Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


The operating system (Mac OS X 10.10), that is, not the national park. I rather impulsively upgraded over the weekend, which broke a few things — here’s how I un-broke them.

  1. MATLAB — this was the big one. I stupidly failed to check, and it turns out that the MATLAB version I had installed (2012b) isn’t compatible (something to do with Java versions). I installed 2013b instead (the latest version our IT has) and applied the patch available here (requires a Mathworks account).
  2. SAC — it failed to start after the upgrade, with an X11 error. To fix it, I added a symbolic link in /usr (either /usr/X11 or /usr/X11R6, I forget which one was missing) to where XQuartz lives (/opt/X11) and that fixed the problem.
  3. Fink — my previous Fink installation continued to work, but wouldn’t update without a reinstall of a new version. I tried the new version (0.38.0) which I managed to install with some fiddling, but most of the packages I need wouldn’t work, so I went back to my old installation. I’ll give them a few months to get the packages ported (I can’t work without GMT, and gnuplot is also pretty much essential to me).

Testing mathematical notation

So, apparently WordPress now supports LaTeX. Let’s try that out. This should be a Fourier integral:

\int_0^L f(t)\,\sin \frac{2\pi rt}{L} \,dt.

Not bad (except for the white background) — looks like it’s using actual LaTeX behind the scenes to do the rendering. Beats trying to make sense of MathML, anyway.


I don’t have much to say about the human side of the Haitian earthquake except that it’s terrible, as media reports will tell you.  I saw the waves coming in on our seismograph drum, which gave some idea of the distance and size of the earthquake but not the location. The location in itself is about as bad as possible — a large, shallow earthquake very close to a major city, in a country too poor to afford earthquake-resistant construction. All I can do is suggest that you donate to relief organizations and press the Canadian and other governments to get aid in place as quickly as possible.

I can, at least, say something meaningful about the seismology. Continue reading

Now elsewhere

Moved to WordPress, since paying for TypePad when I haven’t updated in ages is kind of ridiculous.

Who knew that volcanoes blow smoke rings? Not me, that’s for sure.

(Yes, I’m thinking about reviving this blog.)