## If Christmas lasted all year

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A popular question in Christmas quizzes asks how many gifts were sent, and received, altogether in the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas.

So on day 1 (sing the song) it was 1

On day 2 (sing the song) it was 2 plus 1 = 3

On day 3 plus 2 plus 1 = 6

….

What is the total after 12 days: 1 plus 3 plus 6 …?

Now, what if there were 365 days of Christmas? What would the grand total be then?

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Masami Watanabe, Thursday, 16 Dec 2021, 01:11)
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## Knock-knock!

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Who's there?

No it’s Fred.

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## Dawn Haiku

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 14 Dec 2021, 00:17
Winter sunrise
Another day.
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## On the Surprising Similarity of Large Shopping Centres

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If you’ve seen one large shopping centre, you’ve seen a mall.

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## Dawn 11 December 2021

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Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Sunday, 12 Dec 2021, 11:38)
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## Christmas market at Stratford

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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.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Masami Watanabe, Thursday, 16 Dec 2021, 01:47)
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## Horsey horsey

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My friend was rushed to hospital after being kicked by a horse. Luckily his condition is stable.

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## A geometric puzzle

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This is well-known but still surprising.

Permalink 7 comments (latest comment by Patrick Blackwill, Thursday, 23 Dec 2021, 12:33)
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## Worth a repeat

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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)
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## A Strange Game

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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)
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## Light Show at Kew

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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)
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## Chain fountain

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 23 Nov 2021, 12:37

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.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 23 Nov 2021, 19:07)
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## Lucked out

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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

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/words-own-opposites

PS Confusingly there is another idiom “lucked in”. And that is definitely good fortune.

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 16 Nov 2021, 21:37

How do you advertise ears? Ear plugs.

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## Dichromatism - edited

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 15 Nov 2021, 23:07
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)
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## Poppy Drop

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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.

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## Death’s an Auctioneer

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going

going

gone

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I’ve been working as a tailor, specialising in the top half of men’s suits. But I’ve decided to jack it in.

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## More from Deep Dream

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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.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Sunday, 7 Nov 2021, 09:36)
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My friend designs castles. He’s very introverted though. Most  of the time he’s away with his forts.

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## Daffynition

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Piston: Went out in the rain.

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## Ant Joke

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Expectorant

Ant that wore a ghost costume for Halloween but is dressed normally again today.

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## Sapere aude

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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?

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## Snow Scene

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 30 Oct 2021, 14:21
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)
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## Trepanning

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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.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Richard Walker, Monday, 25 Oct 2021, 00:39)
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