Sitting in traffic in the middle of London gives you a lot of time to think. Here’s a fun problem born entirely of frustration sat waiting to cross the Hammersmith bridge.
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.
Recently the extractor fan in my bathroom has started malfunctioning, occasionally grinding and stalling. The infuriating thing is that the grinding noise isn’t perfectly periodic – it is approximately so, but there are occasionally long gaps and the short gaps vary slightly. This lack of predictability makes the noise incredibly annoying, and hard to tune out. Before getting it fixed, I decided to investigate it a bit further.
I saw a ‘simple’ puzzle on the internet which I thought I’d have a crack at in an evening. Several furious scribblings on the bus and the sofa later, I finally have an answer. I’m so relieved I can’t help but share the joy.
This blog has been getting a bit too pop-science for my tastes recently. Card games? Word clouds? Urgh. Let’s do some proper physics. I hope you’re paying attention at the back.
When taking a picture of my new 55″ TV (humblebrag) I noticed a diffraction pattern of the reflection of the camera flash. Fortuitously, I had also recently bought a slightly too-powerful laser pointer from China which is the perfect tool to investigate such problems. Here’s a little write-up of my DIY measurements.