Thursday, 31 January 2019

Cumbersome Procedures

Many people are amazed that Mrs. May is still leader of the Conservatives.

One factor is the complicated time consuming process of selecting a new party leader The complication results from the involvement of all party members.

Conservative leaders were at one time elected by MPs, and the process took less than a week. I wish all the  major parties still did things like that. It is in Parliament that government is scrutinised and there that it needs approval for its plans to change laws and levy taxes. Prime Ministers depend of parliamentary approval to survive. Member of parliament observe ministers in action, and they are the ones best placed to assess their suitability for office. With the procedure that made Mrs. Thatcher leader, Mrs. may would have been gone long ago, but to remove her now would leave the country leaderless for months.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Tasty Puddles

Last night there was a fall of moist snow which melted as soon as it reached the ground, leaving little puddles here and there.

Today I noticed the resident cat lapping up a particularly muddy puddle, ignoring the various receptacles of clear water placed here and there for her refreshment.

I've never tasted a puddle. I wonder if I'd enjoy it if I did.

Perhaps gin and tonic may eventually give way to gin and puddle, or even puddle and tonic.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Folding and Cutting: an Intriguing Diversion.

The Economist recently mentioned applications of origami to Mathematics and Engineering.

The inspired a web search that yielded this site that indicates ways of getting interesting shapes by folding paper and then making a single cut. Apparently it is in principle possible to use this method to obtain any shape or set of shapes, provided that the boundaries are made of straight lines. The star is easy, but I had quite a struggle  folding for the swan.

There's also  a course of lectures here.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Malice or Stupidity ?

The greatest obstacle to settling our affairs with the European Union seems to be the special provision for Ireland. To complicate further a tricky problem by entangling it with the affairs of Ireland was always likely to magnify the difficulty

 Were EU negotiators deliberately making things difficult to punish Britain for the perceived impertinence of trying to leave, or were they too stupid to anticipate the problems they were creating?

Thursday, 3 January 2019

A Perverse Choice of Units

Recent warnings about sugar consumption have told us how many lumps of sugar we may safely eat in a day. Yet we very rarely use lumps of sugar these days.

Occasionally, at elegant tea parties, people may use the sugar tongs to help themselves to a lump of sugar. I suspect I have a pair of sugar tongs somewhere, but I haven't used them for many years. I've never heard of anyone putting lumps of sugar on their breakfast cereal.

When people add sugar to drinks or to food they are about to consume, they usually use spoons. When cooking we often weigh ingredients. Spoon fulls of various sizes or grams would convey more to most of us than lumps..

Tuesday, 1 January 2019


Reviewing my postings here I notice a sharp fall in their number in 2014, the year I bought the present house and started to renovate it. In every subsequent year the number of postings has increased as work on the house has progressed. I wonder how energetic I shall be online this year, now that work on the house is almost complete.