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(no subject) [Jul. 30th, 2005|11:43 pm]
As you may have noticed, I haven't posted here for quite a while now. However, I have now decided to start afresh with a blog on my own website at http://www.davidwyatt.me.uk/blog/ - if you are interested to see what I'm up to, that is probably the best place to find it!
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Coming down from Cambridge [Jun. 22nd, 2004|09:41 pm]
[Current Mood |parenthetic]

A summ{a/e}ry rambleCollapse )
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(no subject) [May. 4th, 2004|11:29 pm]
A shooting star, as the pale Moon slips out from the shadow of the Earth.
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Springtime [Mar. 26th, 2004|05:31 pm]
[Current Mood |peacefulpeaceful]

One of the sad things about spending the first half of last year in the southern hemisphere was that I missed a Spring. I had forgotten how pleasant the season in England (if not Britain :-P): when the air is cool on your hands and face but warm and bright is the sun, plants are just beginning to uncurl their flowers, the days are infinitesimally longer than the nights. It's all about change - near the solstices derivatives are too small in magnitude to be interesting, the air too flat and repetitive; it is instead near the oh-so-fine and arbitrary edge that separates one region from another that harmony lies.
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To err is human, but to really get things wrong requires an engineer... [Jan. 17th, 2004|05:57 pm]
[Current Mood |extremely stupid and embarrassed...]

I finally began to write the 10-page report for the structural design project this afternoon. However, as I was working through the "complete set of hand calculations" they insist that you record, I noticed that one of the results seemed rather different from the result I had obtained with a spreadsheet last term, on the basis of which I and my partner constructed the cantilever.

It turns out that I inserted a factor of 2 into the calculation for the strength of a couple of the struts where probably I should not have done with the result that instead of supporting more than 2kN before failing it may manage 1.1kN or so, and then collapse. Fortunately my partner is taking it very kindly, but I have probably caused both of us to lose a fair few of the marks we should have got towards our end-of-year total. I think I shall be careful to recalculate things, or at least ask them to be checked, in future.

And if (which I hope I don't) I ever design a bridge I would recommend that you never cross it!
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(no subject) [Jan. 15th, 2004|10:08 pm]
[Current Mood |calmcalm]

Another interesting Cambridge "tradition": The Inaugural Great Hedgehog Run and The Great Hedgehog Run 2003. Unfortunately, Trinity Hall does not seem to have any such traditions at present - though that is definitely something that could (and should) be rectified...

We had our first CAD practical today, which was great fun though slightly depressing when in one of the exercises we found the curve of intersection of a cone and a cylinder with perpendicular axes - the same task we had been set last term with pencil and ruler, but which took 30 minutes to do manually rather than 0.1 seconds!

And we have yet to be taught how to solve the problems on the examples papers we have been given, so I have very little work to do on that front. All I have instead is a ten page report on my cantilever, to be handed in next Thursday. Hooray for procrastination!
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Mappings... [Jan. 5th, 2004|11:59 pm]
Imagine an n-dimensional space filled with beams of indefinite size, pin-jointed at the ends to others. The beams themselves are light, but shifting winds play through the ever-changing network of the structure, following their own determinism; it twists and flexes, though only by a small angle. The chaotic or random way in which the beams are added has obliterated any initial order or pattern, but still from time to time (as if by chance) pockets of order appear - regular polygons of three, four, ten beams, neatly resting in a reciprocal frame under and over, under and over, while all around entropy rules.

It may be the winds themselves, or it may be the changing temperature of the air they bring and different thermal expansivities of the slightly different alloys making up the beams, or it may be something else entirely. Whatever the cause there are tensions in the struts. Creaks can be heard, transmitted more through the fabric of the structure itself than the fluid around them and thus seeming to originate everywhere simultaneously.

What, then, is the analysis? Will the edifice fall down, or will it stay up? No-one knows where to put the support reactions or what they are, and even if they did, the Equation of a Maxwell (or an Equation of the Maxwell) prevents further knowledge through insufficient constraints. The nearest one can say is that when a beam snaps or a joint fails, then yes, that was the tension then, there. But by that time the world has changed, intangible entities (or possibly conveniently imaginary constructs) constantly in motion. No-one can be sure, even of one single beam; and the tension in every single beam branches out through the web to direct the whole world.
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Fractals! [Sep. 27th, 2003|12:03 am]
[Current Mood |jubilantjubilant]

General rejoicing!

I have finally got my head sufficiently around a sufficiently modern programming language ( ;) ) to draw my fractal on a PC!

Here it is...Collapse )

Expect a userpic based on it in the near future ;).
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Cambridge parties [Sep. 19th, 2003|11:04 pm]
[Current Mood |blankblank]

Tonight I went to a party for new Cambridge students in my area, organised by the local branch of the Cambridge Society - not that I knew about it at all until a friend starting at Caius asked me if I was going... It could not have been said to be a huge degree of fun (given the exceedingly low likelihood of meeting anyone doing the same course at the same college (two other engineers and one other THian), and the fact that everyone else was revolving from one knot of people to another at gas-turbine speeds made any conversation altogether rather brief; and I don't like parties much, anyway :p), with one exception. I coalesced with yet another small group, quickly ascertained from their namebadges that they were Trinity mathma students, and was about three words through an introduction along the lines of, "No, I'm not going to the same college as you, and have resigned myself to spending the next four years explaining the same to all and sundry," when one of them asked if I had been on a Gap year. I was confused, and wondered how it could be so obvious, but was even more flummoxed when he then asked if I had been to the UKMT maths training session at Birmingham four years previously. It was, of course, almost_nobody and Jenny, who were attending the Surrey party as well as the London one (honestly!), who had recognised me straight away. Oh well, never mind - I'm sure I'll live it down eventually...

In other news: I have a job! In a tea shoppe in my village, unfortunately not making sandwiches (yet :P), and not earning terribly much, either, but it'll do to be going on with, at least.
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(no subject) [Sep. 18th, 2003|05:47 pm]
Why is it that we are affected so much by something so small? Maybe it is the writer, something so great expressing itself in a tiny way but echoing, resounding, growing and expanding through the knowledge connected with the same, implicit not explicit, a lossless compression technique embedded in our brains and the spaces between them. Or maybe the references, obvious and hidden, unconscious and conscious, agonised over and lightly tossed out, for both the writer and the reader; and what correlation is there? Things that to one person are meaning-free, a constellation of pointillism, form when seen from another point of view, through another filter, a complete circle. Things taken out of context can be incomprehensible; and there are so many levels of context that to really understand you have to be identically the same as the originator, that being which even five seconds of entropy eradicates. But continuation is always the rule; no going back, nothing to be lost, everything is important. Who knows whether something was designed or sprang, fully-formed (in as much as it is), out of the head of its originator? Whittled to the elegant shape to achieve its effect or just happening to be like that, and we only notice it because it worked but forget about the million-and-a-half ones that tried but failed? Is it anyway a transient or a steady-state, and on which derivative? And does forgetting about it make it any less true?

Or maybe it's just tiredness, the beginning of a virus, a momentary disturbance, perfectly understandable, and all you need is a good cup of tea and a biscuit.
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