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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

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Oktoberfest open :-)

Yesterday (Saturday) saw the traditional opening of the Oktoberfest in Munich, Bavaria. But why does the Oktoberfest start in September (22/9/19-6/10/19) ? I used to think that maybe they used the Julian calender instead on the Gregorian, so 21/9/19 Gregorian = 1/10/19 Julian. But it turns out that Gisela had been pulling my leg :-( It was originally in October, but the Munich weather was so bad then around 1900 that they moved it forward by a fortnight.

It starts off with a big parade, where brass bands etc. march into the fairground (called Wiesn) in their Lederhosen, see Photo below.

A large part of the parade is horse-drawn carts - resplendent in their livery - carrying the pub-tent personnel and huge barrels of beer. Tradition!

There are over a dozen beer-tents, each capable of holding about 7,000 drinkers. Mostly the waitresses wear attractive Dirndl dresses. The more buxom lasses can carry a dozen one-liter beer mugs (so that's about 20 kg). A liter Stein thus holds 1.76 UK pints, which translates to 2.11 US pints. The beer cost 11,80 Euros this year and if you wanted to buy the commemorative Stein, it cost 18 Euros empty.

The tents fill up quickly, as do the tourists. Oktoberfest beer is stronger than regular beer. Japanese beer (a pale-colored light lager), Hite from Korea, Bud Light from the USA and Fosters from Oz are all quite weak by comparison. So it took less than ten minutes this year until the first drunken tourist collapsed unconscious under the table!

I drank Löwenbräu this time, but wasn't enthused, so I'll go back to drinking Pschorr next time. Food served in the tents varies from half a roast chicken to a thick slice from the ox being roasted over a huge grill. Both delicious.

Outside are the usual fairground attractions, bumper cars, big wheel, fish-sandwich stalls etc etc. Take your rides before going into the beer tents!

Friday, September 13, 2019


Yes, it is Friday 13th, a suitable day to talk about the UK's Brexit plans (Yellowhammer).

After much parliamentary pressure, the UK guv (sic!) has released their short (five page) PDF of worst-case Brexit scenarios, almost unredacted, except for the bit about running out of petrol and diesel fuels. Go read it now!

Worth reading, but it is only a risk assessment, and contains no detailed plans for what they propose to do to minimise the risks. Chaos forthcoming!

Of course, Sir Humphrey Appleby explained back in the early 1980s why Britain joined the Common Market and why it is now leaving it, albeit in a long drawn-out agony (for everyone involved). Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker also did a similar sketch discussing Brussels and why European nations joined the common market. Now here we are, about 38 years later, seeing how right their scriptwriters were in explaining the LEAVE mentality.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Airpower 2019 : videos

Zeltweg, Austria, a military airfield in the Steiermark alps, was host to Airpower 2019 at the weekend, where the airforces of European nations show off their fighters' might. There were also formation aerobatics by various countries' display teams and fly-bys by diverse historic military aeroplanes. The public show (admission was free) was on friday and saturday - all went well bar one minor prop-strike on saturday.

A smart phone's video camera cannot do any of this justice, so today I am just going to link to various videos that better equipped people have uploaded to YouTube (for which, many thanks). Commentaries in German mostly. I apologise that most videos have leading adverts; just ignore the ads.

The displays were all done in the alpine valley over Zeltweg with limited manoevering room (especially significant for the larger formations) and the high-speed runs were limit to subsonic runs to protect the public's ears. The weather wasn't great with low cloud hanging on the hillsides, but those cleared somewhat, later.

There were solo displays by inter alia the Eurofighter (duration 6:30) which is currently used by the Austrian, German, British airforces et al. The Greek airforce displayed their F-16, an american-made workhorse fighter (8:20). Also soloed were a Hungarian Saab JAS-39 Gripen (3:20) built in Sweden, and a Polish Sukhoi S-22 Fitter , throwing flares to distract any heatseeking AAMs (1:50). For comparison with the JAS-39, the Swedes also did a solo display of their famous historic double-delta interceptor, the Saab J35J Draken (5:35). The Swiss did a solo demo of their US-made F/A-18 Hornet (11:40).

Formation aerobatic displays were shown by the Spanish Airforce's Patrulla Águila team (10:30), the Italian FrecceTricolori team (13:30), and even a pair of gliders from Red Bull's Blanik team (4:30). I've flown a Blanik, which is an all-metal(!) glider, very docile and easy to fly though :-)

The demo planes mostly used Smokewinders on the wingtips instead of their usual Sidewinder AAM missiles, so leaving smoke trails in their vortices.

Personally, I found the demos of dogfighting through the ages to be the most interesting, but noone seems to have made video of them :-( WW1 dogfighting was shown by a black Fokker DR.I triplane , the Red Baron flew a red one, fighting a yellow biplane Tummelisa. All went well until the biplane landed on the grass, hit a display sign with a prop-strike, and flipped onto its back. Luckily noone was hurt. This was the only accident at the show.

WW2 dogfighting was shown by a Spitfire and a Corsair (which one announcer seemed to think was a Fock-Wulfe 190, but we knew better : the Corsair's cranked wing is a dead giveaway :-)

Korean war dogfighting was demonstrated by a F-86 Sabre and a MIG-15 (both early jets). Weapons were still MGs and cannon, so the tactics were still "Get on his tail and shoot him down" as in WW1 and WW2, just faster.

With the introduction of Air to air missiles, mostly infrared (IR) guided, dogfighting moved further apart and fighters carried lots of magnesium flares to distract the heat-seeking missiles. The demos showed modern fighters dispensing many flares (but noone gave away how many they carried ;-) See the start of this video. Demonstrating defense against modern terrorist threats, two Eurofighters scrambled to intercept an unidentified plane (here a Dassault Falcon 900). (5:40)

The weather wasn't great and so the program was interrupted several times. Cloud was low and sometimes visibility poor. Personally, I found they overemphasised the Eurofighter but maybe they (Austria) were just super proud of it? But still, a fun time was had by all :-)

Friday, September 6, 2019

I don't really understand Time

Since we've been talking about time-travel recently, I must confess that I don't really understand time travel, not in the sense of having a deep understanding of the intricacies thereof.

When I was in primary school, we were taught that there were 4 dimensions, 3 spatial and 1 temporal, all orthogonal to one another; very Newtonian. The teacher even said that 'now' had no duration because we were travelling along the time dimension at the speed of light; presumably he had a confused understanding of relativity which he never mentioned to us kids. Just as well.

When I saw the movie series "Back to the future", which, btw, assume you see them in a preferred sequence to better understand the self-references, I was amused by the car's controls, which assume a christian (Gregorian) calendar (see screenshot) to keep track in time anno domini AD. In contrast, the Islamic calendar employs the Hijri era starting at 622 AD/CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina and established the first Muslim community (ummah), an event commemorated as the Hijra. So 2019 AD is 1397 AH is 5779 AM(=since the creation of the world) in the Hebrew calendar. In the Hebrew calendar, AM 5779 began at sunset on 9 September 2018 and will end at sunset (where?) on 29 September 2019 AD. The Chinese calendar was even more complex, see Wikipedia. The Bengali calendar has a zero year that starts in 593/594 AD. And so on and so forth, with the dates depending on the countries that use them.

Now since the car's temporal controls in "Back to the future" use the Gregorian calendar, an anomoly arises. Assume Doc Brown and Marty McFly want to get rid of Biff. They'll let him drive the DeLorean, betting him he can't go back by exactly 267 years (a relative time difference). So Biff sets his target time to September 6th 1752 and sets off. However Britain and the British Empire (including what is now the United States) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 , changing from the Julian calendar. So there was NO September 6th 1752, the calendar jumped 11 days from the Julian date to the Gregorian date. So Biff can't arrive at his target date which didn't exist. So, presumably, he is still(?) in some sort of temporal hypertime stasis when(?) the DeLorian is still trying to arrive ;-)

But, fiction aside, I can't really wrap my head around relativistic time dilation. Oh sure, I can do the maths of relativity theory and calculate the results of spatial contraction and time dilation as a function of speed. That's easy. But a really deep understanding of spacetime seems to slip my grasp. Here's why.

Over 40 years ago I had the honour to meet the cosmonauts Krikalev and Afanasyev. Then, when I met them in Germany AFTER their space tours aboard the Mir, they had aged 23 (Krikalev) and 20 (Afanasyev) milliseconds LESS than I (and you) have, due to their relativistic time dilation. And yet, here we were, meeting in my home town, AT THE SAME TIME !

Had we travelled through time at different "speeds" ? It was the same 'now'.

So I don't claim to have a deep understanding of spacetime :-(

Comments (4)
Petra (A) linked to a video that explains various time travel movies.
Brian (UK) wrote "That DeLorean control panel is American : the month comes before the day. Also, it can't do BC dates and only goes to 9999 AD." But it can do year zero, which also didn't exist, so it's that anomaly again.
Jenny (Ibiza) : "Before was was was was was is ;-)" I assume that will be every stutterer's time-travel joke ;-)
Doug (Canada) wrote "Thought you might find this interesting :-)
Yes, different cultures have viewed time in different ways, especially Hopi.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Time Travel Tales

My good friend Frank is a fan of Marty McFly. So when I bought my oldtimer Porsche 944, he railed at me that I should have bought a DeLorean as these were the rarer oldtimer. But my counterargument was that I could drive the 944 whenever I wanted to, but could only drive the DeLorean from time to time ;-)

So I travelled through time and arrived in Buckingham Palace gardens, where I met HRH Prince Philip and said:
ME: "Good morning YRH, I'm a time traveller from the future, what year is it please?"
HRH: "It's August of 1997, my good man."
ME: "Before or after Diana..."
HRH: "Before."

She: Are you interested in time-travel?
He: Well, I'm not sure, but I could give it a try.
She: Okay, then let's meet here at 3 p.m. on friday...
... of last week ;-)

As he walked through the garden of Eden, Adam philosophised aloud "Why does time always go forwards?".
A passing snake hissed in reply "If you bite into this apple, you could make time go backwards forever".
Adam bit. . .
. . .tib madA
."reverof sdrawkcab og emit ekam dluoc uoy ,elppa siht otni etib uoy fI" ylper ni dessih ekans gnissap A
."?sdrawrof og syawla emit seod yhW" duola desihposolihp madA ,nedE fo nedrag eht hguorht deklaw eh sA

Comments (4)
Ed (USA) writes "Here's another for you :
Marty McFly said "Doc, I've just invented a time machine!"
Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown "Ah, that takes me back" ;-)"
Petra (A) piped up "The past, present and future walked into a bar. It was tense ;-)" Groan too!
Cop Car sent a photo of a protester's placard which read " What do we want? Time Travel! When do we want it? That's irrelevant ;-)"
Brian (UK) asks "Is time travel even possible?" We are told: yes. But I'm not even sure if I understand 'time' correctly, see a later blogpost.

Recent Writings
Oktoberfest opens
Airpower 2019 videos
I don't understand Time
Time Travel Tales
I saw Uranus :-)
Bad poetry day ;-)
Tool tips
A book for bikers
I'm no botanist
Nostalgic cable car
Building the Bomb
Cold War border museum
Signed books
Record heat here :-(
Hold the front page!
First words from Moon
About Andre´ Wiersig
Day of the Dinosaurs
Stade, a Hanse town
Sickeningly embarrassing
Humble Pi
MiniWelt park
Klausenhof : a 1487 pub
Leaning more than Pisa
Richard's TR6 Oldtimer
Lockpicking 101

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Cop Car
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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