life

New Phone

I need to get a new phone as my current one is beginning to do weird things. I am thinking of the Samsung s3 as it seems to be the best phone out there right now.

Does anybody have any suggestions for other phones they want to recommend? The main things I want is something with a good screen, at least a day battery life and wont be stone age in a years time.

Thanks for any advice
life

(no subject)

Just went to see a remarkably good king Lear performance (http://www.list.co.uk/article/41904-king-lear/) preceded by burrito. I'd forgotten how much i enjoy a good theatre performance.

I have also discovered the Skeptics in a pub book club where a bunch of intelligent people read a decent pop science book and discuss it. I went to the last one and had a fantastic time. The book was "Delusions of Gender", and discussions ranged from personal experience to experts in related fields quoting results from various research papers and mad googling for a relevant paper someone half remembered and then trying to draw flowcharts to work out what the hell it was getting at. Plus lots of discussions of interesting tangents.

I haven't finished all of "Delusions of Gender", but it had some interesting information on it and is definitely written by someone who understands science. A couple points that stood out to me was the strong effect of gender bias in things like maths tests where there is an expectation that men do better. According to the studies quoted, having more men than woman taking the test, how the test is introduced (e.g. woman do better/same/worse then men) and even having a male/female check box at the start of the maths test can lead to lower performance by the female participants than those that don't. Plus lots more interesting stuff. The other thing that has stuck in my mind is some quotes from 50 and 80 years about childrearing and house work that are just as applicable now as it was back then.

On the whole what I have read so far is interesting, but I would prefer the book to be more of a tighter book, and less fluff.
life

(no subject)

Just got back from a trip to the usa which encompassed Miami, LA and San Francisco. Absolutely fantastic.

The highlight, other than seeing family, was a ranger led canoe trek through the alligator infested mangrove swamps in the Everglades. Just wow. Although I did have second thoughts when our canoes ran aground and I had to wade through the swamp dragging the canoe while being surrounded by alligators, pythons, boas and other assorted critters that you cant see through murky water. Did I mention I was barefoot?

I can also say that Scotish weather has a sense of humour and its evil. On coming back I said "its not too cold". 30 seconds later it was hailing *sob*.

Wonder if I can get a job as a beach bum?
life

(no subject)

Decided to finally get around to getting Skyrim. I figured by now enough of the bugs will have been fixed to make it worthwhile.

I'm always of two minds when it comes to games. On one hand i enjoy them, but on the other it feels like a rather large waste of potentially productive time.

Either way, there goes my life for the next month or two........
life

Radiation talk

Just been to a fascination Cafe Scientific talk given by Prof Wade Allison on Radiation. Some of the interesting points were:
1) The combination of amount and period of exposure is what is important with radiation dosage. Evidence seems to be that regular small dosages are not all that bad for you, but sudden large dosages can be. Small doses might even, if your a rat, allow you to improve survival of large doses. One interesting question here is do repeated small doses increase cancer risk cumulatively? The problem here is that I suspect you would need such a large sample size, due to the small effects, that this is pretty much impossible to test in practice.
2) Sudden large dosages are actually not necessarily all that bad for you unless they cause Acute Radiation Syndrome(ARS). Evidence for this was from studies on Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the extra cancer death's between 1950 and 2000 caused by the nuclear radiation was approx 0.7%. ARS takes affect somewhere between 2000 and 4000 mSv. Hiroshima had an average dose of 160mSv. No extra cancers were found in doses under 100mSv. As a comparison, a CT scan is between 5-10 mSv
3) Living cells are rather good at healing themselves from radiation damage. Radiation treatments work, at least partly, by damaging the cell faster then cells can heal.
4) The currently advised radiation limits are based around keeping the limits as low as reasonably possible rather than what the human body can endure with minimal risk
5) There really isn't all that much reliable human data as big radioactive events are rare.
6) The problem with a lot of data around long term after affects in areas like Chernobyl is that it is unreliable (according to UN and WHO).
7) I haven't verified any of this

Anyone know anything to contradict this?
life

My Granfather

Today I am mourning the loss and celebrating the life my beloved Grandfather Fredi Kolban. He died on Holocaust Memorial Day. Grandpa was a survivor of WW2. When he was 15 the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia. His parents saw what was happening and saved his life by sending him on the Kindertransport to Britain. He didn't know any English.

His parents, along with the Jews in his hometown in Czechoslovakia were sent to Auschwitz concentration/death camp. He eventually joined the czech free army and went back to his home town. Everyday he would go to the train station to wait for trains containing survivors of the camps. None of his family or friends ever returned.

He eventually came back to Glasgow and built a good life for himself here, but he was always haunted by his past.

In honour of him and the millions of other people persecuted worldwide - Jews and non Jews - in that genocide and the many following, I would like you to think and remember. Never let something like this happen again. Ever.
life

Blu-ray software for pc

Rather annoyed. Just got myself a Blue Ray drive for the pc, and discovered that Windows 7 and VLC don't support Blue ray formats. It seems the only free Blu-ray playing software is DAPlayer, but there is surprisingly little in the way of reviews out there, and most of those (that are not disguised press releases) are less than flattering.

Does anyone know any good Blu-ray player software for pc out there that they recommend? Preferably not an expensive one?

Or has anyone used DAPlayer for blu-rays? Is it any good? I can download it for a try, but a few comments indicate that the parent company may be a bit dodgy. No evidence given, but better safe.
life

Sherlock

Just saw Sherlock. Absolutely amazing. I think its one of the very few remakes that I have seen that does not disappoint.
life

(no subject)

Had a very nice holiday, involving much food, games, family and friends. Thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Highlight included:
Having fun food and games with the De Quincey's
Spending time and eating way too much with multiple groups of families
Saying hi to Adam Croston
Carlton hill and after party for New years
Games night with Nicky et al.
And generally doing lots of other fun things.

Now need a holiday from my holiday.......