img cmprssn w/ svd

Let’s get pedagogical. Often when analysing a system, it is useful to break a component down into pieces, and figure out which are the important ones (if any). There are many techniques for this, here I’ll look at one called ‘singular value decomposition’ in the context of image compression.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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