Monday, February 21, 2011

So I donated blood today

So I went for my 6th or 7th full blood donation today. It has been a while since I last donated( I think about 10 months to be precise because I was on roaccutane.) Let me talk about roaccutane a bit first......IT SUCKS!!!

Unless you have really serious acne(which I didn't) avoid at all cost. My dermatologist said that it has little to no side effects, but let me tell you this, you suffer! First of all your skin becomes the damn Sahara desert, and you itch EVERYWHERE, then your lips just start peeling off and they become sore(the dry lips were in my opinion the worst side-effect) and ugly. I swear I had some lower back pain triggered by it(never had it before and havent had it since), but I can' t be sure.

Well at least my skin is all pretty now.

But I digress.

So first blood donation in a while means I have to fill in that long-ass form all over again!

But got that out of the way, the sister who checked my BP/Pulse and Iron really irritated me because she was wearing a Balance Bracelet(Pseudo-scientific rubbish).

Fortunately I had a different sister bleed me.
Let me just say,no matter how many times you donate, that needle is scary, not that it' s very sore(it's not) but it's so damn big!! The sister had to dig around my arm because my vein was quote, "Running away from the needle" anyway eventually I was set and leaking blood.

This part is really nice because they bring you cookies and cool drink on a tray(What reason more do you need to donate??) and they brought me their quarterly filled with 10 year old cancer patients who need blood or they' re going to die, basically a trick to guilt you into donating again .

The room was scattered with various posters, one with the breakdown of the various blood groups, and apparently my blood group, AB Negative, is the rarest one there is(less than 1% of the population).....Fuck yeah!

Anyway, losing 500ml of blood(Yes, I use the metric system, get over it) goes by surprisingly quickly and you don't feel too different afterwards. I went straight from the donation centre to a maths class.

So I feel good about myself today :D

Friday, February 18, 2011

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Reservoir Dogs : A review

I'll first say that I am a big Quentin Tarantino fan, so my expectations for Reservoir Dogs were very high,, even it being his first film(Not counting Natural Born Killers).

Knowing his movies I knew that the success of the film depended entirely on the vast dialog - the non-dialog  scenes bloody and gory and well done, do however take a backseat.

As soon as Quentin(terrible actor as he is) complete his "Like a Virgin" speech right in the beginning of the film, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.

The basic premise of the story is this - Six thieves who don' t know each other take part in a failed jewel heist.
Once they arrive back at their rendezvous point, a police mole is suspected and from there onwards it's a cacophony of panic and mistrust.

All the characters in this film are great, each with his own backstory and unique personality. A real tip of the hat goes to Harvey Keitel(Mr. White) who I think is the heart of the film. An antihero if I have ever seen one!

In order not to spoil the movie I will not tell you who the cop is, but a great performance from the actor that played him too, his naivete is evident throughout the film(He calls a mob boss a nice guy), and he eventually succumbs to the "criminal mentality".

Steve Buscemi also gave a strong performance with Mr. Pink, a likeable fellow in a sadistic kind of way.

Humour ,albeit of dark, isn't lacking either in Tarantino's dialog.

It is racist, gory and morally dubious but,all in all a great movie that shows a glimpse of Tarantino's genius shown in his masterpiece Pulp Fiction.

I give it a solid 9/10, my only qualm is that it ended so quickly.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Movie list

I consider myself a bit of a movie buff, but to my great shame there are some movies that I haven't watched, that I really should.

Here is my list of movies I wrote up beginning of this year that I want to watch *soon*. In no particular order.

Fight Club
Requiem for a dream -check [Not everybody's cup of tea but as good movie, with a brilliant performance by Ellen Burstyn] 
The Big Lebowski
Blade runner
Matrix (Seen it before but want to watch it again)
The Godfather
The silence of the lambs
Eternal Sunshine of a spotless mind
Donnie Darko
Kill Bill series
Reservoir Dogs
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Ed Wood
Se7en - check [Average, doesn't deserve to be on this list] :'(
Dead Poets Society
A Beautiful mind
Lord of the rings series (Seen it before but want to watch it again)
No Country for old men
The Hurt locker
The Deer hunter
2001; A space odyssey


Loved  Inglorious Basterds and Pulp Fiction so I have high hopes for Kill Bill and Reservoir Dogs.

What movies would you recommend me adding to the list? 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've decided to post my PC specs. I was on a very limited budget but I think i did well for myself.
I started this build over 2 years ago so some component will already be old.

CPU: Intel Core2Duo E8400 overclocked to 3.6Ghz (motherboard limits my overclock)
Motherboard : Went real budget here with a Gigabyte GA G31 MX S2
Graphics Card: Club3D AMD HD5770 OC edition 128bit memory bus is a bit of a let down but really awesome graphics card for those on a budget.
RAM : 2gigs of DDR2(cant remember brand)....2gigs is a bit too little nowadays!!
Hard Drives : 1 x Seagate 160Gb + 1 x Seagate 250Gb....also too little nowadays!!
Case: Cooler Master Mistique - Black
PSU : 600W generic
Sony 19" Flat screen
Wireless logitech mouse(rechargeable batteries a must!!!!)

And that' s pretty much it, I will keep this rig for at least another year before my next upgrade.
By next year I will need a new motherboard and CPU(expecting some great stuff from both AMD and Intel this year) and at least 4gigs of RAM and a 1 terabyte hard drive.

What do you guys think?

Monday, February 14, 2011


Here is a 5-min intro video to special relativity

Mind boggling stuff

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why I like Science

I hate writing about myself but I decided I will today.

Today I am going to explain why I love and hopefully one one will pursue a career in science.

*Curiosity -  The characteristic that most epitomizes a child, a quality often lambasted as immature,dorky or impractical, is also the quality that is most essential in science( the need to know!). I have always been curious, even now at 189I easily spend hours on wikipedia reading up on any random question that springs to mind). Curiosity, I believe, is  necessary to uncover the beauty in the universe, and I feel that science is the only field that comes anywhere close to satisfying my curiosity cravings!

*Great  Lasting Effect - If you list people who change the world and impact peoples lives you think of, doctors, revolutionaries, activists, charity workers etc (and they all do extremely important work) but in the long term scheme of thing the people with the MOST influence on peoples lives now and in the future.
Think of it like this, Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin roundabout the same time as Hitler began all his machinations, both had a great influence, but Fleming's is immortal, his work is still saving lives today.
Fleming saved more than Hitler killed.....far more.
Now you may argue that it's only 1 in a million scientists that make such contributions, just remember Newtons famous saying - "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

*Fun - My, perhaps naive, view of science as a career is that it is exciting, not a 9 to 5 office job but one where you blow stuff up and concoct experiments and play with lasers and all those geeky things.
As I said most probably naive, but I'm optomistic haha.

*World domination/Zombie apocalypse - Most likely career to assert my world domination or start the zombie apocalypse - 'nuff said.

Thank you for reading my blog.

I will have another post up soon! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Maths fail

a = b
a^2  = ab
a^2-b^2 = ab - b^2
(a+b)(a-b)  = b(a-b)
a+b = b
2b = b
2 = 1

Houston we have a problem.

 I divided by zero!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The following can be considered definite pseudoscience, the proponents of which are either uninformed, or just after your money. These are not all the fields considered to be pseudoscience, just those that I consider the most prevalent in society and have had extensive study done on them or fail at making any predictions whatsoever(look at my first blog entry)

  • Homeopathy- The belief that in heavy dilutions "like cures like" for instance it asserts that since caffeine causes insomnia, that in heavy dilutions it should CURE insomnia( A cup of coffee is a dilution of caffeine is it not?). It has had a lot of study done to assess its effectiveness and the overwhelming consensus is that it has no effect stronger than the placebo. 
  • Chiropractic - This has a broad philosophical background that varies by practitioner but it focuses on spinal manipulation, and that the body has a natural energy that heals itself and this energy must be nurtured by whatever the practitioner suggests. Shown to be ineffective as well.

  •  Fortune telling - This ranges from Tarot cards, to palm reading, to numerology, crystal balls, even just hotline psychics....quite literally hundreds of  techniques. Quite confidently a bunch of hokum!
  • Seance - Various ways of communicating with dead spirits. Think John Edwards etc. All use psychological techniques to give the impression however false. Watch Derren Brown do exactly the same(he admits he is a fraud, quite a brilliant fraud)
  •  Astrology - The belief that personal traits and fortunes can be predicted or are determined by astrological zodiacs. Probably the most common. Relevance is achieved by making vague and ambiguous predictions that can be easily perceived to be true( no matter which zodiac!) 
  • Intelligent Design- Can't be considered science as it is completely untestable(see 1st blog post)
  • Any health product or technique purported to work by using the natural energies of your body be it electrical, magnetic or spiritual. All hokum! 

I hope this post get a few of you thinking, if you have questions, don't be afraid to ask!

The really REALLY small

An introduction to a theory that makes no perceptual sense, the maths works, that's all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

One of the most beautiful science romanticists who ever lived, Carl Sagan, delivering a reading from his book Pale Blue Dot. it is haunting in its beauty.

I will have another entry tomorrow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What is science?

From Wikipedia :
"Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world."

From that definition one can pick up that science is (a) the empirical collection of data and (b) the attempt to explain this data through a testable theory that not only explains the data but also make predictions about what will happen in a given situation.

 Empirical data is data collected through observation or experiment(data must be able to be accurately recreated under the same circumstances)

 What is a theory?
A theory is an attempt to explain a fact, for instance Newton asked why a apple always fell towards the Earth and never up or sideways etc. and he explained this phenomena through his Theory of Gravity,

It is however impossible to collect every shred of data there is out there, there is just too much of it, so scientists have to make certain generalizations about the data to come up with a theory that explains a fact.

Scientists use two types of generalizations
  • Inductive reasoning - a generalization based on on a large number of of observations e.g look at many living organisms under a microscope, see that they are all made of cells, deduce all living organisms made out of cells
  • Deductive reasoning - When several generalizations are used to predict a result e.g 1. All living organisms made out of cells 2. Hums are living organisms. Deduce humans are made of cells.
Generalizations are necessary but also prone to error, and therefore any proposed theory must not only be checked for accuracy of the deductions(this is where Peer Review  important)   and the testability of a theory.

But what does it mean if a theory is testable?
First of all, a theory cannot be proven, never ever. It can have countless experiments supporting it, but none can ever prove it. Science rather relies on disproof of theories. A theory must be falsifiable meaning that an experiment can used to test its predictions, and these predictions and results must be unambiguous.
This is an important test for pseudoscience, proponents of pseudoscience  often call scientists to disprove their theory, but in its nature it is impossible to devise an experiment that can test its predictions unambiguously.

Scientific theories although oftentimes perfectly accurate, are never considered to be 100% certain. Science through its error-checking mechanisms only improves previous theories, making them more accurate, explain more phenomena etc.

Science never asks you to blindly believe that what it says is true, on the contrary, it asks to to question more and more.

"I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me." Sir Isaac Newton

Suggested reading : The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

Thank you for reading my first blog entry, and comments would be greatly appreciated.