31 August 2008

Odd Facts: Feet

Consider this fact:

Most people have an above average number of feet.

How can this be? People have two feet. Do they? Consider ...

The norm for humans is to be born with two feet. So far so good. A vanishingly small number (maybe, say, 1 in a million, probably fewer) are born with 3 or more feet. But for a variety of reasons a significant number will be born with only 1 foot or even no feet. And of course some people unluckily go on to lose a foot or even both feet. I don't know the real numbers but let's guess, for the sake of example, that 1 in 100 people have only 1 foot and 1 in 1000 have no feet at all.

So what is the average number of feet on a human? It clearly isn't two! Using the above figures by way of example the average number of feet is 1.988 per person. Yes that's less than 2! But for every million people 988,999 have two feet. So it is correct to say that most people, indeed the vast majority of people, have more than the average number of feet.

Amazing what simple statistics reveal and the logic we all pass over every day!

29 August 2008

Mr Deacon's Shop

Mr Deacon's Shop, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 27/52 (2008 week 35).

This is the one of the windows of the pub at 7 Shepherd Street in London's Mayfair district. Taken on a very wet August Sunday morning. With the photographer caught unawares on the right.

27 August 2008

50 Years Ago in Scientific American

Reading the latest issue of Scientific American earlier today I spotted the following two items reprinted from their September 1958 issue.

The first is from the great thinker Jacob Bronowski, who older UK readers may remember for his 1973 TV series The Ascent of Man. As usual Bronowski is right on the money:
The most remarkable discovery made by scientists is science itself. The discovery must be compared in importance with the invention of cave-painting and of writing. Like these earlier human creations, science is an attempt to control our surroundings by entering into them and understanding them from inside. And like them, science has surely made a critical step in human development which cannot be reversed. We cannot conceive a future society without science.

The second, equally revealing but in a different way, is from eminent physicist Freeman Dyson. While many discoveries and developments have been made in particle physics and cosmology in the last 50 years, I think this statement is still true today:

My view, the skeptical one, holds that we may be as far away from an understanding of elementary particles as Newton’s successors were from quantum mechanics. Like them, we have two tremendous tasks ahead of us. One is to study and explore the mathematics of the existing theories. The existing quantum field-theories may or may not be correct, but they certainly conceal mathematical depths which will take the genius of an Euler or a Hamilton to plumb. Our second task is to press on with the exploration of the wide range of physical phenomena of which the existing theories take no account. This means pressing on with experiments in the fashionable area of particle physics. Outstanding among the areas of physics which have been left out of recent theories of elementary particles are gravitation and cosmology.

25 August 2008

25/08/2008 Pet Meme

25/08/08 Pet Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Gianduia occhioni, 2. Mutant pickles, 3. Thirty years old..., 4. Almost Nothing, 5. Rallying Point… In The Middle Of Nowhere…!!!, 6. Paper & String, these are a few of my favorite things, 7. Relaxing is good!, 8. Emergency Rescue, 9. Near Humphrey's Peak, 10. Kissie ... just arrived back home from the vet ..., 11. A hunter Russian blue, 12. pussy 3875

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste the html into your blog or Flickr stream (the easiest way is to copy the URLs and then head over to the fd's flickr toys link above and use the mosaic maker).

The questions and answers:
1. What was your favorite pet? Calico (tortoiseshell & white) shorthaor moggy
2. What was it's name? She was nicknamed Pickle
3. How old where you when you got your first pet? The first to be really mine was when we moved to our own house when I was 30, but there had always been pets at home, including a dofg which came for my 7th birthday and was nominally mine.
4. What do you feed your favorite pet under the table? Almost nothing, the current 2 cats aren't that interested in human food
5. Where to you like to take your pet on trips? Nowhere, they don't like travelling
6. What is your pets favorite toy? String
7. What is the coolest trick your pet can do? Relax
8. Did you adopt your pet or buy it from a breeder? Rescued, all four of our cats (2 now long gone and the current 2) were rescued from The Blue Cross a charity which we continue to support
9. Where is the furthest you've taken your pet on a trip? For the current two, 7.2 miles from the rescue centre to home
10. What is the most extravagant thing you've purchased for your pet? Vet care
11. What is your favorite breed? Russian Blue cats
12. Describe your pet in one word. Pussy ;-)

I guess I should explain that our first two cats were Floss (white & black; male) and Bubbles (aka Pickle; tortie & white; female) were rescued from Blue Cross at Victoria in August 1981. They were followed by the present two Harry (grey & white; male) and Sally (tabby; female) from Blue Cross at Hammersmith in December 1998. H&S appear from time to time on these pages. Notwithsatnding that there were always pets around home: cats, a dog, a tortoise, a duck. Oh and of course we also have fish. Now I know we're mad!

Determined to do this without a human in any frame!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

23 August 2008

Wedding Ring

Wedding Ring, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 26/52 (2008 week 34).

Sadly this isn't my original wedding ring (that's now too small, cracked, and on a chain round my neck); this one was made some 15-20 years ago by a local craftsman goldsmith. It still astonishes me that I've been wearing a wedding ring - yes since the day Noreen and I married - for almost 29 years (anniversary in a couple of weeks time)! We often look at each other and say "how did we do it?".

2008.8.22 Bonus Meme

2008.8.22 Bonus Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Early Morning Fog, 2. KCM, 3. 365 Toy Project: Day 57, 4. sunday morning 10am, 5. REJOICE and then..........., 6. Pear Trees Mean Spring, 7. Lovely To See You, 8. Avocado Sandwich, 9. pale green butterfly, 10. Mon-DAY 163: saturated in the snow, 11. 92/365- My Inquiry, 12. Cleaning lady / Upratovačka

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste the html into your blog or Flickr stream (the easiest way is to copy the URLs and then head over to the fd's flickr toys link above and use the mosaic maker).

The questions and answers:
1. What is your fave time of day Early morning, not that I can ever get up!
2. Your initials KCM -- sorry this had to be a pic of me, it was the only half decent one I was offered!
3. Your age in years 57
4. What day of the week is your birthday this year Sunday
5. What is the first thing you are going to do when you retire Rejoice
6. What is your fave season Spring
7. Grab a cd at random without looking, and then look and search for a track title Lovely to See You from the Moody Blues On the Threshold of a Dream
8. What di you have for lunch today Salad sandwiches and avocado
9. What color is your car (or bike if no car) Bike: pale green
10. How many flickr groups do you belong to 163
11. What color are your pants Natural skin; that's right, I'm not wearing any!
12. What is the first thing you would buy if you one the lottery A cleaning lady

I wanted to get a person in each of the pictures, but that just proved too hard, at least to do in a sensible time.

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

18 August 2008

Inside the Actor's Studio Meme

Inside the Actor's Studio Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's entry to the Flickr My Meme group

1. To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells, 2. process_diagram, 3. sun, sea, sand........, 4. Stressed Poser Friday, 5. Seeking Seashells On The Sunny Seashore, 6. Pathway to sirens, 7. fuck art bomb everything, 8. Retirement Cake, 9. Butchery 2, 10. Oh ye of little faith!, 11. Tranquility..., 12. Capricorn

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste the html into your blog or Flickr stream (the easiest way is to copy the URLs and then head over to the fd's flickr toys link above and use the mosaic maker).

The questions and answers:
1. What is your favorite word? tintinnabulation
2. What is your least favorite word? process
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? sun, sand and sea
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? stress
5. What sound or noise do you love? sunshine and seashore
6. What sound or noise do you hate? sirens
7. What is your favorite curse word? fuck
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? retirement
9. What profession would you not like to do? butchery
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Oh ye of little faith
11. What is your favorite emotion? tranquility
12. What is your zodiac sign? capricorn

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

17 August 2008

16 August 2008

From Below

From Below, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 25/52 (2008 week 33).

12 August 2008

My Olympic Meme

My Olympic Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

As I don't believe in the Olympics -- not as they are currently run and administered anyway; the ideal is fine -- here is a rather jaundiced view ...

1. olympic-games-1948, 2. Field Hockey-Washington, DC: PhotoID-97421, 3. poussée bobsleigh, 4. kelly holmes, 5. Ancient Greece, 6. way to heaven 天堂口。, 7. Day 196: That's Logic, 8. Sunrise - River Dart, Totnes, 9. Dorthea, 10. commonsense, 11. Heirloom Tomatoes, 12. road to nowhere

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste the html into your blog or Flickr stream (the easiest way is to copy the URLs and then head over to the fd's flickr toys link above and use the mosaic maker).

The Questions & Answers:
1. What is the closest the Olympics has ever been to your hometown? London, 1948
2. What is your favorite summer Olympic sport? What Americans call "Field Hockey"
3. What is your favorite winter Olympic sport? Bobsleigh
4. Who is your all-time favorite Olympian? Kelly Holmes
5. If you could go to the Olympics, where would you want the games to be held? Ancient Greece; and all the contestants would compete in the nude just as in Ancient Greece
6. What is the symbol or predominant color on your country's flag? A cross
7. If you were a member of the Olympic Committee, what sport/activity would you add to the games? Logic
8. What sport is your least favorite to watch? Darts
9. You get two tickets to the Olympics, who would you ask to go with you? Whoever buys them both
10. Hey, you made the team! You're going to the Olympics - what's your event? Commonsense
11. The Olympics asks you to bring something to represent your hometown or home country - what would you take? A tomato; well my home did used to be one of the largest areas under glass in the country, growing glasshouse crops etc.
12. Congratulations! You won a medal! Where are you going to display it when you get home? Nowhere

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

11 August 2008

The Importance of Knowing How

Interesting article by AC Grayling in the "Commentary" column of last week's New Scientist under the above title. The "Commentary" column, written on alternate weeks by Grayling and Lawrence Krauss, always provides food for thought. This week's column was, in my view, especially important. As usual because New Scientist don't make their articles available on-line to non-subscribers here is an edited version.
Philosophers investigating the nature of knowledge and the best methods of acquiring it have always distinguished between knowledge of facts and knowledge of techniques. Knowing that Everest is the highest mountain, and knowing how to measure the height of mountains, are respective examples of the two kinds of knowing. The interesting question is, which is more important?

[...] an education system worthy of the name should equip people with both kinds. But it is still worthwhile to ask which is more important, for the equally obvious reason that no head can first cram in, and then later recall at need, everything that passes as currently accepted fact. What's more, the number of currently accepted facts is tiny in comparison with what we know we still do not know, which is in turn probably a tiny fraction of what might be knowable.

So although everyone coming out of an educational system should at least know [basic facts] they are much more in need of knowing how to find things out, how to evaluate the information they discover, and how to apply it fruitfully. These are skills; they consist in knowledge of how to become knowledgeable.

[…] information is not knowledge […]

[…] it is no bad thing that the internet is such a democratic domain, where opinions and claims can enjoy an unfettered airing […] This increases the necessity for internet users to be good at discriminating between high and low-quality information, and between reliable and unreliable sources.

We teach research skills in higher education differently for the sciences and humanities […] In the sciences, laboratory technique and experimental design and methodology are fundamental; in the humanities, the use of libraries and archives and the interpretation of texts are in the basic tool kit […]

Knowing how to evaluate information, therefore, is arguably the most important kind of knowledge that education has to teach […] only the International Baccalaureate makes critical thinking […] a standard requirement, and in this as in so many ways it leads the field […] I wonder whether the need for critical thinking lessons is more urgent in the humanities than the sciences because the latter, by their nature, already have it built in. The science lab at school with its whiffs, sparks and bangs is a theatre of evaluation; the idea of testing and proving is the natural order there […]

When we talk of scientific literacy, one thing we should mean is acquisition of just this mindset; without it, too much rubbish gets through.

It's no wonder that people don't think is it!?

Democracy in Action

This is today's Quotation of the Day entry:
If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal.

There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!

[George W Bush, during a 2004 videoconference with national security and military officials. Quoted in Lt Gen Ricardo S Sanchez's memoir, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story an at www.mydd.com/story/2008/6/2/114955/1042]

I was going to say this is scary, but it isn't; it is obscene (and that's a word I don't often use). What price democracy and Christian tolerance now? Anyone still like to argue that Dubya isn't dangerous and bigoted?

09 August 2008

Thought for the Day

Wu-Wei is the Taoist expression for the power of positive not-doing. It is the action in non-action, the knowing in not-knowing, the something in nothing, the doing in not-doing. Wu-Wei is following the way of the water, the way of the wind. It is the not absence of action, but it is the absence of trying. Wind is never still, but it has no intention. Water ever seeks its own level, but not on purpose.

[from www.foolquest.com/zen.htm]

Sputnik Virus, A Viral Parasite

The following is from ProMED, an officially run mailing list for those interested in emerging infectious diseases. I'm posting it here because it is an interesting and unexpected piece of science -- and because it arrived as an email I can't add it to the "shared" list on the right.
A ProMED-mail post <http://www.promedmail.org>
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases <http://www.isid.org>

Date: Wed 6 Aug 2008
Source: The Scientist, NewsBlog [edited] <http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54915>

A virus's virus
Researchers have discovered the 1st virus to infect another virus, according to a study appearing tomorrow in Nature. The new virus was found living inside a new strain of the viral giant, mimivirus. "This is one parasite living on another parasite, which is really fascinating," Michael Rossman, microbiologist at Purdue University, who was not involved in the study, told The Scientist.

Didier Raoult and colleagues at the Universitee de la Mediterranee in Marseilles, France, discovered mimivirus in 2003 from a water-cooling tower in the UK [see ProMED-mail reference below]. It primarily infects amoeba, although antibodies have been found to the virus in some human pneumonia cases. It measures in diameter about 400 nanometers (nm), while medium-sized viruses such as adenovirus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) measure closer to 100-200 nm.

In this study, Raoult's team found a new strain of mimivirus in water from a cooling tower in Paris. This new strain was even larger than [the UK] mimivirus, so the researchers named it mamavirus. To their surprise, while examining the new strain by electron microscopy they saw a smaller virus attached to mamavirus. This small virus comprises only 20 genes (mimivirus has more than 900 protein-coding genes) and the researchers named it Sputnik.

The team quickly set to work to see what effect Sputnik was having on the mamavirus. They found that Sputnik infects the replication machinery in mamavirus and causes it to produce deformed viral structures and abnormal capsids, where viral genetic information is stored. It had a similar effect on mimivirus. Because Sputnik's behavior so closely resembles what bacteriophage do to bacteria, the researchers called the new type of virus a virophage, and suspect it may represent a new virus family.

The researchers found that Sputnik's genes shared homology with genes from all 3 domains of life: archaea, bacteria, and eukarya. Some of the genes were homologous to novel sequences that scientists previously detected in a metagenomic study of ocean water. This supports the idea that Sputnik is part of a larger family of viruses, Bernard La Scola, researcher at the Universite de la Mediterranee (University of the Mediterranean) and 1st author on the paper, told The Scientist.

The size of a virus may dictate whether it can be infected by smaller viruses such as Sputnik, he added. For this reason, viruses that affect humans -- like HIV and influenza -- are likely too small to be infected by Sputnik-like viruses, said Rossman.

La Scola added he is sure that there are other giant viruses yet to be identified in the world, but they won't necessarily be infected by smaller viruses. "We need to be lucky to find another Sputnik."

[Byline: Andrea Gawrylewski]
Communicated by: ProMED-mail <promed@promedmail.org>

08 August 2008

Diptych for 08/08/08

Diptych for 08/08/08, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 24/52 (2008 week 32).

Looking upwards from our lawn thru' my ultra-wide lens: at left this lunchtime on a grey day and at right late this evening after nightfall when the sky was slightly clearer. Notice the horrid orange background of London street lamps in the night shot. Thought this might make an interesting comparison for a Flickr888 contribution as well as for my 52 Weeks self-portrait (bottom left).

Finish this Sentence Meme

I stole this meme from Girl with a One-Track Mind and Troubled Diva because I liked it's zen mischief potential. My objective is just to complete each of the following sentences. Your objective is to work out which are serious and which aren't.
  1. My uncle once: sailed the ocean blue
  2. Never in my life: have I taken illegal drugs
  3. When I was five: I looked like Prince Charles
  4. High school was: much better than I realised at the time
  5. I will never forget: and that isn’t the only resemblance I have to an elephant
  6. Once I met: a man in a kilt
  7. There’s this girl I know: who is unattainable
  8. Once, at a bar: I met a Colonel with a dog
  9. By noon, I’m usually: in need of lunch
  10. Last night: I didn’t have sex on the beach
  11. If only I had: the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen
  12. Next time I go to church: I’ll be taking photographs
  13. What worries me most: is politicians
  14. When I turn my head left I see: something sinister
  15. When I turn my head right I see: a right tit
  16. You know I’m lying when: I keep quiet
  17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: not very much
  18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: a lion whelping in the street (Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii)
  19. By this time next year: I might be retired
  20. A better name for me would be: Zanzibar
  21. I have a hard time understanding: why people need religion
  22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: be in a time machine (’cos neither of my schools exists any more)
  23. You know I like you if: I kiss you
  24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: grateful
  25. Take my advice, never: admit that you know
  26. My ideal breakfast is: a full English
  27. A song I love but do not have is: a John Mayall mouth-music track from the ’60s that I can’t now identify or find
  28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: search out its history
  29. Why won’t people: think
  30. If you spend a night at my house: you’ll be solicited by a pussy (or two)
  31. I’d stop my wedding for: a KitKat
  32. The world could do without: religion and politicians
  33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: do a bungee jump
  34. My favourite blonde is: Michaela Strachan
  35. Paper clips are more useful than: a grapefruit and Marmite sandwich
  36. If I do anything well it’s: only to lull you into a false sense of security
  37. I can’t help but: be a perfectionist
  38. I usually cry: inwardly
  39. My advice to my child/nephew/niece: if it harm none, do as you will
  40. And by the way: there’s always toast at the end of the dragon
I'm not tagging anyone for this, but feel free to borrow (or steal) it if you like it. If you do use it, it would be nice if you left a comment here.

Zen Mischievous Moments #142

Connioseurs of 1970s UK police soap operas will remember the refrain “Let's be ’avin’ you" when an arrest was about to be made. Our attention has been drawn to an example not of nominative determinism, but of locational determinism - the existence of a police facility on Letsby Avenue in the Yorkshire town of Sheffield (it’s right next to Sheffiled City Ariport). Sadly there is as yet no news of an “Onyer Way” or “Evenin Hall” in the vicinity.

[HT Feedback @ New Scientist]

05 August 2008

Getting to Know You Meme

Getting to Know You Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. A perfect weekend watching Tom & Jerry on tv and laughing..., 2. Amur Leopard, 3. A TRIBUTE TO A DEAR FRIEND. (KILKENNY, IRELAND), 4. Untitled, 5. ₪ Rhizomatic in-between typewriter ₪, 6. "Timemachines", 7. 14th August 2007 / Day 226, 8. The cake i Made for my mother's birthday, 9. Embracing the sun ... {}, 10. day 151 Caught with crabs in my merkin! , 11. Walking in the rain 1_2499, 12. Smiles of Tibet in Exile

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste the html into your blog or Flickr stream (the easiest way is to copy the URLs and then head over to the fd's flickr toys link above and use the mosaic maker).

The Questions & Answers:
1. What makes you laugh? Cats
2. What makes you cry? Animal suffering
3. Who is the one person you trust the most in the world? My Mother
4. Who broke your heart? Jill (no, not you Mistress Weekes; long before that!)
5. Where was your first kiss? I really don't remember
6. What body part do you love most (your body)? My mind
7. What body part do you love least (your body)? My fat
8. What candy fits your personality? Coffee creme chocolate
9. What color would you paint your room if you could pick any color? Magnolia
10. A word that makes you laugh? Merkin
11. What emotion do you express most often? Depression
12. Who inspires you? The Dalai Lama

Created with fd's Flickr Toys. for the Flickr My Meme group.

03 August 2008

The Tipping Point

Gulp! For some unknown reason, lunchtime conversation turn to how long we've been married. Yes it's a long time: 29 years come early September! And Noreen commented that we must be close to the tipping point where we've been married for longer than we haven't. I said I thought we should both have passed that point -- having done a quick order of magnitude guestimate in my head. And so it turns out on doing a proper calculation using a spreadsheet. Noreen (being slightly the younger) passed the tipping point in the middle of August 2007. Whereas I didn't get there until 5 May this year. That, plus the prospect of our 30th wedding anniversary in September 2009 and that I am rapidly approaching 60, suddenly seems quite scary. Oh and I passed the tipping point with my employer back in December 2002! Eeekkkkk!!!!!!!

Recipe: Zen Meat Loaf

Another in the occasional series.

Over the years I've made this on numerous occasions and did so again yesterday for the first time for quite a while. Some of the result has just been eaten for lunch.

You will need:
2lb (1kg) Minced Beef
½lb (250gm) Bacon or Ham scraps, roughly chopped (optional)
1 pint (550ml) Breadcrumbs
2 medium Onions, finely chopped
Lots of Garlic, roughly chopped
Large bunch fresh herbs (optional; use whatever is available and you like)
Cooked Spinach (optional)
15-20 Olives, roughly chopped (optional)
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Tomato Puree (optional)
1 tbsp Garlic Puree (optional)
1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes (optional)
2-3 soft Tomatoes
A slug of Brandy, Whisky or Calvados (optional)
Salt & Pepper

What you do:

  1. Butter a large, preferably cast iron, casserole (use one with a good lid, or make a lid from foil).
  2. Blend together the eggs, olive oil, tomato puree, garlic puree, tomatoes and alcohol.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl; use your hands, it’s much the easiest way.
  4. Tip the mixture into the casserole, press it down well and put on the lid.
  5. Cook near the bottom of a pre-heated oven at about 200C for 30-45 minutes. It’s done when the meat loaf is bubbling well and a knife stuck in the centre comes out hot.
  6. Leave to cool with the lid on; then refrigerate. If you can put weights on the top to press the resultant paté then so much the better.
  7. Eat with crusty bread & butter and a glass of wine or beer.


  1. Essentially you can throw into this more or less anything you like and have to hand.
  2. Bacon, ham or other cooked meats will add to the flavour and variety. Chopped chicken livers added also work well.
  3. If you can get good, low fat content, minced beef then this works well in a low fat version. Alternatively you can make a high-fat version by adding some fat belly pork to the mix.
  4. Spinach, similar leaves or bunches of fresh herbs add a different dimension (you can even make a layer of spinach in the middle if you like).
  5. Don't overdo the alcohol otherwise the resulting paté is too wet.
  6. Don’t over cook this, although it must be cooked through properly. Apart from that it is generally fairly forgiving and you can vary the ingredients and quantities to suit your tastes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it.

Today's Word: Glaive

The first in an occasional series bringing you unusual and interesting words.

Glaive. A polearm consisting of a single-edged blade on the end of a pole.

One of those fearsome pieces of medieval weaponry along with things like pikes and halberds. The word is sometimes (wrongly) used to refer to a broadsword. Glaives also appear in a number of video games and animated adventure films.

Illustration from Wikipedia Commons.

02 August 2008

Playing with Mosaics

Playing with Mosaics, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. autumn leaves, 2. week 31/52. 28 days; 4 weeks; 1 month., 3. The Mood O Meter, Independent Subarus, Victor Idaho, AKA Gallagher's, AKA Sue's Roos, 4. green veined white
5. red cabbage, 6. Tomb plate, Standish, 7. summerishere, 8. Looking landwards across Slapton Ley
9. Bloom, 10. Red Arrows Lowestoft 08, 11. The Drunken Ducks, 12. Untitled

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I was just playing with the Mosaic Maker tool at Big Huge Labs and created this from the most recent 12 of my Flickr favourites. Thought it was worth keeping. It's a super sample of some of the brilliant photography on Flickr: follow the links to each one; they're well worth it.

Friday Five: Wishes

OK so here, a bit late, is this week's Friday Five ...

1. Name one movie you wish everybody could watch.

  • None of them. I dislike movies and wouldn’t cry if they sunk without trace. Doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t watch them, just don’t expect me to or to share your enthusiasm.

2. Name two books you wish everybody could read.

  • Anthony Powell, A Dance to the Music of Time. Well it’s one novel in 12 volumes, so I’ll count it as one. Read it if only as a social history of England from 1914 to 1970. Oh come on, you expected me to say that, didn't you?
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (by which I mean the two works Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass). Read them and think about the logical conundrums presented; now apply them and change the way you look at the world!
3. Name three goals you wish everybody could achieve.
  • True inner peace and happiness.
  • Reconciliation and friendship with their parents.
  • To always treat others as you would like to be treated yourself (it’s part of what the Dalai Lama calls "compassion").
4. Name four people you wish everybody could know.
I am going to assume the people don’t have to be alive now, but could come from any era. So I’ll nominate:
  • Richard Feynman; for his logic, his insights, his humour and his determination to overcome obstacles.
  • Galileo Galilei; a profound scientist who wasn’t afraid of standing up and being counted.
  • Leonardo da Vinci; another way out mind as well as a superb artist.
  • The present Dalai Lama; for his profound thinking, his happiness and his compassion.
That was hard! Four people I wish I knew would be easy, but to translate that into something for everyone is much, much harder.

5. Name five places you wish everybody could visit.

  • Rural England
  • Japan
  • A nudist community; to see just how it isn’t like everyone seems to think it is and to experience the freedom of life without clothes.
  • A small town in medieval England (or Europe at least) to see just what life really was like 600+ years ago and how far we have come.
  • Their special place. I believe we all have at least one place which is special and energises us (just as we have people who do this for us). It may be a town somewhere, or a country, or just a building (I know Stonehenge does it for some people, though not for me). Finding it is a whole different matter though.

[Brought to you courtesy of Friday Five.]

Zen Mischievous Moments #141

The “Feedback” column this week’s New Scientist contains this item …
Thanks to Terence Dunmore for alerting us to a report in the 11 June issue of Professional Engineering about the UK's new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE regulations). It warns readers: "If you are a producer of WEEE, you must make sure it is disposed of in an environmentally sound manner, including the treatment, reuse, recovery and recycling of components where appropriate."
Dunmore is puzzled. "Isn't the local sewage department already doing just that?" he asks.