Nav Tools

--> Most recent Blog

Comments Policy
Maths trivia
Search this site
RSS feed for Stu Savory's Blog RSS Feed

Site Meter

Stu Savory School report for Stu Savory
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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best of 2015 : your choices

Been looking at my website stats to see what articles have been most popular amongst my blogreaders this last year. Here are the links :-

In absolute numbers of unique readers, this blog peaked three years ago; readership has decreased since (to 320/day). Certainly my posts this year haven't been up to those of last year or the year before. Maybe the self-imposed straightjacket of blogging thrice weekly has led to a loss of quality; maybe I'll back off to twice weekly in 2016 or even just wait for the muse to arrive, I think she got lost in the fog in my brain nowadays ;-)

Thanks for reading my blog and for looking back with me on 2015 today :-)
Special thanks to those (15-20) of you who mail me comments at times :-)

Now help fine-tune this blog by mailing me to say which article YOU liked best this year (2015) please, and/or which you thought were real crap! :-)

Comments (3)
Hattie (Hawaii) wrote i.a. " Stu: Haven't been following you long enough to decide what favorite posts are, but I like it that you get out and do things and report on them and also that you are forthright in your opinions...." OK, one vote for the trip-reports :-)
Ed (USA) wrote "I liked The Silverplated Bockscar, because I only had heard of Enola Gay." Okay.
John (USA) wrote "I won't pick a favorite. I just enjoy your blog. Please carry on!" Thankyou, John, and Happy New Year! :-)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Behold, a child is born :-)

25 years ago, on Tim Berners-Lee's Next computer in CERN (European Nuclear Research Centre, near Geneva) the World Wide Web was born. And this is what it looked like :-

You can browse the first WWWebsite at Silver anniversary Deja vu.

And here is his 1995 MIT lecture on Hypertext.

WWW soon became personalised. But I was late getting aboard the 1997/9(?) blogging bandwagon and have only been blogging for almost 15 years (all handwritten HTML, no toolkit). How time flies when you're having fun :-)

Today's blog entry is just to say THANKYOU to Sir Tim Berners-Lee without whom none of us bloggers would be here. Keep on blogging folks! :-)

Comments (2)
Ed (USA) asks "And where was Al Gore that day?" On an isthmus? Hence the word Al-Gore-Isthmus??? ;-)
Petra (A) wrote "Happy Newtonmas! (Isaac Newton was born on Xmas day too) :-)" Yes, but in 1642 they were still on the Julian calender, which is now 13 days behind our Gregorian calendar. More interesting this year is that Christmas Eve, on the Gregorian (solar) calender fell on the same day as Eid Milad ul-Nabi (birth of Mohammed) on the Islamic (lunar) calender :-)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Vainglorious FAIL ;-)

I am glad that the German word "Schadenfreude" has migrated into the English language, especially when applied to vainglorious politicians!

This little piece of hilarity is attributable to Matteo Renzi, Ministerpresident of Italy. Sr. Renzi regards himself as a world-class politician and so must be able to fly anywhere in the world at a moment's (unplanned?) notice to meet other world leaders. And so Italy ordered a brand new Airbus A340-500 for its president because the A340-500 is particularly suitable for long range flights (up to 9,000 NM).

Unfortunately, the incompetent politicians failed to realise that there is not a single pilot in the hole(sic!) of Italy with a type-rating for an A340-500. Nor had they planned to train any of the government/Alitalia pilots for this type-rating. And so the brand new Airbus - lease rate about a million Euros per month - is sitting idle in a hangar in Rome - and has been since October 2015 - due to their magnificently Italian misplanning :-(

The Airbus is stationed at Rome-Ciampino, the airport with the notorious abbreviation CIA, so that the president can reach it quickly, rather than at Rome's main airport which is bit further out of town. So I would like to point out another potential problem to Sr. Renzi, when he finally does get a set of half-a-dozen trained pilots. The runway at Rome-Ciampino airport is short for a big jet. It is only 2100 metres long. An Airbus A340-500, fully fuelled for a long flight from Rome to (say) Chile, needs a 3125 meter take-off run :-(

And so, the fully fuelled plane would not be able to take off from Rome-Ciampino airport :-( Just as well that most of his trips would be short range (e.g. within Europe) for which he did not need a long-range plane in the first place! Ah, vainglory, thy name is incompetence!

FWIW : Ciampino airport is 15kms from the city centre, Rome's main airport is 34 kms. So Sr.Renzi will have to ride in his cavalcade a whole 19kms further to fly a long range trip (the main airport's runways are 3900m long).

Comments (1)
Cop Car (USA) wrote " How lovely of Sr Renzi to provide us such glee in this season of goodwill. Beautiful!" Indeed ;-)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Furor :-(

Americans worry me. One of the GOP candidates to run for presidency appears to be a latent fascist. And we all know where that leads to :-(

The more extreme his remarks get, the higher his proportion of the votes in the media's polls :-( Today he advocates prohibiting Muslims from entering the USA. Tomorrow he maybe advocating nuking Mecca! The man is making the world instable now; imagine how dangerous he'd be as President!

It is not clear to me how the Republican Party (GOP) can stop him and suggest a more "reasonable" candidate. But ALL of them appear to be batshit crazy in some respect. I miss the days of Pariah Salin being the scariest Republican candidate in history ;-)

We just have a latent dictator, the Angel of Murky, pushing her agenda through against the will of the electorate :-(

We can only hope that sanity prevails and the Americans elect the Democrat candidate. My preference would be Bernie Sanders over Hillary "Rod 'em" Clinton, but even she would be better than "the Furor".

Aside : I recently went to the cinema and watched "Er ist wieder da" (=He is back again) which is a hilarious mockumentary about Hitler being reincarnated into the modern world. Read the 6 reviews in IMDB. Why do both dictators remind me of the last lines of W.B.Yeats "Second Coming" : "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born [again]?"

Comments (4)
Doug (Canada) sent this link and wrote "Not to mention the growing popularity of the AFD in Bavaria". He also sent an article too long to include here making the point "Who does fascism serve best;, those who want to rule and and those who rule them, the 0.01%. As always follow the money..." And Trump is dirt rich!
Cop Car wrote "And then there is "Slouching toward Jerusalem"." I assume you are referring to the 1968 collection of essays by Joan Didion that mainly describes her experiences in California during the 1960s. I must confess I haven't read it, so have no opinion :-(
Hattie (Hawaii) wrote " I think the funniest thing about Trump now is his claim that he is a perfect physical specimen. He's a puffed-up sack of manure, in my opinion." Manure is good, Trump not so much, unless he is a Hillary double-agent, after all, they ARE friends (for some value of the word).
Ed (USA) sez "Don't underestimate Trump!" That is not possible ;-) Seriously: you'd vote for someone recommended by Vladimir Putin?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Tip

Blogreader Carol (UK) wrote telling me that she has a granddaughter who is now 12 and is proving(sic!) to be good at maths, so would I recommend an entertaining book about maths (but not a textbook) which she could buy her as a Xmas present :-)

My top tip has to be "Beyond Numeracy" by John Allen Paulos, written in 1991. My copy (softback, 285pp) is published by Vintage Press and has ISBN 0-679-72807-X. Still available e.g. via Amazon for under 17 Euros.

He covers 70 subfields of Maths, from Algebra to Zeno, giving them about 4 pages each, in a light and amusing yet educative manner. He has about 50 other books in his "Suggested Reading" list, although I would have thought some of these were for older people.

Other entertaining Maths books suitable for teenagers include

  • "Flatland", by Edwin A.Abbot, Dover Publications, 1952.
  • "Wheels, Life and other mathematical amusements", Martin Gardner.
  • "Goedel, Escher, Bach" by Doug Hofstadter, 1980. Heavy for a kid :-(
  • "The Joy of Mathematics" by Theoni Pappas, 1989.
  • "I think therefore I laugh" by J.A.Paulos, 1985.

Perhaps some of you blogreaders have other maths book tips for Carol, if so please mail me a comment I can append here.

Comments (2)
John (UK) disagrees"...'Beyond Numeracy' is more suitable for someone in their mid-teens. The books by Theoni Pappas are more suitable for a 12-year-old!" You may be right, depending on how advanced she is already.
Renke (D) suggests "The Bible Code? :P" Haven't read it, so have no opinion.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Counting my blessings sins ;-)

The OTC® (= One True Church) would rather we counted our sins on the runup to Xmas, rather than our blessings, because that way it can browbeat our guilt into increased donations to the OTC® :-(

However, their version of what constitutes a "sin" is different from mine, YMMV ;-) So I turned to what must surely be their authoritative version, the Bible's book of Leviticus, which forbids some 76 things if I remember correctly. So here's how I fared in 2015; a dozen "sins"; YMMV ;-)

  1. I ate fat and blood (e.g. sausages) contrary to Leviticus 3:17
  2. I failed to testify against any wrongdoing I'd been told about (Lev. 5:1) You just can't keep up with the politicians these days :-(
  3. I let my hair - scarce as it is - become unkempt (10:6)
  4. I ate of an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof, viz. pork chops (11:4-7). Delicious!
  5. I ate seafood without fins or scales (11:10-12), to wit shrimps, oysters, lobster, octopi and mussels. Also delicious!
  6. Leviticus 19:4 forbids making idols or "metal gods"; so does restoring an old vehicle count as a sin?
  7. I swore falsely on God’s name (19:12). There are so many gods, I must have offended one of them; zounds!
  8. I mixed fabrics in my clothing (19:19)
  9. I trimmed my beard AND cut my hair at the sides (19:27)
  10. I failed to stand in the presence of the elderly (19:32); I'm old too!
  11. I worked on the Sabbath (23:3). How do OTC priests get away with this?
  12. Finally, this blog article probably counts as Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)

Redemption? Maybe I need to listen to some of the OTC's favourite music : Arrangement for an organ in A minor?

So how's your sinning going? ;-)

Comments (4)
Doug (Canada) wrote "Only 12 - you're practically a saint :) Mine are far too numerous to count LOL" No doubt ;-) But I restricted the list of "sins" to the 76 in Leviticus. Many on that list seem ridiculous nowadays. My implicit point being that what is considered a "sin" depends on the era and cultural context. Whence the snide remark about the OTC's favourite music ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) derides me "On November 11 you documented that you had torn your clothes; another sin against Leviticus 10:6 :-(" Guilty as charged!
Hattie (Hawaii) confesses " I did not shave my beard, but I did pluck my chin hairs" That'll maybe count as a 19:27 sin :-) But Leviticus is written as if only applicable to men, e.g. not sleeping with a man as with a woman.
Carol (UK) confesses to being guilty of "Jeremiah 10:3-4 this month ;-)" As are almost all Christians ;-)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Han Hooker

Since I couldn't come up with a Pearl harbour pun today and because there is a new Star Wars film in the offing, which SWMBO and I want to see soon, I thought I'd offer punny seasonal greetings to my Jewish readers instead.

Comments (1)
David (IL) wrote "Thankyou, but you should know the pronunciation is Hahn-er-car." OK, my bad, I don't speak Hebrew :-/

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The new 20 Euro note

Last week saw the introduction of the new €20 note. This blogpost is just to show it to you and enumerate some of the safety features.

The picture above shows the new note held up to the light. The picture below shows you where the (new) anti-counterfeit features are located. I've labeled them A through G. Explanations are below the second picture.

A : Watermark showing the goddess Europa.
B : The number 20 changes from green to blue as you tip the note; a stripe moves up and down too.
C : A silvery thread bears the number 20 and the Euro symbol. It looks black against the light.
D : Picture of stained glass windows in blue and red.
E : Portait of Europa visible from both sides.
F : Hologram strip, showing 20, portrait, windows and € symbol.
G : Raised lines (7-8-7 pattern) along the edge, so the blind can feel it.

Standard features remaining : the "feel" of rag-based paper is different from wood-based paper. And the ECB-strip on the left is raised too. All of these are anti-counterfeiting measures with which users should be acquainted.

Back on March 2nd, I already covered the insecurity issues of this design :-(

Comments (13)
Several readers, whom I have decided to anonymise, have written pointing out that the notes also contain a steganographically hidden code called the EURion constellation. The Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group provides BLOB (binary large object) software as a black box to manufacturers of scanners and colour printers as well as image processing SW such as Photoshop, which inhibits the counterfeiting of notes via such scanners, SW, and printers. The manufacturers' cooperation is "voluntary", I'm told.
Schorsch (D) says "Supermarkets often have UV-illuminators. The cashiers look that the real notes flouresce in places. Fakes presumably don't" Okay.
Pierre (F) says "You can buy iodine ink marker pens. The iodine reacts with the starch in wood-based paper, turning black, thus marking false (paper) money. Rag-based paper of real money doesn't change colour and the ink just fades away." Okay, I didn't know that; kinda messy though :-(
Cop Car (USA) wrote " Re : "...kinda messy though..." : Such pens are in common use in my neck of the woods (Kansas USA) - used by each cashier at each retail merchant's brick-and-mortar store. The mark does mar the look of the paper note for a while; but, the "ink" dries quickly. I've never seen a smear of the "ink" around a pen's nib, on the hands of a cashier, of on the paper note." Good to hear.
Petra (A) notes "Germany is coming out with a 20€ COIN next year!" True, but they'll be commemoration coins in low-grade 925 silver, afaik.
Ed (USA) complains "We should never have left the gold standard!" Money is not notes and coins, money is quantified trust! (Maybe my economist friend Guido would like to comment on that opinion? ;-)
Ed (USA) asks "What do you mean by trust?" These notes have no intrinsic value (your gold-standard argument). They only work because we all trust one another to make them exchangeable for e.g. goods. If I take a ten pound note to the Bank of England, a note which reads "I promise to pay the bearer etc...", they give me ANOTHER 10 pound note in exchange, the only difference being the serial number! They give me nothing of intrinsic value :-(
Guido (D) who is an economist, mailed me a long reply but ended up asking me to explain better "So I answer your question by asking: What do you meant with "Money is qualified trust"?". QUANTIFIED not qualified. Example : If Greece wants to borrow money, but people distrust them to repay(at all/delayed/discounted) to statistically varying degrees, then Greece will have to pay a higher interest rate on the money they borrow than say Germany, whom we trust more to repay. This interest is a statistical quantification of the trust the market has in their ability to repay. People who distrust them more, simply won't loan at that statistical median. The interest rate (or rates over time) will be set at a level where sufficient trusting/gullible loaners will meet the total loan. Or am I being naive? At least, that's MY understanding. YMMV, as I'm no economist. I only know two, you (Guido) and Prof. emer. Dr.Dr. H.G.Monissen (ex Wurzburg Uni). I've said before, I don't really understand money deeply. Initially I thought it was merely a mechanism to make barter exchanges more efficient and even delayable. But that was too simple. Folks, help me understand the concept of money better pls! :-)
Petra (A) suggests "You can just google :-)" Confusion in numbers ;-)
Klaus (Alaska) wrote "Here is a link that explains the terms "legal tender" and "fiat money" more in detail, here. Both the US and EU increased their money supply (QE) for years now, danger of hyper inflation, may buy some gold now ?" As the banks give almost zero interest nowadays, I invested in an oldtimer Porsche 944 instead of gold. While it appreciates I am having fun driving it; can't do that with gold :-)
Jenny (Ibiza) remonstrates "Your getting off topic. I thought this was about counterfeiting." All those features on the notes are to reduce distrust, which is why I claimed money-is-trust :-)
Guido replied at length " So we are talking about markets, not just money. That is a slightly different story. >People who distrust them more, simply won't loan at that statistical median.< Like in all (other) markets - if they don't like it, they don't buy it. The interest rate is the price for money. As in all markets you buy the product if it's worth the price, i.e. the properties/quality of the product is in a reasonable ratio to the price. >At a level where sufficient trusting/gullible loaners will meet the total loan.Or am I being naive?< Completely correct: The respective state needs an certain amount of money x. In an open market transaction the potential buyers bid for a share of this total sum and name a price. Or a price is announced and they say how much they want. See here. In the end you have a market price which reflects a large number of factors, one of which is trust. Think for example about the price for plain apples - how many factors can you find that influences this price? But I wouldn't call it "trust" - that sound too romantic and too emotional. The buyers form expectations about the future (something economists try to model using the rational expectations approach). These expectations are (in many cases) based on scenarios, e.g. Greece will fail (10%), Greece will muddle through (80%), Greece will prosper (10%) - your values will vary. And the market price (interest rate) reflects this value aggregated over thousands of buyers from around the globe. See why I'm more and more reluctant to discuss highly abstract questions? Real world problems are complex enough...." Indeed they are. Thankyou for trying to reduce my ignorance. String theory is simple compared to economics; YMMV.
Ed (USA) sent this shot of a very amateur counterfeiting attempt ;-)

Recent Writings
Best of 2015
Behold, a child is born
Vainglorious FAIL
The Furor :-(
Book Tip
Counting my sins ;-)
Happy Han Hooker
New 20 Euro note
In Memoriam : A. Einstein
Driving School Roof
Baggage Blooper
E = m * c-squared
Self-Driving Car ticket
Hawker H25 (PR) disaster
Rolling Home
Suhl motorcycle museum
Gun Museum in Suhl
Steam locomotives
Hitler's house
Chaos of the clocks
Cesky´ Krumlov

Ain Bulldog Blog
Balloon Juice
Cop Car
Earth-Bound Misfit
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
Yellowdog Grannie

Archive 2015:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov
Archive 2014:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
This blog is getting really unmanagable, so I've taken the first 12 years' archives offline. My blog, my random decision. Tough shit; YOLO.
Link Disclaimer
ENGLISH : I am not responsible for the contents or form of any external page to which this website links. I specifically do not adopt their content, nor do I make it mine.
DEUTSCH : Für alle Seiten, die auf dieser Website verlinkt sind, möchte ich betonen, dass ich keinerlei Einfluss auf deren Gestaltung und Inhalte habe. Deshalb distanziere ich mich ausdrücklich von allen Inhalten aller gelinkten Seiten und mache mir ihren Inhalt nicht zu eigen.

This Blog's Status is
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 ;-)
Books I have written

Index/Home Impressum Sitemap Search site/www