Sunday, 21 July 2019

Confusing Abstraction and reality.

I wince every time I hear someone say something like 'hot temperature' or 'expensive prices'

I suspect there's a name for such confusions, but I can't recall it. Perhaps some reader of this blog will enlighten me.

There is one context in which there's case for calling a price expensive. People who trade in financial futures buy or sell the right to trade in stocks or commodities at a certain price. If the cost of a particular option seems rather high, one might say' that's an expensive price', but so far as I know futures traders never do say that.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Chats with cats

I often talk to the cat, even though she is deaf. Perhaps she can lip read!

In her way she talks back.Sometimes it's clear that she wants something - either food or a door opened, but sometimes I think she's just acknowledging my existence. A meow then signifies something like 'I see you and accept your admiration'.

We humans often struggle to think of something to say in circumstances when saying something is considered polite. It would be so much easier if, instead of having to formulate a vacuous sentence that just appears to say something, we could simply meow.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Breach of Copyright ?

The debate about a newspaper's publication of an ambassador's emails has not so far mentioned copyright. I imagine that copyright belongs to the Foreign Office, so that publication without their permission would be grounds for at least a civil action.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

A Challenge to Relativistic Orthodoxy, or Just a Statement of the Obvious?

Several times recently I've heard it asserted in television programmes that:

"It takes five years to grow a five year old oyster"

The only circumstances in which I can imagine someone making an even slightly plausible case for denying that, is in some involved relativistic time paradox, but why oysters rather than clocks, physicists, or cats?

Saturday, 29 June 2019

A Homemade Mint Infusion.

Since I revived it by changing its soil, my mint has grown with astounding vigor so I decided to find a use for it.

I took about five stems, stripped off the leaves, washed them, put then in a small teapot and poured boiling water over them. the result was an excellent infusion.

I wonder why I've never done that before.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Strange Devices

Yesterday I visited the National Gas Museum in Leicester. It was awarded the title 'National' because it is the only gas museum in Britain.

There was a remarkable collection of gas powered devices. Most people would expect to see gas lights, gas fires and gas cookers, but there was much else as well.

There were gas refrigerators, one of which still had the label explaining how it works - roughly speaking applying a gas flame to  a solution of ammonia in water drives off ammonia, starting a circulation of ammonia through various tubes and chambers.

There were also gas powered irons, gas hair curlers, a gas waffle iron, and a device that looked like a cooker with an eye level grill, but behind what one took to be the oven door was a refrigerator.

Quite sinister in appearance was the gas hair dryer. It looked like a black helmet on a tall stand. I gathered that the brave individual whose hair was to be dried placed his or her head in the helmet, where there was also some sort of miniature gas fire.

Most exciting for me was the gas powered radio made in 1938, though I gather that did not sell well, so I guess there has never been a gas television set, or a gas computer!.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Journalist's Arithmetic

37 - 19 = 20

That was affirmed several times by a BBC announcer reporting on the recent selection of candidates for the post of Conservative leader. One candidate's vote increased from 19 in the first round to 37 in the second and was reported to have increased by 20.

 After giving the figure the announcer paused for thought, repeated the figures 37 and 19 and said. 'that's right 20' so the error was not a momentary aberration.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Shivering in June

Today it was so chilly that I put on gloves when I went out. I don't recall ever before wearing gloves in June.

Friday, 31 May 2019

A Strange Ambition

I'm surprised that so many people are trying to become leader of the Conservative Party.

Whoever does become leader is likely to be blamed for a catastrophic departure from the European Union, and may well also preside over the extinction of the party.

Why do that want it ?

Monday, 13 May 2019

The Varieties of Compost

I usually buy special compost for sowing seeds, but this year absent mindedly helped myself to potting compost instead. I mixed it with some sand and vermiculite to improve drainage and sowed my tomato seeds. They grew much better than usual, so I may not bother with a special medium for seedlings in future.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Slowing Down

This morning I timed myself preparing to go out to vote in the District Council elections.

I arose at 6:45. I bathed, dressed, breakfasted, washed up, said 'hello' to the cat and by the time I'd made myself presentable to the world it was 10:15, so it took me three and a half hours to get ready even though I omitted my usual morning check of emails and CIX messages.

I resist a temptation to generalise about the ways of the ancient, but this ancient at least lives slowly:-)

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

An Annoyingly Tentative Invitation

This morning's post included a poll card for the European Election scheduled for 23 May. Yet there will be no such election in Britain if the Prime Minister can avoid it.

How would we react to an invitation to a wedding between two people who hope to get out of it somehow or other?

Supposing the election doesn't take place, how many people will appear at the polling stations because they don't know about the cancellation, or to protest, or because they want to see how many others turn up for one reason or another?