Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Debate Is Officially Over:

Yes, the age-old question has finally been answered: Onion rings > french fries.

This revelation came to me today as I was sitting eating my lunch. Generic fast-food place, you know. I had debated with myself whether to get onion rings or french fries, and decided on the fries simply because I had eaten the onion rings last time.

As I worked my way through the meal, I realized that the fries were not nearly as satisfying as onion rings. In fact, they were downright disappointing. I added more ketchup, and tried to be satisfied. Even though the ketchup helped, it revealed a fatal flaw in the design of french fries. They are an empty vessel; a blank sheet. By themselves, they are nothing. They rely on toppings and condiments for the full french fry experience. Onion rings, on the other hand, reqiure nothing. In fact, they rebel against any help that toppings might give them (they taste rather nasty with ketchup). This is clear proof that indeed, onion rings are better than french fries.

That's all for now; I had a bunch of other stuff I was going to write, but I'll save it for later.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Damn Clouds...

Why is it that whenever there is a major astronomical event, it is always cloudy and therefore I can't see it? Meteor showers, Mercury being visible, opposition of Mars, etc. And now the total lunar eclipse. Armed with my trusty digital camera, I trekked up to the top of the tallest building in a half-mile radius, which happened to be the physics/astronomy building here on campus. They had two telescopes set up; one with a motor that kept it pointing at the moon, and another that was not motorized. Due to the clouds, all that was visible in the motorized one was a smudge of light (mostly due to reflection off the clouds). The other one had been moved so we could watch the people on the observation deck of the CN tower. In any case, it wasn't a total disappointment, because I got some pictures of the city at night that will do quite well for my desktop background.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Well, This Is Ironic... Or Something.

Does anyone else find it strange that these two articles (one, two)are on the New Scientist site right beside each other?

The first article describes how brain cells from a rat were used to create a "brain" that can fly a simulated airplane. The second tells us of a microchip that can replace part of the brain... So first they grow a brain to replace a computer, and then they make a computer that can replace a brain... I'm sure there must be a good joke in there somewhere.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Well, it turns out that the only thing that's more processor-intensive than making a photo mosaic, is making one from the decompiled frames of a movie. Video editing takes so goddamned long. But rest assured, the results were worth it. You may have seen the poster of Darth Vader that is made up from frames from the Star Wars trilogy. Well, I have created the equivalent one... of Dark Helmet!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Flying Lawnmowers, And A Trip Down Yonge Street.

There is a rather interesting video floating around on the internet; it is a flying lawnmower... and it's real. Check it out. It's insane.

So today, while my computer was processing another one of those photomosaics, I got bored and decided to go for a walk. I hadn't been out to Yonge street yet, so I walked down there. Nothing much interesting happened, but I did hear a guy use the word "bling-bling" in a serious context... I thought that was funny as hell.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Wow... this took a shitload of processing time.

EDIT: Yes, that is a picture of me.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Woohoo! Screen of the Day, and 28/30 on my Physics Midterm!

Seeing as the only link I have posted to this blog is on the Massassi Forums, I'm sure some of you know that I got Screen of the Day for my latest Jedi Knight level. The only other time I ever got SoTD was back in '02, with a shot from a CTF level that I never actually released. Damn, that was actually a pretty good level. Unfortunately, the flow was horrible, and I never could get the CTF cog to work right... but I'm babbling.

As for the other piece of good news, it's pretty much covered in the title. Man, I love being smart (not that this is a common occurence: I got around 70% on both my calculus and linear algebra midterms).

Anyways, that's about it for now...

Sunday, October 17, 2004

More C Woes

Alas, this computer science assignment isn't as easy as I first thought. Apparently, putting in "malloc"s (that word sounds so cool) in random places doesn't prevent the accursed "segmentation fault" from occuring. However, I do get to type "malloc" over and over again. Man I love that word.

In other news, it has been shown that trees are the cause of a bunch of air pollution! I can picture the new slogans already... "Help The Environment: Cut Down a Tree!"

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Computer Science Assignments (and the associated problems)

Well, now that those midterms are done, I have focussed my efforts on my C programming assignment. An assignment that should be absurdly easy (the instructor gave us all the algorithms we need), but somehow isn't. The problem isn't with pointers this time, but instead it's something with memory, because I keep getting those dreaded segmentation faults. Even though it seems that every other line of code is a "malloc", it still gives me the "Segmentation Fault (Core Dumped)" error. Oh well, I'll figure it out eventually (most likely by inserting "malloc"s in random places, which is what I have been doing so far).

However, on the bright side, I have somewhat figured out the pointers. The operation
"->" comes in REALLY handy sometimes... But it's a good thing I figured them out, because this assignment is full of them. Pointers, and pointers to pointers, pointers to structures, structures of pointers that point to other structures, etc. It's crazy.

In other news, well, there really isn't much other news. The world hasn't ended yet, which is fortunate.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Midterms, Midterms, and The Curse of Handheld Computers.

It may seem a bit early, but midterm season is starting for us Eng Scis here at UT. Last week was linear algebra, yesterday was calculus, and today was physics. These tests ran the gamut from absurdly easy to impossibly hard. The easy one was physics. There were only three questions, and success basically came from using one's calculator correctly. The impossible one was calculus. There was stuff on that test that I had never seen before; and even though we got 110 minutes to do 11 questions (yes, that's 10 minutes per question), I barely finished. Well, truthfully, for the last question I just wrote down some random stuff. Perhaps somebody reading this will be able to solve this question:

Consider the function f defined on (0,1) by
f(x) =
/ 0 if x is irrational
\ 1/n if x = m/n

where m and n are integers without any common divisors. Prove that f is continuous at every irrational point in (0,1), and that f is discontinuous at every rational point in (0,1).

Pretty tough, eh?

Anyways, as you may have noticed from my last post, I brought a lovely three-year-old handheld computer (a Palm M505) from home. I'm afraid that this device is going to be my downfall, or at least the downfall of my marks. Anyone who has ever played the game "DopeWars" knows how addicting (haha) it can be. That game now fills the time before, after, and during lectures. My notes have become substantially shorter since the Palm came into my life.

Monday, October 11, 2004

My First Mobile Blog Entry

Coming to you (almost) live from an obsolete Palm M505 handheld computer.

Well, I'm on a train, heading back to the big city of Toronto, after a weekend of... interesting things. Being a farm boy, I had fun as only a hick could. Lets see... driving around in an old pickup truck (as drunk guys throw beer bottles out the window), check. Having a bush bash with my buddies, check. Going to the fair, check. Gotta love the rural life.

Saturday night was actually quite an interesting night. That was the night of the bush party. After my friends were relatively inebriated, we all piled into my truck and went to crash another party. We got there around 2:30 in the morning. Not much "crashing" actually took place, but we did steal some lightbulbs, and left an old tire under someone's car for them to run over in the morning. And I took some pictures. After that, we proceeded to drive to a convenience store to buy some food. And wouldn't you know, but the mother of one of the girls from the party we had just left was working there. Honestly, it seemed pretty funny at the time.

On Sunday night, I had my family Thanksgiving dinner, which was nice. Today, I went to the Brigden Fair. It wasn't as much fun as last year, though that is probably because last year I was at the fair for all three days, and I went to at least two parties. But it was good nonetheless.

It has just come to my attention that there was some sort of minor disturbance as I was writing this. The guy sitting two seats up from me on the left side appears to not be enjoying the ride. Something seems to have happened, but I missed whatever it was. Maybe he is just pissed off because the train is late. Oh well.

Anyways, it's back to the University (and back to work) for me.

Oh, and 56k modems suck. Hard.


I just got an e-mail from the webmaster of Brigden Fair, thanking me for linking to the site. Also, he told me that the actual attendance numbers were closer to 50,000. Either I forgot a zero, or I was just thinking of the number of people who are there are any given time. But yah, the fair is awesome.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Oh My God, She Smells Like Old Crackers.

Before I start off, I had better define what old crackers smell like. You know when you have a box of crackers (usually Ritz crackers), and they get REALLY stale - stale enough that they almost feel soggy, and they crumble apart like nothing? Well, have you ever tasted one of those super-stale crackers? If you haven't, I don't recommend it. If you have, then that taste is like the smell I am talking about.

Anyways, I got to my linear algebra class this morning, sat down, and got my binder out. A couple of minutes before class started, this girl whom I had never seen before comes in and sits down beside me. I thought nothing of it, until she asked me, "Is this CHE 220?". So I was like, "No, this is linear algebra. MAT 185." And that's when I noticed what she smelled like. Old crackers. It's really not a smell that a person should have associated with them. It was quite putrid, and the smell came in waves (basically whenever she moved). Thankfully (or so I thought) she was in the wrong class, and she would therefore soon get up and leave. But no, she stayed. Not only that, but she took down notes too. It was all very strange, and I was going to ask why she was in the wrong class, but my mind was overpowered by the stench. I never knew old crackers could smell so bad. I prayed for the end of the class, when I would finally be outside of the smell range.

But no, it was not to be. You see, I happen to have linear algebra and calculus in the same classroom, one after the other. So naturally I stayed sitting down, and waited for her to get up and leave. But she did not. Why? Who knows. She then asked me what class it was now. "MAT 194," I replied. She then took out her schedule and stared at it. I glanced over, and noticed that neither MAT 185 or MAT 194 were on her schedule. Anywhere. So not only was she taking notes from the wrong class, it was a class that had no relevance at all to whatever she was studying. Yes, she took down the calculus notes too. I was nearly sick from the old cracker smell.

In any case, I have learned an important lesson from all this: never leave an open seat beside you when going to class. For you never know what the person next to you might smell like.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Google AdSense Is Cool.

Well, this morning I finally figured out how to add those Google ads (see top and bottom of page) to my blog. Turns out that I had to put them in the actual template... I'm not much good with HTML. But, as it turns out, they are quite good moneymakers for the amount of effort I am actually putting in. Since their activation this afternoon around 12:30, I have made exactly $1.81. I suppose it's not that much, but it will eventually add up to a larger number. They send you checks every month, as long as your balance is more than $100.

I have to say this: MWUAHAHAHA!!! IM GOING TO BE RICH!!!

So anyways, I'm going back home to visit my family and friends on the weekend. For all you non-Canadians out there, this weekend is Canada's thanksgiving. It is also the weekend of the world-famous Brigden Fair. How many other rural fall fairs have their own webpage AND a flash intro? That's what I thought. I believe that it attracts something like 5,000 people per day, which is a huge number (seeing as Bridgen itself has a population of 540). I'll be sure to take some pictures, and post them on here when I get back on Tuesday. Oh yah, and they have helicopter rides too. I prefer to just fly over in a Cessna. It's a lot cheaper, plus I get to control where I go. But the helicopter dude gets mad if I go too low.

SpaceShipOne Part Two

On Monday, October 4, 2004, SpaceShipOne launched for the second time in five days. It again rocketed past the boundary of space, capturing the X Prize for the Scaled Composites team. You can see more about it here. It's not often that one gets to see history in the making, and even though I was watching the webcast instead of doing my physics lab, I think it was worth it. Personally, I was rooting for the Canadian Arrow, but to see any team win is awe-inspiring.

In other news, comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield passed away yesterday. May he rest in peace.

Friday, October 01, 2004


Well folks, this is it, the moment you have been waiting for: this is officially the future.

As many of you know, on Wednesday, SpaceShipOne made its first X Prize flight. On Monday it will attempt the second. If it is successful, it will usher in a new era of cheap commercial spaceflight. Before long, we will have passed sub-orbital flights and be capable of going into orbit. Commercial space travel used to be science fiction, but now that a few people with a lot of money are paying attention to it, it is quickly becoming fact. Plans for a hotel in orbit (or on the Moon) now have set timelines. Spacecraft are under development for taking paying passengers into space.

Yes, the future is now. Enjoy it while it lasts.
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