Cross-posted with I’m glad it burnt
As a poor student, I’m always on the lookout for ways of making cheap alcohol more appealing to the palate. With a house party approaching, and wallets thin as usual, my housemates and myself decided to experiment with Tesco Value Vodka and Skittles. The recipe (as one would imagine) is ridiculously simple – you stick a load of Skittles into the vodka, let them dissolve, and then drink it.
To get the best flavour, we found that there were enough of each colour Skittles in 5 large bags. To begin with, simply separate the Skittles into the different colours (trying not to eat too many!), and drop them into a bottle of vodka (we used the 90cl Tesco Value). Shake vigorously, and then leave overnight to dissolve – the result should look something like this:
Filtering the sediment from the bottom of the bottle is a rather tedious process, made much easier if you have spare bottles and funnels lying around the house. I have it on good authority that a folded piece of kitchen paper makes a good filter, however we splashed out and a used a mixture of coffee filters, and proper chemical filters ‘acquired’ from the university chemistry labs.
The filtering process took us several hours, since each funnel would only hold a small amount of the mixture at a time. It’s important not to rush this stage, as getting sediment into the final drink does not look particularly attractive! That said, the end product will never be completely clear, however it is worth filtering 2 or 3 times until the worst has been removed.
Your Skittles vodka is ready to consume! Be warned – it is very easy to drink this stuff neat without tasting the vodka. Enjoy at your own peril, or mix with lemonade to save on the hangover.
As part of my Software Applications module this year, I have a sub-module called Digital Imaging. Basically, we learned how to use Java3D to model things and then animate them.
The assignment set for this term was to create a wind turbineâ€¦
Above is what I created! Obviously you cannot see here, but the blades move round the appropriate axis, and the entire head of the turbine rotates around the Y-axis when you click on the mast. Pretty impressive â€“ huh?! I didnâ€™t think so either! If, for whatever reason, you do think itâ€™s impressive â€“ you may download the .jar file here. It will need Java3D and possibly some other stuff installed to run.
The main thing I learnt doing this was how much of a pain J3D really is â€“ itâ€™s a completely obsolete extension of Java that doesnâ€™t really have much use, apart from for making simple animations such as this one. I canâ€™t think of anyone who would use Java to make a serious 3D game, the processing power just isnâ€™t there to allow decent use of physics, lighting or anything else essential to make an immersive environment. For example, when I was trying to make the turbine cast a shadow on its environment, I found it wasnâ€™t just as simple as allowing the light source to throw a shadow onto the grass object â€“ oh no â€“ I had to calculate the exact shape that the shadow would be, based on the position of the light relative to the turbine, then draw it manually to the floor. As you can imagine, this would be a huge task â€“ and lets not even get started on running this 40+ times a second to get the moving blades, or even considering the opacity of the shadow in different places, or the fact that multiple light sources exist, or that the turbine would shadow itself in partsâ€¦
Iâ€™ve used programs before (GameMaker stirs a memory?) that will do all that for you in 2 or 3 lines of code, however in J3D I was looking at separate classes, and 2 or 3 times the existing code I had to make the turbine work. No thanks, Iâ€™ll just pretend it was a very bright day!
Iâ€™m quite glad Iâ€™m rid of J3D now â€“ Iâ€™ll be even happier when Iâ€™m rid of Java completely. Iâ€™d be really happy if I never had to see a wind turbine ever againâ€¦ but they had to go and drop that into our Software Engineering project as well. More to follow on thatâ€¦
Or more specifically â€“ the never ending list of things to do that seems to dictate my life more than I do.
Over the last 3 months, Iâ€™ve watched said list grow and grow as my department shoved more and more assignment deadlines towards me, and watched the things I really want to do get moved gradually towards the bottom. This term has been a rather bumpy ride in terms of deadlines, assignments and exams â€“ and Iâ€™m told itâ€™s downhill from here! Iâ€™ll write some follow up posts soon showing off what Iâ€™ve achieved in creating recently (Iâ€™m actually proud of some of it!).
The happiest moment of my life occurred last week, when said list of â€˜essentialsâ€™ finally reached zero, when the final assignment had been sent to the abyss that is known as â€˜DUOâ€™, and the end of term benchtest was over. Iâ€™m told that after spending a night out marking this occasion, I was heard celebrating in my roomâ€¦ Which involves me yelling a lot, before your minds jumped elsewhere!
Anyway â€“ I get home, having promised myself a fortnight to enjoy Christmas before getting stuck down to work, and I find myself unable to even get started on that list of â€˜want to doâ€™ items. Congratulations to the CompSci department â€“ theyâ€™ve killed my work ethic even for things that I enjoy!