Saturday, February 17, 2007

POV-Ray: Newsgroups: povray.binaries.images: Sphere inversions

"As I recall, a spherical inversion is not actually inverting the *sphere*, as it is reflecting points across the surface of a sphere. It's easier to imagine in two dimensions (see Escher); but the idea is that for any point outside the sphere, there is a corresponding point inside the circle. The closer to the surface of the sphere on the outside, the closer to the surface of the sphere on the inside. The further away (i.e. closer to infinite distance) the closer you get to the center of the sphere. So infinite space is represented inside a finite volume."

Another example (includes source code):
POV-Ray: Newsgroups: povray.binaries.images: Cool mathematical object

The transformation is done by the following:

#declare point_trans_x=function(x,y,z) {
#declare point_trans_y=function(x,y,z) {
#declare point_trans_z=function(x,y,z) {

Friday, February 16, 2007

Catholics set to pass Anglicans as leading UK church

Roman Catholicism is set to become the dominant religion in Britain for the first time since the Reformation because of massive migration from Catholic countries across the world.

Catholic parishes will swell by hundreds of thousands over the next few years after managing years of decline, according to a new report, as both legal and illegal migrants enter the country.


The Catholic Church is the first port of call for thousands when they find themselves in difficulty, with up to 95 per cent from countries such as Poland being practising Catholics. Some churches find that they are being used as both job centres and social welfare offices. Most of the migrants settle in London, where some parishes are putting on Sunday Masses from 8am to 8pm to cope, the report, carried out by the Von Hugel Institute at Cambridge, found.

The Ground of Justice Report on Catholic Migrants - A Draft Report of a Pastoral Research Enquiry into the Needs of Migrants in London's Catholic Community

The brief of this research was an exploratory study to enquire into the lived experience of those members of the Church who have travelled from other parts of the world - but within a Church with a universal understanding of its identity and membership - to the increasingly global city of London. Based upon this enquiry our brief was also to make recommendation to the Church as to ways in which it might improve its current work and engagement with and for immigrants.

The actual report (PDF)

Comparative IndoEuropean Data Corpus

"This is one of three hypertext pages introducing a data corpus consisting of lexicostatistical data on 95 Indo-European speech varieties (languages or dialects) prepared by Prof. Isidore Dyen of Yale University before 1970, together with some derived data."

Preliminary Indo-European Lexicon

SoCon Stilwell Now Allowed to Run for Conservative Nomination, Thanks


After the by-election loss of London Ontario Conservative candidate and social conservative Diane Haskett, left wingers inside the Party were determined to forbid prominent social conservatives from running for the Party. Social conservative leaders, however, insist the party was to a large degree itself responsible for the popular former London mayor's shockingly poor showing. Haskett was told by Conservative Party organizers to not respond to any questionnaires and to avoid making specific public comments on certain controversial issues. She was consequently easily portrayed by opponents as deliberately hiding her views on important local issues. Haskett also lost the full benefit of a well organized social conservative political network in the London riding that was hamstung by their candidate's refusal to make any specific public statements or commitments on the life and family issues.

Salt Lake Jihad? - on several one-man terrorist attacks

Water computer - the final result is a 4-bit adder

"The idea of the project was to build some devices that could do computation without electrons. Water was a interesting choice, in fact, Fluidics is a very important field of study that is widely used in aerospace or mission-critical applications, where electronic control devices don't offer the reliability of cannot support the environment. Also, military technologies use Fluidics in order to prevent malfunction in a nuclear war, when electric devices cease to work."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Climate Science: A Personal Call For Modesty, Integrity, and Balance by Hendrik Tennekes


I agree with IPCC that there is a likely link between fossil fuel consumption and increased temperatures. But this is where the much proclaimed consensus ends. Just one example: the models do not include feedbacks between changing farming and forest harvesting practices and the atmospheric circulation. Partly for that reason, they cannot seem to agree on precipitation patterns. It so happens that precipitation is far more relevant to the world's food production than a slight increase in temperature.


Why is it so difficult to make precipitation forecasts fifty years into the future? Most precipitation in the middle latitudes is associated with low-pressure systems, which move along storm tracks carved out by the jet stream. The ever-shifting meanders in the jet stream occur at the edge of the slab of cold air over the poles. The specialists call this slab the Polar Vortex, and have christened the meandering behavior of the jet stream in the Northern hemisphere the Arctic Oscillation. [...] But the mainstream of dynamic meteorology refuses to study the slow evolution of the general circulation. It has become so easy to run General Circulation Models on supercomputers that most atmospheric scientists shy away from matters like a thorough study of the interaction between the Polar Vortex and the Arctic Oscillation. Mike Wallace mailed me a year ago, saying that there is not a beginning of consensus on a theory of the Arctic Oscillation.


How does this problem affect climate forecasts? If there is not even a rudimentary theory of the Polar Vortex, much less an established relation between rising greenhouse gas concentrations and systematic changes in the Arctic Oscillation, one cannot possibly make inferences about changes in precipitation patterns. We do not know, and for the time being cannot know anything about changing patterns of clouds, storms and rain.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Václav Klaus on global warming - Czech President explains his views on the IPCC panel

Scroogle Yahoo scraper - search engine; use the Yahoogle option and it will compare the results from Yahoo and Google

Monday, February 12, 2007

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change


The sun's brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun's magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark's idea - apart from its being politically incorrect - was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.

Thanks to having written The Manic Sun, a book about Svensmark's initial discovery published in 1997, I have been privileged to be on the inside track for reporting his struggles and successes since then. The outcome is a second book, The Chilling Stars, co-authored by the two of us and published next week by Icon books. We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle it "A new theory of climate change".

Where does all that leave the impact of greenhouse gases? Their effects are likely to be a good deal less than advertised, but nobody can really say until the implications of the new theory of climate change are more fully worked out.

The reappraisal starts with Antarctica, where those contradictory temperature trends are directly predicted by Svensmark's scenario, because the snow there is whiter than the cloud-tops.

Cosmic rays blamed for global warming - (illustration)


Mr Svensmark last week published the first experimental evidence from five years' research on the influence that cosmic rays have on cloud production in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Journal A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. This week he will also publish a fuller account of his work in a book entitled The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change.

A team of more than 60 scientists from around the world are preparing to conduct a large-scale experiment using a particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland, to replicate the effect of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere.

They hope this will prove whether this deep space radiation is responsible for changing cloud cover. If so, it could force climate scientists to re-evaluate their ideas about how global warming occurs.

Mr Svensmark's results show that the rays produce electrically charged particles when they hit the atmosphere. He said: "These particles attract water molecules from the air and cause them to clump together until they condense into clouds."

Mr Svensmark claims that the number of cosmic rays hitting the Earth changes with the magnetic activity around the Sun. During high periods of activity, fewer cosmic rays hit the Earth and so there are less clouds formed, resulting in warming.

Low activity causes more clouds and cools the Earth.

He said: "Evidence from ice cores show this happening long into the past. We have the highest solar activity we have had in at least 1,000 years.

"Humans are having an effect on climate change, but by not including the cosmic ray effect in models it means the results are inaccurate.The size of man's impact may be much smaller and so the man-made change is happening slower than predicted."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why women fall for 'Mr Average'

The University of Central Lancashire research found the 186 female students asked preferred good-looking men.

But within that group, those without top careers were deemed most suitable.

The team said women seemed to feel high-flyers would not be good fathers.

Lead researcher Simon Chu said the high-earning career men were deemed to be "too good to be true".

"Under particular circumstances, high socio-economic status in males can be subtly counter-productive in terms of attractiveness as a long-term partner.

"We suggest that females see physically attractive, high status males as being more likely to pursue a mating strategy rather than a parenting strategy."