# Personal Blogs

## 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 Â°) and angles on a straight line (180 Â°). Îą is always 60 Â°, 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 âcanâ is âcâ for cat, âaâ for apple, and ânâ for night, and there you have it. It doesnât work very well, but itâs a good start.
Â
There we were, two dozen or so, and we are reading Janet and John out loud. âL-o-o-k J-a-n-e-t s-a-y-s J-o-h-nâ. It doesnât totally work but if you listen to yourself,Â you can work out most words. The story helps a lot of course.Â

Our teacher offered a gold star to the first person in the class who could read silently. Iâ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 âOh look class, Richard can read silentlyâ. On the spot or what? From that time I couldnât read out loud without being exposed as a fraud, and I more or less instantly found out Iâd been able to read silently all along.

Iâ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 didnâ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.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Joanne Maddock, Friday, 20 Nov 2020, 19:31)
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## One Liner

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grovellingapology.com

Itâ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

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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 PuzzleÂ

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, letâs say 200
maximum 1500+

What we want to know is the diameter of the table,Â and since this is only a back-of-an-envelope estimate weâ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, youâ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.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020, 22:11)
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## A Riddle

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Q. ďťżWhat word is not the same as itself?

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

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Have you ever thoughtâwhen you say, "I can't say fairer than that"âyou just have?

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I didnât get this one at first. Then it clicked.

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## Dialogue

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âCan I use the dial please?â

âNo! Itâs mine all mine, bwahaha!â

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Jan Pinfield, Sunday, 15 Nov 2020, 10:52)
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## Groaner

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 14 Nov 2020, 22:25

Q. What goes "99, 100, Phew!"

A. A centipede counting its legs.

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## Round Table Puzzle

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Edited by Richard Walker, Saturday, 14 Nov 2020, 22:21

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by David Tracey, Sunday, 15 Nov 2020, 16:55)
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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 13 Nov 2020, 23:30

This intersting little animal is a pademelon, a kind of marsupial, related to kanaroos and wallabies.

I had never heard of pademelons, but the name came up in a quiz tonight. There are seven species but the Wikpepdia article is a bit sparse on detail.

Here's a video from of young pademelons playing.

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## Cats on Cushions Puzzle

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 13 Nov 2020, 02:15

This is a sawn-down version of a puzzle "Arranging cats and dogs" that Matt Parker recently posted on YouTube.

In our version we have a pair of cats, and eight cushions. We want to seat each cat on its own cushion, with the restriction that they cannot occupy adjacent cushions, in case they start a cat fight. Here is one possible arrangement.

You see the cats are not next to one another, so theÂ rule is satisfied.

The question is: how many possibleÂ arrangements are there? What if there were 9 cushions? Or 10? Can you give a general formula?

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Saturday, 14 Nov 2020, 21:09)
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## Procrastination

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Iâve been asked to write a short piece on procrastination. But I can do it later.

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## Ant Joke

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Q. How does an ant whoâs not driving a taxi any longer feel?

A. Exuberant.Â

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## Tom Swifty

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âThat ditch is swarming with some kind of insectâ, said Tom trenchantly.

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## A Ballad of Proverbs, after Villon

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020, 03:52

A cat can look at a queen.

Cats have nine lives.

How many shopping days till Christmas?

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Every dog has his day.

How many shopping days till Christmas?

Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Many hands make light work.

How many shopping days till Christmas?

A bird in the hand is worth two in the Bush.

Birds of a feather flock together.

How many shopping days till Christmas?

Itâs always darkest just before the dawn.

Thereâs light at the end of the tunnel.

How many shopping days till Christmas?

Donât count your chickens before they are hatched.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

How many shopping days till Christmas?

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Faint heart never won fair lady.

How many shopping days till Christmas?

A stitch in time saves nine.

How many shopping days till Christmas.

Beggars canât be choosers.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

How many shopping days till Christmas?
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## Milongueo del Ayer, by Abel Fleury

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 12 Nov 2020, 11:59

This features my friend Mike Lloyd playing a duet, remotely of course, with Sebastian Pompilio, a professional guitarist and guitar teacher based in Argentina.

Mike says they did the duet with a lot of help from audio/video editing software, recording parts separately and then stitching them together.

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## Supper 09/11/2030

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020, 00:52

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020, 16:38)
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## A Bottle Hits The Dust

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020, 00:53

An old shelf collapsed today, sadly; a bottle of Port fell and broke. No use crying, but why is Port called Port?

It's named for Oporto which means 'The port' in Portugese. I knew that but wanted to dig deeper.

Portugal itself seems to have been named in Latin, Portus Cale, the first element meaning port or gate or mountain pass etc. in Latin, the second a Celtic name, of a deity, or a people, or lots of other possibilites, see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Portugal#Etymology

But what about Latin portus? What are its origins? I was surprised. It is conjecturered to stem from a word pertus = crossing in the long-ago origin of most (but not all!) European languages.

So, even more surprisingly perhaps, the English word ford has the same origin. Grimm's laws documented that words that began with 'p' or 'q' in Greek or Latim have mutated to start with 'f' in Germanic languages, so e.g.

pater (Latin) -> father

pisce (Latin) -> fish

pyre (Greek) -> fire

pente (Greek) -> five

quercus (Latin) -> fir (not the same tree, but the same word root)

pothi (Greek) -> foot

If you want to feed in anything more, you have an opportunity to do so in the Comments.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020, 22:15)
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