rockym93 dot net

archive · tags · feed

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Posted at 10:27AM under Meta.


So I made a discovery. I loaded up my blog backend...

[rockym93 /home/public/blog]$ python
Python 2.7.12 (default, Jul  6 2016, 20:24:53) 
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import blogtools

...did some sorting...

>>> so = []
>>> for i in blogtools.postlist:
...     f = file(blogtools.postlist[i][2] + '.txt')
...     s = f.readline()
...     f.close()
...     if s.split(' ')[0] == "So":
...             so.append(blogtools.postlist[i][0])

...and some counting...

>>> len(blogtools.postlist)
>>> len(so)
>>> float(len(so)) / float(len(blogtools.postlist))

...and found a pattern that I always knew was there.

>>> for i in so:
...     print i
Book in a day
Holidays, internets, and exchanges
Imagine a golf ball...
I are teh WINNAR!
On Charity day and Star Trek and being totally snowed under.
Doctor Who! And a rant.
The Purge
[Entry 1] Airports are weird.
[Entry 3] Oh Look, A Citadel!
[Entry 7] Pyramids!
[Entry 20] Lost in Spezia
[Entry 24] So we're in Annecy.
On a bus
The Goddamned English Language
Probably the geekiest thing anyone has ever written about football
Five years?!
Happy New Year!
The fault with 'fault'.
Orbital Analogy
[PAX] Play the damn games.
The Stack.
The Glitch
Snap map.
Starting XBMC when a Raspberry Pi's HDMI is connected
How Triple J Sold Me A Spotify
Skiing by Subheadings
Cold Hard Numbers
"The Docs, girl. They need some love."
An architecture lesson from the Brooklyn Bridge
"We hope you have a meaningful visit."
Talent Scout
Continuous Consumption
Lightspeed Delay

If you can't quite follow that code: There are 43 posts on this blog that start with the word 'So', out of a total of 456. That's now 44 out of 457. Almost 10% of my writing here starts with everybody's favourite conjunction.

I honestly expected it to be higher.

(Happy (belated) tenth bloggiversary, everyone.)


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Posted at 02:40PM under IRL.


So I've joined the ranks of the bespectacled.

The extent to which we normalise things is pretty interesting. I've been getting headaches for probably a couple of years now, and they've been steadily getting worse. I used to be able to knock them on the head with a couple of paracetomol, but lately that just hasn't been doing the trick. Typically they'd start behind one of my eyes, usually the right one, and then radiate across my head and down into my neck.

I kind of just dismissed these as normal, regular, everyday headaches. After all, according to this fun fact from the Victorian Government, 15% of the population is experiencing a headache at any given time.

(How on earth they got that data I have no idea.)

So it was easy to categorise these as standard headaches and assume that everyone got them, despite the fact that there was a very clear and specific pattern of symptoms.

I was describing this to Lochie one day, and the further I got, the more incredulous the expression on his face became.

"Dude," he says. I may be paraphrasing here. "Those are exactly the same headaches that I get."

"Wait, really?" I say.

"Yeah. You need to get your eyes checked. Last time I walked into the optometrists after my headaches got worse, he looked at my face and said, 'So how much panadol are you taking then?'"

I made myself an appointment with an optometrist on Monday. By Thursday, I knew I was longsighted.

The fact that my eyes might be to blame had never even occurred to me, even though that's where the pain was. After all, I could see fine, right? Except apparently that's exactly the problem. Apparently your eyes can correct for longsightedness, but longsighted eyes are working so hard to correct their wonky lenses that they kind of strain themselves a bit. At least, that's how the doc told it. I kind of tuned out after the word 'longsighted' in a mild state of shock.

I was directed to the front of the store to pick a pair of frames, and up the street to the health insurer to check my coverage, and then less than a week later, I found myself with a pair of glasses I had no idea how to use or care for beyond the phrase "they're for close work, but you'll find your distance vision adjusts."

Aww, please, can we keep them?

I've been figuring it out, slowly, over the past couple of days.

I've been learning not to try and explain how glasses work to people who have been wearing them all their lives.

I've been walking the line between telling people, "Hey, I have glasses now," and just letting them notice.

I've been dealing with the change in my identity from 'secret nerd with perfect vision' to 'nerd with face glasses on his face' - because somehow, not wearing glasses felt like the last thing standing between me and being most nerd steretypes.

But mostly, I've been torn between pride that they actually look pretty good on my face, and the looming threat that if I lose them or break them or leave them behind I might be subjected once again to the feeling of someone renovating the inside of my eye socket with an oversized pair of pliers.

I've had them for a week. It's too early to say if they've fixed the headaches or not. Only time will tell if all these recalibrations to normality will actually pay off in a reduction in pain. I guess I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and one more thing - for the love of god, go get your eyes checked.


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Posted at 03:46PM under 2016S1SCIENCEPodcast.

Lightspeed Delay

So while we're all just sitting around here waiting for me to come up with something original, here's another interesting relic from my uni work:

If your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio, here's a link to the audio instead.

It's a podcast. I have a bit of a confession to make: it was distressingly fun and easy to make. And, despite being a little overproduced, I think it came out pretty well.

The parameters of the assignment were to produce something that lasted pretty much exactly three minutes, and if you give it a listen, you'll see how I turned that into a classic example of limitations acting as inspirations. What the podcast wasn't quite long enough to feature, though, was that Mars and Earth have never actually been that close. "Almost exactly three" light minutes (3:02, to be precise) is just the theoretical minimum. The smallest observed signal delay between the planets was 3:06, in 2003. Most of the time though, they sit around 12-ish light-minutes apart.

I'm curious about how far you could take this concept, though. What other processes or phenomena take a very specific, roughly minutes-scale amount of time to happen? Would there be enough of them for a regular series?


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Posted at 10:26PM under SCIENCE.

Continuous Consumption

So I was walking home from the train station the other day, just drinking my choc milk and minding my own business when I had an idea. Always a dangerous phrase to hear, I know.

Inspired in part by the alt-text on this xkcd, I started to wonder if I could get trapped in some kind of continuous energy loop. At what rate would I have to consume my nutrient rich slurry to precisely cancel out the energy I was burning on my walk home?

delicious milk

My purple drink of choice contains 364kJ per 100mL, and apparently one carton contains approximately 25% of my daily energy needs. Given that I do more in one day than just walk to and from the train station four times, I think we can safely say say that my walk home comes out at a net energy surplus.

(I think we can also fairly safely say that this stuff is pretty bad for you, but I'm going to keep drinking it. Possibly, if the maths comes out right, forever.)

Now I need to figure out what my burn rate is. For that, rather than trusting the eighty bazillion diet websites that Google turns up, I think I'm going to trust Wolfram Alpha.

Wolfram wants to know my speed. Which would be a tricky to figure out, except that Google is a massive creep, and is kind of tracking where I walk. A little bit of a dig through Maps gives me a moderately clean bit of data for my walk home. Apparently I walked 1.3km in 17 minutes, making my speed 4.59km/h, which according to Wikipedia, is slightly lower than the human average.

With that speed, and a little personal information sprinkled on top for good measure, Wolfram reckons I burn 34kJ per minute.

In an very satisfying alignment of numbers, that's almost exactly 10mL of milk per minute of walking. The full 600mL carton, then, would power about an hour of walking at my regular pace. And that, in turn, comes out to be pretty close to five kilometres.

And that, my friends, means that one carton of mocha-flavoured milk is almost exactly one egg.

pokemon go is topical, okay?


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Posted at 04:33PM under 2016S1.

Buying Innovation

I know infographics are a little bit old hat these days, but I did have fun with this one.

Buying Innovation: A look atAustralian Government research funding

This graphic is based on the SRI tables, a dataset produced by the Australian Government's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and available from under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License.

Creative Commons License
Buying Innovation by Rockwell McGellin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

.pdf / .svg


< Previous