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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 called 'Kosmo'.

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

150 years of typewriters

Last week also saw the 150th anniversary of the invention of the typewriter, to be more precise, of the first US patent (US 79,265) on a commercially succesful typewriter (Sholes and Glidden, later Remington bought the patent, I believe). Henry Mill had had a UK patent in 1714 (over 300 years ago), but it was never produced commercially afaik.

Rather than rush you through a history of the typewriter, let me point you to Mark Martin's excellent typewriter museum website. Some of them were/are mechanically quite scurrilous :-)

For my part, here are my 2016 photos of the typewriters of some famous authors : Tolstoy, Brecht, Ringelnatz and Sean O'Casey which were all on display in the HNF computer museum at the time.

My first serious use of a typewriter was in 1966 when I typed my B.Sc (Hons) thesis on (I think) a borrowed metallic green older Smith Corona. Rereading said thesis (only 43 pages) I see I made six typing errors which I corrected by typing over the "white-out" places. Since that machine had no mathematical symbols (e.g. for PI, tau and theta) I left space for equations and wrote them in by hand. Differentials (d/dx) and integrals took three lines, the integral's limits being on the upper and lower lines. I was in good company, after all, Einstein submitted his papers handwritten and let the publisher worry about the typesetting ;-)

Somehow, all my typewriters were green. My favourite was the same pastel mint colour as the railway station at Novosibirsk. I think it was a Triumph-Adler or maybe Olympia portable?

My worst experience with a keyboard was the purchase of a french AZERTY keyboard in the fond belief that it would let me type French more easily. That belief was erroneous! Stupid design needs two strokes to make full-stops and numerals! Albeit some common lower-case accented letters - like é (e-acute) and è (e-grave) - have dedicated keys on AZERTY but the letter ù (u-grave) also has its own key, even though it is used in only one word in the entire French language (où). Accented capital letters require unusual sleight of hand(s) (to put it mildly) and capital C-cedilla is missing! Ligatures have to be written as ae and oe too. Even my german keyboard turns out to be better for writing French!

But there were other special-key designs for typewriters too. During the Third Reich the German SS introduced a special key having their two lightning strikes on one key; I wonder how much typing time and space that saved? The 1950's Olympia SM-3 De Luxe even had Math Keys at the expense of losing several others. Later in life I had a typewriter which used a daisy wheel for exchangeable fonts. Supposedly a good idea with greek letters and other math symols on another wheel. But changing daisy-wheels mid-line just to write an equation turned out to be quite impractical!

Nowadays, we mostly use computers and printers for "typing". Typewriters still survive though in administrative environments where form-filling is a high priority requirement.

Given the two patent dates mentioned above, I suspect it is fake news that archeologists excavating on a site in Stratford-upon-Avon have found a pile of a million ancient typewriters ;-)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Canstein Highland Games

Just 20 miles south of here lies the little village of Canstein. Scotland-fans in Canstein have established their own Highland Games, now in their 13th year. Teams from villages within a 10 mile radius compete as "clans" while wearing their specific clan tartan. The Canstein clan wears the participants' collective T-shirt.

We rolled up on saturday at 15:00, just as the pipers lead in the procession of the clans.

Each clan consisted of 6-8 hefty muscular men representing their village.

Although one clan was a girls-only team, all wearing saltire makeup.

The Saltire (aka Scottish flag) decorated their eyes nicely.

After the parade of the clans, the games started. Hefty men competed in tossing the caber. The caber appears at the top left of this photo, but my camera produced some artefacts too, unfortunately rendering the horizontal caber as semi-transparent :-(

Another power game was "tractor-pulling". Not a tractor pulling a braking sled, but a clan of strong men pulling a tractor on a rope, while screaming war-cries :-)

Other games were "tossing the hammer", "territorial run", "sword-dancing" etc etc.
Of course there were commercial tents too, selling kilts and other scottish paraphenalia.

And catering sold lots of beer and grilled meat in a spit. Our dog was given free samples :-)

The butcher wasn't good at spelling though, e.g. "Champignons" became "Champions" ;-)

But all in all, a fun day, sunshine, sport and bagpipes :-) Home from home :-)

Friday, June 22, 2018

Hilarious Blackmail Scams

Just want to share these hilarious attempted blackmail scams with my readership, so you can laugh your asses off too. Here are two of the emails we got :-

Do not mind on my illitorassy, I am from China. I uploded the malicious progrom on your system. Since that moment I pilfared all privy background from your system. Additionally I have some more cumpromising evidence. The most interesting evidence that I stield- its a videotape with your masturbatian. I I adjustad virus [--illegible--] in addition it saved porn video you masturbated on. In next few days my malware collected all your social and work contacts. If you want to delete the ricords- pay me 250 yuro in BTC(cryptocurrency). I provide you my BTC number - 1E6428mXd1pSg5SzS8v5V2nUAzwUkAwdBb You have 24 hours after reading. When I got transfer I will distroy the videotape overmore. Other way I will send tha tape to all your collegues and friends.

If u were more watchful while caress yourself, I wouldn't worry you. I don't think that playing with yourself is very awful, but when all your friends, relatives, ?olleagues get video of it- it is terrible news. I seized malisious soft on a porn web-site which was visited by you. When the victim click on a play button, device begins recording the screen and all cameras on your device begins working. Moreover, soft makes a dedicated desktop supplied with key logger function from your system , so I could collect all contacts from ur e-mail, messengers and other social networks. I've chosen dis e-mail cuz It's your working address, so u will read it. I suppose that 330 usd is pretty enough for this little misstep. I made a split screen video(records from screen (u have interesting tastes ) and camera ohh... its awful AF) So its your choice, if u want me to destroy this ?ompromising evidence use my bitcoin w?llet address: 1BFS4FZJQACLgKmfjCZEjhUuLjrTpRJUrh You have one day after opening my message, I put the special tracking pixel in it, so when you will open it I will see. If ya want me to show u the proofs, reply on this message and I will send my creation to five contacts that I've got from ur contacts. P.S... U can try to complain to police, but I don't think that they can solve ur problem, the investigation will last for one year- I'm from Estonia - so I dgf lmao

What these idiots don't realise is that the wife and I share this PC. So that blew their blackmail plans straight away. Furthermore, the camera lens is taped over all the time except when we make a video or skype ourselves. We neither make nor watch pr0n. Furthermore we do a virus scan regularly, also catching any keyloggers. But to be on the safe side, we did another virus scan : nothing.

Their major assumption is that masturbation is a bad thing. Not true. If more people masturbated more there might well be less rapes :-)

And at 74 a video of me masturbating would be seen as an achievement not an embarrassment. So these scammers can go F themselves, there are vans for that ;-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Are these Skyhooks?

Out at our local airfield, Haxterberg, on sunday, I took this photo of a microlight which looks like a scaled down Piper Cub somehow. But fatter.

Looking closer at the photo, where the wings join the cabin, there appear to be two forward-facing inverted hooks on top. Skyhooks? What are they for?

Are they breather pipes for the fuel tanks? Or locking pins for removable wings? Or are they hooks to suspend the microlight from the hangar ceiling? If the latter, why is there no third hook on the tailfin? Sadly, there was no pilot there to ask.

Maybe some of you aviation buffs can tell me? CC? Charles? Clive? EBM? Anybody?

Comments (1)
Cop Car identified the plane as a Zlin Savage. I'd missed the fact that it even says Savage on the tailfin :-( Googling photos of other Savages lets me see that the "Skyhooks" are in fact the handles (and breather pipes) for the fuel filler caps. Thanks, CC, my question thus answered; stand down everybody else :-)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Brit Blades Ban

The UK Home Secretary (=Minister of the Interior) Sajid Javid says he is going to crack down on the sale of knives in a probably vain attempt to reduce knife crime (incl. stabbings), a knee-jerk reaction to a campaign by The Sun newspaper. Blades of any kind ordered online will have to be collected from a non-residential address while zombie weapons face a total ban ( Zombie knives are fantasy-decorational but can be fully functional). The buyer must also prove they are over 18 (show ID upon sale), so only adults can stab you?

Flick knives and butterfly knives are already forbidden, so only criminals have them :-( How about unique hashtags/numbers on each long-bladed knife as we have on guns. Registration of knives/purchasers/owners as for guns?

But what about existing cooking knives? Here are 4 knives residing in a cutlery drawer. I'm sure almost every household has cutlery like these. What is to prevent misuse? Next up : locks on the cutlery drawer just like the guns have to be locked away? The cutlery drawer is used at each mealtime, so that would be unrealistic. Any suggestions?

None of these 4 may be carried on your person in public here. But do you think a knife-criminal is going to respect that? I don't.

So let's hear your suggestions in the comments, to reduce knife crime.

PS: Just to put things in perspective, the UK's 2018 stats showed

  • 5,864 firearms offences, up by 13% largely due to (illegal?) handguns.
  • 32,448 knife crimes recorded - an increase of 14% on the previous year.
  • but 179,592 killed or injured in traffic accidents.

Comments (1)
Brian (UK) sent this official statistic map :-

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

On the road again :-)

One of the most enjoyed pleasures of the past quarter century of my life has been going for motorcycle tours with my friends e.g. traditionally about 20 of us go on a 4-day tour over the Corpus Christi weekend, a different destination each time. This time we just went south to the Spessart area.

Since most of us work/worked in the IT business, my group decided to stop at the Konrad Zuse museum in Hünfeld, near Fulda on the way there. Konrad Zuse built the world's first programmable computer in 1943 during WW2, the Z3.

The photo above shows us at the museum, which is decorated with window shutters made to look like pieces of his punched tape :-)

Of course we stopped for lunch at a place bragging to be the world's largest Schnitzel Ranch (think : if you can see the plate when the schnitzel is served, the schnitzel is free - or something like that). We stayed near the old riverside town of Lohr on Main in a good hillside hotel overlooking Lohr.

The next morning was rainy, so some of us just took a boat tour along the river Main instead of riding. Later the weather cleared up so we did a short tour along the minor roads along the river banks. Saturday we visited the state of Hessen's only decorative cavern and continued by visiting the late medieval moated Mespelbrunn castle. At the evening's barbecue we saw the ISS passing overhead 400 kms up, but so bright that even my mobile phone managed to capture a (handheld) photo; this all thanks to Matthias who has a phone App showing when which satellite is overhead :-)

Sunday's trip home was via Schotten, where I did a couple of laps around the race track :-) We also visited the source of the Ruhr river on the way home. A nice, mostly dry, outing :-)

Now 5 of the lads have set out for a tour round the Baltic, via Germany, Poland, Kaliningrad (a Russian exclave), Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and via Denmark back home. They'll be camping to keep costs down but expect to be gone for 6 to 8 weeks. We've set up a Signal group where they can report on their progress (Signal is more secure than WhatsApp). Of course I'm envious, but at 74 I no longer have the stamina for a 2 month camping/riding trip. Mind you, Frank and I did a 2 week trip to the Ukraine 3 years ago and 2 years ago we travelled the Wild Atlantic Way along the west coast of Ireland, both times staying in B&Bs though, easier on the bones :)

Slightly worrying is the fact that we haven't heard from Kinga for 6 weeks. Last time she blogged, end of April, she was in Turkmenistan. Next up, she would have to have crossed Iran, I just hope she didn't get nicked for DWF (Driving Whilst Female) ! Hope you are OK, Kinga.

Comments (3)
Petra (A) writes . . . "...unlike in Saudi Arabia, Iranian women are allowed to drive..." I stand corrected, but still hope she is safe.
Brian (UK) asks "Do you have any photos of the Zuse computers?" No, the custodian specifically forbade me from taking photos for this blog :-( You'll have to visit their website, where there are photos of the Z23 and Z11."
Barbara (UK) said "You surprise me, I didn't think of bikers as being interested in museums, castles etc!" Not all are, but my lot are :-)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

G7 Body language

Make up your own subtitle for this photo ;-)

Comments (4)
Cop Car (USA) wrote "Listen, Twit!" Trump is like a truculent 3yr-old :-(
Brian (UK) sent this other G7 photo:-

Doug (Canada) has a subtitle AND a photoshopped picture, writing " ... when you give your lunch order to the secretary and she claims to be the Chancellor of Germany ... "

Ed (USA) has a new photo "Trump enjoys meeting Kim ;-)"

Ed, I never thought I'd write this : America is no longer our friend :-(

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Use less plastic!

The sheer amount of plastic we use is killing our planet! This photo shows plastic washed up on the beach after a storm. More worrying, the Great Pacific garbage patch is HUGE! Half a million tons per year here, and a total of 140 million tons at sea.

Now the EU, in its effable and very definitely finite, wisdom, has decided to do something (minimal) about it.

They have identified 10 plastic products for which there are good non-plastic alternatives. Drinking straws, cutlery and dishes/plates, balloons, containers for food and drink, brushes & ear-wipes etc.

None of which can be seen on the photo above.

How much more sensible would it have been to do a statistical analysis of such a garbage heap and ban the top ten plastic items. Free market forces would soon have come up with 10 non-plastic alternatives!

50 nations are curbing plastic pollution e.g. by banning plastic bags. But it is up to each and every one of us to avoid/reduce our plastic usage. Take a cloth shopping bag to the supermarket. Buy unwrapped products such as fruit and veg. Buy your beverages in reusable glass bottles instead of throw-away plastic ones. Don't buy to-go drinks in styropor/plastic cups. Don't use a plastic straw to drink from them either. As regards more longlasting goods : Use metal jerrycans, wooden garden furniture etc. instead of plastic. Make your own list; Ireland reduced its plastic consumption by 90% ; try to reach that level too!

Send me your suggestions in the comments please.

Comments (6)
Liz (GB) wrote " Younger Son and his wife take their own containers to supermarkets for meat and deli stuff. The staff at Sainsburys are happy to use them. Not so at tesco.". Our butchers wrap meat etc in paper. Soggy stuff they put in plastic; so I'll try taking my own washable glass containers for the soggy stuff and see what they (resp. the law) says.
Jessie (USA) tells me that Some french guy is going to swim THRU the Great Pacific garbage patch Ugh!
Michael blogs that a whale died from ingesting 18kg of plastic bags.
Derek (GB) tells me that there is a UK Gov report on marine plastic pollution.
Cop Car (USA) wrote " Thanks for the posting, Stu. There was an article posted in 2015 that included some of your suggestions. It's here." Good summary.
Petra (A) wrote "It is counterproductive that we put our trash in an inhouse garbage bin but the bin-liner is a plastic bag!!!" True :-(

Recent Writings
150 years of typewriters
Canstein Highland Games
Hilarious Blackmail Scams
Are these Skyhooks?
Brit Blades Ban
On the road again :-)
G7 Body language
Use less plastic!
NSU motorcycle museum
Blogroll additions
Marion's new book
Dambusters' Day
Jewish Birthdays
Facial Asymmetry
Celle Old Town
The 26 D hypersphere
Pied Piper snapshots
Gauss @ 241
Find the page :-)
Making up ;-)
Friday 13th
Bomb's away! :-)
Evacuation needed
Manifestations of god(s)
Mondrianesque Bulldog
Norwegian Bliss
Stone Age Megaliths
Bad Signs... ;-)

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Cop Car
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Greg Laden
Mostly Cajun
Not Always Right
Observing Hermann
On her Bike
Rants from t'Rookery
Reading in Reykjavík
Starts with a Bang
Yellowdog Grannie

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