Use Ctrl+ to enlarge this blog page if you need to.
Nav Tools

--> Most recent Blog

Comments Policy
Maths trivia
Search this site
RSS feed for Stu Savory's Blog RSS Feed

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

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Low Bridges

When we moved the 15 miles to this house 33 years ago the furniture removal van had to take a different route from us in the car because of a low bridge on the shortest route between the sites. The van driver knew about the low bridges in the area (and how high his truck was) as part of his job. This is not always the case :-(

Recently I saw this photo of the low bridge on Montague Street in Melbourne, Australia.

That is not even a double-decker bus! I guess the front passengers got mashed :-( A little research showed there are no less than FIFTYNINE warning signs on the various roads approaching that 3.0 m bridge. Apparently to no avail. Nowadays they even have rubberised bars dangling across the road directly ahead of that bridge, which the driver hears when he hits them, warning him that if he hits them, he'll hit the 9' 10" bridge.

There is even a short You Tube video song about the Montague street bridge. On the other side of Australia, Perth has three such low bridges. But perhaps the most most famous low bridge is in the USA, the can-opener bridge, which even has its own website with videos of the crashes. It averages one per month. Here is a recent example of why it is called the tin opener.

Accidents still happen even though the bridge clearance was increased by 8 inches. Drivers just don't know the height of their vehicles.

Autobahn bridges here in Germany are taller, 4.50 m being mandatory, most are at 4.80 meters. Other roads have a 4.0m meter minimum, but older (historical) bridges may be lower but must be marked accordingly. I only know of two in our area, so I was shocked when I googled for a map of bridges under 4.0 meters in Germany. SO MANY!!!

However, you CAN buy truck/bus satnavs (more expensive of course) which ask you for the height of your vehicle and plan your route to avoid routes with lower bridge clearances. I think these should be made compulsory, even if only by the vehicles' insurance companies. Of course you'll still get farmers loading their tractor trailers too high even for the 4.0 meter regular bridges. At least this farmer only had a soft crash :-)

Somewhat more problematic than the flat (railway) bridges are the older arched bridges, especially if they only warn with their maximal height at their centre.

Warning signs are better if they warn you of the lower height of the arch where the top corners of your vehicle will be and thus suggest you drive in the centre of the road. Nevertheless, in this photo (below) the flashing red warning light is much too close to the bridge, shorter than the trucks' braking distance might be.

Adding a steel reinforcement girder and a TV camera (rt.) to show the damage done after the crash, as shown in the stock photo below, does NOT help solve the problem.

The bridge in the stock photo shown below does a better job, It shows the clearance if you drive in the centre of the road AND the clearance if you drive in your own lane. Yes, these are UK photos where they drive on the left.

But it isn't just trucks and busses. RVs and even tiny-houses etc may have the same problem. I think all drivers should be required to measure and KNOW the height (and width) of their vehicles. Insurance companies should insist on the use of truck satnavs for these classes of vehicles. Then we might see a decrease in the number of bridge hits.

On a lighter note, regular readers will know that I am a flying instructor and am rated to fly low, picking up advertising banners and also doing crop-dusting. I learned to do crop-dusting in a biplane over the plains of the midwest USA. You fly really low (10 feet) to dust crops. Even so, as a car driver, I would be scared shitless by the damage to this sign...

Comments (10)
Cop Car wrote " When, much against any expectations I may have had in the first 68 years of my life, I checked out in the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) that the American Red Cross used, vehicle height was drilled into our hard heads. That was 15 years ago and the ERVs are now of a slightly different profile. Incidents did happen - usually in the form of hitting overhead structures in the drive-through of a restaurant.
There is a bridge listed as 'low clearance' a mere five miles from our home; but, even it has a clearance of 14 feet. You could probably have flown your Stearman under that! You have some really low clearance bridges in your part of the world.
Or a donut shop, or are they just for US cops? There's a gas station some 10 miles away that has such a low rain-roof that it gets no truck traffic. It is illegal here to fly under bridges, even big ones. Movie stunt pilots require special exceptions.
Jenny (Ibiza) grins "Watching those videos at 11ft 8 really defines Schadenfreude for me." Sure does for me too!
Brian, writing from Perth, Australia, tells me "Bayswater Bridge in Perth (3.80 meters) even has its own hit-tracker." Thanks, Brian.
Iwan (RUS) writes "11 ft 8 Stu? That's for snowflakes. We have one in St.Petersburg, Russia, that is only 8.85 feet (2.7 meters); here's a photo " Good job you have no SUVs!

Macy (USA) notes "Here is a PDF of the low bridges in the USA." Thanks, Macy.
Ken (UK), ex-Buccaneer pilot, tells about the Red Flag exercises in the 1970s "Thats not low flying : 560 knots at ten feet is low flying (rising to 20 feet to avoid causing rooster-tails of desert dust). The Buccaneer was the last all-British ultra-low-level nuclear toss-bomber." Now 560 knots must be scary! I found 100 knots at 8 feet needed concentration! We must get HH (Cop Car's husband) to tell some of his B52 stories, if now unclassified ;-)
Cop Car replied " Answering for Hunky Husband: We’ve no idea how we would know if that information has been de-classified. (HH did not receive the message - lol.) I do know that when I was read out of classified programs the security officers reminded me that I could never divulge any of the classified information with which I had worked. That said, I can tell you that during much of my days when I was flying various Cessna airplanes, I shared air space with 'Oil Burner Routes' - of/for which we civilian airmen needed to be familiar and watchful. A book (unread by me), Flying the Oil Burner route in a B-52 by Gary E. Casteel is advertised: 'Flying a 185,000 pound aircraft with a wing spread of 186 feet flying in and out of mountains and up narrow canyons using its Terrain Avoidance Radar at 200 to 500 feet above the ground gives the crew a rather bumpy ride. Major Casteel tells the reader some of the insights and unknown development of this aircraft.- (See at Flying the Oil Burner route in a B-52 by Gary E. Casteel ( My understanding is that the B-52 is no longer subjected to such low-level operations; but, as you surmised, HH did indeed fly on Boeing’s B-52s in re-tracing low-level flights to ferret out any possible equipment anomalies that might have contributed to incidents during USAF B-52 training or exercise operations - which equipment I cannot even name for fear of breaking security." 25 years after my last classified project I got a registered letter labelled OHMSS releasing me from my obligations under the Official Secrets Act; I wasn't surprised they even knew where I lived :-) BTW you can't drop a nuke from 200-500 feet because of the blast wave. Enola Gay released from 31,000 feet, the bomb took 53 seconds to fall to 1900 feet explosion altitude. Toss bombers do a low level approach, pull up at 45°, toss the nuke, continue in a half-loop then Immelmann off the top before diving for a low-level retreat on a heading that doesn't reveal where home is.
Jim (USA) wrote "Storrow Drive bridge in Boston even has its own verb, as in 'That truck got Storrowed'" I remember that from when I worked on Route 128 :-)
Jenny (Ibiza) asks "Why 8 feet for crop dusting?" Because if there were lovers in the corn field who stood up to see where the duster was coming from, you wouldn't decapitate them. Even the average NBA player is only 6 ft 6 :-)
Ronny (UK) copied this photo, saying "This is low level through the Welsh valleys :-"

Ah yes, that's the Mach Loop near Dolgellau (sp?). Frank and I were there on a motorcycle tour in 2016(?) but the valleys were fogged in so noone was flying that day :-(

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Vale, Vale

Or, translating from the italian, Goodbye VALEntino Rossi, motorcycle racer extraordinary, who retired sunday in good health at the age of 42 from MotoGP, coming 10th in his last MotoGP race, so he was still amongst the top 10 racers when he retired! That competitive at age 42! Even down at club level I was only competitive up to age 25. He'd been racing from age 16 at world class level. 9 times world champion.

Next year he'll be managing his own teams, VR46, running his racing academy and maybe doing some car-racing too. So we'll still be hearing a lot from him :-)

I especially liked the surprise his team had lined up for him. They borrowed all nine of his world champion bikes from the museums of their respective manufacturers and put them on display at his last race.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Spoken Latin podcasts

P rope monasterium catholicum ad digitalem aetatem adiungere decrevit et sic seriem decem colloquiorum online praedicans erit. Erunt in sermone Latino! Latinum meum his diebus ferrugineum est, legant quidam et minus scribunt, sed operose loquentem et audientem? Non nuper. Audiam igitur eos ut videam quomodo rem expediam. Quis vis nexus illis cum apparent?

Translated: A nearby catholic monastery has decided to join the digital age and so will be publishing a series of ten podcasts online. They will be in spoken Latin! My Latin is rusty these days, read some and write less, but actively speaking it and hearing it? Not lately. So I'll be listening to them to see how I cope. Anyone want the links to the podcasts when they appear?

I expect they'll be using ecclesiastical Latin, whereas what we learned in school was Caesar's first century dialect. We shall see///hear. Feles in arca Schrödinger est.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Dostoevsky Day

Exactly 200 years ago today saw the birth of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky who became the most famous of the russian novelists of the 19th century.

He wrote 12 novels, four novellas, 16 short stories, and numerous other works. His books have been translated into more than 170 languages, and served as the basis for many films. Personally I find his books not the easiest to read and so have only read 5 of his books. Perhaps the easiest to read is the novella from 1866 The Gambler; Dostoevsky himself was addicted to roulette and so could write from experience. The other books by him which I own are Crime and Punishment, and in the order I read them The Idiot, as well as The Brothers Karamazov and Demons.

If you are one of the ever fewer people who still read books, I can recommend all of these. If not, at least go watch the movies, on DVD or via streaming.

Comments (2)
Billions of Versions... wrote " I don’t know if I could concentrate on one of his books for very long." Me too; try The Gambler, it's short.
Ivan (RU) asks "What language(s) did you read them in?" All in the German translation, so I may have missed some nuances.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Two Short Planks

is When my wife, SWMBO, was last in Alaska she bought this mobile chair made by/for nomadic natives. It can easily be taken apart for transport and then reassembled without any tools. So I thought I'd show it to all you DIY fans should you want to make one of your own.

This started off as a single plank, 3.6 cms thick, 23 cms wide and 183 cms long (because I'm 183 cms tall). You might want to vary the length depending on how tall you are. This was cut into two shorter planks as shown, the longer one being 98 cms tall and the shorter being 85 cms tall.

26 cms from the top of the shorter plank 5 cms were sawn off each side, leaving the centre tongue 13 cms wide. Using a rasp file or a saw, remove the back of the base at a 30° angle so that assembled it will lie flat on the floor.

27 cms from the base of the longer plank, chisel out a central slot 13.5 cms wide and 4 cms high as shown below. The bear-footprints are optionally sand-blasted out for decoration only. Shave off the foot of the longer plank at a 60° angle so that assembled it lies flat on the floor. Round off all edges as desired using sandpaper.

Now insert the tongue of the shorter plank into the slot on the longer plank and the assembled chair looks like the photo above.

Now you can plonk yourself down on the chair which is very comfortable, I can assure you. A longer upper section will give you a headrest if wanted.

About 3 hours work in total, including clear, light, varnishing.

Comments (1)
Billions of Versions... wrote " Now attach two brackets on the back of the upright part that you can slide the seat into and put a handle on one side of the upright." No, the nomads used no nails, no screws, no glue, no brackets. Only gravity holds the assembly together.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Yellow overnight

Fellow blogger Mike who blogs at Billions of Versions... shows us irregularly the beauty of trees. I liked the colours of his Indian Summer and promised to show him some of ours later (today) since we are about a fortnight behind him seasonwise. So here they are...

All summer we had nothing yellow in our garden, but we could see the neighbour's sunflowers leaning over the fence...

Everything else - all our trees - were green. Then we had a snap frost and the walnut tree started turning yellow overnight but held on to its leaves...

The next night, after another snap frost, it shed all its leaves...

And the plants in and around our pond turned a beautiful yellow too...

But the best fall view is of the trees lining the road out west of our village...

The small photo doesn't do it justice and it will never compete with Mike's multi-hued Indian Summer but it's the best I can show you. Young Cow Betsy was more interested in me taking a photo than in the trees' beautiful colours!

SWMBO went up the hill and took this shot yesterday :-

Comments (2)
Billions of Versions... wrote " We had our first below freezing night two nights ago. But the leaves are still hanging on. It’s supposed to be back to 70f by Sunday. It’s been years back, but I’ve cut grass in January before. Hopefully not this year. We are at +6°C right now (11:28 am); but the walnut tree is always the first to lose its leaves.
Scottish vlogger Steve Marsh has a video up showing us the beautiful autumn (fall) colours of Ossian's Way etc. Sorry about the ads, ignore them.

Link to the previous month's blog.
Recent Writings
Low Bridges
Vale, Vale
Spoken Latin podcasts
Dostoevsky Day
Two Short Planks
Yellow overnight
Our robot overlords ;-)
Procrastination Man
Wanfried on the Werra
Bernd's medal, revisited
Kirk boldly went...
Mailserver back up again
Mailserver down :-(
Roman Numerals
Fortuitous names ;-)
Party strongholds
Election imminent here
30 years of MC Tours
World of Beers
Nine Eleven
GovernMental Joke
Afghanistan Joke
TWAICE revisited
Bicycle-Bernd's gong
Bierbaums Nagel
RIP Charlie Watts
Sky Lights
Going Walkies...
First Nuke
Mobile banking truck

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?
Observing Hermann
Silicon Graybeard
Starts with a Bang
Yellowdog Grannie

Archive 2021:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct
Archive 2020:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Archive 2019:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Archive 2018:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Archive 2017:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Archive 2016:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Archive 2015:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Archive 2014:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
This blog is getting really unmanagable, so I've taken the first 12 years' archives offline. My blog, my random decision. Tough shit; YOLO.
Link Disclaimer
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 ;-)
Books I've written

Index/Home Impressum Sitemap Search site/www