The text of my letter published in the Irish Times today (at http://www.irishtimes.com/debate/letters/philosophy-and-science-1.1667425):
Sir, – William Reville (Science, January 16th) criticises materialism as excluding, without evidence, the possibility of the supernatural. Continue reading Hardline materialism in the Irish Times letter page
There are lots of ways to schedule mail to be sent some time in the future, but it is easy, for those of us who write and send mail from Emacs, to use that program and the Unix
atd batch system to do it. If you use
message-mode to write messages, this approach means that creating mails for delayed sending is the same as for normal sending.
Continue reading Using Emacs to send mail later
Elevation data for large swathes of the planet have been collected by NASA and are available to download from http://dds.cr.usgs.gov/srtm/.
The data is contained in binary files, each representing a 1-degree by 1-degree “square”. Here are five lines of Python and four lines of Stata that will turn the data into a simple graph:
file = open("data/N52W011.hgt", "r")
for y in range(1201):
for x in range(1201):
print y, x, struct.unpack(">h",file.read(2))
python file.py > map.dat. Then run this Stata code:
infile i j height using /tmp/ext.dat
gen h2 = int(sqrt(height))
replace h2 = 30 if h2<=0
hmap j i h2, nosc
You may need to install Python’s
struct package, and Stata’s
hmap add on, but they’re available from the usual locations.
There are better ways of doing this, of course: it’s slow, the aspect ratio is wrong, the colours are not ideal and the axis labelling is bad. Even worse, it is a complete abuse of the
hmap add-on. It’s a quick and dirty way to turn binary data into pictures, all the same.