My Blog

Back in the habit

No, I’m not talking about nun head wear. I’m talking about using this blog effectively by using it at all. So, I thought I would try and update it at least once a week with what is going on, so what is going on?

Well, in the ages it’s been since I last posted anything a few things have happened. Sadly, none of these point to getting a paper out, but never mind. The big things are that I have learnt Python (to a degree) and have coded up a nice little assessment program for comparing a wave generated by starccm+ (but could be any other program) with an analytical wave. Unfortunately, it has taken me a while to get this up and running and I have no significant results from it yet, but the bare bones are there, so hopefully it won’t take too long to get something useful. The problem is that there is such a range of potential tweeking to be done, that it is difficult to assess what variables I should be examining.

The Python is quite neat, in that it also delivers jobs to our compute cluster and then analyses them once they have finished. What’s amazing is how unreliable that process is, not just because of the young code I have written, but because of star and Sun grid engine being rather random with their outcomes. Add that to some interesting practices from the cluster administrator (like restarting the queue every hour) and error catching becomes extremely challenging. Still, I’d like to publish the delivery system if possible – assuming I can get away with GPLing the IP. The bugtracker (ditz) is (was) here if you want to snoop on my progress.

The second big thing relates to the other part of my job which is the SuperGen Marine Energy Consortium Website. Due to a nasty hack attack on the old e107 system, the IT department insisted we cease and desist administering our own websites (e107 was always a bit of a mystery to me, especially with the custom hacks that has been added to it) and get in line by using Drupal. This could have been a big, time consuming job but we lucked in with getting a great young developer names Sean Bedford to port the core content over and re-establish the publication database. A few attractiveness tweeks from yours truly and we were ready to go again in about 3 months, which I though was pretty good considering we were pioneering the system. Only downside with it is that there is no test site, which means that changes must be short and swift. There are many more “Drupally” things I would like to try out, but I can not develop this on the live site, unfortunately.

SuperGen Marine Energy Research Consortium

One, final thing that is taking my time at the moment, is an MSc project that I dreamt up. I have often been trying to get a verification experiment set up for my PhD code. Last year I was trying to get the flume working (no one took it on) and this year I want to make a solitary wave (or soliton) with a hinged wave maker. Now, this has been done before at Marseilles, but with no publication as to how. Traditionally a solitary wave is generated with a piston wavemaker, as a flap is not great at generating the high velocity required towards the bottom of the tank. However, if you raise the floor of the tank, then that error is reduced. This is all a bit pie in the sky at the moment, but I think working up the mathematics would be interesting and generating a soliton with our wave paddles is quite useful. We haven’t been allocated students yet, but even if I don’t get one, I’ll probably do some of this anyway – if I can handle the maths!!!

Formula One 2010

Wow, Sebastian Vettel is the F1 World Champion for 2010. It always looked like a possibility, but going into the last race in Abu Dhabi, it was looking highly unlikely that Ferrari and Fernando Alonso would not finish with enough points to retain their lead and, thus, Alonso’s would win his third championship.

I chose to watch the race around a friends house, with a bigger TV than ours, and demonstrate my uber geek to all his guests by staring at the timing screens more than the cars. With cheese on the menu for lunch, it was a fun afternoon for me at least. Also the amazing BBC F1 Forum aftershow, put on great entertainment by following the Reb Bull celebrations after the race. Although these were raucous, they somehow lacked the excitement of the Brawn win last year, and the team seems to have lost, rather than made friends this year. Obvious in his absence was Mark Webber, long time championship leader, who, although praising Sebastian’s world title win, did not wish to celebrate with a team that marginalised him this year in favour of his younger rival. In contrast, he McLaren drivers were gracious in defeat, and Ferarri ashamed of their costly error. Next year will be just as exciting as this, I hope.

I am actually glad the championship has finished, I must add. Although my fanantical support of this years races (and practise and pre-season) has given me something to look forward to during the hard slog to finish my PhD, now that it is finished I am glad to be able to use all my weekend to rebuild my tattered life. Yes, my six year old PhD is now submitted, and I can finally get on with whatever else I want to do! Unfortunately, I haven’t quite worked that out yet. At least I now have time to do it and I can choose. I just have to get back into the habit of choosing, which is easier said than done.

Anyway, congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. I hope you lose next year!


Change. What on earth is that about? The Tories are at it, the Lib Dems are at it, but, in the end, the word “change” is as hollow from the lips of any politician, old or new. Frankly, I am suddenly close to voting Labour after being a hard and fast Lib Dem supporter for the whole of my voting life. Even worse, I nearly decided to vote Tory, as I know the Tory candidate and I know he’s a reasonable bloke. They all are really, yet the first smell of power and the shit comes out, and the crap posted through my door is suddenly ugly and basic. And so are the tactics of all the parties. The telly debates are, frankly, about looking into the camera and not looking too smug. I just can’t stomach it. There is no-one who can avoid a childish argument, and frankly, this just insults my intelligence. Yet, I will still vote, and probably Lib Dem. Therefore, I must be an idoit.