19 August 2007

Quote: God and Reason

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

[Galileo Galilei]

Abominable Menu - Additions

Café Zen is has added some further dishes to its much acclaimed Abominable Menu:
Quick Snack: Transylvanian Omelette
Starter: Wasp Risotto
Main Course: Grub in the Hole
Sweet: Toffee Rat on a Stick

17 August 2007

Zen Mischievous Moments #133

Today's Daily Telegraph reports on Clive James interviewing himself at the Edinburgh International Books Festival. The article includes:

Did we know, he asked, that by decree, no rank below Major could wear make-up in the Romanian army during the war - a gem first divulged to him, incidentally, by Anthony Powell.
Full article here.

[With thanks to Julian Allason]

11 August 2007

Zen Mischievous Moments #132

From "Feedback" in New Scientist, 04 August 2007

Calendar chaos

[X] was, sitting at his computer, when the calendar window of his Microsoft Outlook office program started scrolling uncontrollably back through time. He watched, helpless, as it zoomed back through two world wars, past the Great Reform Act of 1832, the French revolution and American independence - stopping only in the 1760s when, he guesses, a frantic IT worker somewhere in the bowels of the famous London building he works in must have fixed the network glitch.

Naturally, [X] was intrigued to see how far back in time he could personally make Outlook's calendar go. Trying to view even earlier dates, he got stuck at All Fool's day 1601. Putting this into a famous web search engine revealed no special event in history that day. It did, however, provide a link to a "rather weird" website devoted to the work of a genealogist named John Mayer at www.arapacana.com/glossary/mb_mn.html. This notes that "Outlook provides a series of perpetual calendars covering something less than 2898 years, from 1 April 1603 to 29 August 4500," but that users can manually scroll back to 1601.

Feedback's further searches suggest that 1 April 1601 was declared the beginning of time by the authors of the COBOL computer-programming language ...

Oh and for the geeks amongst you, Outlook 2003 will also let you schedule meetings during the missing days, 3-13 September 1752, when British Empire changed to the Gregorian Calendar.

One is left with just one question: Why?