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Stu Savory Handsome
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'.

Click to see a scrollable panorama of our village.

Geocaching Stats

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

Nota bene : Cuius rei demonstrationem mirabelem sane detexi hanc marginis exiguitas non caparet.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Turning and turning in the widening gyre :-(

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of ... passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough Beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

                                    W.B.Yeats : The Second Coming

Comments (2) :
Charles pointed out that I "could have got all the letters of Her first name from line 3", so why did I choose to spread them out over several lines at random? I couldn't believe She could get everything lined up in time for 2012 ;-)
Jihad Punk wrote inter alia "...but I'd prefer a blow job from Her to a blow job from the traditional looking Satan!..." , Ah, but She doesn't blow, She sucks!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Google = Urdu ?

It has just occurredu to me that the Urdu word for 'Urdu' is to Anglo-Saxon eyes rather like the letters of the word 'Gugl' if read from left to right instead of right to left as Urdu is usually read. Just my pareidolia?

I wonder what the Urdu word for 'Google' is? Perhaps it looks like 'Urdu' ? ;-)

I would go google for it, but the language options on Google's translation service do not include Urdu. So instead, I will ask at my local Pakistani barber shop - you know - while I'm getting a Tariq-Amin-style Urdu ;-)

Comments (1) :
Anim (PK) replied "I wanted a pun IN Urdu, not ON Urdu". Beyond me!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Geology Quiz

N o geologist I, but I do pick up interesting rocks to collect when I see them. And here are six interesting rocks I brought home when geocaching at the quarry in nearby Bleiwäsche (N 51° 28.063 E 008° 41.844).

So this blog quiz is for Dana Hunter and her geologist friends and my geologist/teacher friend Lothar all of whom should find it an easy quiz. And y'all.

The challenge? Identify these 6 rocks and their 'impurities'. Mouseover for tips. Explanations for us geology-dummies are welcome per email.

Comments (4) :
Lockwood DeWitt, who blogs over at Outside The Interzone has the following suggestions : "#1 looks like pyrite (golden cubes) in black shale. Black shale is typically that color because it's organic-rich, and bacteria reduce sulfate (SO4--) to sulfide (S--), using the oxygen to metabolize the organic matter. The S-- then reacts with Fe++ to form pyrite, FeS. I don't want to guess at number 2, but possibly some kind of copper mineraliztion? 3,4,5 all look like various forms of calcite (CaCO3) crystals; 2 looks like a cleavage rhomb, 3 and 4 like a natural habit called 'dogtooth spar.' And with 6, again, I can't tell with any confidence, but it looks like it might be some kind of limestone, travertine or tufa- all forms of rocks formed from tiny crystals of calcite, but in different environments and with different textures."
I assume you meant to write ...2 looks like a cleavage rhomb, 3 and 4 like a natural habit called 'dogtooth spar' Lockwood? Just a misnumbering?
Schorsch suggests "As you [but probably not your non-German-reading readers] may know, the village name 'Bleiwäsche' translates to 'Lead-Wash'. In the mouseover for number #2 you write that the rock is dense. So I suggest it is lead ore, not copper as Lockwood wrote." You are probably right, the stone is very heavy, doubly so than the others.
Jane (UK) added "...nor I. But 3,4 and 5 look like feldspar to me...."
Anon sez "Booooriiiing!!! Your text articles are much ore(sic!) entertaining!. It's my blog, and I'll put up photos when I want to! Besides, photo articles are good fillers when I can't think of anything to write about ;-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Red Bull's Hit :-(

R ed Bull's hit in this Formula One season has been a method of ducting the car's exhaust gases through the underbody where they provide an increased aerodynamic downforce which enables their cars to corner faster. This led to their competitors claiming "Red Bull sucks!", which did not stop them stealing the idea and altering their cars too. However the Red Bull team had a version which was not so easy to copy, which maintained the downforce even when Vettel and Webber were not treading on the throttle.

Needless to say Vettel won every single pole so far, this exhaust ducting giving the Red Bulls up to ½ second advantage every (qualifying) lap.

Now the ruling body is changing the rules in the middle of the season to ban 'hot blowing' in order to stop Red Bull's hit constructional advantage in qualifying :-(

I'm sure that if that is not enough, they will introduce a 'Lex Vettel' which only allows Red Bull to use one gear and that gear must be Reverse :-(

But I bet Vettel would still win ;-)

Comments (2) :
Pergelator wrote "From the story you linked to: 'Whiting's new restrictions have set a limit of 10% of throttle when the driver has lifted off the accelerator.' This kind of stuff makes me feel old. Used to be accelerator and throttle were synonymous. Apparently that is no longer true." Drive by wire :-)
Schorsch (D) quips "You have an apostrophe and (the second) blank too many in the title; knowing you, that was intentional though! ;-)" S'true! :-)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ethical Dilemma Fail

T here was a classical example of a moral dilemma here in Germany a few days ago, that I want to tell you about and hear what you think.

But just in the unlikely case there are any bankers, politicians, priests or press reporters reading this, first a short example of what an ethical dilemma is.

The plank of Carneades is a thought experiment first proposed by Carneades of Cyrene (214-129 BC); it looks at the justifiability of self-defense vis-a-vis murder. In this classical dilemma there are two shipwrecked sailors, A and B. They both see a plank (which can only support one of them) and swim to it. Sailor A gets to the plank first. Sailor B, who is otherwise going to drown, pushes A off the plank and, so causes A to drown. Sailor B thus saves his own skin and is later picked up by a passing boat. The moral dilemma poses the question of whether Sailor B can be tried for murder? If B had to kill A in order to live himself, then it would arguably be self-defense.

Here there was an accident with a blimp which caught fire in flight. Photo here. Blimp means Balloon-limp; it is a big gas-bag with no internal backbone (rather like some politicians in that respect ;-) ). The UK-registered Goodyear advertising blimp, ironically also labelled 'Safety together', was a helium-filled small airship able to carry a handful of people. Using helium rather than hydrogen gives less lift but avoids Hindenburg-style fires (or so it was thought). On this day the passengers were a TV camera crew of two and a press photographer wanting to cover(sic!) a local event.

There was a strong smell of fuel (the fuel tank is in the back of the passenger cabin [bad design, IMHO]) and so the pilot put the blimp down hard, damaging the undercart. Fire broke out, we are told by the survivors, although it is not clear to me exactly when this began. The pilot unlocked the door remotely and the panicking passengers jumped out from a height of six feet or so, leaving the pilot to his fate. The lightened burning craft ascended rapidly with the pilot still on board. The pilot died, either by burning to death or from the subsequent crash, that is irrelevant to the ethical dilemma.

Now to the ethical dilemma. The passengers KNEW they were in a lighter-than-air craft. They KNEW that if you remove (their) weight from a lighter-than-air craft the lift of the helium would send the craft skywards again. And thus, I maintain, they KNEW that the only way to save everyone was for everyone to jump together. But rather than take an extra second or two to make sure everyone COULD jump together, they each saved their own skins. Bravery that was NOT! How can they live with themselves now?

I wonder if they had ever heard of the plank of Carneades? :-(

Comments (3) :
Wendy (Oz) wrote "That airship is an interesting one. I think 'panic' is the word that springs to mind. Either that or sheer survival instinct. Cowardly as they were, which they arguably were, you can't really blame them for just getting the hell away. The bad news is that they will all have to live the rest of their lives knowing that they let him die...." No, that's the good news! Carneades question was whether or not criminal charges should be pressed.
Wendy (Oz) replied "Ah, I see, after having re-read your post. No! I certainly don't think criminal charges should be brought against them. When I worked in a bar once there was a fire in the restaurant above and the whole building had to be evacuated. One of the customers stopped me at the door and said, "My credit card's behind the bar... get it for me." And all I could think of was, "Fuck your credit card." But to my credit (heh heh) I did go and get it. To my recollection, he didn't leave a tip either. I don't think there should be a law saying "if you're not foolishly brave, and if you don't put your own life before others, then you should be punished". Also, more to the point, these passengers probably had families, so there are a lot of factors to take in here."
Pergelator wrote "There is a difference between knowing something in your head, and having actual experience of dealing with such an event. Yes, if you thought about it, you could deduce that jumping out of a burning airship would cause it to rise, but unless you had actually stepped out of a buoyant, lighter than air craft and seen it actually happen, I doubt whether many people would have the fore thought to consider the consequences. As for criminal charges, the justice system has more things to consider than just the ethics of the situation. The prosecutor might wonder whether he would be able to obtain a conviction, as well as how the press might portray the event. Would popular opinion want to see these people prosecuted? If it was in my jurisdiction I would want to know why there was a fuel leak, why the fuel caught fire and if there was something wrong with the dump valve. Sign me sad, Charles Pergiel"

Friday, June 17, 2011

Teasing Americans ;-)

T omorrow's party will give me a chance to tease the Americans again, by betting they can't even answer two simple questions about the USA correctly ;-)

  1. How many states does the USA have?
  2. How many heads are there on a one dollar bill?

In fact 99% of people get these questions wrong, not just the ´Merkins. But you would think the Yanks would know their own country and currency. Turns out not to be the case, which is why I love to tease 'em ;-)


How did YOU do?

  1. Most people immediately shout "Fifty states!". Technically, that's wrong. Four of them (Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts) are commonwealths. So the correct answer is forty six, which should please Valentino Rossi no end ;-)
  2. Most people immediately shout "One! George Washington". So I sweetly say "Wrong. Here's a one dollar bill, count 'em!"; even then most people can't find all eighteen! until I point them out. There's GW (1), and the head of the bald eagle (makes 2), thirteen arrow heads which the eagle is holding (makes 15), the tiny tiny owl on the upper left of the "one" to the right of GW (makes 16), and arguably the signatures of two governmental department heads, the US treasurer (makes 17) and the secretary of the treasury (makes 18). Even if you don't count these two because they are not head-images, you still have sixteen :-) 'One' is definitely wrong ;-)

    Blokes like Four Dinners can use this to win a pint or two at the pub! :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blood Moon

A s I wrote at the beginning of this month, we get some weird eclipses this month. And last night we had a Blood Moon in Germany. When the full moon rose it was already eclipsed. But the Earth-Moon distance was such that the light from the sun got refracted by the Earth's atmosphere and the shorter wavelengths (blue, green etc) got filtered out, leaving the moon illuminated by the red rays only, whence its bloody colour.

It was a long one this time, one hour and fortyone minutes, but we missed the start because the moon had not yet risen. Unfortunately, we had a lot of cloud cover and so didn't get to see much, so roll on 2015. The next total eclipse of the moon visible from Germany will not be until 2015 A.D. These intervals happen because the moon does not quite orbit the Earth in the same plane that the Earth orbits the sun.

And why doesn't the cow jump over the Blood Moon? Because 'No bold Moo' is an anagram of 'Blood Moon' ! ;-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wotta LOTR Beemer :-)

W e saw this BMW on sunday at the Köterberg hill biker meet (several hundred bikes). What a magnificant LOTR (Lord of the Rings)-based airbrush paintjob! The photo doesn't do it justice. Didn't find the owner to talk to though, so I have no other info for y'all :-(

Comments (1) :
Schorsch asks "Any more good bike photos from the biker meet?" Yessir, here are a couple of beautifully restored 1980s 650cc Yamahas. Friend Frank found a Harley Full-Dresser from the Hamburg HD Chapter, replete with state and national flags. And SWMBO discovered a fairly rare Yamaha Bulldog. I found an even rarer 1950s DKW RT175 (for which the owner got an original numberplate!!!). BTW here's a view of the Köterberg hilltop house and its rapidly emptying parking lot.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Collatz conjecture proved!

Over sixty years ago, when I was a little lad attending primary school, back in the days before electronic pocket calculators, our class teacher drummed mental arithmetic into us. One of the ways he did this was to have us play hailstone numbers. Given any starting number N, three rules were applied to get the next number in the hailstone series :-

a) if N=1 then stop, else
b) if N is even, replace it by N/2
c) if N is odd, replace it by 3*N+1

So if he gave us a 3 to start with, the series was 3, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1. The series seemingly ALWAYS got to 1 :-) As an aside, using the 16, 8, 4, 2, 1 series he taught us about binary numbers (numbers to base 2) and shift registers back in those pre-computer early fifties :-)

We played a round of this game before every lesson and made a chart on the wall, recording for each N how many steps it took to get to 1. Thus :-
1 4
2 2
3 8
4 3
5 6
6 9
7 13
8 4
9 17
10 7
11 16 etc

Note that the lengths of the series jumps around a lot with no apparent pattern. If you want to play a round of this, try starting with N=27, which needs 111 steps before getting to 1. Now back in 1937, Lothar Collatz, born just 30 miles west of where I now live, conjectured that YES, for all values of N, the series ALWAYS ends in a 1; that is, there is no N with an infinite series length. Computers have been used to verify termination for all N up to 5.76*1018. But it is really difficult to prove the conjecture for ALL integers.

Indeed, that genius of number theory Paul Erdös (if you don't know who he was, you're not even playing at mathematics) said : "Mathematics is not yet ready for such problems." and offered $500 for the proof/disproof of the conjecture.

And now it appears that Gerhard Opfer, University of Hamburg, a former student of Collatz, has announced a proof. Here's the pre-print as a 32 page PDF file. I've been through the proof with a fine toothcomb and cannot find any mistake in it :-) Of course, we shall have to wait for peer-review by people better qualified than I, but it looks to me Gerhard Opfer has established his claim to fame :-)

So now we can all sleep better at nights and go on to other problems ;-)

Comments (2) :
Ivan (RU) tells us that Conway (yes, THAT Conway) has shown (back in 1972 already) that the generalisation of the Collatz conjecture is undecidable, and points me to an excellent Wolfram article on the subject of the Collatz conjecture.
Klaus (Alaska), wrote in parallel to me, forwarding this excellent piece of satire :- "A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. 'Al-Gebra is a problem for us', the Attorney General said. 'They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.' They use secret code names like 'X' and 'Y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'. When asked to comment on the arrest, President Obama said, 'If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.' White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President - It is believed that another Nobel Prize will follow."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Talking in Tongue*s

C hristians today will be celebrating Pentecost (Whitmon in the UK), having nicked (sic!) the festival Shavuot from the Jews; the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates JHWH giving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. The word Pentecost comes from the Ancient Greek Pentekoste [hemera], "the Fiftieth [day]". Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter Sunday. You can read about it in Acts 2:4-13. Anyway, the gist of the story is that the Apostles could suddenly talk in many tongues - presumably telepathically - in the mother tongue of all listeners simultaneously.

This got me wondering about which languages I have struggled to speak, e.g. when on vacation in the respective countries, and ignoring the languages in which I am fluent. The set of languages I made a vacation effort to speak (and failed ;-) are defined by the set of pocket dictionaries and phrase-books which are gathering dust on my shelves :-

Top row, left to right, Dutch, Icelandic, Swedish, and Spanish. Bottom row, left to right, Italian, Serbocroat, Spanish and Spanish yet again. I think there are 3 in Spanish because I thought I could speak it well enough to get by without taking a dictionary with me, but once there, it turned out not to be the case so I had to buy yet another pocket dictionary each vacation :-(

Somewhere I also have a technical dictionary for Russian (a cold war relic) and some small phrase-books for a couple of pidgins (e.g. Madras Tamil), but these latter may have been discarded several years ago. I've forgotten the Russian too and a recent attempt to learn Zulu failed miserably :-(

How about you, which languages do you (struggle to) speak?
Never give up :-

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Obama sings Gilbert & Sullivan ;-)

Found this great parody video on the intertubes. Being a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan operas since my student days (when I got free entry to the d'Oyly Carte performances), I just had to ROTFL at this. So I've embedded it from YouTube to share with y'all :-)

Comments (1) :
Carol (UK) points out that someone else is the Ruler of the Queen's Naveee...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dark Matter photographed for the first time!

At last, my claim to fame! The first photograph showing the existence of dark matter, and within the confines of our own Milky Way galaxy, and, even better, our own solar system to boot! Here it is :-

My major contribution to this amazing discovery was leaving the lens cap on the bloody telescope, due to celebrating too much at yestreen's geocacher birthday party (my 67th). Oh well, try harder next time, without the lens cap.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are you ready, Eddy?*

Y2K turned out to be a non-problem and hopefully tomorrow will too. Tomorrow? Yes that'll be the day (sic!) that many internet providers change over from IPv4 to IPv6 addressing. You see, the 4 byte address space of IPv4 addresses has almost filled up (4*109 addresses) and so to make more name-space available, we all need to change over to the 6 byte standard (factor 65,000 more addresses). Well yes, providers will support both IPv4 and IPv6 standards for a (short) while - in the so-called dual-stacks - but we all need to change over to IPv6 this year. If you are using an ancient browser (e.g. IE6 or FF3.5 etc) you will have a problem. So today would be a good time to update to a current browser (I recommend Opera 11.11). And if you have an ancient firewall, update that too because Firewalls need new filters and your router needs to be up to date. Worst case: your router only supports IPv4 but the other end only supports IPv6 = incompatability :-( Those of us who use Bayesian spam-filters will have additional spam for a fortnight or so until the Bayesian filters recalibrate themselves. If you are using port numbers (which use a semicolon) you will need to put the new IPv6 address into square brackets, e.g. »http://[IPv6-address]:21« to make the port separator recognisable.

WIN7 users should otherwise be OK, but XP users need to inform themselves what they need to do (you'll need at least XP SP2). Privacy is an issue though. WIN7 implements the privacy extensions, disconnecting and assigning a new IP address every 24 hours. But Mac OS X and Linux have turned the privacy extensions off, leaving you to cope with the issue somehow yourselves :-(

Older smart phones have a problem too, Android and iOS haven't implemented the privacy extensions, which leaves them susceptible in WLANs :-( Apple fixed this with 4.3 but Google left Android wide open, so you would need to crack open your phone and insert your own home-made script :-( How many Android users are going to do that? :-(

You can test your system/mobile phone by surfing to with scripts enabled. It only takes a few seconds and you should get three greens (like an aircraft undercarriage ;-) ). The more detailed tests (turn off NoScript in FF twice) will show you e.g. whether your ISP's DNS server supports IPv6 . Mine doesn't (yet) , but I'll test it again tommorrow (IPv6 test day).

Facebook, Google and Yahoo will run IPv6 for 24 hours tomorrow; this is the ideal opportunity to test all your systems before the final switchover to IPv6 at the end of the year. Be prepared. Go for it!

Let's see which Blogs / ISPs disappear tomorrow :oops: :-(

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Botany Quiz

S ince I can't come up with any real content material today, you get to try this botany quiz. Identify these flowers from our garden. First to get them all right wins a special mention here ;-)

Comments (3) :
Charles (USA) snidely said . . . "I the first ones are purple, the next are red, 3rd are red & white and the last are red & maroon. ;-) " Still trying to work out which verb you omitted : can't possibly be 'think' ;-)
Mellie (D) wrote "The second and last are poppies, but pinker than ours, which are more of a blood red." Yep, pink not red, but still poppies. You can harvest the seeds, dry them, and bake them in your breakfast rolls :-)
Doug Alder (CDN) gets them all right with "The first one is Clematis (my blue/purple ones are bigger than that) - poppies have already been identified and the remaining one looks like it could be some kind of mutant Dahlia :)" and in a second mail "Nah the other one is a Peony not a Dahlia". All correct, so this quiz is closed, next quiz will be a bunch harder :-)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Weird Eclipses coming up

C elestial mechanics gives us some weird sky configurations this month.

How about an eclipse of the sun which starts today (June 2) and will finish (note the use of the future tense!) yesterday ? This particular eclipse begins dawn thursday in northern China, crosses the Arctic, including the International Date Line and ends on the evening of Wednesday, June 1, in northeastern Canada. So northern Scandinavians and Russians will see an eclipse of the sun at midnight! Just how mind-blowing does that get?

How about an eclipse just for Linux fans and other penguins? On July 1st, because it is in the middle of the southern winter in Antarctica, the sun stays mostly below the horizon. Mostly? Yes, a small uninhabited stretch of coast south of Madagascar in the Southern Ocean is the only place this eclipse will clear the horizon. So it's an eclipse just for the benefit of penguins ;-)

And in the middle of the month there will be a partial lunar eclipse on June 15th which deliberately excludes the Yanks! We Yurpeens, Africans and Asians get to see it though :-)

So this moon cycle we get 3 eclipses, an anti-american one, an invisible one, and one which goes backward through time. How weird does that get? :-)

23 Recent Writings
FWIW : 23 is the number of the Illuminati, folks ;-)
Turning and turning...
Google = Urdu ?
Geology Quiz
Red Bull's Hit :-(
Ethical Dilemma Fail :-(
Teasing Americans ;-)
Blood Moon
LOTR Beemer :-)
Collatz conjecture proved!
Talking in Tongues
Gilbert and Sullivan
1st Dark Matter photo
Are you ready, Eddy?
Botany Quiz
Weird eclipses :-)
Vlad the Impaler :-(
Salt of the Earth :-)
The Owl & the Pussycat
Zombie Apocalyse ;-)
Wrapped Chewer day ;-)
WOL :-)
Noam Chomsky visit :-)
Yurpeen Song Contest
Royal Record Set
Sudoku Loser, I
Gun availability
Sexual-Assault tales
Star Wars Day :-)
Nailed! Bad End :-)
Wedding night blog ;-)
USA is still at #1 ;-)
Morse @ 200
Why I'm an Atheist
Holy Sex-pack, Batman!
Good Friday Humour ;-)
Happy Birthday Dear :-)

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