27 May, 2010


In the softly chirping burping
The wand of white ticks timely
With the sweep of warm wraps grazing
And the elephant stomp hazing.
They build the picture solid
of another world less squalid
Where wind swept trees sing grandly
And low breezes follow gladly.
Down the hillside rivers fall
Off cliffs and mountains tall
By empty gardens of sandy rock
And mysterious forest of whispers shhhh

Down by places where children gallop
With the horses of the rallop
Waving fields of swaying grasses
Within which the small foal masters
The art of leaping, falling
Dancing to and rolling
In the wisp-soaked musical lay
For which the poorest need not pay.

From the lowly tinkle to
the loudest booming cymbal
and the timpanis build the sound
where the percussionist looks not around.
In the thunderous applause
the strings all sing in one accord
while winds they all float higher
and the brasses speak as crier.

The swelling of the tide
Ceases in the stillness
the audience stand in wonder
the orchestra not asunder
to acknowledge one who brought this about
who with patient words did not shout
his dream and vision
pictures tall
brought tonight
to sound the hall.

26 May, 2010

mix it up

Night before last or rather, morning before last, I had a dream. It was a mix of Doctor Who (with Sarah-Jane Smith), Stargate and a smidgeon of Men in Black. Very odd.

It started out with Sarah-Jane investigating the newest fad, some sort of company that had cropped up and become famous overnight and were now employing people and expanding like crazy. Why? Well, they had discovered a Stargate. Guess who came through the Stargate? Aliens of course! One alien that copied the people around it and tried to pretend it was a human. Sarah-Jane found it out of course and tried to contact the Doctor, only as usual, he was off gallivanting somewhere else and she couldn't find hide nor hair of him. This was one of those aliens that feed off almost any sort of energy and it liked the look of earth. Wanted to eat it all up.

The alien was one of those scary ones with lots of tentacles and like Men in Black, it filled the secret company base with it's tentacles, smothering people and feeding off what energy it could. It figured out who Sarah-Jane was (of course) and had almost finished smothering her to death with its masses of tentacles when the Doctor (a curious mix of David Tennant's 10th and Matt Smith's 11th with a dash of some of the older Doctors in between) turns up with his sonic screwdriver and saves the day and world - as per his usual bumbling, dashing style. Oh, and he breaks the Stargate for good measure with his handy screwdriver.

Several decades later, a stargate team (mixture of SG-1, Atlantis and Universe people) happen across the now abandoned base, coming from another stargate not too far away. They investigate and invariably get themselves stuck in a timeloop - starting with when they first arrive through the 'gate until they begin to die of a mysterious plague when the abandoned base invariably goes into lock down. That is after they fix the 'gate and something comes through the gate that they didn't see. Plus, they retain memory of what happened in every previous loop. Trial and error.

And what comes through the gate? An alien, followed by some sort of disease/parasite type thing. Kind of like how the incas and mexican began dying of small pox when the spanish invaded. The team's doctor works like crazy to try and figure out a way to cure them and make them immune to the bug - all the while, one member of the team isn't really a member of the team, he's the alien who has done something to their memories to make them think he's one of them. He then proceeds to get the doctor pregnant - without her realising it, until it grows unnaturally fast. Stuff happens.

The team genius is busy working out a way to get themselves out of the base and stop the time loop. Something to do with both stargate being activated and needing to blow this one up. The alien, starts to grow attached to these people as he comes to know them and finally comes clean - tells them the truth and that the illness is his fault. It won't bother them when if he returns to his home planet. The other problem is the doctor being pregnant.

Choice number 1. Never mind the pregnancy and baby. Abort it and go ahead with the plan where in the next loop, the alien leaves throught the Stargate immediately and the team escapes through the gate, blowing it up behind them.

Choice number 2. Let the time loop continue until the baby is born and then the alien and baby can scram, while the team go home, blowing up the gate behind them. Despite the danger of the mysterious illness killing the baby before they can leave. The alien assures them the baby will most likely be dead before he can bring it home to his planet.

Choice number 3. The alien takes the team's doctor with him through the Stargate to his home world until the baby is born, before contacting them via Stargate Command. The team in the meantime, will also escape through the 'gate, blowing it up behind them.

The team leader gives the doctor the choice. Her baby, her decision. She chooses number 3 and leave through the gate with the alien. She trusts him and will get intouch with Stargate Command somehow. The team tell her to stay safe and warns the alien that if any harm comes to her, they will hunt him down and kill him - which he says is fine with him. It's only fair. The team leave and blow the gate up behind them, effectively killing the time loop and returning to normal.

It's like a whole episode or two in itself. I don't think people would be interested in the setting, as I can tell you it's a conglomeration and collage of places from Firefly, Stargate (worlds and basements) and Dr Who.

But that dream doesn't measure up to this morning's dream... which was scary and not in an 'Aaaaaah! Gulp' way. No aliens. Just a plethora of children - actually a country run by children and over run by children and whose sole inhabitants are children aged 2 and up. The oldest people are in their 40s, but are controlled by the children because of all the gangs formed by the children. It's worst than Lord of the Flies. And this is interspersed with one of my deepest darkest fears come to life in dream form. Bad dream! Down boy!

Nothing to do with aliens at all... and nobody can help you. Oh, they're there (your family and friends and anyone who cares about you, that is) and around you, but they can't help you. They try, but they fail. You try to comfort them, but you fail. It's the world gone crazy and you knowing it's a dream, but in between the parts you know are a dream are parts that are so real to life... and you are stuck in a dilemna that may never be solved, resulting in you just... ...

Vanity of vanity
Everything is vanity
There is nothing under the sun that is but vanity.
What then is our purpose in life?
How then can we go on living?
If all is vanity, then what is the point?
To do your best
Enjoy your work and it fruits, while they still last
Give your utmost for God's glory
And trust Him for the rest.

21 May, 2010

more statistics

So the meta-analysis is null and void. Why? Because the data is incompatible and re-assessment times too inconsiderate. When people make up an experiment, can they at least make it similar to one other experiment out there? Honestly. How hard can it be... but then, you gotta try avoid the plagiarism - or the accusations of such. Bleh.

Imagine, you got a 50-50 chance that your real world and your dream world are true and a 50-50 chance that you'll die in them. Yep, Doctor Who again. I've been pondering on that concept ever since SG-1's Moebius or whatever it's called and Teal'c had a problem with deciding which dream world was real. Of course it was neither. If both are realistic, it must be neither, right? But what if somebody one day really couldn't tell the difference between their dream and real world. What would happen if they died in the real world? "[They'd] die, stupid."

The dark side of Doctor Who is scary, weird and just plain annoying. Seeing as he showed his ugly face in the Doctor's reflection on the console, I won't be surprised if he makes a little cameo appearance again at some later date. Then again, maybe not. Who knows? The writers of the show can be slightly unpredictable - which is good... and that is beside the 'Aaah! Gulp. Monsters.... Aaaah! Gulp. Monsters gone. The Doctor scared them away,' or 'the Doctor saved the world/universe/insert place here' type things.

I wonder whether they'll ever bring up the Susan Foreman story line again, even though she's presumably lost along with the rest of the Time Lords in the Time War, possibly when she was President of Gallifrey. Maybe they'll get her and Jenny to meet. That'd be interesting, especially considering Jenny can travel in space, but Susan Foreman somehow obtained the Master's old TARDIS. Hmmm... It is possible, right? Or is the Timelock so locked that she got locked in it and despite having travelled the universe with the first doctor and traversed time as well, you'd think that there is a remote possibility that they will crash into each other at some stage. Not that I really care. It'd just be interesting to see what the writers would come up with.

So far, Steven Moffat is doing a scary, fine old job. It's certainly different from the previous series. Continuity is a tricky thing, but if the Doctor was shown doing different things in different parallel universes or jumping between them... Hmmm... even if it were a leg-puller... Or, maybe the Doctor only exists in one parallel universe and is absent from all others, cos the Time Lords don't exist in the parallels...

Then again, the Enemy of the Universe wasn't originally meant to be the Daleks. Who then, was it meant to be? Those weird ladies from Karn? Doubt it. What would happen if the Doctor accidentally got tricked into getting stuck on the wrong side of the Time Lock. Ooh. Now that bears some thinking. A job for the Trickster perhaps?

Forget the Who-niverse. It isn't relevant to my statistics at this stage as I twiddle with relative risks and try to work out whether they pose any danger to the effect sizes the calculator spat out.
Be kind, O thou Hedges.
Be kind, O thou numbers too foreign to my mind.
Be patient and I will sort you into comprehendable streams and sentences and relegate you to thy proper places in the report.
(Note: 'thee' is singular, where 'you' is plural - or so it is according to my understanding of ye Olde English.)

The conclusion? Don't write a systematic review unless you are willing to spend the time on learning to understand how numbers think and behave. Neither attempt a literature review if you aren't prepared to be frustrated and aggravated at every turn when the articles you search for prove entirely too elusive for your comprehensive search strategies.

Never mind.

Mousey wires
Hardly byred
By the ever-sea
Still the whistle
Of the treadle
Shot down the buzzing bee.

16 May, 2010

point estimates and standard deviations

If you could freeze a point in time, any point - it would be a point estimate as you would not possibly be able to find an exact point, seeing as time is a fast moving stream. It's like trying to pick out a certain molecule of water in a river. Almost impossible... unless it is a fixed point in time - as in a fixed event. Like Doctor Who says, some events cannot be changed, or you get a paradox. In that case, it would become a fixed point estimate.

Point estimates can be variable. It's annoying, because then the calculations get more complicated and you have to remember what all the little symbols stand for. The only problem is that point estimates are useful. For example a point estimate of 1945 would be World War 2, a more accurate point estimate of that would be the end of World War 2 - but that doesn't sum up the whole year, because...drumroll... tantatara: it's an estimation. You could also say it's the 'victory of the daleks' or possibly around the time where the boy asked 'are you my mummy?' Plenty more where that came from.

I'm tired of point estimates. However my title mentions standard deviations, so let's talk a little about standard deviations and why the TARDIS has so much trouble pinpointing certain points in time. I can tell you straight up that it's the fault of variance and the standard deviation. Possibly the standard error as well. Yep, all their fault. You see, the Doctor wants to travel to a certain point in time, but because time is always in flux, always moving and has so so so so so so many variables, it's not surprising that the TARDIS sometimes accidentally misses some. Sometimes the ones it misses are the important ones when it does the calculations, so that it makes an error. Technically, it's still correct yet inaccurate, it just might be a few seconds, minutes, hours, days, years off, but it still gets there (although not always in the specified location - that might be because of the standard errors and deviations in it's Earth GPS).

Now if the Doctor specified he wanted to travel to a certain time with a standard deviation of ummm... say one, and a minimal standard error of uh, one, the TARDIS would get him as close to that point in time as it could within those specifications, because you gotta allow for error. Ask any engineer. Ask any rocket scientist. You aim to get the error as small and miniscule as possible, but the error is always still there. Imagine that. You can never be correct. You can only be nearly right.

I suppose that would apply to the Destiny in Stargate Universe too.

Now, factor space into the time complex and you get a complicated mix. Space and time are 2 separate dimensions and are treated as such; however, they are also intricately linked. The people on Destiny must be glad that they don't have to deal with this birds' nest of knotty hair. Good thing Doctor Who is a Timelord that can solve those multiple stories of mathematics in his Timelord-y brain, otherwise he'd forever be turning up at the wrong places in the wrong time and the TARDIS would never get it right. Although, I have to say, he does still make mistakes. Often. Then again, he's only a Timelord. He can't help it.

The standard deviations and errors would act as overlapping targets pointing to a specific place in a specific time, painting the area within which the TARDIS is most likely to land. Interesting. It's like that game in neopets where you have those parachuting bugs that try to land on red and white targets of varying sizes. There is room for error, but your aim is to hit the bullseye.

Have I mentioned that the latest series of Doctor Who is mildly somewhat much more scary than I anticipated? The classic series never really scared me, just cos, you know tin foil and plastic bags...great props that leave plenty of 'scope for imagination'. Note the sarcasm. The last two series of Doctor Who were reasonable. Suitably crazy and nonsensical, yet with great character moments. The current Doctor Who... well, as the 10th Doc said, when he first took over, he's 'still cooking'. Has the 11th Doctor said that? Can't remember. The Weeping Angels were freaky - but twas all good, especially considering the props are so much more realistic than the classical series. Love the accents. Gotta love the accents - bar Captain Jack Harkness. I find him more annoying than anything else. Grins too much. But if he didn't do all those 'cutesy' grins, he wouldn't be him, so I'll forgive him for not being able to help himself.

Stargate Universe on the other hand is starting to pique my interest a bit more than it did in the first half of the seaon. It started off on a flat plane, but since then, it's gained more 'wholeness' or '3-D-ness' (for lack of a better word). It's a good one for character study. Telling the story from a different perspective to what most people are used to. It's good. Saves us from getting bored of the same 'same ole, same old'. Much more interesting in the second half of the season, what with more conflicts and waving arms going 'aaaargh!'.

Anyway, I gotta get back to working out my point estimates, stomping on standard deviations, tugging t-tails, probing for values of p and digging out effect sizes before sampling whiskers from the boxes of my meta-analyses. Why, oh why statistics? Why? I can't even do long division. What am I doing trying to work out what the confidence interval means in both the fixed and variable plots and whether the null hypothesis is indeed null? Tell the numbers to be kind to my uncomprehending cerebrum, please. I'm not River from Firefly, nor Sam Carter from SG-1, nor Rodney McKay and I'm definitely no Eli. I don't play computer games. Were I to have the brain of a Timelord... actually, rather not. Those Timelord-Human metacrises aren't worth it. Look what happened to poor Donna Noble.
Well... back to the lists. Can't be late or so-and-so will strip the wax from my ears (if I don't get there first).

12 May, 2010


within a box
of six curved walls
beneath a sky
of burning balls
above a crust
of ever fire
beside a thing
reamed with wire
within a space
of smelling deeds
within this place
of coloured beads.

10 May, 2010


All is dust and returns to dust.
All is nought and becomes nought.

You would never notice it.
It is so small.
Just a speck,
not even visible.
It flies and billows
upon moving air
and sticks
to anything it can.
If it lands upon you,
you'd never notice,
not until
your skin itches.
It burrows in,
you wouldn't know;
becomes a cancer
that will not leave;
changing your body,
cell by cell.
It's not a virus,
Not bacteria,
Not even a prion.
It is dust.
A living speck
with evil intent.
It's aim,
to turn you into
something you fear.
Your mind becomes
trapped within your body,
try though you might,
the dust prevails
and batters at the doors.
An alien being that
wants you to be
a monster
that turns you against
your family,
turns you against
all you hold dear
and makes you perform
your worst fears.
It seeks its victims randomly,
but once it grabs hold,
never lets go.

Once it's control is complete,
That's it.
You explode
into dust.
Dust that billows
on the breeze,
following the air gradients.
Dust that seeks the next victim
And turns them into the next host.

All it needs is one speck,
just one,
to complete it's purpose.
It's aim,
to turn all creation
into dust.
Fine dust.
Dust you would never notice.
Dust you wouldn't even know
has alighted upon you.

All is dust and returns to dust.
All is nought and becomes nought.

06 May, 2010


Hark to the bargey lark
That saileth to the moon
Ignore him who heedeth not
To angry raging mood
Thus the blood rain falleth hot
And boiling waters rise
To expel the secret box of dark
Yet still addendum the lies
What say the grungy bees
Whom after raid the loom?
What will the windows please
When silver tangents groom?
Quickly falls the blocky ditch
Of which the yesters cease
Or stomping rhinos glaring pitch
Of cracking earthen pease
Take a jar of sweet-smelling lard
And paste it to the croaker
Jam the whiners mouth with card
And take them to the soaker
Whistle, whistle, rip the shard
Pity not the dripping turd
Yet in the broken after guard
Triple all absurd
Scribble-scrabble, wait a while
So coroner can gamble
Then hesitating throw a tile
At misbegotten ramble
And as in uffish selfish trial
Whiffles tulgy amble
In that very moment smile
Before cutting down peramble
Hark to the bargey lark
What saileth to the moon
For simple though the road to park
It giveth thee no boon.

05 May, 2010


Streams of light
Streamered night
Filling star-lit sky.
Zipping tails
Correctly nails
Picture-patterned vie.
Falling falls
Glittering rose
Butterfly of halls
Celebrate with pose
And in dark corner
seldom looked
sails little loner.

03 May, 2010


periwinkle has a wrinkle
right there on his nose
nightmares tinkle
down the sink hole
to wash away the blows
stubborn mussel
nudges brussel
to wrestle wrinkle dose
but instead elbows
past the tussle
hitting periwinkle's nose.