Random article: Faddeev-Popov ghost

Things like this make me wonder if quantum physics isn’t all a hugely elaborate practical joke by scientists on the rest of us mere mortals. Negative probabilities? Seriously?

In physics, Faddeev-Popov ghosts (also called ghost fields) are additional fields which need to be introduced in the realization of gauge theories as consistent quantum field theories.

The Faddeev-Popov ghosts are sometimes referred to as “good ghosts“. The “bad ghosts” represent another, more general meaning of the word “ghost” in theoretical physics: states of negative norm—or fields with the wrong sign of the kinetic term, such as Pauli-Villars ghosts—whose existence allows the probabilities to be negative.


This is what appears at the top of Wikipedia’s Microsoft Reader article. If you don’t know, the logo is supposed to say “Microsoft Reader with ClearType”. Obviously this is a Wikipedia problem, and could be fixed by changing the image size, but for once I can’t be bothered because it’s too wonderfully ironic like this. Besides, Microsoft Reader is an evil product.

Mah first mashup!

Well I spent some time messing around in Ableton Live when I really should have been working, and now exams are over decided to finish something up and post it. So it’s pretty short, the ending really sucks, and it clearly only works at all through blind luck because all my attempts to produce anything else have failed miserably. But I’m quite proud of it all the same. Enjoy. (And please don’t sue me.)


Random article: Rosenhan experiment

The Rosenhan experiment was a famous experiment into the validity of psychiatric diagnosis conducted by David Rosenhan in 1972. It was published in the journal Science under the title “On being sane in insane places.”

Rosenhan’s study consisted of two parts. The first involved the use of healthy associates or “pseudopatients,” who briefly simulated auditory hallucinations in an attempt to gain admission to 12 different psychiatric hospitals in five different states in various locations in the United States. The second involved asking staff at a psychiatric hospital to detect non-existent “fake” patients. In the first case hospital staff failed to detect a single pseudopatient, in the second the staff falsely detected large numbers of genuine patients as impostors. The study is considered an important and influential criticism of psychiatric diagnosis.

40 percent bigger than Jesus

John Lennon once aroused controversy, by claiming that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Well, over 40 years later he has been proven right, thanks to the wonderful Wikipedia traffic statistics. In February the article on The Beatles was more popular than that on Jesus, almost 40% more popular in fact.

The Beatles are just one of 254 things bigger than Jesus though. Others include Muhammad (whose image problems have likely helped him reach 23rd place in the rankings), Che Guevara (123rd), Lasers (172nd), Batman (206th) and of course interweb favourite 2 Girls 1 Cup (34th).

Random article: War of Jenkins’ Ear

The War of Jenkins’ Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748. After 1742 it merged into the larger War of the Austrian Succession.

Under the 1729 Treaty of Seville, the British had agreed not to trade with the Spanish colonies. To verify the treaty, the Spanish were permitted to board British vessels in Spanish waters. After one such incident in 1731, Robert Jenkins, captain of the ship Rebecca, claimed that the Spanish coast guard had severed his ear. The British government, which was determined to continue its drive toward commercial and military domination of the Atlantic basin, used this incident as an excuse to wage war against Spain in the Caribbean. In 1738 Jenkins exhibited his pickled ear to the House of Commons, whipping up war fever against Spain. To much cheering, the British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declared war on 23 October 1739.