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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

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

In memoriam : Jimi Hendrix

50 years ago, this very week, on the 18th to be exact, we saw the death of Jimi Hendrix, psychedelic gitarrist of the late sixties.

Young folks reading this blog may have never heard of him nor his showmanship, nor his music. Which is why I'm posting a link to his (long) Wikipedia page and a half dozen links to YouTube videos of his influential hits.

I saw him perform live twice. In autumn of 1966 - we had just finished university - we went to see Cream. Clapton introduced Hendrix to play a couple of guest songs : fantastic! In the summer of 1970 we attended the Isle of Wight festival (UK) where he was playing. After his success playing The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock, he played God Save the Queen at the the Isle of Wight festival. Mind-blowing!! Can't find a good quality video of it on YouTube though.

Jimi, I remember you well, even after 50 years, that's how good you were!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Shi shi : a homonymic poem :-)

Last friday, at our local pub, we were discussing homonyms. Homonyms are words which are pronounced the same, although we spell them differently. Some examples in English might be C, sea, see and si. Another is the fake spelling Ghoti, an alleged homonym of Fish. Huh? Yes, Gh as in enough, o as in women, and ti as in station : and therefore Ghoti spells Fish ;-)

But one of those present speaks Mandarin (Chinese) and told us about a poem written in Mandarin, containing 92 sigils/characters/ideograms or whatever they are called. All of which are pronounced shi. Here it is :-

Here is an English translation :-

Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den

In a stone den was a poet called Shi Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten lions. He often went to the market to look for lions. At ten o’clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market. At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market. He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die. He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den. The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it. After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions. When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were in fact ten stone lion corpses. Try to explain this matter.

The poem was written in the 1930s by the Chinese linguist Yuen Ren Chao as a linguistic demonstration. Blew my mind! Admittedly, it is not great poetry, but you can be damn sure it rhymes ;-)

Comments (3)
Joe Spr (USA/D) wrote " Yes the poem of the Lion's Den is one of many famous tongue twisters in Mandarin. While confusing and mind-boggling, there are four tones in Mandarin (there is actually a neutral tone but not usually counted), so making sense of hearing this poem is not impossible for a native Mandarin speaker. Of course one needs a very good vocabulary, and knowledge of many characters. Here is a good overview of the four tones with audio samples: There are many Chinese characters in Mandarin with the same exact pronouncing sound and tone with widely different meanings, so the tones only help so far. Seeing the written characters really helps." I remembered that you speak Mandarin, Joe, so I posted this especially for you and my nephew Dariusch who now lives in Shanghai :-)
Billions of Versions wrote " They are all shi? That sounds kind of ghotiy to me." But Yuen Ren Chao was a He , not a Shi ;-)
Joe Spr (USA/D) added "I should add that in standard Mandarin, the "shi" in the poem is not pronounced like the English word "she". It has a moderate 'r' at the end. There are many dialects, accents, and localized pronunciations in China, but the way it is usually pronounced rhymes with "her". Add an 's' in front of the English word "her"." Sher, will do ;-)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Multiple Choice questions

Tuesday's TED Talk - under the Aegis of "Back to School" - first covered the "shutdown for 6 months, reopen cautiously, if anyone is infected then shut down for a fortnight, reopen cautiously" cycle. Then it turned to the teachers having to gauge what the children had learned (or not) during several months of home-schooling. So the talker compared and contrasted open-questions with multiple choice questions. So here are some of the funnier things I took away from the talk.

Multiple choice questions are harder to make up, but much easier to mark. Open questions are harder to mark. Like this one :-

By way of example he showed us a humourous multiple choice question, supposedly for Americans in the run-up to their november elections ;-)

He then pointed out a disadvantage of multiple choice questions : only one answer can be correct, so you are just testing to see if the children have remembered individual facts; you can't test their ability to think or to make deductions from those facts.

So I gave him this counter-example : a multiple choice question which doesn't test for remembered facts, but only tests your ability to think :-)

Give this one a try and see if you can solve it :-)

Comments (3)
Sue wrote " . . . Your latest post? I am always drawn to 'none of the above' which I note features twice. Most multiple choice questions fall into the 'how long is a piece of string) category for me. It depends." Think more carefully, Sue. 'none of the above' at position 6 means 5,4,3,2,and 1 are wrong. Whereas 'none of the above' at position 5 means only 4,3,2,and 1 are wrong.
Petra (A) sent this funny . . ."What I don't understand about #1"

Billions of Versions (aka Mike) wrote to question 1 " 1. The lamp holder. I don't understand why there is a lamp holder in a math question." and to question2 he wrote " 2. 5 x 5". But to question3 he even sent me some very clever C source code to calculate the solution :-
" #include
#define iff(x, y) ((x)==(y))

int main() {
printf("a b c d e f\n");
for (int a = 0; a <= 1; a++)
for (int b = 0; b <= 1; b++)
for (int c = 0; c <= 1; c++)
for (int d = 0; d <= 1; d++)
for (int e = 0; e <= 1; e++)
for (int f = 0; f <= 1; f++) {
int Ra = iff(a, b && c && d && e && f);
int Rb = iff(b, !c && !d && !e && !f);
int Rc = iff(c, a && b);
int Rd = iff(d, (a && !b && !c) || (!a && b && !c) || (!a && !b && c));
int Re = iff(e, !a && !b && !c && !d);
int Rf = iff(f, !a && !b && !c && !d && !e);

int R = Ra && Rb && Rc && Rd && Re && Rf;v if (R) printf("%d %d %d %d %d %d\n", a, b, c, d, e, f);
return 0;
This outputs:
a b c d e f
0 0 0 0 1 0

Would you believe it took me 3 days to come up with this answer? Well, maybe 10 minutes to google it."

Okay, Mike, you're a better programmer than I am, I didn't even think of using a computer :-(

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

My favourite scenic roads

Writing from Australia, Barry tells me that he's "...coming to Europe next year (Covid permitting) and will buy a Ducati Multistrada (a motorcycle) from the factory and spend 6 months touring Europe. . . . so my question for you is what are your favourite scenic routes all over Europe that I should ride?"

Well, Barry, I've been riding almost 60 years here so I have a lot. But here are my favourite three scenic routes. Instead of just listing them, I've embedded links to GoPro videos made by other people, which give you a much better impression than my old analogue photos :-)

The first favourite place goes to Bealach na Ba, the mountain pass to Applecross, on the southern end of the peninsula just north of the Isle of Skye. 25 minute video. There's a shorter video here, 6 minutes. I recommend you turn left at the end of the pass and visit the Applecross Inn for a meal :-) Single track road with passing places & many potholes though.

Second favourite is the Tremola Pass in the Alps. Nowadays almost everyone takes the Gotthard Tunnel, so the old pass road on the south side is pretty much free of traffic. This biker made a very professional video, taken from an airborne drone accompanying him. Don't ask me how this is done, I can barely cope with my smart phone ;-) Short 4 minute edited video.

My third favourite is the Lysevegen mountain road, in Norway. The biker in this video rides from the Kjerag Cafe´ at the top down to Lyseboten Cafe´at the bottom of the road. 11 minute video. The tunnel starts at the 8 minute mark and ends at 9½ minutes. Slippery road in the wet tunnel, so ride slowly there, so no sudden braking.

And of course, when you are in Germany, be sure to drop in and I'll show you some of my local rides in Grimm's fairy tale country :-)

Comments (5)
Barry (Oz) wrote "Nice roads you got there mate, thanks for the tips :-) You got any own videos?" De nada. I don't own a GoPro camera, so no.
Ed (USA) asks "Are there big mountains where you live too?" Not mountains, just hills going up to 2750 feet; and winding river-bank roads. Mostly winding curvy roads through woods etc.
Jenny (Ibiza) comments "That road in Scotland looks scary, narrow and often no fencing" Yea, watch out for suicidal sheep (ewes and their lambs). Also, everywhere, I cannot emphasize enough: if you want to admire the scenery, STOP to do so, to avoid missing a corner or running off the road!
Schorsch (D) complained "Shouldn't have published that, now these great roads will be overrun :-(" No, I don't have that many readers.

Joe Spr wrote "Scary as hell. I don't ride a motorcycle, and my heart was in my throat. Thanks for posting those video links." 20 years ago that road in Scotland (Bealach na Ba) didn't even have those railings on the downhill side.

Link to the previous month's blog.
Recent Writings
RIP Jimi Hendrix
Shi shi : a poem
Multiple Choice questions
My favourite scenic roads
Old Oak Down :-(
Sex during Corona
3rd A-bomb for Japan
Taking the Mick
Berlin Wall day
Nukes´ 75th anniversary
Cov-idiot Karens :-(
First Encounters
SWMBO's green thumb
PI approximation day
An unused device
Dambuster Museum
30th wedding anniversary
They were framed!
Just another jab?
Single-use plastics
Segway shuts down
Summer solstice
John Bolton, Grifter :-(
Hammerhead Worms
Beers for John
On turning 76

Ain Bulldog Blog
All hat no cattle
Balloon Juice
Billions of Versions...
Cop Car
Digby's Hullabaloo
Earth-Bound Misfit
Elephant's Child
Fail Blog
Finding life hard?
Greg Laden
Mostly Cajun
Observing Hermann
Silicon Graybeard
Starts with a Bang
Yellowdog Grannie

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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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