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Why "I hate Tokyo" [09 Jun 2012|05:51pm]
Preface on hatred: For many usages of the term "hate" it is an active verb. That means the person using it is making some effort in order to not enjoy their life, and insist that this effort is worthwhile. I don't do that, because it is just going to lead to more misery, no matter what. I am a passive hater; the things I don't like aren't going to change because of me, but it doesn't insist that I need to accept them, either. It's why I hate Mondays, I hate mornings, and, among other things, I also hate Tokyo.

What I mean by Tokyo: For the large part, I mean the metropolitan area of Tokyo proper. However, some examples may reflect on the Kanto plain generally (I live in Saitama), Japan in general, or even humanity on earth. We should expect this is somewhat natural, as going from smaller to larger, one is just a subset of the next. However, mainly I specifically hate Tokyo itself, so I hope my examples reflect that well.

My surprise: I know many Japanese people who also hate ("dislike") Tokyo. So when I said this to my American ex-patriots, I assumed many of them must also hate Tokyo, just like I do, and just like many Japanese people do. I was rather surprised that none of them agreed with me! Hence some self-reflection, manifested as this entry.

The short and wrong version: I tried to explain this on the train to my friend Shaun this week. My examples likely were inspired by the fact that we spent the evening in Shimbashi (this is near Ginza, for the record). My examples included "too many people," "all the bright lights," "the drunks," "how expensive everything is," and "the girls who are extremely dolled up." Shaun's basic response was simple and yet rather profound I thought, and had two essential parts. One was that it sounds like I'm getting older. The other was that it sounds like I just don't like big cities. To the former, it would interest especially my hometown friend Ian, since years ago we observed that near 30 people stop accepting change. Now being straight, I never minded to look at girls from time to time; but I also never liked it when they were purposely being trendy, and slathering their face with absurd amounts of make-up, and probably spending 1 hour per day to fix their hair — that's stupid and ugly. And just because I will get incredibly drunk, and enjoy the company of my drunk and sober friends doesn't mean I ever enjoy it when other people are trashed in public. As to whether I like cities or not, I imagine I don't dislike big cities any more or less than anyone else (but how much my feelings are common or unusual is what this whole entry is about, so we shall see). I don't think anyone likes paying a lot of money for things. Most people don't like crowding either. These are some reasons I dislike big cities.

Why I like Tokyo: The University is one of the best in the world, and luckily I don't have to live in, or frequently visit, the city or the university itself too often. The train system is very clean and fast (but there are too many different companies, the schedules are very odd, and the number of different types of trains at the same platform is absurd sometimes). They also have really amazing record shops. I think these are just about the only three good things I could honestly say about Tokyo, two-thirds of which do not apply to most people. (I have purposely omitted the remark that I have friends here, because I have/had friends every place I ever lived.) And the only thing I honestly like which could apply to most people has a number of caveats! So I guess if I don't like Tokyo, in a binary relationship it must be true that…

I fucking hate Tokyo, and here is why!

  • #1 I fucking hate that in Tokyo there are no public garbage receptacles. Someone please explain this to me. I heard it was because there was some desire that people carry their trash with them and dispose of it at home, and thus the city does not need to pay for this. Some subset of that was somehow that if people got used to carrying their garbage in public, they wouldn't litter because they would not have any habit to get rid of trash in public at all! However, I must personally hope that the above logic is not applied, because it is absolutely fucking insane. It is especially absurd that there are no public trash cans because of the sheer amount of garbage generated by consumerism in this country. About 10 minutes ago I went to a convenience store. I put my own re-usable bag on the counter. I also told them I didn't want disposable chopsticks for some of my food. For an unusual reason, I had to step away from the counter for about 4 seconds. I came back and they put my stuff into a plastic bag and had put disposable chopsticks in it, apparently because they couldn't just wait for me without doing anything. Japan is the number one producer of plastic garbage in the world. Not per capita. They make more plastic garbage than all of China, which has ten times more people. They make more plastic garbage than all of the US, which has three times as many people and a relatively comparable level or wealth and absurd consumerist culture. For anyone not in the know, you can buy like a bag of rice crackers where each rice cracker is individually wrapped in plastic. I've heard a lot of bogus theories about this practice. An American friend lofted the convenience for hanami (spring picnics under flowering trees); but it's done all the year around, so this cannot be true. One of my Japanese colleagues said it was because of the weather (humidity); well Chapel Hill in North Carolina has basically identical weather with Tokyo, and they don't individually wrap everything in plastic, and the food doesn't go bad. Maybe it's because they don't irradiate their food that makes it go bad so fast — did you know the reason people in Tokyo are so obsessed with umbrellas is because of fear of radiation...in the rain?! It leads me to my next point…

  • #2 I fucking hate the number of umbrellas in Tokyo. This does relate a little bit to the population density, and also perhaps to the geography and the fact that it rains fairly often. However, these points could only contribute to about half of my annoyance with umbrellas. Did you know that the transparent plastic umbrellas were invented in Tokyo? That fact should tell you something about how much people here love their fucking umbrellas. Being tall doesn't help, since it means have to perform feats of acrobatics not to get clipped in the face on a rainy day. It will have stopped raining ten minutes ago, and some 87% of the people that had umbrellas out when it was at least legitimately raining...still have their umbrellas out. The icon for raining weather on Tokyo news stations (which are broadcast nation-wide) isn't a rain drop. It is an umbrella! It can be sprinkling, and you can see people without an umbrella sprinting; what, are they like the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz who will melt if they get too much water on them? Even with this sprinkling you can see people with umbrellas. Anyway, here absolutely no body likes my philosophy that "if it rains, you get wet." Now, the most grating part of all this is that nice weather is not a solution. Why? Because in Tokyo the solution to the rare snow (which is dry once in awhile) is STILL TO CARRY AN UMBRELLA!. Because if it is bright and sunny, many women have parasols! Which leads me to…

  • #3 I fucking hate the type and intensity of fashion in Tokyo. Women carry parasols because they want to remain pasty and pale. Getting cancer from radiation causes use of umbrellas. And radiation from the sun causes cancer, causing parasols. But seriously, a little sun light is good for you, and wouldn't give you cancer. Sure, tanning can be unhealthy, or going to the beach without sunblock. But walking outside from your house to a store and back on a sunny day is probably not going to give you cancer. I think everyone knows that, and it's just the fashionable fact of being a pasty white female which is sexy. If that meant you stayed at home and I never had to see your sexy ugly face, I would not be filled with hatred. But you want to come in public when it is sunny, so it means I have to dodge your parasol; asshole! Men wear these pointy elf-styled dress shoes ugly clod-hoppers that are even bigger than my shoes, and I have a foot and a half of height on them. Sexism is so deeply embedded in this culture that many jobs, on paper, require women to wear heels and make-up. So it's no surprise between both the men's and women's shoes that my ears have to be assaulted with this horrible cacophony of clacking. CLACK CLACK CLACK. Ugh. I wish women here actually even knew how to walk in heels at all. Sometime take a look at the angle of wear on some girl's heel, and you will know exactly what I am talking about (we will get into this discussion later). And many women seem to enjoy this idea of requiring make-up, judging by the slathering of eye shadow that has a thickness which could be measured in millimeters. I saw a guy on the train this week wearing a striped shirt with pin-stripe pants and striped socks, and all three were also shades of blue! I didn't even know it was possible to violate the basic rules of "how to dress" that much at the same time. The sense of awful and retina searing fashion is especially bad in Ginza. These people are so obsessed with their fashion and shopping they will go through a cross walk in front of an ambulance with its siren going, because shopping is apparently more important than a person's life who might be dying. Which leads me to…

  • #4 I fucking hate the way ambulances drive and are treated here. Why don't the ambulances speed? I think they actually go under the speed limit. If you are ever in dire need to go to the hospital in Tokyo, do NOT call an ambulence — call a fucking taxi cab. You may think I am being extreme for my own amusement, but I am deadly serious. There was a woman who DIED inside an ambulance after getting rejected by 39 hospitals! She was in an ambulance because she got hit by a car. This was in the news a couple years ago. If that is not insane and justifying my hatred, I don't know what would. It leads me to...

  • #5 I fucking hate that people cannot take care of themselves. I know people who have gone to the hospital because of a small cut. When I get cut in the lab with some sharp metal, I just pour ethanol on it and tape it up; you can do it, too! Something you could wash with soap and put a bandage over and forget about for the rest of your life. That woman got rejected from hospitals because, surely, people who did not need to be occupying a hospital bed, were there anyway, making 39 hospitals at full capacity. She got hit by a car, probably for the same reason that…

  • #6 I fucking hate Tokyo drivers. They do not seem to have any clue what a "right of way" is, what a "zebra striped crossing" means, or even what "yield" is. Actually, my PhD supervisor, who indeed lived in America for 5 years, actually stated to me that Japanese people have no sense of "yield." They can only understand "stop" or "go" but not a conditional, like, "Only go if you are not violating someone's right of way." I guess that's a basic criticism of Japanese culture itself, and not suitable for this rant on Tokyo, but I wouldn't mind if people in this country were able to make decisions for themselves rather than just using a shitty system of rules to tell them what to do and then following that. However, I am willing to be sure that Tokyo drivers, whatever cultural rules they are following, are especially worse than many other Japanese drivers. I've nearly been run over many, many times, when I was walking in a zebra striped crossing, in the direction of the main flow of traffic. If you ever want to see illegal use of the "rolling stop," then come visit me in Tokyo. Usually when I am crossing, and I don't have to halt in my tracks to avoid being run over and a car lets me go past, they don't actually STOP. I had a car continuing to roll when the fender was less than 10 centimeters from my leg. This is nuts. Probably it is not just the drivers who are at fault, because…

  • #7 I fucking hate that people in Tokyo don't know how to walk. With such huge numbers of people, you would think they learned how to judge trajectory. What happened to the stereotype that Asian people are good at mathematics? They obviously suck at velocity space, so they must not be better than average at mathematics, either. I will see the velocity space of someone approaching me, and have to alter my path up to three or four times to avoid them. My American friends in Tokyo introduced me to the term, "The Japanese S-walk." Actually, since that time, where I now assume a person's velocity space is convoluted with a sine function, I had to dodge people a little less! I don't have any idea WHY people in Tokyo cannot walk, but it is verified experimentally. It doesn't help that people walk around using their mobile phones for whatever nefarious reason. Many Japanese also seem to have genetic pigeon-foot (at least one order of magnitude higher than I have seen elsewhere), so some of my comments might be slightly racist. However, it isn't just the trajectory or obliviousness, but the actual way of walking which is also at fault. As I mentioned in point #3, you can easily verify that women do not know how to walk by looking at the wear on their heels! Maybe people don't know how to walk just because…

  • #9 I fucking hate the layout of Tokyo. I'm actually pretty decent with spatial reasoning (you have already accepted that point if you believed my previous complaint). The number of times I have gotten lost in Tokyo in only 40 months here is actually at least two orders of magnitude higher than all the rest of my life, summed. Things are so totally senseless. Streets intersect in totally unpredictable ways. Streets don't even get named. Blocks will get re-assigned numbering. Maps infrequently have cardinal directions. Utterly bullshit and useless landmarks like convenience stores (which are everywhere!) are used. "Just turn left at 7-11..." and you could end up anywhere. To some extent, this is a property of natural city establishment (unlike many American cities that are planned, so we can get nice parallel streets). But this must also be a property of Tokyo itself. For example, I get lost inside stores! Why? Because they re-arrange where all the shit is located just all the time. They move not just items from shelf-to-shelf, but they even move shelves and aisles. I am drunk in Tokyo quite a lot, but there are times where I'm like, "Oh my god, am a fucking drunk...what the hell is going on...this store was not like this before...WHY AM I LOST INSIDE A FUCKING BUILDING?!" I decided for myself there were two reasons for this constant re-arrangement of stores. One was to keep employees busy for no fucking reason. The second can be similar to Ikea, so that if you are lost in the store, you stay in the store longer, and maybe you will buy more stuff as a result. It leads me to the fact that...

  • #9 I fucking hate marketing in Tokyo. Moving the location of tofu in the supermarket each 6 months. The goddamned flashing lights. The jumbo-jet engine sound of an open Pachinko parlor door. I hate the digital displays set up on trains and even in major train stations (e.g. Shinagawa) that only exist for the purpose of advertising. Actually I witnessed even a new and amazing shock two months ago. I saw a vending machine with a digital display on the front showing all the drinks inside. Now I own a few computers, and I probably use more energy that I need to. From international flights, my carbon foot print is not very small on this little sphere of rocks. But we are making digital displays JUST FOR MARKETING in Tokyo. It is totally insane and a waste of natural resources. And it isn't just machines and signs that are for selling stuff. Not all cities are like this. Contrast Sao Paulo where the size of signs is actually limited by law. It is because of people, which is no surprise since...

  • #10 I fucking hate the people in Tokyo. They are overly polite in a way that drives me just mad. It is true that Japanese culture and language is more polite than, say, American culture and the English language. But it's particularly bad in Tokyo. Just go listen to people who get interviewed on Tokyo news stations. They just say a lot of polite bullshit, and nothing interesting. I can actually time my entry into a store with how many people give me a polite imperative to "come over" where they are (I don't even want the shit where they are, unless it's the money in the cash register, which obviously they aren't giving to me). One reason my Japanese appears to be good is because I learned a good and useful trick. If you are talking to a Japanese person you don't know in public, you can safely ignore more than half of what they say, because it is a lot of utterly meaningless polite bullshit. If they were just polite to be polite, I wouldn't mind that much, like I used to not mind. But I know why it is this way now. They are selling something to me. If I ask a question at the train station, they might be answering my question, but they are selling me their train company. It's just marketing, and I am sure they have these thick training book manuals telling them all the polite verbal expressions they must use working this job. The other reason people are so polite is because, like I said above, they just can't think for themselves, and people in Tokyo just don't want to use their brain. They want to be robots, or zombies. They too, just like me, want to not fucking hate Tokyo, and they are able to not hate Tokyo by not thinking. I found that being rude was rather refreshing. No one else really seemed to mind so far, although it's a major communication barrier. A nice example was getting ramen at the cafeteria two weeks ago. The lady serving the ramen wants to be nice to me (or get me to pay more money, I am not sure). She offers to put a second piece of pork. Actually I still don't know the name for that part of dead animal which I don't want to eat. So I use that noun back to her with negation. We have this conversation for about thirty seconds. She says the same polite thing to me, and I keep negating it, trying to get her not to put any pork slices into my soup. But she can't understand that I actually don't want to eat that fucking pork at all. It isn't a failure to communicate entirely from my lack of language skills (although I believe it is the largest part). It's a failure to communicate because she isn't actually thinking, so she is unable to suppose I don't want that pork AT ALL!


Why do I stay here, if I hate the place? It's the same reason I moved here in the first place: good nuclear physics. Also there are many reasons I like Japan not listed at the beginning, but they do not seem at all specific to Tokyo.

After the last reason I gave, and also somewhat inspired from yet another conversation with my friends on Thursday, I kind of want to write another rant about vegetarianism. It isn't about Japan, and it isn't about other people doing what they want. It will be about something else, except I am not sure I still have the will to make that post anymore in life. I got sick of discussing vegetarianism a really long time ago. At least my wife is also vegetarian.
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Too soon we forget [11 Mar 2011|08:42pm]
Experiencing the Sendai earthquake was insane. Being in Wako, Saitama at the time (slightly north and west of Tokyo), we were quite far from the epicenter.

Firstly I should get the facts straight. Based on a Japanese database the shindo scale of quake where I was was a five-minus. Using a Yahoo! Answer to convert to Richter if the earthquake was local gets me something near a 7.0. At the epicenter it was 8.9. I think Richter 8.1 is more acceleration that gravity. Falling sideways indeed.

I think two days ago we had, prior to this one, the largest earthquake I experienced in Japan. I'd toss it around a local Richter 1 or so, maybe 1 point something. Anyway, it lasted some 20 seconds and involved a fair lot of shaking, but nothing really distressing. (Later: get those data.) Anyway, so this one started that way. "Not again," I'm thinking. It's after lunch, and I want to get some work done, but I need to wait until my desk is not soothingly vibrating my laptop screen. Typically, in my limited experience with minor month-to-month earthquakes near Tokyo, first you notice it, then you wait 10 seconds, it peaks, and then it chills out, and you get back to whatever you were doing: sleep, work, screwing off. This one really started the exact same way. Even the 10 second mark felt about like the one earlier this week. "Ugh." But then it doesn't resonate less. It starts resonating more and more. I was chatting with my girlfriend at the time on GMail.
14:45
Sarah: fun times at your meeting?
me: yeah
14:46
Kubono pushed it back to 1:30 so I was luckily not a zombie by then
14:47
Sarah: that's good
me: damn, that's the second earthquake this week
14:48
the soothing, comfortable, vibrating office
man, this is even bigger than the one earlier in the week
weee
Sarah: :/
me: hmmm editor's note: clearly my reaction to running out into the hallway
14:49
Sarah: we had an earthquake here
like, last year
14:53
me: shit dude
my coffee is everywhere
Sarah: another one?
oh
14:54
me: no I ran outside
it was magnitude editor's note shindo scale 7 in miyagi

So the timestamps are obviously correct. My office has 6 desks in it, but I was the only one there, so I have no one to look at for social queues.

I didn't even have the common sense to grab my laptop off my desk, but at some point, I guess I decided something was not normal. I went into the hallway and ran towards the secretary office and stair and stood looking like a fool. Japanese people have experience with earthquakes, unlike me. Their faces will tell me if I should panic, or if this is normal, right? I can't recall if one of the secretary office doors was already opened, or opened shortly after I stopped there in the hallway between that door and the stairs. Kishi san was standing in the door that I think she just opened. She looked at me with a kind of surprised face, and I laughed. I turned and considered the stairs. A professor came down, looked at me, and said, "HUGE!" Quickly, I decided the stairs seemed useful and started hopping down them. It should be noted I typically take Japanese-sized stairs two at once even on normal cases. Before I rounded the landing, one of my officemates, Go, passed me sprinting down the stairs with a laptop underarm. That was my queue: GET THE FUCK OUT! So I booked it too.

Of course, you shouldn't leave the building often, but our office is a temporary building, and no one trusts it for a real quake I don't think. Within a short time, which I can't say, everyone I know who was at the office was standing in the parking lot near the door (but not too close!). My supervisor was relatively near me. I think we exchanged some words here and there. He's such a physicist! "Now this is the long-wave part" and so on. Well before that, I was trying to balance on one or the other leg. I'd look at the ground which I'm standing on, and I can see the ground moving. I don't know with reference to what I could see it moving. I have to guess the acceleration delay from my feet to my head. But I'm talking like displacement of 5 centimeters that I can physically observe. I'm starting to get really, really dizzy. As if to satisfy my brain, I start vaguely turning in circles, somewhat hopping on one leg. After awhile, I'm bent over supporting myself with my hands on my knees. Everyone else seems fine. I must be fine too! I pace around a bit. Go has his laptop, and shows us the distribution of intensity from Tohoku to Tokyo. Everyone is amazed. I get the courage to run back inside. There I say some brief chat words to Sarah, notice my desk is covered in coffee, prop my laptop out of said coffee-pool, take the remaining coffee, and my coat, with cigarettes, and jog back outside. Coffee and cigarettes were probably never so useful. By this time people are slowly filing back inside.

After that it was a pile of aftershocks, one being pretty strong and sending me running back outside, external-harddrive-dismounted-laptop in arm. And only two people were out there, so I felt silly.

Seven hours later, the roads are still in near grid lock. I had the fastest shopping time ever. Almost no patrons, and no lines on half the registers. I've never seen ANYTHING like that before. And anytime I go outside on the sidewalk, I see people everywhere. I never even understood how many people use these sidewalks until today.

And I probably had my most lengthy conversation in Japanese today buying a beer and a pack of cigarettes. The owner of a local liquor shop asked me where I was during the earthquake, and I said RIKEN. She told me she was in the backroom of the shop, and whiskey bottles started crashing to the floor. She said the cats (there are two shop cats) were going nuts and running around the isles. I explained coffee spilled all over my desk and books flew off my shelf.

More later (probably as edits). But I felt I should record what I remember while I remember it for being a part of such an epic event.
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What does the digital age cast to the wayside? [25 Jan 2011|09:18am]
This post generally discusses some thoughts I had recently about what sorts of analog things are worth owning in the digital age. I'm not sure I've come to any firm conclusions, but I imagine everyone has had at least some thoughts in this vein over the past 10 or 15 years (or more or less).

When I finished high school, I ripped and sold most of my CDs. I kept most of the ones I figured might be hard to get again. Some of those were later sold on eBay. Of course at least two CDs I had are now worth like $50 to $100 (MSI Tight and Slipknot self-titled with Purity). Actually Tight might even be like a $200 pressing now—I think I grabbed the only copy at Ameboa records in San Fransisco probably in the summer of 1999. Anyway, most the CDs I sold aren't worth much. Although certainly the 128 kbps mp3 rips I made are not any good by today's standards, I didn't have really all that many CDs, and basically anything I sold can be downloaded easily, in any case.

I've got a lot of records now. I've sold some on eBay, although none at a loss as far as I can see. And even given the relatively heavy use my records get, that collection only seems to go up in price. I think at one point I did a first-guess on my Thievery Corporation records alone, and it was upwards of $400 I could sell them on discogs probably. All of those I bought new for more-or-less retail price. So, probably I could sell my records for no less than $2000 online, since some are easily in the $100 range. It's funny how old people imagine their records would be worth a lot, but usually not, because the pressings were so large. It's the pressings made for DJs near the 2000 era—right before digital DJing got really big with the advent of good CDJs—that tend to sell for a lot.

And I've been more recently collecting physics books. I'm still not finished with the Treatise on Heavy Ion Science series (5 for 8 so far). Some are dirt cheap and others will have asking prices near $300. But now eReaders are getting big, too.

So far as I can see, buying hardcopies of things certainly isn't much of a money sink. Of course, it depends if we are talking about new paperback books and pop CDs or like actually decent stuff. So although I mention money above, that's not really entirely what I'm getting at.

Plenty of the books I'd want probably aren't, and won't be digitized, any time soon. Not unless I do it myself for myself, anyway. But since I move around a lot, carting shit all over is kind of a giant pain in the ass. Books and records? These things are not lightweight.

So sure, maybe the Treatise on Heavy Ion Science, or some other books I have or want are worthwhile. But what about all these annual reports I have? What about the ones I have digital versions of? And conference proceedings? Like, if I have a paper in them, then I kind of like keeping an original for myself. But what about the others? I've been collecting those for a few years now. Some are in the US, but most are in Japan. Left to my own, sure I'd keep them and fill book shelves. Having obscure references in my line of work is never to be under-rated. And when I acquire them for free, it's hardly something to worry about. But how about shipping?

Just some thoughts...

Records I won't get rid of any time soon, nor like real books. But I start to look at some of these conference proceedings I have, and I wonder...
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LotR [01 Nov 2010|10:47am]
Was inspired to d/l the LotR trilogy (extended). Never saw the extended one, and still waiting on the small pieces of the torrent to show up.

As much as I like getting DVDs, this is doubtfully one I'd ever want to purchase, because I don't think it's worth more than torrenting time.

But I figured that since I complain about it nearly any time it comes up, I might bother myself to do a proper analysis. That will take a lot of time I think, but given I'm on my 4th read through this copy of LotR that was bought last year, shouldn't be a problem.

Watched a bit that I could while the torrent was still working (so it skipped a lot of crap from lack of data).

But already I noticed two key points of extremely serious mythical error. The first is that in the prelude, it says the 3 rings were *given* to the Elves, which is bullshit. Also, when the Fellowship is passing the Misty Mountains, Boromir picks up the ring on the chain after it falls from Frodo's neck. Of course neither one ever happens (and it fell of his neck in the movie just so Boromir could pick it up). This is extremely flawed, since this would constitute Boromir as a ring bearer. Furthermore, while his feigned attitude of "I care not" certainly exists in the story, such a statement entirely contradicts all the ring lore, and if he was actually holding it, it would be so impossible that he "care not." Certainly in both the book and film, Gandalf at one point handles the ring, but I am doubtful we can put Gandalf and Boromir on the same self-restraining level by orders of difference.

Anyway, hopefully a full analysis will be underway soon. I'll probably make a new section on my website (not sure what it will be) and toss it there.

Edit: I should point out that at first for notetaking I will just keep track of all discrepancies between the books and the films. However, once I have done good book keeping, part of my interest will be the consider the self-consistency of the film and it's own myth. This I am less sure about, since I think I've seen the films about once each (although even given that I seem to know more about them than anyone I've ever spoken to). So, from a point of fairness, it is important not to just compare the two to each other, but also internally. And don't think I'd complain about every point the movie differs. I understand films must cut things out, and then sometimes bridge the gaps with invented things. That's not my problem at all, and I have seen books well adapted to film, so while they are different media, that doesn't mean books can't be poorly adapted (this is the most common line of reasoning I encounter when I criticize the films...basically that they are different media, and I've even heard as far as that I can't even compare the two, which is preposterous!)
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seriously, wtf? [21 Oct 2010|06:59pm]
(google translated)

Hello, Nuclear Research Center

We will notify your reference.

(Same as supplied)
Sun 18 October, 2010 (Monday) evening, were found to have been installed hidden cameras in women's toilet in the building for Study of Campus Wako, we reported the damage to the police immediately, is performed on-site investigation by the police Mashita.
The investigation at the scene, the hidden camera was removed, all the police investigation is proceeding.
It was a despicable act in the laboratory will be installed a hidden camera is extremely regrettable, as the Institute is committed to strictly deal.
Some of you recently, and there appears to be suspicious, you have more information Imashitara, thank you for your cooperation to Itadakitaku contact information below.
And over
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lazy hacking [18 Oct 2010|05:45pm]
I've been really lazy to start properly analyzing my thesis data. The experiment proper finished about 4 weeks ago. Of course some recovery time is warranted when you work like 10+ hour days for 30 days straight. Then I was kind of taking it easy and making sure I had written down everything, and then just taking care of crap at the office I had no time to do before.

So today I was finally like, okay, let's start doing the analysis...ugh.

And then I find some stuff that won't compile on my computer. "Woohoo, bugs to fix, my favorite!!" So, does it strike anyone as odd that I don't want to start analyzing my data, for whatever reason, and then when I do, I'm relieved to find bugs?

I guess it has to do with lots of experience debugging but no experience analyzing real data. So in that sense, I know what to do for one and not the other.

Haha.
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books [03 Oct 2010|12:06am]
I've been reading a lot more lately. Mostly it's a good alternative to boozing, since I can't read when I'm drunk, it kills time, and it costs less.

I grabbed In Cold Blood and another copy of the Hobbit. Read the former once and the latter twice. Incidentally, I'm now on 150 pages into fourth reading of this copy of LotR.

I went to the bookstore yesterday. They didn't have Ender's Game (but a lot of sequels, wtf), and I couldn't find anything by Vonnegut (though I assume I was looking in the wrong place). So since the store was closing soon, on a whim I wondered if I was missing anything by Palahniuk. I just bought a book by him in the winter, so I didn't expect much.

Lo and behold, three books I haven't read: Snuff, Pygmy, and Tell-All. I finished Snuff already. It made me laugh a bit, but at least half the ending I guessed early on. I did like all the ways he invented funny porn names out of classic works. I think I laughed the most at Catch Her in the Eye, but of course I didn't get 100% of the references. I also particularly liked the line, "That seems like a remarkably rarefied set of facts for anyone to reference offhand." It seems like a great way to call bullshit on people in nuclear physics, anyway.

I started reading a bit of Pygmy, and it's just a riot. I'm not even thinking about the plot much at all, but it's just hilarious. I haven't laughed this hard in awhile. Example.

Breathing cow father say, "You'll grow into it." Say, stinking fluoride breath, "Here," and hands over fabric rag glued to hang off end of wooden stick. American flag little as napkin. White, red, and blue. Fingers of operative me pinch wood stick like stem of stinking weed. Wave stripe flag to fan away reek of host family air. Butter fat stench. Chemical hair soap stink. Such filthy reek American cash money.
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1 Item Wishlist [23 Sep 2010|05:07pm]
A microwave that beeps only once when things are done.
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Writer's Block: The day the earth stood still [12 Sep 2010|02:51am]
What does this day mean to you?

My birthday.

And my PhD experiment in nuclear physics, this year.
2 comments|post comment

wow... [29 Aug 2010|10:45pm]
So I have this file called daid.zip

It is basically everything from undergraduate, because it was what I took off my janky old laptop before it got canned.

For some reason tonight I was checking it out. Mainly I think I thought of it, because I had almost misplaced all copies of it.

And in the top directory, there is a file I happen to wonder, what is it?

daid@flux ~/daid % more finals.txt
        (__)        
      __(oo)        
     /   /    (__) 
    /Finals\  (oo) 
   /|  /---^^---/  
  / | /|  ME   ||   
*  || ||------||


Holy shit, how old is this?!

daid@flux ~/daid % ls -l finals.txt
-rw-rw-rw- 1 daid daid 178 Dec 10 2001 finals.txt


From where it came, I have no idea. But finding old funny shit of mine is pretty priceless. But I never remember seeing this before in my life.

In a modified form, I now found what to put in the right toolbar on my website.
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The Silmarillion [18 Aug 2010|09:07am]
After many attempts, I finally managed to finish the Silmarillion by Tolkien.

I estimate that I've had the book for approaching 10 years now, and I can't imagine that I started it less than 4 times without ever getting past around page 80.

I don't know much about fantasy as a genre, since I haven't read very much, but I've read the Hobbit and LotR each what should be approaching about 10 times now (with the exception of parts of book 5 in LotR that I maybe read 2-3 times).

Although I found the basic framework of the universe interesting and some relevant historical information about the world, now that I've at least finished the book I can complain about it properly. It is just terribly dull, predictable, and shallow. Almost anything described is given in terms of ultimate. "So and so was the best archer that ever lived." "So and so was the best worker of metal." "So and so was the most subtle worker of gems." Let's not even get started on beautiful women -- ugh. Basically everything that happens is because of some oaths someone made, and various grudges that arise from these. I don't know that a single character introduced within the entire epic has 1) Any depth at all 2) Any feeling of being a real character 3) Anything but a directly linear path which can be clearly guessed at the outset.

The map at the beginning is basically useless. This was an extreme let down, since I often referenced the maps in the other books, and it became a strong part of my conceptualization of the world and keeping things straight. I think during the whole reading, I was actually able to locate only one item describe on the map at all. So I never had any clue where anything was, minus some very vague east/west north/south relations between a couple places. I didn't even realize that Numenor was a bloody island until I was randomly reading the Appendix A of LotR later; it seemed there was some gap between that and Middle-Earth, but it wasn't clearly, say, not a large mountain range they kept sailing around. I think I happened to have the idea that it was an island from other readings, but certainly this was not made clear at all in this text.

The number of irrelevant details is just absurd. "X, which means Y, was called Z by so-and-so, and later became A." For awhile I was flipping to the glossary at the back multiple times every page, and after awhile I just gave up, and I figured if something was actually important, I'd remember it, which turned out to be true.

I guess another thing I found really frustrating was a nearly entire disconnect between most of the work and the LotR. I might give a more positive review of the dull, shallow, and convoluted nature of the work if I managed to get much out of it. We get introduced to a few characters (or their parents), but many more are entirely omitted. Hobbits are not mentioned once. The most we ever hear about dwarves at all is some random scrubby dwarf who betrays a bunch of people and then gets killed. Tom Bombadill? Ents? Wizards -- covered in LotR appendecies, but not here. Even creatures like balrogs or dragons are at best described in passing. We see appearances of various things like, say, orcs, but we don't learn anything about them. They are just as shallow as everything else. "Melkor made orcs in a foul image of elves. They were foul, and they destroyed stuff when they got the chance. And they were foul, too."

I think perhaps this ought to have been part of an unfinished tales book than something on its own, because it just clearly was not complete. I noticed some contradictions as well (or so I thought) but I certainly couldn't care enough to be bothered with them.

Of course, there are a few good stories here and there that I was interested in, but as a whole, while it's still probably considered critical reading for anyone interested in Tolkien's Middle Earth, it's more of a labor than something to do for fun. I'll probably try to wade through it again to see if maybe the obtuseness grows less a second time around, and that it was preventing me from picking up subtle points. But in any case, the narrative itself is just horrible. I can't actually recommend this book to anyone, and anyone who was thinking about reading it, read all the LotR appendices at least 10 times first.
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War on terrorism! [14 Aug 2010|12:45am]
Cockroaches, some of whom under torture interrogation confessed that they were a part of al Qaeda, have infiltrated my home. "Freedom will prevail." Or, in less friendly words, I hope all those cocksuckers die, subsequently rotting in hell; furthermore, I have a good arsenal which has been deployed to instigate their demise.

The back story itself is rather long, but concisely this is an old house, and at some point it became host to cockroaches. That time was certainly before I inhabited it, and I am doubtful the former tenant was helping very much, since he was kind of a slob and, based on my first cleaning of the house when I moved in (it took 36-48 hours of actual cleaning time, mind you this place is 20 square meters).

In any case, the infestation, in general, does not seem to have gotten terribly worse. I think when Kristina was living here their presence might have been noticed slightly less, whether from her meticulous cleaning or from just another blundering large object that turns on lights and makes noise that scared them away, I know not.

Very unfortunately, adult cockroaches here are some 2+ inches in length, and easily one inch at maximum width. Apparently this isn't uncommon for places like Texas, but certainly not something I've ever seen before.

The week I came back from Italy, I woke up with one of those bastards on my arm. It was very coincidental, because I was like, "Now that I've been gone for a week, I'm going to wake up with one on me." Sure enough.

Prior to today, this year I'd only seen two large ones. One was when Sarah was visiting (who screamed in my ear when I was trying to kill it, making my attempt fail. Once she kept quiet I was able to kill it after evoking it from it's next hiding place.) The other was very shortly after I returned from my summer vacation. In fact, I expected to see many more, but they didn't come out in troops until today.

However, the first one I saw when I got back at the end of July was, as usual, in the kitchen, and the vacuum cleaner happened to be handier than my rolled-up periodical of the year (which has the "fatal" and "fulcrum" ends clearly identified). Turns out my vacuum cleaner is pretty fucking good at this job. On full-power (it has maybe 5 settings) it will easily suck a t-shirt 1/5 the way until the flow is impeded. I mean, it's powerful. It is also just the kind with only a hose. I wasn't sure if the beast would be killed on impact with the storage bag, so I taped the nozzle shut, since without water, cockroaches should die in about half a week.

I think it had to do with me getting out of bed at a very particular time after dusk today. But I came into the kitchen, and I see a giant mercenary on the wall. I reach for the vacuum, and I see yet another minion of Satan on the floor. The one on the floor gets swept up quickly. The one on the wall fell at some point, and I couldn't locate it. But when I came back from smoking, I found it on the wall somewhat behind the refrigerator. It quickly found a foxhole in a shadow under a door jam and a closed sliding door. It's probably where the fucker went before, but this time I knew it was there. Vacuum on, cockroach off.

Not very long after that, I see their flag bearer scurrying along the floorboard under the kitchen cabinet overhang along the floor. I've seen that one twice more today (or two others very like it...and although all were large, none of the ones I killed today were very alike..this one was quite slender).

So I went to the store and bought, count them, 12 poison modules, where supposedly they take the poison back to their militant base (nest of cockroaches...disgusting!). I also bought 10 traps (ie: motels with sticky floors and bait), although I only posted 5 of those. They came complete with prayer mats and arrows to position towards Mecca.

Kristina never liked the traps because she said they were gross (since dead cockroaches often end up inside). Personally, I prefer the traps to the poison, because it's confirmed kills. Here I've been back for like 3 weeks and seen only one, and today I see three!! So while "out of sight, out of mind" might be true, "out of sight — fucked off and died" perhaps not. But if I can see their carcasses, well, maybe there are others, but I am pleased to know something died for my honor.
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Fido got dumped in a mountain forest... [11 Aug 2010|07:59pm]
http://www.perkle.com/pet-lovers-grieve-over-poor-funerals/

Hah.
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goatface.org [11 Aug 2010|05:47am]
Since I'm sure none of you clowns keep up with my website progress, I like to mention that it is, slowly but surely, coming along.

Besides the blog section (which just tells you to come here) and the links section (which is a minimal priority), all sections have a bit of content now. Not too much to waste a lot of your time (unless you like Gentoo installs), but including a couple recipes, a couple DJ demo tracks, various hacks (including the code I use to build the site), and random computational physics (and my publication lists).

Cheers, bitches.

http://www.goatface.org

All-in-all some 42 pages, but you'd have to be really trying to waste time to find or read them all.
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Music syndication [10 Aug 2010|06:30pm]
Sick beats.

Now someone find me the torrent.
2 comments|post comment

Life and Death in Physics [01 Jul 2010|05:19pm]
My life in physics seems to chase the past. Maybe it's not actually strange, but before coming to physics I didn't live like this. Perhaps if I'd gone into history I wouldn't be surprised, but I guess I didn't expect this from physics.

In terms of more objective topics, I'm often chasing the history of ideas, nomenclature, and so on. For example, I got a positive comment on my MSc thesis for including Lawrence's original drawing of the cyclotron in his 1931 patent application. I am slightly obsessed about original references and so on. So for example when I was writing about ECR ion sources I insisted to track down the original works on electron cyclotron resonances, which was some paper from 1934 in Nature I believe. My thesis has exactly 300 references I think, and one is from 1785. The manner of citation I tend to prefer is author name letters and a two digit year (e.g. HOY54), but sometimes I'm like, yeah, I really need a 4 digit year so if you see HER85 you're not wondering why the first white dwarf was observed in 1985...

In some recent email exchanges I've been complaining about (what I think can be called) Fowler's S factor, and most people don't even know what the hell I'm talking about. Recently I actually thought a book "A concise history of physics nomenclature" would be fun to write, but I never have time for that kind of thing, and really I'd only bother to go into details related to my own field I think. Right now I'm stalled texing Al Cameron's Chalk River Report. After that I need to write the second volume of Handbook of Isotopes in the Cosmos before someone beats me to it, but I've got this PhD thing in my way. Then maybe the book on nomenclature. At least most of these things are obscure enough that I can take my time probably.

I've digressed a lot, as per usual, and I was motivated to write this entry because my supervisor sent me some information on charge-state equilibrium. He asked me a few times about deciding what thickness of beryllium foil I want, and I put if off saying I needed to research the thickness to achieve equilibrium. Shit, now I'm kind of forgetting what paper I was reading that got me worried. It was referenced on the KaliVeda website, and I guess it's Leon's charge state model from GANIL with the publication in 1998. I should see that I have that paper. I'm pretty sure I cited it in my recent Progress Report contribution. In this case being a slacker (reading: too damn busy) paid off since my supervisor sent me a handy email with one reference, and the names of two authors and a large year range I could check for additional information if I wanted.

The first author he listed the name was spelled slightly wrong (it's Northcliffe), and I did a query on this person (upon getting some initials as well as the spelling) from 1960-1970, and just as a result of all the useful paper titles, I was like, "Who the hell is this person?"

I like to research people I guess. Someone gave me a strange look when in conversation I happened to mention John Schiffer got his BS from Oberlin College in 1946. "How do you know that?" "I don't know, we used to have running jokes about how we were glad John wasn't on our PhD defense committees, and it got me to wondering just how old he really is, so I was reading his CV." Well, it helps that I am familiar with Oberlin College, and the main reason I remember the year is because he got his undergrad degree before my supervisor (who is about to retire) was even born, or before my mother was born in fact. No wonder he's a murderer of physics speakers in colloquia. The guy's been doing nuclear physics before most experts were even BORN.

So I was hitting a wall trying to find out about Northcliffe (beyond lots of google hits for physics papers and references to physics papers and a book he wrote). So then I did what I don't like to do, but intuition indicates is pretty useful. I added "obituary" to my query. Yup, there we go. Died in 1994. "Shit" I think. One more person I'll never meet who's work looks spectacular.

I guess it's part of why I picked up this hobby of tombstone rubbings. Speaking of which, I really wanted to grab a pair in Tokyo. I forget exactly who right now, but I know it's nearby and they have neighboring plots. I wanted to do it before I go home so I can add them to the scroll tube in the basement of my parents house. Well, since Jared and I are talking about opening a lab, at least I might have somewhere to hang this collection.

I guess I gotta add Hayashi to my list now too, as of February. God damn it. I really need to organize that list. It feels kind of morbid sometimes, but then times like today when I have a pdf file open on Wigner's biography and Northcliffe's obituary, it's kind of like, well, you can't fight the turning of the times, so you might as well embrace it.
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hacking, you are mine [25 Jun 2010|04:14pm]
The former former person who lived in this house had a lot of movies ripped to like avi and and crap on CD. The former person who lived here never cleaned or got rid of anything, so I inherited them, including the Matrix. For some reason I wanted to watch it yesterday.

And this got me back to wanting to implement something bad ass with the Matrix digital rain. I saw the Matrix in theaters what, 6 times? Cancer might know, I think he was with me for a lot of the viewings. I never watched the sequels, which I still believe is for good reason.

There were digital rain screen savers floating around back in the day, but at that time, as I recall, even for Windows most of them were pure ass. In any case, so first I was like, let's find an open source version. Turns out it was already installed on my system under Xscreensaver. I guess you know you're getting old when shit like this becomes like standard packaged stuff on your minimal installs, huh? There are two versions, xmatrix and glmatrix. glmatrix sounded cooler so I reinstalled Xscreensaver with the opengl USE flag. I decided that version is really lame and that I like the 2D version way better.

Right, so then I'm playing with it as a screen saver. "This is lame, I never use screen savers!" Then I'm like, "I wonder if it can work as a desktop background?" (Living alone is kinda cool, because no one hears you talking geek to yourself.)

I found some ubuntu forum archives back from 2005 and someone explains luckily how to do it in Xfce. The idea is simple: get the desktop 'window' id via xwininfo and clicking on the desktop. After some modification, the next suggestion winds up being to run nohup /usr/lib/misc/xscreensaver/xmatrix -window-id 0x1600003 on my system, where that window-id is obtained from the previous sentence. The nohup isn't needed at all unless you want to close the terminal and crap. I plan to setup a script to do this when Xfce boots, so it'll be fine.

And then I was like, what is this bullshit, "Wake up Neo..." and "The Matrix has you" and "Follow the white rabbit" and "Knock, knock Neo." Sure, it's in the movie, but fucker, as if. It needs to say shit to me goddamnit. Unpack the source code from /usr/portage/distfiles into /tmp, find the xmatrix.c code, make another copy. Search for terms I want to change. "Wake up daid..." "Nuclear astrophysics has you." "Follow the white goatface." "Knock, knock, daid." Yeah, much better. Run diff on the bastards. cp -rp the source from /usr/portage/x11-misc/xscreensaver to /usr/local/portage/x11-misc, toss the patch file into files, edit the ebuild, rebuild.

But I never use the desktop, either. Shit. So then I'm like, guess I need compositing for true transparency, particularly in Terminal (I only had pseudo-transparency as it is, ie: desktop background). Should be easy enough. xfwm4 was already built with the xcomposite USE flag. Edit xorg.conf, toss in the lines:

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Enable"
EndSection

Reboot the X server. Run Window Manager Tweaks, go to Compositing, turn it on. Restart the Terminals and reset transparency.

Now I might get epilepsy, but fuck dude, this is sweeeeeeet. I already run full screen entirely unadorned frameless terminals...

I gotta ditch the xfce4-panel, but I was working on that anyway. I got screen running with a timestamp in the corner and some other stuff, so all I'm really missing is a place to show my network status. I can either shrink that to a single item tossed somewhere or finally get Wicd working so I don't need fucking X to access the wifi networks I hacked.

Being a nerd, you're awesome.

Incidentally, my website is coming along really well now. The full Gentoo-for-idiots documentation is more than halfway done, and already 10 pages. This hack will go up soon enough.

Oh yeah, this was all like maybe about 10-15 minutes worth of actual work. Probably less.
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An Incomplete Theory [17 Jun 2010|01:53pm]
A few weeks ago, I was using wiki to look up the programming language haskell and also things about xmonad. Invariably, this led me to various pages on logicians, logic, mathematics, and so on.

So I encountered a fairly well-known problem of logic, which presents itself in many places in different ways, but is ultimately the same problem.

The example in this case, in layman's terms, is a theory of library catalogs, which is ultimately a question of if this catalog should list itself or not. To make the point clear, this is extrapolated to two different catalogs of library catalogs: ones that list themselves, and ones that do not. Then the problem is very obvious, because the catalog of library catalogs that do not list themselves is either incomplete by not including itself, or it is erroneous by including itself.

If you like, this is the same logical problem as the statement, "I always lie."

Despite being a connoisseur of logic, this problem never bothered me too seriously, since I take a rather nihilistic stance on knowledge, where I believe things cannot be truly known, because proof is elusive. Even if one were to have an idea which was true, there would be no manner to confirm its absolute truth, so there is not a lot of point in bothering to do so in the first place. Such an idea might make a naive person wonder why I am in research science at all in such a case, and of course the answer is merely verisimilitude that interests me, as well as just the experimental practices I use which amuse and interest me.

As I was walking home today, a very simple solution to this problem occurred to me, and it's the notion that completeness itself is a theoretically flawed idea. If you accept that completeness is nothing but an abstract theory which is merely a useful way of thinking rather than something that reflects reality, then these problems are gone.

Speaking about the practicality of the library catalogs, I think it's fair to say that these catalogs are theoretical anyway. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to have literally complete catalogs. A library may open, another may close, and any of the others may change their catalogs. Of course your response may be, "Yes, but in theory, the catalog of catalogs that list themselves can be complete!" What I'm arguing is that such an idea is just theoretical. Even a single library's catalog is easily wrong from theft if nothing else, and I doubt there is a practical manner to confirm this on a regular basis. Hell, even computing libraries are difficult to keep self-consistent (although it appears practically more possible).

As long as I am willing to accept that my theory on incompleteness itself is incomplete, then there's no contradiction here.

But let's consider some more interesting practical examples; practical here may mean something much less practical than you have in mind, by the way.

What about the completeness of space-time? Actually from quantum mechanics we know that even things like energy, and probably locality, are quantized. In this sense, they aren't continuous, or aren't complete. As far as I know, these are experimental facts, although the jury is still out on quantum gravity, where general relativity insists that space is complete (I tend to side against GR). Quantum mechanics also relies on mathematical theories of things like complete Hilbert spaces forming the bases for eigenfunctions, so in some ways QM relies on continuity, which is rather interesting I suppose. I'm not much of a mathematician, so I'm sure someone will dispute my claims on grounds I never bothered to worry about, but I don't see much point myself in disproving an admittedly incomplete theory.

We also know the universe is expanding. So even mathematical notions like "all space" are pretty abstract and meaningless to me. I haven't really decided for myself exactly how or where space is expanding, and so I don't make really specific claims on this front. Of course, space could be expanding in quanta, and so in some quantized time, maybe space could be complete. But the universe is too big for anything even approaching instantaneous communication, so even one's knowledge of the space of the universe must be incomplete.

The most obvious problem to tackle in my theory of incompleteness is its own incompleteness, actually. And that's a very simple thing to do, because the theory of incompleteness wants to apply to everything, but by doing so it applies to itself, and so self-consistently the theory must be incomplete logically. I don't even have to show how it's incomplete, because it is incomplete by its very nature.

That itself gives me basically little reason to continue expanding the theory or explaining it, because why bother to complete a theory that is necessarily incomplete? Perhaps the biggest problem of the theory is apathy of the author to attempt to complete a theory on incompleteness.

Despite that apathy, I actually believe this idea has merit, and I invented it myself. Someone else surely proposed the same idea, since that tends to be how things go. Did I ever post here how I independently invent Occam's razor? It's funny because the "assumption" of Occam's razor was one of the two good arguments I ever heard anyone make against me. And some time much later I actually read Occam's original idea, and I was like, "Yeah, what the fuck, I deduced that myself, so I don't need that assumption since it follows logically."

Ideas welcome, as long as they aren't too complete.


This is basically nihilistic logic, if you like. But I am at least clear how it's nihilistic and which things specifically I argue don't exist.
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Gentoo FTW [10 Jun 2010|09:20pm]
I found a great set of ROOT libraries developed at GANIL called KaliVeda. I haven't learned all about the libraries yet to fully exploit their awesomeness, and in fact, so far I'm using them for a purpose slightly other than they were intended.

Basically ROOT is a data analysis framework, and the KaliVeda libraries also fit this notion. I'm using the libraries for simulation. This likely is what allowed me to find a very surprising bug today.

In short, I'm using KV for doing nuclear kinematics mainly because the resulting code is much more elegant, and I didn't want to spend eons checking a bunch of complicated laboratory and center of mass frame conversion equation implementations. Life's funny sometimes...

(Side note: fiendishx once lamented to me that we shouldn't have to do physics homework a computer can do. Homework you don't understand how to do is worth doing if you want to learn anything in this life. Solving equations you understand but want a computer to solve because you have better physics to do is just good time management. Computer programs have physics bugs, case-in-point, and without knowing the physics, how do you plan on coding the computer to do your work for you?)

So my simulation wants to randomize the center of mass angle (eventually with proper weighting, but it needs to be random, in any case). However, KV, as an experiment data analysis library set, mainly includes tools for getting information about the center of mass system based on laboratory frame data. Thus setting the laboratory angle, or inputting it as a parameter to other functions, is a cinch. Setting the center of mass angle has to be done outside the libraries in a normal style. Basically I just define an equation for the randomized laboratory angle of my neutrons which is a function of the center of mass angle I've randomly generated. If you ask why I don't randomize the laboratory angle instead, clearly you've not studied up on your thick target inverse kinematics nuclear techniques (post comment if you want to learn, nuclear physics is interesting).

KV has some great sanity check routines. In fact, they are so good, it turns out they are better than certain portions of the code! Without this I never would have noticed or found the error. The nice ROOT documentation system is certainly commendable, although I wish they'd get all get with the program and switch to doxygen. So, basically I got the error, and I was like, yeah, shit, my theta equations are missing Lorentz factors. I'm pretty lazy and I don't honestly trust most of my analytic equation solving, so I asked around for anyone who had a text on relativistic center-of-mass kinematics. "I could derive it, but I don't know a book," was the only answer I heard.

I forget why I went to the RIKEN library, honestly. I really, truly do. But for some reason I decided to read the title of every book in their physics section.

(one minute has passed in real time)

Oh, now I remember. I wanted to see if they had like some fucking conference proceeding from LBL from 1974 that had some paper on something relating to the rotating target neutron source. And then I stumbled upon Baldin's "Kinematics of Nuclear Reactions" 1961 text. And I said, "Oh great, maybe a book dedicated to the subject will derive the relativistic forms for me!

As anyone who has to deal with these kinds of people knows, they love doing natural things like setting c=1. "Natural fucking idiot," is more like it. I found an equation for one of the velocities, and I'm like, "...it's momentum over energy...I see...good thing I was actually reading your bloody chapter so I caught the c=1 footnote!" Granted, seeing p without c in relativity would set off alarm bells in my head anyway, so I worked it out, and sure enough, he's missing a factor of c2. If I had to guess how this happened, it's because he's actually just defining beta, but he calls it a velocity. Beta has an inverse speed of light usually. And like I said, p usually gets a c. So if you re-arrange it (or do some unit analysis, which was what I resorted to), then you get a c^2 term. (On a side note, people who call beta a velocity piss me off. I might have tons of gripes with high energy physicists (except Allan Bayntun!) but at least their theory with natural units is "you know it's energy, so you can figure out how many physical constants (how about fucking all of them) to zero. Okay, beta is a velocity parameter, it's not a velocity. It's a unitless parameter. So how'm I going to unit solve that?)

Blah blah blah, so I know there's an error in my code. Awhile later wasting time researching Molybdenum, I find the right library text and photocopy the chapter of interest. A nervous breakdown later, and I'm like, sigh, "Guess I should get that beam model code working and fix that relativity bug I made."

So, I had that bug.

But guess what?

KaliVeda had the exact same fucking bug. I'm not even joking. Verbatim in the code. Trying to do the same thing. Both missing 1/gamma. Don't believe me? See my bug report, which in 4 minutes went from confirmed, to "High" importance to 30 minutes later "I applied your patch and released a new version."

Hence, Gentoo for the win. I learned how to file fucking bug reports, bitches.

I the mean time, I copied and destroyed my own source code trying to figure out why the fuck I didn't fix this relativity bug of mine. Yeah, laugh it up. Then I finally just took the absolutely most fool-proof case. "What the fuck? This library collision bugs yield!?" Yes, I was so surprised I used Japanese-styled English grammar.

I think within about 10 minutes of realizing I should be looking at the library source code instead of my own I had made a patch for it. I think deciding if I was awake enough to submit a bug report actually took longer.
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A funny motto... [05 Jun 2010|10:11pm]
...that I came up with for my situation, which I should make into a t-shirt.

The motto itself is Fuck Off and Die. But, that can be put as:

FO & DIY

Which is "Forgive my Overwork and Do It Yourself."
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