Sunday, February 28, 2010
Off Topic : When the tsunami (from the Chile earthquake) hits Hawaii,
I fully expect it to wash away Obama's birth certificate.
Yet another Republican
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Friday, February 26, 2010
Quality Problems :-(
And you thought Toyota had Quality Problems ? :-(
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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Pompey Fail :-(
Portsmouth(UK) Football Club (aka Pompey) is going into administration, i.e. are bankrupt. That doesn't surprise me at all, since their fans are so ignorant they even fly their own national flag upside down (see photo above) :-(
Portsmouth is a significant base for the Royal Navy so there should be many flags flying there. All these ignorant and unobservant fans needed to do was look at them!
Do UK schools no longer teach the children how to display the Union Jack ? Blogmate Four Dinners ranted about the immigrants in the UK in his blog yesterday, but in this photo we see how ignorant a Pompey football fan is : so proud of his country that he can't even get its flag the right way up! I really do despair!
Note for non-UK readers* : Look at the diagonals. The white stripes on either side of the red are wide or narrow. The wide white diagonal should be on top next to the pole. If there is no pole used, it should be assumed to be on the left. Dead easy innit? :-)
* : Yes, Furtheron, this includes you, you got it wrong too last week :-(
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Whither Camouflage today and tomorrow?
The newspaper headline shown above got me curious about the state of the art in camouflage techniques.
The first thing I found out was that the British army is being issued with new camouflage gear,
probably by a bean-counter civil servant intent on reducing the amount of kit from two uniforms to just one :-(
On your right, the 'old' desert camo kit as used in Afghanistan. Centre, the 'old' woodland camo kit as used in northern Europe. On your left, the new camo kit, a compromise which allegedly works in both environments. I don't think so!
The picture above shows a soldier wearing the new camo kit in a dense woodland environment. Call that camo??? Now look just to the left of him and see the guy carrying the artifical fir tree/shrub disguise. You can hardly see him in a woodland environment. Only his boots give him away. That's what I call appropriate camo!!!
But what is really interesting is the research being done on invisibility cloaks using special materials with negative refractive indices. The aim is to get you up to what I call 'Predator' standards (after the Hollywood movie starring Arnie).
But if you use infrared thermal imaging glasses you should be able to see outlines of the figures both in woodlands and deserts because their heat emission gives them away even if the camo hides them optically in daylight :-(
Modern IR monoculars are light enough to be helmet-mounted and show thermal images even in total darkness. So any new invisibility-cloak camo is going to need to disguise the IR emissions too. Difficult, as the heat convecting away above a body may be seen by an appropriate IR detector too (c.f. the thermal imagery equipment used to see how efficient your house's insulation is). So my question remains : whither camo?
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Monday, February 22, 2010
Roman Numeral Long Divisionontinuing the theme of doing arithmetic in roman numerals, I want to tackle the more difficult problem of how they did divisions. Again I'll use an example from the Carolingan court of 810 AD and show the working.
One of the annual problems for the monks of the time was to determine the date of easter, an arbitrarily dated festival celebrating the death of a fictitious figure they worshipped. They had a complicated set of rules for finding the date of easter which involved using the remainder of a division by 19.
Aside : A period of 19 tropical years is almost exactly equal to 235 synodic months, something the early Greeks (Meton of Athens) discovered in 432 BC. The Jews used this relationship too and the monks adopted it (and much else) from Judaism.
Anyway, in order to detemine the date of easter in the year 810 AD, the monks would have had to divide 810 by 19 to get the remainder. Dividing in roman numerals!
Problem : Divide DCCCX by IXX
Just as we do long division, they also used trial and error, getting the nearest number below the DCCCX for a test multiple of IXX, and then reiterating on the difference as often as necessary. So let us do that with them :-)
First, realise that IXX is nearly XX and that XX times L is DD, equals M (using the table I showed you last friday). Convert IXX to XVIIII as required by carolingan law. So the first trial multiplication will be L * XVIIII. Using the inflation table I showed you last friday, L * XVIIII = DCCCCL which is larger than DCCCX, implying the trial inflator L is too large. So, since L=XXXXX, the next trial inflator would have one digit less = XXXX.
Inflating XVIIII by XXXX using last friday's multiplication table gives CCCC LLLL XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX = DCCLX, which is less than DCCCX, the difference being L.
Reiterating on this difference L, we find that XVIIII * III = LVII, i.e. larger than L. And so we try XVIIII * II = XXXVIII, smaller than L, leaving XII as the remainder.
Result : Dividing DCCCX by IXX gives XXXXII remainder XII, all in roman numerals :-)
Historical Note : The medieval (latin) text tells us that there was a Jewish merchant - Isaak - at the Carolingan court, who may(?) have done things differently. So I checked with Jewish blogger Elisson on the traditional Hebrew numbering system - which as far as he knows is the same as was in use 1200 years ago - which does not use a zero and thus operates like the Roman Numerals too (i.e. no positional notation). BTW, Isaak went on Karl's expedition to Baghdad and brought back a present for him to Aachen from Harun al Rashid - a white elephant - from whence the idiom came I suspect ;-)
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Friday, February 19, 2010
Roman Numeral MultiplicationBack in March 2009 I blogged about doing arithmetic in roman numerals and suggested therein how they might have done multiplication. It turns I was wrong, they had an early form of the abacus, of which only two have survived to this day (one is in a museum in Rome). However, I was talking to Prof. Oberschelp (of RWTH Aachen) last thursday and he tells me how roman numeral multiplication was being done without an abacus around the time of Charlemagne (800 AD). So let me pass on this little gem of knowledge on to my blogreaders. The monks and merchants had a little (wooden?) multiplication table - called an inflation table, for inflating numbers - as shown below :-
Obviously this is symmetrical around the TL-BR axis. Read it like this V*X=L, L*L=MMD etc. The bars over letters lower right mean 'times 1000', so VII with a bar over the top would mean 7000, OK? So you don't need a row/column for M or I, just leaving a little 5 by 5 table. Bit like the 10 times table we learned as small children, but much smaller.
Now let's do an example. Try NOT to convert to arabic numerals!
To do : multiply MXXV by CCVII
'Inflating' by each digit of the smaller number (CCVII) and working right to left gives:-
Step I : MXXV inflated by I remains as MXXV.
Next Step I : MXXV inflated by I remains as MXXV also.
Step V : MXXV inflating each digit by V gives VbarLLXXV (V times M is Vbar, V times each X is an L, and V times V is XXV - which you can see from the table).
Step C : MXXV inflating each digit by C gives Cbar MMD.
Next Step C : MXXV inflating each digit by C gives Cbar MMD again.
Concatenating all results gives CbarMMD CbarMMD VbarLLXXV MXXV MXXV.
Sorting into groups by letter value gives CCVbar MMMMMM DD LL XXXXXX VVV
Swapping the two right Vs for an X gives CCVbar MMMMMM DD LL XXXXXXX V
Swapping five of the right Xs for an L gives CCVbar MMMMMM DD LLL XX V etc etc
eventually gets us to our final result (CCXII)barCLXXV, which is the right answer :-)
Check me in arabic numerals if you need to and then try an example of your own before amazing your friends down at the pub with your roman numeral fluency; it is even more flabberghasting if you have memorised the multiplication table as shown :-)
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Thursday, February 18, 2010
RESH TSADI HET* :-(
Rumour** has it that Pete Doherty's ex, Kate Moss, was in room 298 on a modelling assignment for an advertisement in Dubai last week. Was that too a Moss Ad job? :-(
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Hot off the press ;-)
logreader Ina (D) has requested that I do more blog articles about current affairs; hence this satirical one, which is however based on real headlines ;-)
Today's newspaper headline* : "American soldiers making advances in Afghanistan". Reporting on progress, retiring General 'Eyes' Hardie said "We are over the hump". Asked about his retirement plans, the general said he would be touring Alaska and going up the Inside Passage. In a separate report made earlier, the Pentagon loudly announced it would be bending over to actively recruit gays as part of its new policy.
Meanwhile, reports from the Vatican tell us that the Pope is "looking at the Irish bishopricks in some detail" to see what can be done about child molestation there.
Sometimes I do wonder if such headlines are deliberate :-
You couldn't make this stuff up!
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Monday, February 15, 2010
Cool Calling Cardsool in the sense of really impressive.
Just last week,
my good blog friend Four Dinners gave us his CV. I quote :-
So when my neighbour Ria threw her 70th birthday party last wednesday, we old age pensioners reminesced about our humdrum careers and the conversation turned to 'Cool Calling Cards'. What would be coolest? One guy there still had his last one, it read "Sales Rep"; we guessed Benedict XVI might have one saying "God's Rep" ;-)
Harking back to my student job days, I could claim "Washer of Corpses" :-( Ria's late husband (RIP) used to manage the sewage works, so had a card saying "Fritz E. - I cope with your crap" ;-) Cool! We fantasized that Camilla, before she became Duchess of Cornwall, might have had one saying "Camilla Parker-Bowles, Mistress to the P.o.W" ;-) Imagine the cat-fight that would ensue when 15 voluptuous women turned up at a Florida cocktail party, ALL with calling cards reading "Tiger Woods' Mistress" ;-)
But we wanted to talk about real calling cards rather than fantasy ones. One guy had spent his life as a corporate (in both senses) accountant at Siemens; for the lighter moments (if there were any) he had a card reading "George A. - Bean Counter". When he retired his colleagues presented him with gilded and scalloped calling cards reading "George A. - Has-Bean Counter", that didn't come across at all well :-(
I remember Jotzek (going through a difficult phase in his life about 35 years ago) having a card which read "Jotzek - no address - no woman - no money - no problems". Bitter, huh?
I had a Jewish friend many years ago who's father had survived a concentration camp. Not only did he have a number tatooed on his wrist to show for it, but for 'special occasions' (what were they?) he had a calling card bearing just that number, not even his name. Now that IS impressive. Certainly impressed me as a teenage schoolboy!
25 years ago, almost to the day, I was talking to Edward Teller (how's that for name-dropping?) at the WEF in Davos and was teasing him about the design errors he had made in the early hydrogen bombs. No sense of humour, that man. But if I remember correctly, he had a self-important calling card "Edward H. Teller - Father of the Hydrogen Bomb". Pretty impressive! I wonder if Wernher von Braun had one "Wernher von Braun - Guided Missile Designer" or, better, "Wernher von Braun - Rocket Man"? Come to that, did Einstein ever have a calling card "Albert Einstein - just a relative" ;-)
Getting back to Four Dinners; he is to be congratulated for passing the theory exam part 1 towards becoming a driving instructor. So now he gets to practice on the roads. Oooh er missus! I can just see him saying "Turn left here", his pupil turning right instead, and them both landing in the river Thames. Of course, if this scenario instead happened in the river through Berlin, Dinners could have printed on his calling card :
Four Dinners - Driving Instructor (in Spee) ;-)
What are the coolest calling cards you have ever seen? Your best fantasy card idea?
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Sunday, February 14, 2010
Er, what??? Auntie BBC contradicts herself
Oh and FWIW, in China, they are just celebrating the
Year of the Tiger.
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Saturday, February 13, 2010
Mister Frisbee, RIP :-(The man who invented the frisbee, Walter Fredrick Morrison, has died, aged 90 :-(
On behalf of all the other dogs in the world, my two bulldogs asked that I show you this YouTube video (not mine), showing you the fun dogs have with his invention :-
Friday, February 12, 2010
Fours Dinners' Venn Diagram ;-)y good blog friend Four Dinners is starting a new
This is the nightmarish Venn diagram I just drew for him ;-)
You'll breeze through, Dinners!
Update : As expected, 4D has passed his theory exams :-) Congratulations, 4D!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Reformation propaganda coin
During the reformation (mid 16th century) many of this kind of propaganda coin were in circulation. The engraver has been very subtle in his criticism of the Papal regime when he made the die for producing these coins. Look at the photo on the left and you see the Pope of the day, very PC. But when you invert the coin (photo on the right) you see an engraving of the Devil ;-) Neat propaganda, given that many folks could not read back then!
Nowadays we have unretouched press photographs ;-)
Monday, February 8, 2010
Yet More Gay Catholic Pedophiles :-(
et another case of Catholic priest pedophiles gayly sexually molesting the children put in their charge :-(
I hope there is a special corner of Hell reserved for them!
Ex-teachers at the Jesuit Canisius college in Berlin, Pater Peter R. and Pater Wolfgang_S. and Dr.h.c.(mult) Pater Bernhard E. are accused of sexually molesting the children there. The latter has publicly confessed. This went on over many years; the church knew about it and did NOTHING! But at least the current head teacher, Pater Klaus Mertes has now exposed the abuse. Well done. Mind you, it is probably too late to take them to court :-(
Quoting directly from the Bible from which they preach :-
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (TNIV): "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
These morally reprehensible *******s certainly didn't practice what they preached :-(
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Braking News ;-)Toyota Prius owners are putting their foot down! . . . But to no avail :-(
Friday, February 5, 2010
Snow Crash ;-)Goddamned snow is getting deeper all the time! Much deeper than the dogs are tall :-(
Photo of Bulldog Chilli resurfacing; taken by Anke Teloudis last week :-)
Mac Users will know what a Snow Crash is. It is for them that Neal Stephenson wrote his cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. The Amazon.co.uk blurb read :- "From the opening line of his breakthrough cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city states, and the Internet--incarnate as the Metaverse-- looks something like last year's hype would lead you to believe it should. Enter Hiro Protagonist--hacker, samurai swordsman and pizza-delivery driver. When his best friend fries his brain on a new designer drug called Snow Crash and his beautiful, brainy ex-girlfriend asks for his help, what's a guy with a name like that to do? He rushes to the rescue. A breakneck-paced 21st-century novel, Snow Crash interweaves everything from Sumerian myth to visions of a postmodern civilization on the brink of collapse. Faster than the speed of television and a whole lot more fun, Snow Crash is the portrayal of a future that is bizarre enough to be plausible." Recommended reading, even for WinDoze users :-)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Apple blew itpple supposedly do a quality check before releasing 3rd party Apps. But this week they blew it, accepting an App providing Hitler's book Mein Kampf, complete with Swastikas etc. :-( Doubtless this made them popular with the Jewish community and with the German government. And some people noticed and complained. Maybe they were told 'Withdraw the App or we'll shut the store here' ? Be that as it may, they have now - very quietly - withdrawn the App from their Store :-)
The Bavarian government own the copyright and are very restrictive with it. So I expect whoever wrote the App - and perhaps even Apple's "quality approval" team - are going to be in legal hot water! :-)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I am a GoogleWhack :-)Darren Siggers has written to tell me that I am a GoogleWhack, his very first one! GoogleWhacking : find that elusive query (two words - no quote marks) with a single, solitary result! Obviously, I can't tell you directly what those two words are, because that would double the number of hits, thus demoting me from being a GoogleWhack :-(
So take the underscores out of these two words - Dendro_filous Hit_ler - and google for the result. When Darren did that he got exactly one result, in my June 2009 blog :-)
Monday, February 1, 2010
Geocaching : Equipment listBeginners in the Geocaching hobby often ask what equipment they will 'need'. Rather than just blogging a boring list, let me tell you a couple of anecdotes about my own equipment list evolved.
Like all beginners I thought a GPS receiver, some small trade-items and a ball-point pen would suffice. The pen being for those micro-caches too small to contain one themselves, and whose mini-pencil(even if present) is invariably blunt (so I added a small pencil sharpener too). This suffices for traditional caches; for multi-stage and mystery caches I print out the cache description from the internet and take that too. Needless to say, a pair of stable walking shoes - preferably waterproof - and robust old clothes that you won't mind getting dirty, are a prerequisite.
After the first few caches found unter stones or between tree roots, I added a pair of gardening gloves to keep my hands clean, and avoid infections from burrowing-animal diseases (rabies, fox bandworm etc). A packet of paper handkerchiefs (Tempo) is useful for wiping off any dirt too.
My first foray into a small cave taught me to take a torch too, mine has 9 LEDs and is surprisingly bright. Then, once on a trip in the deep woods, having been careful to mark in my GPS the position where I left the car, the GPS batteries failed me deep in the woods and it was a struggle to find the car again :-( So this taught me that I should have spare batteries for the GPS (rechargable accumulators actually) and the torch. I changed my torch too, so as to have battery interchangability. And I packed a backup pen too. Once I made an arithmetical mistake mentally calculating intermediate coordinates of a multi-cache, so now I pack a small pocket calculator too, needless to say chosen to have the same type of battery. By now your pockets are full. For the additional stuff which follows you might want to use a small light rucksack :-)
Many caches offer splendid views, and indeed GEO-caches require you to take a photo of yourself onsite, logging it later in the internet to document your cache visit. So a small digital camera gets put on the list too (maintain battery interchangability!). A bright flourescent jacket is sensible for off-track forest hikes, just so any hunters don't mistake you for a deer/boar (instead of a bore) ;-) A small pocket-mirror is good too for looking around tiny corners in cliffs or stone walls, a small telescopic stick for poking in small holes too. The latter should have a magnet on the end for retrieving small metal things. Oh, I forgot to mention that old wire coat hanger that you can bend into a suitably shaped/sized hook is useful for retrieving deeply hidden caches too.
Once you have found the cache container, you will need to open it :-) Not all of them are simple plastic pillboxes. As I have learned from experience, take an 8mm, 10mm, and 12 mm spanner, a ring of Inbus keys, a bladed screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver too. And did I mention a Leatherman (pliers combi-tool) and/or a Swiss army pocket knife. A pincette is useful too for getting the logstrips out of those tiny fingernail-sized nano-caches.
Logstrips are often so soggy that you can't write on them any more. So I pack a couple of spare logstrips in nano and micro sizes as replacements if needed. Apropos soggy, you should have a pair of wellies in the boot of your car, should you need to wade through a creek/stream/river. The cache description will usually hint in this direction. A small towel for drying off after transiting a dripping cave etc. will fit in the backpack too. A small monocular (or the zoom function of the digicam) may save you having to wade the river just to read an infoboard :-)
What else? There's a tape measure and a plastic protractor in the rucksack too, I forget what I needed those for. Topographical maps of mountainous areas. A mobile phone would help in case of an emergency. A small first aid kit for cuts and scrapes and insect bites. Drinking cup and bottle of water for those longer hikes. Oh and bathing shorts; there was one cache where I had to swim out to a buoy in the lake whose serial number was the clue for the next coordinates of a multi-cache :-)
I haven't needed a hard hat yet, because I don't do the T5 climbing caches in my old age. YMMV. Mind you, I do have protective wrap-around safety glasses for walking through scrub and tall undergrowth. Depending on what the cache decription says, you might want to put a small folding ladder into the car boot too. Mind you, if you ever get stopped by the police because of your no doubt (to them) suspicious behaviour, you might have a problem explaining all this stuff. Been there, done that ;-)
R2L : Sälzerkönig, Eunoia, Schroeder10000, EventMan and Rabenschnabel Junior. In the background, behind my shoulder, you can see Elch777 and Monkey Island team.
Four Dinners : " Geocaching would require walking. Now I'm not necessarily averse to walking as long as there are frequent pubs en route. I will have to see if I can find any local geocachers and suss out the pubs. I wonder if I could get a team up from The Old Pretenders? Several of the chaps like a good ramble..." I've mailed you a map of the caches in your area, Dinners :-) Meanwhile here are two photos of our April 2006 visit to the world's smallest pub (a converted pig-sty!) :-
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Roman Numeral Division
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RESH TSADI HET :-(
Hot off the press :-)
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Mr. Frisbee, RIP :-(
4D's Venn Diagram ;-)
Catholic Pedophiles :-(
Braking News :-(
Apple blew it :-(
I am a GoogleWhack :-)
Man's Best Friend
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A necessary precondition
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A Change of Name ?
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