Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An accelerating universe

As mentioned I'm re-reading the Infinite Book and one topic that came up was with regards to the expansion of the universe. The logic presented in simple fashion goes like this:

The universe initially expanded (accelerated), however with no additional force gravity should 'instantly' start to cause everything to collapse.

In everyday terms if I throw a ball into the air as soon as the initial force of my hand is removed and the ball leaves my hand gravity takes over and 'removes' that force from the ball; until there's none left and the only force remaining is gravity and down comes the ball.

Looking at the universe parts are accelerating. That's like throwing a ball in the air and having its speed increase. Explanations are many and the book seems to settle on dark energy/dark matter etc. which are gravitationally repulsive. Spit-balling I threw some other concepts together and asked what if the acceleration is an illusion?

The missing money - hotel room problem

I'm re-reading The Infinite Book by John D Barrow at the moment; a little dry in places; a bit too much theology and some badly placed diagrams in relation to the accompanying text, but still an interesting read. One of the quotes used is a famous puzzle paradox involving people staying in a room. I'll paraphrase here, but you can check Scopes for a full set of details.

3 people stay in one room at a hotel. It costs $30 so they each pay $10. The hotel accidentally forgot to take a discount into account - the room should only have cost $25. The manager hands $5 to a bellhop to return to the guests. The bellhop, who hasn't been tipped, decides to take $2 out of the $5 and returns $1 each to the guests.

Each guest has paid $9 for the room totalling $27; the bellhop has $2 so where's the remaining $1?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nitpicky language

I've been watching BBC's the Great British Menu in bulk 5, episodes at a time. Amazing how much rubbish can be removed - I've turned 2.5 hrs into 1.5 by fast-forwarding through the "this is what we're doing this year"'s the "and these are all the ingredients I'll be using"'s and the "and this is how how chefs did something regarding this year's brief"'s. Oh and the format's still a mess given the supposed goal, but I'll stop digressing.

Last week we had the North East; or Nor Feast as it was called. I've no problem with accents switching "th" for "f" or droppin' end sounds, they're simply diverse sounds and one is really no 'better' than another, but the question that kept being asked was

"Do you think this is a dish what will make the judges laugh?"
Ouch. Try this "Do you know what is wrong with that sentence?". Both "Do" and "What" are questioning terms and I can split my query into "What is wrong with that sentence? Do you know?". Now try it with the chef's question "What will make the judges laugh? Do you think this is a dish?" Nonsensical. It could be saved by "What will make the judges laugh? Do you think this is such a dish?". But that's not really what the question was about. The chef was not asking what will make the judges laugh only if this was a dish that could cause them to do so. It wasn't two questions it was merely one presented in an inaccurate form.

Yes, yes regionalism, but it's sloppy, causes an upset to my English parsing, and is unnecessary.

Oh I suppose it could have been worse; he could have been asking "Do you think this is a dish what you could make perfect for a hundred guests?"

All surprises today

The news has been so unpredictable today - first up is Nick Clegg denying that there was a cover-up over sexual misconduct. Personally I thought he was going to stand up and declare that he'd known all about this and did his best to make sure no-one else would.

The Academy award winners were also a big surprise. For the award to "Best film that makes America look great against evil foreigners" was a toss-up between the two French films and two films that made parts of America look bad and Argo. Best Pretentious Method Actor in a serious American film was also a toughie, but ended up going to the most pretentious method actor in a serious film.

Best actress in a serious role dealing with serious issues looked like it was going to Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty except that had nasty bits in it that made the good guys look kinda bad so they switched to the serious film dealing with serious issues that didn't and thus Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Actress in an uncomfortable role went to the prostitute Anne Hathway for pretending to be French; and Most famous person singing a song went to the most famous person to sing a song for a movie.

All in all a total shock

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Bedroom Tax mess

It's been kicking around for some time, but a story in the Shuttle shows the sheer idiocy of the government's "under-occupancy" benefit reduction commonly referred to as "bedroom tax". A disabled man uses the spare bedroom for his dialysis machine yet may face a cut as it's an unoccupied bedroom and thus lose his home.

How truly screwed-up is this plan? I'll go through it point by point.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Still beating that dead horse

And don't the elitists just crawl out of the woodwork; how many seem to be popping up with thinly veiled comments that people who buy the cheap meat pretty much deserve what happened. The most hilarious was a small inside editorial/opinion piece in last week's "i" paper. According to the author we're all really only upset about this because it's horse meat; he then goes down the route of 'if dogs were as big as cows and cows were the size of digs we'd be tucking into dog and walking cows around on leads'.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Comicbooks in classrooms

Watching the BBC Breakfast this morning and discussions on P.E. (which is a whole other topic) and while discussing the issue of untrained teachers and improper equipment someone stated that they "wouldn't have comics to teach literacy" and I thought "Why not?".

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Three way traffic light analysis

The road-works at Dunley Road in Stourport have switched back to three-way traffic lights; however it appears they're being properly manned this time. The joke in this instance is that the fact they're being manned means the redundancy of having three sets of lights. Allow me to explain.

Monday, February 11, 2013

This horse keeps running

So as I suggested we're going to primarily try to blame the supplier; who happens to be Romanian which no doubt will please certain political parties. Oh, but of course there's more to it than that. We can't just accept some blunder along the supply chain; hell we can't even seem to accept a bit of dodginess; nope we're going for full-out Criminal Conspiracy no doubt undertaken by criminal masterminds. So hey no-one at our end to blame, it must have been a highly complex laid out scheme... yeah.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Gay marriage vote - wlll the real bigots please stand up.

Seriously is this some sort of test? 'No I don't think same-sex couples should be allowed to refer to their union as a marriage nor should they be allowed to have religious trappings at their ceremony' Um why not?

From the Shuttle we sadly learn that our very own MP is voting against this proposition because

"As a broad indication of the responses I have had - and I have had about 300 letters on this - those against equal marriages outnumber those in favour by about 100 to one"
He also happily gets into a muddle with
"I suspect that I share the views of many people across Wyre Forest on this subject. It is not something that people seem to be clamouring for. I have made no secret that this is something that I am broadly neutral on."
"While most people seem ambivalent about the issue of same sex marriage, those who do have an opinion feel passionately about it. They are very concerned about the implications."
In other words I should listen to the shouty people because they're shouty. You do realise how laws work in this country? They're negative, so you can do anything unless the law says you can't. So by continuing a negative law stating that such partnerships can't be called marriage etc. you're not being neutral; you're condoning the existing state.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Twitter pics of Stourport

Had a trip down to the river at the weekend, took some photos and thought to tweet them. Six times in various ways and they would not go through. Bang all went through this morning. So wither a glitch at their end; or a glitch at mine. I'll try again later in similar circumstances and see what happens this time.


Friday, February 01, 2013

Argentina saying no to democracy?

With talks over the Falklands up pops the news that Argentina won't have any discussions if the current inhabitants are present; Britain on the other hand is insisting they be able to participate. So that's Argentina determining that the current population shouldn't be have any say in their own future - nice one.

So that's a big +1 in Democracy to Britain. Or at least it would be if we all didn't know the only reason we want them there is because they're all pro-British. If they'd suddenly turned pro-Argentina we'd be the ones trying to keep them out with Argentina insisting on their presence.