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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'.


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tornax Tour, Westerwald, 2012

W hile we were in Hachenburg earlier this month, lunching in the medieval marketplace, the Tornax fan club on their annual tour stopped for their lunch break there too, so I got several photos of these rare bikes.

Tornax was a motorcycle manufacturer in Wuppertal, Germany from 1926 to 1955, using OEM engines from 3rd party engine-makers. Up until 1933 they imported J.A.P engines from England, easily identifiable in Hachenburg by the pools of oil leaking out under them :-( From 1934 the Nazi government forbade the import of foreign components, hence ILO motors later.

Surprisingly (to me) one of the JAP-engined bikes was actually oiltight :-)

In 1936 Tornax introduced smaller bikes with two-stroke twin engines from ILO. These were also used in the 1950s.

I particularly liked the design of the silencer/exhaust on this one :-

During the Second World War Tornax reduced its range to one model, the K 125 with a 125 cc ILO engine. All Tornax motorcycle production stopped in 1941, and the factory was destroyed by Allied bombing in March 1945.

This 1950s Opti-engined version has a high ground-clearance exhaust, a totally enclosed chain and an Earles fork up front. All very practical!

Serendipitous encounter :-) There is also a Wikipedia article about Tornax here.

Comments (1) :
Schorsch (D) reminds me "What about Clumbumbum?" Oops, yes! There was a pre-WW2 phase between the JAP and ILO motors when Tornax used the german Columbus motors. Side-valved V-twins if I remember correctly, although they had a 600cc single too, I seem to remember vaguely. Any Tornax riders out there who can help me?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Driven to distraction :-(

Fellow blogger Four Dinners is a driving instructor in the UK, so I'd been expecting some driving tips in his blog. Since these are not yet forthcoming, let me give you a few of my own.

Ten percent (10%) of driving accidents are due to (unnecessary) distractions! Some traffic experts think the number may be more like 25%. Of these ¾ are inside the vehicle and ¼ outside (e.g. flashing advertisement boards).

  • Tuning the radio : why not pre-select the station(s) you want to hear while the car/bike is still standing, before moving off?
  • Telephone calls. Can take up to 75% of your attention. Only hands-free phone calls are permitted in this country (Germany), use of a hand-held mobile phone is prohibited. Wisely so. But, depending on the emotional content of the call, even hands-free phone calls can be dangerously distracting. So if the phone rings, pull off to the side and take the call when stationary. Initiate no moving calls.
  • Texting while driving. Reading an SMS message is bad enough, but typing(thumbing?) a reply whilst in motion is downright stupid. Text messaging is an asynchronous communication technology anyway, so spend a few seconds to pull off to the side if you MUST read&reply. Personally, I turn the phone OFF while driving!
  • (Re-)targeting the navi. Program your navigation device BEFORE setting off. Pull off to the side if you need to reprogram it. You should be looking ahead while driving, NOT at a navi device! Switzerland (and perhaps Austria?) insist the that the navi screen is out of your line of sight. Personally, I just follow the spoken output.
  • Similarly, do NOT try to map-read while driving. Stop to read the map. I know a guy who tried to read the map on his tank rucksack on his Gold Wing motorcycle and rode into the back of a garbage truck!
  • Eating and drinking (spilling hot coffee on your genitals perhaps?) while in motion is also a no-no. Take a break if you are hungry/thirsty.
  • I have a Harley-riding friend who listens to music while riding and has his wife rabbiting on via the intercom while he is riding. No wonder he's distracted and can't keep up :-( BTW, there's no intercom on my bikes, by deliberate choice. When riding / driving pay 100% attention to that task and don't do distracting things; you cannot multitask well!
  • Giving the driver a blow-job and/or masturbation while the car is in motion have also lead to sticky situations fatal accidents ;-)
  • And ladies! Do not try to window-shop when cruising traffic in Main Street either! Nor put on lipstick/make-up when in motion etc.
  • Do NOT try to swat a fly/wasp/bee when in motion. Pull off to the side, open the windows and wave it out.
  • Smokers! Roll your cigarettes before moving off! Why not take a break if you NEED to smoke?
Do YOU have any tips to add to this list? Mail them to me!

Comments (5) :
Cop Car has 7 more driving tips, q.v.

  • Turning - Try mightily to make a turn from the correct lane - do not make a left-hand turn from the right-hand-turn lane! (Where I live - Kansas USA - one is also required to maintain the same lane throughout the turn - not change to a more convenient lane while turning. I know about this from having "oh, quite sensibly" changed lanes to prepare for an imminent left turn from the acquired street - while taking my first driving test for a license at age 22. Fortunately, that was my only transgression and a sure cure for my ignorance!)
  • Signaling a turn - Stifle the urge to activate/give a turn signal until having passed all other possible turns in the signaled direction. People might believe that a turn is imminent rather than that the driver is merely considering turning.
  • Stop signals/signs - Actually stop at stop signals. (What a novel idea!) The stopped vehicle should not encroach upon a pedestrian cross-walk!
  • Railroad track crossings - Do not challenge (or ignore) an oncoming locomotive. Locomotive beats street vehicle - every time!
  • Parking in a lot - Pull through into a longitudinally abutting parking space, if possible, so that the vehicle need not be backed to exit the parking space. This is particularly true for newer cars and SUVs that have high beltlines, although some have compensations such as angling mirrors or rear-facing CCTV.
  • Visibility restrictions - Clean all of the ice and snow from the front windscreen and rear windows before launching a vehicle into a traffic stream.
  • Pets - Love your pet, but don't allow it to sit in your lap while driving. (Should I need to say that the same restriction applies to human babies?)
While these 7 are all good tips, I was thinking more in terms of avoidable distractions like the last two in her list of seven.
Helga (D) tell us that "Rapper Bushido has 27 points in Flensburg, has lost his driving licence, and must go for the 'MPU (Idiocy Test)'. He claims he was once 132 km/h too fast. That doesn't sound like distraction to me, that sounds like an innate unsuitability to drive!" Well, that's what the MPU tests for, maybe revoking his licence permanently.
Brian (UK) opines "Another distraction is your GF/wife/MiL going on and on about the inanities of their day. Give me a quiet passenger any day!" Tried driving a hearse?
Four Dinners replied :- EXCELLENT!!!! - Soz I ain't visiting much but working 50 + hours a week so not much spare time as what there is is spent mainly with the wifey. Random Driving tip : Don't think it's funny to throw a coke can at a driving student (this Wednesday) as you might get caught at a red light and said students instructor might have a 'Pims O'clock' moment.......your nose...my forehead. (This is true by the way...what a pratt!) Advice to students #1 : "Please do exactly as I say.....or we're going to die"
#2 : "Never run over anybody - it'll make a mess of your hood"
#3 : "Never drive too close to cyclists as I may not resist the urge to push them over"
#4 : "Never exceed the speed limit if the police are about"
#5 : "Always pay your instructor on time....he knows where you live"
#6 : "Do not necessarily copy the instructors hand signals if someone sounds their horn at you"
#7 : "Never run over a cat - if there are only two choices make it the pedestrian instead"
#8 : "Always 'chicken-run' obviously foreign drivers....it's good fun"
#9 : "Never 'chicken-run' buses and big trucks.....it isn't good fun"
#10: "Never drink and drive until you've learned to not spill a drop"
My students seem to quite like me....can't think why....."

How about #11 : Do not hijack the girl your instructor is chatting to; it might be his daughter (Hi, Jax) ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) grinned "sticky situations heh, heh! ;-)"


Friday, June 15, 2012

Quantum Physics gives me a Hadron ;-)

Three quarks for the baryons under the skye,

Four in the Upsilon meson (a Bottomonium state),

Six bosons there are, including the Higgs,

And one Graviton, to gather them in and (massless) to bind them ;-)

Comments (4) :
Renke sent this amusing link :-)
Peter (UK) suggests "... a karaoke version of the song 'He ain't heavy, he's my brother Tachyon'" You're ahead of your time, reteP.
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "If that's a quote from Lord of the (St)rings?" Groan.
Ron (USA) quips "Entropy isn't what it used to be :-(" Nice joke you had, Ron.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hardly Able, Son ;-)

While we were out on a 4-day motorcycle tour just last week, we discovered to our chagrin that the back roads in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz are in really lousy condition. Pot-holes and frost bumps, split tarmac and loose gravel, interconnected molehills, badly signposted and road-closed diversions; you would not want to ride a rigid-framed bike anywhere in that state. Even with a modern bike with good suspension, we took a day off because the wife's back was playing merry hell. Mine too was a bit painful.

So how appropriate was it that the Westerwald Ceramic Museum we visited on our day off has this artistic statue outside the entrance. Not sure if it was made for a lumbago clinic or paid for out of the state's road-maintenance budget :-(

State and local governments are not spending our road-taxes on the infrastructure, that's for sure :-(


Monday, June 11, 2012

Phone Box Library :-)

On saturday, the wife and I visited medieval Hachenburg (50°39'41"N 7°49'13"E), a town with pretty old core, rebuilt after the great fire of 1654. Wooden frame buildings, Prince von Sayn's castle (which is now the private academy of the German Bundesbank) and some streets so narrow you could not drive a car through but only just ride a motorcycle (not sure about horses, although I think not).

One of the amusing tourist attraction there is the tiny library shown in the photo at full occupation ;-) This smallest(?) library holds about 150 regular books, mostly paperbacks. The city has made the premises available, the book 'exchange' box is implemented by Annette and Thomas Pagel. It is based on trust, there are no fees or membership requirements. Since we were just visiting, I just left a paperback there but didn't swap or borrow anything.

It is also a geocache (GC29A7W) - the reason for my visit - the reddish notebook hanging by the coinbox is the geocachers' logbook.

CAUTION : reading can endanger your ignorance ;-)

Comments (2) :
Brian (UK) reminds us "Never trust anyone with only one book!" OK. But no choirboys were harmed in the making of this blogpost ;-)
Jenny (E) quips "You always did like getting into boxes ;-)" Guilty as charged!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

R.I.P Ray Bradbury :-(

S adly, SF author Rad Bradbury has died aged 91 in L.A. on tuesday.

Bradbury gave us such classics as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, I Sing the Body Electric, and Farewell Summer, to name but those currently on my bookshelves.

Movies & TV shows were also made from his books and adapted screenplays, I particularly remember seeing The Illustrated Man (1969), Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), and most recently Ray Bradbury's Chrysalis (2008). Here's his letter to the UCLA librarian 2006 :

Goodbye, Ray, and thankyou for entertaining us so well!

Comments (1) :
Cop Car wrote "Cowtown Pattie once wrote in a comment to a Ronni Bennet posting (on Learning Forever / Forever Learning), "Like my snack habits, my books are sometimes Hershey bars and popcorn. Others are fine wines and seven-course meals. Often, I am reading two or more books at the same time, one from the "snack" category, one from the "healthy food" category." In reading Ray Bradbury's works, I felt that I was indulging in Hershey bars, popcorn, fine wines, and seven-course meals.
P.S. I've lost count of how many copies of Martian Chronicles I have had go astray since 1955. I eventually started keeping two or three paperback copies on hand; although, I'm not certain that I have even one on hand at this point."


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No Venus seen :-(

Sadly we have had 100% cloud cover since dawn this morning, so I have been unable to see the transit of Venus this last time :-(

On a more positive note, I did see this transit of an oldtimer formation 600 feet over my house last month, headed for our nearest airfield EDLP where I was flying instructor for nigh on thirty years. They'd be headed for the Quax hanger there - well worth a visit - about which I have blogged elsewhen. They were headed there to welcome the Junkers tri-motor Tante Ju 52, visiting the next day.

And on another positive note, your transits here are going faster now. Our nearest telephone exchange - in the neighbouring village - has had a technical upgrade and so we are now able to surf via DSL at six Megabaud instead of just two. What's more, the flat-rate surf&phone price has dropped by €5 per month too. So expect more visits from here, fellow bloggers :-)

Comments (1) :
Renke (D) corrects my ignorance : " though 'baud' is a really cool word your DSL has [up too] 6 Mbit/s, not 6 Mbd. ADSL uses a line code (Discrete Multitone), so your baud (or symbol per second) is not identical to bits per second." I learn something every day. Thanks, Renke :-)


Monday, June 4, 2012

Venus transit : Be prepared

Your last chance to see a transit of Venus across the face of the sun will be tuesday just before sunset in the USA and/or wednesday after sunrise for Europe etc. South America and the western side of Africa don't get to see it, but the Far East can see the whole transit. The transit on the left above was a photo I took 8 years ago on 8th June 2004 and I hope to get a better one this last time.

Why do I say "last time"? Because there will not be another transit of Venus until 2117 AD and none of us will be alive to see it.

Of course, you should NEVER look directly into the sun, even without a telescope. You can go blind doing that too, so take precautions ;-). You need to use a strong filter, preferably one only transmitting the hydrogen-alpha spectral line. Turns out ALL of the local opticians have missed the opportunity to sell these :-( So my alternative is to use the telescope at low power (15*) to project an image of the sun onto a piece of white card and photograph the image there. If you don't have a scope, a pinhole should do the trick in a darkened room.

I remember seeing a painting of William Crabtree observing a transit of Venus in 1639 AD; it is on display in Manchester town hall (UK). Crabtree also used a telescope to project the sun's image onto paper; the safe way of observing the transit. Americans will see the first (entry) half and we Europeans will see the second (exit) half of the transit. The rest of the time the sun is below the horizon for both of us. So I'll be getting up early before dawn on wednesday and hoping there is no cloud. The current cloud prediction is 60 % :-(

If I get a good photo, I'll post it for you :-) Meanwhile, look at NASA's.

If you are fortunately placed in Asia so that you can see both the entry and exit of the transit, please join in the following experiment. Using a GPS, measure the time at which the trailing edge of Venus just leaves the edge of the sun at entry. At the same position, measure the time at which the leading edge of Venus just reaches the edge of the sun at exit. Record your position via the GPS (we need to know the latitude and the transit interval). Given these data, you can calculated the distance of the Earth from the sun. If lots of people do this and report it centrally, observational innaccuracies can be reduced statistically (error is inversely proportional to the square root of the number of observers). This was originally done in 1753 - based on a suggestion by Halley in 1716 - (without a GPS ;-) and deduced the Earth-Sun distance to within 1%. Nowadays, there has been a Venus-transit-App developed for iPhone and Android to help you do all this. iPhone and Android users can thus join in this collective effort to measure the size of the solar system ! :-)

Just FYI, the timing I measured during the 2004 transit (we could see all of that one from Germany) got the Earth-Sun distance to within 3% and that was just one measurement :-) The size of the orbits of all the other planets (including Pluto back then) was then deduced using Kepler's laws. So how geeky is that, I have personally measured the size of the solar system :-)

This is YOUR last chance to do so too, so BE PREPARED!

Comments (1) :
Ann (UK) asks "So how far away is it?" 150 million kilometers ( 8 light-minutes). More precisely - because Earth's orbit is elliptical - 152.1 at aphelion (around july 4th-7th) and 147.1 at perihelion (around january 2nd-5th).


Friday, June 1, 2012

Grant us A MerCIA, O Lord ;-)

M itt Romney (1%ers' GOP puppet) cannot even spell the name of his own country correctly (see screenshot of his iPhone App), so doesn't that make you wonder if he has the minimal sub-Dubya mental qualifications to choose a Veep at least minimally brighter than he is?

Be afraid, be very afraid . . .

Comments (6) :
Xtreme English shivered "I AM very afraid....sweet jebus....." Yup, USA would be moving toward a theocracy :-(
Petra (D) asks "Is that Palin?" No, it's Bachmann; another of the ilk :-(
Dave (USA) says "See how he snuck the CIA into his vision of a better Amer-CIA?" Yup, and not only that "Iterate Macabre" is an anagram hidden in "A better Amercia", as is "Macerate a tribe" for that matter :-(
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "Why do you think he would choose a woman as Veep? It failed last time." Because 'Mitt Romney' is an anagram of 'Omit men, try' ? ;-)
Demeur (USA) commented "Spelling aside I can't think of anyone the republican party hasn't insulted other than their wealthy backers. I was a bit taken back today in reading the financial news that German bonds are now paying below 0. Nothing like having to pay to park your money in Germany." Negative interest rates in Switzerland too, so you're just betting on a sufficient rise in the exchange rates :-(
Carrie (UK) reminds us "Mittens is a merkin, after all ;-)" Nice one :-)


Recent Writings
Tornax Tour, 2012
Driven to distraction
Quantum Physics @ LOTR
Hardly Able, Son :-(
Phone Box Library :-)
R.I.P Ray Bradbury
No Venus seen :-(
Venus Transit
Grant us A MerCIA, Lord
Big Bruvver...
Lex Robotorum
Whence Spökenkieker?
Spökenkiekerfahrt
37 bits are enough :-)
Schmuck!
Dead Electrics :-(
Your suggestions please
Woodworking project
Dandelion day
LZ 129 : End of an Era
Impressions of Einbeck
Transpacific Harley :-)
Xib*0 discovered
All digital now
1 + 1 = 2 ? ;-)
Burns' wish fulfilled?
Atomic Clock ;-)
Bilingual Blooper?
Statistics in question?
1000 Geocaches :-)
Kalashnik OFF ?

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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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