Questions, problems and projects

Sun, 2007-12-16 18:15

Here are some questions, problems and projects that I'm working on. I should have links to blog appropriate entries as I write them (when I have things to say about things on this page). If you have any thoughts, or helpful suggestions, please leave a comment or, you can always email me.

  • Web stuff/drupal/this website
    • I have to figure out how to get this site to stop saying "Continue reading..." when there is no more to read!...I fixed this by commenting out the chunk of code in node.tpl.php that prints the link.
  • Making (physical) stuff
    • Bicycle wheels - I should be building some (or maybe just one) of these. I've got a quite good truing stand, so there is really nothing stopping me. Only thing is, I don't really need any wheels at the moment. But maybe if I had one of those generator hubs...
    • Electronic stuff
      • I've got this kit from Paia for a headphone distribution amplifer which I should be building any day now.
  • The House (always things to do around the house)
    • More rewiring: the bathroom (and add a fan), living room, dining room, kitchen
    • Replace windows: bedroom, "office", living room, dining room, kitchen
    • Fix ground under trash barrels: make a concrete platform?
    • Figure out that condensation problem near the front door
    • Add some outlets in the garage
    • Replace our old oil-burning furnace with a heat pump?
  • Mathematics
    • General
      • What two variable functions are representable via a nomogram? Is there a reasonably efficient algorithm for generating a nomorgram for a given function (and, say, intervals of the input variables)? I've been intrigued with nomograms since I was a kid, but have never done anything formally with them. With digital technology, they have, of course, fallen out of popularity, but they are still interesting to me.
    • Calculus/analysis
      • For what real functions f do there exist a, b such that int_a^b f(x) \, dx = (b-a)^2 ? That is, for what functions does there exist an "average rectangle" which is a square?
    • Geometry
      • Into how many congruent pieces can an equilateral triangle be dissected? It's easy to see that n = 2k and n = 2k3 are possible. So, what about five?
    • Number theory
      • An efficient way to generate (arbitrarily?) large weird numbers?
      • What is the simplest way to prove that perfect numbers have zero density? I can think of a number of proofs, but none is very simple.
  • Music/sound
    • Csound
      • Use the mpulse opcode to generate noise from integer sequences.
      • Make filters for fuzz/distortion (in particular something akin to the quadrafuzz). Here is a simple quadrafuzz.
      • A decent vocoder/"robot voice": doable with "analog" filters, or is fft stuff needed? Solved. And the answer is no, you don't need fft stuff.
      • Spectral inverter: high frequencies to low and vice versa. I've done this with SoundHack, but I'd like to redo it with Csound and do more experiments.
      • Csound is supposedly capable to live sound processing. I should try that out.
  • Political/social
    • Marxism is very anti-religion; indeed, the "materialist" basis is quite contrary to all spirituality. This makes the selling of Marxism to many people difficult: not only is Marxism an opposing political/economic concept, it also requires people to get rid of their religion, too. This seems quite a challenge. I expect that greater change toward non-capitalism might be possible with a non-Marxism socialist philosophy. The anarchists in Spain were rather successful: what was their connection with religion (i.e., were Catholics more or less attracted to the movement)?
  • Physiology/brains/chemicals
    • What little experience I have with hallucinogens (years ago) suggests to me that much research ought to be done on them. Certainly pharmacologists could come up with interesting hallucinogens that have fewer side effects than those currently quasi-available. This might be a good paper to read.
  • Other things
    • Is is really possible to start a fire with a pair of glasses? I've done it with a magnifying glass, but it doesn't seem that spectacle lenses are generally strong enough. They do it Lord of the Flies, with Piggy's glasses, but I don't believe it would work. I'll have to try it.