Thursday, 28 May 2009

Out in the Valleys

It was great to get back out on the bike after a few weeks stuck in front of a computer. I headed out with Rob and James up into the hills to do a bit of exploring and find some new tracks. The sun was out and it was great to be back out in the woods and check out some new lines. The afternoon was finished off with a play on the bottom half of Cwmcarn. I know it has its critics but I love it. Sometimes a manmade track is just needed and it was loads of fun charging about and hitting some decent sized jumps. James left us early to enter an Aquathon; a swim across the lake at Tredegar followed by a big old run, I will happily admit I cant think of anything worse. He definately deserves some respect though its a pretty hardcore way of topping off a days riding and shows an offensive level of fitness!

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

BKSA landboard comp - Swansea

The weekend before last the BKSA nationals came to Swansea. I managed to sneak down a couple of times on the weekend to check out the comps. The wind was hauling with the guys powered up on 7m kites and taking advantage of the conditions to go huge. The landboarding was mental Lewis Wilby is seriously talented was mixing up the tech tricks with some just insane loops, was awesome to watch.

A fair bit of carnage went down as well, Ash had a seriously hairy crash getting squirly on landing a big loop and got the bar trapped behind his back forcing the kite to loop. He was getting ripped across the beach which was pretty scary to see. Angus came down hard when he accidently looped the kite dooing damage to his collarbone in the process. Only 6 landboards were entered which is a shame and out of that only Tim was not sponsored. Hopefully more people get involved in the future and there is a bigger range in ability to really liven up the comp. It was great to see so many kites down the bay and a really good atmosphere despite the less than pleasent conditions.

Heres the video of the weekend courtesy of Custom Kite Boards.

BKSA Round 1 Swansea Landboard from CKB Boards on Vimeo.

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Geeking Out - Wolfram Alpha

Totally off subject, but just found something that really satisfies the geek in me and I reckon deserves credit. I have had my head immersed in Mathematica (A mathematical computing program) a fair bit recently whilst working on my dissertation and am a big fan, its insane how easy it is to calculate and simulate some really complex stuff. The makers of Mathematica are taking this technology to the web and a mass market with Wolfram Alpha. Their aim is to "make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything." Thats one hell of an ambition. As a tool its not quite there yet but as a concept I think its brilliant. The implementation of this has required the storage of a seriously hefty 10 terrabytes of data and some similarly massive processing power. They are only just breaking into their second week online so a few years down the line this is going to be a seriously powerful bit of kit that everyone has free access to, thats really exciting stuff.

Heres some interesting uses I have found for Alpha so far:

  • Tide and Wind data - not sure where they source the data but loads of detail and some great historical data.

  • Meaning of life: 42 - obviously.

  • Robbie: 17362 Americans currently sharing this name (78k American Tims, burn!)

  • Fourier Transform, Taylor Series, Bessel Functions . . . well who wouldnt want to test these!

Anyway I promise my next update will be a little less geeky, the dissertation is now in and the bike is getting dusted off. Thursday and Friday have been booked off for an assault on the Valleys with James and Rob. Pics and Story to follow!

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