Okay, meet 8.30 pm at the Embassy Lounge, upstairs. This is a change of plan from Deluxe, coz we constitute a horde.

I have tickets for myself, , +1, , whose’s name I keep spelling Jonahthan, , , , , . Others have their own tickets.

See you all there.

Also, B3ta is particularly good today:

The Joy of Price Indexes

Is the NZ dollar over-valued? How could you tell? Does stuff cost too much here? What does “too much” really mean? Comparing prices is complicated, just ask . but I’ve always had a soft spot for The Economist’s Big Mac Index. Yup, you can compare nation’s currencies by looking at the prices of Big Macs.

This makes sense, coz Big Macs are commodities, the same the world over. And on that measure, our dollar is doing just fine.

What other commodities are there? Well, we’ve made something like 100 million Kalashnikov rifles and they’re widely traded. So, how about a Kalashnikov Price Index? (PDF, 20 pages of hardcore academic economics)

Prices have been roughly constant, though falling in Africa and rising in countries without civil wars.

Unlike certain theories put forward in films like Lords of War, the collapse of the Soviet Union didn’t change prices that much, possibly cos there were already plenty of them on the market. Trade is as much regional as it is global, prices are less in Africa, and if you have neighbours with high military spending drive the price down, possibly through leakage of guns across borders as corrupt soldiers sell their guns. Transport across borders raises prices, at least until the guns get into Africa where borders are more porous.

The price doesn’t seem to depend on how much people want to buy guns, suggesting that demand is fixed and variations in supply determine the price.

What else gets traded globally? Oh yes, drugs. We can use the price of drugs as an indicator how well we’re doing in the drugs war. If prices go up, then we’re obviously limiting supply and winning the war.

Here’s one US attempt to track these prices:

Thus we can conclude that the drugs have won.

Obviously, price depends upon both supply and demand. If demand had fallen greatly then the price would also go down. We also have figures for sales volumes. Changing demand is a factor, but the drugs are still winning.

Daywatch roundup

Daywatch, 9.15 pm, Embassy, this friday. Russian vampires with unreliable flashlights! Use of the word “hyperkinetic”. Trailer.

Nearly everyone wants to go. Currently expressing an interest, we have , , , , , , and . I’ll be getting tickets tomorrow lunchtime, so you have until then to tell me that you’ve changed your mind.

Anyone else keen, let me know by 11 am, tomorrow.

is now going to hate her job, coz she’s only free on thursday, but thursday is hockey night. Sorry love, will make it up to you with, err…. beer!

Throbbing, humming, and the joy of high discount rates when applied to the value of information

Sub-bass, we love you. When the oil runs out and the wheels stop turning, we’ll just ride speakers across the landscape. Its where human ears just stop, the sensitivity is so low that speakers have to kick vast amounts of air around to reach a decent volume. We can feel that. We like that. Listen to these, I command you! (So long as you have no neighbours on your continental plate.)


Doing something about it:

What’s the fundamental reason behind the over-consumption that is the cause of so much environmental damage? And why is it so hard to stop? It’s sex. It’s people demonstrating their reproductive fitness by showing their wealth by buying phuge SUVs. Let’s face it, replacing all your light bulbs is hardly a way to impress the ladies.

This idea put forward here.
(I used the peacock’s tail argument in a talk earlier this year, glad
to see its a meme that’s spreading.)

So what to do about it? How to motivate environmentally sound behaviour when altruism clearly doesn’t do a good job? Put it in basic terms, connect it to what people want out of life. The line I always use about why its a good idea to cycle:
“Forget the environment, if you ride a bike, you’ll end up with a damn sexy arse.”

Personally, I feel that’s more persuasive than saying “cars are bad, mmmkay…”

And let’s face it, these days, if someone came to pick you up for a date driving a Hummer, you’d think they were compensating for something…

Here’s a useful statistic – national happiness per unit emissions of greenhouse gases.

Anyway, randoms:

Old Fortran joke (in fact, the only Fortran joke):
“GOD is REAL unless explicitly declared as INTEGER.”

Words that don’t exist yet:

Words that do exist, but nobody knows what they mean:
sheaf cohomology

Like H.P. Lovecraft for the 21st C:
Charlie Stross’s “Snowball’s Chance”


Sadly, I think it’s shopped.

This post contains precisely one lie, assuming you’re sharing the same universe as me.

“Plastic. It’s Everywhere.”

“Before you continue reading this, stop a second and take a look around you. Chances are, you’ll immediately be able to pick out several objects containing the most popular material on earth: plastic. And it’s no wonder. Plastic is strong, durable, versatile. It’s used to make telephones, watches, computers, automobiles, sunglasses, clothing, and thousands of other objects we find in our daily lives.”

Worryingly, this was written in 2007, not in the 1960s.

Ah hell, three posts in a day

The RVBs for the Mitochondria turned up this evening. So I had to plug one in, purely for testing purposes. I now have blotches in front of my eyes. They don’t seem to be going away quickly. This is as desired.

Also, my automatic gain control code can cope with the volume going up, but not down. Fixing this is a low priority.

Wellington Circus Trust Winter Warm Up

Wellington Circus Trust Presents:


At: The Paramount, 25 Courtney Place, Wellington.

Saturday 14th July 2007, 10.00pm till late

Circus Acts, Short Films, Live Music & DJ’s !

Chase away the mid winter blues with awesome circus acts from the some of the stars of Heavenly Burlesque, Maui, Fuse Productions, Ake Ake Theatre and Kiwi Comedy interspersed with treats of short films, then rounded off with fantastic live New Jazz / Funk from “BEATNIK” and DJ’s West Coast Bro & Cheddar Cheese.

A circus equipment fundraising event for W.C.T to enable them to carry on teaching circus classes and doing great community events and festivals.

So, come and have a fantastic night at The Paramount, all for a good cause!!!

Tickets: $15.00 full / $10.00 concession (incl’ radio active card)

Bookings: Paramount (04) 384 4080

Coz it’s free

Can you tell who it is yet? Kindly make your avatars and post them here. Or elsewhere.

Its kinda fun. Also, this is a web toy done right.

[EDIT – Alternatively, post yourself anonymously, and see if we can work it out.]

Fretting over every millimeter

Dammit, 9552s can only sink 200 mA, so I’ve got to fit 3 Darlington arrays in there as well. Bother, or words to that effect.

Also, I keep wiring up resistors the wrong way around.

[EDIT – Turns out I need not 3, but 6 arrays. GDMFSOAB! Well hey, at least I’m no longer bitching about capacitors. Well, not right now anyway…]

Mitochondria, stage 3 working

The development environment gets even more complicated – baby osciloscope. I’m so in love. Sadly, not mine, but most lustworthy. Also, only $400 for an awesome bit of kit. I love the 21st Century.

And now I’m getting stuck into the length budget, finding myself on the bus muttering things like “if I nestle the IDC socket and the driver chip, then that frees up a whole 90 mm. Woot!”

Also, save the planet* by turning Google black.

* – where saving the planet actually means saving $75,000 dollars worth of eleccy globally, given that its a trillion dollar industry, this is a saving on approximately 1 zillionth of the problem.