Thursday, September 25, 2008

A motorcycle is made, almost entirely, from empty space.


Me: Can we drive the bikes home ourselves?
Instructor: Sure, just... drive carefully.
Me: Sure thing
(5 minutes later)
Me: Woooooooo!!!

I can't wait to sit on a bike again! After conversations with several people "in the know", I've decided not to buy one in Denmark until I return from Australia, though. The money I'd save by buying it in autumn would be spent on storage and insurance anyhow.

Currently, my two biggest concerns about the trip are:

Selling my apartment
We had an estate agent out on wednesday, and he was confident he'd be able to sell it at full price. I hope he can do it quickly too! He was recomended to me because he sold another one in my area in three weeks. I've got my fingers crossed!

Finding, ferrying, and selling a bike in Oceania
I have no clue about the used motorcycle market in Adelaide.
I have no clue if it's convenient to ship it to New Zealand, or whether I should sell it and buy another one there.
I have no clue about the used motorcycle market in New Zealand.
I have no clue about how to sell it in either place.
I'm gonna mail my aussie contacts and see if they can help me get some information.

This thursday I'm playing a small private concert for a few people, showcasing some of the songs I've been working on. This is gonna be exciting, as most of them I haven't played for anyone before. At least one professional musician will be there, so I'm a bit nervous about it. I think I have some good material though, I just hope I can convince them of that!

This is an old one (like, decades old, but really well made considering.) but it is worth a watch anyway. Always nice to get your mind blown away by the awesomeness of the universe. This universe is so empty that the average amount of mass is pretty much zero. Funny that we find ourselves important when in reality we are no more than a byproduct of the big bang. One guy put it beautifully, except he was refferring to people, not mass:

It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.

For the nitpickers (Everyone else stay away, I'm about to go off on a rant!):
He made an error in his understanding of infinity though. Something less than one infinity can still be infinite in itself.
How many whole numbers exists (positive and negative)? An infinite amount.

How many whole positive numbers exist? Half as many as above, but still an infinite amount.
There are degrees of infinity, but all of them are still infinite. Bubbles of infinity within infinity.
The point still remains, though, that the average amount of mass in the universe for any given space is practically zero. Even inside the atoms of relatively dense material like uranium! This really makes my mind hurt, though, so I take some comfort in the fact that all the empty space is filled with energy. That way, I don't have to feel alone.
Hello, neutrino

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Disease, cameras and Rice Boy

I am sick of being sick! Friday I came down with the fever, and practically every other ailment I could think of, and I'm still in bed today, bored out of my skull. This will be a short post due to my lack of desire for writing about snot, mucus, and the weird deliriums of fevered dreams.

Wednesday I went climbing for the first time. Fun! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to go while being sick, but I've bought a pair of climbing shoes and joined a beginners climbing class. Finally I'm getting some good excersize, and I have a lot of fun doing it. It's extremely tough on my measly forearms and fingermuscles, but that'll be evened out in a few weeks of practice.

I started shopping for my trip!
For starters, I've bought a nice digital camera, the Canon Digital Ixus 860 IS, so the quality of pictures on this blog should be improving (hopefully). Speaking of photography, a good friend of mine can do magic with his camera

Oh! And my drivers test is tomorrow! Nerves? You betcha!

I have been enjoying the evocative tale of Rice Boy. So should you! (click the little red image) It's without a doubt one of the best comics I've ever read!

If you're into gaming, you should give the long-awaited Spore a spin. I played it for a few hours and had a lot of fun being god!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Norway and CERN

If you're not into Norway or physics, this post will bore you. Since I've been spending four days in Norway, and two days recovering from jetlag(! explained below), there is nothing new to report on my australia trip. Except I bought a map to get a sense of my route. Yay!

Oslo was a blast! I was a bit nervous about seeing Hedda again, but we had an amazing weekend! The first thing that struck me about Oslo is that no matter where you look, you can see mountains in the distance. I immediately wanted to get to higher ground, so we went to see the ski-jump at Holmenkolle to get a good view of the city. Oslo is a very small city (and that's coming from a guy from Copenhagen!), and the wonderful thing about it is that you can't really decide what's city and what's country side. There's cliffs and nature everywhere!

Friday evening we went to town with some of Hedda's friends. I had a lot of fun explaining how Norway used to be under the danish crown back when we were a great nation, and they had a lot of fun explaining how we danes have had our asses handed to us ever since.
Alcohol is expensive in Norway, which means they drink incredibly slowly. We still managed to get quite drunk though, and the next day was very slow. Wonderful, but very slow.

I think these were taken saturday. As you can see, we were both tired...

I just realized I desperately need a haircut.

Sunday we went to the Fram museum on an impulse (instead of kon-tiki). Oslo is on the banks of the Oslo fjord, which means they have all these pretty little islands, and we had to take a ferry to get to the museum. Inside stood the amazing ship Fram in its entirety, along with a lot of maps, items and text about the polar expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen and others.
That evening we had a very nice dinner at a restaurant.
Hedda escorted me to the airport where we found out that my plain was delayed at least 2½ hours. Since it was late (I had planned to be home around midnight), we said our goodbyes there and Hedda took the train home. I found my gate (not wanting to repeat the experience from wednesday where I was called to the gate in copenhagen) and sat down with a book. I can be very patient when I have to, so I didn't mind and I never can sleep when I'm flying. I'm not afraid though, on the contrary! I'm too excited! Flying is one of the things I love doing most, and I don't think I'll ever get used to it.
Anyway, the plane took off at 1:20 and I was on my way home. One thing I hadn't thought about is that the metro from the airport doesn't run at that time of night, so I had to wait until 3:45 before getting on a train to the Copenhagen central station. By then even some of the nightbusses, the one I needed among them, had stopped going, and my head wasn't on my pillow until 5:10. Thankfully, my boss took pity and gave me monday off.

CERN and the LHC
Scientists at CERN will send the first beam through the LHC today! No collisions though, so you can disregard all the talk in the media about the world ending. It won't end until after the 21st of october where the particle accelerator is officially unveiled. Don't worry though, you won't even notice it!
All jokes aside, this is a very exciting day for phycisists, and by extension, me.

You're wondering what the accelerator is for? Finding the Higgs boson of course! Still confused? Here's a wonderful TED presentation by charismatic physicist Brian Cox:

How does it work? Here's an in-depth and precise explanation, but you have to be quick if you wanna catch all the lyrics:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Busy weekend! We cleaned up the apartment, and it's really shining now! We had a potential buyer yesterday, and with the apartment looking this good, I'm confident we'll sell it at full price soon.

Tomorrow evening I'm going to Norway to visit the beautiful Hedda Johannesen of Roskilde fame. I'll be staying there for four days, arriving home around midnight sunday. Glee!

Anyways, Australia!

What concerns me most right now is how to find, buy and sell a motorcycle when I'm down there. And if I go to New Zealand (which I think I will) do I buy a seperate one for that trip? Or is it possible to freight one from Australia to NZ.
I also need to find out about how to repair a motorcycle. I'm gonna go to the library to see if they have any books on the subject. Also, I need to find out what kind of tools I should bring, and if I should buy them down there.
Ooh! And i set a date! The current plan is to leave on the 12th of january. It all depends on selling the apartment though. The sooner it's sold, the sooner I can confirm the date.

Bike :
The technical-riding course this Saturday went like a breeze, even though my brake lengths could be shorter. I'll have to practice that. The best part was learning to lift a sidecar from the road, balancing on two wheels with the sidecar "hovering" in the air. It was quite heavy, requiring good arm-strength for extended driving.
Last week I wrote that I wouldn't buy a bike before I left, but having checked the used motorcycle market I'm not so sure anymore... Should I decide to buy one, I'll have to bring someone with me who knows about motorcycles to tell me whether I'm getting a good deal or being ripped off. In the end, we'll have to wait and see, but I will put pictures up if/when I buy one :)

In other news: Google just announced they're working on a new webbrowser! Knowing the general quality of google products, this is exciting stuff! I love firefox, but it is a bit slow, and it has a tendency to crash if you use it for too long in one sitting (something about the cache being overloaded). Check the link to google's blog on the left. The beta goes live right about now, if I remember correctly.

If you're not reading not-included, you're not living. It's weird in a cute sort of way, and the current page features an army of hooded snipers on dinosaurs.