Neil's News

Sphere Builder

26 August 2007

Last year I computed how to build spheres out of blocks. Somewhat to my shame, the first attempt wasn't even a sphere (math error was to blame). And the second attempt was squashed on the z-axis (programming error was to blame). But I rarely give up, and the third attempt has produced an object which is perfectly spherical. It is neat watching such a blocky-looking object rolling around smoothly on the floor.

The internal structure is surprisingly complex. To keep the weight manageable the sphere is mostly hollow. Internal cross-bracing on each axis keeps it from sagging.

Random notes:

Overheard at an observatory last week:
Astronomer: "This nebula is 2,200 light-years away."
Human: "How far is that in regular years?"

At the moment I'm even busier than usual. In addition to my regular development work, I've recently been given the keys to the production server farms. Remember that feeling when you first got (legitimate) root or wizard access on some Internet server? Well you can imagine what it feels like to have similar access to Google's infrastructure. The guidelines state that the only description I can give of it is "many computers". One fringe benefit is that I was able to slip my first easter egg into Google (with approval).

In one month I'll be cycling a 240km ride for Multiple Sclerosis. Until then a good chunk of my non-working time is being spent on the road, training for the event. It is kind of scary that the rest of Team Google is a lot younger than I am.

I just finished reading Animal Farm. Good book. Did anyone else suspect that it was Mr. Whymper (the lawyer) who exchanged the money with forgeries and not the more obvious Mr. Frederick (the farmer)?

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