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Richard Walker

Lockdown Effects : Self Assessment

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 5 Jan 2021, 23:50

Prompted by a YouTube post from Tim Spector of the ZOE Covid symptom study, I thought about how I have fared. In health terms, where have I improved, where have I done worse, and where have things stayed more or less the same?

Diet. +3: More fresh produce, more veg, more fibre, trending to less meat, especially red or cured. Ready meals right down.

Keeping in touch with family and friends. +2: In these times I’ve reached out a lot to others and they to me. So more contact, but not as good as meeting in person of course.

Exercise. -1: I’m restricted anyway in what I can do but it’s been notched down now.

Sleep pattern. -0.5: it’s always been erratic and lockdown has made it a little worse.

Alcohol. The same: a bit high but little change if any.


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Richard Walker

Locker Puzzle Solution

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Imagine the lockers are numbered 1 - 100.

Each locker switches from closed to open, or vice versa, whenever it is a multiple of 1, then of 2, then of 3, of 4 etc.

So it switches as many times as its number has factors. For example locker 6 will be switched by person 1, person 2, person 3 and person 6.

If a locker is switched an even number of times it will be back where it started, i.e. closed. So lockers whose number has an even number of factors will end up closed. Conversely lockers whose number has an odd number of factors will be switched an odd number of times and end up open.

Which numbers have an odd number of factors? As a rule factors occur in pairs of distinct numbers; for example

6 = 1 x 6 = 6 x 1

6 = 2 x 3 = 3 x 2

However the exception are square numbers, which by definition have a factor (the root of the square) which is not one of a distinct pair. For example

9 = 1 x 9 = 9 x 1

9 = 3 x 3

Square numbers, and only square numbers, have an odd number of factors. So we conclude that the lockers that are open at the end are just those numbered 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81 and 100.





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Richard Walker

The Locker Puzzle

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I found this nice puzzle on math.stackexchange.com. I hadn't seen it before.

In a school hallway there are 100 closed lockers. 100 people walk through the hallway one after another.

The first person changes the state of every locker from closed to open,

The second person changes the state of every second locker, from open to closed,

The third person changes the state of every third locker, from open to closed or vice versa,

The fourth person changes the state of every fourth locker, from open to closed or vice versa,

and so on, right on until the hundreth person, who changes the state, open or closed, of every hundredth locker.

At the end which of the lockers are open?

Answer tomorrow.

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Richard Walker

Why Did The Sausage Cross the Road?

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 4 Jan 2021, 02:41

Cos it was on a roll!

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Richard Walker

Why is taramasalata special

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I love its salty taste.

Plus it's the only word in English with six vowels all 'a' s. Maybe.

The OED allows Taramasalata, but sadly, in Greek it's Taramosalata (Ταραμοσαλάτα).

Pity.

Ti krima.

τι κρίμα




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Richard Walker

One Liner

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 4 Jan 2021, 01:18
I bought some gloves I saw in a sale. They're bound to come in handy one day.


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Richard Walker

haiku for a memory

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 3 Jan 2021, 02:02

When first I saw you

When you’d gone out the door

When they were all saying shessuchaloverlygirl

I never forgot that moment.



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Richard Walker

Counting in Anglo-Saxon

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 1 Jan 2021, 23:25

What surprises me is how little these words have changed in a thousand years, and also that if you speak them aloud, articulating all the letters, you get a kind of feel from how they might have sounded then.

an forma
twa oðer
ðreo ðridda
feower feorða
fif fifta
siex siexta
seofon seofoða
eahta eahtoða
nigon nigoða
tien teoða

forma and oðer have been replaced by first (which looks like a natural vowel and then consonant shift perhaps, I think the German is erste) and second, from Latin secundus.



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Richard Walker

Fado

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Fado is a traditional Portuguese song genre. Someone once said it is the Portuguese equivalent of Flamenco, but I'm not sure that is wholly accurate; there are Fado dances but it seems to be primarily a vocal form. The word fado perhaps means fate.

If you don't know about Fado, Google it and there are lots of hits. My favourite singer is Amalia Rodrigues (1920 - 1999); she of the heartbreaking voice, a great Fadista; but there are many other artists I like. Mariza is very good too, I think.

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Richard Walker

Fancy Dress

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I went to a fancy dress party in a costume made of porridge. I called it my Oat Couture.

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Richard Walker

New Year's Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree

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Foxes gather at an old tree on New Year's Eve. On the way they set foxfires, which farmers can count to predict the rice harvest.


By Hiroshige, 1857; see https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/55553

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Richard Walker

Cattle Egrets

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These elegant birds (altho the one of the right looks a bit grouchy) are Cattle Egrets. These birds (like many others) have been steadily extending their territory northward. (I suppose similar things have happened in the southern hemiphere, although less perhaps, since land masses are more separated there.)

My brother Simon snapped these Cattle Egrets in Bedfordshire.


Cattle Egrets are often seen in wildlife documentaries, usually perched on the back of cattle. They pick out and eat ticks and other pests, and it's a form of symbiosis. But round here they don't seem to do this; probably because there are relatively fewer cattle, and more other food opportunities, as seen in the photo.

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Richard Walker

No Title

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 30 Dec 2020, 05:27

If your gran has corn from us,

Lay her to rest in a granary.

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Richard Walker

Countenance

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Ants you can trust to get your sums right for you.

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Richard Walker

Word of the Day

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Grallitorial, a word describing long-legged birds like herons or cranes. From Latin grallae = stilts and later grallitorius = one on stilts.

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Richard Walker

A Geometrical Minimum

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While I was having my dinner this puzzle occurred to me.


Assume the quadrilateral is convex, and has no re-entrant corners of the sort shown in this example.


After a bit of sketching quadrilaterals and points, I saw what the really beautiful answer is. Scroll down to read more.

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Then I went off to do some research, and of course there is nothing new under the sun. Fagnano wrote about this question ca. 1750. But similar questions still arouse research interest. Suppose we had different ways of measuring distance? Or we weren't on a flat surface? Or what about 4 points in space? Or more than 4 points in the plane?

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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I sent my friend a joke about failed deliveries. But he didn’t get it.

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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Watched a video about low-carb dieting. So inspirational. It just took my bread away.

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Richard Walker

The Yule Lads

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In Icelandic folklore, instead of Santa there are 13 Yule Lads, who come one after another on each of the 13 nights leading up to Christmas, and then leave again in the same order as they came. They are fond of playing tricks, but also leave presents for children, in shoes rather than stockings. Their names in English are

Sheep-Cote Clod
Gully Gawk
Stubby
Spoon-Licker
Pot-Scraper
Bowl-Licker
Door-Slammer
Skyr-Gobbler
Sausage-Swiper
Window-Peeper
Doorway-Sniffer
Meat-Hook
Candle-Stealer

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Richard Walker

Upon The Pun

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pun

Is fun.

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Richard Walker

The Wassail Cup

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Today the word wassail is rare and survives only in Christmassy traditions; it can mean mulled wine, or a booze up, or singing carols house to house. But originally it was not specially related to Christmas but just a drinking formula, e.g.

Me: Ves Heill

You: Drink Heill

Which means something like

Me: To Your Health

You: Drink To Health 

Drinkhail has now sadly faded from the language, but wassail survives, a sort of verbal fly trapped in Christmas amber. Interestingly the drinking formula aspect is quite late. The expression Ves Heill existed before the Norman Conquest but there are no sources connecting it to the drinking formula I have described; it is just used in the sense of ‘be well’ or ‘farewell’. And the ‘hail’ form indicates Danish influence (in Old English it would have hal rather than heill). An interesting theory is that the drinking motif evolved among the Danish speakers in England e.g. in the reign of Cnut and then memed more widely. It’s lost its potency now though.

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Richard Walker

Sir Christmas

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Today I was reading a book about Christmas traditions (Vintage Christmas Traditions, by Linda Davis) and found this early appearance of Father Christmas or something like him. The earlest know record of the carol is from the 15c (see here) and seems to be from the Ritson manuscript, a 15c choirbook in the British Museum.

The version below comes from A garland of Christmas carols, ancient and modern. Including some never before given in any collection (J.C. Hotten, 1861) which I found on the Internet Archive.


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Richard Walker

Uncategorised Joke

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How would you make a joke about a small fruit basket?

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.

Punnet.




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Richard Walker

Christmas 2020

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I am not religious, but still fond of tradition, and religion-friendly, so I did (apprehensively) venture to the local church for a service of readings and music (congregation not allowed to sing; nor, I was amused to read, to hum).

The music was the organ and the choir, who are permitted to sing and hum too, I guess. Last year the church was packed; this year only 24 of us. Everything was very safety-first and well organised and I was glad I went. I didn't pray but I did think about the lives that have gone before, and about those that must once have sat in the same pew I occupied, on my own because of social distancing.

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Richard Walker

Playground joke

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Why did Tim feel full of beans?

Because he had eaten too many. Boom boom!

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