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Stu Savory ;-) School report for 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 after the death of his old dog, Kosmo, he also has a new bulldog puppy, Clara, since September 2018 :-)

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Segway shuts down :-(

Just read on the BBC's business webpage that Segway is stopping production mid-July due to lack of profitability. Rather sad :-(

Back in 2011, I was toying with the idea of buying one, so I rented one for a weekend and had a local tourguide teach me how to ride it properly. We rode up hill and down dale, through (potholed) urban streets and bumpy lanes through woods until I felt capable of controlling it. Yes you can fall off, as Dubya famously did. They are prone to accidents. An exciting day, but I didn't buy it; too dear.

Segway was a much-hyped self-balancing electric vehicle, two wheels and a transverse axle. Too expensive (for me) and accident-prone, so the company struggled to make a profit. The New Hampshire company was bought by Chinese rival Ninebot in 2015.

Have any of you blogreaders actually also tried / bought one?

Comments (3)
Cop Car wrote " In 2004, on a trip to see daughter Bogie in New Hampshire, Hunky Husband and I were treated to a museum and tourist mall in which I tried out a Segway. I really liked it, and tried spinning on it, but had no earthly excuse for even considering purchase. I had been intrigued by the concept a few years earlier, when they had first been publicized. (Unfortunately or fortunately, I find that a photo that Bogie took of me on the Segway is in a format for which I no longer have the software.)" Yes, they're fun for a while.
Ed (USA) writes "I was an early adopter. I wonder how long spares will be available?" Buy a new battery now to be on the safe side..
Anon (USA) passes on some good news though "Microsoft is withdrawing its own 82 retail stores worldwide." :-)

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Summer solstice

Yesterday saw the summer solstice (at 23:43:40). It is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere; we had about 16h 50m of sunshine here in Germany. It is also the beginning of astronomical summer. So therefore, contrary to what you may have been told as a child, in summer the days get shorter! as summer proceeds.

The diagram shows that the Earth's rotational axis is tilted with respect to the plane of the ecliptic. So, on the solstice, everywhere above the Arctic Circle gets 24h of sunlight. And everywhere below the Antarctic Circle has 24h of darkness, no sun visible at all.

That in summer the days get longer may not be the only fib you were told as a child. We were told that Venus was our nearest neighboring planet. But as I have proved to you elsewhere, Mercury is our nearest neighbour for 46% of the time, Venus for only 36% of the time, and Mars for just 18% of the time.

Another fib, most people have been taught that the brightest star in the sky is Sirius (apparent magnitude -1.46). Not true, the Sun is the brightest star as viewed from Earth. It is so bright (apparent magnitude = -26.74) that you mostly can't see other stars in the daytime. Sirius comes second. But in terms of absolute magnitude (the 'true' brightness - with the distance dependence factored out and measured from 10 parsecs away, Rigel has -8.1 followed by Betelgeuse and Deneb at -7.2; Sirius has +1.4 and our sun has +4.2. So it's Rigel :-)

I think I need to do a blogpost about "Lies taught to children" :-)

Update : On this very day in 1633 AD, the Holy Office in Rome forced Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the centre of the Universe.

Comments (1)
Liz asked "So why is Midsummer's Day on June 24th? I think a blog post would be timely." Celebrations that accompany the actual solstice take place on a day between June 19 and June 25. The exact dates vary among different cultures. The celebration predates Christianity, and existed under different names around the world. The undivided Christian Church designated June 24 as the feast day of the early Christian martyr St John the Baptist, thus grabbing the solstice celebrations for themselves, and naming it misleadingly Midsummer's Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

John Bolton, Grifter :-(

So John Bolton has published a book, in which he breaks with BunkerBoy. That's the positive bit. If he was interested in justice and honesty and defending the nation, he would have testified all of this under oath when BunkerBoy was being impeached. He didn't, because he's a grifter, putting the missing testimony into a book, from which he wants to make a few (million) dollars :-(

Now I haven't read the book, I'm just relying on the reports by journalists who have. Bolton claims BunkerBoy asked Mrs. May - then the UK Prime Minister - if the UK had nuclear weapons (they do, a couple of hundred); had to ask whether Finland was part of Russia; said invading Venezuela would be "cool"; and wanted to leave Nato. This is the level of ignorance I would have expected from BonkerBoy. There are bits claiming misuse of power (besides the Ukraine Affair), claims BunkerBoy asked China for help in getting re-elected and many other crimes. I could believe most of these, BunkerBoy is corrupt as Hell.

Whether ALL of what Bolton wrote is true, I cannot judge. I just despise Bolton for being a grifter and not testifying at BunkerBoy's impeachment hearing :-(

Seems there are/were an awful lot of grifters in the White House. So go vote in november!

Comments (2)
David (NY,NY) tells us that "A US judge has rejected a request by the Trump administration to stop the publication of a memoir by former National Security Adviser John Bolton." Yay for first amendment :-)
Klaus (Alaska) wrote, saying "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday bashed John Bolton as a con artist, saying President Trump's former national security adviser - and now leading Trump critic - threw the country under the bus to sell a book. " see here.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Hammerhead Worms

Surprise! For the first time in my life I saw a hammerhead worm; they are not indigenous here. I had to go back indoors to get my camera, but by that time it had vanished, so this photo is from Wikipedia.

Backstory : We had some bad weather at the weekend, thunderstorms, flooding, hailstorms, and even tornadoes were forecast. So when the wind whipped up saturday night, I went outside to check the roof tiles etc. Branches thrashing in the wind - updraft feeding an overhead thunderhead - so the security lights (to discourage any prospective burglars) went on, lighting up house and yard. Earthworms usually come up at night (they're nocturnal) especially when they hear/feel raindrops and/or hailstones. So there were several on the back lawn. But this one looked different.

They're hunters! :You know what a hammerhead shark looks like; now imagine a 6 inch worm with a flat hammerhead. Since I didn't know what it was - I thought it might be a little snake (although we don't have many snakes in Germany) - so I didn't touch it. Just as well! Looking it up subsequently in Wikipedia, I learned that their slime is toxic and they are carniverous! They hunt regular earthworms and snails etc. They creep up on other worms, and poison them with neurotoxins. Then they can thrust the backs of their throats forward out of their mouths (shades of Alien!) with a substance that dissolves their prey alive. Then they roll their faces forward again and sup up the liquid remains of their prey! Yeuch!! Scary! I'm glad they are really small.

They are indigenous in the tropics and must have come over in banana boats of tropical fruit and veg. Some have been found in the southern USA too. Gardeners hate them, I read, as they kill off regular herbiverous earthworms which aereate the soil as they eat rotting plants. But there is no point trying to kill them by chopping them in half with your spade, since they also reproduce asexually. Each half grows a new head or tail and you now have two where you previously had one :-(

I suppose the nearest I've come to encountering a creature like this was being bitten by leeches whilst wading barefoot through a river. Leeches were/are used medicinally as blood suckers. They attach themselves to your legs, inject blood-thinner to make the blood flow more easily and suck (a small amount) out, falling off when full. Actually rather harmless, even beneficial at times. BTW, did you know that leeches have 300 tiny teeth, five pairs of eyes and no less than 32 brains! (ideal bait for zombies).

Probably the scariest worm is the Mongolian Death Worm, inhabiting the Gobi desert. Allegedly. It may actually be a snake. Gobi locals claim it is red, about a yard long, spits acidic venom and can deliver electric shocks via its tail. No westerner has ever seen one, they're all third-hand stories. So of course, Hollywood made a really cheesy horror film about them about a decade ago. Bad scyfy. But hammerhead worms are real.

Comments (5)
Cop Car wrote " ... I don't like the looks/description of your hammerhead worm. Undoubtedly, they will make it to our area as we keep warming. Gah! Undoubtedly, I shan't live to see it. See? Death isn't all bad." They have already been found in Texas and Georgia. Luckily they are cannibals too, so limiting their own numbers.
Carlos (Ecuador?) tells me that "Your use of the word Head is misleading, call them Front and Rear (as in direction-of-travel). For example the mouth, which is also the anus, is not in the head, it is about halfway back." That's strange, and new to me. Thanks for educating me.
Jenny (Ibiza) said "There's a video on YouTube of one hunting and eating a snail." I shall have nightmares ;-)
Murkan Mike (D, Saarland) wrote "... interesting blogsite, and i especially like the name, the only english word using all vowels, once. I'll give your blogsite a good lookover during the next few weeks. " Thanks in advance then. Are you one of the 9500 troops Trump wants to remove from Germany?
Liz wrote "Toxic carnivorous worms?! Did you have to tell me that?" I wanted to warn my readers, in case they find some in their gardens :-(

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Beers for John

Commenting in yesterday's blog, John (USA) asked about my favourite beers. So I went down into the cellar this morning and took one bottle from each crate. Here they are, six beers and a cider, John :-)

Left to right, we see, all German beers around 5 to 6% by volume :-

  • Krombacher's cloudy country beer.
  • Erdinger's alcohol-free, the beer of choice for the appointed driver of the day.
  • Krombacher's cloudy (unfiltered) dark ale.
  • Veltin's Pilsener, smoothness itself.
  • Warsteiner Pilsener, because the store didn't have any Warsteiner Gold.
  • Mönchshof (Monks' farm) Maibock, a stronger beer (9%?) with more hops.
  • an empty bottle of Cooper's cider.
Other favourites, not currently in my cellar are : Einbecker Maibock (seasonal), Jever (a very bitter Pils from the North Sea coast), and of course Guinness :-)

I don't know if you are able to get any of these in the USA, John.

Comments (3)
John (USA) wrote "Thanks for the list. I'm afraid I'll continue to be limited to Guinness. Haven't seen any of the pictured beers here in Iowa. Perhaps one of my traveling friends will run across one or two. Take care and stay safe." The three on the left of the photo are Bavarian beers, the others shown are local ones, unlikely to be exported to Iowa, John. That said, in our nearby town of Paderborn there is a speciality beer shop with about 6000 different imported beers, some of which I've tried (and even blogged about). The Chinese beers were pretty weak, almost as bad as e.g. Bud Light (USA), Corona(Mex) or Fosters (Oz), imho ;-)
Ed (USA) asks "What to you drink when in the USA? Coors, mostly.
Schorsch (D) recommends Ainpöckisch 1378 from the Einbecker brewery and points out for John that they have an online shop too :-)
Paging Iwan (RU) if you can read this out in the Urals : What were those terrible drinks in Nowosibirsk? I don't mean the lukewarm-whatever-it-was with the lump of yak butter in it (bad enough), but the tepid-flat-beer(?) with a shot of vodka in it to liven it up. BTW Pelmans Cafe´in the Kranskky-Prospect area has disappeared :-(

Monday, June 8, 2020

On turning 76

Today my personal calendar rolled over and I've started into my 77th year. Jenny asked how I feel about it. Weary. Mostly weary. That's the word that first sprang/limped to mind.

But I've been having some fun too. What with a Coronavirus style haircut and this attempt to grow a handlebar mustache (which may take another couple of months to look anywhere near decent ;-)

Had a nice outing with newfound young friend Georgie who is visiting from New Zealand. I'd offered to show her the countryside around here, e.g. castles from Grimm's fairy tales, the skywalk vertically above the river Weser (see her photo), a medieval pub, the Meissner national park etc. Turns out most restaurants were still shut due to Coronavirus. Sad, but we had a nice, no-problems, 300km trip in my oldtimer anyway :-)

Also went for a short (160 km) motorcycle tour with my good friends Ulrike and Frank. Sadly, I can no longer do the longer tours (500km/day) such as the 4-day tour starting thursday of this week. Like I said, I'm too weary these days.

Ulrike and Frank, recognizing that I miss visiting beer gardens a lot, put together a birthday basket for me. Beers, sausage, cheese, ham, mint & mini-pretzels.

What a nice present. Thankyou :-)

Comments (8)
Cop Car wrote "Happy birthday, youngster!" Thankyou, old girl ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) asked how I feel about turning 76. Tired, ma'am, see above :-)
Bikerfriend Wolfgang dropped by to congratulate personally while social distancing. Conflict of interests? :-)
Dieter (D) wrote "Alles, alles Gute zum 76. Geburtstag. Bleib gesund." Thanks.
Doug (Canada) wrote "Happy hatching day - too bad everything's closed." Their websites said they were open - the only thing open was the door, but no personell inside. Maybe they're only open at weekends?
John (USA) wrote "Best wishes for your birthday, young man. I still have a year (almost) on you. Would you list a few of your favorite beers?" I'll go down in the cellar later, John, and see what beers I have in the house :-)
Klaus (Alaska) wrote "Happy Birthday, I will follow you in 3 weeks when I am turning 75. PS : Found this ad on a 1983 Porsche 944 for you." My 944 is still going strong, thankyou :-)
Erdmut & Wolfgang (D) wrote "On your birthday we wish you all the best, health and happiness. Hopefully we will see each other again soon at a SNIce Rider meeting." When the pubs reopen :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2020

No strawberry moon here :-(

Friday evening there was a penumbral lunar eclipse, but sadly we had 8/8 cloud cover at the time after moonrise, so I didn't get to see it.

Penumbral means that moon passed through Earth's outer shadow. If the moon had passed through the Earth's core shadow, it would have been completely dark. In the case of a penumbral shadow, sunlight can still pass through the Earth's atmosphere which filters out the shorter wavelengths, letting the longer reddish light pass through, so the moon appears darker but reddish. In north america, this is known as a strawberry moon and signalled to the natives that now was the time to harvest wild strawberries.

Fitness fan Friederika, daughter of friends of ours, has written a new book "Kaizen Up Your Life: 4 Weeks to a Skinnier, Healthier, Happier You (English Edition)" which is available in Kindle via Amazon for just €2.69 . So those of you wanting to slim might like to give it a read :-)

Monday, June 1, 2020

The beekeeper's new flowerpot :-)

In our neighbouring village, the beekeeper used to have an eyesore rotting away in the hive-field. It was an old sportscar wreck, I think it was a Mazda MX5 or similar. Ugly plastic shell, the rest rusting away.

But now, he has had a neat idea. Where the seats once were, he has tipped rich topsoil into the plastic shell and planted flowers in it. Quite pretty !

Now it's a beautiful flowerbed, great to look at and his bees all love it too. What a neat idea! Eyesore gone and bees motivated! Way to go!

I shall be buying his honey later in the season :-)

Comments (1)
Anon (USA), writing under the pseudonym Junior B. (sic!) says "Those flowers all look like Mommy's." No, some of them are Poppy's ;-)

Link to the previous month's blog.
Recent Writings
Segway shuts down
Summer solstice
John Bolton, Grifter :-(
Hammerhead Worms
Beers for John
On turning 76
No strawberry moon
Beekeeper's flowerpot
Homeschooling Maths
Told you so!
Fathers' Day Edition
Reopening too soon!!!
Out of the blue...
Good Golly, Miss Molly
Learning from The Stig
R.I.P Wolfgang Klois
Logistic collapse soon?
A story for Legba
Coping with Eejitz
No spit, Sherlock!
Easter cancelled ;-)
Sudoku challenge
Measuring Earth's size

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Billions of Versions...
Cop Car
Digby's Hullabaloo
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Greg Laden
Mostly Cajun
Observing Hermann
Starts with a Bang
Yellowdog Grannie

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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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