Archive for April, 2010

Procrastination Stations: Report!

Ermmm… just starting to do some coding again. First priorities, rebuilding Jujuedit to properly support unicode in dialogs and stop breaking Windows7 context menu. This will be done by discarding the old shell extension which only works in Win32 anyway, and moving options to open any file in Jujuedit to the registry. There are a whole bunch of other issues on the list, but those are the priorities (basically I want to post a version that doesn’t interfere with people’s OS, seems like a worthy goal)

Also, ummmm, Drivey crashes on my iMac 27″ (running in Windows) because the vertical resolution is too high! At some point I made the arbitrary call that no one would ever need more that 1200 scan lines but the new iMac is 1440 vertical. Yes I am an idiot, but that call was made some time ago and this is the first time I’ve seen the problem… this is just one of those awkward fixed buffer size issues that programmers cringe with embarrassment about (come on, everyone does it at some point!).

Oh yeah, iPhone development… well uhhhh… first things first ok?

Tearily the Unfinished

On a recent trip up North to visit my parents, Mum dug up the following collection of pages for me, remnants from a project I had absolutely no memory of starting. Exactly when I drew these I can’t really say, and although I don’t recall it at all I’m betting that even at the time I had no idea how this weird little story was going to end.

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Read more…

On Being the Right Size

1.jpgI’ve always meant to write a post about how irritating I find it when science writers express awe at the fact that an ant might be able to carry 50 times its own body-weight or that a flea can jump “the equivalent of 40 stories”. Basically I want to yell in their faces “Well duh… that’s because it’s small, you hack! An ant the size of a human probably couldn’t lift its own weight and a similarly proportioned flea wouldn’t even be able to jump over a chair!”

Unfortunately I would then need to explain exactly why the rules change at different scales, so I never got around to it, but fortunately a guy called Jack Haldane wrote an essay in 1928 covering similar ideas.

A flea can jump about two feet, a man about five. To jump a given height, if we neglect the resistance of air, requires an expenditure of energy proportional to the jumper′s weight. But if the jumping muscles form a constant fraction of the animal′s body, the energy developed per ounce of muscle is independent of the size, provided it can be developed quickly enough in the small animal. As a matter of fact an insect′s muscles, although they can contract more quickly than our own, appear to be less efficient; as otherwise a flea or grasshopper could rise six feet into the air.

Interestingly he draws an analogy to politics at the end of this essay (and remember this was written in 1928)

To the biologist the problem of socialism appears largely as a problem of size. The extreme socialists desire to run every nation as a single business concern. I do not suppose that Henry Ford would find much difficulty in running Andorra or Luxembourg on a socialistic basis. He has already more men on his pay-roll than their population. It is conceivable that a syndicate of Fords, if we could find them, would make Belgium Ltd or Denmark Inc. pay their way. But while nationalization of certain industries is an obvious possibility in the largest of states, I find it no easier to picture a completely socialized British Empire or United States than an elephant turning somersaults or a hippopotamus jumping a hedge.

Regardless of leanings, size of any organization or institution seems like something we should be paying a lot more attention to. Bigger is not better, as should be more than evident from the recent economic disaster caused largely by financial bodies that were too big to [be allowed to] fail, as well as the stupefying effect of big media-conglomerates on public discourse.

Awesome: Galactic Empire State of Mind

There are about 50 billion Star Wars parodies in the wild today, but occasionally one of them stands out and DEMANDS TO BE SEEN BY ALL HUMANS!