Putting #vaseline on your #pumpkin works, sort of

The other day I shared my #halloween #pumpkin, along with an experimental way of extending its life with petroleum jelly.  Four days later it is doing well (normally they have become a saggy, decaying mess by now) with one minor drawback - some of the teeth seem to have dissolved and fallen out.  Any biochemists out there able to explain what is going on?

Today - looks like he's enjoying a sugar rich diet.

Last time looking much healthier

Weird Particle Art Thingums

Introducing a selection of weird particle art thingy-bobs from around the web.  Do enjoy!  Plus one geek experience point for all the developers.

Victor Taba

Victor Taba is an experimental flash animation.  You will need, err, Flash installed to play it.  What to expect:  Spooky music - check.  Random shapes - check.  That's it.  Victor Taba has it in buckets.  Wiggle your mouse, more shapes appear.  There is not much more I can say about this, but do have fun.

Featuring the music of Thomas Lanza, Victor Taba is available for installations.

Just click anywhere to feel like you are in control of what happens.


Hakim presents 'the experiments' a playground for Flash, HTML and CSS adventures.  Featured here is the Keylight project.  Imagine an empty box in which you can place musical tones.  A laser beam travels from one tone to the next, travelling salesman style, in the process generating a possibly recognizable tune.  Then imagine it no longer as you can actually play with it now.

Double click to add spheres.  Then sit back and endure your creation.

Ball Droppings

The screenshot does not do this app any favours, just go and check it out.  Draw lines with your mouse to create platforms that deflect the dropping balls.  When you do they create musical tones upon impact.

Draw platforms to deflect the dropping balls.  Alter the ball drop rate and gravity.  Have fun now!

Sugar, sugar

One of my favourites.  Draw with the mouse; try and get the sugar to land in the cups.

Loads of levels to play with.  Each one harder than the next, as you would expect.
Sugar, Sugar reminds me of Water World on the BBC Microcomputer.  Having nothing to do with the movie of the same name, Water World involved drawing pipes to channel particles of water.  Originally published in Acorn User Magazine in July 1992.
Water World appeared one of the Beebug user group discs in 1996.  If you really want to play this (and your really do), then do get in touch.
That's all for now, but we will return soon for more nerdy computer stuff and hopefully we will dish out a few more geek experience points.

The 2015 #Pumpkin for #halloween

Introducing the 2015 Superdecade Games Hallowe'en pumpkin (jack-o'-lantern):

It's a monster!

Careful excavation.  Get am adult to help with this.  I got my dad to do it because I'm only five years young.

Cutting off the skin. Cut out small shapes which should peel off easily.

I've used a really sharp knife here.

I'm using the natural grain in the pumpkin to mark out the teeth.  There is no need to cut all the way through at first.

Carefully shaping the teeth.

I've used household bleach to kill any 99.9% of the surface bacteria. This is an attempt to preserve the pumpkin for longer.

The pumpkin has been rinsed and then dried with a hair dryer.  Once it is dry I've coated the surface with petroleum jelly.  This is an attempt to stop oxygen and bacteria from getting to the exposed flesh of the pumpkin.  This *should* make the pumpkin last a little longer.

My pumpkin is now a jack-o'-lantern with addition of a candle.

The finished product.  Raaaaaghhhh!
If you enjoyed this post then you might also like our previous Jack-o'-lanterns: 2014, 2012.

#Halloween #Hallowe'en #pumpkin #jackolantern #lantern

Guess the numbers in #python

I was asked by a student for the solution to the guess the numbers game in python, so here it is.

You get 8 guesses to find the secret number.  Each time you guess correctly the game moves to a more complicated level, starting from 1-100, then 1-200, and then the more challenging 1-400 and 1-800.   Good luck on the impossible 1-1600 and beyond levels.

# guess the numbers game
# by Mr Street
# 2015-10-24

import random

level = 1
gameOver = False
# this is the main loop
while not(gameOver):
    # get a new random number
    target = random.randint(1, 100*(2**(level-1)))
    guesses = 0
    guessedCorrect = False
    #this is each level
    while not(guessedCorrect) and guesses < 8:
        print("\n\nLEVEL "+str(level))
        print("Guess number "+str(guesses+1))
        print("I'm thinking of a number between 1 and "+str(100*(2**(level-1)) )+" what is it?")
        guess = int(input("? > ")) # my prompt
        #check whether it is correct
        if guess > target:
            print("TOO HIGH!")
        elif guess < target:
            print("TOO LOW!")
            print("CORRECT - YOU ARE A LEGEND!")
            guessedCorrect = True # set end of level flag
        guesses += 1 # record number of guesses

    # you reach this point by either running out of guesses or guessing correctly
    if not(guessedCorrect):
        print("\nYou have run out of guesses.")
        print("\n\nNEXT LEVEL!\n\n")
        level += 1 # increase the difficulty

Standard deviation in #python

Standard deviation in #python

A program that demonstrates calculating the (sample) standard deviation of a list of numbers in #python.  Standard deviation measures the amount of deviation in a set of numbers (the spready-out-iness of the numbers, to coin a phrase).  If you want to find the standard deviation of the whole population, remove the '-1' highlighted in red.

# Finds the mean, sum of squares and standard deviation for a list of numbers
# T Street
# 2015-10-20

def mean( alist ):
    """ Returns the mean of a list of numbers """
    total = 0
    for i in alist:
        total += i
    return (total / len(alist))

def sumSquares( alist, mymean ):
    """ Returns the variance of a list of numbers """
    sumSquares = 0
    for i in alist:
        sumSquares += ( (i - mymean)**2 )
    return sumSquares

def standardDeviation( alist ):
    """ Returns the standard deviation of a list of numbers """
    return (sumSquares(alist, mean(alist)) / (len(alist)-1))**0.5

# Test program
numbers = [ 5, 3, 5, 23, 8, 6, 7, 6 ]

print("Standard deviation\t",( standardDeviation( numbers ) ) )
print("Mean\t\t\t",( mean( numbers ) ) )
print("sum Squares\t\t",( sumSquares( numbers, mean(numbers) ) ) )

Vernam Cypher in #Python

The Vernam Cypher is a type of 'one-time pad' symmetric cypher which makes use of the NEQ (not equivalence, or XOR Exclusive-OR bitwise operation).  Vernam Cypher is almost unbreakable using any brute force or statistical analysis using current technology, provided that the key remains secret and is only used for encryption and decryption once (hence 'one-time pad').

The cypher works by finding the Exclusive OR of each character with a key string.  Here it is in Python.

# Vernam cypher demo
# T Street 2015-10-16

def makeVernamCypher( text, key ):
    """ Returns the Vernam Cypher for given string and key """
    answer = "" # the Cypher text
    p = 0 # pointer for the key
    for char in text:
        answer += chr(ord(char) ^ ord(key[p]))
        p += 1
        if p==len(key):
            p = 0
    return answer

MY_KEY = "cvwopslweinedvq9fnasdlkfn2"
while True:
    print("\n\n---Vernam Cypher---")
    PlainText = input("Enter text to encrypt: ")
    # Encrypt
    Cypher = makeVernamCypher(PlainText, MY_KEY)
    print("Cypher text: "+Cypher)
    # Decrypt
    decrypt = makeVernamCypher(Cypher, MY_KEY)
    print("Decrypt: "+decrypt)

Demo shows the text has been encrypted and then decrypted again.

Join us again soon for more nerdy stuff.

#Cyper #Vernam #Encryption

Ways to waste your time on the web today

Without further ado, here is a list of ways you can waste your time.  Got your browser plugged in? Good, let's go...

Wire Frame, by Vector Lounge

Ever needed to play with a skeleton puppet? Well me neither, but now you can.  Well, it is Halloween soon.  BYT - you will need Flash for this to work.
Pull the strings - make it walk.

12 by 12 Tic-Tac-Toe

Play Tic-Tac-Toe (it was called 'Naughts and Crosses' when I was young) against your browser.  Get five in a row to win.
It's like Tic-Tac-Toe, only 12 times bigger and you need 5 in a row to win.

Mind Cards

Mind cards is a game of quick-thinking.  Answer as many simple challenges as possible in two minutes.  Score points.  Then compare yourself to the high score board.  Then feel a little bit sad.

The whole game reminds me somewhat the adventure game Abyss that I used to play on the Acorn Electron.  Only the Abyss was much harder and made you feel much stupider.

One of many types of mental challenges. Can you match the pattern as quickly as you can?

The mathematics doesn't get much harder than this, but how quickly can you click and type in the answer?

Tonfall sequencer

I don't know what this is, but I like it!

You start with a load of colourful circles drifting slowly around your screen in something akin to Brownian motion.  As the circles drift closer to each other they form connections like neurons in your brain all the time playing a haunting melody.  Change the melody by dragging the little circles around the screen, making and breaking connections and so on.

Computer generated music never sounded so haunting.

And finally.....

The Age Calc

Calculate your age in years, months, weeks, days - and if you know the exact time of your birth - in minutes and seconds.  Loads of fun to keep you going until next week.

Get lost with maps

Some cool map apps you can play with right now...

Countries of the World Quiz
How many countries can you name in 15 minutes - the quiz!

European History the Interactive Map
Explore European history from 900BC to the present day, with a wealth of information and articles available by clicking.  Here we see the last days of Nazi Germany...

Six stunning maps uncover hidden details of the Earth and the Moon
Explore the Earth and the moon in some fabulous maps on the New Scientist web page.  Here we see the Dymaxion Airocean projection which showing the world's temperature zones on a more accurate representation of continental proportions than the standard Mercator map. Visit the site for maps of the moon; vesuvius; Hurricane Katrina Flooding Estimated Depths and Extent; and Human Mobility and the Spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of New York City and Tokyo

Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of New York City and Tokyo from Foursquare on Vimeo.
Every day, millions of people check in on Foursquare. We took a year's worth of check-ins in New York City and Tokyo and plotted them on a map. Each dot represents a single check-in, while the straight lines link sequential check-ins.

What you can see here represents the power of check-in data -- on Foursquare, every city around the world pulses with activity around places every hour of every day.

Related: Also see our data visualization of four days worth of Foursquare check-ins in New York CIty during Hurricane Sandy (and the subsequent power outage) during October 2012: http://vimeo.com/52883962.

Build with Chrome
A partnership between LEGO and Google allowing you to create Lego constructions within Google Maps.  Go to your street on Google Maps and try and build your house in virtual Lego.  Then share your creations with your followers. As the title suggests, you are going to need a chrome browser logged-in with your Google account - I'm still waiting for Lego to release a browser.

Cool, #Logic Gates using #dominoes

A series of videos explaining #logic gates using dominoes (some even work).

A cool introduction to logic using dominoes.  +1 geek experience point for #numberphile.

A 4 bit full adder using dominoes that works - sort of - the 'world's slowest computer'?

AND, OR and XOR logic using dominoes. +1 geek experience point for Neil Fraser

Domino logic gate with Nick Poole using #arduido demonstrating the full adder (add +1 geek experience point).