26 August 2008

Less than rewarding ways to spend one week

I finally learned that

MATLAB uses the apostrophe operator (') to perform a complex conjugate transpose, and the dot-apostrophe operator (.') to transpose without conjugation¹.
despite my unshakable-yet-painfully-mistaken belief that the converse was true.

One nice outcome— the .' versus ' distinction caused an oscillating phase symptom that made me go through my formulation in detail. I added the derivation as as a nonlinear example on Wikipedia's spectral method page. It will be interesting to see how long the edit survives.

Frustratingly, MATLAB's M-script is only half a hair more predictable than PHP. That ones(1); ans(1) returns one but ones(1)(1) is a syntax error boggles my mind.

21 August 2008

Patent number 7,406,606

12 August 2008

Forbes: Austin ranks #1 hardest drinking city in America

"Austin, Texas, is famous for its parties. People flock from around the world to attend events like the annual South by Southwest film and music festival. And when they get there, chances are they make like the locals and throw back a few cold ones--because Austin may be the hardest-drinking city in America."

America's Hard-Drinking Cities - Forbes.com

09 August 2008

Stenchikovs's talk

This Thursday past I listened to a talk by Professor Georgiy Stenchikov. Stenchikov works with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crew that won the Nobel recently. On Thursday he spoke of the effects that aerosols (fine particles) have in the upper atmosphere. Apparently higher concentrations of aerosols in the stratosphere reflect incoming solar radiation and reduce global temperature. Their effect can be observed when a massive volcanic eruption drops global temperature by a small amount. Stenchikov and his collaborators have created global climate models capable of reproducing this volcanic effect.

Stenchikov's talk focused on artificially increasing the aerosol content of the upper atmosphere to combat CO2-related global warming trends. Apparently it's an idea from the late 70's. Stenchikov quite literally ran 40 year simulations where humans sprayed megatons of aerosols into the stratosphere to see if we could reduce the temperature. The verdict? It works, but if we ever stop the process, global warming comes back with a vengeance.

That's some scary shit. By "that" I mean nearly every implication of living in a day when such a plan is a genuine topic of interest.

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