Astronomy, Experiments, Geography, history, Milestones, Notes on everyday life, Physics, Space, Together with sis, Trips

We’ve found the real 0° meridian!

And it turned out to be a that little path next to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, not the Prime Meridian line. The 0° meridian is what the GPS uses for global navigation, the discrepancy results from the fact that the Prime Meridian was originally measured without taking it into consideration that the Earth isn’t a perfect smooth ball (if the measurements are made inside the UK, as it it was originally done, this does’t lead to as much discrepancy as when vaster areas are included).

Simon standing with one foot in the Western hemisphere and the other one in the Eastern hemisphere
The GPS determines the longitude of the Prime Meridian as 0.0015° W
Simon tried to use JS to program his exact coordinates, but that took a bit too long so we switched to the standard Google Maps instead
The Prime Meridian from inside the Royal Observatory building
Looking for the real 0° meridian: this is an open field next to the Royal Observatory. At this point, the SatNav reads 0.0004° W.
And we finally found the 0° meridian! Some 100 meters to the East of the Prime Meridian
The 0° meridian turned out to intersect the highest point on the path behind Simon’s back!
Simon and Neva running about in between the measurements of longitude
Astronomer Royal Edmond Halley’s scale at the Royal Observatory
Halley’s scale is inscribed by hand
Space, Together with sis

Stardust

Looking at the Moon and the Orion nebula from a roof top together with a true friend

The telescopes were brought to the panorama floor of the museum “het MAS” by the Urania observatory staff and volunteers, including Robert Matheus – a very special someone who has already done so much for us in the past.

Simon into Simon’s eyes, is it like a mirror reflected by a mirror? (Simon’s best friend is also called Simon).

Coding, Java, Physics, Simon makes gamez, Simon's Own Code, Space

MotorAttractor with Box2D in Processing (Java)

In this project Simon combined two exercises and one example from Daniel Shiffman’s Nature of Code book, Chapter 5 – Physic Libraries. The specific physics library used here is Box2D. Simon combined exercises 5.6 (Bridge) and 5.10 (Attraction Apply Force), and example 5.7 (Create a windmill) to create a motor that catapults particles towards an attractor. If the particles fly past the attractor, “bricks” can be added to the canvas by clicking the mouse – the weight of the bricks helps regulate the motor in the right direction. For this project, both gravitational attraction and global gravity force were applied:

 

 

 

Biology, Coding, Java, JavaScript, Milestones, Murderous Maths, Simon's Own Code, Space

Simulating Evolution: Evolutionary Steering Behaviors

 

On Wednesday Simon went on with playing god (evolution simulation) and translated Daniel Shiffman’s Evolutionary Steering Behaviors Coding Challenge from JavaScript to Java.  The goal of the challenge is to create a system where autonomous steering agents (smart rockets) evolve the behavior of eating food (green dots) and avoiding poison (red dots).

This challenge is part of the spring 2017 “Intelligence and Learning” course at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Interactive Telecommunications Program. Simon was especially happy to find out that Daniel Shiffman left a couple of personal comments praising Simon’s progress and offering help in pushing his code to Danniel’s GitHub repo.

Here is Simon’s translation on GitHub: https://github.com/simon-tiger/steering-behaviors-evolution

The rockets have their own DNA consisting of four genes:

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The challenge step by step:

 

 

 

 

 

Coding, html, JavaScript, Simon makes gamez, Space

Asteroids Coding Challenge

Simon has built this fun Atari game where a spaceship shoots at asteroids with laser and breaks them down into pieces. It was actually another coding challenge by Daniel Shiffman that Simon had tried a couple months ago when he was just beginning to write code. Back then he got seriously stuck at the asteroids phase (using JavaScript and HTML5 canvas with the p5.js library to program the “laser” functionality and examine collision detection with the asteroids). This time around, however, he glided through the challenge, nearly effortlessly, in his own words. He did enjoy it immensely and even tried rebuilding it on the RaspberryPi, but had “a copy-paste issue”.

The code in online in the p5.js web editor. You can run it and play the game, you can also hit the Download button and play on a big screen!

http://alpha.editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/r16tcHq3e

 

 

Astronomy, Group, Space

Astronomy Classes

On Saturday Simon had his second astronomy workshop at the local observatory. The pages below is “homework”. He wasn’t particularly enthusiastic doing it but found tasks 4, 5 and 8 intriguing and was proud of himself when everything was completed. I always struggle with myself when giving him such “compulsory” tasks as he works better autonomously or at least when being able to chose the problems (which is often possible when using an online math platform, for example).

He also doesn’t like writing things down for someone else, in other words when he doesn’t see any practical value in it for the future. I’ve noticed that he prefers writing things down for himself to remember. Sometimes he even gets up at night to write something down, it’s quite funny to watch.

He said he liked his second workshop but couldn’t answer the question whether he learned anything new. He literally said “I can’t say yes or no to this question”. The workshop was about stars and galaxies. The first workshop was about constellations. Simon also confided to me that he is a little bit afraid of the third workshop next month: it’s called “3, 2, 1 Go!”. He is old enough to understand they would definitely not be taking an actual space flight during the workshop, still it seems to be triggering the old fears he’s always had of (accidentally) stepping in an aircraft and taking off.

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