Heavy Metal

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Jun 252010

In the very near future, we shall purchase my wedding band.

I swung by Romm last night, the jeweler from which we purchased Cody’s engagement and wedding bands, and had a look at their selection of men’s wedding bands. Platinum, tungsten, titanium, and cobalt are all the rage. That suits me fine, since they are all far more interesting to me than the traditional offerings of gold and silver.  I doubt it comes as much of a surprise that doing things the “traditional” way usually bores me.  This is part of why it’s been so difficult to find attire for my groomsmen and myself.

At first, I had the notion of doing a tungsten ring.  Tungsten is chemically notable for having the highest melting point of any stable metal (they use it as the filament in incandescent light bulbs for this reason). Materials with useful application are cool.  Detractor: it’s heavy. On the flip side, titanium is used in air and spacecraft manufacture because it’s strong and light.  Detractor: it’s alarmingly light — so much so, that I would fret about losing the band and not noticing.

Triton cobalt ring with carbon-fiber inlay

My Wedding Band? Probably!

Then they showed me a cobalt ring. Aha, now this was interesting. Looking essentially no different from the other three metals, cobalt struck the right balance of wear-resistance and weight. It’s also hypo-allergenic, which is a plus for me; though am not 100% certain, I suspect  that I may have a nickel allergy or something similar. The particular cobalt ring that caught my eye also has a totally badass carbon-fiber inlay that lends it a holographic effect when it moves. I’m reasonably sure that this is the ring I want to get.

Cody and I will be heading there tomorrow to nail down those details.

Aug 062009

Been a while since my last post.  Since then, a ton of stuff has happened.

  • We fully moved-in to our house (though we’re still only about 25% unpacked).
  • We set a date for the wedding (8/7) and have picked a location for the reception, which may double as the wedding site too.
  • We selected/customized Cody’s engagement ring and matching wedding band
  • My company laid off about 25% of its work force (a layoff I rather miraculously was not a part of).
  • The Vampire game has resumed.

I’m probably forgetting a few things, but those are the big highlights.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted often of late is that it seems a bit of a chore to go to the blog page, log in, write up a post, etc, etc. I’ve recently implemented an easier method of posting that I think should make posting a more frequent occurrence. I’ve also got to get over my internal reluctance to post a battery of short posts as I think of things to say. If Twitter has proven anything, it’s that people enjoy hearing about the exploits of others in short bites. I don’t think I’ll ever hop on the Twitter bandwagon, though (famous last words…).

I finally got LaTeX-style rendering working on my wikis. It’s not that this is particularly difficult to do, but rather I had never had a server setup that would allow me to make the necessary changes to support it before. The particular implementation I’m using right now is MimeTeX. I had to do some custom hackery to make it work (specifically, my server did not seem content to create image links with some of the formatting required by TeX, so I wrote a PHP “middleman” that stands between the MediaWiki math engine and the MimeTeX CGI to properly handle formatting), but it’s great fun.

The major motivating factor in getting the TeX support to work is that I wanted to explore the idea of “damage potential” in EVE Online. Because of the way damage works in EVE, specifically with turrets, a given ship using a given type of gun is going to do the most damage at close range, and then see that damage falloff gradually as the target gets farther and farther away. This isn’t accounting for aspects of the target, which also play a role. The formula for this falloff is known and can be calculated, but I wanted to see how different ships stacked up to one another when they were compared.

I decided that the best way to do this would be to integrate the falloff curve (i.e. find the area bound by the DPS graph for the ship). Of course, this led to about 15 hours of wrestling with a truly atrocious integral. After consulting with Wolfram’s online integrator, engineers at work, the think tank at SDN, my dad, Cody, and Dr. Math,it became clear that the only way to solve the integral was via approximation and a computer.  I wrote up a Python script to do the integral and started getting good results.  I’m not really sure how valid they are, though.  Mathematically, they’re sound, but I’m not sure about their practical application.

I think that’s about it for now.