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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in popocatapetl's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, June 13th, 2009
2:44 pm
Calling all LaTeX geeks
This is extremely stupid. Back when I was first learning LaTeX, someone taught me how to write my own shortcut commands using \def. I set up some shortcuts for long and hard-to-spell words, and have been using them ever since without really thinking about it. My 45,000 word thesis is now littered with them.

All fine and dandy, but I've now discovered that one of them re-defines an existing LaTeX command, which I now need to use! Is there a cunning way of defining the existing math function to be something else so I can use it, or am I going to have to do a find-and-replace on 45k words over ten separate files to remove the offending shortcut?
Saturday, February 14th, 2009
11:12 pm
Postman in shorts!

Postman in shorts!
Originally uploaded by rachel_holley
Mad man!
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
11:03 am
And in other news...
The amusing headline this morning is brought to you by the wonders of lysdexia:

MPs support embroidery laws

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
10:03 am
A meme, in place of yet another missing update.
"Grab the nearest book. Find the 5th sentence on page 23. Append it to the paragraph below. Append your name to the list below of people who have contributed to the paragraph. Post the result to your LJ."

They also talk of our being guilty of injustice, and their being the victims of an unjustifiable war. Brandy, and Tom got increasingly close-mouthed and sour. Although a certain sense of tripartite society survived down to Christian times, the three classes described in the Eddic poem "Rigdthula" bear little resemblance to Dumezil's three. It is often argued, and still oftener thought, that none but bad men would desire to weaken these salutary beliefs; and there can be nothing wrong,it is thought, in restraining bad men, and prohibiting what only such men would wish to practice. At its nearest point the wall was little more than one league from the City, and that was south-eastward. When he saw Jack Hare jump towards the fire, and the Practical Man brandishing the toasting-fork, Sir Isaac grabbed the strings of gravitational force that bound Jack to his destiny and PULLED--- That's a seventy-four gun privateer, besides. To honour a group of British nobles, treacherously slain at a conference by Hengist's guards, Aurelius decides to erect a great monument near Amesbury. That being so, he did not chortle when he went upstairs. Let stand. This ensures that when the garbage collector runs, it has complete access to the memory in the heap and can perform its tasks safely without the threat of being preempted by another thread. And then you may begin to laugh. The data are stored in Column 1 and renamed "Age." Pull your hand back. I don't remember that any secrets were revealed to me, nor do I remember any avid curiosity on my part to learn something I wasn't supposed to--perhaps I was too young to know what to listen for. You don't remember how awful it is being normal. Highlight the desired state tax table and press Enter. Abraham had now reached a ripe old age, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. This doesn't alter either string, any more than 2+3 alters either 2 or 3. And I will say firmly that it is the author who says, "One does feel," who is really an egoist; and the author who says, "I believe," who is not an egoist. I too have noticed symptoms of the same sort of thing, a slightly put-on manner of affectation, perhaps a sort of aftermath of his fine performance in the School Play. Until the police killed all of her fish by emptying ashtrays into the tanks, Mrs. Bond had raised and sold tropical fish. There was a silence at the other end of the line then a woman's voice said 'You have reached the BT Cellnet answering service'. 'Thank you'. But if it had been thrown into the pool, and held below the water in the darkness by a stronger swimmer... 'And then I'll come home and cry 'Bianca, Bianca', and you'll be gone, and no one will know where you went.' Until that moment, I would have said that the old town was established, settled, mature. The pattern rule target must start with the prefix and end with the suffix (if they exist). If we track him down and point a musket at him, it should convince him that it's time for him to move on, I hope. They turned to each other and smiled. Another set of experiments focusses on the contrast-detecting properties of the eye.


1) Ranger Rick - 2) Rialian - 3) Elenbarathi - 4) Starsandfishes - 5) Echthros - 6) Doltaghey - 7) Ebonhost - 8) Tibicina 9) Browngirl 10) ceo 11) roozle - 12) quietann 13) Dale (achinhibitor) 14) tigerbright 15) autographedcat 16) kitanzi xvii) annonyno חי)thnidu 19) smallship1 20)thalinoviel 21) valkyriekaren 22) razornet 23) mrph 24) dmh 25) battyblingtrash 26> Daevid 27) Venta 28) oxfordgirl 29) aidansean 30)popocatapetl
Friday, June 27th, 2008
6:53 pm
If you liked X, try Y
Another book meme, scadged from someone on Facebook.

List five well-known books, and then a recommendation for something similar that you liked. Then list five books you enjoyed and would like similar recommendations for.

If you liked...
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulkes try The First Casualty, Ben Elton
Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald try The house of mirth, Edith Wharton
Longitude, Dava Sobel try Wegener's Jigsaw, Clare Dudman
The master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov try Death and the penguin, Andrey Kurkov
The paper men, William Golding try Scoop!, Evelyn Waugh

The last one was scraping the barrel somewhat, but I was low on ideas. And now for my five:

Absolute friends, John Le Carre
The periodic table, Primo Levi
The man who mistook his wife for a hat, Oliver Sachs
Curious incident of a dog in the night time, Mark Haddon
The liar, Stephen Fry
Friday, March 30th, 2007
4:02 pm
Research funding petition
The government web site currently has an e-petition regarding funding of the
Research Councils.

"I wish the Government to review is recent decision outlined below:

The British Government has slashed the funding of scientific Research
Councils by £68 million. The Research Councils most affected by this
include the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which has
been hit by a £29 million reduction in funding, and the Medical Research
Council, which is seeing a £10.7 million reduction in funding. The response
of the BBSRC biological research council announces that the council will
have to cut 20 new grants and reduce expenditure on new equipment."


To add your vote, go to http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/reseach
Thursday, January 4th, 2007
12:41 pm
A quote from Paul, last night...
...but actually I think it's even more amusingly ambiguous written down!

Either either or either,
It's fine either way,
But its certainly neither not neither
Tuesday, November 7th, 2006
10:57 am
Pimping Physics
Reading are trying to close their physics department. This is baaaaad for many reasons, which I haven't got time to explain right now. It looks like they're going to succeed, but there is some gathering resistance now the local MPs have got the House of Commons Education Select Committee and HEFCE involved. So could I encourage you to sign the the petition, and put your affiliation as academic, scientific and important sounding as possible while staying within the bounds of truth...
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006
9:48 pm
Spot the fake
Firstly the results of the last Call My Bluff, since I got distracted and forgot to post the answer. Gareth and Rami were both right this time:

Sapropelic - Describes a rock or mud layer rich in fine-grained organic matter, often formed in water with very low oxygenation which inhibits decomposition. Often very important source rocks for oil deposits.

I can't be bothered to do any more rounds of clal my bluff, but as a final challenge, see if you can guess the made-up mineral name. Again no googling, answers when I can be bothered.

Yoderite
Burpalite
JimThompsonite
Cummingtonite
Sillimanite
Soddyite
Dickite
Fukalite
Arsenolite
Shaggite
Welshite
Fornacite
Aenigmatite
Apatite
Parisite
Thursday, July 13th, 2006
12:58 pm
Call My Bluff V
No kudos for anyone today - the first day nobody at all got it right. They do place a sheath round the drillshaft, and use very dense barite mud as lubricant, to prevent blowouts, but I've got no idea what it's called. You also get mineral coatings on the outside of some veins, but quite often in 3D the veins are more like sheets than pipes. And as Ed said, "the 'invertebrate option' is going to have to be right sooner or later".

Perignathic girdle - A structure found round the lower inside edge of a sea urchin shell, protruding upwards into the hollow shell. Provides an anchor point for the muscles holding the sea urchin's rasping teeth in place under the shell. 

 


Word for today: Sapropelic

Sapropelic - A network of characteristic fine defects that lie along the mineral lattice planes in quartz crystals, indicating very high pressure fact metamorphism at relitively low temperatures. Sapropelic quartz is characteristic of crystals shocked during meteorite impacts.

Sapropelic - A sub-class of thrust faulting, where thrusting on a very shallow-dipping fault plane results in very little observable uplift at the surface, just horizontal displacement. Often causes damage over a surprisingly wide area given how hard the surface expression is to detect.

Sapropelic - Describes a rock or mud layer rich in fine-grained organic matter, often formed in water with very low oxygenation which inhibits decomposition. Often very important source rocks for oil deposits.
Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
12:54 pm
Call My Bluff IV
It seems nobody was fooled by the hydrogeology story, but those of you who picked C won't be pleased to know that the perched aquifer setup actualy exists (but doesn't have a specific name), whereas the lava texture was entirely fictional! Kudos today goes to Ben and Aunty Gareth who correctly picked the garnet, although the reasoning behind Gareth's guess escapes me completely. And it really was named after a gooseberry!

Grossular - A type of calcium-aluminium rich garnet, which may be a variety of brown/red colours but has a green variety and was therefore named after the botanical latin name for the gooseberry. Often found in heat-metamorphosed limestones.




The word for today is 'perignathic girdle'

Perignathic girdle - A protective metal sheath placed round the drillshaft when digging an oil well to partially seal the shaft and prevent blowouts when the shaft perforates a pressurised aquifer or oil/gas reservoir.

Perignathic girdle - An early-mineralised coating round the outside of a hydrothermal vein in metamorphic rock. Formed by precipitation of minerals from hot early-stage metamorphic fluids onto the outer walls of veins which are later infilled by minerals from cooler fluids, giving a tube of one mineral surrounded by a perignathic girdle of a different one.

Perignathic girdle - A structure found round the lower inside edge of a sea urchin shell, protruding upwards into the hollow shell. Provides an anchor point for the muscles holding the sea urchin's rasping teeth in place under the shell.
Tuesday, July 11th, 2006
1:56 pm
Call My Bluff III
Rami is going to be kicking himself today, having changed his answer. Yesterday's was in fact A, correctly chosen by Paul:

Amygdaloidal - A texture seen in volcanic rocks (usually basalts), where voids left by gas bubbles in the lava are later filled by minerals deposited out of solution from fluids passing through the rock.



Actually the false answers were slightly sneaky. The infilled bubbles were named amygdales since they resemble almonds, the latin for which is amygdala. There is a part of the brain called the Amygdalae, but it was also named for being almond-shaped and has nothing to do with brain coral. The squished conglomerate texture does occur, and does indeed look more like almonds than the amygdaloidal texture, but as far as I know there isn't a specific word for it.


Todays word: Grossular

Grossular - A hydrogeology term for an impermeable dyke (or other barrier) which splits an aquifer into two sections and prevents water flowing through freely. A grossular impermeability can sometimes lead to perched aquifers, where water is held above the level of the local water table by the barrier.

Grossular - A type of calcium-aluminium rich garnet, which may be a variety of brown/red colours but has a green variety and was therefore named after the botanical latin name for the gooseberry. Often found in heat-metamorphosed limestones.

Grossular - A lumpy surface texture on a lava flow, formed when blobs of cooler partly-solidified lava are caught up in a flow of hotter runnier lava and float along at the top due to a higher gas content.
Monday, July 10th, 2006
11:18 am
Call My Bluff II
First the answer to yesterday's question - the volcanic choice (C) was the most popular with four votes, A had one, but Aunty Gareth was the only person to correctly guess B. I've no idea if his reason was right though.

Anastomosing - A particular type of river morphology, consisting of many branching and recombining channels seperated by permanent to semi-permanent islands. Similar to braided channels, where the islands are transient and chanels shift regularly.


Cooper Creek, Australia: example of compound channel form. This example is from near Naccowlah, SW Queensland, and shows the appearance at low discharge, trees picking out sinuous and anastomosing channels.

Todays word: Amygdaloidal

Amygdaloidal - A texture seen in volcanic rocks (usually basalts), where voids left by gas bubbles in the lava are later filled by minerals deposited out of solution from fluids passing through the rock.

Amygdaloidal - A morphological classification of coral, particularly common in the Jurassic seas. Amygdaloidal corals are dome-shaped rather than branching, and have a pattern of ridges and grooves across the surface which give the group its common name of 'brain corals'.

Amygdaloidal - A texture seen in conglomerate rocks after compression. Conglomerates consist of large pebbles embedded in a fine mud/sand matrix; when compressed by tectonics and folding the pebbles are squished and become elongated in one direction, and appear almond-shaped when the rock is cut perpendicular to the shortening direction.
Sunday, July 9th, 2006
7:11 pm
Call my steep, rugged escarpment
I was telling various people in Gino's last night about the game of geology 'call my bluff' we played with my A-level teacher, and then the subject of obscure geology words came up again with Ben today. And I'm bored, so I decided to showcase some of the ridiculous, obscure and downright unpronounceable geological words, in a daily round on LJ.

For those not familiar with the rules, I give a word, and then three possible definitions. You then have to guess which is the correct one, without recourse to Google or similar, and post. I'll post the answer with the next word. To give you an idea of the levels of possible obscurity, the example I gave before was "opisthoparian", a particular type of facial suture in a trilobite...

Word of the day: Anastamosing

Anastamosing - The peculiar speckling seen on the inside of brachiopod shells, caused by stress to the shell membrane caused by fluctuating levels of salinity in esturine environments.

Anastamosing - A particular type of river morphology, consisting of many branching and recombining channels seperated by permanent to semi-permanent islands. Similar to braided channels, where the islands are transient and chanels shift regularly.

Anastamosing - A process which occurs within the magma chamber of a volcano shortly before an eruption, when carbon dioxide begins to come out of solution and expand. Anastomosing magma chambers cause a particular type of seismic waves which are particularly useful in forewarning of imminent eruptions.


Any guesses?
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
5:06 pm
Wretched LJ
For some reason LJ seems to have stopped emailing me when I have comments. Has this happened to anyone else, and if so how did you fix it? It's getting bloody annoying now. I haven't changed any setting recently, and I've checked the box is still ticked. Grrrr.

Oh and my phone is also playing up and pretending it can't get reception most of the time, so don't be offended if I don't answer. Texting seems to be better and costs less than answerphone.
Tuesday, September 13th, 2005
10:16 am
Oooh... now that is a tempting idea!
‘Buddy’ Wanted for Yippee! Timberland Expedition to Iceland: October 2005

Yippee! Is a Tunbridge-Wells (West Kent) based support group for young adults who have suffered an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). The disability caused by ABI is mostly unseen and causes problems such as chronic fatigue and exuberant behaviour but the young people are polite, friendly and enjoyable company. The Yippee! Timberland Expedition is a 10-day 4x4 supported expedition to Iceland taking place between Friday 21st and Sunday 30th October 2005. Each of the 4 Yippee! members taking part in the expedition will be accompanied by a volunteer ‘buddy’ on a one-to-one basis. The expedition will be camping, staying in youth hostels and taking part in outdoor-based activities such as short hikes, skidoo trips and glacier walking.

The expedition organiser is looking for volunteer ‘buddy’s’ who would be able to accompany the expedition and attend pre-expedition training days in September/October. All expedition expenses will be paid and equipment provided. Volunteers must have a valid first aid qualification and a clean driving license. A recent CRB enhanced disclosure, interest in the outdoors and experience of working with demanding young people is also an advantage. We are also looking for one buddy who would be able to supervise a top-roped ice-climbing session.

For more information about this opportunity, contact Felicity on 07962 174481 or email felicityaston@yahoo.co.uk.


I'm actually very tempted by this, now I *have* a driving license.

Edit - But thinking about it, not sure I'm ready to be driving a 4x4 so soon after passing my test, particulalry not with a pile of hyperactive kids in the back in the semi-darkness. Because it's just occured to me that Iceland is almost in the arctic circle, and it's going to be dark most of the time and bastard cold in late October.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2005
12:58 pm
The roads are no longer safe!
Passed at first attempt, four minors for steering, use of mirrors, signals and road position. And I'm still shaking. I drove terribly ont he way to the test centre and thought I would fail, so had pretty much given up hope and I think that calmed the nerves a bit.
Thursday, July 28th, 2005
9:56 am
Reading Festival saturday ticket
I've got one saturday ticket for the Reading Festival to sell, Saturday the 27th August. They’re going for at around £90 each on ebay, but will sell for cost price - £67. I can show you the original till receipt from HMV to prove authenticity - I’m selling because I got a weekend ticket after all.

Lineup for the Saturday includes:Collapse )

More info at http://www.readingfestival.com. Let me know if you're interested, or you know someone who might be,.
Wednesday, July 20th, 2005
2:41 pm
Google Moon
I've been playng extensively with Google Earth and its online non-3D version Google Maps for the past few weeks. They're absolutely fantastic, you can start with a globe, pan around at will and zoom in seamlessly from global to street scale wherever in the world you like. Its got both maps and satellite data, although some areas of the world are higher resolution than others. And is a wonderful way to waste hours.

But the've just brought out a new and exciting add-on - Google Moon! It works like the earth viewer, except they've got NASA data from the moon with all the landing sites marked. Its amazing how high the resolution is - try zooming all the way in. And there's lots of interesting information in the more about Google Moon link too, the stuff about the Copernicus lunar research centre is well worth a read...
Monday, July 11th, 2005
11:22 am
Computer Fun
My laptop was getting more and more unstable, and probably had nasty halls viruses on, so I wanted to reinstall windows and completely wipe the disk before I connected it to the house broadband and gave all my housemates the bugs.

Soo... sunday Ben and I spent the whole afternoon in my hot stuffy office wiping the disk and installing nice Windows 2000 instead of evil unstable ME. I'd never reinstalled an operating system before, and was expecting far more hassle than I actually had - it all went pretty smoothly with a bit of help from Ben. Until I took it home and actually tried to connect it to the broadband. At which point I discovered the ethernet card needed a driver, and I didn't have a driver disk for it. Chris downloaded a couple from the net for me, but we couldn't get windows to find them, so they might have been the wrong versions or I could just have done it wrong. The 'multimedia audio controler' also needs a driver, but that didn't even tell me what to look for! Though audio isn't such a pain to be without as a net connection.

I also downloaded the viruschecker and zonealarm and adaware to my work computer and swapped them to the laptop on CD, so hopefully it should be protected from the instant I connect rather than having to download them over the internet the first time I go online. I might also have a stab at doing the same with most of the windows update files, if I can work out which ones I need myself rather than using their automatic diagnostic gadget.

boring techie detailsCollapse )
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