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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 after the death of his old dog, Kosmo, he also has a new bulldog puppy, Clara, since September 2018 :-)

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Logistic collapse imminent?

We make our own problems. Lockdown has consequences: all shops except food stores (supermarkets etc) were closed and are only just slowly re-opening here in Germany. This led to many people doing their non-food shopping online and having packages delivered to their homes. So now the package distribution networks are stretched to/near maximal capacity. DHL (=postal service), Hermes, Amazon etc are overloaded (sic!).

Last year, the postal service (DHL) averaged 5.2 million packages daily. Now they are inundated with 9 million packages daily. That's like the peak of the Christmas season. DHL has 113,500 employees, so that's almost 80 packages per employee per day which need to be collected, sorted, distributed and delivered. Per delivery driver up to 300 instead of 150 daily. Distribution centers have an increasing backlog, e.g. Hamburg-Allermoehe has a backlog of 70,000 packages as of yesterday. So delivery times are getting longer too, now five days instead of two on average, 15 days is the 95% mark.

True, DHL have responded by employing 2000 new drivers, but they are still on the learning curve so still only earning 13.56€/hour. So here's a chance for those who have been furloughed from other jobs. True, larger cities are now getting deliveries on sundays too. DHL is going to 3 shifts instead of 2 in the sorting centres. Fewer mail (letters) deliveries, as they concentrate on reducing the package backlog. Customers could help by bundling all their online orders into one weekly package, suggest our local delivery woman. Good idea!

What's the situation in your areas / country, dear readers?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A story for Legba

What to do with yourself during the lockdown? To avoid boredom, might as well learn something new. So in my case, I thought I'd learn to play the guitar better. But after a month - it was going very slowly - I thought I needed a faster method.

Then Robert Leroy Johnson crept in my mind. Now, in the 1986 movie Crossroads he was named Willie Brown : fast track to playing the blues guitar well? Just go meet Old Scratch at the crossroads and sign the deal. In your own blood, if the old Mississippi legend's right.

A remote country crossroads, the place to meet Legba. THE crossroads. Photo by daylight.

So a half hour before midnight, in the light of the full moon, I loaded my gear into the car. Two treble loudspeakers, a big woofer, the amplifier (this one goes to eleven), a couple of wah-wah pedals, the guitar and seemingly yards and yards of cables. Unloading it all at the crossroads and wiring everything up, only then did it occur to me I had no power socket, nor an inverter to get 230v AC for the gear from a 12v car battery :-( So now I know why Robert Johnson played acoustic guitar on the crossroads!

But quietly, the three triodes in my amplifier were glowing softly, bass, treble and volume set to 6, 6 and 6. . . . Mr Marshall's magic? Perhaps Legba was waiting? A simple riff came to mind : Highway to Hell? As I played it (badly), a quiet voice slithered seductively out of the darkness : Good choice, but too easy, I can teach you to play Crossroads well first. As I played it, somehow getting better and better until it was really good, the voice said "You know the deal, to play well for the rest of your life, you have to sign right here, and I get your soul when you die..."

I interrupted, laughing, saying "But I'm an Atheist, so I don't have a soul ;-)"

There was a terrible shriek in the darkness and an almighty thunderclap although the skies were clear. I woke up from the dream in my own bed, the dog whimpering softly.

There was about as much truth to this story as in an average Trump press conference, and believe me, they are all very average. I wrote it for my own and hopefully your amusement, after watching the 1986 movie Crossroads again the previous evening :-)

Comments (3)
Ed (USA) asks "Neat story twist, but who is Legba?" Voodoo demon of crossroads.
Schorsch (D) asks So who are your favourite five guitarists, name them and rank them." First impulse reaction : Zakk Wylde, then Steve Vai, closely followed by Joe Satriani. Well then Eric Clapton of course, and finally Angus Young. Just like that, in reverse alphabetical order of first names as it happens :-) Skip the Ads at the beginning - damn YouTube.
Jenny (Ibiza) opines "Well that was a really short horror story!" They come even shorter: here's a short Hemingway-esque tragedy "For sale: cot. Only used once :-(" Six words.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Coping with Eejitz

Kansas blogger Cop Car, a regular reader and commenter on this blog, has - like me - a STEM background. And I blog regularly on STEM subjects, e.g. here and here. Regularly we tease one another via email. Last week she sent me this cartoon :-

Now I don't know whether she sees me here in the role of the professor or of Tony ? ? ? Now I know I do tend to lecture people a lot - perhaps more than I should - because I do believe in educating people where necessary. And thereby hangs a tale . . .

So I was at an arty-farty reception last year attended by many persons of very little brain (as Winnie the Pooh would phrase it), whose smalltalk could be heard echoing around in their skulls before it was uttered. Small, Small, Small talk. Indeed a mixture of basic ignorance and stupidity, basic ignorance being defined here as not knowing basic (non-deducible) facts such as Who won the soccer world cup and where in 1954? (Germany, in Bern); and stupidity, being defined here as not being able to make logical deductions from known facts. Here's an example :-

At the aforesaid reception, one perky young lady used the idiom "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?". I couldn't stand the stupidity, so I lectured her : "The egg obviously; look, we are told chicken evolved from dinosaurs, so dinosaurs came before chickens by millions of years. And dinosaurs layed eggs, we know because we've found some. So the egg came before the chicken, QED!"

Later, someone of similar double (single?)-digit IQ said " winter I put hot coffee in the thermos and it stays hot, and in summer I put iced tea in the same thermos and it stays cold. What I want to know is : how does the thermos know when it's winter and when summer?" Mind blown! Were they pulling my leg? Or were they really so stupid? If the latter, basically, they didn't have a mental model of how a thermos works.

Now I will admit that there is a bunch of stuff I don't understand myself. I don't have a DEEP understanding of magnetism, nor of QCD, just to give 2 STEM examples.

So my question to y'all, dear blog-readers, is : How does one cope with idiots, or stupid people, or uneducated ones who simply do not have a mental model of the phenomena in our shared world? I fall into the trap of explaining stuff far too often. Boring!!!

How do you cope politely with everyday stupidity and/or ignorance ? (please don't use Trump as an example of either/both. I can't stand that dumb bully!).

Comments (5)
Cop Car wrote " (I didn't know you were from the Ozarks, Stu. Belatedly, I realize that you may be a bit Irish, though.) You are the male version of the professor, of course! As I am usually the eejitz, I can tell you that most "professors" are terribly unkind to those of us who struggle. BTW: Did you know that if one pours a vacuum bottle half-full of boiling water and half-full of iced water, in a couple of hours one has water that is just right? Those vacuum bottles are amazing!" Funny, but it doesn't answer my request for advice.
Cop Car wrote just 4 minutes later " After my email, and after re-reading your posting, I was reminded of my conversation with our handyman, yesterday. I had asked him how long it would take the mastic that he had used to cure. His answer wasn't very precise so I asked, "Is it like concrete - developing 99% strength in 30 days?" to which he gave a chuckle and said, "You know too much." My reply? "I know just enough to be really obnoxious at times." The problem is knowing in advance at which level one should pitch the explanation; it depends on the student. Misjudgement annoys people.
Ed asks "What does Eejitz mean? It's not in my dictionary." Eejit = a Scot and Irish word for idiot. My dialect, sorry.
Barbara (UK) jokes "To answer your question, my suggestion : let's not tell the Eejitz when the lockdown has ended ;-)" Good idea!
John (USA) wrote "Wonderful dialog with commentator. Probably has a lot to do with my infrequent comments." Heh, heh ;-)

Monday, April 13, 2020

No spit, Sherlock!

So when the Corona virus outbreak started here in Germany, we were told that we didn't need to wear face-masks. Supposedly, they don't help. But really, because the government didn't have a stockpile. Then the propaganda changed to : well, they're for medical and healthcare professionals only. Because they had barely enough for those people. And still the infection curve continued; it'll peak soon(?), we're told. Now we have about ⅔ of the number of virus dead as die annually in road accidents here (so what's all the fuss about?, say some).

In the USA it's much worse because their government (by Lord Tan Dump et al) is even MORE incompetent so the number dying from Coronavirus there almost reaches the number of americans shot by other americans (gee, thanks, NRA).

Now that more masks - which only filter 95% out (not 100%) - are becoming available (for a price), we are being told that the strict isolation laws can only be relaxed if everyone wears a mask when outdoors. Basically saying : you can only go out - e.g. shopping for food - if you wear a mask. But what counts as a mask? here are some of my efforts. . .

The picture on the left shows me wearing my motorcycling head-sock : warms the head on winter rides but really is used in summer to keep the sweat out of my helmet. Yes, it covers nose and mouth, thus preventing any nasal or oral ejecta (snot/mucus/spittle/spray) from hitting anyone opposite me. If I had Coronavirus, I would thus be less likely to infect anybody else. It wouldn't stop me being infected by anyone else though :-( So we each stay 6 feet apart from others.

The centre picture shows the creative use of a Melitta paper coffee filter. I tacked some old-granny knicker-elastic onto the sides of the paper filter using my office stapler ;-) The staples scratched though and there was considerable blow-by (aka it didn't fit very well, my beard getting in the way). Beard shortened. BTW, Melitta is now making proper masks using the coffee-filter machinery. Great minds think alike.

Finally, the Level 2 masks which SWMBO had ordered at the beginning of march have arrived (see right side photo). They only catch 94% not 95% which is why e.g. the USA doesn't import them (kinda stupid, surely 94% is still better than 0%, so that's just another Lord Tan Dump stupidity). They fit well, almost no blow-by, and don't scratch. Shortened beard tucks into the bottom too. So I guess we'll be wearing these if they are made compulsory. You can cook them in the oven at 80°C for 20 minutes to rid them of any virus and then reuse them (because we don't have enough for single-usage). However, you do have to consciously breathe deeper.

So how are you folks doing on the mask front, speaking moistly, in your countries?

Doug (Canada) sent this Van Gogh self-portrait cartoon, who was ard of earing :-

Cop Car shows us some of her home-made masks on her blog today.
Ed (USA) sent this screenshot of a filter mask for petrolheads ;-)

Udalrike (D) sent this photo of one of her self-made masks on her easter bunny :-)

Anon is sure this is what a Coronavirus infection feels like :-

Janet (UK) sends me the Daily Mail Good Face-Mask Guide :-)
Brendhan (IRL), slightly off-topic, sent this video of how Catholics confess online, due to Covid-19 quarantines. It's hilarious! ;-)
Steffy (UK) is motivated to always wear THIS mask , she wrote :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Easter cancelled ;-)

What with the Covid-19 plague outbreak and the corresponding lockdown, the popes - and other church leaders - have decided to cancel easter celebrations, thus confessing their prayers are useless against the evil might of the coronavirus. Oh ye of little faith! But just in case anyone - defying government regulations - wants to sneak into the churches, they are leaving the church doors open for the faithful gullible fools. Jesus wept!

So police checks against illegal gatherings of more than 2 people start thursday.

Cancellation of easter means He will have a Good Better Friday...

And by the time easter saturday rolls around, it will be time for Equal Opportunity (as seen on this German car numberplate)...

Come easter sunday, crucifixes will be being put to better use...

But on easter monday, Mary will still be copping a feel(?), as seen in this church's stained glass window...

If you found this blog-entry blasphemous, you may register a complaint here ;-)

To end on a less sarcastic note : did you see the moon at perigee yestreen?

Comments (5)
Jenny (Ibiza) wrote "Yes, the full moon looked really big." That's because its orbit is an ellipse. the Moon's center-to-center distance from Earth varies with mean values of 363,396 km at perigee (nearest) to 405,504 km at apogee .
Mike (USA), aka Billions of Versions... saw the "Complaints Dept." cartoon and actually read my Comments Policy, prompting him to write " It sucks having to deal with comments like you have to do. I know what you mean about commenters that can't be nice. I have one right now. Today he posted as Tony Brubaker. He always picks famous people names to post with. But he seems to be lightning up a little. As you can see from todays comments he wasn't nasty about anything. But most of the other blogs I visit have gone to comment moderation because of him. I have tracked him down to a logon of spod1000 and found out his first name is John...." Like Jesus' precursor? ;-) I have several old friends called John, in the UK, USA and NZ, so that doesn't indicate anything Mike. BTW, I have good friends called Mike ( e.g. Mike the Hike) too. Welcome to my blog :-)
John (USA), in one of his rare popups, wrote "Thanks for remembering John Prine. He's one of my heroes. That was a fine post!" Thanks. I'd missed seeing that country singer John Prine had died tuesday. So maybe you confused me with another blogger? He was 73, which, as you know, is a Prine number ;-)
Liesl (D) tells me "The Oberammergau Passion Play has been canceled too, and moved to 2022." In 1633, the time of the plague, the villagers there swore to do a passion play every 10 years if they were saved from the plague. They kept that promise so far for almost 400 years.
Jake (USA) wrote "Here's another cartoon for your hilarious collection . . ."

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Lockdown sudoku challenge

H ere's a Sudoku challenge to keep you good folks busy during the lockdown. Time yourselves and mail me how fast/slow you were for a mention in the comments :-)

And remember : six feet apart or six feet under!

Comments (6)
Cop Car wrote " Sudoku is not my cup of tea; but, I happened to notice how much better looking you are getting with the isolation. Have you been holing up in the Black Lagoon?" Friends are inundating us with Whatsapp photos. I post them for a few days in the left sidebar, then swap them out.
Iwan (RU) wrote "About 15 minutes." Quite good.
Andreas (D) wrote "12 min, 17 sec" and sent the completed puzzle, which I omit here to give others a chance to play.
Petra (A) confessed "Two days :-(". Disappointing :-(
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "How did YOU do?" Slightly slower than Andreas, about 12½ minutes. He also rides faster than I do nowadays ;-)
Liz wrote "Ten minutes! Considering I couldn't do the last one (long time ago) at all that is pretty good." Better than me! In fact, best so far!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Summertime . . .

. . . but the livin' ain't easy :-(

Not just because of the Covid-19 lockdown, but also because we missed an hour's sleep on sunday, that being the day when the EU put its clocks forward from winter time to summertime. Actually, the EU has resolved to stop this crap but the member states cannot yet agree on whether to go with just summertime or just wintertime, but obviously want to avoid having a checkerboard of time zones in the EU.

Be that as it may, I had to go through the house adjusting all the non-automatic clocks, putting them on to summertime.

Wow, what a lot of clocks we have! And some of them are non-standard: let me show you a half dozen.

Starting in the cellar : the washing machine has a clock as does the dryer, so that you can program them to run delayed to when the electricity is cheaper at night. The oil-fired heating has a clock too, so you can program it to run at a reduced level at night. In the downstairs study, we have a Black Forest cuckoo clock as shown above. The sauna has a programmable clock too, so it's hot already when you plan to get back from a motorcycle tour. Deepfreeze is automatic & digital.

Moving up to the ground floor : we have artist-friend Udalrike's version of a cuckoo clock: a triangular painting of a cuckoo with a small analog clock mounted in the centre. Gold foil leaves, even!

Udalrike has a thing about using gold foil. This is Udalrike's elliptical spiral painting : an accretion disc spiralling into the black hole where time stops.

And if time stopping wasn't enough, there's a clock upstairs from Bavaria, where time runs backwards ;-) Actually the clock just runs anticlockwise.

Then there are two weird ones. On the left a chain-display clock, no hands, just a labelled chain which is moved by a central gear wheel. To set it to summertime, just lift the chain off the cog and move it clockwise by six links. On the right is my Fibonacci-spiral clock. The short hand shows minutes in the usual manner, the longer, spiral, hand shows the hour on the central vertical scale. Here it is showing seven minutes to five, 16:53 pm.

Finally, a photo of a rare clock I would dearly love to own but cannot afford. It has been to space! It is a onboard clock from a Sojuz spacecraft.

Link to the previous month's blog.
Recent Writings
Logistic collapse soon?
A story for Legba
Coping with Eejitz
No spit, Sherlock!
Easter cancelled ;-)
Sudoku challenge
Measuring Earth's size
No more threesomes!
The Whisky Museum
Shutdown in Germany
PI day
Bike Shop Open Days
Getting to 365.2425 days
Our nearest neighbour
Palindromic numbers
Hiking through Patagonia
My 60's Coding history
Stormy Monday Blues
Moscow's Metro
Telescope resolution
Domino puzzle
Brexit tonight :-)
Scud Running kills
Pizza my arse!
Astronomically Stupid

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Billions of Versions...
Cop Car
Digby's Hullabaloo
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Greg Laden
Mostly Cajun
Observing Hermann
Starts with a Bang
Yellowdog Grannie

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Blog Dewey Decimal Classification : 153
FWIW, 153 is a triangular number, meaning that you can arrange 153 items into an equilateral triangle (with 17 items on a side). It is also one of the six known truncated triangular numbers, because 1 and 15 are triangular numbers as well. It is a hexagonal number, meaning that you can distribute 153 points evenly at the corners and along the sides of a hexagon. It is the smallest 3-narcissistic number. This means it?s the sum of the cubes of its digits. It is the sum of the first five positive factorials. Yup, this is a 153-type blog. QED ;-)
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