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February 27, 2003

Flash Node Gardens

Keith Peters, of Bit-101, has a new flash tutorial out. This one is based on Jared Tarbell's Node Gardens.

February 25, 2003

Women in Science in the UK

Dr. Amy Muhlberg was kind enough to send me some great resource sites on women in science in the UK:

The Athena Project
Women's Engineering Society
Association for Women in Science and Engineering
The Greenfield Report on women in science in the UK

update: Fixed the links. Thanks for the heads-up, Edwin and Richard.

February 24, 2003

wordsearch games abound

I've been working on an upgrade of our wordsearch game, in FlashMX. The "you win" feature is still buggy, but the coding is almost done. Take a sneak peak, and let me know what you think.

Edwin just got a copy of Jobe Makar's Macromedia Flash MX Game Design Demystified, and he tells me there's a wordsearch game in it. Very cool! I can't wait to see how he approaches it.

Thinking out loud...interviews

How would one conduct a text-based near-real time interview on the internet? I've been thinking about this, as I've been working on an asynchronous interview program.

Is there any reason why an online interview can't be asynchronous? How many in the audience will want to see the text output in real time? And how many will be coming back to see the archive?

So, I'm thinking that we need a method to conduct a two person forum, that is open to the public to view. Perhaps even include an adjacent peanut gallery, to keep it interesting?

February 20, 2003

MathExtensions1.0 Errata

The Math.toScientific rounding bug has been resolved, utilizing greenfly's solution

// ############## greenfly's rounding solution ###############
// I left his comments in, but changed the condition to round down
// negative numbers as well, adding a second call to formatDecimals.
// disregard expo_fact - it isn't used here
// ###############################################
// by not dividing by "expo_fact" at the end, we should have the number
// in the desired format: X.XXX, e.g. 3.234
// however, it is possible that by rounding in the step above, we've increased
// the number to XX.XXX, e.g. 9.999999 went to 10.00
// so we need to check for this condition
if (mantissa>=10 || mantissa<=-10) {
mantissa /= 10;
mantissa = Math.formatDecimals(mantissa,sigDigs-1);

Updated extensions:


Here is Robert's revised function:

Math.toScientific = function(num,sigDigs) {
    num = Number(num);
    if (isNaN(num)) return num;
    var exponent = Math.floor(Math.log(Math.abs(num))/Math.LN10);
    if (num==0) exponent = 0;
    var tenToPower = Math.pow(10,exponent);
    var mantissa = num/tenToPower;
    mantissa = Math.formatDecimals(mantissa,sigDigs-1);
    if (mantissa>=10 || mantissa<=-10) {
        mantissa /= 10;
        mantissa = Math.formatDecimals(mantissa,sigDigs-1);
    var output = mantissa;
    if (exponent!=0) {
        output += "e"+exponent;
}; //Robert Penner May 2001 - www.robertpenner.com

February 18, 2003

Visualize Science Challenge

The National Science Foundation and Science challenge you to apply your artistic side to the visualization of science and engineering.

Deadline: May 31, 2003

NSF - OLPA What's Cool - Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge

Back from AAAS meeting

Got back from the national AAAS meeting last night. What a great experience it was! I'll be writing more, as my mind assimilates it

February 17, 2003

MathML Schema

Wow ... the more research I do on MathML, the more exciting it becomes! I stumbled upon ORRCA:

ORRCA MathML page

The Ontario Research Center for Computer Algebra ... quite a fascinating group of computer scientists involved with fundamental research and development in mathematical software, focusing on computer algebra. The scientist responsible for maintaining the MathML pages is Luca Padovani from Bologna, Italy, a phd who has written his dissertation (255 pages!) on MathML Formatting. He is also the main developer for GtkMathView, a stand-alone C++ rendering engine for MathML.

Luca Padovani:
phd dissertation

I'm currently working on porting the MathML Schema from ORRCA into the Flash MX environment. The plan is to complete a MathML formatting engine that the developer can install into the components panel of the Flash IDE, complete with a MathML tab in the actions panel for all of the element tags and attributes, color-coded of course!

Also, the end user will be able to download the mathMLSchema.swf from within a Flash MathML application prior to input, placing the code for the .xsl style sheet and the .xsd schema files, and all necessary fonts embedded within the schema .swf. The entire set of schemata will be over 5,000 lines of xml, so I thought that a separate load of the schema would be appropriate, rather than having a slow download for each schema-laden MathML app ... this may change, however.

February 12, 2003

general expression formatted into a string

For a while now, I've been puzzling over why webMathematica inserts characters around output under some conditions. Now I have my answer.

If a general expression is evaluated, webMathematica formats the output as a string with HTML tags.

To avoid the extra tags, use ToString, around the expression, in your mathlet.


ToString[ Sin[$$num]]


source: webMathematica: 'html tags added to output' topic

February 11, 2003

Interview Project Flyer

Recently, I've been spending much of my time writing support and informational documents for people interested in GalaxyGoo. It's odd how working within the confined space of a printed page can turn a rambler into a to-the-pointer :-)

Interview Project: More Info

I'll post a link to a version of the brochure we're printing up, soon.

February 10, 2003

blog ecosystem

Did you know there's a blog ecosystem? Here's GalaxyGoo's little niche:

ecosystem stats for GalaxyGoo Blog

February 09, 2003

MathML v2.0 (2nd edition)

There's a new edition for MathML v2.0 documentation available at W3C:


[quote from W3C]
2002-12-19: MathML 2.0 second edition
The Math Working Group have published the first Working Draft of the second edition of MathML 2.0. This mainly is a re-issue to fold all the changes in the MathML 2.0 errata document back into the main text, but also for the first time it includes a W3C XML Schema, and a version in which all the examples are inlined and should render in a MathML aware browser. Feedback sent to www-math@w3.org is very much welcome.

They have also updated the MathML 2.0 test suite to fix errata.

Essential Resources for Flash ActionScript

Here's a short list of essential resources for anyone interestedin Flash actionScript. I'll be updating this list, so if you've know of a resource to add, please post in the comments.

In alphabetical order:

February 07, 2003

Elemental Snow

This may be a sign that I really need a vacation, but I had some fun makng it. It's fairly CPU intensive.
Elemental Snow

February 06, 2003

National Budget and Science

National funding of research shifts to defence. Take a look at the AAAS Preliminary Analysis of R&D in the FY 2004 Budget: AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program

February 04, 2003

Open Source Real Time Cellular Budding with Flash

Over at Keith Peter's site, Bit-101, there's been a little discussion about how to script a vesicle budding from a cell.

Let's get this going as an open-source project. I want to see portable code, that's easy on CPU and macs. The vesicle needs to actually pinch off from the parent cell, and become a new distinct entity.

Join the project in our fourms:
GalaxyGoo Working Forums - real time cellular budding

February 01, 2003


In times of crisis, it may be wise to get your information from the source:NASA - Space Suttle Columbia News

Book Flash

A little experiment with flash and XML, with a short list of great books to test it out with:

WIDTH="240" HEIGHT="200" id="books" ALIGN="">
TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">

General Book Link

After minor tinkering with the html Booksense suggests, for linking to their system, I came up with this.

Support GalaxyGoo, and independent bookstores, at the same time, and purchase a book through Booksense:

Mathematics and Art

The theme for this years Math Awareness Month (April 2003) is
Mathematics and Art.

So, what are we going to do at GalaxyGoo? That's a good question. What do you think we should do? :-)