Wow, Vista REALLY sucks..

I’ve just been involved trying to do some stuff on a computer running vista, and even after everything I’ve read, I was still quite startled how completely hopeless it was.

It’s slow. I mean really really slow. I think there may have been another system task running in the background, but I still managed to get the graphics to stutter while playing solitaire.

It asks me to confirm almost everything I try to do. After the fifth “Windows needs to check whether you really want to do what you’ve just asked it to do” dialog box in as many minutes I began to move from finding it comical to just outright irritating.

It arrived with absolutely tons of bloatware and trialware, which I suppose I can at least in part blame the hardware vendor for, but it was still an annoyance in that it took windows ages to uninstall it all.

It remains difficult or impossible to do even simple things (like resizing a photo to be a desktop wallpaper without having it stretched so the people in it look short and fat…).

And as advertised by so many other tech blogs, it just doesn’t work with other company’s software. I won’t even start with the fun I’ve had already in this department.

Suffice it to say that if you’ve got XP, for god’s sake don’t “upgrade”, and for myself I’m profoundly glad I made the switch to a mac. OSX is soo much nicer than vista.


Another collection of links to things of a (mainly) scientific bent:

A californian scientist has developed a photonic laser thruster for shifting small satellites around to maintain their orbits,, and which might, if scaled up, greatly reduce the time to get to other planets.

Google has teamed up with the X-Prize foundation (which offers large cash prizes to private individuals or organisations who complete certain space related challenges) to offer a $30 million prize for putting a robotic lander on the moon. So if you’re good with electronics and have some rocketeering mates, you can make yourself a few bob.

The computer hardware company MSI has developed a rather clever little CPU fan which powers itself with the heat from the CPU. So you don’t have to use more electricity to run the fan to dissipate the plentiful thermal energy that’s already there… (well I think it’s nifty anyway).

Wired has a page with what they think are 10 of the coolest chemistry experiment videos on the web. I like burning magnesium in a block of carbon dioxide.

Slashdot had a link to an article on Scientific American about mapping out which parts of the brain are active in the sensation of religious euphoria, and using this knowledge to simulate the experience in the lab. Interesting stuff and very controversial fuel for the argument between atheists and the faith.

Weak at the knees

This is seriously the coolest thing ever!!!! Imagine the applications for this!

(You might want to skip directly to the middle to aviod the interesting but slightly dry description of how it works, to the bit where you see it in action).

Hooray for Allen

The (SETI) Allen Telescope (previously known as the 1 hectare telescope) is up and running. Now lets see if we can’t find some little green men (and do some pretty damn nifty science in the process…

Flight of ideas

One of the things I am living about being in Dunedin is the exposure to Academic medicine, with our lecturers as often as not being dual clinicians and researchers. They really know the stuff, and keep on hinting at the bits that are still unresolved, or those tidbits that have recently arisen from exciting research breakthroughs. Having gone through the UQ Med school and worked for Queensland Health (neither of which have administrations even remotely interested in research) it’s unbelievably refreshing to be around other minds who are interested in how things work, not just the fact that they do. (and who do research that involves more that glorified counting and stamp collecting).

For the first time in what seems like years I find myself wandering along a million miles away deep in contemplation of how I could solve some of the problems in Medicine, how I could improve myself, and how I could come to take over the world (or at least become a giant in my little corner of it). I used to get it all the time when I was doing my Biochemistry undergrad degree, but haven’t felt it much since starting studying medicine, and I had forgotten how invigorated and vibrant it made me feel to know of all the big holes that exist in our knowledge just waiting for me to devote a happy life to figuring them out.

Well that was a bit of a fizzer

It has been overcast and raining all night and so I didn’t get to see any of the lunar eclipse.

And to make things worse my friends in Brisbane rang me to tell me how cool it looked and how great their view of it all was. 🙁 really.


Firstly, hooray for those quirky folk at MIT:

1. They think they’ve discovered the molecular basis for fear. Now if that isn’t a potential target for military drug R&D I don’t know what is.

2.  They’ve also been tinkering with next generation space suits, which instead of being pressurised are just really really elastic, to counteract the effects of the no atmosphere of space, and the low atmoshere of other plants/moons.

Next, using the power of photon emission some guys have developed a genuine random number generator. This is great because up until now most all computer based random numbers were just approximations generated by an algorithm, and not actually random. What’s even better is it’s apparently available free of change via the internet for researchers or other people interested in random numbers.

Finally, those/us cooky New zealanders, they’ve come up with an idea to make a biofuel derived from algae that can be used to power commercial jets. They go on to say that algae ponds covering “only” 34,000 square kilometers could supply enough fuel for all the world’s aircraft. That sounds great in theory, but that’s somethink like 15% of NZ’s land area, that doesn’t sound quite to practical…

Cheers Big Ears (Part 2)

You sass that hoopy Douglas Adams? Now there’s a frood who knew where his towel was.

If you understood even half of that preceeding sentence you would probably appreciate the concept of International Towel Day (May 25th), where you are encouraged to carry your towel, and appreciate all those wonderful things that Douglas Adams brough into our lives.

Having recently re-read the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy (a trilogy in 5 parts) I love the idea, and can’t wait for the opportunity to wear my towel and wave my elecrtonic thumb.

Youtube stumbles

While doing some stumbling around Youtube I came across these somewhat unusual girls who go by the name of the Parselmouths, and who like to make videos of themselves singing songs about harry potter and potter related themes.

Here, for your amusement, are two of their offerings.

“What kind of name is Hermione”:

and, “And then I died”: