A Map of Every Place I've Ever Been

You could fit a linear trend to the points on this map, if you wanted, and probably get a pretty good χ2. If you follow that through logically, I must be destined to travel to northern India, Greenland, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Maybe I can go other places where the line wraps back around the Earth.

Read More

Some kind of trout

The fish was minding her own business when a fissure opened in the ice above her, and she was sucked unceremoniously upward.

She wasn’t really a fish, of course. But she had fins, she had gills, her shape was ideal for slicing through Europa’s subsurface oceans. The obvious difference, biochemistry aside, was her lack of eyes, and some deep-water Earth fish don’t have those anyway.

Read More

Essay: "Tens and tenths: decimalising calendar and angle"

Way back in first year, for an elective about soft mathematics (that wasn't the official description), I wrote an essay about the advantages and disadvantages of adopting further decimal units. I tidied it up a little, and here it is!

Read More

Which Nintendo characters would burn in holy water? A comprehensive study

Yesterday, Simon Belmont (of Castlevania fame) was announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. One of Simon’s attacks is holy water. The only possible conclusion to is that, in some way, every character in Smash is an unholy monstrosity that must be vanquished. Here, we try to work out why.

Read More

The Ultimate* Cheat Sheet for Astrophysics Students

At some point during my undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics, with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing) I thought, "wouldn't it be cool if I collected all the physics and maths formulae I've learnt into a notebook?" This became three notebooks, then, when I realised how untidy they were getting, a LaTeX document. In the hope that others might find it useful, I decided to put it up here. Three years after it began, here it is!

Read More

Ideas are kind of like stars. No, bear with me. 

Stars need time to form from the gas and dust of the interstellar medium. You have to leave that delicate substrate alone for it to undergo gravitational collapse. If something big happens nearby - a quasar, a supernova - the gas is blown away, scattered, and no star forms.

Like a stellar nursery, my brain matter sometimes needs to be left inert so that it can generate new ideas. I have to turn off the podcast or the music and starve my brain of stimulation . Then, I guess it has to generate something to amuse itself. And it works! A lot of my ideas come in those moments when I'm dead bored, when I'm out of podcasts on the way to uni and my brain is begging me to feed it something. If I do, no ideas form, just like a quasar quenching the interstellar medium. But if I leave that lump of grey matter to its own devices, it reluctantly churns out the occasional star.

Read More