Yesterday, I moved into my new house on Belvoir Road, Cambridge with Chris and Dan. I bought a new desk from Ikea and spent the whole day building it (25 pages of instructions!) and got all my stuff set up. Click on the pictures below to see some of the new place!
10th September 2012
9th July 2012
On Friday, I set off early to get to the Barclaycard Wireless Festival 2012, in Hyde Park to watch bands including Deadmau5 and Knife Party. The day didn’t start off so great as the train was delayed due to the Olympic torch passing through Colchester. It got worse when a nutter from Clacton sat about 2 seats away from me and spoke by shouting in a fashion befitting a Neanderthal. Soon enough though, I arrived at London Liverpool Street station and set off on the tube (which was much nicer than last time) to meet Josh as he finished a half day at his new job at Ash Gaming.
We got to Wireless about 3:30pm, half an hour before any of the acts started so had a quick look around the site. The whole event was massive – loads of shops, stages and people. The merchandise was obviously very expensive and didn’t look that great – basic, boring t-shirts and hats. Nothing special. We moved on to the bar, also expensive: £4.50 for a pint of beer. Throughout the whole day I only had around 6 of them.
The first act we saw was Zedd, who was performing on the small Barclaycard Unwind stage.
I’d heard of Zedd before Wireless but hadn’t really heard any of his stuff. It turns out that’s probably because he doesn’t have much of his own, original work; all he seemed to do was remixes. The remixes were very good though and he did play 1 (maybe 2?) songs of his own.
After Zedd, we managed to catch the end of Modestep in the Pepsi Max stage. Modestep are awesome. We only managed to catch the last couple of songs but when they played “Sunlight”, the whole room exploded. I didn’t manage to get any picture or video but you can listen to the song here on YouTube.
After Modestep, we wandered round all the stages for a bit until Feed Me came on.
Feed Me was brilliant! I couldn’t name you one of his songs but they were all really good. The setup was impressive – the teeth and the eyes had his equipment built into them and lit up bright and created some amazing patterns on them.
Knife Party, the new duo set up by Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen from Pendulum, were up next. Their actual stage setup was okay but not as impressive as Feed Me’s. There were loads of light strips around the stage that looked pretty good but Knife Party just stood at a basic desk with a few lights on, to actually perform. They played Internet Friends and Bonfire and loads more that I don’t know the name of. We managed to get right to the front at the start, so we were literally meters away from them (and the speakers).
The last act of the night was Deadmau5 on the main stage.
The whole arena was packed at this point so we couldn’t get too far to the front (and our legs were in agony anyway) but we still managed to see everything going on, including Deadmau5′s system crashing and SOFI coming on late.
Deadmau5 played a few of his new(ish) tracks Professional Griefers and The Veldt, both were amazing! The songs and the set were awesome – his “cubes” must have some incredible technology behind them to make them do what they do. The 3D effects and the light show was fantastic – I would have paid just to see him perform.
At the end of the day, the festival was outstanding and I’m extremely glad I actually went. I found a few new bands that I didn’t know before and have been listening to them at home since!
Josh is editing together a video of the footage we got, I’ll post it here when he’s done!
5th July 2012
As expected, the physicists at CERN announced they have found what looks like the Higgs boson. There are two independent teams at CERN who have been working on finding the elusive Higgs boson and it was revealed that they both found a boson “that has Higgs-like properties at a mass of 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV)”. Their results have a 5-sigma level of certainty, meaning they are 99.99995% confident of its existence.
Athene, the best gamer in the world, has a video that explains the discovery very well:
And his friend Frederik, a theoretical physicist, has a video that explains how the particle was found.
I also recommend watching a new video by Minute Physics, a fantastic YouTube channel that explains physics topics in (you guessed it) a minute, that explains the Higgs boson and the discovery really well.
What does this mean?
The Standard Model of particle physics explains nearly every particle interaction we understand. One big part was “missing”: how particles got their mass. Whilst it has been theorised that the Higgs boson existed and was responsible for giving mass to particles, it was only yesterday that this was confirmed.
The Standard Model has accounted for this mass-giving particle for a while but now we know that the Higgs boson really does exist, meaning we don’t need to adjust the model.
30th June 2012
In response to a $1000 bet by the US Homeland Security, researchers from the University of Texas have successfully hacked into a flying drone using a technique known as “spoofing”.
“Spoofing” is basically when a device mistakes signals from hackers and uses them, thinking they are from genuine GPS satellites.
Imagine you’ve got a plane in the air and it sends back information to the person controlling it on the ground.
So if I wanted to fly my drone on a route between London and Birmingham, delivering mail for instance, I would get continuous signals coming back telling me where it is at all times.
And I would get GPS co-ordinates, using a signal from the satellite to navigate.
But if the drone is near Birmingham, but it receives GPS co-ordinates for Gloucester, it would then think it is in Gloucester and make an adjustment to go further north, changing the course.
- Noel Sharkey
Last year, a CIA drone was hacked by Iran using a similar GPS exploit. Iran blocked the drone’s ability to connect to the US’ encrypted GPS satellites and forced it to rely on unencrypted GPS signals as a backup. The equipment to then spoof a GPS signal would cost around £700 and would enable a technically skilled individual to use it.
27th June 2012
Yesterday, I went to Thetford Forest Park to rent a bike to go on a cycling trail through the forest.
Thetford is about an hour and a half away from my house in Essex so it was a bit of a long, boring drive but completely worth it! The only problem was once we arrived, none of us had brought any ID, meaning we couldn’t rent the bikes (as they needed to hold the ID as collateral) and they refused to take cash/car keys/iPhones as deposits. We managed to get around this by putting the value of the bikes (£800) on a debit card and refunding it after we returned.
We decided to do the 11 mile Beater Trail (formerly known as the red trail) because the red and green trails seemed too easy and the red trail was ranked as “difficult”. I forgot to start Strava recording for the first few miles but here’s the link to the ride so you can see what it looks like.
The trail was very varied – there were some very fast straights, tight corners, hard bumps (39 steps) and between the sections there were nice, easy-going flat dirt tracks. I actually managed to stay on the bike without falling off for the whole 2 hours I cycled (although I did managed to scratch my arm a bit, trying to read the signposts).
All in all, the day was really great and I highly recommend Thetford Forest to anybody (just make sure you take ID)!
23rd June 2012
Lots of Internet forums and news outlets have been reporting on the fact that CERN have announced a press conference on 4th July to discuss their ongoing search for the Higgs boson. The LHC (Large Hadron Collider), a particle accelerator used by physicists to study tiny particles, has been operating since 2009 with the primary purpose to find the Higgs Boson and it looks like they may be getting close!
What is the Higgs boson?
The Higgs boson (or the “God particle”) is a tiny theoretical particle, which is necessary for a set of rules in physics called the “Standard Model”. Many physicists believe the Higgs boson is responsible for giving mass to all particles that have mass. If the work at CERN shows that the Higgs boson does not exist, much of out entire understanding of physics will need to be re-written.
If you’re interested in finding out more, Fermilab (a US government high-energy particle physics lab) posted a great video on YouTube, explaining all you need to know about the Higgs boson and the Higgs field.