Penguins.mooh.org

♫ Oooh Glucose, oooh sugar, sugar!

Part of my grand plan with this website is to develop a catalogue of interesting posts to make that I can just throw up here when I don't do anything interesting during the week. Given that I'm doing a PhD, that will happen more often than not. There's also a limited amount of times you can write about going out and getting fantastically drunk before my posts become a lot of me commenting on how yellow my skin is getting. So the idea is for me to do all my writing in large blocks, so that whenever I feel creative/egotistical enough to make some kind of ill informed comment on something (like how the new Mac minis will kick arse in January), I catch the textual diarrhea (or explosion at the dictionary factory) in one bucket, and then paint it - actually I'll stop that analogy. As usual, I have completely failed to have a backup plan for this week (using my backup mid-week last week). Er, so here's an anecdote.

Back in my misspent youth, I went to university. Instead of learning all the reasons why university culture is inherently incompatible with teamwork (try telling anyone to take responsibility for something in a University, or try getting someone to be responsible to someone else!), I spent my time bluffing my way through various assignments, and then collaborating to help find the best answer. The results in my degree are indicative of all the good people that I worked with - doing it on my own would have resulted in me giving the wrong answers all the time, and learning very little. Instead, I answered most of the questions incorrectly, and still learnt very little. This was O.K. because everyone else was also failing miserably, learning nothing and relying on the magic scaling to get them through from one course to the next, and so we'd all work together to bring our marks up.

The only real times when you were really left to your own devices in university were exams and the presentations. Exams were actually quite easy to get through (except for that one Electrical Engineering exam where I cried), as you could just go over the past papers, which would give you enough knowledge to get through the exam. Presentations were another matter altogether. It's not that I was bad at giving presentations, it was more related to the fact that I didn't know much outside the scope of what I had thrown together on the slides. This had two big disadvantages - the first is that you just felt a little scummy delivering a presentation on some work that a guy had spent 20 years of his life working on, and then just getting the basics completely wrong, taking very complex problems and just writing them off in a glib sentence. The second disadvantage was that when the lecturer asked you a question - you had no chance of getting it right. I was quite naive about this whole question answering thing when I first started at uni, so I'd just try answering the question. The lecturers in Biomedical Engineering must have perfected the blank stare, because I had never been so profoundly scared as when I was the recipient of a look lacking so much expression. After failing to answer the question correctly, I'd be phased, and then continue to dig myself into a hole. After 5 years, I understood the best way to answer questions like this is to shrug your shoulders, and thank them for such an excellent question. If that doesn't get them off your back, you'd possibly wax philosophical a bit about the implications of the question (if they're not satisfied with the compliment), and then in the worst case just rephrase the question so you do know the answer. That's what I'm doing with this post. Talking about something completely irrelevant. No, you can't ask questions.

I've got to say Hi to the Dutch, Colombian, Japanese and Chinese readers. Who are you - and why do you want to know so much about penguins? Sample queries - "how to say go penguins in german" or "childrens games about penguins". Did they ever land at the wrong website.

A bit more science stuff. I ran across a page about singing science on Slashdot yesterday. I particularly like the Glucose song, and Hooray for NMR Spectroscopy. Somehow I've got to get my group members to adopt these as our theme song. Admittedly, it's no MC Hawking (Entropy!), but it's really stupid music. I don't know if I can count this as J-Pop/Rock/Jazz (Japanese reader - enlighten me!), but I was also listening to the Cowboy Bebop (Film) soundtrack, and I heard a very geeky song with a little girl singing out the digits in π. It's called 3.14, and by 菅野よう子 (I have no idea what the translation is). I don't expect you to go out and buy the CD (since it's actually a bootleg CD), so you can instead go and listen to some French music instead.

You might notice some XML buttons appearing on comments pages, which allow you to subscribe to the comments for a page. I'm not sure it works 100% correctly, as the atom page is next to useless.

Update This isn't worth a brand new post, so here's an update to my broadband saga. I have finally been disconnected from the service I signed up for in July. I now have a wireless DSL router thingie, two dead splitters, and a very dodgy phone line. I haven't checked if the money has automagically appeared back in my account yet. A little piece of me dies every day I have to use dialup.

5 comments

Apepoker *

The Mac OS X translator widget says:

"The villous themeda is wild よ う"

I'm sure that's correct.

butercup *

I'm not sure what worries me more - the music or the post about posting :)

Ah well, that's what makes life interesting. Go penguin games!

(maybe they were looking for yetisports)

Hiren Joshi *

I'm serious about the Colombian! There was someone from Bogotá who actually typed the url in for this page, and then made the mistake of visiting. I don't think I know anyone from there. I'm worried.

goosmurf *

I'd just like to point out that iiNet deployed their DSLAM in Epping two weeks ago. I've been enjoying my 6Mbps/1Mbps service. :)

Hiren Joshi *

After doing some reading, the Japanese is a name - Yoko Kanno. She's a composer/keyboardist who forms an integral part of The Seatbelts, who did the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack.

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