Mr. Bean Goes on Experiment – pt. 2

So last week I posted a wildly popular post about my misadventures in the Netherlands, humorously comparing myself to Rowan Atkinson. I am not worthy!

A mirror for infra-red light. Look carefully and you can see the HeNe laser we were using to set things up.

A mirror for infra-red light. Look carefully and you can see the HeNe laser we were using to set things up.

With all the hilarity over, I did eventually get down to the more serious business of experiments. Today, I’m going to be going through some of the cool stuff which I saw/did at the facility I was visiting. It’s known as FELIX; the Free Eletron Laser for Infrared… eXperiments, located at Radboud University in Nijmegen. But what’s a Free Electron Laser anyway?

Read on to find out!

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Posted in General Science, Physics | 2 Comments

To cast, perchance to Chain (Heal)

To Riptide Target, or not to Riptide Target — that is the question.

For me, the biggest news in recent Theorycraft was Dayani’s excellent analysis on Chain Heal, High Tide, and Glyph of Riptide (which you can find here). I was inspired enough to devote some time to looking at how to extend Dayani’s model (I blogged about it), and I still think it’s a fantastic piece of research. However, as I’ve said previously I think that Theorycraft is a science; it is essential to extend that initial study with further work. I’ve been talking about my approach to studying Chain Heal in a series of posts (1 2 3 4 5 parts and counting!), and one of my main aims is to see if I can replicate Dayani’s results in simulation.

Courtesy of Dayani, visit her blog and read her stuff!

Courtesy of Dayani, visit her blog and read her stuff!

The maths she carried out checks out perfectly, and she makes some very strong points on the calculations she made. In a nutshell, Dayani looked at how Chain Heal’s mean healing increased dependent upon whether you chose a Riptide target or a target without Riptide (henceforth “RTT” and “nRTT”, respectively). She found that in every situation she calculated, it was always an advantage in terms of mean healing to heal a RTT (regardless of number of Riptides on the raid). She concluded that as in Mists and Cataclysm, Warlords will be dominated by Shaman using people with Riptide essentially as Chain Heal turrets. This is a reasonable conclusion based on her work, and I can replicate her results no problem at all. It’s extremely strong as an investigation, and if you’re lazy you can find a TL:DR at the end.

However, there are plenty of reasons to doubt whether this is indeed the truth.

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Posted in Alpha/Beta News, General Science, Maths, World of Warcraft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The latest UKIP poster campaign


This is a fantastic satire. <3

Originally posted on The Naked Mole Rat:

romanians muslims latvian bulgarians

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Posted in General Science | 2 Comments

Mr. Bean Goes on Experiment – pt. 1

(Despite what it may look like, this is not a parody. I am genuinely this incompetent.)

This week I’m in the Netherlands visiting an awesome institution called Radboud University. They have no less than THREE Free Electron Lasers (taking up a combined volume somewhat equivalent to a large underground bunker). This is my record of my mishaps and (less frequently) successes while on location.

You know, The Netherlands is a really nice place. It’s sunny right now, the trains are clean and fast. Travel was easy and I had a good reception (and coffee) when I got to FELIX. Having got up at 5:30am to get here, it’s 4pm local time and I’m shattered. My host suggests that we take bikes into town – an excellent idea to get me killed.

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden a bike, and even then it was on UK roads; not only am I used to being on the wrong side but I’m used to being on the actual roads rather than bike paths. There are bike paths everywhere, and even less reassuringly people on bikes everywhere. This means that doing something stupid is probably going to be a faux-pas. So it’s reassuring that I get nearly 100 yards before picking the wrong lane to cycle into town on.

I get into town with my host without much more difficulty, and he leaves me there (at my agreement; I’m feeling adventurous due to caffeine levels). I manage to find a riverside cafe and the waitress speaks English, much to my relief. I’m not sure if tipping is done here, so I leave a generous tip just in case. Feeling good, I get back on my bike and ride home.

And I pick the wrong road, getting lost.

An hour later, and after managing to ride down the wrong side of the road more than once, I find the town center again and this time pick the correct road out of town. The guest house is nice, I call my girlfriend and then go to sleep.

In the morning I realize that I have no breakfast. After a coffee, I leave for the local supermarket which my host assured me would be open. Arriving, I get a trolley because I can’t see any baskets, and promptly look a fool when I arrive at the checkout with five things in it. On the trip round, I get lost several times and manage to confuse myself over milk. All the time, I studiously avoid eye contact with the staff in case I have to speak Dutch.

Now would be a good time to mention that before the trip I had been panicking so hard about being competent at the experiment that I completely forgot to panic in any way about actually being in a country I know nothing about. Hence, I prepared very well for the experiment (at least I hope) and didn’t give any thought at all to being able to speak the language. I hear (from everyone) that “everyone speaks English” here, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be that guy who goes abroad and is arrogant enough to not care about speaking the language. I figure if I’m going to be here, I may as well be incompetent but well meaning.

So I get to the checkout and realise that I have to talk to the lady there. I panic, and try to explain that I don’t speak Dutch. I get an odd look but manage to muddle through. It’s not until 5 minutes later  that I realise; not only did I forget to get a receipt in my panic, but I was speaking German. No wonder I got funny looks.

Still, I went home and celebrated by having a coffee and breakfast. I managed to cycle the 5 minutes to FELIX without endangering anyone’s life, so today has been good to me so far.

Tune in to Mr. Bean Goes on Experiment later to find out all the other ways I commit social faux pas’ and confuse poor natives during my evening shifts!

Posted in Et cetera, General Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

To Craft a Sim – Part 5

In this series of posts, I’m talking about putting together a simulation I’ve built called CHsim. It’s designed to simulate the way Chain Heal will behave in Warlords of Draenor – including interactions with player positioning, talents, incoming damage, Riptide, and Mastery bonuses.

My first post in this series discussed why I’m developing CHsim, and I left off by pointing out some good reasons why I’m not using SimCraft to achieve my goals. The second post talked about raid positioning and how I’ve modelled a “realistic” raid. The third post discusses the way I’m making Chain Heal bounce from person to person, and was supposed to talk about what that means for High Tide modelling. However, I didn’t get as far as that and had to tackle it in Part 4.


For the fifth post in the series, I wanted start talking about the practical part of the simulation; how you go from a raid layout and a system for making Chain Heal jump between them to a fully-fledged simulation of a fight.

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Posted in Alpha/Beta News, General Science, World of Warcraft | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chain Me No Chains

Another week goes by before the public Beta for Warlords of Draenor, and another interesting morsel appears on MMO Champion. Another debate/argument/discussion results, and this time I am struggling to communicate how I feel on the matter. Today, I’m trying ever so hard to elaborate.

We heard this week that the new Glyph of Chaining will remove the cooldown penalty from the Live version. Before, unglyphed Chain Heal had a 12.5yd jump radius and no cooldown; glyphed Chain Heal has 25yd jump radius and a 2 second cooldown. The change will mean that we will be able to extend Chain Heal’s jump radius to 25yds penalty-free.

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Hypergeometric Distribution: How and Why

There’s been so much discussion recently (which was lead by Dayani here and I’ve been trying to contribute to) in the theorycraft community about how Chain Heal works and how it will affect High Tide. One of the problems that the theorycraft has run into so far is expressing exactly how the random selection process affects the average of Chain Heal’s healing. I suggested previously that a specific kind of distribution might help, and later showed that the this distribution provides a good estimate of real (simulated) Chain Heal and High Tide interaction. In addition, I’ve been talking at length about why we should be caring about statistical ideas in Warlords of Draenor – especially because it will evidently inform our understanding of the value of Stats.

We know that this distribution – known as the “Hypergeometric” distribution – gives a good description of how High Tide interacts with Riptides and Chain Heal, in both imaginary and “realistic” situations, and for any number of applied Riptides upon the raid. It’s pretty damn useful, so it’s fairly clear that we should be using it.

However, so far I haven’t actually explained (successfully) what this distribution is and how to use it! This post is dedicated to explaining (in part) what the Hypergeometric distribution does and how to actually use the thing. I think that this is important to getting it more widely used in the community.

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Posted in General Science | 2 Comments