Tuesday, July 31, 2007

From now on, every post comes with onion rings

At work I keep getting emails about this allegedly amazing new programming language called Ruby. "Try it", they say, "All the cool kids are doing it". But I worry, is it a gateway language? Will I be scripting Perl in a chichi little cybercafe in Hoxton by autumn? Will winter see my slow decline as I'm turning tricks in VB? <shudder>

And then I found The Poignant Guide to Ruby. And I was seduced. To the dark side or to the light I know not - I haven't actually learnt any Ruby yet... but the first three chapters hasve made me laugh out loud a coupla times. More than I can say for, "C++: the Core Language*".

Instead of Hello World we begin with:

"Like when you meet Somebody in college and they look like somebody who used to hit you in the face with paintbrushes when you were a kid. And so, impulsively, you conclude that this new Somebody is likely a non-friend. You wince at their hair. You hang up phones loudly during crucial moments in their anecdotes. You use your pogo stick right there where they are trying to walk!"

(C++ the Core... erm, no wait... The Poignant Guide to Ruby)

Or you could learn LOLCode. That rocks too.

*Srsly - the O'Reilly books rock. Buy them if you want to live.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

UK PLC - Your R&D department needs help.

On the day that Alistair Darling proclaims that UK PLC is open for business, the Today program (Real Audio) reports that, for the want of investment that was promised in 2005, the UK lead in stem cell therapies is slipping.

To summarise: the unfavourable political climate in the US has lead to an influx of overseas researchers to the UK. However, the startup investment in this research promised two years ago by the UK government has not been delivered. Meanwhile, US Biotech companies are gearing up to take advantage of the expected softening in the stance on stem cell research in the US that will come after the 2008 presidential elections. It looks like the lucrative technologies resulting from this research will eventually be patented not by UK researchers, but by US private companies. Regardless of one's position on a) stem cell therapies and b) patents, and intellectual property in general, it's poor business practice on the part of UK PLC to surrender its competitive advantage in this field without a fight. Yet short sighted cuts in the science budget show just how little UK PLC values its R&D department.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Little Bro still in one piece...

People who know me probably know that my kid brother is working on the St Pancras renovation. Just spoken to him and he promises me that this was not his fault! AFAHK everyone is fine, and a few people are likely to be in for a bit of double bubble to patch up the mess.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The personality defect test

I saw this over at Dr Joan's. I was feeling a bit smug about my "Personal DNA" profile, so I needed the dash of chilled salt-water in the face that the Personality Defect test provides.

Keep in mind that I have a cold right now. I think that on a less mucus-y day, I think I'd more likely be a haughty intellectual. But until this bug goes away, be warned:

Your Score: Sociopath

You are 100% Rational, 28% Extroverted, 57% Brutal, and 71% Arrogant.

You are the Sociopath! As a result of your cold, calculating rationality, your introversion (and ability to keep quiet), your brutality, and your arrogance, you would make a very cunning serial killer. You are confident and capable of social interaction, but you prefer the silence of dead bodies to the loud, twittering nitwits you normally encounter in your daily life. You care very little for the feelings of others, possibly because you are not a very emotional person. You are also very calculating and intelligent, making you a perfect criminal mastermind. Also, you are a very arrogant person, tending to see yourself as better than others, providing you with a strong ability to perceive others as weak little animals, so tiny and small. You take great pleasure in the misery of others, and there is nothing sweeter to you than the sweet glory of using someone else's shattered failure to project yourself to success. Except sugar. That just may be sweeter. In short, your personality defect is the fact that you could easily be a sociopath, because you are calculating, unemotional, brutal, and arrogant. Please don't kill me for writing mean things about you! I have a 101 mile-long knife! Don't make me use it!

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3. You are more BRUTAL than gentle.

4. You are more ARROGANT than humble.


Your exact opposite is the Hippie.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Spiteful Loner, the Smartass, and the Capitalist Pig.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

Be sure to take my Sublime Philosophical Crap Test if you are interested in taking a slightly more intellectual test that has just as many insane ramblings as this one does!

About Saint_Gasoline

I am a self-proclaimed pseudo-intellectual who loves dashes. I enjoy science, philosophy, and fart jokes and water balloons, not necessarily in that order. I spend 95% of my time online, and the other 5% of my time in the bathroom, longing to get back on the computer. If, God forbid, you somehow find me amusing instead of crass and annoying, be sure to check out my blog and my webcomic at SaintGasoline.com.

Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Monday, July 16, 2007

Expanding Mind, Expanding Horizons

I'm back in the office after last week's stint at GECCO. Trying hard to hold on to the sense of mind-expanding excitement that I got from the talks and the excellent tutorials. I learnt that:

It's also time to start looking for new jobs as my the current contract is rapidly drawing to a close. A funding proposal I've been working on alongside, let's call him "possible future boss" (PFB), went in last week. I'm more excited, and less sanguine, than I was even for my Viva.

Just before the proposal was submitted, I was invited to PFB's group meeting: some of the PFB's PhDs and postdocs were also at GECCO and related events, so discussions (and cakes) were in planned. I felt like I was going to an interview, or at least the parts of the interview that everyone claims aren't an interview but you know are really. I have links with someone in the group already, so I thought that it was important to prove that I wasn't just going to play well with my "special friend", that I could actually work with the whole team. As soon as the meeting started I realised that wouldn't be a problem: the group is stuffed with brilliant, argumentative, interesting, insatiably curious people. And I don't think any of them read this blog, so I promise I'm not sucking up.

Afterwards, I had a final proof read of the proposal before submission (my first late night at the office!) and was struck again by the fact that it would be a fantastically exciting project to work on, and that I had just met an excellent group of people that I'd be thrilled to work with. But it's out of our hands until the reviews come in. The committee that will decide my fate don't meet 'til November, so I won't know if the money's ours until January. Waiting is the hardest part[1].

[1] In fairness, getting on top of a new discipline's literature in my spare time was the hardest part - but the waiting is a close second.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Stop. GECCO time.

I'm off to GECCO (and to see the husband) tomorrow. I'll try to bring some highlights of general interest over the next few days - conference fatigue permitting. Your favourite auntie will also be plying one of the mics at the Jones/Dawkings/Wolpert event, but I'll try to stay alert enough to bring some highlights from that too. In the meantime you could satisfy your Prof. Steve Jones requirements with an old post.