Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Sunday, 12 Dec 2021, 11:38)
Yesterday we went to the Christmas Market at Stratford-on-Avon. A very interesting town, with many beautiful old houses, including one that belonged to Shakespeare's father John and is very likely to have been the playwright's birthplace. As we were leaving just at sunset the lights were coming on and the scene was almost magical.
My friend was rushed to hospital after being kicked by a horse. Luckily his condition is stable.
This is well-known but still surprising.
Permalink 7 comments (latest comment by Patrick Blackwill, Thursday, 23 Dec 2021, 12:33)
Accordion to research, 9 out of 10 people don't notice when you replace words with random musical instruments.
Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Sunday, 5 Dec 2021, 01:04)
Every day a group of friends play a strange game. Everyone writes their name on a slip of paper, folds it, and drops it into a hat. The slips are thoroughly shaken up, and then each player pulls a slip out of the hat. Anyone who draws a slip with their own name on wins a prize.
My question is: over a long series of games, what is the average number of players per game who win a prize?
Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Thursday, 2 Dec 2021, 21:35)
Today we went to see the Christmas Light Show at Kew Gardens. Here are three installations that I thought especially beautiful.
Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Friday, 3 Dec 2021, 00:20)
Inspired by Steve Mould's videos about the chanin fountain, I bought 5 m of 3.2 mm beaded roller pull chain and took it down the pub, where it was a big hit.
When my groceries came today the supermarket had replaced an item costing £12 with one costing £30. So a good deal! I messaged a friend and said “I lucked out”. But then I wondered if I meant “lucked in”.
Well lucked out is indeed what I meant. It’s an idiom for a fortunate event. But it is also an idiom for something happening that is unfortunate. So it can mean something and also the opposite, which is interesting.
There are words in English that behave the same way: for example “cleave” can mean cling to, but also separate from. And “clip” can mean attach, but also cut off.
There is an interesting discussion here
PS Confusingly there is another idiom “lucked in”. And that is definitely good fortune.
How do you advertise ears? Ear plugs.
Pumpkin seed oil has an intriguing and unusual optical property; it is dichomatic. A thin layer is coloured some shade of green but a thicker layer is a dark-reddish purple. When I heard about this from Steve Mold's YouTube piece The rare property of pumpkin seed oil - dichromatism, I bought some and took this photograph.
The camera has distorted the colour of the green area slightly; it is less yellow and more green that the photograph suggests, at least to my vision. EDIT here is another photo, that shows the two colours better.
From what I can gather the explanation is that a thin layer of pumpkin seed oil transmits significant amounts of blue, green, yellow and red light and the blue, green and yellow together dominate and are perceived as green. However once the layer gets more than 0.7 mm thick the blue, green and yellow are sharply attenuated and the transmitted light is nearly all red. I owe this information to the Wikepedia article on the topic at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichromatism
Next week I'm going to try an Austrian salad dressing, pumpkin seed oil and cider vinegar.
Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Monday, 15 Nov 2021, 23:08)
Today my friend will drop 10,000 biodegradable poppies from a classic aeroplane, a de Havilland Rapide. Here's a photo from a previous occasion.
I’ve been working as a tailor, specialising in the top half of men’s suits. But I’ve decided to jack it in.
I took the same snow scene as in my blogpost of 20 October and put it through the Deep Dream generator, but this time the transfornation was not based on a style image but instead on patterms the AI software has been trained to recognise. Here's the result, bizarre and vaguely disturbing, but very interesting.
My friend designs castles. He’s very introverted though. Most of the time he’s away with his forts.
Piston: Went out in the rain.
Ant that wore a ghost costume for Halloween but is dressed normally again today.
I’d never heard this before today but stumbled across it.
It originates with the Latin poet Horace, but was taken up by Immanuel Kant in response to the challenge: “What is the Enlightenment?” Usually it’s translated as “Dare to know”; the sapere part means “To know” (think sapient pearwood in Terry Pratchett) and aude as in “audacity”). In Latin word order didn’t matter (much); which is why it (misleadingly) looks like “To dare, know” in English.
There’s the background. What do you think? Should we dare to know? What is the alternative?
Here's a rather beautiful picture of a snow scene, in a style vaguely reminiscent of Seurat.
It wasn't painted however but computer generated, using the Google AI program Deep Dream at https://deepdreamgenerator.com/, with the style "Seurat", starting with the snow scene below, which I took a few years ago.
I hadn't heard of Deep Dream until today, but I found it absolutey fascinating to play with.
Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Saturday, 30 Oct 2021, 22:57)
Trepanning is an ancient (back to Bronze Age) surgical procedure (the earliest attested) that involves cutting a one inch or so circular hole through a person's cranium, to relieve pressure from a brain bleed, or perhaps to vent evil spirits, or for other for other ritual reasons. There’s a substantial body of archeological evidence for the practice,
But I can’t help thinking the patients (subjects?) would have found it tedious. They must have been bored out of their skulls.
I’ve just opened a clock shop. It’s not doing great, but it’s tIcking over.
I applied to join a support group for people with bladder infections. They came straight back, “You’re in.”
It’s really easy to eat a slice of pecan pie. In fact, it’s a piece of cake.
Gold leaf. It takes a lot of beating.
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