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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 after the death of his old dog, Kosmo, he also has a new bulldog puppy, Clara, since September 2018 :-)

Some of my bikes

My Crypto Pages

My Maths Pages

LP of the week
LP of the week, 9/19, Dauner & Mangelsdorff.
Monday, March 18, 2019

World Recycling Day

Today is World Recycling Day, so according to my italian friend Giorgio the ideal date (sic!) for sex with an ex ;-) This aside, I can comply with the idea and just recycle a blog entry of mine "First Plebiscite" from mid-March 2014 :-

In the beginning (of Roman year DCCIX) it came to pass, XLIV years before the birth of the Redeemer, when Julius Caesar was Emperor in Rome, that a plebiscite was made by him within the city. On the first full moon of the new year the plebeians might appeal such wrongs as they perceive at Caesar's hand, that their suffering might be lessened.

"For this, they shall cause their appeals to be written - inasmuch as they cannot write themselves - by a licensed scribe, upon the finest vellum made from the hide of a sacrificial goat. The vellum shall bear an image of the Emperor, that it be seen against whom the grievance be borne.

Then the plebeians shall parade along the Appian Way, bearing their vellum scrolls held high, that the people might see that their voice is being heard."

And many did rail against the Emperor, their scrolls demanding he be replaced by another, even a farmer of Koi, verily even a call for violence against the Emperor was heard in the land :-(

But a soothsayer did raise his voice and warn the mighty Caesar, saying "Beware the march of hides!" ;-)

Comments (3)
Cop Car wrote " Please note that I recycled three groans from previous puns that you've posted. Incorrigible!" Incorrigible? No, but Latin scholars might deem me Carthaginian ;-)
Jack (UK) wrote "I haven't been following you long enough to have seen the original, but that had me believing you were writing a historical report right up to the very last line :-) Now I shall go back and read all your archives :-)" Have fun! And patience ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) snorted "Tell Giorgio he's a misogynistic macho :-(" He'll read it here, ma'am!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

In sympathy with NZ

What a terrible white-supremacist perpetrated massacre in NZ :-(

Thursday, March 14, 2019

PI day stories

Traditionally, the USA celebrates PI day on 3.14 because they write dates with the month before the day. In Europe we (barely) celebrate it on July 27th (=22/7= 3.14286.....) as our approximation to PI, 3.14159....

Over the years I have taught various secondary school kids about PI on that day; here are some of my stories of how I taught them to calculate/measure PI, not just as 355/113.

The 11/12 year-old class are told to bring in a cylindrical can of veggies and a tape measure. Then they measure the circumference of the cans and their diameters, but don't use the first 50 cms of the cloth tape measures as these may have been stretched. Then the class average their results, generally getting a good approximation to PI and learning that the average value evens out the (measurement) errors. Brighter kids brought a frisbee instead of a can, since the size is larger, but needed to measure the diameter on the flat side!

The 13 year old class were asked to draw large circles using compasses with a fine lead pencil and average their results similarly. Then they were to use their compasses to draw a 120° arc of circles. From each end of these arcs, using the same radii, draw 120° arcs of circles. These (should) meet giving a 3-lobed convex curve of constant diameter. The diameter is measured from each apex to the curve on the opposite side and so we could reason that the circumference of the 3-lobed convex curve is PI times that diameter. Averaged measurements confirmed this. Then they constructed a 6-lobed convex curve of constant diameter using 60° segments. Generalising, they learned that PI is the ratio of the circumference of ANY convex curve of constant diameter to its diameter. Did you know that?

I also showed them a rotor from a Mazda Wankel engine that I had brought with me, and we measured that, getting a result slightly less than PI which I explained was because the apex seals cause a flattening at the corners. I spent the last 10 minutes of the lesson showing them the four-stroke cycle of the Wankel engine, as opposed to a single cylinder engine, only slightly off topic :-)

The next class, 14-year olds, were allowed to use (scientific) calculators such as the ones on PCs. Firstly, make sure the calculator is in Radian mode, not Degrees. Now guess that PI=3, as the Bible teaches us (I Kings 7:23 implies that PI = 3). As a first iteration, calculate 3+sin(3) = 3,1411200080598672221007448028081, giving us 4 digits of accuracy. Use this value on the second iteration, getting 3,1415926535721955587348885681409, giving us 11 digits of accuracy already. Use this value on the third iteration, getting 3,1415926535897932384626433832795 which is as accurate as your PC calculator can go; actually 34 digits of accuracy. The next iteration would give you 100 digits of accuracy if you had a multiple precision calculator. BTW, Not until the 15th century did Al-Kashi reach more than 11 (actually 16) digits. A Dutch mathematician, Ludolph van Ceulen (1540-1610) reached 20, then 32, then 35 digits. They are carved on his gravestone in the church in Leyden. Not until 1706 did John Machin calculate PI to 100 digits. Did you know this calculator trick for calculating PI rapidly? Yes, I do know the calculator has a button to show PI, I just wanted to teach the kids this rapidly-converging series.

The next class, 15-year olds, were NOT allowed to use calculators. Instead I gave each group a box of matches (with the heads cut off), all the matches of the same length. They then had to draw parallel lines across a sheet of paper, the lines being the same distance apart as the uniform length of the decapitated matches. Then each pupil dropped his match onto his paper 100 times, recording if his match crossed a line or not. This experiment is known as Buffon's needle. The pupils' results were added up, getting a rational fraction approximation to PI. Not a particularly accurate method, but it DOES work in a statistical manner. And a circle is nowhere to be seen!

Finally, for the 16-year olds class, I went through the math of the relationship between the length of a simple pendulum and the period of its oscillation. We plugged in the numbers and the teams' pupils each built a simple pendulum using some nuts and a thin thread I provided. The pendulum was ideally 994 mm long (almost a metre), giving a period of exactly one second. Theoretically. So the pupils timed their pendulums using a school sports'-class stopwatch and measured their pendulums to the centres of the nuts from the point of suspension. They then used least-squares-methods that they had learned about that year to get a best value from which they could use the algebra on the blackboard to calculate their best value of PI (about 3 to 4 digits of accuracy). Again, not a circle in sight :-)

Wrapping up, remember the following verse of poetry :-

Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling
In mystic force and magic spelling
Celestial sprites elucidate
(all my own tellings can't relate) . . .

Count the number of letters in each word, giving you a mnemonic for the digits of PI.

Happy PI day :-)

Comments (2)
Brian (UK) points us to a scurrilous YouTube video by Brady Haran (=Numberphile) with a mile-long printout of the first million digits of PI :-)
Jenny (Ibiza) reminds us "Also, Albert Einstein's birthday is on March 14." True :-)

Thursday, March 7, 2019


Today, in Paderborn, I saw a TESLA Service Van for the first time.

It was a black van, not the white cars as in the US.

I think it was a diesel :-(

Today is world women's day, and coincidentally, the local catholic church is offering a training course about "silence" :-(

"I am highly educated. I know many words. I have the best words" - D.Trump

"How about floccinaucinihilipilification?" - me

Autocowreck : "I don't eat meat any more, I'm a vagina now" :-(

Brexit News : GB is Europe's largest importer of toilet paper (2½ times European average daily usage). They currently have just a 2 day reserve in their stores. So within a week after Brexit we can expect an outcry from Yurp's biggest asswipes and/or increased sales of their gutter press ;-)

Friday, March 1, 2019

Building German words

A blogreader from the USA sent me this YouTube clip from a Jimmy Fallon show taking aim at our longer German words. Watch it, I'll wait, it's funny ;-) He then asked me how Germans come up with such long words, which he can't find in his dictionary. So today I'm going to do a tutorial on how long German words are built, using a classic example. I'll leave the component words in English so you can better understand what's going on.

In English, you string words together to get more complex ideas too. But you leave the spaces in, making phrases. We remove the spaces in German, so, as an analogy, we have many "atom" words making up the longer "molecule".

We might start with the word "ship", say, then add its motive power, getting "steamship". If we want to know who the owners are, we might get "steamshipcompany", and if it operates a specific route - e.g. along the river Danube - we'd get the "Danubesteamshipcompany". One word.

But it goes further. The guy in charge of the boat is the "Danubesteamshipcompanyscaptain", who, if he dies, leaves behind a "Danubesteamshipcompanyscaptainswidow". (Note, no apostrophes used in the genitive form in the German language). She survives on the "Danubesteamshipcompanyscaptainswidowspension" provided by the "Danubesteamshipcompanyscaptainswidowspensionfund". Should said fund some day run out of money and go broke, we would have a "Danubesteamshipcompanyscaptainswidowspensionfundbankruptcy".

Government laws require that the fund insure themselves against this event, thus ensuring that the ladies in question still get their pensions. So they have "Danubesteamshipcompanyscaptainswidowspensionfundbankruptcyinsurance".

Urban legend has it that when Word 1.0 came to Germany and encountered words which were longer than the line it was trying to justify both left and right into a single column, it just hung up :-(

Now it turns out according to our tax laws that the "Danube steamshipcompanyscaptainswidowspensionfundbankruptcyinsurance~ premiums" are a valid deductable tax expense and so the "Danubesteam shipcompanyscaptainswidowspensionfundbankruptcyinsurancepremiums taxrebates" are a real thing. One word! One word that you won't find in any dictionary but perfectly intelligible to the average German :-)
Note : it's always the "atom" at the end that is the main focus, all the preceding ones are just qualificating words; think adjective-nouns.

"Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftkapitainswitwepensionsfondbankrott~ versicherungspraemiensteuerrabatt". One perfectly understandable word!

In English, technical and biological names use the German concatenation style and so can get really long too.

BTW, the longest non-technical word in English is probably floccinaucinihilipilification, the action of estimating something to be completely worthless, rather like this blog article, as an example ;-)

Comments (1)
Brian (UK) wrote "I fed the three German words from the Fallon video - in real time - into Google translator. It failed on two, only managing to translate 'Waldeinsamkeit'. At all." Not all compound German words are in its dictionary, as expected. But if you leave off the leading location noun 'Donau' from my long construct, it can translate the long word I built up. That surprised even me :-)

Recent Writings
World Recycling Day
In sympathy with NZ
PI day stories
Building German words
Pope's pedophile plans
We prefer to pay cash
German cars are...
Valentine's Day Trip
Trump IS the emergency
No-Deal Brexit effects
Tetration solution
A tetration puzzle
Rising sea levels
Slow Down?
Vinyl LPs to MP3
50 years on the moon
Amazon's Scout
Watch this space
Information Overload :-(
Suffrage Centenary :-)
Puncture :-(
Eating in Church :-)

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Cop Car
Earth-Bound Misfit
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Greg Laden
Mostly Cajun
Observing Hermann
Starts with a Bang
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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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