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Monday, 19 March 2012

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock and roll." Shigeru Miyamoto

I was going to go slightly off my usual tabletop gaming topic and talk about video games this week. Seems like a reasonable idea, since that is what I have mostly been filling my time with, in between gaps from work & lectures & work & Wates & Pathfinder & work & shower falling...

Basically the main reason I have been prompted to do this is my sheer excitement at the launch of Guild Wars 2. Squeeee... This will be the step function in the MMO world, not since WoW has there been such a monumental overhaul of the system. Good luck talking to me shortly after it comes out! Btw, I shotgun both Guild Leader and Engineer class! Yay!

But that is still well off at the moment, preorders don't even start until April 10th, where I will be repeatedly pressing my refresh button like a button hooked up to the pleasure centers. Right now I have a multitude of other games to talk about, so let's start with those.

Firstly, it wouldn't be right not to mention Skyrim. Another achievement in the world of gaming, Elder Scrolls games have always been impressive, and on a scale far grander than any other games of the time, but Skyrim really brings a new sense of realism into the equation. Not in the sense of battling dragons or wielding ancient weapons and destructive magic (cause that's totally real) but in the sense of everything being interactable (I'm gonna go with that being a word, cause it totally is). You find yourself actually being annoyed at silly things which would be possible in real life, but then you realise that that's only because the rest of the game is so realistic.
I have now finished the main plot and despite the fact that I was very slightly dissapointed at one obviously missing cut-scene or cool combat (ask me if you want to know), but apart from that it is a very cool game, which I mostly enjoy as you can role-play really well in it, decisions are realistic and there is easily enough of it, though I have completed the main quest to keep me entertained for years.

(As a side note; don't play this or watch it played if you don't like Spiders, seriously)

However, I am now moving back into SW: TOR.
Ah, a game where I get to be a Jedi, or more accurately, a Sith! How awesome is that?
The answer: Frakking amazing.
Bioware have really outdone themselves with this, plots are deep and fulfilling, hehe... and the voice acting is fantastic. The combat system and everything are well polished and interesting as well and how different the builds are. Easily, easily worth a subscription, and I'm not a person who buys subscriptions light-heartedly, due to my love of Guild Wars.

I'm currently working on my Sith Juggernaught, good old tanks, so if people want to come and join, remember I'm on the Pegasus (or something) mining facility.

Those are my main two recent gaming vices. I would like to talk quickly about some of the other stuff which is played, but less due to the awesomeness of the above games:

Yes Mandy! I am sort of playing it! One of the greatest games where you play a semi-God painting wolf thing... Yeah, sounds a bit weird, but it's a well done game, with brilliantly different art, as you can probably see in the image!

Mass Effect!
I found the wonderful little gem in Game. Apparently there are like 3 in the series, though I haven't got onto the second one yet. People should really try this out as well, as far as fps games go, it's about as good as it can get, brilliant plot and acting, just like I like in a game. Anyone who hasn't seen it should pick it up asap! What a find! Score! ...

Twilight Princess:
Yes Mandy! I am sort of playing it! Just got this back from home, planning to complete before I can allow myself to move onto Skyward Sword. I've been in love with Zelda, no wait... The Legend of Zelda (that's better) ever since I first completed Ocarina of Time and have loved every game since then. So it pains me that I have left the land of Hyrule to go unkept, it's citizens saddened by my lack of presence. I will be back. Link shall return triumphant!

Okay, I must get back to work. So, some games quickly that I'm looking forward to.
Apparent, not confirmed Elder Scrolls MMO, probably not released before I die.
The Last Story: Wii JRPG game
Skyward Sword: Wii, obvious really...
Guild Wars 2. SQUEEEEE...

So that's what my future looks like, maybe I'll get around to doing another video games based blog at some point...

Monday, 12 March 2012

"I don't think it's healthy to take yourself too seriously." Payne Stewart

Okay, so basically I thought I would spend some time laughing at myself, since I am pretty funny, and modest (honest...)
So last Saturday it was decided that we would all go out to Tease, what a wonderful idea! You know, Gay night at the union, what could possibly go wrong?

Everything, everything could go wrong... but little was I to know this.
So, we had just finished another awesome session of pathfinder, playing We Be Goblins! (fantastic module) and were heading off to pre-drinks at Brian/Le-Roy's house, all good so far. I decided to pick up some red wine to drink (getting worse).
At Brian's we played some rather strange drinking games, such as German Sex Noises (pretty self explainitory) and eventually left for the union after drinking some sort of strange pink drink at approximately 11pm with (inexplicably) none of my wine left.

The union was the STUPIDLY empty... and the rest of it was filled with guys, very strange experience. Strange...
Okay, so the day after I insisted that I remembered everything from the union. I however, do not remember so well anymore... Thus, I'm gonna take a stab at an approximate series of events.

1. Drank some sort of shot which tasted like Cinnamon
2. Watched some sort of contest on stage until Brian was voted off, then it got weird...
3. Went outside for serious talks (I think) with Le-Roy, Travis & Rosh
4. Back inside somehow, danced for a bit with people.
5. Somehow ended up outside talking again, with a Corona.
6. Lost people and ended up sitting on the sofas, knowing that I was pretty drunk, so decided to give up and go home.

That's when things got bad.
Basically noone at the Union knew where I had gone, so, before the fact that I could have gone home with someone went through their minds, they assumed I had died, been abducted by Aliens or rode some sort of Frakking magical unicorn to live as the king of the Syuiyes people... so Le-Roy managed to get through to Elle, who came round to mine to see if I was there.

By this point in the evening I had made it into my bathroom after getting half undressed and ready for bed, so that I could get some water and sleep. Elle ringing the doorbell (I will insist this until the day I die) shocked and confused me to such a degree to such an extent that I stumbled and tried to use the shower guard as a wall.

You know what shower-guards are not good at being?           Walls.
You know how I know that?                                     I fell through it.

Yes, I fell through the shower.

I'll skip through the whole bit where I opened the door to Elle with glass in my back and having to pick glass out my back, plus the whole going into shock thing... Because that's totally boring..

So, yeah basically. I hope you all enjoy the second awesome shower story of my life, for those of you who don't know the first one ask ANYONE I KNOW!

Overall, I am fine and was fine that evening, just went to bed. All was good. So we can all laugh at it now...

Monday, 5 March 2012

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting." Ernest Rutherford

Okay, wrote this a while ago, like a month and have had all the busy since then, so I'm gonna post it now and the posts will continue from now as weekly (hopefully) supplements of my life. 

So, lets get down to some Physics!

I was never really planning this blog to go with the whole Physics side of things, but you know what?

Physics is cool. People like Physics. And those people shall be rewarded, with... well.. Physics!

Tomorrow, my Dissertation for my Masters is due in. Thus, slightly just for my own ease and slightly because it's cool, I'll let you all know what I did at Yale!

I think I'll put the dissertation up on some kind of filesharing if people want to learn more about it at the end, but for now, here is a brief history of Matt @ Yale.

I've been wondering for a good 2.4 seconds how far I should go back, in terms of Physics. I believe this will best suit people either doing Physics, or with an active interest in Physics, since you probably won't bother reading this if you have neither of these things. So I won't go right back to things like explaining what the nucleus is or anything like that, but I'll try and make sure you all understand me without a Physics degree.

Okay, first things first. MY BAD! I got caught up in the whole after dissertation being done thing that I completely neglected this blog entirely. So I'm here now, getting it done just before the presentation about this work tomorrow and then I shouldn't be doing Nuclear again, well maybe, possibly at some point...

So, my dissertation is titled Precise Measurements of lifetimes and deorientation in 92,94Zr using the g-plunger technique. Yeah, bit long isn't it? In effect it means we measured some stuff about some interesting nuclei really well. That's about it.

So, how did we do this? It starts with the simple effect of Doppler Shift. For those that don't know, this is the apparent shift in wavelength of waves due to their motion relative to the observer, in other words, like a car: Neeeeeeaaawwwwwwwhhhhhhh....
Basically the set-up excites a nucleus through coulomb (electromagnetic) interactions, from which it then flies a set distance to a stopper foil, where it becomes embedded.

This means that 2 things can happen;
1. The nucleus decays and emits a gamma-ray during flight, observed Doppler Shifted by the detectors
2. The nucleus decaus stopped in the foil, meaning an unshifted ray is observed

By increasing the flight distance, it will be more likely for the nucleus to decay during flight, which can then be plotted to obtain the lifetime of that state, in essence.

There are a whole load of corrections which have to be firstly applied to this lifetime, to account for the
  • Efficiency of the detectors
  • Lorentz (relativistic effects) 
  • Deorientation during flight of the magnetic moment. 
 Using this deorientation, a relative g-factor to a nearby nucleus can also be calculated, by comparing the rate of deorientation, which should be dependant on the magnetic moment of the state.

Most of this is what I actually did on my placement! That is the simple version of everything which I got done. Dissertation is done. Presentation is done. Paper is (nearly) done!

My presentation should be up on youtube soon, since they were recorded, including a small interview, brilliant! The presentation is actually much better than this explaination, I think, so I'll link to that as soon as it comes up!

Brilliant. Until next time!

Quick update, the youtube video with us talking has gone up, couple of snippets of me, but it's really terrible.

Paddy looks really sad in the still...