One issue that comes up a fair amount in analytical chemistry (of which I’ve done a fair bit over the years) is the concept of signal to noise ratios. The electrical engineers amongst us won’t need that explained, but basically if you have a very weak signal, then it can be obscured by background random signals. So you’re better off having a strong signal, rather than amplifying a weak one. Where it all gets tricky is when you start looking at single molecule detection – which is possible, but is kind of tricky (think Avogadros number of noise and you’ll get the picture.
Anyway, this post is really about sites related to my weblog. I tried this after reading my server logs (again) and noticing that the urbex.org.uk guestbook was ‘related’ to my front page. Which is a little strange, since I’ve never linked to that page (before now) and it hasn’t been linked to me – moreover, it’s my weblog that repeatedly links to urbex’s log. Anyway, the links seem solid as concrete if you try to work out how my weblog is related to "Cricket talks fail to break deadlock", a BBC News Politics article, or even an open source object-oriented extension to the Prolog programming language. Now if I were google, I would try and explain it away as signal to noise problems, rather than admitting that their idea of ‘related’ doesn’t necessarily imply that there is some sort of common link between things. Hmm.
(Bear in mind that the google links will change over time, so unless you look at it today, it might be completely different.)
I forgot to say earlier, but thanks to whoever it was in College on Wednesday evening who repeatedly searched for me on google and clicked through to my website. You could have been more subtle about it (i.e. taken more than thirty seconds to do your five searches), but I’m quietly touched that someone made the effort to make me feel less Unloved and Unwanted. Whoever you are, you made me smile, and I appreciate the thought.
I’ve been perusing my server logs, and they are, perhaps disturbingly, a bit hard to bear. You might find this concept a bit unusual, but I’ll explain. Most people arrive at this website from fireburst.co.uk or bookmarks, but a few come here from assorted search engines. With some cunning shenanigans, it’s possible to find out what they were searching for that led them to this site. Looking at peoples names, and stripping out all the instances of me playing with google, then only one person has been looking for me, and they managed to spell my name wrong. The bit that gets to me (in a don’t-take-all-this-too-seriously manner) is that Andrew Caisley, Andrew Tierney, Dave Parry and Nick Gore have all been the subject of more searches leading to my website than I have. Bastards.
Mr T has found (Oi! Andy! Permalinks please!) a cool post about climbing around a toilet cubicle – and now I’m thinking about doing the same thing in my office. Not the most subtle of things to contemplate, since I think my four coworkers that I share with, and my supervisor next door, might well notice. Reaching the ceiling would be cool, and about my level of competency – there’s plenty of shelving, and that’s almost my preferred hand- and foot- hold size. Anyway, there’s a slightly subtle take-home message in the story, and I think I managed to catch it.
Well, I warned one of them earlier on this evening, so I have to follow through and take the piss out of two of my mates for their weblogs (neither of whom have been previously mentioned). After checking in person, it transpires that Adam Langley (yes Polly, the Adam Langley) really did shout out "First Post" at 4.30am during a fire alarm. As he has said, unless you read Slashdot you might not appreciate what that means, but if you do, you’ll join me in a general sense of derision.
As for Mike Moate’s First Post, he will really need to get both a permanent url and some permalink action for eternal mockery, but I’ve a feeling he’s got more important things to be getting on with at the moment. Good luck Mike.
I saw an advert on the way back from college, from the British Heart Foundation, stating that "Nothing is as precious as a healthy heart". I disagree.
Nothing is as precious as a happy heart.
I’ve only one complaint about the new congestion charge introduced yesterday – I had to sit waiting for over twenty minutes for my nine o’clock lecture. That’s because there was no traffic on the roads, and the bus journeys were both considerably quicker than normal. I don’t even get within a mile of the congestion charge zone – it was even all the approach roads that were empty, which wasn’t what was predicted. And I got a seat on both buses; and the central line still isn’t running (and runs a few feet down along the route). So I don’t quite understand what was going on, despite it supposedly being a ‘holiday’ today, but I’ll still complain about the missed sleep opportunity.
Still, one swallow does not a summer make (yet one hot weekend is all we get for a summer, but I’m digressing). I’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow, and the next day, and next week, and later in the year, and so on until the conservatives give up the ghost and accept that it’s a good idea. However, I think that it could be improved – increase the charge to forty pounds per day, make more zones (not just a bigger one – intra-zone charging wouldn’t work, so let’s get plenty of zones to inter-zone charge), make all bus lanes 24/7, and increase the fine for parking in bus lanes from £80 to your life. Mwa ha ha ha ha. That’ll teach them.
After careful consideration, I have decided that I will no longer run as
a candidate for the position of Union President.
I want to make it clear that my attitude and feelings towards the job have
not changed. But after a lot thought since an emotional incident last
weekend, I have realised that there are other things in my life, and in my
future, which are very important to me. These are, unfortunately, not
compatible with holding a sabbatical position, and I must therefore
withdraw from the election.
I would like to thank everyone, and one person more than ever, for their
support over the last fortnight, and I wish all the other candidates good
fortune in the coming weeks.
Friday night saw a group of us go to Kings College Union to celebrate Dan Lehmann’s 21st birthday. I was going fine, up until the point that I started on the Smirnoff Ices, whereapon it went rapidly downhill, as I’m sure you can gather from the photos. At least I wasn’t the most drunk person there, but Dan did have a good excuse…
After nearly killing one of my flatmates for bouncing a basketball off my wall in the morning (but then I remembered the snowball incident from the night before), I set off to Tooting Bec to Nia’s party. Which was cool – adequately shown by my need for a kebab on the way home. A bit of DramSoc stuff on Sunday, followed by a bit more DramSoc stuff rounded off an enjoyable weekend.
Oh, and yesterday I decided to stand for Union President. Which is nice.