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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'.

Geocaching Stats

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

Monday, July 30, 2012

Underwater Sudoku

T he latest craze at the local outdoor swimming pool is Underwater Sudoku. One of the teenagers has a divers' board and wax pencil. The winner of the previous round chooses a 6 by 6 kiddies' sudoku from a book of them, writes it on the board, and drops the board in the pool at the deep end. The next contestant takes the wax pencil and dives in to look for the board then tries to solve the sudoku underwater without coming up for air (in which case he/she would lose). Once the sudoku is solved, he/she can resurface triumphantly and write the next 6 by 6 sudoku. If he/she comes up for air first, he/she is eliminated; repeat until only the victor/victrix is left.

You can practice at home by taking a deep breath and holding it whilst trying to solve the simple sudoku I've included here. How did you do?

When I asked to join in, the kids gave me a 9 by 9 sudoku to eliminate me!

Comments (2) :
Jenny (Ibiza) admits "I had to hyperventilate before my second try :-("
Bob (USA) replies "Watch out when diving for that 'Drowned Auk Uterus', you fellow anagram fan!" OK. BTW, auks are egg-layers. Birds do have a "uterus", but it's not like a human one. Their "uterus" is where the shell glands are located and the hard shell is deposited on the egg.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Anagram Fun, USA GOP version ;-)

A nagramming is a constant source of fun to me and keeps the old grey matter tuned. E.g : I see "Willard Romney" is "Normally Weird" ;-)

Anagrams Never Lie... = Reveals A Renaming.

Comments (2) :
Bob (USA) remonstrates "Could just as well be 'Weirdly normal'. Got any Dimmocraps?" Try to work out who is 'Arch linty loin'.
Bob (USA) replies "Well you blew that ! 'Lynch a trillion' spells her first name with TWO Ls" Oops, my bad :-(

Friday, July 27, 2012

Scary skaters :-(

T here is a hill behind our house with a smooth road that snakes down from the next village 3 miles up the hill. It gets steeper towards the bottom and the corners get tighter. Last week there was an accident.

Flatland skaters came to skate down the hill last week. The newspaper report I am summarising does not make clear if they were inline skaters or skateboarders. Be that as it may, one (age 23) came haring through a 90° right-hander near the bottom of the hill, way too fast, out of control and on the wrong side of the road :-(

A tractor driver was going up the hill there and saw them coming at him. He made an emergency stop and came to a standstill quickly. But the skater hit the stationary tractor's right front wheel anyway and broke both his legs. The protector pads on knees and elbows and the helmet minimised further damage.

Imagine yourself riding/driving up that hill and encountering a pack of scary skaters like that. Would you try to leap your car over the ditch and into the adjacent field? I think I would have braked to a stop as the poor tractor driver did.

This morning after dawn but before workday traffic, out of curiosity, I rode my motorcycle up to the top of the hill, positioned it on the brow of the hill, turned the engine off and released the brakes. Within several hundred yards I had reached the speed limit (100 km/h = 62mph) and had to brake (by 20 km/h) a total of 3 times. Then I had to brake for the first sharp corner, which I took at a 40° lean angle. You can't do that on skates. The subsequent 3 turns I took right on the speed limit before braking to 70kmh (44 mph) for the tight S curve, leading to the righthander mentioned in the accident report. I could take that at 60 kmh at a 40° lean angle while staying on my own side of the road.

I don't know what skaters' brakes are like, but they almost certainly far worse than my double discs up front! I don't know what lean angles skaters use, but it'd be less than my safe 40°. So my conclusion is that skating down our local hill would be pretty scary - not to say suicidal - in the agricultural traffic to be expected. I wonder if they take will take the skater's driving licence away?

Comments (6) :
Morinox (D) - a good geocaching friend - tells me I misunderstood the location. The police report photo shows the accident was on Cemetary Hill on the north side of our valley, not on the road down from Helmern (south side) as I had assumed and where I did my experiment. My bad. He wrote " Are you sure these were really flat land skaters? Perhaps these guys weren't the standard skaters that one normally thinks of, imagining young folks doing fancy jumping tricks on the streets or in skater parks. I guess the group that ended partially engraved into that agricultural machine's wheel were longboarders doing their downhill thing on the promising slopes of Henglarn (see last year's event video on closed roads). And there do exist techniques to brake, or rather not reach a velocity that makes steering and reacting impossible. I deduce that from the fact that they actually wore protective clothing, as stated in the police report. I'm not saying that it would be a clever thing to go down that hill without knowing what's ahead, but they probably were more aware of what they were doing than one might think." I still think that public roads, not closed off and without track marshals, are NOT the place for boy-racing! And I'm an old biker ;-)
Harley Girl (UK) asks "40° of lean? Wow, Harley footboards touch down around 25° of lean. What is your maximum lean? " Depends on the corner. My tires are treaded for max. 53° of lean, so I might manage 55/56° in a dry righthander (where the road camber helps me) and only 50° in a lefthander (adverse camber). That's why I'm faster on righthanders than lefthanders but the tyres wear out on the left first. We drive on the right here btw.
Doug Alder (CA), off topic, sent me this video of a 1911 Harley V-twin, one of only 3 known to exist unrestored. Thanks Doug. NB: looks like a 1913 model to me though, but I guess the owner knows better.
Doug Alder (CA) adds "It's still just a hawg ;)" The Harley Owners Group (=HOG) was not created until 1983, as a marketing tool for Harley-Davidson.
Harley Girl (UK) replies, asking "And how good are your brakes? Harley brakes leave a lot to be desired." Deceleration theoretically reaching about one gee (32 ft/sec2) but in practice I use only about 0.85 gee, because my bike does not have ABS. OK,OK, the occasional stoppie, but that's just to impress the others at the biker cafe´, just me showing off childishly :-(
Gotosan (J) points me to this video. OK, but the biker isn't even trying hard.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Entering Mordor :-;

Y ou don't just ride into Mordor, you have to ride through the old customs house to do so! And this is what it looks like.

Last sunday I rode a 250 mile trip with some friends to the centre of our country. On the way there we passed the old border between West and East Germany, but were shortly surprised by another borderpost - shown on the photo above - which was the old borderpost dating from 1650 AD. It was the customs post at the entrance to the then dukedom of Thuringen with thick, impenetrable, forest to the left and right. So you rode below the outer portcullis into the inspection-hall, paid your customs'-duties and were only allowed to proceed when the inner portcullis was raised - bit like an airlock ;-) I imagine that the entrance to Morder was like this, complete with arrow slits. The portcullisses are gone now, but the narrow road still goes through the old house :-)

Later, in Niederdorla (the centre of the country), we were pleasantly surprised that there was a Germanic festival with people dressed in costumes from around the time of the Roman occupation (Julius Caesar). Shades of Asterix and Obelix! Homemade bows and arrows, brass armour, etc. Needless to say, we dined on roast suckling pig washed down with mead :-)

It had been quite warm at the festival, sunny, and I just wore a T-shirt, leaving my sweater in the tankbag. But coming back over the mountain pass at Meisner I wished I'd donned that sweater too. Or was it Mordor that chills your bones? :-(

Comments (1) :
Dom (USA) wrote "I must say your roads are in far better shape than ours here in the U.S. And I'd hate to be the one who cleans the moss off of that roof." Pre-unification East German roads were terrible, full of potholes etc. Re-unification (which we are still paying for) led to a huge government infrastructure investment program. So those roads are just 20 years old. Similarly the upper floor and roof of the tollhouse were restored to perfection. Now West German roads are worse, potholed too, because of investment neglect in favour of getting the former East Germany up to speed :-(

Monday, July 23, 2012

Teasing the teacher :-;

A lways have had a penchant for teasing people, so let me tell you a schoolboy anecdote. I was about 14 or 15 at the time and we had a very good maths teacher called Jeb.

In the previous week's lesson, Jeb had been teaching us about slide rules. Our job was to calculate root(3)/2.

So we carefully lined up 3 on the A-scale (ringed in red) opposite 2 on the C-scale (ringed in blue) and read off 0.866 on the D-scale (not shown here). Jeb had his own special slide rule with scales for trigonometry, log-log etc and lots of marks for constants such as Pi and e etc, some of which he had engraved himself. Doing this exercise on HIS slide rule, I noticed that in this position the Pi on the C-scale lined up with the e-mark on the D-scale (ringed in green here, although there isn't an e-mark on my slide rule). 0.8652559802748456... (read as 0.865(3) on the sliderule). I filed this factoid away in my mind for potential future use ;-)

Root(3)/2 = e/Pi to within 1 part in 1000.

A week later, Jeb was emphasizing the importance of accuracy when doing geometry diagrams, getting everything to scale [in prep for drafting classes the following year]. He gave us the job of constructing and measuring sin(60°). He suggested we use a 2 inch base for our triangles, but this is what I drew, with attention to accurate scale usage :-)

Drew a horizontal line { but I marked off a base Pi units long}, constructed the equilateral triangle(60° interior angles) , leaving arc segments to show my working, labelled the corners ABC, dropped a perpendicular from C onto line AB at D, and marked ADC as being a right angle. All correct so far. Now Jeb was expecting us to label AD as length 1, AC as 2 and CD as root(3) by Pythagoras and thus get sin(60°) = root(3)/2.

But I'd remembered the slide rule coincidence and had paid due attention to accurate scale. So I labelled AC as length Pi, AD as length Pi/2 and CD as length e. Which is wrong by a factor of less than 1 part in 1000.

Jeb fell for it, pulled out his slide rule to check, dropping his jaw when he got the same result ;-) I got a C, marked as an A for the construction but C for mislabelling. I wonder if he ever realised I was just pulling his leg ? ;-)

Comments (7) :
Dom (USA) wrote "Slide rule?! I thought they went out of fashion with spats. You need to be a watchmaker to read one." The anecdote is from 1958/9, our only school calculator was a mechanical Brunsviga.
Dave (USA) opines "You should have posted that a day earlier, 22/7, which is PI day here in the USA". Well only approximately. I always thought PI day in the US was 3/14 because you folks write the month before the day.
Jenny (Ibiza) opines "I think Cop Car's comment was for THIS posting, not saturday's, where you put it" Let's see if she responds.
Cop Car (USA) wrote "Sorry for not being more specific. The emoticon is in response to the comments to the "50 Shades of Grey" posting. The emoticon is to indicate that the writer has his/her tongue firmly in cheek." OK, now all we need to know is: whose tongue in whose cheeks?
Morag (UK) notes that "Xkcd had a cartoon about such misleading approximations, including this one and also including Jenny's constant, so heads-up to her."
Jenny (Ibiza) said "Thanks, Morag, I didn't even know I had a constant, 'cos I'm very variable :-) But I did know that there are 3+Pi/4 liters per US gallon, 'cos Stu taught me that decades ago :-)" Always I'm to blame!
Renke admonishes "a XKCD reference without mentioning SMBC? this should be fixed asap :)" But Pi=3, not 5, for surely I say unto you, it says so in the holy 'cannot-possibly-be-wrong' bible (in I Kings 7:23) ;-)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Entertainment, Weakly :-(

I n a primitive society which worships the use of violence to solve all of its problems (world's largest military, death penalty, gun non-control, even 'super-hero' comics etc) is it any wonder that sad events like this occur? Rethink of Values needed!

FWIW "The Dark Knight rises" is an anagram of "Dashing Sith Trekker", how's that for my combining futuristic memes?

Comments (7) :
Dom (USA) wrote "It's worse than you think Stu. They're cutting funding to mental health, drug, and domestic violence programs here. " I thought the Koch brothers were taking over financing the mental health programs (and calling it the Tea Party) ;-)
Klaus (Alaska) sent this link to a bitterly true video:-
Cop Car (USA) wrote "I suggest we use the emoticon ;-¶" Your US press should start referring to these massacres as 'NRA-events', to put pressure on their lobby. FWIW, I had to look up the HTM for that last special character, no browsers accepted '&pilcrow;' which was my first guess :-(
Cop Car (USA) wrote "U+00B6 is the Unicode for the pilcrow symbol. Sorry that I threw you a curveball. Microsoft® Word makes it so easy to insert symbols that I forget to consider the challenges they might present to someone else's editor." I'm using Crimson Editor, which doesn't show pilcrows for some reason????
Nic (RSA) - my favourite right wing ex-blogger, now only on FB - wrote "I have talked to lefties all my life, bright but fairly stupid when it comes to real life skill Do you not think that one person with a gun in that theatre could have stopped that mass killing Norway fared very well didn't they. Gun free zones are killing zones for the criminal mind. Everybody should be armed." Afraid I don't think so, Nick. Assume concealed carry had been allowed in Aurora. Assume someone had a small snubby. That pensioner who recently saw off two store thieves had only a .22, but let's assume a 2" .357 as a size compromise. People don't use a Colt 11 for a concealed carry; mine was a Walther PPK. Assume you had taken it into a public cinema (there are laws against this). First you would have to realise what was happening, in a cinema with lots of shooting noises from the movie. By the time you did so, the Joker has emptied his first magazine, up to 6 dead already (but not you YET). Then you pull your gun and take 2/3 shots to his body (assuming you are close enough, most western gunfights took place at 15 feet on average). This attracts his attention, but no more, because he wore a bulletproof shirt. He now starts shooting short-range at you, you are NOT wearing a bulletproof shirt. If you do not go down after his first 2/3 shots, you MIGHT think to go for the face. Only then would you have a chance of taking him out, depending in the degree of practice you have in rapid drawing and firing WHILE BEING SHOT AT POINT BLANK. Real life skills? Nick, I have shot rifles in international competitions and pistols/revolvers (at which I am less good), from .22 to .44 magnum. But NOONE practices these while being shot at point blank. So I still disagree with you, although I know you are neither trigger-happy nor stupid, just gung-ho :-(
Nic (RSA) replied "How to stop a masacre(sic!) : " Yes, I saw the original (unedited) video. I hear it was only a .22 (unlikely, no stopping power!)???? He either didn't hit them or the calibre was too small, robbers not injured, I heard. It's all in the(ir) mind! Details of Friday's massacre were sent to a university psychiatrist up to a week before the attack, according to reports. So the massacre could have been prevented if that university psychiatrist had been on the ball :-( Update Aug. 3: I stand corrected. His psychiatrist had warned his university's intervention team at the beginning of June. Holmes dropped out on June 10th. It was the intervention team that did nothing, according to an ABC news report August 3rd.
OT, what was a 6 year old girl doing in a PG13 movie?
Nic (RSA) replied "The six year old was acting 13 and the would be shooters/robbers ran. They would not have tried it if they knew there are armed peeps inside. " Acting 13? Sounds like a pedobear excuse. Some facts for you : firearm-related homicide death-rate per 100,000 population per year: RSA 74.57, USA 4.14, Germany 0.22, England/Wales 0.07 (source=Wikipedia). Now look at how strict their respective gun laws are. AFK.

Friday, July 20, 2012

50 Shades of Grey

Readers' Disgust condensed pictorial version :-

Rule 34 was applied in reverse ;-)

Comments (3) :
Cop Car (USA) wrote "What a clear picture. Your efforts at elucidation are truly appreciated. The crime scene investigators need to engage your services. CC (former reader of Reader's Disgust)" Just fishing for search-engine hits by using that title. Still waiting for Google's spider to drop by.
Jenny (Ibiza) asked "How did you take that picture?" I didn't. I took an image of a spectrum from the web, converted it to greyscale, and stretched it vertically. I don't even know how many shades of grey there are in the shot.
Schorsch (D) quips "Beat me, beat me! said the masochist. No! said the sadist." Thumping good one, and still a better romance than 'Twilight' :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Child in Time

J on Lord - lord of the Hammond organ - keyboarder for Deep Purple, Whitesnake etc with a hang to classical music too, has died at 71 of a pulmonary embolism on Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Requiescat in pace, Jon!

Glad you were a Child in (my) Time :-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

22nd anniversary posy :-)

We had our 22nd wedding anniversary on thursday, so I'm showing you SWMBO's posy, which - like its owner - is holding up well :-)

Thankyou dear, may we enjoy the next 22 as much as we have the first!

Comments (3) :
Doug (CA) wrote "Congratulations my friend - I hope Diane and I (5 years next month) make it that far (but alas I doubt we will due to ailments)"
Cathy (UK) grinned "Great photo behind that 'its owner' link! " The straw couple? Yes. In the USA it's referred to as the copper anniversary, afaik.
Cop Car (USA) wrote "Happy anniversary to you and your bride. (I, too, enjoyed the photo of your bride with the straw bridal couple!)" Thankyou, I'm told the straw couple are out on bale ;-)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Weather forecasting history

C ommenting on sunday's post, Cathy (UK) asked "So when did we change from weather lore to proper weather forecasting?". Here's my take on it.

The changeover was not sudden, it has been a gradual process. Pre-Galilean weather forecasting methods relied on observed patterns of events over several years. The calender was the most important tool and even that was wrong (Julian calender drifts off over the centuries). There were also short term patterns used, e.g. "Red sky at night, shepherds' delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherds' warning." Observation of wind direction helped (a compass as tool). In about 340 BC, Aristotle described weather patterns in his Meteorologica. Later, Theophrastus compiled a book on weather forecasting, called The Book of Signs.

Galileo invented the thermoscope around 1592, it is like a thermometer without the scale. Scales were not added until 1638 (by Fludd). Now weather lore could include predictions from (and of) temperature. Then in 1643 Torricelli invented the barometer; Now weather lore could include predictions from (and of) air pressure as the correlation between air pressure and weather (high/low pressure zones) became known. In 1655 Pascal got his brother-in-law to take a barometer up a small mountain (Puy de Dome) and was able to show that atmospheric pressure was a function of altitude and so absolute barometric pressure values were limited to specific locations. The rate of change of barometric pressure was predictive of weather though, independent of altitude. Quoting Wikipedia "Atmospheric lift caused by low-level wind convergence into the surface low brings clouds and potentially precipitation. The larger the change in pressure, especially if more than 3.5 hPa, the larger the change in weather can be expected. If the pressure drop is rapid, a low pressure system is approaching, and there is a greater chance of rain". Rapid pressure rises, such as in the wake of a cold front, are associated with improving weather conditions, such as clearing skies.".

The next problem was disseminating the recorded weather information as fast as possible. Pony Express didn't cut it, nor did the then-new steam trains. Optical semaphores were used. A semaphore network invented by Claude Chappe operated in France from 1792 through 1846. Electrical telegraphs (from 1832 on) were invented by Schilling. Morse code was used. The telegraph across the Pacific was completed in 1902, finally encircling the world. About the same time (1896) Marconi developed wireless telegraphy. Now information about weather conditions upwind could be interchanged quickly, but this led to the need for a standardised terminology. The first pictorial cloud catalogues appeared around the same time (1890). At the same time it was realised that high-altitude weather observations had better predictive value and observation networks used (static-line) balloons and WW1 biplanes. In the United States, the first public radio weather forecasts were made in 1925.

The first computerised forecast was performed by the famous mathematician John von Neumann (yes, THAT von Neumann) who published a paper Numerical Integration of the Barotropic Vorticity Equation in 1950. Computational weather prediction began in 1955. The next breakthrough was weather satellites. Although Vanguard-2 (1959) was a flop, TIROS-1 (1960) was considered a success and operated for 78 days(sic!). Geostationary and polar-orbit weather satellites followed, giving us the state of the art we have today. In addition, computers have become powerful enough to support nowcasting (short term precise local predictions) and good predictions up to a fortnight ahead. Cathy, I hope that answers your question.

Comments (2) :
Cathy (UK) asks "Just how accurate are these forecasts?" It depends on the region. If you are in the middle of a large continental land mass, then pretty good, I imagine. For people like you and I who live in a maritime climate, not so good. Blogger Slimy Horror did 9 year's statistical analysis for 10 cities in the UK. Let's try a (statistically irrelevant) experiment. I'll post the weather forecast for NEXT friday for my village every day for the coming week right here and we can see how it changes over a 7-day period, OK? here's the 13/7 prediction:

Nachts means midnight, Morgens means 6 a.m, Mittags means Noon and Abends means 6 p.m. Niederschlag means precipitation, Luftfeuchtigkeit means Humidity and Sonnendauer means duration of sunshine, OK?
In reply to your other question about humidity instruments, Cathy, reliable hygrometers were developed fairly late. One of the most precise types of wet-dry bulb psychrometer was not invented until the late 19th century (by Assmann, vulgar jokes elided ;-) ). Here's the 20/7 prediction made on saturday 14/7. 24hr changes : 3 hours less sunshine, no morning rain.
Here's the 20/7 prediction made on sunday 15/7. 24hr changes : 2°C colder, risk of rain halved, an hour more sunshine.
Here's the 20/7 prediction made on monday 16/7. 24hr changes : amount of rain decreased by factor FIVE but 3½ hours less sunshine.
Here's the 20/7 prediction made on tuesday 17/7. 24hr changes : way more rainfall again. Twice the risk and 10 times the amount.
Here's the 20/7 prediction made on wednesday 18/7. 24hr changes : way more rainfall yet again. Twice the risk and thrice the amount.
Here's the 20/7 prediction made on thursday 19/7. 24hr changes : 3 hours more sunshine peeking through rainclouds.
Nowcasting : the 20/7 prediction made on friday 20/7 for 6 a.m. 24hr changes : 2 hours less sunshine, but factor 10 less rain too.
The morning turned out to be dry with 40% sunshine through scattered cumuli at 2800 feet. Here's the nowcast at noon :-

Schorsch (D) asks "Atmospheric pressure is what function of altitude?" My intuitive first response was that it is an exponentially decreasing function (I integrated the masses of the atmosphere's atoms mentally ;-). My second thought was that temperature decreases linearly with altitude and I needed to correct for that. Then I thought that the Earth's gravitational acceleration decrease with distance from the Earth's centre (it's less at the equator than at the poles because the Earth is a bulging geoid) so I'd need a third correction for that. Finally, I thought 'WTF' and googled for the definition of the standard atmosphere in the troposphere (mountains are in the troposphere) ;-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

QR-coded T-Shirts :-)

Our motorcycle club has an annual 4-day run each Corpus Christi weekend and commemorates each one with a T-shirt. The T-shirt has the date and that year's destination on it and usually either a photo or a cartoon of some event which happened on the trip. But this year being our 20th jubilee, we wanted something different. So I've implemented the idea of using a QR-code on the T-shirts which links to our club's webpage.

Now curious people with a smartphone (and the QR-code App) can just take a snapshot of one of the T-shirts and are immediately on the club website where there are lots of older photos, infos, etc, much more than could fit on a T-shirt. How come it's always the girls that get photographed? ;-)

Comments (3) :
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "How do we know if we can trust a QR-code link? I mean, it's not legible to a human eye??" Short answer : you don't know. It could be (or might lead to) malware. So install an App like Norton Mobile Security (under €20 here) which can prevent you from going to a malicious site, blocks malware and malicious texts, and/or protects your privacy/identity. If you do scan a code and you are taken to a LOGIN form, DO NOT fill in the form, IT'S A TRAP! They are fishing for personal data. Caveat emptor!
Donna (USA) asks "So are you all ancient bikers then?" Yes, even my beard is 50 shades of grey. FWIW, beard rides are still free ;-)
Donna (USA) replied "So I looked at your photo in the sidebar to see what shade of grey your beard is, but the only grey I could see was Dorian ;-)" Bach also wrote a toccata and fugue called 'Dorian'; it too gets better as it gets older ;-)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Edible-Dormouse Day Delusions

Today is the REAL Seven-Sleepers day (maybe yesterday?). People (typically meteorologists) who celebrated it on June 27th forgot that the original Seven-Sleepers day was established before the changeover to the Gregorian calender, which gave us an 11-day difference in the dates. The Papal bull was signed on 24 February 1582, but different countries introduced it in different years, 1700 in Germany, 1752 in the UK and the soon-to-be US.

BTW, some countries still haven't adopted the Gregorian calendar: Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Nepal, Iran and Afghanistan. Some countries use other calendars alongside the Gregorian calendar: India, Bangladesh, Israel and Myanmar; other countries use a modified version of the Gregorian calendar: Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, North Korea and Taiwan.

Be that as it may, German peasants had an empirical meteorological rule : The weather on Seven-Sleepers day will remain the same for the next 7 weeks. Peasants had lots of empirical rules (weather lore) like this one. This one is right in 80% of the years for southern Germany (not affected by the jet stream). In northern Germany, not at all. So this is what it should look like in Munich, Bavaria; let's track it over the next 7 weeks to see how right the weather lore is this time.

Seven-Sleepers is a Christian legend claiming 7 people went into a cave near Ephesos in 251 AD and came out in 446 AD having slept for 195 years. It is not known if they were on-duty civil servants ;-). But sometimes people confuse it with the "Seven-Sleeper", another name for the edible dormouse (Glis glis), whence today's misleading headline ;-)

Why don't I get a life instead of posting such drivel?

Comments (5) :
Cop Car replied " 'Why don't I get a life instead of posting such drivel?' Because your purpose in life is entertaining and enlightening those of us who read your 'drivel'! *written with a smile* CC" Such drivel serves to 'crush devil' ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "Why did you write 'maybe yesterday'?" Because it depends on where you are reading my blog! Germany changed calenders in 1700, implying a difference of 10 days. But UK (&USA to be) changed calenders in 1752, implying a difference of 11 days.
Jenny (Ibiza) points out that "Since the rule only applies to southern Germany, only the 10-day difference should apply!" You are right, mea culpa.
Cathy (UK) asks "So when did we change from weather lore to proper weather forecasting?" That question needs a longer reply deserving of its own blogpost. Coming up soon...
Schorsch (D) asks "So what does edible-dormouse taste like? Chicken?" No, like squirrel, only greasier. The Romans force-fed theirs on walnuts to get that nutty flavour into the meat. Nowadays you have to go Slovenia to even find it on the menu (sick!) ;-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Walking the Plank done :-(

C omic actor Eric Sykes (UK), widely-acclaimed comedian, actor and director, has died peacefully aged 89, after a short illness. RIP Eric!

I shall always remember his hilarious film, The Plank, about the mishaps caused by 2 men carrying a long plank, which is now regarded as a movie classic. Free up 45 minutes and enjoy it too. Here is the 1979 version.

Respectful tribute by Stu Savory on July 5, 2012 permalink . Comments Email

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How typically American...

. . . are the celebrations that traditionally go on during Independence Day!

Shameless patriotism, boozing, flag waving and overeating all in one day!

In Colorado Springs, I'm told, 1200+ people are having an ongoing barbeque out in the woods. Doubtless some of them are Global Warming Deniers, Tea Party fundamentalists and/or GOP mainliners :-

Comments (1) :
Renke spluttered "haha, how fitting and "weight carrying". Displaying a fat chick while CERN presents the state of the Higgs-Boson research :) [and now I'll have to clean my keyboard, fortunately my coffee is black and not sticky]"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oi, Oi, Oi

N ews you may have missed ... ;-)

150,000 japanese protesters tied themselves together around the fence of the newly restarted nuclear reactor at Oi. They restarted the chain reaction.

Barclay's Bank (UK), pounded(sic!) by the LIBER-fixing scandal, are looking for a new chairman. It would seem that Diamond's not forever.

Tom Cruise will shortly(sic!) be playing the role of Dr.Watson in a remake of the Conan Doyle films. It's the only way he can get to play with Holmes.

Comments (5) :
Jenny (Ibiza) makes a timely quip "Did you know that 'Katie Holmes' anagrams into 'Make Hostile'? ;-)" Nice one, I hadn't noticed that. But it is probably why 'Tom Cruise' is 'Custom Ire' ;-)
Renke, eagle-eyed as ever, wrote "Oh, interesting, I missed the one about Barclay's and the god of viticulture and fertility. Much more suggestive than the boring old story about messing with the interbank interest rates :)" I was punning on 'pound', Latin=Liber, homonymn with LIBOR. I assure you, it was neither ignorance nor a typo ;-)
John (UK) tells us "More News : CERN announces they are almost seeing the Higgs boson, but it seems the evidence is not massive enough ;-)" Heh, Heh. Sounds like The Hunting of the Quark ;-)
Kees Kennis follows the CERN news with " I see that scientists finally identified the "Hits Bottom" part of the atom. Now we know why our asses get heavier over time ;-)" In my case it's not the ass, it's the "waste-line", from eating junk (=waste) food too much :-(
Xtreme English has another Higgs joke :- "A Higgs boson walks into a church. 'We don't allow Higgs bosons in here!' shouts the priest. 'But without me, how can you have mass?' asks the particle." Nicely fielded, Mary!

Monday, July 2, 2012

1skin, 2skin, 3skin, ...

A court in Cologne, Germany, has finally stood up for the human rights of children and has made non-medical circumcision of minors illegal.

Hurrah for them! Finally an end to this barbaric practice!

So, as you can imagine, local Jews and Moslems, who wish to continue biting off prepuces [ugh!] , are up in arms about "freedom of religion".

But freedom of religion stops when innocents suffer! We abolished the death penalty here too, despite right-wing protests, although more primitive nations retain it.

Freedom of religion stops when innocents suffer! We do not allow the descendents of the Aztecs to break open the rib cages of their victims, tear out the still beating heart and wave it aloft to their god(s). Nor do we allow the most popular religion here to practice cannibalism as it would like to do. So blood is substituted by watered-down wine and human flesh substituted by cardboard-flavoured pastry. Nor are they allowed to nail people to trees any more. Now if we can just stop the priests from buggering little children, we'll be on the way to a humane society with human rights for children too :-) Freedom of religion stops when innocents suffer!

So, will there be a mass exodus of Jews and Moslems to countries which encourage the mutilation of defenceless children? I doubt it. Should we expect Moslems and Jews to organise day trips abroad* across the borders for the unkindest cut of all? Or will the Rabbis go underground (like a mohel (pun intended), operating (pun intended) illegally ? I await - but sadly not with bated breath - the first prosecution of Mohels and/or parents who have their boys circumcised. Local politicians are pussy-footing around the issue already, genuflecting to the Jews as usual since 1945, instead of donning a pair and taking a firm stance as the Cologne court did :-( I wonder how long we will have to wait for the first prosecutions?

Eight days should be enough :-(

Comments (2) :
Jenny (Ibiza) notes that "...Michelangelo's 'David' has a foreskin..." Yes, and his Adam in 'Adam and Eve' does too, and a belly-button. I just think he was stronger on anatomy than on old-testament mythology. I don't think it is a statement about OT jews, just his (non-semitic?) models
David (IL) asks "[Rant elided]...Antisemitism on the rise again? Or are those just YOUR opinions?" A survey by Focus magazine shows 56% are against religious circumcision of children, 35% (sick!) are for it, and 9% undecided or didn't know what the word means. Sample size > 1000 people in Germany, not necessarily natives. It is not stated how many were Semites.

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