Friday, October 30, 2009
A change of vocabulary ;-)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
DBD34 GoldiesPeter Harris asked me for a photo of a BSA Gold Star. This is one by Paul Gockel.
And here's one I took myself in Sammy Miller's motorcycle museum.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Clean Underwear needed !I found this scary video on YouTube :-
Gawd, am I grateful that wasn't me! I recognize the road. It is the Zellerrain road, a 20 mile, 22% steep,
mountain pass in the Ybbstaler Alps in the Steiermark (Austria).
Comments (3) :
Four Dinners contributes this anecdote :-
"Beautiful beast mind....you just don't want the sod appearing in front of your motorbike!!! A few years back - in my 'selling windows and conservatories' life - I was hacking down a country road to an appointment, when a young deer...well I didn't ask its age but I reckon it was on the young side... shot out of this woodland to my right. I slammed the anchors on and - for the only time in my life - left rubber on the road. The deer virtually ran straight into my car, bounced off the side and shot off into the woods on the other side of the road. I was fine...the deer was fine. Sorted. Except....there's always an except with me eh? The dickhead in the car behind me got out and walked forward to me. I was still sitting there shaking, but happy the deer had made it. "I am a police officer" said the dickhead. "And?" said I "Er...you braked very hard...that could be an offence against the road traffic act" he burbled "You see the deer?" I asked with a winning smile "Yes" he acknowledged "Then fuck off" I advised continuing the winning smile. And you know what? He did. Well? Come on!!!!! It could have been Bambi!!!!......;-)"
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Soon, we will have a new cabinet in the German newly-elected government.
In compliance with anti-discrimination laws there are five women, a gay, a cripple, an old guy, some non-catholics and an immigrant . Hey, they forgot the token black ;-)
Seriously though, I hope they have been selected for their talents and abilities . . .
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My Lords, late lads, now leiders v our lauis, Except your gouns, some hes not worth a grote, Your colblak consciense all the country knawis; How can ye live, except ye sell yr vote?Karl-Gustav complains : - "Shame on you! These are all experienced politicians!"
Experience is the one thing you have left when everything else is gone!
4D : "@Karl-Gustav: Experience in corruption is the only experience our politicians have". Stu : here's a lovely quotation from pTerry's new book Unseen Academicals : "Another proposition, that the city (Ankh-Morpork) be governed by a choice of respectable members of the community who would promise not to give themselves airs or betray the public trust at every turn, was instantly the subject of music-hall jokes all over the city." Great pTerry, right on the dot every single time ;-)
Friday, October 23, 2009
Personal Digital Calculator ;-)Down at the pub, we were talking about the pocket calculator, specifically how long they had been around. Yes,I'm old enough to have used a slide rule professionally :-)
So I told the guys that they had a built-in Personal Digital Calculator, which can automatically multiply by nine. Let me show you how it works :-)
Spread out your hands in front of you, mentally numbering the fingers 1 (left thumb) through 10 (right thumb). Say you want to calculate 3 times 9. Just fold down finger three (the longest one). Now how many digits are left standing to the left of the folded one? Two! And to the right? Seven! So 3*9=27 :-) Now lets try 6*9. Digit 6 is the right little finger. So there are five digits to the left and four to the right. 6*9=54 :-) See, you have a Digital Calculator with automatic times-9 mode ;-) OK for you, 4D ?
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Hypnotising numbers ;-)Down at the pub, we were talking about hypnotism, so I teased the guys and gals by claiming that for the price of a beer I could even hypnotise numbers. They could give me ANY four digit number they liked (as long as it had at least 2 different digits) and I would hynotise it to change into 6174 ;-)
1) Choose a four digit number, say 3690. Use your own choice here.
2) Rearrange the digits in ascending and in descending order (keeping any leading zeroes) to get two other numbers, in this example 0369 and 9630.
3) Subtract the smaller from the larger (9630-0369=9261).
4) Using this four digit number intermediate result, loop back to step two.
Whatever original number you chose, you will eventually get stuck on 6174 ;-)
I tell ya folks, Maths know-how generates free drinks. 4D, this bar trick is for you ;-)
Comments (2) :
Monday, October 19, 2009
Fighter Jock Humour :-)
Is there ANY reason why you would NOT want to be a fighter jock? So tell me! ;-)
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Friday, October 16, 2009
Misleading Questionsust recently I was in a discussion with some teachers "Are misleading questions fair in an exam?" . Opinions were divided 50:50. What do you think?
Here's a personal anecdote : about 50 years ago ( = when I was 15 or so ), we had an O-level maths training question which said - I quote this from my lousy memory - Using squared paper draw an equilateral triangle with the corners on lattice points of the squared paper. The base line does not have to be horizontal."
I remember thinking, that's far too trivial for an O-level exam question, any fool could draw that. And therefore it must be impossible, it's a trick question. Indeed I answered That is not possible!, which got me good marks (not 100% because I had omitted to prove it). Proof: bisect the top angle, dropping a vertical to the base. Let the sides be 2*N units long, then the bisected side has halves of length N. Thus by Pythagoras, the centre upright has length N*(root(3)), and since root(3) is not rational, the top of the triangle cannot be on a lattice point, because the lattice points can only represent rational numbers, QED. Now that wasn't too difficult, was it?
So the question for discussion is : Is it permissible to have questions which make hidden assumptions and expect the student to challenge them? I would argue YES. Certainly I expect law-students to catch faulty assumptions, after all we expect our lawyers to be tricky ;-) Maybe it depends on the age of the schoolchildren?
Or think about one of the questions about Atheism : Can God create a stone so heavy that even He can't lift it? An answer of either Yes or No would seem to imply that God is not omnipotent, a defining characteristic of Gods, and thus there can be no God(s). However, the word 'heavy' implies the existence of a gravitational field and the stone not being at the centre thereof. Similarly, the word 'lift' means 'move away from the centre of the gravitational field'. Now any omnipotent God could create another universe with only that one stone in it. The centre of the stone would thus be the centre of the gravitational field, and there would be nothing else relative to which the stone could be 'lifted'. So the answer is 'Yes', and unfair(?) assumptions are made in the question merely by the choice of words :-(
What age does a person have to be to understand that? Or what IQ?
Or this question (again from a Maths exam) :
Given a biased coin (say 70% heads to 30% tails), how do you make a fair toss?
What is subtly misleading about that?
So, blogreaders, are misleading questions fair in an exam? Let's get YOUR feedback.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009
Read this blog ? Now wash your hands!Hi, Jean! Today is international-wash-your-hands-day (really),
So RIP, Pontious Pilate ;-)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Traintimebout 20 miles NE of here is the Egge range of hills with just one place where a small river meanders through. So this was the natural place (almost 200 years ago) to build a railway junction. The village of Altenbeken grew up around the junction where several lines passed through these hills. There is a famous viaduct, providing great photo opportunities, more so on the steam-revival-festival days.
They are all rail enthusiasts here, the engine drivers wave to the photographers on the viewing platform, and the locals are so proud of their tradition that they put retired steam engines in their front gardens! This is 044389-5, a big 2-10-0 passenger engine.
In the top photo on the left you can see the village graveyard. It is an interesting walk through it, as the local rail employees had their final rank engraved on their grave-stones, e.g:- Johann Schmied, Chief Engine Driver, or Gerd Braun, Track Inspector. The Spirit of Steam has not died in Altenbeken. However, I'm told (teased?) the village graveyard gets locked up at night. Are they keeping rail-fans out - or old rail staff IN ?
Meanwhile, courtesy of You-Tube, Cream* were playing Traintime some 42 years ago. You can hear the big pistons pumping and the whistle moaning in Jack's harmonica :-)
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Monday, October 12, 2009
3 way envy-free sharingmall children (and politicians) often squabble about who is getting an unfairly large portion of the cake. Justice must be seen to be done, and by all :-)
And if you have but TWO children, there is a widely known solution to the problem of envy-free sharing : let child number one cut the cake into what it thinks are fair halves, then let the other child choose which slice it wants to take.
But what if there are THREE envious children? Most people don't know how to ensure fair shares in this situation, and so, because it is more complex, I'll explain it today :-)
Let us arbitrarily number the children one, two and three irrespective of their ages, weight, height, gender, race, IQ etc. Even better, let them number themselves.
Make sure you have understood the procedure thoroughly - drawing diagrams as necessary - before trying it out on squabbling, tired and impatient hungry children ;-)
Friday, October 9, 2009
GeoCaching : Trackable Itemsn previous occasions I've told you about the hobby of geocaching, a GPS-based treasure hunt. The cache often contains only cheap swag, but sometimes it contains a trackable item. These are of two kinds, GeoCoins and TravelBugs. The latter are numbered dogtags you can attach to an item of your own choice. In all these photos I've hidden the secret identifiers used to keep track of the items (to stop any cheats unfairly pretending to have seen them).
Personally, I find the GeoCoins more attractive. Here are two of them I found in the hollow oak outside the entrance to the nearby Wewelsburg castle earlier in the week.
The GeoCoins also bear unique identifiers on the reverse sides which can be used to track the items on their trips from cache to cache. Geocachers pick up the trackable item from one cache, consult the relevant online database (often www.geocaching.com) to find out the individual destination of each item, and then place the item in another cache closer to its destination.
Here are 12 trackables I've moved recently, sorted by distance travelled :-
The one at the top of the list, owned by Chiba Girl, started its journey in Hawaii and now has travelled some 58699 km as the crow flies (great circle distances). We can click on the name of the trackable item (Miss Patty Bouvier) to see its recent history :-
Alternatively we can view a map of its (57 step) itinerary :-
And, if the finders took a photo at each step, we can see where it has been, or is now (in Hellekiste, a stone-age grave site in Atteln, Germany) :-
And so , cache for cache of this surrogate travel trip, we get to see the world :-)
I wrote this on wednesday, prompted by finding my 200th cache (GC13NQX) :-)
And on thursday, I discovered that our local city (a city by virtue(?) of it having a cathedral, otherwise just your usual provincial market town) has produced a limited (250) run of its own GeoCoin, so I popped into the tourism office and bought one so I can send it "The Pilgrim" on its variegated via interruptus from cache to cache :-)
. . .
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Astronomical news ;-)traight astronomers have discovered a huge ring around Saturn.
Meanwhile, their gay colleagues were looking for one, one planet further out ;-)
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
One-dimensional Checkershis is not so much a game as a puzzle, suitable for primary-school children (who play it) and computer-science college students (who try to program it).
Make a line of 7 places, fill the left 3 with red pieces, the right 3 with white pieces and leave the centre place empty. The aim is to interchange the red and white pieces. A piece may move into the adjacent empty place or hop over a piece of the opposing colour to land in the empty place. Hopped pieces stay on the board. Winner is whoever takes the LEAST number of moves to do this. How many do YOU need?
Primary schoolchildren can spend a whole lesson learning to think logically, but may need to be shown how to keep a tally. Programmers may choose their implementation language, I expect Charles will choose C, Chip will choose Ruby, Kriemhild will choose Lisp, Gudrun will use APL, and Knuth would use MIX (sic!) ;-) I'm a Prolog man, me.
Tag your favourite programmer to submit his code ( & result) by email here.
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Monday, October 5, 2009
Those Overweight Fat Twins :-(ilwaukee pig-iron is not my idea of a good motorcycle. Although - arguably - the twin-cylinder engine may be the best for a motorcycle, the rest should be kept trimmed down to a light weight, not a 350+ kg fat monstrosity.
I've owned a Suzuki TL1000S, light (< 200 kg) and agile, with a torquey 90° L-twin engine that revved over 10,000 rpm. Many years ago a fine NorVin too. Several of my friends own BMW flat-twin boxers. But the one I lust after most is a Triton like this :-)
Thanks to Paul Gockel for sending me the photo.......I can still
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Saturday, October 3, 2009
United Germany Daye have a national holiday today, celebrating 20 years of the fall of the Iron Curtain and Germany being re-united. The nearby small town of Salzkotten has gone the whole hog and have decorated one of their numerous (and superfluous) roundabouts with a purported border scene from the fall of the Iron Curtain: Nice idea, but
They've got a wire border fence topped with barbed wire, OK. They've got a Trabbi - the plastic East German 2-stroke car - even with East German plates (DDR) passing through the border, OK. But they've got the short West German border pole on the side the Trabbi is leaving and the border warning sign on the tall pole is facing the wrong way. Oh and the whole thing is set up north-south instead of east-west, artistic licence so that you can better see the whole scene when driving along the main road.
A for effort, B for execution, but worth blogging about on the two-decade celebration.
Thankyou, Mr. Gorbatschow !!! :-)
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Thursday, October 1, 2009
On getting stoned ;-)otheads, hippies, Mary Jane Warner, Hashem, and fans of the Grateful Dead need read no further; this article is not what you think it might be ;-)
It is in fact a geocaching anecdote.
I went geocaching to visit the Dragon's Cave on a cliff in Marsberg about a fortnight ago. Near the cache is this sign which translates as 'Beware of falling rocks'. Having a childish sense of humour, I picked up one of the many fist+ sized rocks lying around and balanced it on my head for this 'instant-of-the-hit' self-portrait ;-)
At this place the path is a good 10 feet wide, so you could jump out of the way if you heard the rumble of falling rocks from the cliff above. Judging by the number of stones scattered around, this is a not infrequent event :-(
But further around the path narrows to a ledge along the side of the cliff, so my tip is to whistle loudly as you walk, so that anyone coming the other way can hear you early and divert to a passing place. But what about falling rocks when you are on the narrow ledge? You don't really want to be walking along a narrow ledge while looking up all the time for any stones! I suppose wearing a hard hat might help. Against pebbles, yes, but is a hard hat adequate against the fist+ sized stones?
So is the sign merely a cover-your-ass for the local authority? Or what am I supposed to do? Serious feedback from any climbers and hill-walkers would be appreciated.
Comments (5) :
Four Dinners : "
Maybe German rocks drink a lot? Well? That's why I occasionally fall.."
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