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And her big son 'Kosmo'.
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Monday, June 29, 2015
American geographic ignorance :-(really do despair at times about some Americans' ignorance (e.g. of the geography of the world).
This particular picture, found on a US blog, is making a valid point about rich families/corporations minimising their tax bills by declaring their losses in the USA and their profits in some low-tax haven instead of paying US taxes.
So far, so good. Except that the picture shown to emphasize the point is a photo of the Matterhorn mountain, which is in Switzerland, NOT Luxembourg, which doesn't have any mountains :-(
If the author thereof openly displays his/her ignorance (of geography) we may assume he/she is equally ignorant of the political issue at hand. He/she thus (sadly) diminishes the validity of a perfectly good argument :-(
Ambrose Bierce once wrote "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography." So I explain the ignorance shown above by the fact that the USA has neither been to war with Switzerland nor with Luxembourg (yet). Probably because they are far too big for a successful US invasion. Switzerland has an area of almost 16,000 sq. miles; Luxembourg has 998 square miles; the last country the USA (almost 4 million sq.mi) invaded successfully was Grenada (134 sq. miles). Annuit coeptis indeed ;-)
Friday, June 26, 2015
Massenhausen's Toy Museum :-)undays we often go for motorcycle rides, weather permitting. And sometimes we discover the neatest destinations :-) On the 14th we rode over to see the Toy Museum in Massenhausen, only open from 2 to 4 pm sundays and wednesdays because it's all volunteer run.
One of the first exhibits was this Punch and Judy puppet show shown above.
This teddy-bear classroom was used to get the kids used to the idea of the village school (more about this at the end). Whilst the teacher is an old-style 19th century teddy, some of the pupils are 20th century (post WW2 even).
Beyond an age of about 8 there was gender separation between the types of toys. The boys could play with this model of a local farmer's castle, equipping it with (self?-)cast metal soldiers, cows etc etc.
The boys also got real working models of steam engines in which to burn their little fingers and scald themselves. No nanny-government health-and-safety interference back then, you learned by making mistakes. Ouch ;-)
The girls were introduced to a life of domestic drudgery. These are all various model kitchen ranges with fires to be made and kept burning, hot surfaces, kettles, pots and ashes dropping out of the bottom. So the girls got their fair share of burns and scaldings too :-(
In the girls' section was this model of a 1950's village shop; although I remember playing with one like this as a boy too. Weighing out loose goods in a miniature scale, adding up prices in a cash register, adding interest on IOU bills, making change, all of this honed our primary school maths skills.
One room held an accurate replica of one half of the village school's single classroom (see the teddy-class photo above). Three benches, each for 2 kids, so classes were only for 12 kids in that village. The teacher's pult even contained a contemporary confiscated catapult, made from a Y-shaped wooden branch and some of somebody's mother's knicker elastic ;-)
This display brought back happy memories, a maths-toolkit from primary school days :-) Chalk and a slate. We had pens, not pencils, but no erasers.
A really neat feature was at the exit to the museum which led us into a tiny coffee shop run by the volunteer old ladies who also provided home-baked cakes! Scrumptious! We had two slices each :-)
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
He He He, Efimov was right :-)ack in 1970, Russian theoretical physicist Vitaly Efimov predicted a rare quantum-mechanical solution of the three-body problem, wherein 3 particles could share a weak connection although two could not.
It has taken experimental physicists over thirty years to demonstrate a stable state, but now Efimov (University of Washington, Seattle) has been vindicated, using bosons near absolute zero. Initial successes by Grimm et al at Innsbrück used Caesium atoms with only sub-millisecond stability. But now Dörner and Kinutski at Frankfurt's Goethe university have constructed stable Efimov molecules from 3 atoms of Helium-4.
One of the harder problems was to build a mass spectrometer for use as a separator because Helium atoms have neither a charge nor a magnetic moment. The binding distances turned out to be huge (ten nanometers) ; for comparison water has 0.2 nM binding distance. The trimeres are highly asymmetrical too, two of the atoms are quite close, but the third is quite some distance away. Think of a couple dancing but always keeping eye-contact with a 3rd person (chaperone?) on the other side of the room. The third atom in the Efimov molecule is so far away that normal interaction forces are too weak at that distance to keep the atoms together.
How satisying must it be to Efimov to have been proved right after 35 years?
Monday, June 22, 2015
The Rudi Blues :-)ne of our 20-odd motorcyclist group is called Rudiger (well, three of them are actually). He has a second hobby, playing the saxophone in a band called Blaues Wunder. He claims this is because both hobbies let him wear a black suit, albeit of a different cut ;-) On the previous weekend Blaues Wunder gave an open-air revival concert at Haxterpark for several hundred fans, from 8pm til after midnight. So we went along to hear them and my ears sang for two days afterwards :-( Much fun was had by all.
So here's a photo of the brasses in the band, featuring Rudi (3rd from left) playing one of his saxophones (a Tenor and afaik an Alto):-
And here's a link to the Blaues Wunder homepage for more photos, video and audio snippets, etc.etc.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Hitstorm? No, SiteMeter's bust :-(ow! What happened yesterday?
This blog usually trundles along at around 400 to 450 readers each day and about 540 pages viewed (1.3 pages per reader). Yesterday that tripled to 1,376 visitors reading 21,410 pages (that's 15.5 pages per reader). And today by 7 a.m. as I write this, there are already 440 readers today reading 5,290 pages (12 pages per reader).
I'm not naive enough to think it's due to my writing, more likely someone influential linked to my blog the day before. Turns out that Mostly Cajun (USA) linked here on the 18th and then maybe those new readers stayed around to explore the site a little. So thanks where they are due, we'll see if any of the new readers stay on as regulars :-)
Either that or SiteMeter changed their hit-counting algorithm ;-)
Update 16:24 : Seems SiteMeter is sometimes stuttering, so the hitstorm is not real :-( Anybody else having trouble with them?
Friday, June 19, 2015
Napoleon's Waterloo Hatoney, who was short and fat, had over 100 of these bicorn hats, which he wore sideways so that people would notice him. 19 survive, but which was the one he wore at Waterloo? Thomas Schuler, historian, has researched this; I merely summarize :-
Prior to Waterloo, Napoleon had driven a wedge between Wellington (GB) and Bluechner's (Prussia) armies on 16/6/1815 to prevent them joining forces against him. On the night before Waterloo (17-18/6/1815) a torrential thunderstorm turned the battle field into a muddy morass and soaked everyone to the skin. Boney's hat was so soaked that he sent it back to Paris for repair, then donned a new and dry one. This is the one of interest.
Boney, tired, didn't start the battle until around noon, a tactical error which cost his defeat because it allowed Bluechner's troops to reach the battlefield around 15:30, distracting Boney from attacking Wellington, whom he would have otherwise thrashed. Around 20:00 Boney realised he was losing to the combined forces of Wellington and Bluechner and fled the field in a carriage. He was hotly pursued by Bluechner's troops who wanted to hang him.
Boney realised they were catching up and leapt out of his carriage to escape on horseback. In doing so, his hat fell off. The troops gathered it as a trophy and presented it to Bluechner. He in turn sent it to the prussian king (Friedrich-Wilhelm III) in Berlin.
There it was stored 130 years until russian plunderers grabbed it in 1945 and sent it to Moscow. In 1958 Moscow presented it to the East German (DDR) government as "cultural goods". After German reunification it was put on display in the German Historical Museum in Berlin, where you can see it now.
What is it worth? Another of the 19 hats went for 1.9 million Euros in 2013 when Monaco partly dissolved its trophy collection, but this is the definitive Waterloo bicorn hat, so should be worth even more :-)
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Waterloohe French are good losers! said nobody, ever ;-)
And so tomorrow, when the UK celebrates the bicentenary of Wellington winning the Battle of Waterloo, the French will be boycotting the celebrations.
Back in March, Belgium tried to issue 180,000 2€ coins commemorating Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. France - ever the poor loser - vetoed the idea. So Belgium neatly side-stepped this veto and is issuing the Waterloo coin with a nominal value of 2.50€ which the French cannot veto :-)
The Times newspaper asked tongue-in-cheek, "How do you cope with a defeat so infamous that even a then-unknown Swedish pop group (ABBA) could make a wordwide hit out of it?"
France turns a blind eye to "the glorious defeat", not only by ignoring the ceremonies, but in everyday life too. Nowhere in Paris will you find a "Waterloo Square" or a "Waterloo Avenue", not even a so-named dead-end (humour is not their strong point). They want a brand new Napoleon to lead La Grand Nation or maybe even Europe; Sarkozy wants to be that figure, but almost certainly is too tall ;-)
Well done Wellington, I shall don my boots Thursday in your memory ;-)
Monday, June 15, 2015
Magna Cartahis year is a year of anniverseries in the UK. Waterloo (18/6/1815), Agincourt (25/10/1415) and today the Magna Carta(15/6/1215) being celebrated on the original signing site at Runnymede.
The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties has persisted (see today's celebrations in the UK). However, if you can read the latin in which it is written, you will see that it only asserted protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment and access to swift justice; not (yet) for the common man.
And here we are 800 years later and the USA still imprisons people without trial and has been denying them justice since 2002. I refer of course to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
Shame on you USA. If you want to celebrate Magna Carta too, then close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and either free the prisoners or grant them a fair trial! Obama promised this, but has failed to deliver... again :-(
Friday, June 12, 2015
Bowled over :-(o there I was on saturday, a pedestrian, standing in a pedestrian zone at 9:30 a.m, facing SW, me looking through the camera viewfinder in order to get a good photo of the castle up on the hill.
Without warning, a delivery lorry backed up silently about 3 yards (at walking pace) from the north and knocked me off my feet.
Crash, bang, wallop! Down I went, managing as much of a breakfall as I could. Had the wind thoroughly knocked out of me, so I lay there (face up) until I got my breath back. Carefully checked I could move my fingers and toes, then felt my skull to make sure no blood or bumps there. With the help of several witnesses, clambered unsteadily to my feet, but had to sit down again, back aching from the impact.
Meanwhile, witnesses had called an ambulance and the police. Ambulance there within 5 minutes, police ten. Ambulance staff checked my skull and moved all my limbs, nothing broken, just some bleeding where my elbow had hit the cobblestones, so I rejected the invitation for a ride to hospital, seems I'd gotten off lightly :-) They just bandaged my left arm and elbow.
Interesting how the cops interrogated me and the driver. Cop put his arm around my shoulders and asked how I felt (that way he could unobtrusively check my breath for alcohol), only to discover I'd been eating garlic the previous evening ;-) Then he interrogated the lorry driver, establishing that he didn't have a functioning reversing warning beeper in his lorry nor did he have a co-driver to stand behind and direct him when backing up. So essentially he'd driven the 3 yards backwards slowly but still blind :-(
The only real damage was to my camera, which had gone flying and landed hard on the cobblestones, getting busted. I was sore, but basically OK, so told the cop I would NOT be pressing charges as the driver was ashen and shaking from shock more than I was :-(
Monday, I went to a masseur to lessen my back pain; it may take a couple more sessions. And the lorry owner's company called and said they'd buy me a new camera, pay for the ambulance and the masseur; they also thanked me for not pressing charges. So we all got off lightly; I'm not vindictive :-)
Thanks here to all the witnesses for their help :-)
Next day I was fit enough to ride my motorcycle the 200+ miles home, so no permanent damage :-)
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Medium Wave(s) goodbye :-(ere in Germany Medium wave AM (Amplitude Modulated) radio is being phased out after going strong for 95 years.
Medium wave (MW) is the radio band used mainly for AM broadcasting. In Europe the MW band ranges from 526.5 kHz to 1606.5 kHz, using channels spaced every 9 kHz, and in North America an extended MW broadcast band goes from 535 kHz to 1705 kHz, using 10 kHz spaced channels. Ranges of over several thousand kilometers were achievable.
Our old MW AM-radio has a scale bearing the names of the transmitting stations' cities as you can see in the photo. The orange bars indicate the 9kHz breadth of the channels, which, as you can see, overlapped to some extent, making tuning the receiver an exercise in optimisation ;-)
WDR (West German Radio) expects to save 170,000 € each year on electricity alone, and a lot more by reducing personell, totalling 26 Mio Euros per year. They say the number of listeners was minimal and falling each year. My old car has an AM/FM radio, but the new one just has FM/CD-player/USB-stick player, so they may be right.
WDR (Cologne) shuts down its AM transmissions in July, BR (Bavaria) and DR (German Radio) at the end of the year.
End of an era :-(
Monday, June 8, 2015
My very good friends Martina and her husband Andre´ are both fans of TBBT (The Big Bang Theory), a hilarious TV-series about science nerds.
And so am I.
So Martina and Andre´ bought me this much-appreciated Bazinga! T-shirt for my 71st birthday today, for which many thanks :-)
It seems that Sheldon Cooper's catchphrase "Bazinga!" is now an officially registered trademark of Warner Bros., but I'm assuming I'm still allowed to put up this selfie in my own private blog today without them getting their knickers in a twist, unlike some unmentionable others...
Info for other TBBT fans : the term "bazinga" is used for a seven-string harp, such as might be played by Amy Farrah-Fowler, Sheldon's girlfriend. It is also a genus of rhizostome jellyfish with only one known species, Bazinga rieki, found off the central eastern coast of Australia, and so named by another TBBT fan. Euglossa bazinga is also a euglossine bee species found in Brazil, also named by a TBBT fan :-)
Nothing to do with being a "Bar singer", another of Sheldon's many accomplishments, although he would prefer to play bongos like his hero, one Richard Feynman who was a self-confessed safe-cracker, part-time professional bongo player and incidentally the 1965 Nobel prizewinner for physics ;-)
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Helping the Ukrainehe Ukranian economy is struggling, due to the undeclared war with Russia over the Crimean and Eastern Ukraine.
The industrial part of the Ukraine is over on the eastern side (steelworks etc) and the western side is mostly agricultural, I read somewhere.
So if we are to help them pull themselves up by their bootstraps, it will not be done by short-term financial aid, but by buying their products, mostly their agricultural products.
And so I was pleased to see that our local supermarket has a "Cyrillic Corner" which also stocks Ukrainian products. Here are some Ukrainian "Happy Calf"-brand cream-flavoured cookies which I shall be trying out as soon as I've finished the ones I got from Belarus.
Help the Ukraine by buying its produce!
I would rather voluntarily help the Ukraine than be forced by the EU to support the current Greek government. YMMV. Know that nowadays YMMV may stand for Yurpeen Merkel mag Versager = Euro-Merkel likes losers :-(
Monday, June 1, 2015
Frieda turns ten :-)n saturday our senior bulldog, bitch Frieda, turned ten :-) That's 70 in human years. So now SWMBO, myself and Frieda are all 70 :-)
I bought a pound of ground beef and SWMBO baked a "cake" using a couple of eggs and some oatmal. The white decoration on the top is curds and the ten "candles" are chewy dog-sticks. Both dogs sat drooling in front of the oven whose contents smelled delicious, even to us humans :-)
Her son Kosmo, recently eight, had to content himself with licking out the bowl in which her "cake" was baked. But she generously left him about 100 grammes and four of the "candles", which avoided any violent disputes ;-)
US geographic ignorance
He He He, Efimov is right
The Rudi Blues :-)
Hitstorm? Not really :-(
Napoleon's Waterloo Hat
Medium Wave goodbye
Helping the Ukraine
Frieda turns ten :-)
Three hundred billion suns
Restoring Vintage Aircraft
Our village : Henglarn
International No-Diet Day
Star Wars Day
Ain Bulldog Blog
Finding life hard?
Not Always Right
Rants from t'Rookery
Spork in the drawer
The Magistrate's Blog
Jan Feb Mar Apr
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
This blog is getting really unmanegable, so I am taking the first 12 years' archives offline. My blog, my random decision. Tough shit; YOLO.
ENGLISH : I am not responsible for the contents or form of any external page to which this website links. I specifically do not adopt their content, nor do I make it mine.
DEUTSCH : Für alle Seiten, die auf dieser Website verlinkt sind, möchte ich betonen, dass ich keinerlei Einfluss auf deren Gestaltung und Inhalte habe. Deshalb distanziere ich mich ausdrücklich von allen Inhalten aller gelinkten Seiten und mache mir ihren Inhalt nicht zu eigen.
This Blog's Status is
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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