Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The coincidence of April 10

Today life threw up one of those freaky coincidences.

Let me explain.

After a few months of planning, today I revealed plans for a new YouTube channel.

The channel will be about computers and computer science.

In some ways it will be a spin-off from my mathematics channel, Numberphile.

For that reason I wanted to call it COMPUTERPHILE.

Unfortunately the YouTube username computerphile was already taken by someone in Norway.

I contacted the owner and explained my situation.

Luckily the owner - a chap named Jan Kristian Fagerstad - knew of me because he watches Sixty Symbols.

(This is not the coincidence)

Jan agreed to let me take over his channel because he did not have any followers and used the account simply for viewing.

So after a few technical machinations, today (April 10) I finally took control of the computerphile channel.

I was able to delete most of Jan's history and data - allowing me to start with an almost blank slate.

I then advertsied the channel for the first time (in this video), in the hope of building some subscribers before uploading new videos from May onwards.

Amazingly the channel went from zero to 10,000 subscribers in just a few hours. People seem enthused.

But here is the coincidence.

The only thing I could not delete from Jan's original details on the profile was his joining date - April 10, 2009.

And the date I "launched" the channel, revealing it to the world - April 10, 2013.

Exactly four years later.

This was not planned and I did not even notice until a Twitter follower pointed it out!

I just "went public" the day it was handed over to me.

I dunno, maybe this is silly... But I was amazed.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Tales from the grave

I just belatedly saw this message from a Deep Sky Videos viewer. It was a reaction to my video about visiting Charles Messiers' grave.

It makes me think - should we get a campaign going to have Messier's grave on the tourist maps and signs at Père Lachaise Cemetery - it seems wrong that he's overlooked!

First, please allow me to thank you for all the effort you put into creating the videos for you channels.
I am subscribed to most of them and always look forward to a new episode. 
As an amateur astronomer, I absolutely enjoy the watching your DeepSkyVideos channel.
During my visit to Paris last week, inspired by your video, I visited the grave of Charles Messier. Thanks to your video and directions in the video's description, I had no trouble locating the grave.
I even got the chance to tell a group of visitors of Chopin's grave about Charles' life and his famous catalog.
The guide didn't know about this particular grave and considers pointing it out during his regular tour. 
Thanks again, and keep up the good work!
Cheers, Dirk
Newly uploaded photos from Brady's trip to the grave here.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Fibonacci Tartan

My quest for a Fibonacci Tartan started in mid-2012 when I met with friend Annas Alamudi.

I told him about Numberphile - and my new obsession with numbers.

Annas confided his recent plan to create a tartan based on the Fibonacci sequence.

He'd wanted a Fibonacci-inspired kilt for his (Scottish) wedding and created a design.

But alas the cost of making a kilt had thwarted his plan.

With Annas' blessing, I vowed to make such a tartan become reality.

Things started well and a firm in Scotland agreed to weave the tartan.

The original plan was that I'd travel north to film its creation.

Communication slowed over Christmas but a tentative filming date was discussed for March 2013, subject to confirmation.

Then things changed.

The company informed me they'd independently decided to make their own tartan based on the Fibonacci sequence.

Fair enough - no-one "owns" the Fibonacci numbers.

But unfortunately I was also told they no longer wished to make my tartan (at least until they made their own independently thought-up version).

I think they were concerned it would affect their commercial plans.

(I was going to pay for the work - and I'd have thought being showcased to my 400,000-strong subscriber base of number enthusiasts might have been beneficial, but who knows?)

Thankfully a second company - House of Tartan - came to the rescue.

They were brilliant and assigned an excellent designer to help finalise my plans.

And so the "Numberphile Tartan based on Fibonacci" was created and produced.

The stitches are based on the start of that famous and infinite sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89).

The colours are based on the Italian flag - a nod to Fibonacci (pictured).

Its details are 1 green, 1 white, 2 green, 3 white, 5 green, 8 olive brown, 13 sienna red, 21 dark green, 34 light green, 55 dark green, 89 black.

232 threads in total for the repeat = 6 inches at approx 40 epi (threads/ends per inch)

There was no time (or resources) to fully "weave" the tartan, but it was printed on fabric and looks amazing.

The guys also sent me ribbon adorned with the pattern which looks fantastic.

And in a nice twist, the ribbon's white band is deliberately placed at a golden ratio distance from the fabric edges.

I've not decided what to do next with the fabulous fabric and ribbon samples - but watch this space!