06 Nov


I’m really sorry about this break in the usual service. This came to me as I was walking to work and I had to get it down.

Wilson spotted House and ran up to him. “Doctor, I have an interesting one for you!”

House looked up from his TV. “How long?”


“How long have you been seeing Clare?”

“A week. Wait, how did you know??”

“Your sleeve. There’s a faint red smudge on it. That says lipstick to me. The fact that it’s on your uniform means it is someone at the hospital. The nurses and doctors do not wear cosmetics in case they interfere chemically with the patients, which leaves secretaries or janitors. We have no female janitors, and none of the janitors wear lipstick anyway, which leaves Janine, Clare, Rose and Sarah. Only Rose and Clare have been on-duty for the last few hours, and Rose is over 50.”

Before Wilson could reply, House added “You should probably break up with her. Clare has an incurable disease and will be dead within a month.”

“How do you know that?” asked Wilson.

“I’ll explain later. Now, what have you got for me?”

They walked in to look at some X-rays.

“The patient was brought in an hour ago. He’s wheezing, complained of diarrhoea and double vision and collapsed. We thought it was food poisoning until we took these photos. That’s when we knew you’d be interested.”

“These photos are backwards.” said House, instantly.

“No – I checked; they’re actually the right way around. I’ve ordered an MRI for him.”

“Don’t bother. I can see what the problem is. It’s food poisoning. Bring me to him.”

They entered the patient’s room, where he was getting undressed. House looked at his shoes, and then his chart.

“Professor Grant? What is it that you do?”

“Physics. Specifically working on teleportation.”

“I’ve heard that only works for small elements. You need to link them together somehow?”

“Yes. Quantum entanglement. But that’s not what I do. What you’re talking about is actually the cloning of attributes between two remote particles. Not true teleportation. How mine works is that we ‘map’ one part of the underlying foam onto another, and the originator ‘snaps’ into the new position.”


“Yes. See the universe is built on a network of tiny nodes, and all points are connected to all other points through these nodes. We have come up with a way to realise teleportation by controlling those nodes. We’ve even tested it successfully with large living bodies such as dogs and monkeys. You see, …”

“You can explain on the way. We can’t treat you here. We need to get to your lab.”

“What? Then you know what’s wrong?”

“Yes. Food poisoning. But it’s more serious than that. Wilson, look at his shoes.”

Wilson looked at the professor’s shoes.

“What? Oh!” he glanced towards the X-ray room, and looked startled.

“Get your car keys, Wilson – we need to get him to his lab quickly.” House held out the professor’s coat.

They were soon in the car.

“You couldn’t resist testing it yourself, professor, and that’s what caused the problem.” said House, as they drove.

“What? Explain.”

“As I understand it, your teleportation works by ‘shortcutting’ the distance between nodes in the universe. To put it in a simple way, it’s like taking a piece of paper making two dots on it, then realising the shortest way to get from point A to point B is to fold the paper in half so the dots are touching each other.”

“Yes, that’s right. But I don’t see…”

“Have you tried doing this with anything other than dots?”

“No… it’s just a thought experiment! Turn left up ahead.”

“Turn right, Wilson”, corrected House

House reached over and pulled a small notebook from Wilson’s inner chest pocket. He drew a large R on a page.

“What will this look like when the page is folded?”

“Ah. It’s so simple.”

They got to the lab, where an experiment was about to take place. A monkey was in a cage on a platform, and another platform was in a separate room, separated by a glass wall.

“Stop the experiment,” said Grant, “the good doctor’s diagnoses is correct, and his treatment involves me taking the experiment myself.”

“What? Are you insane? You can’t do that!” cried out one of the lab assistants.

“Yes I can. I did it myself last night after you’d all gone home. How could I resist? Besides, we know from all of our experiments that it works. Now, take the monkey away and start it up again.

A few minutes later, a hum gathered, and the cage was suddenly gone. In the other room, the cage and the professor reappeared.

“How did they do that?” exclaimed Wilson.

“Quantum electro-dynamically, my dear Wilson”, said House.

The professor stepped out of the cage, and strode purposefully towards to coke machine in the corner of the room. “I am famished!” he said.

“Okay,” said Wilson, “now explain what that was all about.”

House took out the page he’d been drawing on.

“See the ‘R‘? When you fold the page over, and “push” the R through to the other side, you get this:”, House drew я onto the page.

He continued, “The analogy passes into reality. When Professor Grant ‘folded’ in space from one platform to the other, what he did not realise was that he was reversing himself at the same time. He would have been immediately disoriented, and the air in the atmosphere would have started subtly poisoning him because it was now ‘backwards’ compared to what he was used to.”

Wilson said, “So, the food poisoning?”

“Life’s molecules have a certain ‘handed-ness’ to them. The proteins found in food are all oriented in a certain direction. When he ingested the food, his body was not able to handle it because all of the proteins were mirror-images of what were expected. If he had not come to us, then he would be dead within hours or days.”

Professor grant, stuffing chocolate into his mouth, came over and thanked House profusely.

“Thank you so much. It was such an obvious problem, given hind-sight, but we didn’t spot it with any of our test animals because we always did the experiment twice – teleport them from one room to the other, and then back. We’ll have to figure a way of doing this without the mirror-imaging if we’re to make this useful. I’ll have to think how to do that.”

“That’s easy! Your problem is that the particles – the protons, electrons and neutrons, are all arriving the wrong way around” said the doctor, who added “you just need to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

04 Feb

double-click deterrent

You know how annoying people are when they double-click on links on the Internet?

Here’s the cure – an alert on every link on your site which pops up when someone double-clicks. Needs jQuery.

      alert('WHAT THE HELL????\n\nNo double-clicking on the Internet!');
14 Feb

couple of globe puzzles

I was thinking about the Earth on the way to work today. Here are a few puzzles I compiled on the way:

  1. you are standing an the north pole. you travel 8000 miles south, then 8000 miles east, then 8000 miles south again. How far are you from the north pole?
  2. you are standing on the north pole. you travel 3 miles east, then 4 miles south. how far are you from the north pole?
  3. you are standing on the north pole. you travel 3 miles south, then 4 miles east. how far are you from the north pole?

try to guess the answers – they’re not as obvious as they seem.

of course, I suspect that anyone that reads my blog has already guessed the answers…

you probably think it’s very easy, don’t you!

here’re the answers for those people that didn’t figure them out:

  1. trick question. you cannot travel 16000 miles south because the circumference of the earth between the two poles is only 24860 miles, meaning that the maximum distance you can travel south 12430 miles.
  2. trick question. when standing on the north pole, you cannot travel east or west, as they’re one dimensional at that point (no, turning around is not traveling).
  3. not a trick question, but also not obvious. the first answer to pop into someone’s head would be 5 miles (via Pythagoras), but you need to remember that the Earth is not flat – if you are 3 miles south, you could travel a million miles east and still be 3 miles south. The answer is 3 miles.
09 Sep


A call to Irish speakers (you know who you are) Рwhat are your favourite examples of B̩arlachas? Add them here!.

An example I have not added is the wonderful “Ná bí ag thónáil timpeall” – what a fantastic fscking up of the language!

12 Oct

almost a millionaire

Based on a small discussion in #linux.

  1. I have 0 money
  2. 0 == 000,000
  3. 000,000 is 6/7ths of 1,000,000
  4. 6/7ths of 1,000,000 is 857,142
  5. therefore, I am worth €857,142

I don’t think banks would honour that logic when applying for a loan, though

10 Oct

daily wtf

I saw this snippet on the daily wtf:

if b = b then
  b = true
end if

…and thought – how would I write that in JavaScript, if I wanted to keep the spirit of the thing, and add a little more “wtf” to it. Here y’are:


It has a strange symmetry, dont you think?

06 Sep

russians are weird

I’ve filed this under “humour”, as I’m not sure how it could be anything else!

I was reading through some news reports from el Reg, and came across one which linked to an online Russian newspaper, mosnews.com. I read the article, but found the headlines of the other news items to be just plain weird as well.

Are all russians mad, or is this some sort of satire news site?

Here are some of the articles I found weird:

I think I will be reading that newspaper in future!

14 Jul

th3 l0rdz pr4y3r

As prayed by Balor on #linux:

11:29 < balor> Will the priest appreciate this: Our Father, who 0wnz heaven, j00 r0ck!
11:29 < balor> May all 0ur base someday be belong to you!
11:29 < balor> May j00 0wn earth just like j00 0wn heaven.
11:29 < balor> Give us this day our warez, mp3z, and pr0n through a phat pipe.
11:29 < balor> And cut us some slack when we act like n00b lamerz, just as we teach
11:29 < balor> n00bz when they act lame on us.
11:29 < balor> Please don’t give us root access on some poor d00d’z box when we’re
11:29 < balor> too pissed off to think about what’s right and wrong, and if you could
11:29 < balor> keep the fbi off our backs, we’d appreciate it.
11:29 < balor> For j00 0wn r00t on all our b0x3s 4ever and ever, 4m3n.