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Richard Walker

Can this be true?

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I watched a YouTube video which said Rachmaninov wrote 7.5 x 1018 notes during his lifetime as a composer. Could this be true?

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Richard Walker

Zig-Zag Angles

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 16 Sep 2023, 23:03


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Richard Walker

New Rose - "Golden Bouquet"

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I only wish I could post the scent as well as the picture.


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Richard Walker

Solution to How Many Triangles?

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 12 Sep 2023, 23:18

See:

https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=260010

I found this in a puzzle book and thought it would be not too hard, but it was more tricky than I expected. Making sure you haven't missed any triangles, or double counted any, is quite slippery.

Here are the possible kinds of triangle:



Each of these can occur in five positions, so I thought at first the answer is 6 x 5 = 30, but I was mistaken, because config. e has chirality, i.e. handedness; the triangles can be aligned right or left, and so we get a total of 35.

After more investigation I found a fairly recent paper which gives a general formula for a regular polygon with any numbers of sides, but for larger numbers it gets quite complicated. 

I liked this problem, for the original pentagonal case, because it is easy to grasp, less simple than appears at first but is still solvable with some careful working.

I'll post a link to the paper about the general case for anyone interested.  


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Richard Walker

Solution to How Many Triangles?

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See https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=260011

I found this in a puzzle book and thought it would be not too hard, but it was more tricky than I expected. Making sure you haven't missed any triangles, or double counted any, is quite slippery.

Here are the possible kinds of triangle:



Each of these can occur in five positions, so I thought at first the answer is 6 x 5 = 30, but I was mistaken, because config. e has chirality, i.e. handedness; the triangles can be aligned right or left, and so we get a total of 35.

After more investigation I found a fairly recent paper which gives a general formula for a regular polygon with any numbers of sides, but for larger numbers it gets quite complicated. 

I liked this problem, for the original pentagonal case, because it is easy to grasp, less simple than appears at first but is still solvable with some careful working.

I'll post a link to the paper about the general case for anyone interested.  


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Richard Walker

Pondlife

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Can’t remember where I originally heard the joke but the illustration is mine
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Richard Walker

Do you recognise this saying?

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“Loose thread, soonest mended.”


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Richard Walker

Opening bottle blues

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Opening the mouthwash 

Was like a tiny obstacle course.

Designers, are you listening?

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Richard Walker

How Many Triangles?

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How many triangles can you find in this diagram? I don't just mean ones whose vertices liu on the outer pentagon, I mean all the triangles visble.


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Richard Walker

How Many Triangles?

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How many triangles can you find in this diagram? I don't just mean ones whose vertices liu on the outer pentagon, I mean all the triangles visble.


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Richard Walker

Nominative determinism

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 4 Sep 2023, 12:35

Nominative determinism is the idea that a person's name might somehow influence their career choice. 

The term was popularised in New Scientist magazine in 1994, and was intended humorously. It attracted many examples, such the book The Imperial Animal by Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox and Pole Positions—The Polar Regions and the Future of the Planet, by Daniel Snowman. You can find lots of similar examples in the Wikipedia article here.

There is even an intriguing possibility that is it more than a series on coincidences, that these is really something in it, and it has been seriously discussed by a number of psychologists, although it would be hard I think to0 establish any real effect.

Be that as it may, I have just been reading the history of Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire and in the Wikipedia article about it I came across this advertisement from 1926. Bidwell and Sons auctioneers, eh?



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Richard Walker

My Awesome Sunflower

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Richard Walker

Autumn Haiku

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 1 Sep 2023, 20:40

Autumn's arrived—
Just hearing that
I'm cold already.

Issa

See https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=169786b
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Richard Walker

What is the the title of this post?

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 With apologies to Raymond Smullyan.

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Richard Walker

No grapes suffered in the making of this joke

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When you tread on grapes,

They let out a little whine.

But don’t worry,

It’s only sham pain.

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Richard Walker

Haiku

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Nobody told me

The warp drive was not reversible

Now I’m kinda stuck.

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Richard Walker

A Scarlet Tiger

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My brother photographed this beautiful moth.


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Richard Walker

Why acorn?

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Old English for oak was ek, I think (German is Eiche) but that has mutated into oak in Modern English. The “corn” bit presumably means seed, and so why don’t we call it an Oakcorn?

Try saying it at normal voice level, Oakcorn. 

Try whispering it. Is that different?

Why?

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Richard Walker

At Sandilands

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 27 Aug 2023, 00:00


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Richard Walker

Tim's weakness

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Richard Walker

Panniers

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A few months ago, I bought a mobility scooter designed to go on the road, rather than the pavement. It’s a bit like an electric motorbike except of course it doesn’t go as fast, there’s a limit of 8 mph.

Like many motorbikes, it has a back box, but its capacity is limited. Having literally just bought a baguette I wondered how I could fit my bread and other groceries in. 

What I need is panniers I thought; storage baskets that hang on either side of a donkey or a bike; and then it occurred to me, that’s exactly why they are called panniers. It must be connected with French pain = bread. Aha! 

So I looked it up in the OED and sure enough, a pannier was a bread basket in old French, and we borrowed the word, into Middle English or maybe before.

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Richard Walker

The Jersey Tiger

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This striking moth has a wide range outside Britain, but historically it was rare here and only found in the Channel Isles (thus the name) and one location in Devon.

However like many species it has been expanding its territory and has now spread north as far as Cambridgeshire, where it popped up in my garden.

This picture of the resting insect doesn't begin to show how spectacular it is in flight; sadly it didn't stay around long enough for us to video it.

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Richard Walker

Susan

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Richard Walker

Squirrel Brains

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I love squirrels, seeing them often in my garden, and was fascinated to hear recently that their brains may grow in autumn and shrink again in spring. 

The reason for this might be that the task of storing a winter food supply in a way that's easy to find again takes a lot of mental effort, to organise and memorise the cache locations.

Other mammals adapt for winter in significant ways; stoats and mountain hare change the colour of their coats; hedgehogs and bears hibernate. There is also evidence that shrews shrink both body and brain, to survive with shrunken resources.

So the idea about squirrels is plausible, and it's supported by research findings, but of course it's hard to be sure and there is still debate.

There's a good article here about a leading researcher and her liking and fascination with these clever little beasts.

Studies of squirrel brain regeneration may reveal clues about how to slow Alzheimer's disease, because in at least one form, the cells squirrels seem to regenerate are the ones that sufferers appear to be losing? Could mental activity, such as doing puzzles, help? It's often been suggested and there is some evidence in favour, I recall. It's an alluring possibility but no more at this stage.

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Richard Walker

One Liner à la Tim Vine

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 12 Aug 2023, 23:30

The vegetable show was won by an 85-pound swede. I thought, “That’s a turnip for the books.”

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