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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

Friday, August 29, 2014


On the saturday, the last day in the Alps on our bike tour, we were joined by locals Ralf and Tatjana. I took them via panoramic back roads to a hillside Alm directly under the Dachstein mountains.

When we reached Filzmoos, there is a narrow toll road up into the hills. The toll is a rip-off, the road is not even surfaced! But it leads up to the Hofer Alms. Tourist buses and most car drivers park down in Filzmoos and take the horse drawn carriages (=Fiaker) up to the Unterhofalm beer garden.

While the horses eat their hay and recuperate from their 3 mile slog, the tourists (such as we) recuperate in the beer garden :-)

The views are spectacular, the Unterhofalm is right under the Dachstein mountain; that's the Bishop's Mitre peak formation in the background, just above the leftmost flag. The scree in the centre provides runoff water (from the snow at the top) which drives the millwheel at the 250 year old Alm.

On the way back to Germany, we stopped to admire the panoramas a lot.

. . . road trip report (returning home) to be continued . . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


With our base moved east to Bayrisch Gmain, we chose the next sunny day to tackle the Grossglockner alpine road. On the previous day the mountains were hidden in the clouds, so we just did a tour of the six lakes in the Salzkammergut area on the plains.

The Grossglockner alpine road is an expensive toll road (€24 for each bike, gawd knows what cars and busses cost, but there were far too many of them) but kept in good condition. Lots of stopping places for photo opportunities as it winds its way up the mountain. Dense traffic though, just not in this photo, due to it being the holiday season :-(

As you get up above freezing level, the hairpin bends are made from cobblestones rather than asphalt, as these are more resistant to ice-cracking, we were told. Cobblestones are slippery when wet though :-(

The highest point on the pass is a dead-end called Bikers' Point, almost 10,000 feet up. Despite the name, several cars drove up there too and wondered why there was almost no car parking and barely room for them to to turn around. Most of them unthinking tin can drivers!!! :-(

But there was one neat little car, Seppl's very photogenic BMW Isetta, powered by a two-stroke engine instead of the usual 250cc R25/26 four-stroke single. Great number plate on it too :-)

The Grossglockner peak is at 12500 feet; the road just goes over the pass.

There is a dead-end side road from the pass which takes you up to see the Franz-Josef glacier from the platform just visible on the right of this photo. Several hours queueing time for cars at an intermediate staging parking lot, but bikes can ride all the way up to the viewing platform. As you can see in this shot, the glacier has shrunk and retreated up hill since the platform was built. Indeed, the old glacier cog-railway no longer even reaches the base of the glacier. You can see where the glacier used to be. Global warming!

On the way back, we stopped several times to enjoy the spectacular views.

. . . alpine road trip report to be continued . . .

Comments (1) :
John (UK) asks "So why do you think the traffic was dense when in your photo it patently is not?" Because a motorcycle has a much better power to weight ratio than everything else on the road, I just accelerate quickly along any empty patches, quickly catching up with rolling hindrances ahead. I don't overtake them in the hairpins because busses and lorries (have to) cut the corners and car drivers (not using their mirrors) often cut them too. On the short straights there may be opposite traffic or preceding traffic may not leave room for me to duck back in. The result is that I spend most of the time waiting for a (rare) opportunity to overtake. This cycle repeats itself, which is why it is very frustrating and I perceive the traffic as dense.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lunch @ The Speck Alm :-)

Next day we changed our base from Garmisch to Bayrisch Gmain, just north of Berchtesgaden and decided to ride along the Tatzelwurm road, a tip we had been given by a local biker. So our first stop was at the Cafe´ Kotz bikers' meet. Instead of the expected couple of hundred bikes there, we found that Cafe´ Kotz is no longer, having been replaced by the Schnauferl Wirt and that there were a mere five bikes there, only one - a 1950-ish BMW single cylinder 250cc oldtimer - worth a photo :-

As an alternative we took a single lane side road twisting its way up into the hills to lunch at the Speck Alm (insider tip for y'all). At the cattle grid, we had to get past the gate guardians, who were luckily peaceful that day :-

Up at the 4600 feet level we found the weathered old Speck Alm building which has tables inside and outside in the sunshine (albeit at 8°C) :-

The Speck Alm specialises in making a dozen of flavours of bacon cold-cuts, so we went for the €12 sampler platter with a €3 side snack of belly-pork :-

We particularly like the belly-pork and the bacon flavoured with Slyrs Bavarian Single Malt Whisky, so we went down to shop in the cellar to choose some. Even if you don't buy any bacon, do go down into the cellar, the scent is fantastic! I had them ship our choices back home as we had no luggage room on the bikes. €35 purchase, but postage was free!

For those ignorant of the butchers' cuts, a blackboard showed a diagram for you to choose from. Here's yours truly at the bacon blackboard :-

Back on the Tatzelwurm road, it turned out to much less twisty and much easier to ride than we had been led to expect :-( So we turned off north along the single track to Brannenburg which at least offers dripping wet unlit single-track tunnels hewn out of the solid rock by way of a mini-adventure...

. . . alpine road trip report to be continued . . .

Friday, August 22, 2014

Kaunertal Glaciers in retreat

Headed up above the treeline to the 9000 feet level to see a couple of glaciers in their alpine retreats [sic :-( ]

This first photo is of the glacier exit river at about the 6 to 7000 feet level.

Close encounter with truculent opposite traffic and our bikes don't have a reverse gear. One of the untamed free-range grazing cows killed a woman hiker just last week whose dog got too near to her calf!

This shot shows the Gepatsch glacier in the background. I was well above the treeline, probably about 8000 feet up on a steepish mountain road.

The road ends at 9000 feet at the base of the Kaunertal glacier. The chairlift on the right takes skiers up to the top at 10,200 feet. I didn't bother.

Instead I enjoyed the 30+ hairpin bends leading back down to the lake :-)

. . . alpine road trip report to be continued . . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Achensee, Gerlos Pass and the Isar valley

Setting out from our first base in Garmisch-Parternkirchen, our first day's ride was along the Achensee lake, over the Gerlos pass toll road to see the Krimmler waterfall and get a distant view of the Gran Venediger glacier, then back along the Isar valley tollroad. Here are some photos of the scenery we saw, first of the turquoise Lake Achensee.

Mountain lakes abound, looking splendid as seen from the steep hill road.

We turned east at Zell in the Zillertal valley going up the Gerlos pass, which is a toll road, but worth it to get this view of the Krimmler waterfalls.

In the far distance (15-20 miles?), we could see the Gran Venediger mountain glacier, this close-up thanks to the 30x zoom on my camera :-)

We turned around at Mittersill, heading west via Wörgl (a mistake, the roads were bad and overcrowded) then made a stop in Achenkirch where there is an excellent coffee shop just 100 yards south of the church.

Turning left, we avoided the B307, instead taking the single-track toll road along the River Isar, whose gravel bed gets washed out in spring.

Along the toll road there is a roofed-over wooden bridge across one of the tributaries. Unfortunately, the road surface of the bridge itself is also made of wood and is extremely slippery when wet. Unwary bikers crash regularly :( Luckily we had a dry day, but rode at walking pace there anyway!

All in all, 350 kms (217 mile) round trip, a very easy first day alpine tour.

. . . alpine road trip report to be continued . . .

Monday, August 18, 2014

On the road again :-)

Traditionally my friend Frank and I take a summer road trip for 1 or 2 weeks, this year we rode our motorcycles for a tour of the Alps, stopping over in the old town Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the way there. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a walled medieval city popular with tourists. It has a museum of medieval "justice" and torture (think Guantanamo Bay but 400 years ago), the mildest punishment was being pilloried :-

The photo below on the left shows a view from the central town square out to one of the watchtowers at a town gate in the defensive wall.

Cobbled streets where old buildings include the original town well, useful in times of war, such as in 1631 when the Swedes lay siege to the town.

The 1631 siege is commemorated by the town clock (albeit the calender was showing the wrong date). On the hour the windows open, showing the Swedish commander on the left and the town mayor (Georg Nusch) who saved the town by accepting the Swedish-Drink challenge of downing a 4 pint beer mug in one big swallow. A brave man, as the Swedes had filled the beer-mug with cow-shit/-urine instead of beer :-(

On a more pleasant note, the town is famous for its year-around Christmas market shop - Kathe Wohlfahrt - kitsch, but worth seeing. A great collection of nutcrackermen, a soft toy village display, etc etc, and their own vintage bus for picking up tourists from hotels outside the city walls (if you are rich, you can stay at Hotel Eisenhut right next door to Kathe Wohlfahrt).

The next morning we rode on, transiting the 35 gigaton meteor impact crater at Nördlinger Ries, so large it took over 20 minutes to cross!

. . . road trip report to be continued . . .

Friday, August 15, 2014

A round (of) Pythagoras ;-)

When school restarts, kids, it'll be time to tease your math teacher. For example with this theorem, a round Pythagoras :-

For any right triangle ABC, the semicircle on the hypoteneuse is equal in area to the sum of the semicircles on the other two sides.

Watch his/her eyes go wide open, 'cos he/she didn't know that ;-)

Incidentally, it is also true for any regular polygon drawn on the sides of a right triangle, e.g. pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, equilateral triangle, etc etc, not just squares.

Intuitive proof : The ratio of the area of the semicircle to that of the square on any of the sides is the same regardless of their size. Therefore, since Pythagoras for squares holds, so does Round Pythagoras for semicircles (and any regular polygon). Q.E.D :-)

Which brings me to today's mathematical shaggy dog story...

Once upon a time three indian braves each went on a hunting vacation. One went to Europe and shot a donkey with his bow and arrow. One went to Peru and shot a llama. And the third went to Africa and shot a hippopotamus. All three brought back the animal skins as trophies. Their wives and children sat around the campfire on these animal skins to demonstrate the braves' prowess in hunting. One day, the male children of the wives on the donkey skin and the llama skin got into a fight with the old lady on the other skin, but she managed (just) to hold them off. Which only goes to prove that the squaw on the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws on the other two hides ;-)

Comments (2) :
Jenny (Ibiza) opines "GROAN!!!"
John (UK) agrees "I didn't know that either, but now you point it out, it's obvious! But the pun is awful!" No it's not! It's clever :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Congratulations, Maryam Mirzakhani :-)

First woman to win a Fields medal (aka the Nobel prize equivalent for mathematics) is Stanford University's Maryam Mirzakhani. I won't even pretend to understand her work (= how to navigate a multiverse), but it must be spectacularly good for this acclaim!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Metric system debunked ;-)

Have you ever considered just how unnatural the metric system is?

No-one ever said :-

  • I love you 36.3687 Liters and 9.09218 liters (making 45.46088 liters in total in the UK).
  • Shylock demanded 0.45359237 kilograms of flesh.
  • Every 2.54 cms a regent.
  • An unmarried woman is as good as 1.609344 kilometers.

On the other hand, the lady parking attendants in the UK are not called 1.0936133 yards-maids, which must prove something ;-)

Recent Writings
Lunch @ The Speck Alm
Kaunertal Glaciers...
Achensee, Gerlos Pass...
On the road again :-)
A round (of) Pythagoras
Fields medal 2014
Metric system debunked
Healthy Hiatus
Butterflies galore
E-book advice, please
PI day in Yurp = 22/7
Tranquility Base redux
Functionally illiterate?
Friedhelm's new book :-)
Oblongs :-)
24th wedding anniversary
Multitasking test
Mobile phone humour
US spy plane shot down
Minimum wage day?

Ain Bulldog Blog
Balloon Juice
Cop Car
Earth-Bound Misfit
Echidne of the snakes
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Hattie (Hawaii)
Making Light
Mostly Cajun
Murr Brewster
Not Always Right
Observing Hermann
Rants from t'Rookery
Scary Duck
Spork in the drawer
Squatlo Rant
The Alternate Brain
The Magistrate's Blog
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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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