--> Most recent Blog
Search this site
Some of my bikes
My Crypto Pages
My Maths Pages
Friday, December 29, 2017
(Non-)Xmas Dinnerlogreader Barbara (UK) asked "So what did you have for your atheist (non-)Xmas dinner yesterday?" Pheasant : here are some photos, as I promised on the 26th.
As you know, I'm a pheasant plucker, so that was my job. Then we wrapped it bacon and stuffed it with mashed chestnuts before consigning it to the oven in a stoneware casserole.
Once the bird was cooked, the crispy bacon was stripped off whole, then we set about carving the bird up (sadly, this is not our strong point, so we'll skip over THAT photo).
The set table shows (bottom to top) : wine herb sauerkraut, sweetened with mashed pinapple chunks and raw grapes. Pheasant with bacon strips and chestnut stuffing. Small potato dumplings and mash, the gravy (to the left) was added later. On the right, a bottle of Furst von Metternich Rose´ dry Sekt (think German champagne) to wash it all down.
And this what the filled plates looked like before the gravy was added :-)
Deliciously cooked by SWMBO :-) Meal wrapped up with coffee, brandy and After-Seven mints (actually After-Eights, but we dined early ;-) )
See y'all blogreaders next year : have a nice New Year's fireworks party :-)
Monday, December 25, 2017
Mele Kalikimakafundamentalist (american) Christian reader asked sarcastically how I, as an Atheist, celebrate Xmas. She included a photo of her incredibly overdecorated Xmas tree. So I pointed out there was no biblical evidence that He had big shiny red balls, let alone so many of them ; Hollywood tradition however shows The Hooved One as having them ;-)
I also sent her this criticism I found on the net :-
Actually, SWMBO and I exchanged presents a few days earlier, celebrating the Winter Solstice, a pagan tradition. We decorated with plywood cut-outs made in Saxony's Erzgebirge mountains, like this one which Doug (Canada) sent to me :-)
But we also have a number of porcelain model houses in the style of a medieval town centre, which we bought from this stall in a local Xmas market. They are hollow and you can put little rechaud candles in them for a pleasant illumination :-)
The green-roofed cathedral shown in the photo is a replica of the one in Paderborn. The white building in the top row is Paderborn's Theodoraneum grammar school. Both ideal for the Paderborn Xmas market stall. Scale is about HO for any model railway fans :-)
BTW, Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaiian for Merry Christmas; the Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters: five vowels (each with a long pronunciation and a short one) and eight consonants, one of which is the glottal stop called 'okina. So this is how Hawaiians write Merry Xmas.
Whatever your religion or lack thereof; we wish you Happy Holidays :-)
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Saving Charlie Brownor this story of mercy, let us cast out minds back to this day in 1943, during the height of World War Two, before most of us were even born.
Charlie Brown (21) had flown his B-17 Flying Fortress bomber "Ye Olde Pub" in an attack on the Focke-Wulf factory in Bremen. It was only his second mission, for his crew of nine it was their first; inexperienced, all of them. Charlie Brown - for that was his real name, which may be peanuts to you young folks - got his plane severely hit by flak on the run-in and was being chased by Messerschmidt 109s on the way back. To escape these, Brown spiralled his bomber steeply down to low altitude so that the Messerschmidts would think he was going to crash. The ruse worked and he levelled out to head back to England at low level. However, he had pulled out of his dive just over the Luftwaffe base at Jever on the west German coast :-(
On the Luftwaffe base, Lt. Franz Stigler (28) had just refuelled and re-armed his Messerschmidt BF 109 fighter. He scrambled the BF109 and gave chase, soon catching the heavily damaged B-17. The B-17's tailguns did not turn to aim at him however, and as he pulled in close behind he saw the tailgunner was dead with a gaping hole in his chest which had pumped blood all over the tailgun and frozen there. Weaving around to see the sides, he saw gaping holes from the flak and inside, crew members trying to bandage their bleeding comrades. Stigler, who had originally wanted to be a priest before WW2 decided to show mercy. He pulled up next to Brown's cockpit and signalled him to land in Jever or at least divert to neutral Sweden. Scared shitless, Brown was frozen at the controls of the battered B-17 and did not respond. Stigler realised that if he left the B-17 to its own devices, German flak would shoot it down. So, at high risk to himself, he tucked in close formation next to the B-17 so the flak would hold off and accompanied the stricken B-17 out over the North Sea out of range of the flak.
Stigler then saluted Brown to wish him luck and flew 20 minutes back to Jever. Brown limped back to England, landing at the first opportunity. The crew went on to complete their 25 flight tour (despite Stigler's gentleman-like mercy). The B-17 crew were not allowed to tell their story lest the fighting spirit of the Allied aircrews be affected. And of course Stigler kept his mouth shut lest he be shot for treason and cowardice. He went on to fly 487 missions, being shot down several times, and at the end of the war was flying the new Me-262 jet fighter under the command of German fighter ace Adolf Galland (104 victories).
Fast forward to 1990. Stigler had emigrated to Canada. He bought a Messerschmidt 108, a 4 seater tailwheel sports plane (I've flown one and found it superior to a Cessna 172 and a Piper PA28), which he used to demonstrate at warbird flying days in the USA. And so - to cut a long story short - Brown and Stigler met for the first time and fell weeping into one-another's arms :-) At last, Brown's regular nightmares about him always being shot down stopped :-) Brown introduce Stigler to Pechout (the B-17 radio operator) and Blackford (the B-17 gunner) both saved by Stigler's act of mercy back in 1943. They ensured that Stigler was made an honorary member of the old 379th Bomber Group until his death in 3/2008. Brown died in 11/2008. The story appears in Riva Press's 2017 book Eine hohere Pflicht / A higher Call, ISBN-10: 3742301977. Charlie Brown's copy of the history of German fighter squadron 44 contains a hand-written dedication by Franz Stigler , Angel of Mercy :-)
Monday, December 18, 2017
Challenging Patchworkhave blogged about patchworking in the past.
It comes in varying degrees of difficulty. The simplest is just rectangles of different coloured material sewn together. More difficult are overlapping patterns, which need good planning. Even more difficult are irregular shapes as abstract art.
But the most challenging work imho, is to take a photograph and try to make a cushion cover out of it. Due to the curves in the original, considerable latitude will have to be granted for artistic licence, but the result should be recognisable :-)
So here is my old-timer Porsche 944.
The photo was blown up to A3 size so the dimensions could be taken off at a 1:1 scale for the cushion cover. Here is the resulting cushion cover (after 3 months).
Not bad eh, the number plate is even legible on the cushion :-)
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Beware the Bitcoin Bubble :-(itcoins 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!ver 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!
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
The Talent of Bill Baileyngland 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
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 MuskElon 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 :-)
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 ;-)
Saving Charlie Brown
Bill Bailey videos
Letter to Elon Musk
The wind cries Mary
Russian Sculptors fail
Dances with wolves
Says our TV !
Coach and Horses
The candy maker
Sex on the beach
World's biggest butterfly
Dine at a King's table
Another good man gone
Write a Halloween Joke
Sputnik turns 60
Ain Bulldog Blog
Finding life hard?
Not Always Right
Rants from t'Rookery
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
This blog is getting really unmanagable, so I've taken the first 12 years' archives offline. My blog, my random decision. Tough shit; YOLO.
ENGLISH : I am not responsible for the contents or form of any external page to which this website links. I specifically do not adopt their content, nor do I make it mine.
DEUTSCH : Für alle Seiten, die auf dieser Website verlinkt sind, möchte ich betonen, dass ich keinerlei Einfluss auf deren Gestaltung und Inhalte habe. Deshalb distanziere ich mich ausdrücklich von allen Inhalten aller gelinkten Seiten und mache mir ihren Inhalt nicht zu eigen.
This Blog's Status is
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 ;-)
Books I have written