Eunoia

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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 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

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

## Attractive numbers : 495 and 6174

What do I mean by attractive numbers? Let me show you.

Chose any three digit number having unequal digits, let's use 318 in this example. Write the digits in descending order = 831. Subtract the number with the digits in ascending order = 138. Now 831-138=693. Repeat using this number. So 963-369=594. Repeat using this number. So 954-459=495. If you now continue, you will always get 495. Wherever you start with a three digit number, you will always finish up looping on 495. That's why it's called attractive; wherever you start from, you always get attracted to 495.

Now lets try a four digit number with unequal digits, say 7869. So 9876-6789=3087. Repeat using this number. 8730-0378=8352. Repeat using this number. 8532-2358=6174. Repeat using this number. 7641-1467=6174. If you now continue, you will always get 6174. Wherever you start with a four digit number, you will always finish up looping on 6174.

Can you come up with a five digit attractive number? What happens when you try?

Monday, November 26, 2018

## InSight on Mars :-)

As I write these few lines, I'm watching the NASA livestream on YouTube of the landing of the InSight lander on the surface of Mars. Eight light-minutes away. 89+ million miles.

And it is a success. This screenshot shows the people in the JPL control room erupting in joy as the telemetry indicates a successful touchdown.

Of course, the words "control room" are a misnomer, they're not controlling anything. The spacecraft operates autonomously because it took eight minutes for InSight's signals to reach Earth. So, congratulations to the programmers who made the spacecraft self-sufficient.

After a few minutes InSight sent its first photo of the Martian surface. Understand that the (translucent) dust-cover is still on the camera's lens because the 12 landing rockets kick up a lot of dust from the surface at touchdown. All those black particles you see are Martian dust on the lens cap. The horizon appears very curved because of the short focal length being used by the underside fisheye lens. Ignoring this curvature (a fisheye artefact), you can see that the lander is pretty well horizontal, the landing radar having managed to avoid landing on any rocks there. No doubt, there will be much better photos once InSight takes its lens cap off :-)

Thanks to NASA for providing this live stream, it was a tense few minutes to watch! Congratulations to all concerned. This really IS rocket science :-)

NOT rocket science though is NASA's artist's impression of InSight on the surface of Mars : with the sun low on the horizon, why are the shadows of the solar array directly under the craft?

Petra (A) wrote "You have an eagle eye to spot that error!" Thanks, lass, more a logical deduction than good eyesight though :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

## They're bigger than you'd think

Nerd night at the trattoria. So we're sitting there joking and trying to outnerd one another at our corner table when two ginormous women waddled in and sat at the other end of the place, ordering and eating an XXL pasta plate for couples. Each.

We start a quiet round of "Yo momma" jokes, men can be vicious :-( Yo momma is yuuuge. Yo momma could eclipse the moon. Yo momma has the mass of Jupiter. If Yo Momma was a black hole she'd not even fit on the chair... etc etc.

So I interrupted at this point to give some nerdy realistic numbers as input to rein in their fantasy : The radius of the event horizon of a black hole with the mass of the Sun would be just short of 3 kilometers. Jupiter's mass would have an EH radius of about a meter. Earth? Not quite 9mm. And a 140 kg pasta-eating Yo-Momma lady? About 2*10^-35 meters.

Schwarzchild's formula for getting the size of the Event Horizon (above) assumes a spherical non-rotating black hole with the "emitted" (pace Hawking) photon leaving vertically from the EH. Spinning black holes are infinitely thin discs with a one dimensional EH and so a more complicated kettle of fish. Looking at all the possible emission angles, we get a photosphere of 150% of Schwarzchild's formula. But that would be unstable, the smallest stable orbits for photons (travelling at the speed of light) is out at 200%. And the smallest stable orbit for a massive particle (Yo momma) is out at 300%; all for non-rotating black holes. So you see, they're bigger than you'd think . . .

At this point the nerds interrupted me, saying I'd outnerded them all, and my prize was to buy them all the next round . . . :-(

Thursday, November 22, 2018

## "I am a jam donut!"

55 years ago today, in Dallas, JFK was shot by (ex-sniper) Lee Harvey Oswald using a \$19.90 rifle, and a second bullet from an unknown shooter.

That was the day the world stood still. Everyone here in Germany was sad too, and hoped there wouldn't be a war. 250,000 Berliners went on a silent demo march as a mark of respect. SWMBO was 18 at the time and had seen JFK and the then German chancellor Adenauer riding in an open cabrio through Bonn (at the time, Bonn was the capital city of West Germany). JFK was loved by the Berlin townspeople for his promise to defend them against the Russians. His misstatement went down in history, when instead of saying "Ich bin Berliner!" (= I identify as an inhabitant of Berlin) he said "Ich bin ein Berliner." which translates as "I am a jam donut" ;-)

Kennedy, you were the knight in shining white armour who prevented WW3 (aka Cuba crisis), we wish we had a US president like you again instead of the lying orange idiot we have now! Americans, why did you vote for this current corrupt knave?

Liz wrote " Did Kennedy really say he was a doughnut? How long can it be before Trump's misdemeanours are - I was going to say found out - but many already have been and nothing has been done. Sad days for the US and for us with Brexit." Sad days if you get a hard no-deal Brexit, for sure.
David (NY,NY) asks "Why do you quote the price of the rifle?" Because you can never put a price on a life, especially JFK's, but you can always put a price on a death :-( And to show how easily and cheaply gun-nuts can get firearms in the USA :-( Oh well, let's rake America great again ;-)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

## A marriage made in heaven ;-)

Once upon a time there was an italian couple who lived in Rome, right next door to the Vatican. This couple were planning to marry, but died in a traffic accident just two days before their planned wedding date.

They ascended into heaven and met St.Peter at the pearly gates, asking him nervously "Can we still get a church wedding here?" St. Peter replied he wasn't sure about that, but he'd check inside and get them an answer.

Six whole months later, he came back to the gate with their answer. But, in the mean time the couple were having second thoughts, after all it would be for ever, and so cautiously asked St.Peter "If it doesn't work out, can we get a divorce in heaven too?"

Tearing his old grey hair, St.Peter shouted furiously "I searched the length, breadth and height of this place and it still took me six months to find you a catholic priest!!! So how long do you think it would take me to find a lawyer, let alone two?"

Monday, November 12, 2018

## Hessen's election :-(

If you thought that during the recent US mid-terms, Georgia was the epitome of voting screw-ups, what with all the gerrymandering and downright voter-suppression, just wait until I tell you about the chaos in the elections for the state of Hessen in Germany!

Now while the Georgia election was all about the Republican GOP cheating as much as possible to get their people elected, our Hessen election was characterised by sheer bumbling incompetence it seems.

According to the preliminary results announced, the Green party came in second, just a hair's breadth ahead of the SPD. But the winning CDU didn't get a clear majority and so there will have to be a coalition state government. But who? In what combination? That depends on the recounts taking place to make up for the initial screwups. They're juicy : let me tell you!

In over a dozen voting areas : the vote-counts for different parties were swapped, there were number reversals in the vote-counts as reported by telephone, piles of paper voting slips were ignored, and local results that weren't counted by the news deadline were just "estimated" (= guessed) by interpolating from neighboring voting areas! Sheer bumbling incompetence or deliberate attempts to rig the election results? You decide!

So we will have to wait until the end of the week for the results of the recount. Be interesting to see of there are any prosecutions for attempted vote-rigging or if it will all be just swept under the carpet since the recounts should have caught all the "errors". I hadn't thought that honest elections were so hard to have.

Update 16/11 : Hessen recount results

Interestingly, the number of people eligible to vote went up by 946 and the number of votes counted as spoiled (write-ins etc) dropped by 8475. Draw your own conclusions! Now, although the number of votes per party changed, the rank of the parties remained CDU, Green, SPD, AfD, FDP, Linke with the remaining minor parties below the 5% cutoff. This means that the existing coalition CDU & Greens could continue to rule the state of Hessen, albeit with a majority of only 1 seat. A member of NRWs supreme court thinks the election was still not valid since boxes of counted votes remained overnight in the counting stations with inadequate security. Personally, I am amazed at the huge recount differences.

David (NY,NY) asks "There will be Arizona, Florida, and Georgia election recounts here (USA), (to see if the voting machines remember what they said?). So how do your recounts work?" We don't have voting machines, not trusting them to be unhackable, so there is always a paper trail. Humans (of all parties) count the votes. We need to watch how the numbers are then reported and summarised as they propagate up to the state's total result. No checksums are used :-(
Cop Car (USA) wrote " Each state in the USA is responsible for running elections within it, as you well know. Each county within the state has an election commissioner who is responsible for running elections within that jurisdiction; thus, I can only tell you how the voting machines that we use in Sedgwick County, Kansas, USA work - as of this year's primary elections in August 2018. We indicate our preference for each contest (and there are a zillion judges for whom we vote!) on a touchscreen machine. When we indicate that we are through voting, the machine runs us back through our votes so that we may check up on ourselves. When we indicate that we are done, the machine prints out a ballot with our choices - much like the old IBM cards, but larger. We then take our ballot and insert it into a card reader of a counting computer. That, of course, is for normal balloting. I haven't used mail-in (military on assignment or absentee civilian) or provisional ballots (cast at the polling place by someone who doesn't appear on the rolls at that polling place, for whatever reason) in many years, so cannot address those." Is the paper trail kept for recounts?
Cop Car (USA) replied " Yes, the paper ballots are kept (don't ask me for how long!) "
Dagmar (D) reminds us "Today is the 100th anniversary of us women getting the vote in Germany" Yes, I just heard that on the news , I assume it was a result of the government change from monarchy to republic after WW1 ?
Xaver (D) adds "And on 8th november we celebrated 100 years of the Free State of Bavaria, i.e. also an overthrow of a monarchy." In celebration of which there is now a ZERO Euro note which has a souvenir value (10 for €30) only ;-)

Note to hassan bakhtiyarisafa : please stop spamming me, goddammit!
Yellowdog Grannie, (USA), who turned 75 today, had this in her blog :-

Dagmar (D) has some breaking US news : the Democrat woman, Kyrsten Sinema, won the Senate seat after the recount in Arizona; their first female senator :-)
Ed (USA) updates us "Democrat candidate Josh Harder has defeated Republican incumbent Jeff Denham in the race for California’s 10th district." GOP down 4.

Friday, November 9, 2018

## 9/11, a fateful day

My US readers will think (only?) of 9/11 as the eleventh of september, the day the twin towers of the WTC were razed. To broaden their horizons, let me tell you about today, the ninth of november (written as 9/11 in Europe), in German history.

Back in 1918, during WW1, german soldiers went on strike, wanting a republic, and the navy's sailors turned on their officers rather than the british enemy. Two days later, WW1 ended (100 years ago on sunday) and Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated on 9/11/1918, leading to the desired republic.

Jump to 1923, when on this day (9/11) the Nazis marched on the Feldherrenhalle in Munich, the failed Beer Hall Putsch.

On to 1938, when Nazis - SA and SS - destroyed jewish shops and homes and burned down the synagogues; known as Reichskristallnacht, named after the shards of crystal glass from broken synagogue windows.

But jumping forward to 9/11/1989, we had a happy event as the Berlin Wall fell and the Iron Curtain border was opened. East Germany's communist regime (GDR) had lasted just over 40 years. Happy 9/11 this time, a fateful day.

Cop Car wrote " I was a mere babe, six months' of age, on Kristallnacht; but, I learned of it in school, of course. Such tragedy we humans inflict! I heard of the fall of the infamous Berlin Wall on a radio report - while driving toward the San Jose, California, airport. My eyes filled with tears, making freeway driving difficult. Such elation, I felt!" I used to take Allied visitors to see the Iron Curtain, which wasn't far from here. Now I can only show them an Iron Curtain Museum, still impressive but not as frightening.
John (UK) adds one "9/11/1921 : Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect (NOT relativity!)." I missed that, sorry.
Iwan (RU) notes "You forget to mention 1983, Able Archer, US brinkmanship." So I did; folks go read the Wikipedia article at Ivan's link.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

## The Hill of Crosses

Lithuania is a flat country, we were told they have no word for mountain, but they do have small hills. One of these is the Hill of Crosses, a pimple on the plains, not even 50 feet high. It is famous for all the crosses put there, initially by devout Christians. You can't compare it to Golgotha, if only because nobody knows exactly where Golgotha was ;-)

In the middle ages there was a wooden fort here, a defence against marauding crusaders. But the catholic planting of crosses first seems to have happened 1831-1863 as a protest against the Czars at the internationally known pilgrimage site. It really boomed during the Soviet era 1941-1952 when people put up crosses for all the persons being deported to Siberia. In 1961 the Soviets decided to bulldoze the site, burn the crosses and destroy religious statues in the surrounding villages. But the people just put up new crosses. This battle of destruction and re-starting went on through 1985. In 1993, after the Soviets had withdrawn, the Pope finally came for a visit.

It really was a centre for protests against the Soviets who would jail any pilgrims caught planting crosses. The Soviets razed the site at least three times, in 1961 they recorded destroying 2000 crosses and digging trenches across the site, but new crosses appeared overnight. By 1990 over 40,000 crosses had appeared on the site. Nowadays there are far more (see photo above), some wood, some wrought iron, even stone. There are even little crosses hung on the big ones!

Nowadays you are charged admission to go see them and there are beggars aplenty preying (see what I did there) on the pilgrims and other tourists, who come in busloads. The parking lot is huge, like for a US shopping mall.

Liz wrote " I thought you'd forgotten to post about the hill of crosses. What an amazing place. Such protests. And a country without mountains? Gosh." Historical site. Just a shame it's being exploited now.

Recent Writings
Attractive numbers
InSight on Mars :-)
Bigger than you'd think
"I am a jam donut!"
Hessen's election :-(
9/11, a fateful day
The Hill of Crosses
The centre of Europe
Space museum, Moletai
Six :-)
The Glory of Autumn
Discworld discovered
Tallinn, Estonia
Riga, Latvia :-)
Speech-to-Text ;-)
Amber Museum, Palanga
Sculpture Park Klaipeda
Raganu Kalnas sculptures
Getting to know you
Sand Statues
Buggering the Boys :-(

Blogroll
Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Back Reaction
Balloon Juice
Cop Car
Curmudgeonly...
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Infidel753
Mockpaperscissors
Mostly Cajun
Observing Hermann
On her Bike
Pergelator
Rants from t'Rookery
Starts with a Bang
Yellowdog Grannie

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This blog is getting really unmanagable, so I've taken the first 12 years' archives offline. My blog, my random decision. Tough shit; YOLO.