Friday, 25 September 2020

Da Home Sexy


Thus did the BBC sub-title algorithm transcribe 'The Home Secretary' . I've often wondered whether the algorithm is embodied in an AI or a human. Whichever it is, it provides me with a good deal of amusement.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Paising HTML

I've recently been brushing up my Maths by reading old text books. A great obstacle to understanding is the need to follow references of the form:

'see example 4 following theorem 2 in section 9'

Usually such references contain no page numbers, and section numbers are shown only on the first page of each section, not at the heads of individual pages. I need a bookmark to keep my place, and even then by the time I've shuffled through numerous pages to locate the reference I've often forgotten why I needed it.

In an html document one simply clicks on the reference, and there is it. The BACK key returns on to the original. There are many reasons for publishing online, but the ease of cross referencing is rarely mentioned.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Bibulous Loquacity


I worry about the likely consequences of reopening public Houses. The core activity of those institutions is the consumption of alcoholic drinks, and many people drink in pubs to meet people they don't meet elsewhere.

Alcohol reduces inhibitions and slackens self control making 'social distancing' harder to maintain. Voices are often raised and raucous laughter is common. The louder the talk and laughter, the more copious the accompanying emissions of infected droplets. 

Pubs are best avoided. Drink only in your bubble!

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Infuriated by Microsoft


When I logged on to my computer after the last update to Windows 10 the screen was filled with a Microsoft Edge window, with buttons telling me where to put files of various sorts, and an incitement to explore the alleged wonders of a new version of Edge.

The buttons that ought to have closed or minimised the Edge window had been disabled, and I had to resort to summoning Task Manager with ALT&Ctrl&Delete to close the offending disutility.

I find Microsoft's tendency to try to tell me how to organise material particularly infuriating. I have devised a filing system that arranges material where I can find it easily. When I get a new computer I copy the accumulated material onto it and I don't want any interference, yet still the operating system tries to put downloaded files to places where I can't find them.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

My Website


I've brought several pages of my website up to date, so those eager for enlightenment are invited to look at and follow the links on that page to garden and books.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Praising Quadratic Equations


It irritates me when people who know little mathematics refer to quadratic equations as examples of very difficult mathematics.

I still remember when I was taught how to solve quadratics by completing the square. I was twelve years old  at the time and was most impressed by the ingenuity of the method. I think that was the first time I found Mathematics exciting. To me those who shudder at the mere thought of a quadratic are identifying themselves as intellectually pre-adolescent.

Quadratics are the key to solving polynomials of higher degree and thus to finding the eigenvalues of a linear transformation - at the heart of quantum theory- and to solving the differential equations governing electrical circuits and the oscillations of the wings of an aircraft. Quadratics are wonderful, and they are also easy.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Paperless Frustration.


Yesterday I tried to check recent contactless electronic payments to various shops.

I sorted out accumulated receipts, found my bank account on line and started to check. After just a few minutes I was automatically logged off. Having made three attempts, and vainly tried to persuade the bank to increase the five minute  limit for reading the account I decided to download.information and check it offline.

 Paperless banking is less delightful than we are led to believe.


Poor Timing

I thought it strange that examinations boards adhered to the original dates for publishing A level and GCSE grades. Those dates were chosen to allow time for examinations papers to be marked. With no examinations the estimated grades could have been published earlier, leaving time for any appeals to take place before universities allocated places.

I interpret the confusion as yet another example of incompetence in high places.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

A Ton of Water


After a wet spell I now have five water butts full of water. Each holds 230 litres, so I have rather more than a ton of rainwater to quench the thirst of any needy plants.

I don't recall ever hearing anyone else boast of having a ton of rainwater, so perhaps I'm the first.




Thursday, 30 July 2020

Zooming out of Isolation

This afternoon I attended my first virtual U3A meeting, by courtesy of Zoom. Eight of us were present. It was more than five months since I'd seen any of the others , so it was a happy occasion for me.

Friday, 24 July 2020

The Ponderous Activity of an Ancient Brain.

I have rewritten the books page of my website. For the benefit of anyone wondering what I'm doing in these strange times, here's a link

Thursday, 23 July 2020

A Joyful Day

I had my hair cut today !! It was only my second haircut of the year. I think the last time was either in January or very early February. I'm enjoying feeling light headed!