Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Intermittent Inspiration

My entries in this blog tend to cluster. There are periods of a week or two when I post nothing here, and other periods when I think of something almost every day.

I noticed something similar when I was writing my Philosophy notes, now almost complete, by the way. There were periods when I wrote very little, and others when I scribbled away in almost every spare moment.

Some would say the periods of apparent inactivity are occupied by unconscious thought, when something or other is going on in my mind without my knowledge.

Assuming that mind = brain, I'm sure lots goes on in my mind without my being aware of it, but I not at all sure that such unobserved activity is a continuation of concious thought.

The hypothesis of unconscious thought is empty unless it can be supported by observations independent of the train of later concious thought the unconscious is supposed to explain.

I'm inclined to investigate theories of the unconscious.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Overdoing the underwear.

From time to time I hear comments about Mormon Underwear. Yesterday I investigated and found the following link:


Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Contemprary Commonplace Book

It recently struck me that a blog resembles the commonplace books people used to keep, in which they would record any events or quotations that struck them as interesting, and any thoughts that came into their heads, occasionally adding little illustrations.

The principal difference is that blogs are usually public, or at least usually accessible by a moderately large audience, whereas a commonplace book would often be read only by the author and possibly the author's descendants, but there's still a great similarity.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Late Autumn Colour

I've just walked round the garden checking which plants are in flower. I found plants of 14 different species in flower, the total number of individual plants was considerably greater. I also found 3 different species displaying colourful berries.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Using Fallen Apples

I usually have lots of spare cooking apples at this time of year. Large unblemished apples I wrap individually in newspaper and store, but there are lots of apples that fall out of the tree and won't keep because they are bruised.

I usually cut out any bad bits, peel and core them, cook them down to a pulp, freezing what I don't want to eat immediately.

Usually I sweeten the apple pulp by mixing with home made jam, so I get a sort of stewed mixed fruit, most of which I eat with my afternoon yoghurt.

This year I thought of using apple to make preserves.

The thought came to me when I spotted bowls of apricots offered at £1-00 in the market. My bowl had 650 g of apricots, so I added the same mass of apple pulp and made it into jam.

It set extremely well, or course. The popular setting agent sold as certo is made from apple juice.

That was a couple of days ago; today it occurred to me that apple could be substituted for marrow in Ginger Marmalade. After all, the marrow functions mainly as a neutral substrate around which a gingery jelly forms. Once again, the stuff set well. I still haven't decided whether to label the result Ginger Marmalade or Apple and Ginger Jam

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Wishful Statistics

Imperial Tobacco has just produced a paper claiming that there is no statistically significant evidence that passive smoking is a danger to health. The company does not refer to any investigation conducted by itself, but simply criticises other studies, mainly because investigators did not themselves measure the period of exposure to second hand smoke, or the intensity of atmospheric pollution, but relied on estimates by sufferers.

Direct measurements would be hard to make, but lack of them does not imply that we have no reason to consider passive smoking dangerous. The dangers of smoking are well established, so it is a reasonable inference that inhaling the same noxious substances in a diluted form would be attended by similar, though probably smaller dangers.

People who like smoking and are selfish enough to smoke even when that makes life unpleasant for others may manage to deceive themselves into believing that passive smoking is harmless. I only wish smoking also produced sterility so that such people would have no children to inhale their fallout.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Three for the Price of Two

Quite a few shops are making such offers, especially for pretty packages of odds and ends intended as Christmas presents.

So many items are covered by such offers that I doubt if they are what are called 'loss leaders' and suspect that the profit margin is so high that selling three items for the price of two makes more profit than selling just one item.

A little algebra, which I leave as an exercise for the reader, establishes that that implies that the profit in selling a single item is more than half the price charged.

Impulsive shoppers should take care!!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Unsound Businesses

We often hear complaints that businesses cannot afford to borrow money, yet interest rates offered to lenders are below the inflation rate, indicating that real interest rates are negative. Thus borrowers are repaying less than they borrow.

Businesses that that can't afford to repay what they borrow must be destroying value, instead of creating it, and shouldn't be in business at all.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Autumn Fruits

This morning I gathered quite a few ripe tomatoes, in three different colours (red, yellow and green), from plants in my greenhouse. The plants are dying now, so there won't be much more fruit, but it was still gratifying to be able to gather them so late in the year.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Residues of Bonfire Night

There seemed to be fewer fireworks hereabouts, and I didn't find the usual bits of rocket scattered around the garden, and it wasn't until I put washing out to dry this morning that I noticed the soot on the washing line.

I always wipe the washing line with a damp kitchen towel before pegging out my washing. Usually that leaves just faint stripes of grime on the towel; today the stripes were thick and black.

Oddly enough, no such effect was noticeable when I wiped the line on Sunday 6th, so the black stuff must have been floating around for a while before it settled, giving it time to accumulate in the lungs of innocent non-users of fireworks.