The 2018 Monte Carlo World Cup

The world cup is almost once more amongst us, which means interminable weeks of breathless coverage, punditry, and heartfelt professions that each match will be played at 110%. In an effort to inject some more quantitative rigour to a field which, apparently, could do with some, let’s try and predict how the whole thing will play out.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Warped ideas

I was in Rome airport not long ago, and noticed that the reflection of the striped ceiling looked warped and bent due to the non-flatness of the reflecting surface:

img_20170930_163807.jpg
What else to do when waiting in the departures lounge?

As I’m sure will be familiar to any traveller, the excruciating boredom of an airport drives the mind to wander, so here is my derivation of the underlying mirror surface structure from this image.

Continue reading

Axes of rotation

I recently tried my hand at throwing axes at a wall, courtesy of Whistle Punks in London. While this was a fun and satisfyingly macho activity, I noticed that the attendants were careful to position people at various distances from the target to increase their chances of success. This piqued my curiosity, so here I’ll have a look at why that might be.

Continue reading

Cooking the books

Since Christmas, at my house we’ve been cooking with 5 ingredients or fewer thanks to the acquisition of Jamie Oliver’s new book, the contents of which are mostly available online here. The recipes are unanimously very tasty, but that’s besides the point. The real mark of culinary excellence (in my humble opinion) is how efficiently one can buy ingredients to make as many of the recipes as possible in one shopping trip. Let’s investigate while the lamb is on.

Continue reading

The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason

Intriguing title, no? These are the first eleven words of Neal Stephenson’s novel Seveneves, which set up the remaining 600 pages as an extended treatise on the future of humanity as it copes with certain annihilation. I thoroughly recommend it, as long as you can deal with hundreds of pages of orbital mechanics. In this post I will numerically explore this post-lunar age, to verify for myself if it would be as deadly as described.

Continue reading