Friday, 31 January 2014

Neglected Insulation

On my way the into town today I decided to put on my gloves, realising as I did so that it was the first time I'd worn gloves since well before Christmas.

I don't think there's been a single day this Winter when the temperature at midday has been below freezing, and, although I have spotted the odd snowflake, no snow has settled on the ground.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Rocket Science and its Contraries

"It isn't rocket science" has become a cliché for 'easy'.

Yet the science behind rockets is not at all recondite. It's a matter of gas pressure, momentum and viscosity. The details involve complicated calculations, but that shouldn't worry the owner of a calculator.

For difficult maths and science, consider the Riemann zeta function, or the eigenvalues of a quantum operator. Alas, most people feel no perplexity about those questions, because they've never even heard of them.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Reviving Past Frugality

Yesterday I darned a pullover. It was a knitted pullover and had a little hole that would have grown rapidly without action.

I've got into the habit of throwing clothes away as a soon as I notice serious dilapidation, but it struck me that that is very wasteful, so I darned the pullover. At one time most garments were darned or patched a few time before being discarded, and superannuated knitted garments would be unravelled and the wool preserved for knitting something else.

Nowadays it is rare to see darns or patches even on the clothes of people who consider themselves poor. Perhaps we should re-define poverty as needing to darn one's socks.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

"Scientifically Proven"

Some phrases annoy me greatly. Particularly irritating is "Scientifically Proven".

It appears in a television advertisement for something or other - I've never paid it enough attention to find out what is being advertised.

Scientific research does not prove things true; it tests hypotheses, and at best provides grounds for accepting them as a basis for further investigations.

I also  note the use of 'proven' instead of 'proved', hinting at the solemnity of legal proceedings.

I must find out what commodity is being advertised, so I can make a point of not buying it.

Friday, 17 January 2014

An Example to all Teenagers.

I'm delighted by the story of the two sixth formers who absconded from a boarding school to have a holiday in the Carribean.

It was at once a challenge to the pomposity of teachers, who tend to take themselves far too seriously - I used to be a teacher so I know what it's like - and a well deserved rebuke to parents who care so little for their children that they are prepared to pay nearly £30 000 per year to have them looked after by someone else.

I don't expect the couple thought about making a gesture. It's reported that they were just fed up with the rain and wanted to go somewhere sunny. That they thought school and families less important than that should put those authorities firmly in their place.

Well done!!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A Plea for Virtual Fireworks

Impressive firework displays were televised last night, and although large crowds gathered to watch at the scene, most of the spectators must have watched on the television. So for most people a computer generated simulation would have been at least as good, and very much cheaper.