Chris Worfolk's Blog


Dr Murray

October 25th, 2014

dr-murray

Congratulations to James who recently completed his PhD viva. To help clarify the situation I have included a group photo above where I have crossed out all the faces of people who do not have a doctorate…

Birthday

October 24th, 2014

By the time you read this, I will hopefully be dead. Having enjoyed a whirlwind rock music career including a hugely popular album and world war, I will have overdosed on some kind of drug, probably heroin, and thereby before committed myself to the hall of fame of rock music history.

On the off chance that this has not happened, please bring presents.

How

October 23rd, 2014

I put “how” into my search and these were the suggestions…

how

Trainspotting

October 11th, 2014

After careful consideration, I have decided that heroin is not for me.

I had pretty much decided this already, but Irvine Welsh’s graphic depiction of life on skag in Edinburgh confirmed this view. Maybe it is amazing. Maybe you can kick the habit. But having carefully considered it, I have decided that it probably is not worth the risk of ending up lying on a floor, covered in my own sick, injecting junk into your cock because it is the only vein I can find on my body.

The content is horrible. I have read quite a few of the famous war novels, and none of them match up to this. Perhaps it is because life in the trenches is more of an abstract concept whereas having a drug habit, while not being something I have ever done, is far closer to reality.

Plus, it makes for a really good novel.

It was hard going at first as it is written in Scottish English. However it gets easier as you go along.

trainspotting

You have not lived…

October 10th, 2014

…until you have seen Darth Vader, on a unicyle, playing the bagpipes.

A Universe From Nothing

October 9th, 2014

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why does the universe exist? That is the question that Lawrence Krauss aims to tackle in his book “A Universe From Nothing”. I first heard him speak at QED and very much enjoyed his book The Physics of Star Trek. This one promised to be almost as good.

I found it sufficiently accessible. Some of it was a bit too clever for me. Sentences such as “when you think about it, x doesn’t make any sense…” I could have thought about some of those problems for a long time and not seen the flaw. However, for the most part it is entirely readable and Krauss is a solid communicator of his ideas.

Given how fast physics is moving, some of the content in this book could soon be out of date. However, for now it is a clear and concise overview of where we are with our understanding of the origin of the universe. There are some fascinating insights. For example, we live at a time when the Big Bang is detectable and we can see we are part of a huge universe. In two trillion years, that will not be the case. All signs of it will have disappeared. Ours is the golden age of cosmology, because the universe is only 13.8 billion years old.

I did not feel it needed some much commentary on religion. There was no religion-bashing, but there was a lot of “which is why the universe must clearly be billions of years old and so scripture must be wrong”. Perhaps this is required this is more relevant for other audiences, but from my perspective it felt like everyone who was going to read the book would know that already.

Overall I found the book accessible and enjoyable, as well as re-igniting that feeling of excitement about physics.

a-universe-from-nothing

Guitar strumming patterns

October 8th, 2014

One of the frustrating things I have found as a beginner guitarist is that it is easy to find out the chords used in a song, but the strumming pattern is rarely discussed.

Worse, if anyone does dare ask about it, they are usually shot down but a swell of unhelpful comments suggesting that they should just “listen to the song and work it out”. This is not a particularly satisfying answer as why would you not assume the same is true for the chords? Surely someone is looking for a tab precisely because they do not know how to play the song.

Video tutorials are often a lot more helpful, but do not translate into something that is easy to find. As a consequence I have started a guitar strumming patterns database. It is very small at the moment but will hopefully grow over time.

The Wee Free Men

October 7th, 2014

Not my favourite Discworld novel. It was a “young people novel”, so slightly different from most. I did enjoy the Nac Mac Feegle which were brilliant characters (and not racist at all). Tiffany Aching is an okay character, but maybe a little similar to Susan Sto Helit.

The_Wee_Free_Men

Aire yarn

October 6th, 2014

aire-yarn

This yarn is named after the River Aire. Now, I don’t know if you have ever seen the River Aire, but it definitely is not that colour.

Yarndale 2014

October 5th, 2014

yarndale

Eat your heart out Tour de France. It is knitting that really gets Yorkshire excited.

As you probably know, Yarndale is not only Yorkshire’s biggest yarn festival, but one of the highlights of the British yarn calendar. No llamas this year, but they did have sheep and alpacas. As well as lots of lots of yarn for sale.