Sunday, 27 September 2015

Convoluted Arithmetic

The legal limit for alcohol in a driver's blood is usually stated as 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres.

That means 80/1000 grams in 100/1000 litres

We can simplify by removing the denominators giving:
 80 grams per 100 litres

That is equivalent to 8 grams in 10 litres, or 0.8 grams per litre.

As the specific gravity of alcohol is just under 0.8, 8 grams is about a dessertspoonfull, and 10 litres is just a bit more than the capacity of a normal sized watering can - interpreting 'normal' as the mode.

Thus the alcohol limit is one very full dessertspoon of alcohol in a watering can full of blood.

Stated like that it seems to make more sense.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Singing the National Anthem

I never join in public singing. That is partly because I can't sing in tune, but also because I don't like having words put into my mouth. If I'm to say something, or if I could sing, sing it, I want to choose the words myself, rather than be a passive channel for other people's thoughts, or lack of thought.

The words of the National Anthem are particularly absurd. The very first word invokes a being that doesn't exist, and some of the later verses are so embarrassing that even keen singers no longer sing them.

I have grave doubts about the opinions and intellectual powers of present Leader of the Opposition, but that does not justify wholesale criticism of everything he says and does. I find some of his eccentricities quite endearing.

At the service commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain he had made one big concession to convention by wearing a tie. In the photograph I saw he looked charmingly owlish. He was the only person in the photograph who looked as if he were thinking about anything.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Lack of Confidence ?

I notice that a so called 'robot ethicist', Dr Kathleen Richardson, has called for a ban on robots constructed to satisfy the sexual urges of their owners.

Is she afraid she wouldn't be able to match their robotic charms ?

Thursday, 3 September 2015

An Ancient Brain Stimulated by Ancient Electronics

A few days ago I found the instruction book for a programmable graphics calculator that I bought about 20 years ago, and succeeded in programming it to factorise natural numbers giving all prime factors with the exponent of each. I was quite pleased, both with myself and with the calculator, and have felt much livelier since.

What shall my next program be?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

I gather that in the EU referendum campaign there are to be 'official' 'yes' and 'no'groups, which will be financed partly by the government.

That annoys me intensely. I wish to make my own decision which groups I support and which I oppose, and support and opposition includes either making donations or withholding them. I strongly object to the government taking money from me in taxes in order to give it to groups I may not support.