Monday, April 23, 2007


On Friday, the Deeside Orienteering Club put on an orienteering event at the lab at lunchtime. I thought I'd go along to see what it was like. It was really good fun! At the start, we got a little plastic finger tag thing, and we were given maps just before starting. We had to find thirteen waypoints in order, each of which had a post to put your tag in. At the end, we got printouts showing how long it had taken to find each one. I came sixth out of nine, which I don't think was too bad considering it was all the hardcore runners from the lab - people that win the Daresbury Dash every year. It was really good for my micro-navigation skills - evaluating contours and terrain, and trying to do it as fast as possible. The course took us through the forest at the back of the lab, running up and down the hill and through trees and brambles. I scratched my leg to bits at one point. It was really good fun though - I'd definitely do it again. The DOC apparently put on some evening events in Delamere Forest, which would be really good fun.

Blog visualisations

This is rather pretty: Blog Map.

I will post something more at some point; just working through my weekly/daily stuff.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Cycling in Europe

I was in Grenoble, France* last week, at the FFAG 2007 workshop with a load of other accelerator physicists, many of them Japanese (apparently they have quite a few FFAG machines). On the first day, I got the bus to the conference and walked back. But after nearly being mown down by several cyclists, I had a flash of inspiration and hired a bike from the train station. It was brilliant! The weather was just right for it - not too hot. And Grenoble, despite having huge mountains all around, is a very very flat city. It took me about five minutes and almost no effort whatsoever to cycle from my hotel to the workshop venue. Counteracted some of the weight-gain effects of free food and cheap booze too. One of my better ideas, I think. And hopefully one I'll be using again - though I have a feeling it will work less well in US cities (I'm in Albuquerque in June for PAC 2007).

On a very similar note, this is brilliant.

*Argh! How American does that make me sound? I'm only trying to save you a minute looking it up on Wikipedia...