Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Staircase in l'Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back from Paris

 and the talk went well. Also had a wonderful time with A&A and the twins. The weather was excellent, and we spent some very nice hours traipsing around. Say what you want about it, but Paris is one of the nicest cities I know to just go out for a walk.
Arc de Triomphe

I did have some troubles though - the ladies were very appreciative of my hat:

Pictured: I., hat-thief

so much so, in fact, I had trouble keeping it on ;)

...and again. With a flash hat like that, you better not let your guard down!

Strolling around Saint-Germain in the evening, A. spotted this in an artist's studio:

America. fuck yeah.

which perfectly encapsulates the way the French think about the US right now, I'd say. The French, and probably most of the rest of mainland Europe as well.

Still, I am very much looking forward to visiting New York next month, wonder how it will compare?

Eiffel tower, from the Pont Alexandre III

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bollocks to this...

I am off to Paris, to give a talk:

Yes. 4-line title indicates serious science.

I feel so important!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Little did Hermione know what an avalanche she set off by starting SPEW. Oh, the hose elfs at Hogwarts pretended to be horrified, but they did listen. Soon they started their own campaign, and it wasn't long until a more sinister offshoot of SPEW appeared: HELF, the House Elf Liberation Front. And they didn't contend themselves with propaganda either...
The wizarding world never knew what hit them.

Support Comrade Dobby!

Finally made a real version of my pencil sketch from over a year ago. Acrylic on paper, A3.
And I know his forearm is too short, but that is how house elfs are built. Seriously.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Om nom nom, the subfunction eats your counter.
MATLAB does not protect the namespace in subfunctions. If you have a loop with a counter called i in the main function and you call a subfunction that has also a loop that uses i, hilarity will ensue.
Also, hours of debugging.
That is all.


sensing the uncommon and unwelcome feeling of productivity descending upon me (upcoming talks/deadlines might have something to do with this) I quickly installed a dart-board in our office.

arrows: Four

I can already consistently miss the twenty. Go me!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Creationists in Lausanne

I couldn't believe my own eyes:

Evolution is wrong - believe the guy with the laser eyes!

Adnan Oktar (aka  Harun Yahya) is coming to Lausanne! Oktar is an insane old earth creationist (and there is a tautology for you), who likes to tout the wrongness (and evilness! It leads to terrorism!) of the theory of evolution and How You Can Save Your Soul With Islam. He even has a book, called "The Atlas of Creation" where he debunks evolution by comparing fossils to... stolen photos of fishing lures. Seriously; see this post at forbidden music.

I really need to go there - I'll be sure to bring my camera!

Update (17.05 - 1637h):
A quick search at the Beaulieu centre de congrés doesn't show any talk by anybody on the 25th - did they cancel pour Oktar? An article in the Tribune de Genève from last Tuesday (caution! French!) talks about him running into difficulties, since the congress centre only found out about the subject of his talk (and indeed his identity) from the placards announcing the event. They are not happy, and for some reason even the cantonal police is looking into the matter...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Geta Mk I

I got interested in Geta, and then stumbled over this excellent page. Using it as a rough guide, I produced my first Geta-prototype, the Mark I:

My dainty little feet. Also: geta

A very rough build, the baseboard is not yet finished off (rounding the edges, etc.). But, to my astonishment, they worked right away! Here are some notes, in case you want to build your own, (in which case you have to go to the above-linked geta calculator) and for my Mark II model:

*) Geta are loud. Forget sneaking up on your enemy. Your ninja career is over once you start wearing geta.

*) The straps need to be tight, or else you'll get cramps in your feet because you curl your toes with each step, trying to keep those things stable.

*) Traditional geta don't distinguish between left and right, their toe-hole is right in the middle. This makes them quite broad. I thought slimmer ones would be more elegant which, together with the next point, will eventually kill me.

*) Tapering your ha (the two stilts below the board) may look spiffy, but consider: lateral stability. My geta have less than the usual width, and the tapering reduces the actual footprint (ha!)  to less than five centimetres.

*) Running will kill you. I don't know if you can run in geta. Maybe Japanese people can, having been trained from an early age in the ancient art of geta-do. I lack this training, and even walking faster makes people stop and stare curiously at the coming train-wreck.

*) Nevertheless, when not falling ass over tea-kettle or twisting my ankle, geta are surprisingly comfortable. The set-back of the front-ha (about two-fifths of the board length in my case) means the front of the geta will hit the ground when it is tilted at a twenty degree angle, allowing a naturalish (<- this should be a word) rolling motion. Also, with them I am six centimetres taller. Go me!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

iphone: photo iv/vii

see parts i, ii and iii
Some photos from the wedding will be coming soon, probably this weekend.



In a corner

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Emotions - rage

or: Archangel Michael slaying the first-born of Egypt:

Slice, slice, slice and dice, for the glory of the Lord!

Man, Michael was pissed off.
A few thoughts:
*)It was fun drawing the mountain of corpses - from a purely technical point of view, of course.

*)My first biblical theme - this has a grand tradition in the arts, of course. Is it weird for a virulent atheist to draw biblical themes? Not so! Especially when this is entirely apocryphal: Nowhere in the bible does it say that it was Michael who did the young 'uns in. Because the bible is coy that way. Well, except for all the incest-scenes (Looking at you, Lot's daughters!) Say, there is an idea for a future drawing...

Anyway, I wasn't too sure in which category to submit that over at deviantart, and chose fan-art at last. Not too sure if I am such a big fan of the bible, but I guess it is technically the right category...

*)I am quite happy with how the wings turned out - not so happy with the angel's body and the clouds though.
Also, the pleading mother? So not an Egyptian. Noticed that too late, though.

A shitload of pencils (6B, 4B, B, 2H) on paper.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flying back to Geneva

blogging from Vienna airport. (I feel so connected!)

The wedding? As delicious as the cake. Mmmh, cake.

Cake. In tiers. Steps to a sugary high, if you so will.