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The UK Computer Museum

Posted by Pete Hague on 03 Aug 2013

I felt like having a break from more serious topics, and my visit to the UK Computer Museum in Cambridge today gives me a good opportunity.

The museum is small, but very well stocked with a wide variety of old computers. Many of the computers can be touched and played with, which is good given that many of them have far more satisfyingly tactile keyboards and switches than modern computers. The home computers present are also running a variety of classic games you can try your hand at.

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In Defence Of The "Trolls"

Posted by Pete Hague on 02 Aug 2013

There has been much flapping in the media recently regarding online 'Trolling'. A number of high profile people (mostly women) have been subject to barrages of abuse online, simply for expressing their opinions. Some of this abuse has been in the form of rape and death threats, for which the police have made some arrests.

This would on the face of it seem like a simple issue. Trolls are bad, and something should be done about them. Who could possibly argue.

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First Pubilcation (part 5)

Posted by Pete Hague on 25 Jul 2013

My first publication is now available on ArXiV. There is a version available from the MNRAS website, but that is not available to access for free. It is essentially identical, however.

It took quite a while from the review process to actually seeing in the journal, due to the production stage of publication. This is where, having been satisfied with the review, the author and the journal work together to make sure that the paper is fit for publication. In many ways, I found this process more difficult than the review itself. The paper is 20 pages long, and I have always struggled with proof reading.

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A Peace Dividend

Posted by Pete Hague on 11 Jul 2013

I've writen before about my views on the concept of a citizen income, and I wanted to explore a potential way to move towards its realisation in the UK.

Our country has an incredibly high military budget, (4th in the world if you trust Wikipedia) and could almost certainly reduced without endangering the safety of our little island. We would have to forget about nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers, decade long quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan - but I think we would cope. The idea is that this money would then be distributed as an unconditional income to the UK population, to reduce poverty.

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First Pubilcation (part 4)

Posted by Pete Hague on 25 May 2013

Continuing my blogging of the process of submitting my first paper, I'll now get on to the review process itself.

Whilst waiting for a response from the journal, the first feedback I got was emails from people who had seen the paper on arxiv.org, and others who I had personally contacted to tell them about the paper (in most cases because the paper drew on their work.)

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"Gravity" Isn't Sci-Fi

Posted by Pete Hague on 10 May 2013

I've just been sent a link to a trailer to a new film "Gravity" that is coming out later this year:

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First Publication (part 3)

Posted by Pete Hague on 18 Apr 2013

After many delays, I have finally submitted my first publication to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS). The submitted (not reviewed or accepted) version of the paper can be viewed on the public pre-print service ArXiv. Our original intention was to make it available here after review, but making the paper public at the time of submission was a condition of the code we used. I've received informal feedback from some people in the field already, and its been positive so far. I am yet to be assigned a reviewer as of today, and expect to wait a few weeks until reviews come back.

It has taken quite a bit longer to get to this point than I originally anticipated, but I am happy with how it has turned out. It was worth taking the extra time in order to answer all the questions that came up thoroughly, and to perform extra tests to verify our method.

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No More Chat, No More Banter

Posted by Pete Hague on 18 Mar 2013

Last year, an engineer walked into a McDonalds restaurant wearing a camera headset similar to Google Glass and had an altercation with the staff. At the time, I was quite sympathetic to this self-described cyborg - the staff had seemed to me to be ignorant, thuggish bullies attacking something they didn't understand. The fact that they worked for an unpleasant multinational corporation didn't endear them to me either.

However, I now think I was wrong. The physical violence of the staff in this case was excessive, but I think that this form of filming is in itself belligerent, and the 'cyborg' shouldn't have expected others to simply accept his constant filming of them. This change of mind on my part has been partly due to me paying attention to the ongoing development of Google Glass, and the issues that have been raised around it by people such as Stop The Cyborgs.

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A Message To Science Advocates

Posted by Pete Hague on 12 Mar 2013

There has been a surge in the last decade or so of individuals and groups vocally lobbying various governments, including mine, to invest more in science. They have been quite successful in the UK - science funding was shielded from government spending cuts to an extent, and the general public seems to be more well disposed towards publicly funded science. Science is riding high at the moment. However, there is a message I'd like to give to many of those involved in this kind of advocacy:

Please stop telling the government to defund my work.

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An Important Question About Dark Matter

Posted by Pete Hague on 04 Jan 2013

Like most bloggers, I collect information about the users who visit me. One of the things I can see if the refer - if you click on a link to the blog that is on another website, I can see the website you were previously on. Sometimes this is a Google search page, and thus you can see what search terms someone used to find a specific blog entry.

Recently I noticed that someone had found my previous blog on the subject of dark matter by searching for "can you touch dark matter". I thought this was a very interesting question, so I decided to answer it with a blog post. Reading my previous post is a good place to start if you are not familiar with dark matter. The short description is "a proposed form of invisible matter that makes up the majority of mass in the universe". It hasn't been confirmed by direct detection of a particle or emission at this point, but it is the strongest hypothesis at present to explain a number of distinct phenomena in astrophysics.

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