Right about now I suspect everyone is learning what a lot of postgrad computer science students learn in their first week: A computer network is a system where your work can be completely buggered up by a computer you’ve never heard of, in an office you have no access to, run by someone you can’t contact, but which you can’t replace or route around 😀

Well, that or they’re learning to use mutt and IMAP and reading their google email that way, which still works fine 😀


The markov diffusion process has an induced metric, and (Darling, 1998a) gives a connector; and Metric + Connection = GEOMETRY!!! Finally figured out what the hell he was talking about. This is a Good Thing™.


It may not actually make a lot of sense put that way though, I suppose 😀


Basicly, RWR Darling wrote a few papers on a kind of filter called the Geometrically Intrinsic Nonlinear Recursive Filter in 1998 and for my PhD thesis I’m applying it to a specific area of robotics; but I’ve been having some problems with decyphering the maths (it’s somewhat past where engineering maths left off). And every so often, the four tons of math I’ve been chewing on in my head crystalises a little more and I get a better picture of what he’s talking about; and that happened tonight in the middle of writing a position paper for ICINCO’09. So yay!

Actually, today was the first day in a long while that I got to spend entirely on academic work. And I’d forgotten how good that felt; too many years of learning not to care about the work because the customer might change their mind tomorrow and cancel the project. But academic stuff, you decide to chase after the stuff that interests you, anything you produce and write up lives in the store of human knowlege forever (barring catastrophe, that is!), and if you’re very very good and a bit lucky, you might actually discover or develop something that lots of people benefit from.

I wish more jobs could be like that…


Orbital Collision
Orbital Collision

Wow. Talk about low-probability. An Iridium phone satellite (an active one) and a defunct soviet Cosmos satellite, both in polar orbits which were nearly perpendicular to one another, smacked into one another on Tuesday afternoon. That’s never, ever, ever happened before (no active satellites, or even defunct ones, have ever collided before). I mean, there’s a lot of room up there.

Of course, now you have over 500 pieces big enough to track (and who knows how many smaller bits of shrapnel below the 10cm mark), spinning round in a collection of orbits at a particularly useful altitude. And of course, if anything big enough to smash something hits that something, there’s another 500 pieces… they’ve had this as a nightmare scenario for a few decades now in the space sciences. It’s more likely that most of those bits will hit the atmosphere, slow down, fall in and burn up; but they’re somewhat worried that things like the ISS, the shuttle, the Hubble, or something equally valuable and irreplaceable might take a hit before then.

Now that is a bad Tuesday…

Stochastic Geometry is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache

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