Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for the ‘Do stuff’ Category

Daylight savings: Spring forward.

Posted by Anonymous on March 10, 2013

Daylight Saving Time (United States) 2013 begins at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 10
and ends at 2:00 AM on
Sunday, November 3

At 2:00 AM turn your clocks forward to 3 AM. Sorry to steal an hour, but you can have it back in the Fall.

Posted in Do stuff, Earth | 1 Comment »

A Day at Half Moon Bay

Posted by Anonymous on February 18, 2013

A few iPhone photos I took during our trip to Half Moon Bay this weekend. Life is sweet.















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Day of the Dead, 2012 in SF

Posted by Anonymous on November 5, 2012

A few days after Halloween I attended an event to remember the dead. Thousands were there in costume to join the parade and remember those who have gone before us. This was my first time. Here are a few pictures:
















Posted in Do stuff | 1 Comment »

Happy Halloween! Drive Carefully

Posted by Anonymous on October 31, 2012







Posted in Do stuff | Leave a Comment »

Chess with Xeno (free on line)

Posted by Anonymous on February 11, 2012

Have an iPhone? Like chess? Let’s play!

Directions: Go to the App Store, search for “chess with friends free”, install it, enter your email address (I wont see that), choose a user name (I will see this), scroll down and tap “Create Game”, tap “User Name”, enter “xenophilius.wordpress.com”, then tap “Search”!

I’ll get an offer to join a game with you.

I typically have about 20 games going at once. Good luck!

If you still call a rook a “castle” and a knight a “horsey” then try the free “Learn Chess” app. Chess is a game you can enjoy for many years. I’ve heard there are more possible chess games (ways the two players could move from start to finish) than there are atoms in the universe.





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Citizen scientists: Help find life on Mars

Posted by Anonymous on October 3, 2011

Image: Kelly Lake

Interested in helping NASA scientists pinpoint where to look for signs of life on Mars?

If so, you can join a new citizen science website called MAPPER, launched in conjunction with the Pavilion Lake Research Project’s 2011 field season.

How can the MAPPER and Pavilion Lake Research projects help scientists look for off-Earth life?

Since 2008, the Pavilion Lake Research Project has used DeepWorker submersible vehicles to investigate the underwater environment of two lakes in Canada (Pavilion and Kelly). With the MAPPER project, citizen scientists can work with NASA scientists and explore the lake bottoms from the view of a DeepWorker pilot.

The project team’s main area of focus are freshwater carbonate formations known as microbialites. By studying microbialites that thrive in Pavilion and Kelly Lake, the scientists will gain a better understanding of how the formations develop. Through a greater understanding of the carbonate formations, the team believes they will gain deeper insights into where signs of life may be found on Mars and beyond.

To investigate the formations in detail, video footage and photos of the lake bottom are recorded by DeepWorker sub pilots. The data requires analysis in order to determine what types of features can be found in different parts of the lake. Analyzing the data allows the team to answer questions like these: How do microbialite texture and size vary with depth? Why do microbialites grow in certain parts of the lake but not in others?

The amount of data to analyze is staggering — if each image taken were to be printed, the stack would be taller than the depth of Pavilion Lake (over 60 meters, or 200 feet). If each image were reviewed one-by-one, the project team members would never be able to complete their work. Distributing the work to many volunteers across the Internet solves the problem.

The MAPPER effort — which stands for “Morphology Analysis Project for Participatory Exploration and Research” — has been opened to the general public for the PLRP 2011 field season. Anyone can use MAPPER to explore Pavilion Lake and Kelly Lake as full-fledged members of PLRP’s Remote Science Team. …

via Citizen scientists: Help find life on Mars – msnbc.com.

Posted in Do stuff, Space, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Puzzle Gamers Solve Scientific Mystery that Could Help Cure AIDS, News from GamePro

Posted by Anonymous on September 19, 2011

Pete DavisonFoldit, an online game put together by the University of Washington’s computer science and biochemistry departments, was launched in 2008 as an attempt to leverage the ingenuity and spatial reasoning skills of gamers to help solve scientific problems. Recently, players of the game have helped discover the structure of an enzyme which could prove a significant step forward in the treatment and cure of retroviral diseases and even AIDS.

“We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed,” said Firas Khatib of the University of Washington’s biochemistry lab. “The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”

“People have spational reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at,” added co-creator of Foldit Seth Cooper. “Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before.”

The structure of the enzyme in question had stumped scientists for over a decade, but Foldit players managed to model it together in just three weeks. The discovery will greatly assist in the research and development of drugs to treat retroviral conditions such as HIV, which leads to the onset of AIDS — a condition for which there is still no cure.

“The critical role of Foldit players in the solution of [this problem] shows the power of online games to channel human intuition and three-dimensional pattern-matching skills to solve challenging scientific problems,” wrote representatives of the University of Washington in a full report on the discovery. “Although much attention has recently been given to the potential of crowdsourcing and game playing, this is the first instance that we are aware of in which online gamers solved a longstanding scientific problem. These results indicate the potential for integrating video games into the real-world scientific process.” …

via Puzzle Gamers Solve Scientific Mystery that Could Help Cure AIDS, News from GamePro.

This may be a first step on a new path to accelerate our evolution. We just have to imagine and then code our problems as puzzles to be solved as games… even better, as multi-player games. The fold.it web site is a bit busy right now, but keep trying.

Posted in Biology, Do stuff, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Happy 4th of July!

Posted by Anonymous on July 5, 2011

Hope you are enjoying it!



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Play Democratic Zork

Posted by Anonymous on June 28, 2011


Here’s my version of the Zork text adventure game written a few years ago for laughs.

Posted in Do stuff | 2 Comments »

Break the Code — Central Intelligence Agency

Posted by Anonymous on February 11, 2011

Did you know the CIA has games for kids on their web site?  I had fun seeing how fast I could get the answer to all six coded messages on the site. I got all six correct in under 1 minute.  Can you guess how I did it? See: Break the Code — Central Intelligence Agency.

LEFT: This has nothing to do with the answers above, other than the fact that you can get amazing things done if you are creative …. did you ever think of this: Shoelaces can be used to send coded messages.

Posted in Do stuff, Technology | 1 Comment »


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