), but why did no one tell me it was here? (thanks to uitlander for the news). I kick myself for not noticing this earlier, as it would have made a cool companion on my visit to Geneva. Frances is too classy to feature in an airport bookshop, especially in London City Airport on a Sunday evening. Oh well, I'll have to hold by breath until next weekend.

7th Mar 2007

04:58 pm - I am such a reactionary

This job advert is a mystery to me. Post 1 concerns

Gender and physics. The interface between gender research and physics has mostly been restricted to understand “women in science”; conditions, power-relations, mechanisms of exclusion and the like. We encourage applicants to focus on questions about gendered knowledge and materiality.
They want someone with experience in both gender research and physics.

Understanding the role of gender in physics careers is an interesting topic (though it doesn't necessarily require a physics background to study), but not one they want to concentrate on. But I don't know how "gendered knowledge" applies to physics (as opposed to biology or anthropology). And what is materiality? Anyone want to set me straight?

OK, I don't need to know. It just seemed strange to receive a job advert where I didn't even understand what the topic of research was.

8th Jan 2007

10:07 pm - Belief and knowledge — scientific language

An interesting article about how scientists and non-scientists use different language - and the dangers that presents. I agree with all of this, but had not formulated it so clearly in my mind.

25th Dec 2006

12:31 pm - Bah humbug from my sister's house

A cut to save you too much small-child cutenessCollapse )

14th Oct 2006

02:54 pm

Everyone on my flist seems to have (or just had) a nasty cold. Sympathies! For that matter, empathies!

All I can hope is that this is the same nasty cold I had last month

11th Oct 2006

07:21 pm - Spooky facts about Lincoln and JFK assassinations

from Wikipedia

Lincoln was the first President of the United States to be assassinated, Kennedy was the last [so far - did anyone see Death of a President?]. Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846, Kennedy in 1946. Lincoln was elected President in 1860, Kennedy in 1960. Both of them were shot on a Friday, both men were shot in the head, and both of them were succeeded by men named Johnson. Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson was born in 1808, while Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson was born in 1908. John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin, was born in 1839, while Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was born in 1939. Both assassins were themselves assassinated, before trial. Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theater, while Kennedy was shot in a Ford 'Lincoln' car.

Edit 7/12/06: Looks like much of this is an urban legend (quickly corrected on Wikipedia). Sigh.

15th Sep 2006

02:41 pm - Jobs at RAL

In case anyone on my flist is interested, RAL is hiring several Linux sysadmin, development, and support people. As well as the vacancies currently advertised, there should shortly be an advert for a Grid deployment person and hardware technician (maintaining large disk servers).

This would be running the large CPU/storage farm (an EGEE/LCH Computing Grid Tier 1 centre) that my colleagues and I use.

RAL is a pleasant place to work, if you don't mind its being some way outside Oxford (there are works buses).

1st Sep 2006

06:59 pm

Cool optical illusion. Thanks to cleanskies for the link.

06:47 pm - surely you'll wear a suit Mr Feynman

CERN have started digitising their tape library. By chance, I came across Feynman's talk immediately after a certain visit to Stockholm (free download as mp3 or ogg), which he mentions in Surely You are Joking...

Anyone interested in Feynman (hello emily_shore!), should enjoy this. Perhaps the physics gets a little heavy at times, but much of it should be comprehensible to the non-scientist.

21st Aug 2006

10:40 pm - Interests Collage

Really cool idea, snarfed from undyingking and jinty...

My Interests Collage!Collapse )

particularly since I updated my interests recently.

16th Aug 2006

04:37 pm - Zero-Gravity Flight

colinbj pointed me at this zero-g flight. Even at £2700 (what I guess it would cost, including getting there and hotel bills), I'm tempted. Only a few minutes' weightlessness, but still 0g!

19th Jul 2006

03:59 pm - things I've never done before

The last week has been quite hectic.

Wednesday to Friday I was in Zurich for a workshop for my new experiment (LHCb). I'm slowly picking up enough to understand what they discussed, and they seemed keen for me to take on what I'd volunteered for (tracking-code integration), as well as the thing I'd already started to implement (HyperNews).

On Friday I visited my great aunt who lives in Zurich, right next to the University. I'd only met her a few times before and never visited, so was quite nervous (how good is her English? will I have anything to talk to her about?). In the end it went fine and was fun (her English is excellent and we had plenty to talk about). I was a little put off by her repeatedly telling me (and my Uncle when she rang him later) what an "honour" my visit was for her. I'd normally interpret that as humour or even sarcasm, but I think she just meant she was pleased to see me.

On Saturday I was doctored (proof). My mum, dad, and uncle came up to watch the ceremony. I'd lost my old white bow tie, so my dad brought his up. As you can see it was quite small and very starched, so it took many many attempts to tie! We had a very good Lincoln lunch afterwards, and an interesting discussion about couterfactual history with the Dean who sat with us.

I wonder whether I should ask for my money back: my thesis title is misspelled on the certificate (J/psi printed as "J/4"). Hopefully I am still now officially Dr Tim (Timothy John e_pepys MA DPhil).

And today I'm starting a week's holiday. I plan to spend it lazing around mostly, though may visit my sister and nieblings. OK, I've done that once or twice before, but usually I take my holiday a day or two at a time.

3rd Jul 2006

11:08 pm - mouldy cheese Zool

Umm, I found this in my drafts folder from way back (April 2000). It was clearly a wicked attempt to restart Zool for a new generation. Fortunately for posterity, I must have run out of inspiration after this brief set-up, and the new generation became the old generation.

But just like that packet of cheese that you find at the back of the fridge still within its use-by period (wrong year, though), I just had to take it out for a peek. And having rotted my soul, it's only fair that I pass it on.

Dramatis personae for the set-up: Myke, J Random Capitalist, and greengolux. If common decency hadn't stopped me, I'm sure I would have gotten round to including (or co-opting) coalescent, twic, squigglyruth, truecatachresis, tinyjo, oxfordhacker, archie, elleblue among others.

it really would be better for you if you didn't click hereCollapse )

Now if anyone who knows Myke and greengolux cares to write the next section, I'll know my work as "Evil Dr Tim" is done. If any of ousfg's current generation care to start afresh, I can retire to The Island of Evil Dr Tim.

That all said, this is better than my most recent "literary" considerations.

26th Jun 2006

10:06 pm

from badasstronaut

I died in the Dungeon of E Pepys

I was killed in a fire-ravaged library by Overconvergent the cockatrice, whilst carrying...

the Wand of Buffy, a Figurine of Applez, the Amulet of Politics and 60 gold pieces.

Score: 67

Explore the Dungeon of E Pepys and try to beat this score,
or enter your username to generate and explore your own dungeon...

The Wand of Buffy was pretty effective while it lasted...

26th May 2006

12:46 pm - bastard LJ

For some reason my settings had been set to screen all comments. Why would they change that? I'm pretty sure I didn't do it.

Anyway, apologies if your words of wisdom were hidden from the world. I have unscreened all recent (not obviously private) comments on my (admittedly rare) posts and changed the default.

Another peculiarity is the setting to email me my own comments is greyed out. If that's only an option for paid members, why don't they say so?

12:53 am - borrowed from osymandias (and others, I'm sure)

You scored as 10th Doctor. Rude and not ginger. You wear glasses and help people.


10th Doctor


3rd doctor


4th Doctor


7th Doctor


6th doctor


1st Doctor


2nd doctor


5th Doctor


a Dalek




9th Doctor


8th Doctor


What Doctor Who character are You?
created with QuizFarm.com

25th Apr 2006

11:42 pm - new media

There's an excellent survey of "new media" in the Economist this week. Like most of the sci/tech in the The Economist they seem to know what they are talking about (at least on topics I know something about, I've rarely spotted any glaring errors, which is unusual for a newspaper). There are some interesting insights (and some perhaps-cool stuff I'd never heard of before), and even quite a bit about LiveJournal - so I had to rush off and post a link.

The Economist isn't one of the top-30 blog-linked sites listed, perhaps because they don't follow their own advice and and provide free access (so I'm afraid you can only read the first four pages online).

25th Mar 2006

03:45 pm - Opus is back!

Thanks to a probably-unrelated post by archie, I discovered that Bloom County's successor is finally out. I saw it was on its way a few years ago, but now I can actually read Opus.


8th Mar 2006

03:13 am - The Link of Doom

I've noticed a very odd problem with my broadband connection. Normally it works fine, but certain BBC web pages (eg. Radio 4 listen again pages cut to prevent accidental accessCollapse )) can crash my cable modem. You just need to follow the Link of Doom and bang goes your network. Fortunately it reboots and is back in a minute.

I can understand flaky signal levels leading to random crashes (I've had those in the past), but what can the cable modem have against those BBC web sites? The cable modem is just a bridge between my router and NTL's UBR at the physical (MAC) layer, so doesn’t look inside the IP packets to see where they are coming from. If it doesn't look, how can it be offended?

It looks like it's not just me. Other people with my model cable modem (Motorola SB4100) and 10Mbps NIC started seeing this recently.

This is a bit annoying, but mainly just really puzzling.

22nd Dec 2005

08:58 pm - top Doonesbury

I saw this wonderful Doonesbury strip in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle (if that link doesn't work, I archived it here).

And just a couple of days later, the Dover (Pennsylvania) judge handed down his decision, ruling that "intelligent design" is religion and not science, thus banning it from being taught in US state schools (thanks to major_clanger for the links). Excellent timing!

Current Mood: amused

6th Oct 2005

08:12 pm - Tim needs (meme from undyingking)

Tim needs your help. Will sell wife for food.
Tim needs a theme
Tim, needs approving
Tim needs help
attend to all of Tim's needs
All Tim needs is a patch
Tim needs to make sure that the equipment and the software is set up and ready
Tim Needs a Notebook
Tim needs to be involved
Tim: Needs child? Gareth: No, and that's not even funny.

13th Sep 2005

10:16 pm - Why gauge field theories are cool

Since juggzy responded to my prompting and asked...

Relativistic quantum field theories are cool, because...Collapse )

Gauge field theories are cool because...Collapse )

I'm still in the middle of the Standard Model and Phenomenology courses, so I may come back and correct all this later :-)

04:50 pm - gauge field theories are cool

Since I don't post much, and don't get out much anyway, I guess you won't have noticed any absence. But this last week and a half, I have been learning some theoretical physics in Abingdon. I'm actually here to help 1st year graduate students learn, but even though this is the third year I've done it, I'm still learning myself. Fortunately the lectures are by professional theoreticians, so it's not the blind leading the blind.

It is completely exhausting, but mostly interesting. I'm supposed to help the students with the exercises, but sometimes I don't even get them done myself - which could be embarrassing but so far it's not been a problem. Today we got much easier problems, so I'm out early and can catch up with e-mail and LJ.

Now to the next lecture... If you ask nicely, I'll explain why gauge field theories are so cool, but there's no more time now.

21st Jul 2005

01:02 pm - Google moon rising


12th May 2005

08:41 pm - Time for some more tech - mp3

I'm off on "holiday" to Elba with geroge (well, a conference for me, holiday for George), weekend after next. What with all the bus travelling we'll be doing (Oxford->Gatwick, Pisa->Elba), I thought an mp3 player full of audio books would be a good thing to have. First step: get an mp3 player.

Does anyone have any advice on what I should look for? I don't really need a huge amount of memory (I'll have my laptop so can easily refill it), but would like something small. I'm no audiophile, so don't need high quality audio, even when I use it to listen to music. One feature is critical for listening to audio books: it must be able to easily fast-forward and rewind (I was flabbergasted when I tried out George's CD player and found you could only skip between tracks, so you couldn't rewind to hear what you missed while distracted by the pterodactyl that just zoomed past).

I also decided to go for something cheap and cheerful. Eventually I'll probably buy a PDA with mp3/camera/phone (maybe something like the Treo 650 tinyjo has just got), since I'm mainly interested in the PDA functions, but it would be useful to have the others available when I need them. However I'm going to take my time deciding on that (maybe after drooling over Jo's - if she'll let me near it!), so need something in the meantime - and to see what features I like.

So far these two 256MB devices have caught my eye: Netac C620 (£40 from Amazon) SafeCom SMFD-256 (£34 from eBuyer). The former sounds better designed, the latter is cheaper and has a built-in radio (which might be nice for R4 when I'm in the UK).

Current Music: none - no tech yet :-(

2nd May 2005

01:07 am - UKIP election broadcast - so cute!

If we accept the Euro, do we get one of these in Partliament? If so, I think we should vote YES immediately - it's so cute!

If you missed the broadcast, you can download the first bit (before the loonies start ranting) as a half-size XviD AVI (5MB) or full-sized MPEG (17.5 MB) [*], or view it as a slide-show. If you really want to see the whole thing, you can get it from the UKIP web site.

[*] This is my first attempt to post a clip I downloaded from my TiVo (using XviD codecs). Is this a format most people can view? If not, do you have any better suggestions for the future?

Current Mood: amused

1st May 2005

06:11 pm - Hustings?

Does anyone know whether there are any election meetings in Oxford East. Checking the candidates' web pages that I could find revealed nothing. Nor did Google, the BBC, or local news sites.

It would be nice to actually hear some or all of the candidates before voting, since I'm still making up my mind how to vote.

I will go to hear the Conservative Wantage candiate, who took over from Robert Jackson when he defected to Labour - but that's just because it's conveniently close to my work, not because it's likely to make any difference.

25th Apr 2005

01:04 pm - Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour 8
Conservative -49
Liberal Democrat 72
UK Independence Party -12
Green 54

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Interesting that Labour have dropped so low in my poll and that UKIP didn't come out lower than the Conservatives. I suspect that the Labour rating is due to the fact that many of the issues that divide them from the LibDems are defined by the party of Government. I've had a chance to decide that Identity Cards are really a bad idea, but haven't discovered the evil buried at the heart of the LibDems's local income tax policy.

Edit 05/05/05 (election day!): I redid the quiz yesterday. There are four new questions, but I may have varied some of the others according to how strongly I held a particular view. Anyway, now Labour have gained some of my brain from the Conservatives

Labour 33
Conservative -22
Liberal Democrat 71
UKIP -18
Green 57

7th Mar 2005

12:33 am - Pleasure of the President

Since I was enthusing about this tonight, I thought I'd post the link to Pleasure of the President, which is a Buffy/West Wing fanfic cross-over. Since I've read very little fanfic, and the concept of such a cross-over is entirely new to me, aficionados of the form may consider my recommendation misplaced (I imagine that if I'd never seen any SF, even doc Smith would seem pretty cool). Nevertheless, it's not too badly written and the two stories fit nicely together (though I thought some of the unlikely coincidences were unnecessary). It does break many of The Ten Commandments of Crossovers, but many of the stories recommended there sounded pretty dire.

23rd Feb 2005

11:04 pm - Museum of Media History 2014

entertaining futurescape movie - complete with references to my old colleague and an outgrowth of one of my current projects (sort of)

6th Nov 2004

05:57 pm - A few links to cheer up those of you who are still depressed since Tuesday night

cut in case you are trying to put the whole sorry mess out of your mindCollapse )

(new addition, 7/11 00:50)

Current Mood: calm

05:24 pm - a recent resident of our house


With Manny gone, jackfirecat and I thought it was just the two of us. Then jack found his recipe collection had turned to litter and discovered a nest. After several daring escapes, our cohabitee was caught in a tea tin (as shown here) and released in the churchyard.

Other photos are in the same directory, but sadly the closeups came out blurry.

5th Nov 2004

11:54 am - The New Political Order in N America

North America

Update 6/11: Sorry I should have made clear that this is not my drawing (obvious to anyone who knows of my drawing abilities). I got it in an e-mail so posted it here. Google found the original (?) here. But then John showed me that The Guardian printed it without attribution either (in Simon Hoggart's column, though the online edition doesn't include the picture). Do you think we should tell them?

Current Mood: worried

1st Nov 2004

09:09 pm - Election night open house

jackfirecat and my house (opposite cleanskies and damiancugley's house), Tuesday evening anytime 10pm - 4am. PBAB if you want alcohol.

According to the BBC, there's a reasonable chance of a result by 4am, and a Kerry win isn't unlikely (the polls seem to be barely leaning towards Kerry winning the electoral college and Bush winning the popular vote - the reverse of last time)</a>, so those of us in the uncynical minority can still hold out some hope.

We were planning on staying up for much of the coverage - though probably flaking out around 4am. Would anybody like to join us for some or all of this (we won't kick you out even if we do crash out first). We can watch West Wing episodes (or anything else people fancy or want to bring along - and I've been collecting a backlog of DVDs to watch) between skipping to TiVo for updates.

It's a long time since we've held anything party-like and I know this is short notice (I only just thought of it) and probably a crazy idea, so if anyone thinks they might like to join us, can you post here. If no one's interested, I won't have to stock up on so many nibbles. Conversely, if there's something else planned that I missed hearing about, please let me know.

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

01:25 pm - Presidential Horror Show

This Flash animation really is quality... Presidential Horror Show. Thanks to jackfirecat for sending it to me.

Work warning: plays music (though jackfirecat said it didn't work for him).

13th Oct 2004

11:37 pm - Your chance to vote in the US Presidential Election

The Florida Election Ballot

Current Mood: amusedamused

2nd Aug 2004

07:12 pm - Dramatic difference discovered in behaviour of matter and antimatter

On Friday I was contacted by our press officer who wanted someone to provide a quote for a press release on the new result my experiment has just announced. Since I knew people who had worked more closely on that analysis, I forwarded her onto them. Maybe I should have provided a quote of my own, and I might be famous :-)

Anyway, if anyone's interested, here are the press release and journal preprint. Of course like all such announcements, this makes it seem like an earth-shattering result. It is an important measurement, but the result on it's own doesn't answer the fundamental mystery of the cosmological matter-antimatter asymmetry.

It will be interesting to see whether the journal will accept the word "observation" in the title, "Observation of Direct CP Violation in B0 -> K+pi- Decays". In many cases they require a "5 sigma" signal to justify that (otherwise you have to use phrases like "evidence for" or even just "search for"), but this 4.2 sigma result is so unambiguous that we hope to be allowed to claim an observation (otherwise the press release might be a little premature).

Our competitors, Belle, recently published a 2.4 sigma result. Although they currently have a little more data than we do, they haven't yet updated to their full dataset, so the precision of the result isn't quite so good. They were also not so lucky, as their central value happens to be a bit lower (though still compatible with ours).

22nd Jun 2004

11:15 pm - Missing posts

I've had a few posts hanging around in my Drafts folder, which for various reasons I hadn't posted to LJ at the time.

  1. Thesis printing (22/11/2002)
  2. My subconscious knows more than I do (22/11/2002)
  3. Holiday in Washington DC (25/04/2004)

Now my Drafts folder is a little tidier!

09:45 pm - Squigglyruth and l'esprit d'escalier

Sigh. I thought I had a nice title for this post, but while checking on the French spelling, I discovered that my understanding of the phrase is broader than is generally accepted. So if you were hoping for a brilliant, if delayed, riposte to something squigglyruth said to me, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed.

Anyway, first let me say what happened. We were playing "Articulate" at Angharad's house on Saturday. This is a fun game involving rapid descriptions of words. I'm not a fast thinker, nor a fast talker, so wasn't very good (well, OK at the descriptions, terrible at the guessing). When I was on Squigglyruth's team, she pointed out a few times where I wasn't so crap. I thought she did this particularly skilfully, and remarked that maybe she had picked this up in teacher training. She was a bit embarrassed by this.

I've done this before: remarked on a noteworthy characteristic of a friend, making them self-conscious about a positive trait of theirs. I'm usually very unobservant about the people around me, and can rarely describe people's character. So when I notice something I can put into words, I blurt it out. I mean it as a complement (I wouldn't say it if that wasn't the intention, since I very very rarely intend to offend), though they don't always take it as such.

Squigglyruth, it's a good thing that you know how to complement people effectively. Just because I think you might have learnt this as part of your teacher training, doesn't make it less of a good idea. Please don't become self-conscious about it.

Have I compound my faux-pas by posting this in public? I hope not. I don't think I really offended Squigglyruth (if I did, I hope she'll say and I can apologise properly), but I thought this was pleasantly recursive (here I am worrying about complementing someone badly on their complementing skills). And maybe LiveJournal is the answer to "l'esprit d'escalier". I like the image evoked by the phrase (on the stairs, leaving a french apartment), and often find myself reviewing conversations from an evening and considering what I thought of some of the more interesting comments. The downside is when I realise that I said something stupid, and there's now no way to take it back. Or thinking how nice it would have been to pursue a particular train of conversation, but it veered onto something else. In this case, maybe I should have kept my mouth shut.

9th Jun 2004

04:30 pm - How to fix the federal deficit

from a message sent to me by a friend...


by Staff Reporter Melynda Jill

Washington DC - Congress today announced that the Office of President of
the United States will be outsourced to overseas interests as of June
30th, the end of this fiscal year. The move is being made to save $400K a
year in salary, a record $521 Billion in deficit expenditures, and related
overhead. "The cost savings will be quite significant" says Congressman
Adam Smith (D - Wash) who, with the aid of the GAO (the General Accounting
Office) has studied outsourcing of American jobs extensively. "We simply
can no longer afford this level of outlay and remain competitive in the
world stage", Congressman Smith said.

cont...Collapse )

Current Mood: amused

3rd Jun 2004

09:56 pm - Adye et al

One of my former colleagues just received a well-deserved "CERN-UK Lifetime Achievement Award". I was amused to see that they referred to "an early publication co-authored with [Sir] Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web,...". Doesn't it seem odd that they don't instead mention the far more famous author (and principal author) of that paper, one T Adye?

Current Mood: amusedamused

26th May 2004

05:07 pm - Five years old today

My experiment has been taking data for 5 years.

Happy birthday BaBar!

(In those 5 years, we recorded the results of ~210,000,000 B anti-B meson pair decays, and published 95 papers, and made 333 conference presentations. That may sound impressive, but we do have 579 physicists in the collaboration - from 75 Universities/institutes in 10 countries.)

Current Mood: happyhappy

3rd May 2004

06:23 pm - Massage

I just had a professional massage from Jamie. Very relaxing. He's in town (with his equipment!) until Wednesday afternoon if anyone else is interested.

Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed

25th Apr 2004

01:52 pm - Washington DC

I wrote this in Barnes and Noble in Bethesda, 25 April 2004. The plan was to describe my whole holiday (18-25 April 2004) in Washington DC so I wouldn't forget it all again. I failed, but at least there's this much. And a few photos.

Posted 22 June 2004 with some corrections and additions.


Flew Virgin to Washington Dulles airport. The 8 hour flight is two hours shorter than I'm used to, so seemed relatively comfortable (but not anything like as comfortable as my last trip in first class!). The airplane was smaller too. It had the fancy new videos that allow you to watch ~50 films + lots of TV etc whenever you like, rather than to a fixed schedule. I eschewed Kill Bill (vol 1) (which I'd like to see, but suspect requires a larger screen) in favour of Big Fish (at least if my Oxygen-starved brain serves me correctly).

My parents were there when I arrived. We went to put my name on the car rental so I could drive it and encountered something I never had before: a helpful and knowledgeable car rental clerk (also Dollar, which is what I usually get lumbered with). We got some food at a Giant supermarket (that's just the name of the shop). Why can I only find smoked Gouda cheese in the US, even though it's imported from the Netherlands? (I'm bringing some home.)

In honour of one of the purposes of this holiday, my dad gave me a diary I had written when I first came to America, aged 9. I gave up after 4 days, and it had atroashus spelling but it did remind me of a few things: a salt water swimming pool on the boat over, waking up early on our first day in the US and concluding that it was indeed a land of wonders (there were cartoons on all morning!). In general though, my memory of my time as a child in Washington is very vague. My younger sister remembers far more than I do.


We went to visit our old house. We couldn't go in, but the layout of the streets (our house in the fork where Thornapple St joins Rollingwood Drive) was sort of as I remembered. Not unexpectedly, they seemed much smaller - the house of one friend (Ben French) which I remembered as some way down the street, was practically next door. Also the ends of the streets were the bounds of my "territory" - such a small area. Surprisingly my memory clearly had Thornapple to the left and the house facing slightly to the right, but I found Thornapple to the right and the house facing slightly left. Did my memory or reality suffer a parity transform?

We also visited the French family (just met the parents).

Then we went to visit my old school. We met a very friendly person from the development office who showed us round. I remembered practically nothing: perhaps the school on a hill with an arced road leading up to it. The sight of the gym reminded me of a school play of Ten Little Indians. I don't even remember any friends at the school (maybe I didn't have any). We left our addresses, no doubt to be bombarded by requests for donations (they can try).

17th Apr 2004

10:39 pm - Holiday? Me?

I'm off on holiday tomorrow morning. My parents are in the US for a month and I decided to join them for a week in Washington DC. The plan is to see again where I lived aged 9-11 (I have such a terrible memory that I remember almost nothing of it, but hope some will come back to me). I also hope to check out Congress, the White House, etc (maybe spot a few locations from The West Wing - no other series I've been such a fan of is set in "real" locations). And of course it'll be nice to be on holiday with my parents (a long time since I've done that).

Due to flight schedules, I'm there for a few days after my parents leave for Florida. Any suggestions on cool stuff to do in Washington gratefully received. Maybe I should go visit my congresswoman (I already wrote her [sic] asking for tickets to the Capitol). I could try painting the White House pink. Do you think if I kidnapped Bush's dog, he'd resign?

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