OU blog

Personal Blogs

Richard Walker

New blog post

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 26 Sep 2023, 23:46

Someone asked “What’s that funny hair on your upper lip?” I was like “Not got time to explain right now. Must dash.”

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

The Topiarist's Nightmare

Visible to anyone in the world

Last night photoed this rather attractive moth in my local. It's pretty, but it's an invasive and harmful species. 

By chance my brother snapped one of these the day before and sent me the pic and an ID. So I recognised it at once as a box tree moth.

They are native to China, Japan, East Russia, India and neighbouring regions, where there is biological control from, from example, hornets. But in the last few years they have spread, I imagine with human help, to Europe, then Britain, and now to the Cambridgeshire village where I live. And we have no natural controls.

The caterpillars live on box hedges or trees as the insect's name tells us, and they are hugely destructive; they may completely defoliate the bush, leaving just twigs. The moth may lay three sets of eggs in a season and so many people are losing their prize hedges, including many of my fellow villagers.

If you look at these old hedges at Audley End you can see what a huge legacy is under threat.


The RHS article about the moth is here; you might find it interesting reading, and, if you see the moth in your locality, report the sighting to the RHS.



Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Can this be true? No it can’t!

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 21 Sep 2023, 21:54

See 

https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=261570

Rachmaninov lived about 70 years, which is approximately 2.2 billion seconds. The quoted number of notes was 7.5 billion billion. So the composer would have needed to have written more than 3 billion notes for every second of his life.

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Can this be true?

Visible to anyone in the world

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

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Can this be true?

Visible to anyone in the world

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

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Masami Watanabe, Wednesday, 20 Sep 2023, 05:12)
Share post
Richard Walker

Zig-Zag Angles

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 16 Sep 2023, 23:03


Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 19 Sep 2023, 13:35)
Share post
Richard Walker

New Rose - "Golden Bouquet"

Visible to anyone in the world

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


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Jennifer Marshall, Monday, 18 Sep 2023, 17:05)
Share post
Richard Walker

Solution to How Many Triangles?

Visible to anyone in the world
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.  


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Masami Watanabe, Friday, 15 Sep 2023, 09:47)
Share post
Richard Walker

Solution to How Many Triangles?

Visible to anyone in the world

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.  


Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Pondlife

Visible to anyone in the world


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

Do you recognise this saying?

Visible to anyone in the world
“Loose thread, soonest mended.”


Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Opening bottle blues

Visible to anyone in the world

Opening the mouthwash 

Was like a tiny obstacle course.

Designers, are you listening?

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

How Many Triangles?

Visible to anyone in the world

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.


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Richard Walker, Thursday, 7 Sep 2023, 00:54)
Share post
Richard Walker

How Many Triangles?

Visible to anyone in the world

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.


Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Nominative determinism

Visible to anyone in the world
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?



Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

My Awesome Sunflower

Visible to anyone in the world

   


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Sunday, 3 Sep 2023, 12:49)
Share post
Richard Walker

Autumn Haiku

Visible to anyone in the world
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
Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Joan Madeley, Saturday, 2 Sep 2023, 14:35)
Share post
Richard Walker

What is the the title of this post?

Visible to anyone in the world

 With apologies to Raymond Smullyan.

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

No grapes suffered in the making of this joke

Visible to anyone in the world

When you tread on grapes,

They let out a little whine.

But don’t worry,

It’s only sham pain.

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Haiku

Visible to anyone in the world

Nobody told me

The warp drive was not reversible

Now I’m kinda stuck.

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

A Scarlet Tiger

Visible to anyone in the world

My brother photographed this beautiful moth.


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Sunday, 3 Sep 2023, 12:52)
Share post
Richard Walker

Why acorn?

Visible to anyone in the world

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?

Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

At Sandilands

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 27 Aug 2023, 00:00


Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Tim's weakness

Visible to anyone in the world


Permalink
Share post
Richard Walker

Panniers

Visible to anyone in the world

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.

Permalink
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 1815094