With it’s road surface 270 metres above ground, and 2,460 metres long, this bridge could be visualised quite well if you imagine a bridge joining the tops of Pen Dinas and Constitution Hill, in Aberystwyth. Just another impressive feat of engineering I thought I’d share with you. I like bridges. Read the full story here.
Now here’s a funky idea – sub-orbital spaceflight in enormous helium balloons, up to a two-mile wide sub-space station (a permanant facility at the very boundries of our atmosphere). This could be used to carry spaceship components for assembly in orbit, and then launched using ion drives at a fraction of the price of rocket launches.
The designers estimate that they can have a functional prototype within seven years – given the funding they’d like – and that journeys into space could be done almost for free and much more safely (albeit at the time expense that it would take up to nine days to get there).
I’d been warned that this stuff could give you weird dreams. Last night I dreamt entirely in anime. Which is pretty impressive, I thought. I was a character in a Studio Ghibli-esque anime flick (it was dubbed, so I was moving my mouth in Japanese and somebody else’s voice came out in English – the same was true of everybody else). Somebody had built two tall golden skyscrapers and was offering free rides up and down them in the lifts. I joined a lift packed full of people (oh yeh; I was a little boy again – forgot to mention that). It was an old-fashioned operator-controlled lift, with a big blue lever of unusual shape at either end to control the ascent/descent and doors (yes, just one lever: no; that wasn’t explained). When everybody got off I played with the lever and took the lift up and down and up and down and up and down… pretty much all night.
Claire, Paul, Bryn, Ruth, JTA, Andy and I went to the beach this evening to play frisbee and watch the sunset. We even got Bryn participating, which is somewhat a rarity for any of this fun outings that involve physical activity. Everybody seemed happy to be taking a break from exams. Aber is wonderful this time of year – why must it coincide with exam time?
Paul got some mint-choc-chip ice cream without chocolate chips. Don’t ask.
Afterwards, we all went to the Castle and played hide & seek as it got darker. Paul went first, and I was last to be found – I’d climbed over a wall to a fenced-off area, in which I was very visible, but not in a place anyone would look. I went second, and took ages to find Paul and Ruth. It shouldn’t have taken so long to find Ruth – she was just in the shadows of a tower – but Paul had a brilliant hiding place: inside the ruins of a chimney (how he squeezed in there I’ll never know). For our final game, with Ruth hunting, I hid on top of a tower – with a great view – where I could become completely concealed by lying down. I was found third-from-last, with JTA and Claire remaining hidden for ages (despite many [not particularly helpful] text-messaged clues sent by JTA to Ruth). JTA had wedged himself between two upstanding slabs of rock, and could only be seen from above. Claire, better yet, had lay down and slid herself into what appeared to be an old drainage channel from one of the buildings into the courtyard.
Finally, we all returned to the flat for a game of Chez Geek: Paul won, and deservedly so (despite us all ganging up on him quite brutally at the end.
I’ve spent the evening looking at bootloader source code (small programs, crucial to every Operating System, which do the first fundamental steps towards loading the kernel, the ‘core’ of the OS). Just to show you quite how scary this stuff is, here’s a snippet of code to “stop the floppy drive motor from spinning”:
WTF??? If you go to Symantec’s Online Virus Scanner using most browsers, you’ll be told that you need to use Microsoft Internet Explorer to continue! Isn’t this just asking for trouble? It’s like saying, “Yes, we’ll check your house is secure. Now just unlock your door…”
Last night’s dream
Claire was complaining at me because I’d bought online driving lessons, which she considered to be significantly worse value for money than ‘traditional’ ones. I argued that I didn’t actually want the lessons, but they were only 10p each and I only had 20p pieces and I needed 10p pieces, so I bought them so as to have them give me 10p pieces in change.
After I was woken by the alarm and hit the snooze button…
This morning’s dream
I wake up on Ynyslas beach, and (despite wondering how I got there) decide that I ought to go to work, so I start trekking South towards Borth. Alex, a coworker, overtook me, driving his old car (he replaced it a few months ago).
Monday night’s dream
Somewhat reminiscent of Far Cry (a first-person shooter I’ve been playing too much of recently), I was armed to the teeth and shooting heaps of mercenaries. As time went on, I began to have a conflict of morals, and began wondering who was the ‘bad guy’ – me, or them. Then, perhaps to prove it, I raped one of the hostages I was supposed to be rescuing. Hmm.
Have you seen AQA (All Questions Answered), a new online/SMS service? The idea is that you text message a question to 63336 (only on O2, Vodafone, and Orange, right now: costs £1) and their server uses a clever combination of intelligent algorithms, data mining, and human researchers to provide you with an answer.
They’re working on the policy of ‘All Questions Answered’. It could make the Scholars pub quiz a little easier. =o)