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Monday, January 30, 2012
Schrödinger's Sudoku ;-)
For those of you for whom regular sudoku is too difficult, I introduce - new for 2012 - binary sudoku, especially suitable for computer geeks ;-)
And if that isn't enough of a simplification, here's the quantum-mechanical version for physicists like Sheldon Cooper : Schrödinger's Sudoku ;-)
If you don't understand my quantum mechanics joke, click here for edification.
Comments (10) :
Renke (D) objected " But but but - the state of Schrödinger's cat is trivalent* (at least according to Terry Pratchett) : 'Technically, a cat locked in a box may be alive or dead. You do not know until you look. In fact, the actor simply open the box determines the state of the cat, although in this case there were three determinate states the cat could be that, these were alive, dead and terribly angry.'
*) Nerdy side-note: Bool defined as True, False, FileNotFound is one of the greatest daily WTF's _evar_ ! ;-) I always wrote : defBool=Schrödinger's Cat ;-)
Ivan (Moscow) asks "Do you have an EPR version?" See update above. Thanks for the inspiration ;-)
Cop Car (USA) wrote about the update "I do like your addition. Quite funny! Because my activities in the past five or six years have centered on disaster response, EPR = emergency preparedness and response (or planning and response, depending). Why do I not think that is what your EPR means?" Ivan's EPR is an abbreviation for Einstein, Podolsky & Rosen.
Jenny (Ibiza) complains about the update "You are going to have to explain that vveerryy slowly : OTOH, don't bother" Cats can teleport instantaneously? But that's neither here nor there ;-)
Renke (D) picked up the ball and ran with it : "Attached you'll find my proposal: quantum entangled binary Sudoku :)"
Renke (D) sent an addendum : "I slept really bad as I forgot yesterday to include the most weird attribute of the EPR paradox: Einstein's Geisterhafte Fernwirkung."
Nice! When I drew Garfield in TWO boxes (see above), that is what I was thinking of, also in my mini-explanation for Jenny after her comment :-)
Friday, January 27, 2012
Fire extinguisher tips
hat an incredible mess!
For thirty-plus years I flew the obligatory fire-extinguisher around in my airplane, tightly affixed under the front passenger seat where they belong, and - thankfully - never had occasion to use it.
Similarly for nigh on fifty years I drove the (voluntary but advisable(?)) fire-extinguisher around in my car, and - thankfully - never had occasion to use it, not even to help another driver. So, needless to say, it soon got relegated into the boot (amer.=trunk), where it would be less than useful had anyone ever rear-ended me :-(
In this house I have an annually refreshed fire-extinguisher on each floor (smoke alarms too) and - thankfully - never had occasion to use them.
But I've just seen a fire-brigade demo of extinguisher use. What an incredible mess (my) powder-based extinguishers leave behind! So here I'm passing on a tip. Prymos produce one-shot aluminium spray-cans of extinguishing foam. Much cleaner! Get yourselves the "Universal" version, 580ml of foam for €30. There are wall- and car-mounts available too. It can cope with frying-pans, garden grills, curtains, paper, Xmas tree candle accidents and even electrical gear (keep at least a yard away from those!).
And while we are on the subject of "what an incredible mess!", I wonder if the Greeks had a word for theirs :-(
Certainly, no fire extinguisher - aka IMF or EU bailout - will be large enough. Bite the bullet, Greeks, and drop out of the Euro!
Then, after a
And then there is Christian "What an incredible mess!" Wulff :-(
Comments (8) :
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Burns Nicht, the nicht, ye ken
cotsmen (and women) across the world will be celebrating the birth of our national poet, Robbie Burns, with a traditional Burns Dinner this evening(25th), piped steaming Sonsie face & Uisghe included.
Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.
Unfortunately, I have an inflamed gut this year - this ageing, deteriorating body seems to stumble singlehandedly (sic!) from one problem to the next :-( - and the medications that I am now taking preclude haggis-eating and the consumption of alcohol. So line one of the Selkirk Grace (see above) applies to me; no Uisghe for me the nicht :-(
However, that is not to say that my blogreaders should not enjoy something Scottish today. And so - with a wee grin - I pass on a joke about a scottish golf caddy that my good friend and blogreader Klaus sent me from Alaska, a US state with predominently Republican voters :-
During his golfing vacation at Martha's Vineyard, US President Obama had been slicing off the tee on every hole. He asks his Scottish caddy if he has noticed any obvious reasons for his poor tee shots, to which the caddy replies :- "Aye, there's a piece of shyt on the end of yer driver. " The President picks up his driver and cleans the club face, at which point the caddy says :- "Nae, laddie, the ither end."
Comments (2) :
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Dextrous update :-)
ad the stitches removed from my right hand yesterday. All but one had held, and the OP-wound has healed together despite that one failed stitch. Lo and behold, I can use my hand again, painlessly :-)
The skin around the OP-cut is hard in places, pink and puffy in others, but all the fingers and thumb move as they should. Almost. The thumb tip currently only bends down 80° (the left thumb 120°, for comparison) but that'll improve with exercise, I'm told. And it's already strong enough torquewise to turn a key in a lock. So thankyou surgeon, for fixing my hand for me :-)
Comments (2) :
Monday, January 23, 2012
Globe theatre in London (UK) will be doing a potentially interesting experiment. As you may know - at least if you are a Brit - Shakespeare wrote 38 plays. In my student days I made a special effort to go see all of them, albeit in the Bard's English. Now the Globe theatre will be showing all 38 plays, but in 38 different languages! They have engaged playing companies from around the world to play one each, each in their national language. Depending on which languages they have chosen, I could attend between 3 and 6 of them. But I doubt if there is any one person who could understand all 38 (e.g. one of them - Hamlet - is in Lithuanian). However, if you a foreigner living in London, this would be the ideal chance to go see Shakespeare in the historic Globe theatre, spoken in your mother tongue. I hope that MacBeth will be done in Scots or Gaelic ;-)tarting in three months time (april), the
Of course there may be some translation issues, for example when I say "Dépaysement (F) overcomes me, as does Duende (E). These are two words for which there is no equivalent in English (Duende (spanish) means something like "the mysterious power that a work of art has to move a person deeply"). They have got me wondering whether there are words in Shakespeare's plays that are untranslateable into other languages. Tartling, I introduce the first actor to play the ghost of Hamlet's father...
Of course, Shakespeare wrote far more than just plays. For example, take up the King James' bible. Turn to psalm 46. Count in 46 words from the beginning and write that word down. Now count back 46 words from the end of psalm 46 and write that word down too. What have you got? "shake", "spear" :-) Historically, Elizabethan spelling was very erratic by twenty-first century standards. Indeed, there are some ten contemporary literary references to "Shak Speare", which is how the illustrious bard signed his will(sic!). Count the letters: 4 and 6, as in 46. Coincidence? ;-)
FWIW, yes, we have seen Roland Emmerich's 2011 movie "Anonymous" :-)
Go for it, resident Londoners, this is your heads-up!
Comments (3) :
Friday, January 20, 2012
Why can't Johnny do Math?
"Confront the difficult when it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts." - Tao Te Ching.
tella Baruk, a french researcher at IREM in Grenoble, investigated in 1980 primary school children's capabilities in arithmetic. The results are shocking. Given the question "A farmer has 26 sheep and 10 goats. How old is the farmer?", three quarters of the children answered "36 years old". They were doing an addition test and so added 26+10=36 (correctly) without realising that it was a nonsense question. 10 years later, researchers at the TU Dortmund simplified it to "A farmer aged 27 has 26 sheep and 10 goats. How old is the farmer?", and still children were answering 36, even though they had been told the correct answer (27). Interestingly, the proportion of children doing the addition increased with their age (10% of kindergarten children, 30% of 7 year olds, 54% of 8 year olds and 71% of 9 year olds). Obviously, the children have been performing tasks by rote instead of asking themselves if their method is appropriate. Drawing the consequence, an institution has now been set up to improve the way maths is taught in schools, by training the maths-teachers differently.
That said, how would you cope with these four exercises (for 14 year olds):-
The farmer is twice as old as the difference between the number of his sheep and his chickens. The number of his sheep and his chickens is unknown, but we do know they have 40 heads and 100 legs in total. How old is the farmer?
For lunch, I ate a cylindrical meal of average height A and diameter 2*Z. Calculate the volume of my meal. And can you now tell me what I ate?
Noah, an accomplished carpenter, built the ark for pairs of animals. When the waters subsided, he said to all the animals "Go forth and multiply!". Two of the snakes objected, saying "We can't multiply, we're adders". What did Noah do?
What is interesting about the square at the top of this article?
And what we learn from these exercises is that we have to teach children how to select an appropriate method to solve their problems. And also, to think outside the box!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The Day After...
Comments (1) :
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Less forged Euro notes last year :-)
FWIW, less Euro notes were found in Germany to be forged last year; about 39,000 as opposed to about 60,000 in 2010 and 52,500 in 2009. Their value dropped to 2.1 Million from 3.4 million the previous year, a saving of 1.3 million Euros. I wonder what the (police) anti-forgery efforts cost?
That averages to only 5 forged notes per 10,000 residents. The trend is away from forged €50 notes (down 50% to 16,587) towards forged €20 notes (up 10% to 14108). Probably because people checked the €50 notes more. I know our local supermarket checks every single one it takes in, using UV.
Here's a link showing you how to detect counterfeit Euro currency.
Here's a link showing you how to detect counterfeit US Dollar currency.
Forged money flooding the market is of course worthless. So by the end of 2012, any notes bearing the word 'dollar' may turn out to be worthless too, given the rate at which the Fed is printing & inflating them; US rating agencies' attacks on the Euro notwithstanding :-(
Comments (1) :
Monday, January 16, 2012
Singlehandedly sinister ;-)
fter friday's OP to unstiffen my right hand I'm now wearing a big tight bandage which immobilises the thumb until the stitches come out next week. So I'm doing things undextrously - aka in a sinister way - only with my left hand, such as pecking out this blog entry. Some simple tasks take two hands, which means that SWMBO has to tie my shoelaces for me as if I were a small child. Now I know why really old folks wear velcro-strap shoes, keeping themselves independent! Other simple tasks need an opposing (& mobile) thumb, again SWMBO has been helping me with buttons, and even holding a pen properly is hard. My sinistral handwriting looks like a drunken spider had fallen into the inkwell and then - after contracting Parkinson's - staggered hiccoughing out across the paper whilst avoiding any horizontal lines. So I'll stick to typing as far as possible and I'm avoiding buttoned clothes. Even my own.
Sinister note : Blogging will remain light for a week. So use your time spared to go piss on an American soldier if you like; no need to kill them first :-(
Comments (3) :
Friday, January 13, 2012
An early start
een a pretty mild winter this year so far, just +8°C and dry on wednesday. So instead of using my big, faired, heated-grip, heated-seat touring bike (a Yamaha FJR1300), I've been haring around on my naked streetfighter, a Triumph Street Triple, which had been standing in the garage unused for 6 weeks, on the always-lame excuse that "the battery needs to be kept charged, dear" ;-)
As usual there are a couple of things to be aware of when doing this. Vehicles that have been unused for a while tend to lose some air from the tyres. As you can see here, I rode to the gas station in our village to pump up the rear tyre. Remember too, to ride the first kilometer with the brakes slightly applied (see my right hand). This will rub off any fine rust that may have appeared on the discs which can cause brake grabbing and juddering. FWIW, engines emit condensation (not oil smoke) until warm.
And in winter I usually wear that fluorescent over-jacket so that car-drivers - who are not used to seeing bikers in winter - can see me coming earlier.
But today I'm getting a minor operation done to unstiffen my right hand (throttle & mouse hand) so there'll be a short hiatus in the riding - maybe even in the blogging - until the OP wound heals and the stitches come out.
Turned out the hand-surgeon had a long waiting list (months) - but - cannily - I said "Surely there are enough superstitious people who don't want to be operated upon on a Friday 13th, so can you squeeze me in then?" And it was so, and so he could, thus I got a short wait of only a week. Always knew that superstition (in other people) had a good side somewhere ;-)
Comments (8) :
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Alan Turing Centenary Expo @ HNF
Alan Turing. The world's larget computer museum, the HNF has a year-long Turing expo. This will be made up of 10 individual monthly shows, the first of which kicked off on tuesday evening. This month's theme is "The Enigma and the U-boat war", to which kick-off lecture I had an invitation.his year is the centenary of the birth of the famous English mathematician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist,
The main talk - by Dr.Andrew Hodges of Oxford University (UK) who wrote the authoritative Turing biography - was entitled "Alan Turing - an Enigma". He pointed out, inter alia, that there are almost no artefacts left behind by Turing, he made no notes and in fact the only artefact of his time at Cambridge is a single spoon! And so the expo can only be about his works. For "The Enigma and the U-boat war" the HNF has a pavillion containing the 20 foot working model of the U-boat as used in the movie "Das Boot", a real WW2 German Navy 4-rotor U-boat Enigma, a scaled up working model of a single Enigma rotor to show how they work (FWIW there is a paper of mine in Cryptologia, a West Point publication, showing how to break these with only pencil and paper), the associated radio equipment used in WW2, and finally a 10 minute movie summarizing the U-boat war in the North Atlantic of the early 1940s which also explained in simple terms how the constraint-based Turing Bombe (code-breaking machine) worked.
One of the guests of honour was my friend Rudolf Staritz (see photo left) , now 90 years old, who was on active duty as Admiral Canaris's radio & crypto man in WW 2. So contemporary eye-witness information was available, surely a great pleasure for a historian such as Professor Hodges :-) Looking at the audience, my estimate was an average IQ over 130 even including the WAGs. There was certainly a preponderance of large bald heads, yours truly included ;-)
Next month's show will be about "The code breakers of Bletchley Park" and the NSA (no such agency ;-) have lent the HNF a set of components such as Bombe wheels. BTW, I have been present when Turing's Bombe is running. It being an electromechanical device, the noise is deafening! I pity the poor Wrens who were on duty at Bletchley Park in the forties, I expect many of them went to an early deaf [sic!] ;-)
Monday, January 9, 2012
Life as a 7¾ ft. giant :-(
Steven Fry). But a while back I saw Dirk Novitzki - a basketball player - who is 7 feet tall. I felt like a pygmy ! And I learned that there is even a Chinese basketball player - Sun MingMing - who is 7ft 9 tall and wears an appropriate number on his singlet ;-)am 5 foot 10 tall (180cms), average here in Germany. I have friends here who are under 5 ft 2, which is the average in Indonesia, and others over 6ft 4 (the same as
So I wondered what it would be like to be so tall in a world built by and for lilliputian people, and decided to emulate it for a day.
Brobdingnagian Me for a day!
My head would have been almost 2 feet higher than usual, chest 18 inches, hips a foot higher and knees six inches higher by proportion.
First off after getting up, I wouldn't fit under the shower. Thus I took a bath instead, blocking off 18 inches thereof using the soap rack. But I was unable to lie down, and had to bathe myself in two parts, either only the upper half or the lower in the water at a time.
Walking around : I had taped some string across the interior doorways of our house two feet below the existing doorjambs (i.e just below shoulder height) so that I would be forced to duck through the doorways. Similarly I'd hung 2 feet of string from ceiling fixtures such as lights, forcing me to walk around them or duck. Otherwise the ceilings were high enough (just) for me to be able to walk upright (that was a relief!).
Next up [sic!] was breakfast. This involved sitting on a chair with my legs under the table. Using a 5 inch footrest to simulate my lower legs being 6 inches longer, I found that my legs would not fit under the table. So I had to splay my knees some 90° apart while keeping my feet together just to get my legs under the table. Getting up from (or down into) this position involved sitting first at 90° to the usual sitting position and then rotating my hips (and the chair) through said 90° :-(
Apropos sitting. I had an old terrace chair in the garage waiting for the garbage collector, so I sawed 12 inches off the legs so the (acute) angle of my knees would be emulated correctly. Getting up from this acute-angled position is rather difficult, let me assure you :-(
After standing and sitting, the third problem position is lying down. I'd put a two foot wide suitcase where my pillow would normally be - in order to simulate being two feet taller than usual. Accordingly, I could either lie with my feet hanging 15 inches over the end of the bed (which is 6 foot six long), or - attempting to keep my feet under the covers of our double bed - I would have had to lie diagonally across the double bed, much to my wife's discomfort. Now I know why giants prefer to have short wives ;-)
As for driving the car, I found I could not shove the seat a foot further back to accomodate legs 12 inches longer. To simulate this, I moved the seat as far forward as possible and found that I would have had to sit splay-kneed because the steering wheel was in the way of my legs. My car has a manual shift, but an automatic would have better for a giant, lessening the seating problem for the left leg anyway. I'd stacked two breakfast-table footrests on the seat just to see what the seating position and the view would have been. My head would have been scraping the roof (of my VW New Beetle) even when held leaning sideways. I could just see out of the very top of the windscreen, albeit at a head angle of 30-45° :-( Needless to say, I didn't actually drive the car in these circumstances, I was just trying it on for size.
I found my bicycle would have been useless, neither the seat nor the handlebars could be raised by a whole foot so that I could use the pedals normally.
Next I sat on one of my motorcycles, to imagine what that would be like. Upright, it was OK, although the knee-angle would have been very acute (simulated by positioning my feet six inches above the regular footpegs). But I would not have been able to get into a racing crouch, there was not enough room for my forearms and my thighs behind the handlebars :-( And apart from that, my upper body would have been so long that my head would have been hitting the speedo and rev-counter :-(
So that would have meant riding the bus into town. Standing, because there was insufficient room between the rows of seats to accomodate my legs. Standing with rounded shoulders and lowered head to avoid banging my head on the roof at every bump in the road :-(
Once at the opticians, it would have proved impossible to screw the adjustable stool low enough for me to look into the eye-testing machine whilst sitting upright. And at the bookstore, they didn't have a copy of "Gulliver's Travels" in stock anyway. So I've ordered Candy Gourlay's book "Tall Story" (ISBN-10: 0385752334), at 304 pages NOT a short story :-)
All said and told, while it was an interesting experiment being a giant for a day, I was glad to return to my lilliputian 5'10" existence.
Poor Goliaths, you have my sympathy :-(
P.S: I'd like to hear from any really tall people out there in the blogosphere and hear about their garguntuan daily problems; mail me pls.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
An unlikely pair
Other famous people sharing a January 8th birthday include David Bowie (65) and Shirley Bassey (75). Those who have to wait until tomorrow are Kate Middleton (turns 30), Jimmy Page (67) and Joan Baez (70). Congrats all.
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Friday, January 6, 2012
Chi-b (3P) meson found at LHC ;-)
avid (IL) asked for more science posts and Susan (UK) for more humour, so let's try to please both of them today :-)
Today, I'm telling you about Chi-b (3P), a new exotic particle found at the Large Hadron Collider by the researchers doing the Atlas experiments. The article about this discovery was submitted to arXiv on 21 december 2011, so I'm 2 weeks late reporting it :-( They found the meson Chi-b (3P) by colliding protons. It has a mass of 10.54 Gigaelectronvolts, which makes it about ten times more massive than a proton. The light quarks in a meson move at relativistic speeds, since the mass of the bound state is much larger than the mass of the quark. However, the speed of the charm and the bottom quarks in their respective quarkonia is sufficiently smaller, so that relativistic effects affect these states much less. It is estimated that the speed, v, is roughly 30% of the speed of light for charmonia and roughly 10% of the speed of light for bottomonia such as Chi-b (3P). The computation can then be approximated by an expansion in powers of v/c and v2/c2. FWIW, this approximative technique is called non-relativistic quantumchromodynamics (NRQCD).
Somehow Chi-b (3P) makes me think of the surging GOP presidential runner Rick Santorum . . .
And why? Because it's made of Bottom Quark (and its antiquark) ;-)
Comments (4) :
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Forcequake : 6.66 on the Yoda scale :-(
n the force, a disturbance, there has been, Luke. Dark it was, & strong.
Bob Anderson, the british actor, stunt man and ex-olympic fencer who was the man in the Darth Vader suit for the light-sabre fight scenes with Luke & Obi-Wan, died age 89 on new year's day. May the force be with him!
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Iowa caucuses winner predicted ;-)
he GOP (Republican) presidential contender will be the candidate from far Kinell ;-)
The Iowa caucuses are an iterative electoral filter in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa meet in all of Iowa's 1,784 precincts to elect delegates to the corresponding 99 Iowan county conventions. These then select delegates for both Iowa's Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the presidential nominating conventions (the national conventions). These in turn - together with other states' delegates - then nominate the GOP presidential contender.
A long, drawn-out and in the days of the intertubes unnecessary procedure which will bore us all out of our skulls due to inane pseudo-excited media coverage. And I know the result already! The GOP (Republican) presidential contender will be the candidate from far Kinell.
Still no wiser? Repeat the two underlined words as quickly as possible over and over again for homonymic understanding ;-)
Comments (2) :
Monday, January 2, 2012
The Honours List 2012 :-)
The Honours List for 2012 and upon perusal thereof, I find that there are some pleasant surprises in it. Of course there is the usual plethora of MBEs for Community Service and/or Charity Work, and traditionally a comedian gets deservedly knighted for causing HM the Queen to say "We ARE amused".uckingham Palace has announced
I do not mean to denigrate either of these, it takes talent to make people laugh and dedication to stick at Community Service and/or Charity Work over decades. I know a couple of MBEs and they are all decent people. However in THIS honours list a number of scientists have been honoured for services to science and I think these six are worth an extra mention.
It's good to see brainpower being recognised beyond the sometimes narrow constraints of their specialist fields (pun intended in Donaldson's case ;-)
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23 Recent Writings
FWIW : 23 is the number of the Illuminati, folks ;-)
Burns Nicht 2012
Dextrous update :-)
Why can't Johnny...
The Day After...
Less Euro forgeries
An early start :-)
Alan Turing Expo
Life as a giant :-(
An unlikely pair
Chi-b (3P) meson ;-)
Iowa Caucus Winner ;-)
The Honours List :-)
Best of my blog 2011
Atheist Yule Tree
Xmas myth, annotated
Clever Design :-)
More old aircraft
House of the Rising Sun
Zombie Explosion? No!
On the shoulders of giants
Oldtimer Training Aircraft
Or a typographical error?
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Decrepit Old Fool
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Flight Level 390
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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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