ρ (rho) wrote,

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Disjointed ramblings

I've been fairly quiet here recently. There are two main reasons for this: one is upcoming exams, and the other is being ill. Neither of these make for particularly riveting reading.

Example: So I was looking over how to deal with Lagrangians of systems involving two particles whose potentials depend on their relative positions, and decoupling this into the sum of two different Lagrangians, one for the centre of mass motion and one for the relative motion. It's a nice way of thinking about it, because you always end up with no X dependence in the centre of mass Lagrangian if there's no external field, which implies conservation of momentum for the centre of mass, which shows that a system can't do work on itself. Interesting if you're me, but probably not to anyone else (with the possible exception of a small number of people).

Or a second example: today my head was so full of snot that I managed to completely saturate three cotton handkerchiefs in a period of around about two hours. This is of interest to absolutely nobody, myself included.

But yes, getting sick right before exams is Annoying. It is particularly annoying when you hadn't actually started revising until six days prior to the first exam, and you lose two and a half days through illness. And when your revision needs to not only cover an entire year's worth of stuff, but also needs to learn 20% of it from scratch. But oh well.

One useful thing that has come out of being ill was that someone told me yesterday that paracetamol (AKA acetaminophen, Tylenol, N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-acetamide, etc.) can act as a cough suppressant as well as a painkiller. This was a particularly useful nugget of information, but did make me wonder why nobody had mentioned it to me before. You'd think that someone, somewhere in the past 24 years could have told me, at least once, wouldn't you?

My first exam (of four) is tomorrow morning at 9:30. I haven't actually done any revision for it yet. Clearly, this is the reason why I'm writing a long and babbly LJ entry right now rather than revising. In my defence though, I'm not quite 100% awake yet, and I also figure that getting occasional comments throughout the day will help to break up the revision somewhat. I'm not actually too worried about the exam (though this may change once I start looking at it). It's maths tomorrow. Linear algebra, vector calculus Fourier series and transforms. Stuff like that. I don't think there's anything particularly tricky on it.

So, obviously, the most important question to ask before any exam is: what to wear? One needs to be fashinoable on these big occasions, does one not? So I'm thinking:

Poll #499679 through Regent Street and Leicester Square

If I were to wear my t-shirt with the picture of Einstein, or the Oscar Wilde quote "I have nothing to declare except my genius" would this be

tempting fate
a good luck charm

So let's see. What else have I been up to? Well, there was Eurovision, of course, and I can't let that pass without comment. For those of you outside of Europe, a little explanation is in order. This is the Eurovision Song contest: a "contest" in which countries from "Europe" each enter a "song", and then all the different countries vote on which they like best, and an overall winner is declared. The excessive-looking scare quotes are all necessary, given that not all the countries are from Europe, many of the songs are painfully atrocious, and half of the voting is political anyway, so it isn't that much of a contest.

At a typical Eurovision, you'll get something like 5 songs (out of 24) that don't make you want to deafen yourself by thrusting a red hot poker down your ears, and yet it's still compulsive viewing. You watch it for the truly bizarre costumes the performers tend to wear; you watch it to pretend to be shocked when Greece and Cyprus give each other maximum points, yet again; you watch it for the truly bizarre lyrics that sometimes show up; and so on. And if you're in Britain, you watch it for the commentary by Terry Wogan, who is wonderfully sarcastic in a cheerful, understated sort of way.

But anyway, I was disappointed that Greece won it this year, because I didn't think that their song or their performance was particularly impressive. I'd been cheering for Romania and Norway, since both of them were suitably bizarre. I would have been cheering for Moldova, with their Random Old Woman, but I was worried that the cost of hosting Eurovision (the winners host next year's show) might actually have been more than the GDP of Moldova. But oh well. None of this year's entries were as good as last year's winner by Xena Ruslana, anyway.

If anyone cares, these are my notes that I took on each song, as the show progressed:

hungary -- ok, but nothing impressive
uk -- very eurovisiony but crap singer
malta -- good song, good singer, stands no chance
romania -- cross between ruby wax and a punk dyke. in a corset. with toxic waste canisters as drums. suitably energetic and fun
norway -- glamrock with a feather boa and silver latex! this is wonderful!
turkey -- big, colourful costumes, woman with big tits, and the "boom bang-a-bang" tradition of lyrics. not energetic enough in the current eurovision climate
moldova -- haven't realised that the 60s are over, the drummer looks like an austin powers wannabe. and a crazy old woman for no reason. actually not too bad
albania -- boobs, fake violinists. nothing else noteworthy. physically painful
cyprus -- absolutely no notable features at all
spain -- legs, boobs, skirts and a latin rhythm
israel -- bona fide piano, impressive dress, and cloned backing singers. actually quite good but just not eurovision
serbia and montenegro -- the balkans' answer to take that. "different". slow drum beat and such.
denmark -- have gone for the approach of having something actually decent rather than standard eurovision stuff, but unfortunately haven't even managed to get that right
sweden -- ricky martin wannabe. unintentionally hilarious lyrics. dancers look like swedish porn star wannabes
FYROM -- suitably atrocious song, with the obligatory sexy dancing girls and random drumming to try to distract from just how dreadful the song is
ukraine -- puts the c into rap. has guys in handcuffs though, and will win political sympathy votes
germany -- cher after a talentectomy. it's possible that there might be a good song under there somewhere. it's hard to tell though, beneath the crap singing
croatia -- a song with no discernable merit whatsoever. the backing singers are in bridesmaid outfits chosen by a blind and insane bride
greece -- very eurovision. painfully contrived rhymes
russia -- fairly eurovision, but a bit too much rock and not enough pop to it. stoned guitarist
bosnia & herzegovnia -- pretty girls, abba-esque, singing about eurovision. very catchy
switzerland -- not bad, but they don't have powerful enough voices for the song. cool band name, though
latvia -- boy band, ballad, utterly tedious. but they have sign language
france -- singer with intensely annoying voice, making the language of love sound like a teletubby on helium

In other news, I have a new default icon, after a long, long while with the sheep. It was created with the Mandelbrot explorer, which has already shown an alarming tendency to eat up far too much of my time, as I click around on it saying "oooh, pretty". I think I managed to get phoenixdreaming hooked on fractals as well. I'm not entirely sure how much I like this new picture, but if I decide I don't care for it I can always change it again, I suppose.

In other other news, I bought new keyboard fairly recently, and never got around to mentioning it here. Go look at it. Is it not pretty? And it's actually remarkably simple to get used to typing on (and the god of typos made sure I made an awful lot in that sentence). It has the occasional sticky key, which I'm sure will go away when I actually get around to cleaning it out properly, and it's also short one key, which is something of a pain. If anyone knows anything about customising keyboard layouts, I may well end up asking for advice on that at some point. Overall though, I love my new keyboard.

And finally, for those of you who have persevered through this disjointed entry, two links:

Self referential aptitude test (via conuly)

Periodic table, Kansas style (via improbable_blog).
Tags: computers and internet, day to day, humour, links, polls, science and maths

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