Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What's this?

All will be revealed tomorrow!

UPDATE: So, did you get it? It's a warning sign for oxygen deprivation deep underground at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Apparently if you feel weak and need to sit down to look at your crotch, you need help.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Busy time of year

Not only am I trying to get physics-specific back-end support up and running for PhysMath Central, but it is also time for the Online exhibition this year - which I hope to be attending tomorrow. And moving house. And planning a trip to Germany. Still, it's better than being bored and I still had time to read and recommend the following:

Monday, November 27, 2006


It's so nice to be back in cold, dark, grey, windy London after a couple of weeks in Dubai. But the winter weather can't take the shine off the good news that our house purchase is all going ahead as planned and we'll be moving in the next 2 weeks. W00t!

Anyway, no time for detailed blogging right now I'm afraid, just a bit of a linkdump from my email and RSS reader. They're probably better than what I'd write anyway :-)

Friday, November 10, 2006

No work + sunshine = Ahhhhh

Sorry folks, it's time for me to leave you all for 10 days or so as I go for a little break in Dubai. Yes, look impressed. As a regular visitor since the mid-90s, I have seen a lot of change there - in fact every time I go there seems to be some new building cropping up somewhere. Take a look at this photo for evidence of that:

I'll be online while I'm away, but will only be looking at news and sport websites and responding to the most urgent of emails. I'm sure you'll survive without me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Presentation tips for science & business

Since I am at the interface of these two subjects - and in the process of defining my own presentation style for PhysMath Central, it is always interesting to get tips on how to make presentations more compelling. Two invaluable blog posts have helped me here.

The first and most recent is from Chad Orzel at Uncertain Principles. Specifically aimed at physicists using Powerpoint he gives many bite-sized nuggets of wisdom including 'Equations are death';
Yes, physics is a mathematical science. It doesn't mean that people want to look at slide after slide of nothing but equations. There are few experiences as soul-crushing as sitting in a dark room watching somebody do algebra.
The second is from acclaimmed valley VC Guy Kawasaki. The espouses the 10/20/30 rule of pitching to venture capitalists.
It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

The comments on both postings contain many further tips to turn you into a presentation master. Also, learn how to receive a standing ovation and see some of the best presentations evuh!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Links, links and additional links

I have been swanning off around the globe recently to meet all kinds of interesting physicists in anticipation of the launch of PhysMath Central. That means there has been less activity on the blog than I would like - but hey, that's life. I can't be doing everything at once.

However, there have been some great blog posts recently that I wanted to highlight for my lovely readers:
  • Rafael Sidi, from Really Simple Sidi, points out that Nature have an island in Second Life called... Second Nature. I am really interested to see what will happen with this. I suspect it will be visited by very few authors who currently publish in Nature, but maybe they are aiming for the next-generation of scientists who will publish in a few years time?
  • An interesting looking series of videos from the Berkman Center on science and (scroll down a little) open source strategies. I confess to not having watched them all yet.
  • One of my favourite bloggers, Scott Aaranson, describes what makes a computer scientist a scientist (in answering a somewhat cheeky question from CosmicVariance's Sean Carroll). Sample quote: "the theoretical computer scientist is basically a mathematical logician on a safari to the physical world: someone who tries to understand the universe by asking what sorts of mathematical questions can and can't be answered within it. Not whether the universe is a computer, but what kind of computer it is! Naturally, this approach to understanding the world tends to appeal most to people for whom math (and especially discrete math) is reasonably clear, whereas physics is extremely mysterious."