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Stir Rating

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Please rate this porridge, on a scale of 1-5 stirs.

🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄

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Playground Joke

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What Came Before Toucans?

Onecans!

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Help Needed

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I couldn't think of a word meaning the same as kayak. Canoe?

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One Liner

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My policy about sweeping away cobwebs is put it off until the last possible moment. I call it Dust in Time.

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Enunciation

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It’s hard for singers of classical music to sing so listeners can pick up the words.

They are usually expected to sing in several languages not their first, and even native speakers of the language the performance is in often struggle to understand the singer.

Following on from the Berkeley research described a post or so back, maybe subtitles ahead of each phrase would help people pick out the words.

 


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Storm Precautions

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Experts say Seniors who walk with a stick should avoid extreme weather and reach home quickly. Learn more about our assistive technology at hurry-cane.com
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Pop-outs

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 27 Nov 2020, 21:52
In this experiment you will hear snippets of garbled speech that are almost impossible to understand. After each snippet has played you will hear the undistorted version, and immediately hear the garbled version a second time. Amazingly, you can now understand what you couldn't make out at all just a few seconds ago!

Click on the link below to start the experiment.

Try the garbled speech experiment yourself


Researchers have found that when this experiment is carried out with subjects who have electrode on the suface of their brains, the garbled speech evokes little electrical activity the first time round, but after the subject has been told what the words are the garbled speech produces a similar pattern to the clear speech. They have now "tuned in" and can hear what they couldn't before. More about this fascinating effect can be found here.
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Earworm

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I'm currently suffering from an earworm. An earworm is a snatch of music that you can't get out of your head. In my case it's "The clouds will soon roll by", sung in 1932 by Elsie Carlisle, with Ambrose and his orchestra.

Somewhere the sun is shining
So, honey, don't you cry
We'll find a silver lining
The clouds will soon roll by

This keeps popping into my head at odd moments throughout the day. I'm familiar with it from the sound track to the BBC series Pennies from Heaven but I haven't listened to it for ages. Why I should suddenly think of it now I don't know. Maybe the optimism of it appeals to me.

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Two Daffinitions

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Paradox: Two dogs.

Orthodoxy: Look at all those dogs!

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One Liner

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My friend replaced his chandelier with a ceiling fan. I never looked at him in the same light again.

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One Liner

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Is graffiti doomed? The writing’s on the wall.

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mindlessness haiku

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Spell-checker claimed

No word mindlessness exists

Wrong, see OED.

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One Liner

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I read today open-minded people have a different perception of reality. Oh no we don't.

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One Liner

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I come from a family of comedians. For example, my Mum and Dad, Mr and Mrs Kerr, decided to name me Joe.

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A Quick Geometric Problem

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Michael Penn put this up on his YouTube channel earlier today, and it is indeed an elegant little problem. Here it is


Michael Penn solves this using congruent triangles, the angle sum of a triangle (180 °) and angles on a straight line (180 °). α is always 60 °, whatever the length of AD and CE. It's not that obvious and I was quite surprised.

However thinking about it later, I saw we can solve the problem using symmetry and the solution is super-nice. Here's how - just add a third line.



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When we were very young

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When I was in infant school they taught us to read. The phonetic method was used (I see in hindsight), so “can” is “c” for cat, “a” for apple, and “n” for night, and there you have it. It doesn’t work very well, but it’s a good start.
 
There we were, two dozen or so, and we are reading Janet and John out loud. “L-o-o-k J-a-n-e-t s-a-y-s J-o-h-n”. It doesn’t totally work but if you listen to yourself, you can work out most words. The story helps a lot of course. 

Our teacher offered a gold star to the first person in the class who could read silently. I’m not a gold star person personally, and I was bored by it all. So to pass the time I stopped speaking and just pretended to be reading.

Wow big mistake! Up comes Teacher who says “Oh look class, Richard can read silently”. On the spot or what? From that time I couldn’t read out loud without being exposed as a fraud, and I more or less instantly found out I’d been able to read silently all along.

I’ve no idea what reminded me of this.

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A Reason for Optimism

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At The Races

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 20 Nov 2020, 22:13

Just been watching an Egg and Spoon race. Very surprised the Spoon didn’t win.

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Outlaws

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The authorities are after a couple of bad guys. Apparently they are Juan, Ted.

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One Liner

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grovellingapology.com

It’s a sorry site.

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Scarebears

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This fearsome creature is a robot wolf.


The city of Takikawa in Hokkaido has been having problems with bears venturing into the city after food.

So the city has invested in robot wolves with motion detectors. The robot wolves have bared teeth, flashing red eyes, and a repetoire of 60+ noises that bears find frightening. A bit like a mechanical scarecrow, but for bears.

You can see a robot bear in action here

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/11/japanese-town-deploys-monster-wolf-robots-to-deter-bears



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How Big Was The Round Table?

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 18 Nov 2020, 01:22

Thinking about the Round Table Puzzle 

https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=232912

I wondered how many seats there are supposed to have been at the Round Table and whether communication (or even staying out of the rain) would have been feasible.

From the Wikipedia article Knights of the Round Table I got some useful information. Many have written about the Round Table, but among them the seating statistics can be summarised as follows

minimum 12
mode (commonest value); in the range 100-300, let’s say 200
maximum 1500+

What we want to know is the diameter of the table, and since this is only a back-of-an-envelope estimate we’ll say pi = 3. And ignoring social distancing it would be fair to assume each knight occupied 1 m of circumference.

My calculations

Minimum 12/3 = 4 m; big table, you’d need to shout; table easily fits indoors.
Mode 200/3 = 60+ m; loud hailers required; can be accommodated in a banqueting hall.
Maximum 1500/3 = 500 m (half a km!) ; telecoms required; only possible outside.

This post is a summarised preprint of a piece I plan to submit to Significance.
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One liner

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020, 22:07

My latest book is about turtles. It's only available in hardback.

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Supper Tonight

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The garnish on the noodle is a seaweed, aonori, also called green laver.

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A Riddle

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Q. What word is not the same as itself?

A. My answer: "Any word, apart from 'itself', but my favourite is 'sausage'."

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