Monthly Archives: April 2007

Happy DNA Day!

Today is National DNA Day. In celebration, marvel at the wondrous complexities of molecular biology:

I am boggled with wonder at the endless coils within coils within coils, and the molecular machine in the 2nd half of the clip. Life is amazing!

Zodiac web toy

Get our your decoder rings and try out my Zodiac cipher web toy. Crack the code; become instantly famous!

Click the scribblings to try to outsmart the killer.

This cipher is one of the famous unsolved ciphers that the Zodiac serial killer sent to newspapers back in the late 1960s / early 1970s to taunt people about his killings. His first cipher was solved a long time ago. But he sent another cipher, which remains unsolved to this day. Many cryptography experts have tried and failed, which has led to speculation that the cipher is a hoax sent to frustrate and delay detectives working the case. But there are claims that by using statistical analysis, you can tell that the cipher does indeed contain a message (I don’t recall exactly how).

Go break the code!

If only all politicians would admit this…

“Looking back at the age of eighty-eight over the fifty-seven years of my political work in England, knowing what I aimed at and the results, meditating on the history of Britain and the world since 1914, I see clearly that I achieved practically nothing. The world today and the history of the human anthill during the last fifty-seven years would be exactly the same as it is if I had played pingpong instead of sitting on committees and writing books and memoranda. I have therefore to make the rather ignominious confession to myself and to anyone who may read this book that I must have in a long life ground through between 150,000 and 200,000 hours of perfectly useless work.”

– Leonard Woolf, from The Journey Not the Arrival Matters.

Fun with has a nifty and free slideshow-creation widget. Check out this slideshow that uses my Flickr photostream –

Here’s a a larger 800×600 version. It looks nicer!

Flickr randomness

Trying out the Scriptless Flickr Badge, which pulls out random selections from 300 of the most recent posts to my Flickr photostream:

Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge
Scriptless Flickr Badge

Reload to see new selections.

The universe is filled with lawyers.

I had to sign a form tonight that has this legalese about permissions I’m granting to ACM by submitting my abstract to an evolutionary computing conference. Maybe I’m not around legal-speak enough to think that using the term ‘universe’ this seriously is not at all strange:

I think he blew my mind.

Geekery, as revealed by an instant messaging exchange with Josh:

josh: You know what’s better than Dune?
josh: Iron Maiden.
josh: You know what’s better than Iron Maiden?
josh: Iron Maiden having a song about Dune.

Shiny Four

Here is the latest toy that I made for my AI course:

Shiny Four.

Shiny Four is a Connect Four implementation, using a minimax search with alpha-beta pruning, written in JavaScript. The JavaScript makes it quite slow and inefficient. But it works. Kinda. If you play against the computer, it will take a few moments (5 to 10 seconds on my machine) for it to make its move. Try to beat the coldhearted machine!