Monday notes from 3 August 2020
I'm back in my home county of Somerset now, with the waving goodbye and the big journey south having taken place at the end of last week. I had spent just over three weeks in Ilkley, the longest I had ever spent there by quite a while. The visit didn't feel like a visit as such, more that I was temporarily living in their house. It was all pretty relaxed and harmonious really!
A few memories stand out:
- The house has an emphasis on cookery, and the simple pleasure of collecting gooseberries, rhubarb, and so on from the garden was very nice. Or, more accurately, lying in the grass while others did so.
- Over several days I'd push Ⓤ on the little swing from the apple tree, which developed into a 'launch procedure' game. Ⓤ would get ready for launch, select a height level, and be released to delighted screams. Level 1 is a tame 30cm displacement, but Level 9 is about 2m off the ground, and her feet would kick the branches as she reached the apex of the swing on the other side.
- In the early mornings, Ⓤ would sometimes wake up and come into the guest room in which I was staying. At the start of the visit I tried to nag her to go downstairs where I could prepare breakfast for her, but it turned out she just wanted to watch TV in bed as she woke up. I'd take a while to get my computer playing Netflix programmes such as Teen Titans Go!, Charlie's Colorforms City or the title on which we least agreed, Chip and Potato. Before the viewing began, we'd have a chat about our dreams, and on the last day, we looked at how different cultures had interpreted the shapes of the constellations in the sky using Stellarium. We switched from our own familiar Western constellations to those of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people of north-central USA/Canada, also known as the Sioux Nation. Now, we could see the stars re-interpreted as a thunderbird, a turtle, and so on, and Ⓤ enjoyed looking at the Native art which illustrates the sky map for this particular body of star knowledge from indigenous astronomy.
- The general imaginative and unstructured play, and the silly songs and funny games that it generates. Song is very much a part of Ⓤ's life and she'll happily spout nonsensical songs which are then refined into ones which we all sing for weeks on end.
- We went to the pub but despite wanting to sit in a pub for months, when I got there, I found I was really more interested in trips out into nature. I loved the amazing hikes into the Dales, finding crashing waterfalls on the other side of woodland glens, and stepping across the stones in the river with my bare feet. With the visit came a renewal of my interest in running and my discovery that I really enjoy trail running.
The much-touted Ultraviolet Parade never came to pass, but before we know it autumn will be upon us, and the garden will host glowing dinosaurs and real stargazing.
Quantified self. With all the good food has come quite a lot of weight gain! I'm not overweight just yet, but the time has come to put on the brakes with more health data logging — the only approach that I've found to work. I know that MyFitnessPal is very popular for this, but I got annoyed with the advertising and the way it slowed down my old mobile phone made logging a chore. I'm now trying out Cronometer. It has the same bias towards American brands that MyFitnessPal has, but seems to be faster, even if I have to occasionally add foods to its database.
This provides one statistic of many that I have been comprehensively logging since around November last year. On Friday I thought it would be fun to code up a small website which presents the 14-day average of some of these statistics along with a simple 90-day plot. I didn't want it to be too complicated so, to enforce this, I decided to try to fit each report on a simulated 128×32 LCD panel. I wrote a little font/graph-plotting library to make this happen, and you too can now keep tabs on my weight and the calories that contribute to it, with more to come soon.
Go. In go news, I spent some time implementing Paton's algorithm for finding cycles in undirected graphs. This is partly how I'm detecting surroundedness in my program, in which the graph we're considering reflects the adjacency of groups and the edge of the board. Paton's method finds the fundmental cycles — the smaller, simpler cycles from which larger ones can be constructed. There's quite a neat method for doing this. If the edges of two simple cycles which overlap are bits in a bitset, XORing them will yield a larger cycle. By applying this, it's possible to find all cycles that groups form on the go board. Combined with careful application of Benson's algorithm, I hope to have an efficient and accurate test of territory, as well as a faster and less accurate heuristic for considering potential positions and branches.
And finally, Real Life. The prospect of moving house looms ever nearer, and I'm now very much getting ready for this — moving my things into storage and looking for somewhere new. This is very tedious, but getting it over with this week should be quite a relief. I can then get back to more abstract pursuits.