I’ve moved my blog, along with everything else, to my site at http://bitcrush.org/. See you there!
And Relax. 30 July, 2010
So in my last post, I documented all the crap university has put me through this year. Well, it’s finally all over, and I got a 2:1!
I haven’t checked if I could have got a first, without the docked marks from the essay. I got it done and in, but well below the word-count, and got a bad mark for it.
But, honestly, I don’t care! I’m just glad it’s over! The emotional pain of going over all the marks and working out what I could have got isn’t worth it to me. Sod it, I have a decent degree. And, besides, I don’t think I would have got a first anyway, as most of my marks were low 60s (70 average being the threshold for first).
Music & New Site
A new song for you to listen to! One of my courseworks was to arrange an existing song (by someone else) for string quartet and woodwind quartet. We had these performed live, and I got a really good mark for mine. Here it is:
Waker of Wind
Now, I haven’t updated the music portfolio page, and there’s a reason for that. I’ve re-registered bitcrush.org, and I’m going to turn it into a portfolio site. This blog will get moved there (or simultaneously updated or something, I don’t know yet), along with lots more music, and examples of my art, design, and coding.
I’ve also started a tumblr, which I intend to use to post art; my graduation present from my family is going to be a Really Awesome Thing that will make more art possible =D I can’t wait for it to arrive!
But, next in life comes trying to get a job. See you next time!
Rage. 31 May, 2010
I want to make a note of this, to document it. Because I have a feeling this will affect my degree, but at this point I’m too fed up to care.
Three (3) times in a row, something has changed or become apparent that has forced me to scramble at the last minute (or fail) to get my work in on time.
Three (3) years in a row, there has been part of my course that I was not actually ever informed about. Despite making significant efforts to, after it happened each time.
To save myself digging, I’ll only mention the ones from this year.
My course’s equivalent of a dissertation. I had noted down from the very start that the deadline was the 20th of April. I knew how important this was. As it happened I didn’t get as much done as I wanted beforehand, so I made a huge effort in the week leading up to it and got it finished.
Only to find out, on the 19th, that the deadline had been moved back by one day. After all the effort, it was devastating at the time.
No-one had mentioned this to me, or I would have written it down.
I showed the receptionist the date written here and he very kindly put it in the box with the others.
Collaborative Project, to be performed
We were given a rough stretch of time to perform our pieces; my piece was a game, with Pete and Ben, called Bounce. My performance was to exhibit it at the Herbert art gallery.
Now, I had the 20th of May booked, and this was the last date in the rough times. So, I checked with my tutor.
The response from my tutor on the 16th, when I had time to adjust things:
The 28th is fine. Can’t do the Sunday.
The email from my tutor on the 26th:
We had the final project meeting today. Did you ask for a deferral? No-one seemed to know anything about it. If you didn’t I’m afraid you’re going to lose 20% because you’re over one week late. Let me know asap when it’s going to be.
Well, thanks a lot. And here I thought “fine” meant “you won’t lose 20% of your marks by doing this”.
It turns out I have a 2000-word report to do called Documenting Performing Practice. How did I find out about this? Realising something was up when two of my course-mates on Facebook both mentioned essays. I only know it’s 2000 words because one of them said it was finished at just over that.
I checked my module list, and lo, there it is. It would have been nice if anyone had mentioned this to me, ever. Seeing as it’s about documenting what I did, and it’s (obviously) too late now.
I made some notes, yes. But they were notes about debugging the predecessor to Bounce, Waveform. And there’s not enough to get 2000 words, by tomorrow. I suppose I’ll try, anyway.
I have a viva with my tutors on Wednesday; I think I’ll take it up with them then, if there’s the opportunity. But I’m sure they’ll just tell me it’s my own fault for being unorganised.
I used to be unorganised. I was in my first and second years, and I learnt my lesson. Since then I’ve been making notes and even made myself a custom calendar page for my browser’s home screen; this year, I know for sure, it’s the course.
Now I want to retake my student survey, please. I have some amendments to make.
Mix Song 26 April, 2010
Playlist on shuffle
The first line of a song that plays is a line in your song
Skip tracks with no or garbled lyrics
20 lines, and the 21st is the title.
Ruth got an emo song with the occasional french line (but also “I love you love he love she love chicken bone”); our friend Ben got a terrible emo love poem. I think mine is just as revealing, in a different way.
I’m In The Sky Tonight
Lately I’ve been livin’ in my head
I don’t care if it rains or freezes
Somedays aren’t yours at all
OK mister sunshine
Unit three-thousand twenty-one is warming
Hey, what were you thinkin’
Good and bad I swear I’ve had
I see you there
Two white horses in a line
Well don’t ya think that I’ll overreact now
Again and again, I get up and say
To be the motion actor
These toys are all lifeless, the armour’s worn off
I want to sing
ZEL-DA ZEL-DA ZEL-DA ZEL-DA
No more runnin’, says my mind
One to three four five SEX SEX SEX
Why Human Climate Change Is A Fact 20 February, 2010
I doubt that many people will read this, but this is something I (or rather, my girlfriend) come across a lot. People who don’t believe in climate change tend not to understand it. SO I want to make a simple(ish) example.
Now I’m not saying everyone who knows it’s true understands it either; that’s why we have scientists who devote their lives to studying a field. If it were simple, we would already have flying cars. Hence simple(ish); it’s not a simple issue, or a simple process. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
But the fact is, the people who comment on blogs and news sites saying it’s a myth are either A) dramatically uninformed or B) plants by oil companies. You might think B sounds paranoid or cynical, but it’s not. They target older men, making it seem like scientists are trying to fool them, and younger women, to get them before they become eco-friendly hippies.
So enough about misinformation; why is climate change a fact?
It’s all about the coral reefs.
My father spends his life variously studying marine animals, selling products relating to marine animals, writing articles about marine animals, feeding marine animals, and laughing at marine animals when they do stupid things. I grew up around this, and absorbed a lot of information in a tangential sort of way. Even though I don’t keep a marine tank, I probably know more than people who do (which is a separate issue that my dad’s doing his best to address).
Everyone knows what a coral reef is. But, did you know that it’s corals themselves that make the rock that reefs are built on?
Like us, they have a calcium skeleton. On top of this is their flesh, and then their polyps, which are a combination mouth and bum, surrounded by (usually stinging) tentacles.
Inside their skin, living about two million to the square inch, are tiny algae. The algae acts like any plant and gives the coral energy from sunlight; the coral eats whatever swims into its tentacles and the algae gets a bit to act as fertiliser. It’s probably the most mutually-beneficial system in the entirety of nature.
Corals’ flesh is made out of their equivalent of stem cells. They can regrow anything that gets damaged and don’t have a lifespan! There are polyps that could easily be thousands of years old, and I don’t mean the species, I mean a single coral.
So how is this related to climate change?
There are two main ways. There are also hundreds of thousands of indirect ways, but I’m trying to keep this information clear.
The first way is “bleaching”. You may have heard, in the record-breaking summers of 1997 and 1998, a sixth of the world’s reefs bleached. There have been a few sumemrs since then where a similar thing happened. This should be absolutely terrifying, and was to anyone involved with marine biology in any way, but most people don’t understand the significance because of the wording.
Bleaching, for all intents and purposes, means dying.
When a coral is said to have bleached, it means the algae in its skin has left the coral and swum away. (Their latin name is dinoflagellates, which means whirling whip, which is how they swim.) This leaves the coral white, hence bleaching, but it also leaves it without most of its energy, without any protection against UV light, and in conditions that were bad enough to make the algae leave to start with. They’ll live for a little while after, and if conditions improve they algae might come back, but over a summer that lasts for a few months, the majority of the bleached coral died.
The second way is more directly to do with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
A lot of people hold that the rising carbon in the atmosphere is part of a cycle. This is utter, complete bollocks, and no-one should believe this. Remember how I said there are single polyps that are thousands of years old? There wouldn’t be, if this were a cycle. Carbon dioxide kills coral.
A huge amount of carbon dioxide is absorbed into sea-water, and it’s nearing saturation, so not much more is going to be absorbed.
Carbon Dioxide is an acidic gas, and it makes sea-water more acidic too. Calcium, which corals’ bones are made of, is alkaline.
You know the diet coke and mentoes thing, where the alkaline mints fizz up and dissolve in acidic coke?
Imagine that happening to your bones. Slowly, constantly, painfully.
THAT is how carbon dioxide kills coral. And that is why it is not a natural cycle, because if it was, all our coral reefs would date back to the last time CO2 peaked. They don’t; huge structures like the Great Barrier Reef were formed over MILLIONS of years. If there is any cycle at all, we have horrendously kicked it into overdrive.
So what’s going to happen to the reefs?
Basically, unless we dramatically cut back on carbon emissions and all that jazz RIGHT NOW, they’re dead.
All of them.
The rainforest of the sea, with two-thirds of the ocean’s animals (by species, more by numbers) and therefore half of the entire planet’s life, will be dead and gone within twenty years. A lot of people have just given up hope and, like my dad, are concentrating on keeping them in tanks, so we can preserve a tiny bit of that life.
That’s why climate change, caused by humans, is a fact. And that is why I loathe it when people say “it’s not real” or “it’s a cycle”. And why you should too.
Sources: The QI Book of Animal Ignorance, my life and childhood, the sites linked above.
In The City 28 January, 2010
Something has descended on to the city centre tonight. It feels strange, and old.
It’s much quieter than usual. Not as many cars, taxis, buses or people. Everyone seems either to be hurrying somewhere else, or to be part of something bigger then them, as if they were at a concert or a parade.
In the supermarket, a man is shouting, as if he’s having an argument with a lover. He sounds more sad than angry. I look briefly down the length of the aisle at him; he’s a normal looking guy, in his 20s, smartly dressed. Not the usual profile you’d expect to be shouting at no-one in a supermarket.
I pass him later on my circuit of the shop, and he looks fine, no trace of tears. He’s not wearing a bluetooth earpiece or anything similar.
On my way back home, in the large, empty space known as Millennium Place, I hear a female voice shout something in two syllables that could have been my name, or “help me”, or anything else. I look, and the only person I see is sitting quietly on one of the benches at the edges.
I continue to hear voices echoed off of buildings as I make my way out of the city center. There are more hurrying people. As a brightly-lit but empty bus drives past, I reflect upon the pools of light we make for ourselves, and how cities are collections of edges. Everything happens at the edges.
The dark feeling that seems to emanate from the city subsides as I go over the ringroad, and has disappeared almost entirely by the time I’m on the home stretch. Still, I feel glad to lock my front door.
Coventry has been quite a tortured city, over the years. I might have to look up and see if there have been any notable events on the 28th of January in the past; as far as I know, most of the memorial for the war-time bombings is held on the 11th of November, like in the rest of the country. I don’t know when the actual bombings took place, or much else about the city. Cities are strange places.
So yes. This has mostly been a post on my feelings, enhanced for dramatic effect. But I think I’ll do more of these.
See you in another few months!
A Musics 8 November, 2009
Post a week. Hah!
I made a musics: Tree of Life.
It’s a piece for a friend of mine, who is making a Pokemon fangame, for PC. He’s happy with it; the brief was “crystally, pulsing, lively, mysterious”.
Also, I misnamed it, it was “Tree of Creation”.
I’ve been ill the last few days; ironically I’ve got lots done. For my uni coursework, and P&R, I’ve been making this game: Waveform.
Annoyingly, the most important part of it doesn’t work properly at the moment: making music. I was planning to record the wave sounds to files, but they don’t get played fast enough. I’m going to have to switch to MIDI to play them, but it doesn’t seem to work on OS X. I knew it had been going too well!
Things have also been going well, if slowly, for P&R; the TurnShip demo nears completion, and we’re experimenting with C++ and OpenGL for some faster, 3D games than Python can handle.
I also worked out that, if we sell (later) games for £5 each, we’ll have to sell an average of 16/day to live off the proceeds. I’m also considering a £3/month (or something) subscription to get access to beta testing, extra things, that sort of thing… maybe also free games. I don’t know, I need to discuss it with the other two guys at our Monday meeting this week.
A “pay what you like” system might also work for the games we’re doing for free, rather than just donations.
Right. Until next time I remember this blog~!