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The black hole recursion

Astronomy

One of the most important scientific discoveries of the last 2 years has shaken up the astronomical world : the fact that our universe keeps on expanding, and doing this on an increasing accelerating rate. The energy responsible for that expansion is now called dark energy. How strange as it may be, this model can be explained by a theory that allows universes to be contained into black holes.

The idea that our universe is entirely contained within a black hole provides answers to these problems and many more. It eliminates the notion of physically impossible singularities in our universe and it combines two central theories in physics.

The first is general relativity, the modern theory of gravity, which describes the universe at the largest scales. The second is quantum mechanics, which describes the universe at the smallest scales, such as the level of the atom. However, quantum mechanics and general relativity are currently separate theories; physicists have been striving to combine the two successfully into a single theory of "quantum gravity" to adequately describe important phenomena, including the behavior of subatomic particles in black holes. Using a new quark property called torsion, a new explanation about the big bang may be created.

If black holes contain universes, then the notion of a multiverse reappears : a universe that is truely infinite, and where everything is possible. In such a multiverse, there exists somewhere in space an identical copy of you reading an identical copy of this article at this very moment.

Precise

Ubuntu

It has become a habit that I blog about the Ubuntu upgrade of my desktop, but this year I haven't found the time to do it on a timely manner.
Precise got announced as one of Canonicals best finished products ever, which did me upgrade some days before the official release. How did the upgrade go ? Not so good.

Basically, it bugs the hell out of me that Canonical still cannot refrain itself from messing with the end user settings. This upgrade wasn't any different. Disabling features like Ctrl-Backspace-Delete, the URL paste in Firefox with the middle-mouse button are some of the know stuff.

Some of the nasty upgrade bits :

  • I forgot to pin nvidia-173, so it got removed and as it isn't part of Precise's multiverse (nvidia-current creates high kernel load); my X-config was foobarred. I just gave up and switched to Nouveau.
  • Contrary to a lot of people, I do not find Unity and Dash to become more and more user-friendly with every release; they are working more and more on my nerves. I've tried to install MATE, but there's something broken with the nouveau config, it seems.
  • the upgrade died on my netbook, due to a foobarred /var/lib/dpkg/status
  • the upgrade foobarred my bcm4314 wireless card config on my netbook.
  • the root filesystem gets marked dirty as some processes don't get stopped at shutdown, resulting in a 10-15 second penalty at the next boot.

In the end, I got everything rather quickly in a working state, but I find upgrading and fixing desktop software even more boring than watching the 3456332th episode of Neighbors, just to mention something...
The whole experience has convinced me that I'm not fitting in Canonicals 6 month upgrade process anymore, so I'll probably switch to the LTS release cycle, or to a Debian stable or CentOS based desktop in the future.

Venus transit 2012

Astronomy

On Wednesday June 6th, an exceptional astronomical event will take place. As seen from Earth, the planet Venus will pass in a straight line between Earth and the Sun. As a result of that, an observer on Earth can see the planet Venus 'transiting' the Sun disk. When you are looking at the Sun using special equipment (*never* look without any protection straight to the sun !), you can see a black circle slowly passing over the Sun.

The last time this event took place, was 8 years ago. However, it will take another 100 years, on 2117 Dec 11th and 2125 Dec 08th, for anyone to be able to observe this transit again.

For observers in Belgium, only the last part of the 7 hours during spectacle will be visible in the morning of June 6th, and this from 5:21 (sun rise) up till 6:55, when the planet's silhouette will leave the sun's disk. This event is an ideal opportunity to have a look at this through professional equipment, several observatories will be open to the public to give you an opportunity to look at the Venus transit.

Perl advent calendar 2011

Perl

Dark days and the smell of rotting pumpkins ? It's that time of the year again : here's the Perl Advent calendar 2011 !

Port Charlotte, An Turas Mor

Booze

Anyone familiar with the typical shape of a Bruichladdich bottle, knows that Port Charlotte is a product of the same distillery. 'An Turas Mor' means 'The Great Journey', and should be comparable with the Peat version of Bruichladdich, although slightly less peated. Sounds promising, not ? So cut the talking, and let's dive in, shall we ?

Color : Gold
Nose : *lots* of smoke and a hint of fruit & the sea. Hmm, surprisingly unpromising, and quite one-dimensional.
Taste : Fruity at first, nicely balanced sweetness, and then the peated smoke army rolls in. Still quite balanced. A hint even of wine, and more fruit in the aftertaste, maybe pear ? I expected pepper, and saltiness, but these stay absent. Much better than the smell promised.

What is there to say ? Clearly again a great whisky from Bruichladdich, only if the smell was a bit more interesting, this would be a winner ! Anyway, if you're into Islay stuff, be sure to check this one out !

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