1. 2014

    Working on a new look

    Later this year is going to be the tenth anniversary of Ellipsix Informatics. In celebration of that, I’ve been working on a brand new, brighter, theme for the site! And with the Science Online conference coming up this week, I’ve decided to roll out the first batch of changes: a new colorful header, more prominent featuring of the blog posts on the home page, and some playful changes to the color scheme.

    This is just a rough draft to shake things up, so expect to see more changes that refine the site’s style as the year goes on. Suggestions and feedback are welcome!

  2. 2013

    A look back at 2013 on the blog

    Well, it’s that time of year again. The end, that is. That is the time of year that it is.

    Everyone else is doing top 10 lists to reflect on their output this year, but I’m not convinced there’s anything so special about the number 10. Why stop there? With that in mind, here are all my favorite posts from the past year, representing a broad spectrum of topics: particle physics, thermodynamics, optics, fluid dynamics, rocket science, percolation theory, statistics, technology, law, and a few things just for fun.

    Here’s hoping for more of the …

  3. 2013

    So much for NaBloWriMo... ish

    At the beginning of this month, you may remember, I set out to write 30 blog posts in 30 days. Well, there are four days left, and I’m barely a third of the way to my target of blog posts. It turns out that applying for postdoc positions will take up all your time, and then some, leaving precious little for blogging. Which is kind of a shame, because I had some good sciencey posts lined up.

    Most of my postdoc application deadlines are coming up this week or early next week, so I have to prioritize those for now. To make it up to you, my reader(s), once I’m done with applications I’ll keep going with all the posts I had wanted to write this month. With any luck, I can crank out all 30 by the end of December.

  4. 2013

    National Blog Writing Month 2013

    It’s that time of year again! November, as you might have heard, is National Novel Writing Month. All around the US, amateur writers strive to create a 50,000 word novel in a month.

    I’m no novelist, but I am a blogger, so in the past couple years I’ve been trying my own variant: 30 nontrivial blog posts in 30 days. So far, I haven’t made it, but regardless, it’s a great excuse to catch up on the blog posts I haven’t made in the preceding months.

    And this year, boy do I have a lot of them! I’ve been busy with other things since July or so, which means I didn’t get to cover some of the great science that’s been done since then. Things like

    • Nondetection of dark matter by the LUX experiment
    • Statistics of Tesla fires: are they really safer than gas cars?
    • The Mpemba effect, why hot water freezes faster than cold water
    • Could time be an artifact of quantum mechanics?
    • How the web is changing the way we do science
    • The role of gravity in determining cell size (and why that’s interesting)

    Plus, I promise …

  5. 2012

    My 12 favorite posts of 2012

    Around this time of year, a lot of blogs list their 10 most popular posts of the past year. I was thinking about doing that here… but I didn’t have the foresight to make my blog software log page views, so I have no idea what posts are the most popular. Instead, here are my somewhat arbitrarily selected favorite 12 posts of 2012, out of the 78 total posts I made this year:

    All things considered, I think it was a good year for blog posts. But 2013 can be even better! Happy new year!

  6. 2012

    Wrapping up NaBloWriMo

    If you’ve been watching my blog, you’ve noticed that my posting frequency has dropped off tremendously in the past week. That’s mostly because I’ve been scrambling to finish a presentation on my research. It’s now over, so in theory I have more time to make blog posts, but still I think it’s past time to call National Blog Writing Month officially over.

    Let’s look back over the past 5 weeks and see how it went. Not counting this one, I managed to get in 25 blog posts, most of which were decidedly nontrivial. For fun, I decided to estimate a word count for each of these posts — now, I can’t get an exact count easily because of the formatting, including math and especially pictures, but I can just run p.text_src.split() and it spits out some rough numbers. I want to get a sense of how this compares to the task of actually writing a 50000 word novel:

  7. 2012

    Checking in on NaBloWriMo

    Back at the beginning of this month I set myself a goal: 30 nontrivial blog posts in 30 days, to coincide with National Novel Writing Month.

    Now it’s nearly the end of the month. Did I make it? Not even close — although it’s the 29th of November, I’ve only written 22 posts total (well, now 23), several of which are decidedly trivial. Partly, though, that’s because I’ve been sick for the past week. Being sick is very much not compatible with a strict writing schedule. Better to sleep to blog another day, I suppose.

    Because I’ve been sick, I’m making the executive decision to extend NaBloWriMo for a few days into December. Probably not long enough to make it to the 30-post goal, but really, it’s not like anyone (except me) cares about that anyway, and maybe it’ll give me the incentive to put the finishing touches on some more interesting posts I’ve been working on.

  8. 2012

    "National" Blog Writing Month: Take 2

    November is National Novel Writing Month, where both professional and amateur writers around the world try to write a 50000 word novel in a month. While it sounds like a fantastic goal, I would be terrible at it. Writing 50 thousand words on one topic would take me forever.

    But I do have a blog, as you know if you are reading this, and last year I had the bright idea of doing a blogger’s version of NaNoWriMo: 30 nontrivial blog posts in 30 days. Last year, it was a spectacular failure. So of course, I’m trying it again. Let’s see how it goes!

  9. 2012

    Technorati claim

    For years I’ve been hearing that Technorati is an essential way to promote your blog over the interwebs. Despite the fact that I still don’t entirely understand what this organization does or how it got so dominant in the making-your-blog-cool department, I figured I should probably cave… so this post is a step in the process of claiming my site in Technorati’s blog index.

    If you’re wondering about this for your own blog, the process is (sort of) easy; just sign up, start a claim and fill out some information about your blog, and then you get a claim code like E3QA6PRUDVT9 (see what I did there) which has to be placed in a blog post so Technorati can verify it.

    It remains to be seen whether this is actually going to amount to anything useful.

  10. 2012

    Black-and-whiteout, the new site design

    While I had my SOPA protest page up, I realized that a minimalistic color scheme actually looked pretty decent. Accordingly, and in recognition of the fact that SOPA and PIPA are still looming threats, I’m changing my whole site to a black and white color scheme until both bills are defeated. I might even keep the design after that, just for the fun of it.

    If you’re a repeat visitor, I suggest doing a hard refresh or clearing your browser cache entirely, so that you can see the updated stylesheets.