Matlab is an archaic piece of software, is stupidly expensive, has a ridiculous syntax, horrible UI, and a whole host of bizarre quirks that you just put up with because that one grad student 10 years ago wrote a controller in it for a camera from a company which no longer exists and your supervisor refuses to buy a new one because apparently that’s a ridiculous price for only 14 bits of dynamic range.

Deep breath.

And despite all that, when I was in the zone I’m not sure I’ve ever been as effective in another piece of software. Let’s see about bringing it up to scratch.

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Swing and a miss

After my last post, where I noted that 45 degrees was the optimum angle to shoot a projectile the farthest, a commenter asked if the same was true for jumping from a swing. “Of course!” I initially thought. As we shall see, it isn’t actually that simple.

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A light sprinkling of maths

I’ve got a house now which, amongst other things, means that all of my future posts will be depressingly domestic. In particular, as I sat watching a sprinkler water my new well-shaded lawn, I noticed that some parts of grass were being watered more than others. It wouldn’t be right to fix these kinds of problems without first wringing all possible interest from them however, so let’s first understand what’s going on from the safe, dry comfort of a computer screen.

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Shady business

Since the start of lockdown, I’ve found ever more reasons to be grateful for the surprisingly sunny postage-stamp of a garden I enjoy here in London. I am however moving to a new house soon, and have been curious to know how the new garden will fare in comparison. Hopefully so are you, as we’re about to enjoy it in painful detail.

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High flood pressure

It’s winter again in the UK which means even more rain than usual, often accompanied by oddly-named storms. Sadly this also occasionally means flooding for many parts of the country, a fact which I usually watched with some detachment from the other (safer) side of a news report. This year is different – I have bought a house quite near the river Avon, which makes the issue more immediate. I suppose I could campaign for flood defences, or petition my new local MP, but for now let’s stick to what I know: data and maths.

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Signed distance fields

This post is a classic example of the malady known as Jason-itis – idly wondering about a thing, and then having to dive deep down a rabbit hole to satisfy a geeky wish. In this case the thing was ‘I wonder how you make a 3D shape which looks like different shapes from different angles’, and the rabbit hole bottomed out at this GPU-accelerated demo. Let’s look at the stuff in-between.

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