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Eunoia, who is a grumpy, overeducated, facetious, multilingual ex-pat Scot, blatantly opinionated, old (1944-vintage), amateur cryptologist, computer consultant, atheist, flying instructor, bulldog-lover, Beetle-driver, textbook-writer, long-distance biker, geocacher and blogger living in the foothills south of the northern German plains. Not too shy to reveal his true name or even whereabouts, he blogs his opinions, and humour and rants irregularly. Stubbornly he clings to his beliefs, e.g. that Faith does not give answers, it only prevents you doing any goddamn questioning. You are as atheist as he is. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will know why he does not believe in yours :-) Oh, and he also has a neat English Bulldog bitch 'Frieda'.

And her big son 'Kosmo'.

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sole survivor :-)

Some time ago, some schoolkids asked me "Has there ever been a war so bloody and so long that nobody survived?". As far as I know, no. But there WAS a war which had just one lone survivor - who wasn't even human - it was a ship's tortoise who survived the Crimean War. The schoolkids Wikipedia-ed the Crimean War and protested that the Crimean War only lasted from 1853 until 1856. This is not QUITE true, dear Wikipedia. Here's a short video from the UK TV program QI explaining the most peculiar case of the Sole Survivor of the Crimean War ;-)

This blogpost is for Hattie (Hawaii), whom I had mistakenly told it was a turtle.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Congratulations, Pete Barnwell

My old university friend Dr. Dr (h.c) Peter Barnwell M.B.E, with whom I went to City University 50 years ago where we read Physics, has added another feather to his cap!

We have our 70th birthdays behind us, but Peter is still so fit that he ran in the London Marathon over the weekend, finishing successfully. He even beat former athletic superstar David Hemery (who is in his age group) by an hour AND several thousand others many of whom are much younger than him. That's Peter in the blue shirt at the bottom left of this finishing-line photo, tired but happy. And just look at all those runners every one of whom is BEHIND him!!

Well done, Peter! The whole Class of 66 is proud of you!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What's with geocoordinates?

This blog has far more lurkers under the readers than people who comment. About ¼ of the lurkers come anonymously. So why do some blogreaders send their geocoordinates? For example, there is a regular reader at 51.2167, 6.7667, which is the NRW state police building on Jürgensplatz in Düsseldorf. Just as well I'm not paranoid ;-)

Another is allegedly at 39.9289, 116.3883 which is in the middle of a lake in Peking (but near the university there). Others are in Cherry Hill,New Jersey and Matlock,Derbyshire (UK) and Adelaide (Oz), so it's not restricted to one area.

So are these geocoordinates for real, or are they being faked, are they part of the anonymisation? Can someone (e.g. Renke) explain to me please what's with geocoordinates? Or maybe those of you whom I've used as examples may care to unlurk? ;-) Just curious.

Comments (7) :
Renke (D) replied quickly " Coordinates are useful/used for Location-based_service and HTML 5 has a geo API - although I thought the server has to ask the client to submit the position. I wasn't aware that some (mobile?) browsers(?) include them in the HTTP request header. Creepy. Or do you use some web tracking tool that adds geo API support?" I use Sitemeter to count hits. But what is peculiar is that the Lat/Long info appear to be off someways. It would have the Matlock reader in the middle of a muddy field, the Peking reader in the north palace lake, the NSA reader on the other side of the road from their HQ, and it puts Doug (a photographer who lives in Trail (CDN)) over in Burnaby which is 400 miles further west. Consistently, so I think they are not using mobiles. It would make LBS less than useful :-( Others are correct to within 500 yards. So what gives?
Schorsch (D) thinks "Only mobiles and tablets will have an integrated GPS. Any other coords you get are merely guesswork by their provider, I think." Yes, see also Renke's comment below...
Renke (D) continued " Without a GPS module the coordinates are based on IP addresses and other vague location infos - see e.g. for a short description of Firefox' method. But I'm still unsure why you get this data at all - I was quite sure the users have to allow geo API access for requesting sites in all browsers... I think I was incorrect about browser header infos but your spy tool provider uses a built-in server-side geolocation database, with collected data about IP addresses and locations. Such databases can work but not with the degree of precision you mentioned. According to this site (table at the bottom of the site) about 1 in 4 locations based on the IP address are within a distance of 0-2 km of the actual location." Thanks for the edification. That would help explain most of the offsets, except maybe that's a real Canadian in Barnaby and NOT Doug. Thanks also for catching my typo, which should have read 500 yards, now corrected.
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "How come you are blogging over the weekend? you don't usually!" Rain and thunderstorms preventing motorcycling.
John (UK) huzza-ed "Congratulations on reaching 4 million page views" Oh, I missed that myself. Must have been last week :-)
Doug (Canada) sent me his GPS coords (which I'll not post here), so I can cruise around his area via StreetView. I like seeing where & how my blogreaders live :-) Sadly there are no StreetView photos of where I live (here be dragons), so I can't share them :-(
Renke (D) continued " Slightly off-topic: . They call it the "coolest, most personal tech currently available", I call it creepy..." Thanks for the heads-up; creepy indeed!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Schrödinger's bilingual cat ;-)

This blog-entry was originally written in Danish. Until you read it. Whereupon it was instantaneously translated into English. Perhaps that is why it is referred to as The Copenhagen Interpretation ;-)

Comments (4) :
Petra (A) interjects "Huh ????????????????" It's a quantum mechanical joke that you have to read, then you either get it or you don't. No inbetweens.
John (UK) quips "Bohr-ing!" Indeed ;-)
Cop Car (USA) wrote " GROAN!!! Nice input from John; but, Stu, you could take pity on your readers who are not physics-mad by giving them a link to the "real" Copenhagen Interpretation. For instance: here. Well - it might not help, but it won't hurt!" Good suggestion! Folks, click on the link CC has provided.
Jenny (Ibiza) surmises correctly "Bet you didn't get the pub's friday night joke prize for that one!" True :-(

Friday, April 24, 2015

Credit where it is due!

One of my newer academic blogreaders emailed me congratulating me on being so active academically at 70, with 150 engineering publications in this century alone???? I did a double-take, since the last paper I had published must be about a decade ago and was a cryptography paper, not an engineering one. So I wrote back, asking if this was not a case of mistaken identity or simply him clicking on the wrong email address in his address-file?

He replied by quoting a recent paper where one of the authors was listed as Savory,S. Maybe I have a Doppelgänger?

So I did a search in an academic publications database. Turns out that this particular Savory,S. is Dr.Seb Savory of University College, London, UK. So he should be getting all the credit, not me! Seb has 8 patents (the average number of patents per inventor is around 3) and has authored/co-authored over 100 journal and conference papers; productive! :-)

I published (about 50?) papers while working in industry where there is no pressure to publish and most of the papers are WIP (work-in-progress) reports, few new inventions. The WIP papers from industry are used as a marketing tool, not for serious scientific research (any inventions get patented). Academics are under more pressure ("publish or die"), needing a good publication history in their CVs to achieve tenure. I know professors who published like mad until achieving tenure, but then tailed off very quickly :-( One way to get more publications is to co-author (=collaboration). If three or four of you collaborate, averaging one paper a month(sic!) then you effectively write one full paper yourself every 3-4 months, which does actually leave you some time to do the research upon which the paper is based :-) WIP (work-in-progress) report papers also do not require much effort in my experience, freeing up more time for your R&D. The extreme example of collaboration is at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN. There is only one piece of equipment (=LHC) and the papers list ALL the team members e.g. on the ALICE experiment!

Seb's current research explores four areas: Algorithms for digital coherent receivers, Ultra-dense passive optical networks, Disruptive photonic technologies for optical networks, and Cognitive optical networks. OTOH my academic interests are AI and cryptography. So we've emailed one another, agreeing to pass on any emails intended for the other person (none have cropped up yet). The only keyword which defeats my Bayesian filter is "qubits", which could be for either of us, and so will require manual inspection.

To quote Seb's mail "It's a small world and the Savorys get everywhere!" ;-)

We can test Seb's hypothesis, because coincidentally, Cop Car has a link in her blog today which lets you see how many people of your firstname/surname combination there are in the USA. It turns out that both of us are unique (snide remarks will be ignored) ;-) There are however 7 people in the U.S. named Jesus Christ! And since there is a place called Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, we may well see the Second Coming in the USA ;-) Or, to quote W.B.Yeats "And what rough Beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born again?" ;-)

Comments (2) :
David (IL) asks "How many papers do academics "need" annually?" This report claims 3¼. This discussion says just two. More important indicators of quality are the number of patents for engineers and the number of times your papers are cited by others (Seb is cited 3151 times!). BTW, a well known american scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson has written just 13 papers, only one as sole author, but 12 popular-science books. There are 11 people in the U.S. named Neil Tyson which maybe is why he includes the "deGrasse" ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "And how many by Einstein?" Over 300 publications and about 50 patents (including one for a fridge).

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Google, used by 90% of the web-searches here in Germany, updated its rating algorithm internationally yesterday. The Mobile-geddon update will penalize websites which are not tuned for display on the small screens of mobile phones, but only on mobile search results, they claim. Conventional search results will not be affected. We shall see.

When I started this blog - back in 2002 - I optimised it for 640 x 480 screens which is what my median blogreader was using back then. Soon I upgraded it to 800 x 600 for the 15 inch screens of my median user. Now I set it up for a screen width of 1000 pixels, the median user seems now to have moved on to 1280 wide. Now the user distribution has two humps, one around 1280 and the much smaller peak of the mobile phone users. So am I going to reduce my screen footprint to account for the mobile users? No way, it's a step back!

However, Google does provide a tool to show you what it dislikes. Here are my test results from their tool testing this blog page.

The four reasons they cite are :-
1) Text too small and so hard to read (this is actually a criticism of the resolution of some mobiles' screens),
2) Links are too close to one another (fat fingers cannot select them easily enough),
3) "Mobile"-display region has not been defined (that's a trick to 'expand' the typefont by selecting a subset of the screen only for mobile display),
and 4) Content wider than the mobile's screen (again, this is actually a criticism of the resolution of some mobiles' screens).
They also only test for vertical display. If they had used horizontal display, the screen would be more legible, even in 480x230 :-

Personally, I think most of my blogreaders use laptops,PCs, Macs etc and not mobile phones to read this blog. So I shall not be catering to the current generation of mobile phones. This blog trundles along nowadays at around 330 unique blogreaders daily, sometimes peaking at over 500 when others link to an article they find interesting. Not a large fraction come in via search engines. So I shall see what happens to the stats after #mobile-geddon. This is the state of things at Tuesday noon, pre-#mobile-geddon.

Would those of you using mobiles to access this blog please comment, giving me some feedback (via email pls).

Comments (3) :
Ingineer66 (USA) wrote feedback "I just started coming here from Cop Cars beat. I read your blog from an iPad turned sideways. It looks just fine to me." Thankyou, Jim.
Doug (Canada) wrote " Google is making the (mostly correct) assumption that very few websites are hand code these days from scratch. Most are using a CMS system of some sort (WP, Drupal etc) that have the capability of sensing what the visitor's resolution is and then adapting the site to it. So they are not going backwards they are going to penalize those who do not go forwards." Me and many. I shall still wait to see what (if any) effect it has.
Schorsch (D) wrote "I googled "Blog Savory" from within Germany, you came up 4th (and your wife 3rd :-)" That's what I get too. Now if someone would try it from their mobile please? My mobile is an old, robust, dumb, non-graphic, antique, audio and SMS only device ;-)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Timetraveller´s´ Reunion

In case you are wondering about the two apostrophes in today's header, yes, these are valid. I call these Schrödinger's genitive, and use it when I don't know if there are one or more items, thus don't know whether to use the singular or plural genitive forms. So the two apostrophes represent overlapping states to be resolved when the item is/are observed :-)

And this is the case for the Timetraveller´s´ Reunion, to be resolved when timetraveller(s) is/are actually observed ;-)

Let's look at a regular reunion. People with a shared period of experiences (school, university, military, project, event etc) arrange to meet (place, time) and swap (tall) tales about aforesaid period as seen through rosy glasses, and play catch-up, telling tales/showing photos/videos about (perhaps) interesting things that have happened to them in the interval since the previous reunion. The past is regarded as immutable and irrevocable.

The Timetraveller´s´ Reunion is different. Firstly, there is only one, because later ones can take place at the same place and time :-) If a participant (sic!) finds any tales/photos/videos interesting, he can just go then and experience it himself. Tall tales are revealed for what they are, and so noone exaggerates. Some events may prove SO popular that the audience then may consist mostly of time-travellers, as photos will show ;-) If you see photos taken more than a lifetime apart but with the same faces in them, it's either time-travellers or some serious inbreeding ;-)

What happens if they skip forward beyond the singularity? Would the AI detain them? Indeed , how DO you detain a time-traveller? There are no knots in 4D.

This sockdolager may even account for the feeding of the 4000 (or 5000 in some versions) : the time-travellers probably took a lunchbox with them ;-) Do the time-travellers even need a reunion if they are meeting everyone else at every event : all the time so to say? Perhaps the Big Bang was caused by all of them congregating then out of curiosity? ;-)

Time-travellers in general have language- and clothing-, as well as customs- and mores-, -problems. Imagine modern-day bible-belters travelling back to witness the crucifiction. Can they speak latin or greek or aramaic? Unlikely, some can't even cope with normal english. Some have foreskins. Others wear magic underwear. None are likely to pass unnoticed and so may get crucified too (Bar-Abbas being the local dialect word for time-traveller perhaps?). Turning up three days after you've been crucified and buried is a dead(sic!) give-away for a time-traveller. So, just that one, or the reunion horde? Dunno, hence the use of Schrödinger's genitive in the title today :-)

An expanded version of these thoughts, entitled The Chronic Argonauts revisited, will appear in 1895 at Amy Catherine Robbins' wedding, the most appropriate time and place for the Timetraveller´s´ Reunion. See you then!

Comments (2) :
David (USA) quips "Jamais vu ;-)" C'est again?
Jenny (Ibiza), still snarking, wrote "Oh come on! I had to look up "sockdolager"! Why not use a vocabulary everyone else can understand? :-(" You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the purpose of this blog is to be understandable to the majority. Not so. The purpose of this blog is to educate the majority! And amuse it ;-)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Oldtimer Ahoi :-)

Isn't it amusing how we make up rationalisations to justify what we have internally long "decided" to do anyway? Here's my newest one :-)

Interest rates are at an all time low. From the mid fifties until 1990 the average real interest rate (i.e. minus inflation) was 4% here, well, 3% in the seventies, peaking at 6% in 1990, but averaging 4%. From 1990 to today there has been a downward trend from 6% to around zero now, about a 0.24% p.a. annual decrease. The interest rates we get for our bank-savings are now around zero %, some banks even demanding negative interest :-(

So I reasoned there is no point keeping money in the bank any more, it's better to invest in something which has a chance of appreciating in value over the coming years. And here it is :-)

This is a Porsche 944, oldtimer, 2.5 liter, transaxle, 163 bhp, 220 km/h sports car which I intend to have some fun driving and which I hope will gain in value over the coming decade. As a counter-trend to Google's autonomous driving, I chose a 30 year old car which has NO electronic aids, so NO Anti-lock braking system (ABS), NO traction control, etc. The pure driving experience. Everything feels very "stiff" compared to a modern car, some force is required for both clutch and steering, but the brakes only need normal pressure. Corners beautifully :-) Non-standard immobiliser added to deter nasty men from nicking it, otherwise original, only 126,000 kms (78,000 miles) so far. This should be fun!

The fun started early : our first outing was to Silberbachtal, a cafe´in the woods. They charge 2€ for using their forest-edge parking lot, much frequented by SUVs. The SUV drivers could lower their window, reach across to put the coin in the top of the barrier-pole raising machine, but not reach down far enough to get their ticket out of the bottom of the machine, and so had to get out of the SUV just to get the ticket. We had laughed about that on previous visits. What we didn't know was that the parking lot owner had had many complaints about this and so had now mounted the machine higher :-(

I drove confidently right up next to the machine in the Porsche, rolled my window down (manually of course), only to find I could not reach up to the top of the (higher) machine! :-( However, part of the Porsche myth is that there is a pretty girl in the passenger seat whose job it is to help in situations like this. So SWMBO bravely clambered up out of her seat and walked around the car to feed the hungry machine and collect the receipt because I was too close to even get my door open. When we got to the parking lot, SWMBO said "You know, Stu, we could have just driven under the barrier-pole! " On the way out, we edged up to the pole to test this idea, but the car is a hand higher than the pole, so that would not have worked :-(

The 944 was on Car and Driver's Ten Best list from 1983 through 1985. In 1984, Car and Driver named the 944 the Best Handling Production Car. But I don't intend to push it hard, respecting its 30 years...

Next up : finding and fixing a minor coolant leak...

Comments (3) :
David (USA) opines "You will probably spend more on maintenance than any bank charges that otherwise might have occurred :-(" The purpose of money is not to make more money. The purpose of money is IMHO to make fun :-)
Cop Car (USA) wrote " "SWMBO bravely clambered up out of her seat." thus neatly negating anyone's contention that "there is a pretty girl in the passenger seat whose job it is to help in situations like this." is a myth! Hunky Husband and I agree that, as long as one of us is spending his/her own money, no rationalization/justification is required. Only if I ask HH to spend his money on a purchase, the case for which I am pleading, need I present logical reasons. Will the "non-standard immobilizer" not prevent a nasty woman from nicking your pride and joy? Congratulations on the purchase. Enjoy your Porche 944!" PorSche. With an S in it!
Barbara (UK) asks "How did you get such a neat (vanity?) numberplate?" I understand that in the UK a car is assigned a numberplate which it retains all its life. Here in Germany that's not the case; a car gets a new number issued depending on where the owner lives. In my case Paderborn is the issuing registration office, hence the first letters are PB. Then I paid the (cheap) vanity plate fee and asked which numbers were available ending in 944 (that's the car's model number). S (for Stu) had gone, so I chose "I", because it looks remotely like the numeral one (1) and my year of birth is 1944, so it looks like PB-1944. Of course, PB-(four numerals) would be an administration plate, not emitted to private persons, so PB-I 944 was the nearest I could get. I may change it for a historical plate when the technical check (TÜV = MOT in the UK) is due next year, so the new number would have an H at the end, exempting the car from various emission restrictions etc (due to its age) and halving the cost of insurance and taxation. We'll see, when the time rolls around :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Generating Pythagorean Triples

Most of you will have learned about Pythagorean Triangles in school, in particular the triple {3,4,5}. These are the sides of a right angled triangle, so 32+42=52. Since 52+122=132, we get another right-angled triangle with the triple {5,12,13}. Both are shown below.

The longer sides of these triangles differ by one, and it is easy to generate such Pythagorean Triples by making the hypoteneuse the shortest side of the next triangle. In the diagram above, the first hypoteneuse (5) was used as the shortest side of the next triangle whose longer sides also differed by one.

Just take the short side (5), square it (25), and halve the result (12½). The nearest integers below this (12) and above this (13) complete the next Pythagorean Triple {5,12,13}.

Using this method on the next hypoteneuse, we take 13, square it (169), halve it(84½) to get the next Pythagorean Triple {13,84,85} whose longer sides differ by one.

The next one? Take 85, square it (7225), halve it (3612½) to get the next Pythagorean Triple {85, 3612, 3613} whose longer sides differ by one.

The next one? Take 3613, square it (13053769), halve it (6526884½) to get the next Pythagorean Triple {3613, 6526884, 6526885} whose longer sides differ by one. But if you are using one of ubiquitous cheap pocket calculators which are only accurate to eight digits, this will be as far as you can go, because trying to square a 7-digit number would need a 14-digit precision :-(

The number of digits potentially doubles at each step, so even using the binomial theorem to do the squaring will only get you a little further. There are however arithmetic packages for arbitrary precision arithmetic available for your PC if you really want to try to continue :-)

It's an interesting exercise for a school class and it shows them how quickly they reach the limits of their calculators :-( Perhaps also getting them to actually use the binomial theorem? :-)

PS : If there is still time left in class, get the kids to construct a circle using the hypoteneuse as its diameter and discover that the right triangle's right angle is then always on the perimeter of the circle :-)

Comments (3) :
Ed (USA) opines "If you gave the inner city kids of this country compasses, they'd just use them to stab each other :-(" OK ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) snarks "A typical Stu blog-entry : a snippet of facts that is of no practical use to anyone :-(" Well, thank YOU!
Pergelator (USA) wrote " You comment about how calculators can only handle 7 digits made me wonder how many digits a Google spreadsheet can handle. Looks like about twice that: 14. Look at sheet 3: 1OWaZiD_hRzcoR20BlsdJ0z10t_VgOjbfijv4rt0AkxE/pubhtml
But 14 digits only gets you one more step. If you accept the default formatting (scientific notation) it looks like the spreadsheet can handle three more steps, but if you look at the details (change the formatting, like in column F, you can see that it is faking it."
Good to know, Charles.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pub Joke Win ;-)

Won a beer on friday for the best pub joke; here it is :-

"Well, I'm seventy now, lads, so I watched my first porn video on the internet, and you know what? I looked much younger back then." ;-)

Comments (2) :
Anon complains "All I got is : This video is not available in your country." Not in this century anyway ;-)
Renke (D) asks "50 shades of grey or colour cinematography? ;-)" Colour, 'cos you need to pop some blue to see it in full length ;-)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Post-WW2 Bikes @ PS-Speicher

Continuing from the previous blog-post.....

There was a break in the style of the collection between the pre-WW2 and post-WW2 bikes on display. Most of the post-WW2 bikes were big-bikes centered around the 1970s. Here are photos of five of them, with links to their Wikipedia entries.

Münch TTS, 1966-1975, used the NSU TT 1200cc four, a car engine. Friedel Münch was an artisan builder of motorcycles, no two the same, always being improved. Characteristic of his bikes are the OEM inline transverse air-cooled four from an NSU TT car, the tubular steel frame inspired by the Norton Featherbed frames, the large drum brake he cast himself, a cast rear wheel rather than spokes, and the enclosed drive chain. A friend let me ride his once; it's a heavy brute, the superbike of the late sixties.

Honda CB750, 1969-2003, air-cooled transverse in-line SOHC 750cc four. Just 3 years later, Honda mass-produced this 67 bhp four. I restored one as a Cafe´Racer in 2007/2008 it looked like this, black and chrome, M-bar, 4-in-1 etc.

Ducati 750ss, 1972-1980, desmodromic L-twin with 750cc. An L-twin is a 90° V-twin for better balance. Later they built one with 900cc and 1000cc. My only Ducati was a 1969 250cc Desmo single, which in racing trim, looked like this one.

Laverda Jota, 1976 to 1982, versions with 1000cc and 1200cc triples. I took a test ride once, but could never have owned a Jota because the clutch was so hard to pull and I never had the biceps for it. Great bike, but for He-men only.

Van Veen OCR1000 rotary, 1978-1981, only 48 were built. Wankel engine. Have only ever seen one on the road, which comes to the races at Schotten every year. Doesn't sound as good as the Norton 588cc Wankel rotary though :-(

Comments (1) :
Doug (Canada) wrote "The Münch TTS looks like it would be really top heavy. I had a CB650 and was glad to get rid of it for my Seca 750. I really did not like the way the CBs cornered (at least mine) - it always felt like you really had to work to get it over - the Seca was the opposite." I bought the smaller Street Triple because it is NOT top heavy as opposed to its bigger sister the Speed Triple, which I found to be overweight and a bit top-heavy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pre-WW2 Bikes @ PS-Speicher

Just last year, a new motorcycle museum called PS-Speicher opened in Einbeck, a mere 60+ miles east of here. PS stands for Horsepower and Speicher means Storage. So called because the bike museum is housed in the old corn-storage house in Einbeck, a 6 storey brick building from the 19th century. I had been invited to the opening ceremony last year but was abroad at the time, so on the first sunny day (+14°C) this year I decided to ride over to take a look around :-)

The museum has 300+ objects on display, but don't worry, I'm only going to show you a dozen in this and the next post (post-WW2 bikes).

Regular admission is €12, a bit on the steep side, I thought. The first surprise is the elevator. They only have a freight elevator designed to heave the exhibits slowly up to the 6th floor etc. And because this is so slow, they provide chairs in the elevator and show a short movie there, explaining the timeline along which the museum is organised (oldest bikes on the 6th floor, to see first) and which decades are on each floor.

Shown above is a Hildebrand and Wolfmüller dating from 1894. (Actually small details hint to me that this is most likely a replica). Their's was the world's first production motorcycle, they even trademarked the word "Motorrad" which is German for Motorcycle! 2000 were built. 180° twin, no gearbox, no chain or cardan, no clutch, it was a run-and-jump starter ;-) The 2 loooong-stroke cylinders are positioned along the bottom of the frame. The long connecting rods drive a crankshaft which is an extension of the rear axle. So the rear wheel doubles duty as the flywheel (sic!). Those white strips you see are rubber bands designed to pull the con-rods back from bottom-dead-centre ;-)

The first four-cylinder motorcycle was the FN 2 shown above in its 1913 civilian version. It saw action in WW1, being used by the French and Belgian armies. Note that it has a cardan drive shaft, a clutch, a silencer, dampened front fork suspension, a horn and a proper carburettor rather than just a surface snuffle valve. That's a lot of technical progress in just a decade and a half :-)

Ten years later, the Megola was being built in Munich, Germany. Its most peculiar feature was the 5-cylinder radial engine mounted within the front wheel. The low-compression engine was so flexible that it lacked both a clutch and gearbox, so it had to be push-started. Despite the high unsprung weight, handling was surprisingly good, I read, due to the low centre of gravity. No silencers on that radial engine of course, so it didn't need a horn!

Meanwhile in Czechoslovakia a small factory produced the Böhmerland from 1924 up until WW2. The Böhmerland is the longest-wheelbase bike ever produced, being built in 2, 3 and even 4 seat versions (this is the 3-seater). Other innovations were the leading-link forks and solid cast wheels and nine! gears via two 3-speed gearboxes, the hindmost gearbox being operated by the rear-seat passenger (sic!).

In Germany in the same decade, car manufacturer Opel produced this side-valve single cylinder, chain-drive, single-seater which proved to be less than successful. Fritz Opel also built a one-off,"The Monster", which was a rocket-propelled(sic!) motorcycle of short but spectacular range ;-)

The most successful German bikes in the period leading up to WW2 were both boxers (horizontally opposed twins), with clutch and gearbox in the engine casing. Air-cooled, cardan drive shaft, electric lights, solid rear-end, friction-disc dampened forks. The red one shown above has a Zündapp K800 with its characteristic pressed steel frame. The black one shown below is a BMW R32 which is almost a decade older. Both boxer designs saw action in WW2, usually as sidecar outfits like the Zündapp KS750.

That's enough for today; a later blog article will cover the post-WW2 bikes on display in the PS-Speicher museum.

Comments (1) :
Ed (USA) asks "How does that bike with the engine in the front wheel get its gas and oil?" The gas tank is attacked to the front left fork (see photo), you can see the brass filler cap. The silver-coloured cylinder on the left of the gas tank is the (manual) oil pump. Both have hoselines going to the front axle. Gas and oil are fed through separate boreholes in the axle to sleeve valves at the engine. The gas then goes from its sleeve valve to each of the inlets via 5 pipes. The oil has a sleeve valve to the big end, afaik.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Egg Doubleplus

T his is a 7" ostrich egg - beautifully painted with the Big Five - which I bought on a photo-safari in South Africa about 25-30 years ago :-)

All those of you with your puny monochromatically-stained chickens' eggs can eat your yolks hearts out ;-)

Leopard and Lion

Water Buffalo and Elephant


Gazelle (top) and Leopard

Mommy's head is much smaller than her eggs

Comments (4) :
Renke (D) wrote " Easter Eggs, because time is money ;-) Indeed! When teaching compiler-construction I used to quote Lewis Carroll, who distinguished finely between call-by-name, call-by-value and call-by-simple-reference :-)
Ed (USA) asks witheringly "How come you - a militant Atheist - are celebrating Easter?" Because I can still be grateful that He died for me too on the cross, that I might today eat a chocolate bunny ;-)
Hattie (Hawaii) enthused " Wow. That ostrich egg is exactly the kind of thing I love!!!! " I transported it home as hand-luggage, to be sure it survived :-)
Jenny (Ibiza) also enthuses "Great use of depth-of-focus for that shot of the bird's head! Kudos!" Telephoto lens on an analog camera where you could/had to do everything yourself, no electronic gizmos to "assist" :-)

Good Friday, April 3, 2015

Off Target?

S ince today is the day when ⅓ of the world celebrates the killing of one man, perhaps it is time to write about others who are worried about the inefficiencies of their tools designed to kill even more people :-(

Our local military is concerned that their chosen instrument of remote death - the G36 assault rifle - gets hot and bothered and thence inaccurate. National press reports that the G36 is useless at and beyond 200 metres when hot. However there have been NO publications yet which back this claim up with photos of the bad groups, like this HYPOTHETICAL one I've drawn below.

Group testing is done by firing 5 or more shots from a benchrest and seeing how big the resulting pattern is, defined as the smallest circle you can draw enclosing all shots. A good rifle will group within 1 MOA (Minute Of Arc) = one inch at 100 yards. Manufacturers test-group new rifles, selecting the good ones (e.g. ½ MOA) and labelling them sub-MOA for use as sniper rifles. If the group is off centre, the sights can be adjusted accordingly. A barrel which groups at 1" for slow-fire rate (and thus cold barrel) can be expected to deteriorate to 2½ inches when hot. That is normal.

However, there have been rumours in the press that the G36 barrel is so lightweight (aka thin) that "groups" spray out to 18" at 200 metres when the rifle has been used on rapid-fire and is thus hot. A group spreading this large makes the gun useless, they claim. Now the telescopic sights on the G36 has markings for ranges out to 800 metres. At this range the "hot barrel" group would be 6 feet wide instead of the expected 8" for a cold barrel. Useless :-(

The manufacturer (H&K) denies the problem and was not allowed to participate in the tests. The test report has not yet been released. Supposedly, there may be an RFP for a different assault rifle which can meet the specs even when hot.

In action, soldiers (other than snipers) would not be shooting from a rest, so the group size also depends on the correct use of the rifle. Having shot target rifles (mostly small-bore) over the years, I can often tell the shooter's fault just by looking at his groups. Some examples of rifle problems: an almost vertical group is indicative of a damaged firing pin, two sub-groups are caused by loose stock fittings. Some examples of marksman problems: group at 4-o'clock position = pulling rather than squeezing the trigger, group at 8-o'clock position = forcing the shoulder onto the rifle-butt, etc.

Our Ministry of Defence has a bad record with acquisitions. Transport airplanes, ships, guns. All late and/or over budget. During the last RFP for an assault rifle they rejected the Kalashnikov merely for being not PC ;-) I wonder what will happen on the next RFP.

Comments (4) :
Ed (USA) complains "Bad taste, writing GunPorn on Good Friday! I'll stick to reading the Bible today!" Ah, you prefer BiblePorn (as in Ezekiel 23:20)? And before you chide me for cherry-picking(sic!) bits from the Bible, Ed, even you are not allowed to choose which bits you follow and which not, it's all or nothing (see James 2:10). No, the point I was making, if any, was "Do as you would be done by" (Matthew 7:12).
Ed (USA) replied "If you're so good at quoting the Bible, tell us your favorite verse" It is "Thou shalt not serve pizza to gays" (Nonesuch 4:2) ;-)
Dom Sentori wrote "In our grand quest to eliminate the world's population you may soon find that these weapons of old to be replaced by robot drone soldiers. It's a logical conclusion. The ultimate goal being to eliminate any human involvement. Rifles used in warfare will be as outdated as a broad sword. They are even considering robotic police officers. And we thought "the Terminator" was just fanciful fiction. :-( " I think not. Even robot drone infantry would need some remote destruction capabilities, so probably integrated (armour piercing) rifles before they progress(?) to integrated rail-guns. Both perhaps then with HEMP munitions countering drone targets?
Cop Car (USA) wrote " Target is a rather large chain of retail stores in the USA; however, that isn't what prompts me to comment. I want to congratulate you on mindfully eschewing esoteric terms! I'll leave the small stuff to you. I only worked with ballistic weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) so mostly worked with precisions stated as circular error probables (CEPs). Do small arms people also speak of CEPs? P.S. My favorite bible dithers between Sourcebook on Atomic Energy and Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers. They are oldies but goodies." There are a number of different versions of the Christian Bible, 66 books for Protestants upto 88 in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church canon, so the term "Bible" is not uniquely defined. I do however also own an Apocrypha and a Gnosis, of which the OTC disapproves both. Oh, and I forgot to mention that RFP is an acronym for 'Request For Proposal'. Small arms people do not speak of CEPs, just of groups as I described above. Groups may not be circular, depending on the kinds of faults the marksman is making and whether the rifle is in correct working order.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In the Beginning - April 1st edition

Verily, I say unto you : In the Beginning was Word, and the word was DOS-B, which was intended to be the successor to the original DOS, which booted from the other floppy drive, and hence was known as DOS-A. However, The Makertm was Jewish and so wrote in Hebrew, from right to left, so instead of DOSB we got BSOD. Again and again and again. Each involved a restart, thus giving rise to the cyclical theories of the universe (compare the Steinhardt-Turok model with the Baum-Frampton model). Instead of starting with a Big Bang, The Makertm thus had His universe start with a Soft Whimper (acronym = SW). Thus The Makertm became known for His SW full of BSOD ;-)

Anyway, on one of the cycles of this Universe, The Makertm (or perhaps His Adversarytm?) created The One True Churchtm (acronymn OTC), then had to decide where to put it. Being a fan of Italian cars, He decided to put it in-car-nation, from which Word insists on removing the hyphens ;-). After the next BSOD/SW He did His re-in-car-nation at the Monza car show, introducing the Fiat Lugs, His first bright idea.

The LUG, of course is merely an acronym for Linux User Group, showing that there is a Soft Whimper which people actually like. This is called evolution and not, as Pariah Salin thinks, evil?Ooh,shun! BTW, the first documentation of a cyclical expanding and contracting universe comes from the poetic writings of Erasmus Darwin in 1791. Now where have I heard of that surname?

Anyway, back to the next BSOD/SW, which was when The Word first appeared, accompanied by an annoying paper-clip and a 31 page "Guarantee" which removed all blame for BSOD from The Makertm, cutting up the user with Axe of God; it's a bit like Mjolnir, but with a sharp edge, hence designed to run on a Blade server. As compensation for your whole universe dying, you get a large UK chocolate bar, known as The Big Crunch.

I originally recorded this drunken stream-of-unconciousness drivel on St.Patrick's Day for All Fools Day, but I might as well leave it up until Easter, just to annoy the OTC ;-) Easter,btw, was not defined by The Makertm, but rather by the Council of Nice Ear in 325 AD. As you may know, AD stands for Arbitrary Date, said Council not having a shred of evidence on when to start their calender, despite having nice ears :-( Other nice ears belonged to the king of Persia (aka the Shah ear), although he was a silly old Faqih.

However, THIS narrative is the canonical version, disbelieve all others, which are merely based on arbitrary inclusion/exclusion decisions by The One True Churchtm. You might prefer instead to shake-ya-money ;-)

Comments (3) :
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "That was quite funny :-) But you lost me at the end there. What's with "shake-ya-money", a reference to Judaism?" No. A reference to Buddha. One of the names he was called by was "Shakyamuni". And FWIW, "Shah ear" is a pun on Shariah and a Faqih is an Islamic lawyer.
Ed (USA) chides me "You are required by FDA law to put a warning in your blogheader "May contain nuts" ;-)" There is no such warning on entering Indiana (or indeed, the GOP HQ) either, so why should I?
Renke (D) wrote "If someone forces me to take a look at the bible I prefer this version :)" OK, but I thought "Legoland" was a character in LOTR ;-)

Recent Writings
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Post-WW2 Bikes
Pre-WW2 Bikes
Easter Egg Doubleplus
Off Target?
In the Beginning

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