There's nobody here but us chickens.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Birthday update

Resurrected for a day!


Um, birthday plans are looking ropey, due to the weather. The contingency plan is the following:

1. Arrive at my place from 12.30 onwards. Still bring picnicky stuff, we will do an indoor picnic and other fun stuff.

2. At some point, we may then stretch our legs out to a nearby pub, probably The White Horse on Brixton Hill around the corner.

I will confirm on-blog and on Facebook later today....

Friday, December 22, 2006

More in a Series of Fortunate Events

Today was a landmark day, a little sad; I said goodbye to my research unit and my position as a postdoc. The place and people prised their way into my heart and, unlike many of their patients, I will never forget them.

But every event has its echo, and this one carries backward - to an interview and offer last month - and forward, to a new job in the new year. More details as I get them, loyal readers.

Tomorrow is also a landmark day; we move into a house that we own.

The day after is Christmas Eve (you might know that one), with all the busyment that follows.

All in all, 2006 is making a big exit.

Speak in... 07?

A rant on progressive social programs

Not mine, but a quote I mined:

It might be right to say that the "true" cause of poverty and lack of life chances is ignorance, malnutrition, antisocial behaviour etc, but as Chris Dillow often says, you don't cure a pedestrian with a broken leg by sending the bus backwards over him.

From the comments to this provoking post.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mad tidings we bring?

Something to do with the combination of dark nights, fairy lights, jingly sleigh-bell music and heavy-rotation advertising going on in the background means there's a palpable whiff of greasy hysteria in the air. A feeling that everything's about to shut down and hibernate, so you've got to get your oar in now while there's still time. It's all bells and tinsel and unhinged grinning urgency. No wonder Die Hard was set at Christmas. Watching Bruce Willis crashing through windows and machine-gunning terrorists would have seemed downright boring if he'd been doing it on pancake day.

Charlie Brooker at Comment is Free

A Series of Fortunate Events

Part One. Disa passed her PhD viva with flying colours. She's the top squirrel in the park!

More to come.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I will pay to do your work for you.

Speaker: Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University.
Snippet of Abstract: "Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs. This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human brainpower using computer games."
Awesomeness: Pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Overhead online

On whether university economics skews you politically rightwards:

I never was taught basic economics (Latin and Greek were thought to be much more useful), but the logic of a rightward shift seems pretty straightforward to me.

First, you are taught how to conjugate a verb. That would be Latin 101.

Metella est mater. Quintis est filius et ambulat in hortum. Hic, haec, hoc. (This is all I can remember)

Then you spend the next 5 years learning all the 20,000 exceptions to the rule. That would be real Latin.

Similarly, Econ 101 is for libertarians, while economy is for, huh, real economists. The libertarians never get past the Esperanto-like first grade version of Latin.

They only learn the first bit: how markets work. They never get round to the second, far more frustrating bit: markets don’t work all the time, and can indeed fail disastrously. The invisible hand often needs guidance.

Jasper Emmering at Crooked Timber.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Leaving the test centre at 9am Saturday morning... I can drive - in theory.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Help me out

I've thrown together this image for a manuscript I'm trying to finish up. I'm not entirely happy with it as it stands, so looking for a few pointers.

For those memory-research naive, what does the diagram give you? Are you any more informed about Memory loss? Anything particularly unclear?

For those of you with a bit of a background in this stuff, I'm not sure about the caption coming off of the Event Theta (the little easter egg symbol). PTA extends aft AND before the insult, but I worry that it'd start to look really scruffy if I shoehorn another event in just before and recolour. Also, PTA doesn't really cut it - there are also confusional states and other stuff. Is there a pithier way to get at this?
Also - I guess for anyone - if I added more colour (they want glorious technicolor in their publication), what would be fair candidates? A colleague suggested the PTA-period getting a different colour, but the program I'm using,, although nice (and free) doesn't appear to offer you gradients from one colour into another so it would look a bit blocky and coarse. Could colour certain events... however, in all cases, I would prefer to add colour when it actually means something, and to definitely avoid it when it actively confuses.

Any comments hugely appreciated, folks!