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Stu Savory School report for Stu Savory
Eunoia, who is a grumpy, overeducated, facetious, multilingual ex-pat Scot, blatantly opinionated, old (1944-vintage), amateur cryptologist, computer consultant, atheist, flying instructor, bulldog-lover, Beetle-driver, textbook-writer, long-distance biker, geocacher and blogger living in the foothills south of the northern German plains. Not too shy to reveal his true name or even whereabouts, he blogs his opinions, and humour and rants irregularly. Stubbornly he clings to his beliefs, e.g. that Faith does not give answers, it only prevents you doing any goddamn questioning. You are as atheist as he is. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will know why he does not believe in yours :-) Oh, and he also has a neat English Bulldog called 'Kosmo'.


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My Maths Pages


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Beware the Bitcoin Bubble :-(

Bitcoins are a socalled cryptocurrency, impractical as a currency, and currently an (imho) highly speculative investment. People are greedy, and having seen the 'valuation' of bitcoins go from $1000 at the beginning of this year to over $17,000 this week, want to get on the bandwagon. They are likely to get their fingers (and investment) burnt, as the bitcoin has many of the characteristics of a bubble.

Bitcoins are kept artificially scarce (there are at most 21 million of them, about 17 million are currently in use) to keep the value up. There are about 100,000 transaction in the waiting list, so you can't just jump in or out quickly. There can only be about 8 transactions per second; the blockchains are decentralised and so the total energy cost of processing them is now about 25% of the energy cost of (say) the Netherlands :-( Finding a nonce (= mining a hit) currently takes several quintillion tries and it gets more difficult daily. Indeed it has been estimated that the crash will take place at the latest in 2022 (Christopher Chapman, Citigroup).

Personally, I think the bubble will burst sooner rather than later and am staying clear now. Do so too. Don't get burned when it crashes.

For those of you unfamiliar with the nature of economic bubbles, I have some recommended reading for you : Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds written by Charles Mackay in 1841 (sic!) and still true :-) ISBN of my 2007 reprint is 1-897597-32-0. Mackay covers 3 famous bubbles : the Mississippi scheme, the South Sea Bubble, and Tulipomania. As long as people remain greedy, such bubbles will continue :-(


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fire that Advertising Agency!

Over in the UK, in order to meet forthcoming anti-pollution regulations, a new version of the immortal London Taxicab has been announced. It is the TX e-city which is an electric vehicle. It is displayed in this photo in front of Buckingham Palace.

Now I don't know what the (un)patriotic advertising agency has displayed on the side of the taxi-cab, but it certainly is NOT the union flag!

The Union flag looks like this :-

Fire that Advertising Agency! They don't even know what the national flag should look like. It should have the wide white diagonal on top on the left.

I repeat : Fire that Advertising Agency for that Mega-Fail!

Comments (3)
Cop Car wrote " I would get after the people who hired the advertising agency. They should have caught the error, right off. If the agency was not within the UK (or were slightly dyslexic) it's easy enough to fail to notice that the flag is not symmetrical about the x-axis. It reminds me of years ago when I was trying to get people in our company's publications department (in the Commonwealth of Virginia) to draw me a nice sine wave for a report I was writing (in the State of Florida). After four or five tries, I asked them to please consult a mathematician or engineer on-staff in their building. It came out beautifully." I too had always thought of the sine wave as oscillating between zero and one until in one exam we were asked to solve sin(x)=2 for x; the result is a complex number and it took me over ¼ hour to get it :-(
Barbara (UK) wrote "You seem to complain about this a lot!" Yes, probably thrice a year because there are always UK people who don't know it! In particular, UK athletes so surprised by winning that they hold the flag up wrongly. It would take 30 seconds to teach them, but UK schools don't do that any more :-( It's like in the US, there are Texans who don't know the difference between their own state flag and the flag of Chile :-(
Nils (N) asks "Is this an episode of Sheldon Cooper's Fun with Flags? ;-)" Good idea ;-)


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Talent of Bill Bailey

England has a talented comedian called Bill Bailey. But he is also an accomplished musician, able to play the A to Z of instruments (Alphorn, Banjo, Cowbells, etc through to Zither). Here I've chosen three videos for those of you not acquainted with his musical humour.

First off, he takes a traditional medieval folk song Scarborough Fair which was a Simon and Garfunkel hit and plays it in a Rammstein style, even singing in (his version of ) German.

Next up, a hilarious blues number from the Royal Birthday Variety Performance. For this one, the Queen was indisposed and so Prince Charles and Camilla were the Royals who were present at 2 days notice. So overnight, Bill Bailey and Robin Williams came up with these lyrics to embarass Charles as much as possible. Just enjoy the lyrics, they are hilarious, given the context - the Royal Birthday Blues ;-)

For my third choice he teams up with Soumik Dattas and his Indian Sitar ensemble and gives us Duelling Banjos Sitars ;-)

I think it is great how he can combine comedy with music in such a variety of ways. I hope you enjoy these examples as much as I do :-)

Surf for more by googling him if you enjoy this musical humour too.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Open letter to Elon Musk

Elon Musk, Dr.h.c (mult), B.S, B.S,
CEO and CTO of Space-X
Rocket Rd, Hawthorne, CA 90250, USA

Proposal for a joint space project :-)

Dear sir,
You may be aware of a statement by the famous British philosopher Earl Bertrand Russell about what came to be known as Russell's Teapot. Russell's teapot is an analogy, formulated to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others. Part of his statement reads " If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes..."

Let us prove his assertion by the simple expedient of putting one there.

Now I do know that US law prohibits Space-X from hiring foreigners to work on rocket technology, which is rather ironic considering the US would not have a space program at all if it were not for foreigners like Wernher von Braun et al, which is why I have merely suggested a cooperative project.

Your contribution would be a spaceship going to Mars, which I understand you are developing anyway, so there would be almost no additional cost to you if you were to drop off a teapot along the way.

My light-weight contribution would be a low-mass teapot ;-) But no ordinary plain white china teapot! There is, after all, a remote chance that some space-faring alien, millenia in the future, might recover said teapot. Therefore we need to make it obvious to said alien that we are an advanced race which understands some mathematics (or at least, some elementary topology). I therefore propose painting said teapot in seven distinct colours, which are all needed to draw a map on a torus such that adjacent areas are different colours (it's just 4 on a plane, but 7 on a torus).

A teapot is toroidal if the handle meets the pot at both ends.

If we are also to put a payload into the teapot to illustrate its purpose to the aforementioned alien, may I suggest Broken Orange Pekoe in preference to Darjeeling First Flush? Just my personal taste there, YMMV ;-)

We would have to instruct the mars-bound astronauts to handle the teapot with care when unpacking it and ejecting it through the airlock so that it wasn't damaged, lest people think this were a crack-pot project ;-)

Yours sincerely,
Stu Savory, Ph.D, B.Sc(Hons)
Purveyor of crazy ideas :-)

R.S.V.P. ;-)

Comments (8)
Doug (Canada) wrote " Sadly I think by putting one there you would invalidate Earl Bertrand Russell's claim as his claim requires that no one actually know for certain that there is a teapot orbiting the sun." We would not put a transponder or a reflector on board the stealthy teapot :-)
To which Doug replied " Ah but whoever, let's say it was you, who put it there would know and so long as a single person knows for sure there is one there the claim is invalidated." So I'd have to suicide? That was unforeseen.
To which Doug replied again "Well there you go - proof you don't have ESP :)" Yes, It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards ;-)
Ed (USA) grins "Great troll ;-)" Like Chrysoprase?
Pergelator asks "How do you propose containing the tea? Even crackpot ideas need to be fleshed out a bit more." In a tea-bag, larger than the spout?
Keith (GB) gives a tip "The folks at mathgear have a 7-colour torus mug (but it's currently sold out). See here." I knew that and have asked them for a price to make a 7-colour torus teapot for me. If the 7-colour teapot is to expensive for my pension, I could always ask the (7-colour?) LGBT community for crowd funding ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) wrote "Tea in your teapot? According to Tenniel's illustration it should be a dormouse, the March Hare and the Hatter put the Dormouse's head in a teapot in Alice in Wonderland." I'd forgotten that ;-)
Petra (A) asks "We have really big telescopes now. Could we see a teapot now?" No. You can never get better than the diffraction limit. Hubble's mirror is only 2.4 meters across (so it would fit in the Space Shuttle's bay). The biggest Terran scope is 10.4 meters across. They can't even resolve enough to see the Apollo landers on the moon (about 2.5 meters across), let alone a small teapot (say 20 cms across) MUCH further away (½ way to Mars).


Recent Writings
Bitcoin Bubble
Bill Bailey videos
Letter to Elon Musk
The wind cries Mary
Russian Sculptors fail
Dances with wolves
Says our TV !
Coach and Horses
Visa-free travel
Globetrotter Glamping
Burning Boat
Gone Fishing
The candy maker
Sex on the beach
World's biggest butterfly
Dine at a King's table
Another good man gone
Time-Travel sculpture
Tangermuende
Write a Halloween Joke
Sputnik turns 60
Autumn arrives
TBBT viewing tip
Reforestation numbers
Patchwork Quilt Expo
Thankyou, Cassini

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Blog Dewey Decimal Classification : 153
FWIW, 153 is a triangular number, meaning that you can arrange 153 items into an equilateral triangle (with 17 items on a side). It is also one of the six known truncated triangular numbers, because 1 and 15 are triangular numbers as well. It is a hexagonal number, meaning that you can distribute 153 points evenly at the corners and along the sides of a hexagon. It is the smallest 3-narcissistic number. This means it’s the sum of the cubes of its digits. It is the sum of the first five positive factorials. Yup, this is a 153-type blog. QED ;-)
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