CUSP and laundry

I went to the ‘squash’ today for the Cambridge University Science Productions society, a club that produces science-related media. Currently, their big projects are a campus pop-sci radio show and a science magazine (much like Harvard’s student science magazine I suspect, but they’ve only just made their first issue). They’re also getting in a pro-quality DV camera, with which they intend to start making science-education sorts of films. It all seemed very interesting, but they basically gave the impression that they don’t have much room left for help from new members. I might join, but I’ll more likely just write an article for their magazine (which doesn’t require membership). Incidentally, there’s a fee for joining any Cambridge society: for CUSP it would be £8 (about $14) (note my use of the £ symbol, using the HTML code lookup table since I’m typing on my US laptop keyboard).

Well, I’m doing the ‘washing’ for the first time here (it’s incredibly expensive) and I’d best go put my clothes in the dryer.

Friend Accounts

I think I’m going to add some restricted friend accounts, so that friends in need of some unix, which seem to be most of my friends at least once in a while, can have some. The accounts’ll be locked down and quota’d. Hmm. sounds yummy.

Only problem is even if I can figure out how to keep them at low priority, they’ll still be able to use enough CPU to overheat my computer. I hate laptops.

The usual

I’ve been trying to install a panorama-maker so that I can give you a better idea of what it looks like here, but my panorama tools are being seriously uncooperative. At the moment, I’m suffering from the same affliction that always made me laugh at AOL users in days of old when they cried “where did my download go!?” It’s a little more complicated in this case, but I’ve just installed a program called Hugin which sounds very cool and very powerful, but has failed to actually provide me with a program.

In other news, I’ve made great progress on my phase-locked loops lab for physics class, which would be incredibly dull but for the redeeming moments where the image on the oscilloscope exactly matches what the equations predict. Moments that would happen with greater frequency if the equipment weren’t so ‘dodgy’, which appears to be the commonly-used English word for unreliable.

Fact of the Day

The new Cavendish laboratory closes and all the doors lock at 6 PM every day. After this, they open only with cards not available to undergrads. Notably, the doors do not open from either side, meaning that all students are locked in at 6 PM. There is one door that remains open, but it is never announced to a large group; you must be shown it by a friend.


I got my IP address! It’s alive!
Unfortunately, the DNS servers don’t seem to have updated. Until then, I’m live but my domain name is an IP address. Oh well.
So uhh, welcome. If you want, you can sign up for an account, post replies, start public discussions, whatever. Don’t know why you’d want to, but you can.

New Hall

Fitz doesn’t have dinner in ‘The Buttery’ on Sunday nights. Instead, we are supposed to go to New Hall, which is an all-girls college right next door (my window looks out directly over their tennis courts). I decided to give this a try, and after wandering around for a while found a local who could direct me to the New Hall food-place.

The architecture at New Hall is incredible. There are arrays of sunken fountains around raised perfectly squared-off turf enclosed in marble walls. The seemingly enormous complex is filled to bursting with art of all sorts, every painting and sculpture a museum piece. The dining hall itself is under a huge futuristically styled hemispherical dome. It totally puts Fitz to shame, at least at night.

Thinking harder about this, I realized it was because of something mentioned to me at the ‘matric dinner’ a few days ago. The professor sitting next to me had told me the origin of Fitzwilliam College:

In the 1880s, Cambridge University wanted to create a housing option for students too poor to afford to live in a college. They allocated a building they owned for student residences, making it available to the poorest of their students. The building had no name, but when the house decided to enter a boat in a regatta, they picked the name of the street they were on, which was named after the museum their front door faced: Fitzwilliam.

It was not until the 1950s that Fitzwilliam House became a college. Since none of its alumni had any money, the college started out poor. As a result, there are very few buildings donated by alumni, which is how most colleges have always been built. Even now, Fitz lacks the 650-year reputation that the most prestigious colleges hold, and therefore does not attract the children of the wealthiest families.

All of which explains why Fitzwilliam looks a lot like Baker at MIT.


I’d mentioned my bathroom earlier. Well, I decided to try to learn something about connecting my camera to my computer (trivial) and all the stuff needed to make pictures work. Accordingly, I have added the following picture.
My Bathroom. Note that this picture has been labelled for the object-identifying-impaired.
In it, you can see that my showerhead is directly over my sink, which is separated from the toilet by a shower-curtain. If you look closely, you may also find the edge of a heated towel rack and an Extra Vast container of Costco-made “Kirkland” conditioner.

I think I’m sick

I’ve been doing a lot of coughing and such. I think I’ll be fine as long as I remember to drink lots of water and and keep warm.
I went to Staples (yes they have Staples here) to buy supplies. I got a planner, paper, and duct tape. I think getting a roll of duct tape is a critical step in the moving-in process.
I have discovered something bizarre: Staples in the UK doesn’t sell looseleaf paper. They also don’t seem to carry cheap supplies. I’m used to buying notebooks at CVS for 29 cents each, and getting 400 sheets of lined punched paper wrapped in plastic; here the only loose paper they sell is printer paper, and notebooks are all 4 pounds or more.

Crazy. I ended up compromising and getting a pack of memo pads.

Time to do some work, for the first time in a long time.

Like information, but less informative