XMudder – XRunner Got Me Muddy

So this weekend, I got “bullied” into a work trip to XRunner in Derby! I say bullied, I gladly agreed but I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for!

XRunner is a 5/10k obstacle race, similar to Tough Mudder but a bit shorter but more obstacles. I had been training, heading out with “Rammy Runners” every Tuesday and hitting the gym a few times a week, so I was vaguely in shape for it. It all started off really well, I was running fairly near the front. I actually left my colleagues behind as they didn’t train enough. I smashed the first few obstacles: a few hay bales, crawls, fences and under-overs. But then I reached the MUD!

Continue reading “XMudder – XRunner Got Me Muddy”

Who Am I

I’m Martyn and have gone by the pseudo name Marty McFly for a little while.

I’m currently completing my PhD in Cosmology with Clusters of Galaxies at Liverpool John Moores University, before I sell my soul to the programming devil and become a professional software developer.
I’m a STEM Ambassador with MerseyStem
A site about my life, a little bit of my work and things I enjoy.

Congratulations! You have unlocked the Museum…

London Transport Museum Blog

Tim Dunn at Acton Depot

Many of the best ideas, and often many of the worst, start in a pub. Thus it was a surprise to me that following a Friday evening conversation in London Transport Museum’s Upper Deck cafe bar, the team at this organisation agreed to give me access to some of its many assets, including objects, staff, storage facilities, events ­– and even disused Tube stations.

Why did I ask for access? Well:

  1. I like interesting things, particularly if they’re about:
    (a) London or
    (b) Transport, especially old tube trains (spoiler: I do like trains. Quite a lot.)
    (c) Historic design
  2. I enjoy discovering the stories behind interesting things

The opportunity here is vast, because London Transport Museum has so much stuff. Incredible, remarkable, interesting stuff. It has steam locomotives that careered about underground and it has whole electric tube trains which enabled suburbia; it has trams that surfed London’s streets and it has

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So I’m to be a kick starter of “HAPPY CAT CAFE GRAND RAPIDS: MICHIGAN’S FIRST CAT CAFE!”. As a massive cat lover I just had to chip in to help them start up, they’re offering you a coffee and a furry friend, which you could even take home!

The idea is awesome, they want to:

  1. Help Save Cats – They’re fostering 10+ cats at a time, and you can adopt them too
  2. Bringing Humans Cats – You get to enjoy the love and affection these furry friends bring

Being a cat lover I love my cats to pieces, and currently working away from home means I miss what they bring me so much. I hope I can help bring a little bit of kitty love to the people of grand rapids!

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Megs Back :D

So the wanderer returns … Meg was safely found and returned how after being on a 3 month vacation.

My little Meg, who had been missing since mid-June was found safe and well just down the hill from my home a few weeks ago. We don’t know why she strayed, but she’s back home safe and settled in.


Shutdown Linux via the Web

So a problem I’ve had with a project I’ve worked on is how do you shutdown your Linux server (in our case a Raspberry Pi) when its a headless web server.

Headless: Running with no monitor, keyboard and mouse, its not a requirement of this method, but it creates the problem.

Solutions – So there are several solutions to this:

Login via SSH

Open a Terminal and SSH to the box, then run “poweroff“
Ohh but we have touchscreens!

SSH Keys

Were on Windows!


Client installer


So we want a server based ability to shutdown a Linux/Unix box such as a Raspberry Pi, or intact run any privileged command.
The obvious answer is give your apache user root privileges and get PHP to execute a poweroff.
But hang-on, before you go handing your keys to your web server, this is VERY DANGEROUS and basically opens your machine to attack.


PHP-Shutdown – Writes a temporary file
CRON Job – Runs Command check frequently
Command Check – Looks out for the temp files in /tmp and acts upon them.

New Career

So a new chapter for me, I’ve just completed my first day week working as a Software Test Developer.

Records to Grid in Python

So one of the big problems I’ve had is how to convert data in recordset, from an SQL database into a grid so it can be plotted with Matplotlib. So you maybe asking what recordset is, well its where each entry is in a row.



0 0 1




0 1
0 1

Ten Years and a Day…

An event that changed the world and so many peoples lives :/

In the Dark

Today is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 58 people in London on 7th July 2005. Can that really have been ten years ago?

It seems apt to post this recollection again.


One summer morning in 2005 I rose early and left my house – I was living in Nottingham then – and took a train to London. I was quite excited. I was going to be interviewed later that day for a programme in the BBC TV series Horizon called The Hawking Paradox. The filming was to take place inside the Café de Paris near Piccadilly Circus, for the simple reason that it wasn’t used during the daytime, and would therefore be both quiet and cheap to hire. I was keen not to be late so I got a train that was due to arrive at St Pancras Station in London at about 9.30am.

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Bad Statistics, Bad Science

Wise words 🙂

In the Dark

I saw an interesting article in Nature the opening paragraph of which reads:

The past few years have seen a slew of announcements of major discoveries in particle astrophysics and cosmology. The list includes faster-than-light neutrinos; dark-matter particles producing γ-rays; X-rays scattering off nuclei underground; and even evidence in the cosmic microwave background for gravitational waves caused by the rapid inflation of the early Universe. Most of these turned out to be false alarms; and in my view, that is the probable fate of the rest.

The piece goes on to berate physicists for being too trigger-happy in claiming discoveries, the BICEP2 fiasco being a prime example. I agree that this is a problem, but it goes fare beyond physics. In fact its endemic throughout science. A major cause of it is abuse of statistical reasoning.

Anyway, I thought I’d take the opportunity to re-iterate why I statistics and statistical…

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