Random thoughts of a wandering physicist…

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Baby metamerism May 12, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — gloplastic @ 9:13 am

Changing the nappy on the “Little ‘un” recently, we thought we identified an internal problem. Breast fed baby poo colour is a good health indicator. Yellow is good and green (for instance) is bad. Unfortunately baby poo appears to suffer from metameric failure. That is it appears a different colour under a different type of light. The dark green colour under the bedroom light (TL84ish light with 6500K colour temp) looked much more normal under daylight in the bathroom, or even slightly brown under the bathroom light (illuminant A)* Why can’t the baby manuals specify the illuminant under which the pictures were taken to avoid potential misidentification of baby trouble!

 *Apolgies to any protanopes, deuteranopes, tritanopes, achromats or other anomalous individuals….. boy the world must be murky for you.


Functional foods and magic yoghurts?! April 14, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — gloplastic @ 7:33 pm

Today’s little blog is inspired by the wife. Those of you who know Kingston (SW London, UK) will know of the annoying area where the market researchers hang out (Back of Eden Walk). The rule is to speed up and look straight ahead, never make eye contact or you’ll be homed in on and talked to. 

Anyhow, the wife got sucked in recently, helping with taste testing of yoghurts. For her effort she got a chocolate bar, supposedly highly valuable currency in female society. 

Anyhow, the yoghurt was designed to improve skin appearance, a so-called functional food, you seem to get yoghurts these days that promise to do all sorts of things. She reported it tasted like sawdust. 

This got me thinking….. If I were to set up a number of alter e-egos on the glorious interweb, I wonder if I could start up a food fad,where people are convinced of supposed health benefits of unusual foods. As if there is not enough of such stuff out there. I am sure i can find a couple of suitable online forums to launch my idea, especilly if my e-egos worked together.  The food that sprung to mind when the wife was telling me about her experience was ….. Catfood. Yes, in the UK there is a famous brand that is proved to make the fur of your dear pussycat glossier, I even know the guy who helped them scientifically prove the claim. It would be easy, given there is real scientific evidence , to ‘extend’ it slightly. Ok, catfood may not be the most appealing thing to improve your beauty, but remember 2 points… Its cheaper than most miracle foods or beauty treatments, no-one expects good medicine to taste nice…… It’s probably as effective as those more expensive options anyhow. 

I was wondering if issuing advice as to the best dose rates, relative effectiveness of different brands/flavours or even a list of suggested recipes would be pushing the idea too far……… 

Who says that we scientists have no sense of humour and live boring lives? Please note that I have better things to occupy my time, so if anyone does try this one on, it isn’t going to be me, i’m too busy ‘wilfing’. That final term comes to us from the guardian newspaper last week…. Probably a blatant attempt to invent a new word…. It is even trying to get into wikipedia. The term is supposed to describe the new habit of random  internet surfing that seems to consume so much of our lives…. Wilf….”what was I looking for”….. We’ll have to see how it catches on.


Form factors and the secret of anti-ageing! March 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — gloplastic @ 8:56 pm

Some recent errata that make odd viewing. First we come to the ability of some people to avoid aging. Yes, finally the secret is out, Give Blood. Whilst changing addresses recently, we found that in the ‘changing your details’ section of the British Blood Donation Service online form gave the option to “Change Date of Birth”….. so there you go.

Now one from the work front. I have been looking up radiative form factors at work, how much radiation uniformly emitted from one object/surface will be collected by another object/surface close by. The webpage page lists lots of formulae for calculating the transfer facter for all sorts of geometric objects/surfaces in different orientations and separations, but two caught my eye, both are best viewed at their original location (given below).

The transfer from one person (standard engineer (note beard) in an old armchair) to a wall.

The transfer from one standard cow to a wall, I wonder what the effect of the cow facing the other way would be?

And to finish this blog entry in true Bart fashion:
I must post more ideas to my blog!
I must post more ideas to my blog!
I must post more ideas to my blog!
I must post more ideas to my blog!
I must post more ideas to my blog!
I must post more ideas to my blog!
I must post more ideas to my blog!
I must post more ideas to my blog!

Good night for now.


Discovery of the week… dry-ice and coffee. November 17, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — gloplastic @ 6:19 pm

Whilst showing off dry lce (solid carbon dioxide) in water…. looks like witches-brew whilst gently carbonating the water. NOTE: Do not let dry-ice touch you as you can get very severe burns!

Now there were some coffee brewing tanks nearby (large boil-once-and-keep-hot-for-ages things). Hot should make the bubbling better?!

Fill one cup with a nice hot brew and pop a nice sized chunk of dry-ice in……. wahey. A foam monster, with cloud filled white bubbles over flowing the cup. It just kept on foaming. You can pop the bubbles with your finger… nicely coffee flavoured.

I have a picture and video, have to learn WordPress a bit better first though!


Six degrees of Lexipedia, aka the Kevin Bacon game.

Filed under: Uncategorized — gloplastic @ 5:58 pm

Been trialling Lexipedia on my new Axim. It promises to provide  over 500000 full Wikipedia articles (no pictures) for only $15 and 750Mb. In demo mode it shows you only random articles, but allows you to follow links in articles. So to be able to use it to look things up you have to go linking to find it…. Finding all-sorts of trivia along the way.  

For those not familiar with the concept this is an example of a small-worlds network, see Duncan watts homepage, he has written several books on the subject. The idea is that for instance you can get a parcel to anyone in the world by giving it to a friend who is closer to the destination than you are and repeating through a link of friends of friends. Theoretically you can reach anyone in six links or less. Several fun examples include the Kevin Bacon game (linking film stars by films they starred in) or the Erdos number for mathematical papers.

The key point of these kind of networks is that most people only know some local friends, but a few have a number of long distance contacts, it is these few long distance links that allows the short distance between any two people.

Ok, lets give an example, using Lexipedia, I start at a random article and try to home in on a topic that I want to find….

I want to look up Galileo (went to see the play ‘leben das galilei’ last week)/

1st (random article)…Hortonia,Wisconsin

2.Race (US Census)


4.History of Europe.


6.Scientific revolution.

7. Galileo.  OK, one over par, but you get the idea. Next up, Go (or gomoku, the ancient  Chineseboard game. 1./dev/random…. (Does it know what I am up to?!)


3.United States

4.People’s  Republic  of China.


6.List of China-related topics

7.List of China-relateb topics 123-L

8.Go (board game)  Not so good, too much about recent Chinese history and politics. 

Of course this will be less fun when I’ve bought a copy of lexipedia and can jump straight in where I want, but it passes the time and you never know what information you will find.


Delivery time travel.

Filed under: Uncategorized — gloplastic @ 5:20 pm

Waiting in for a delivery of baby materials…. We have a ‘slot’ from 6-30am to 1pm. Given previous experience of delivery companies we were sceptical of such an early start…. But woke up extra early ‘just in case’ (JIC). ‘As if by magic’ no door bells were forthcoming so early on. Why is it that all scheduled deliveries always occur right at the end of their allotted time or just after? (assuming that they actually bother at all!) 

This sounds like a proof of Santa! These guys get paid to deliver things… Does this mean they can lie about for most of the time and then use the ‘santa drive’ to make sure the job gets done just in time? This would be of great use to many project managers…..

 Damn, delivery at 9-30…. Maybe having so long a lie in myself has given me too long to think.. Time to put the kettle on!


Hello world! November 8, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — gloplastic @ 2:07 pm

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!