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Topics - Don_1
« on: 12/05/2013 00:19:24 »
Back in August 2008, some damn fool joined thisy here forum and posed thisy here question:http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=16682.msg192114#msg192114We are being told by marine biologists, meteorologists and a host of others, that the ocean's temperatures are rising. Cited as evidence for this is the retreat of the polar ice caps and migration of fish toward the cooler waters, amongst other natural phenomena.
Would I be right, therefore, in coming to this conclusion?
The higher ocean temperatures result in more evaporation. This increase in evaporation leads to more condensation when the water vapour laden air reaches land causing the increase in cloud cover and precipitation that the British mainland is currently experiencing. As this cloud cover prevents the Sunís rays from warming the land, the condensation increases, the cloud cover increases and so it goes on in a vicious circle.
If this is correct, can we in Britain expect to see a repetition of this type of summer weather in future years?
Now I don't want to suggest that I was right back then, but.........
I wonder, could the weather itself actually have an effect upon itself? Could the cold air being sucked south from the artic by the jet stream being far to the south, be preventing the jet stream from driftting north?
« on: 24/04/2013 14:47:49 »
My question here http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=47599.0
was prompted by a problem which has reared its ugly head.
Some years ago I took in two Med Spur Thigh tortoises, when their owner no longer wanted them. (I do wish people would be more careful and consider the implications before
they go buying pets.
These two were little more than hatchlings when they came to us. Being of the same parents and same clutch of eggs, I assumed and hoped they would be the same gender. They have both always displayed a stubby tail and flat plastron, indicating they were both female. But with tortoises, it can be very difficult to tell the genders apart until they reach maturity. Their vet was also of the opinion that they were both female.
Since coming out of hibernation this year, one has been acting a little strange toward the other. A week ago, or so, 'she' started butting her sister. This can be sign of aggression, but is usually confined to males, but it can also be a sign of a male wanting to mate with an unwilling female.
Keeping a close eye on the situation, I have noticed 'she' is pestering her sister and has butted her again on occasions and, just the other day, tried to mount her. An inspection of the tail and plastron still showed all the signs of a female tortoise. But it is only now that they are both 9yrs old that the truth my become evident.
Either I have a brother and sister, or I have a lesbian tortoise!
Today, 'she' has again been trying to mount her sister and butting her. Getting myself down to ground level, I tried to see what I could see as 'she' mounted her sister. To my horror, there it was....
'She', or rather HE is trying to bonk his sister. I tried to explain that this is not socially acceptable, but I don't think he understood, or just doesn't give a damn.
I now have a dilema, do I keep them both or should I have one re-homed, in which case, which one?!?!?!
If I keep them both, how do I keep them apart? A partition down the middle of the garden? What then happens in the autumn, when they have to come in on to a tortoise table with heat and UV lamps. Two tables? I just do not have the room for two tables.
I have always been opposed to breeding tortoises in the UK as we just don't have the climaric conditions for these animals, in my opinion it is wrong to bring more animals into this world in a habitat they are just not suited to. Even if my opinion were different, it would still be wrong to allow brother and sister to mate. The result could well be deformed offspring.
If need be, as it may well be, I shall need the assistance of the Tortoise Protection Group and/or the Tortoise Trust in dealing with this problem.
« on: 24/04/2013 13:30:20 »
Some animals (such as wolves, lions & elephants) prevent the chance of inbreeding by chasing off the young males as they near maturity, though this may not prevent the chance of the father breeding with the daughter.
In other other animals (such as wilderbeast) which form large herds, there may always be a chance of inbreeding. Other, solitary, animals (such as tortoises) leave it to chance.
In a healthy population and unadulterated habitat, what might the chances be of brother and sister mating?
In a healthy population but restricted habitat, what might be the increase in the chances of this happening?
In a reduced population in a restricted habitat would the chances be so high as to make it very liable?
Here in the UK, the chances of a red squirell getting to mate with another from a different region are somewhere between slim and not a hope in hell, since groups of them have become isolated by a sea of human habitation and intervention. Does this add to our native squirells' problems? Could inbreeding, forced by circumstances introduced by man, be their ultimate demise?
Can we, should we intervene by taking young males from their home patch to be distributed in other populations they would otherwise not be able to reach?
« on: 14/03/2013 12:30:41 »
My old laptop has become sluggish. It is rather old and has a hard drive which, compared to newer models, is rather like a small plastic carrier bag compared to large wheely bin liner.
So I have delved deep into my pocket and found a few pennies (US = cents) and invested in a new laptop.
Now my new laptop will need some protection, the question is do I go for Norton, MacAfee, AVG or whatever?
In the past I have used Norton, but when I fancied a change, I found I couldn't uninstal Norton, well not all of it. There seemed to be fragments which would not bugger off and leave me alone. Right now, I am using Kaspersky and though it seems to be fine, I have noticed the Norton logo in places, so I wonder if the two are linked in some way.
A quick search on Google brings a mere 61 billion results!!! It is obvious that many of these results are eminating from the security companies themselves, blowing their own trumpets. Its hard to tell whether even some of the independant reviews are perhaps a tad on the biased side.
So before I get my new laptop online and subject to possible attack from a virus, worm, hi-jacker, hacker, phisher, trojan horse,
beefburger (sorry, wrong horse), what do you think is the best all round protection?
My current Kaspersky is about to run out, do I renew it? Do I opt for MacAfee? AVG?
Obviously, I can use a free download, but these do not give the best protection, you gets what you pays for. But I am not into national security or some global commercial giant, I just want to protect my new laptop and be assured that when I buy something on line or go into my bank account, I can do so with at least some peace of mind and should someone send me an email, I can have some help in telling the prospective new client from dubious nerd trying to get my bank details.
« on: 04/03/2013 15:08:48 »
Well, no, its not for me, I'm a bit too long in the tooth to change my career now, or at least I would be if I could only find my teeth. Where did I put them?
Putting on my best exhibition hat, let me tell you that The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair
will be on at London's ExCeL Exhibition Centre
from 14th - 17th March 2013.
There will be various activities, workshops, theatre shows and interactive stands as well as competitions and career advice.
Best of all, its FREE!!!
Click on the above links for more information.
Now I must sit down and calm myself. EEeeeeouch! I've just found my teeth!
« on: 11/01/2013 14:57:37 »
Doing a little research for a relative on Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), I found a good deal about intraocular lens implants for visually impaired people (IOL-Vip).
Retina cells at the centre, and directly over the Macular, would have been damaged by seepage from capillaries in the Macular (wet AMD) or simply stopped working due to lack of blood supply (dry AMD). They are rendered inopperative and the sufferer percieves a blank spot where central vision would have been. In the early stages, wet AMD can be treated with an injected vascular inhibitor.
It is only in the case of those those suffering from end stage AMD that IOL-Vip can be offered. The proceedure involves replacing the eye's lens with two artificial lenses. These magnify light entering the eye and redirect the light on to a part of the retina unaffected by AMD.
Since this moves central vision from the centre of the retina by perhaps 2mm or more, does this mean that what is directly in front of you, and would normally be concieved as such, would now appear to be slightly to one side and would it appear to overlap (as if to give a double exposure) on peripheral vision?
I did note that following IOL-Vip treatment, patients must go through 'retraining' to get used to their new vision.
« on: 30/11/2012 13:37:58 »
If we accept that about 4 - 5b years ago a belt of asteroids etc from tiny grains to huge million ton chunks of rock and metals orbiting the Sun began to collide and formed planet Earth, then we must accept that among this would have been huge cosmic ice bergs.
The multitude of impacts resulted in a planet of molten rock with the ice bergs being turned into water vapour. Over the next few hundred million years Earth's atmosphere would have been a hostile mix of methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and other noxious gases and trillions of gallons of super heated steam.
The clouds would have been so dense over the entire planet, and stretching from ground level to the upper atmosphere, as to block out the Sun completely. On the side of the planet facing the Sun, the water vapour in the upper atmosphere would have been kept hot by the Sun's rays, while that at ground level would have been kept hot by the Earth's molten surface. But on the other side of the planet, the dark side, the vapour in the upper atmosphere would have cooled and condensed, to fall as rain. As the Earth rotated, this would have happened over the entire planet in a uniform manner. As cold water, falling as rain, passed through the hot steam at lower levels, it would have had a cooling effect on the vapour at lower altitudes and over the next few hundred millions of years, it may have contributed to the cooling of the Earth's surface and the eventual formation of the crust.
Now, given that the Ďsolidí Earth and the gaseous Earth would have both been fairly uniform, it would be reasonable to assume that when water vapour turned to precipitation and finally remained liquid on the Earth's surface, it would have done so in a uniform manner. The result of this would have been that Earth's crust would have been entirely submerged.
The crust would still have been extremely hot and perhaps just a few metres thick. Earth would have been like a cook's steamer, with constant evaporation, condensation and precipitation. At crust level, the vast single ocean would have been boiling violently, while at surface level the ocean may have been just a degree below boiling point. With Earth remaining highly volatile, continual eruptions would have seen the occasional volcanic island emerging from the ocean, only to be flattened by the corrosive water and the action of extreme tidal activity caused by other eruptions elsewhere.
A few hundred million years on, with continued cooling and thickening of the crust, the situation would have begun to stabilise. With fewer eruptions and the ocean temperature reduced to say 50oC, some of the volcanic islands may have been able to survive for many hundreds or thousands of years. These islands may even have survived another local eruption and become joined to form double and triple volcano isles. High numbers of massive eruptions concentrated in one area could explain the formation of the first land masses of Vaalbara and even Ur. But how did the subsequent supercontinents form?
Could it be that the tectonic plates which surrounded the plates upon which Pangaea sat, all began to converge over a period of a couple of billion years, gradually lifting just one huge land mass out of the ocean? Starting with Rodinia, Pannotia, Oldredia and finally Eramerica until the whole Pangaea land mass was raised above sea level.
Why a supercontinent? Why not smaller continents more evenly spread? And perhaps the crux of the whole matter, how and why did the tectonic plates evolve?
« on: 21/11/2012 14:50:35 »
I have it in mind to replace my tripod, but am not sure which way to go. Ask Google and a host of different opinions just add to the confusion.
So, here are the facts.
3 section legs are better than 4 section, since each joint is a weakness point.
Braced legs offer greater stability, yet some of the best carbon fibre tripods do not have braced legs. Why not?
Carbon fibre is lighter than aluminium, thus less to carry, but the heavier the tripod, the more stable. If I hang my gadget bag between the legs of a carbon fibre tripod, will this compensate?
Box aluminium is quite strong, but it can bend. Carbon fibre is very strong, but it can shatter.
There is actually nothing wrong with my current tripod (a Velbon Sherpa), but I would like to reduce the weight of my equipment, so I have been looking at getting a carbon fibre tripod. Weighing in at around 25% less than an identical aluminium tripod, to coin a phrase, 'every little helps'.
My Velbon Sherpa weighs 1.95kgs. A new Velbon CX-440 weighs 1.1kgs. A Camlink weighs just under 0.8kgs (though it has a load limit of 2.5kgs). A Giottos MT8223-50 weighs 1.12kgs (at about £100, about the cheapest carbon fibre tripod) and a Benro C-1682T+B0 Travel Angel 2 weighs 1.5kgs.
Odd though, that this Benro (a mid price range tripod) at £350 has no leg brace. Equally odd is the Gitzo GT5542LOS Series 5 Ocean 6X Systematic Tripod, which, at an eye watering £1850, also has no leg brace and is a 4 section leg. What's more, this is the price of the legs only, no head. The others I quoted here are inclusive of the head.
So, from the physics point of view, which is best, carbon fibre or aluminium?
You can take it for granted that the Gitzo wont be coming my way! Neither will the Benro, for that matter.
« on: 09/07/2012 08:35:15 »
As long as you want it to be, there's no limit.
So, can we send a huge reel of string up to the international space station and just haul up everything needed?
« on: 25/06/2012 10:52:19 »
Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta Island Galapagos Giant Tortoises was found dead in his compound yesterday by his head keeper Fausto Llerena.
His sub-species Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni was believed to have already been extinct when George was spotted in 1972. He was taken into the care of conservationists and a frantic search was launched to find another, hopefully female, of his species. But it was eventually accepted that George was the last of his kind.
Thought to be between 80 & 100 years old, George was joined in his compound by two female Espanola tortoises, the closest genetically to his sub-species, and in 2009 two clutches of eggs were laid, but both proved to be infertile. Previous attempts to get George to mate with other sub-species, including the Wolf Volcano tortoise, had all failed.
George had become the star attraction for around 180,000 tourists visiting the Galapagos each year and became a conservation icon.
It was the shape of the Galapagos Islandís tortoise shellís which was the first stepping stone to Charles Darwinís theory of evolution. Having no natural predators, the tortoises thrived on the islands until fishermen and sailors hunted them for meat to almost the point of extinction. Of the 15 sub-species of Chelonoidis nigra only 10 now survive.
The tortoises also came under threat from goats imported by man to the islands, which were decimating the vegetation at an unsustainable rate and leaving the much slower eating tortoises to have to search for the once abundant food plants. Other threats imported into the islands by man include rats and disease.
In recent years, immigrants from the Ecuadorian mainland had come to the islands to make a living from the tourist trade. Though the islands are protected, with some being off limits to all but a few scientists, the population of man has grown leading to calls for limits to be set. This resulted in protests and even a threat to Lonesome George.
An autopsy is to be performed to try to establish Georgeís untimely cause of death. George should have lived for around another 100 years. Harriet, a Chelonoidis nigra porteri taken by Darwin to England and subsequently moved on to Australia, lived to 175 years.
With no known offspring or other individuals of the sub-species, Lonesome George became known as the rarest sub-species on Earth. With his passing, the sub-species is now extinct and the world is the poorer for it.
RIP Lonesome George 23rd June 2012.
« on: 21/06/2012 11:45:00 »
While governments, business and scientists argue on the matter of climate change and Manís hand in it, there can be no denying that Man does have an impact on the planetís ecology.
Whether it be waste, fossil fuels and their alternatives, farming, fishing, architecture, pets, water, entertainment or anything else, our daily lives impact on our ecology.
We teach our children how to read and write (after a fashion) and mathematics as a matter of course and throw in science, geography, history, art, languages and crafts etc. as optional extras with a little sport on the side.
Given the importance of environmental issues, should we not be teaching ecology as a matter of course. Are our children aware that over the past years the population of Blue Whales has shrunk by 66%? That despite the introduction of line fishing in place of net fishing, Bluefin Tuna numbers have not recovered? That turtle nesting beaches are under threat? That Orangutans, apart from declining in numbers, are being isolated by forest destruction for Palm oil? Are they aware of the possible consequences of intensive mono-culture farming? That our waste is turning up in some of the most remote places on Earth? Do they understand that carelessly discarded bottles, cans and plastics can be deadly to wildlife?
Is it not our responsibility to teach children what we know and what we suspect? If we donít teach them, who will? What will they think of us, when they rediscover something we already knew or suspected and didnít pass on to them? How can we expect our children to respect our world, if we donít impart our knowledge to them?
Even if it just suspicion, should we not encourage them to investigate further and engage in discussion on matters which will have a baring on their future?
« on: 20/06/2012 11:43:14 »
At around 100 tons, the Bowhead Whale is the second largest animal on Earth.
Living their entire life in nutrient rich arctic seas, their only real threat comes from humans. Though Orca's are known to predate on them, instances seem to be few and far between.
In 2007 an individual caught off the coast of Alaska was found to have a failed exploding harpoon tip embedded in its blubber of a type made in 1890. So this individual at just 50 tons was over a hundred years old. The Inupiat people are allowed to kill a limited number of Bowheads each year for food and oil and during a survey by the International Whaling Commission on their kill in the 1970's, 80's and 90's a number of whales were found to have stone harpoon tips embedded in their blubber. These harpoon tips have not been used since the 1860's.
Tissue samples from these Bowheads were examined by a team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who used amino acid racemization techniques to establish the age of these whales. Five were found to be over 100 yrs old and one nearly 200 yrs old. Further testing at the University of Washington put the oldest whale at 211 yrs old.
Although the reliability of racemization is in question, given the habitat of the Bowhead Whale, the reliability of their food source and their slow metabolism, such longevity would certainly seem possible.
Is it possible that a Bowhead Whale might outlive an Aldabra Tortoise to become the longest lived vertebrate? It would need to beat the record set by Adwaiter
of 256 years.
« on: 20/06/2012 10:03:43 »
It seems that every time we eat something of Mediterranean origin, such as spag boll, lasagne, moussaka and so on, or many other dishes which require a vegetable sauce, its the faithful old tomato which forms the basis of the sauce. OK, so tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables, but they seem to be the only thing that fits the bill. Most vegetables would need copious added water to make a viable stock or just can't do the job at a cost or flavour which rivals the tomato and other fruits are just too, well, fruity. Would you really fancy a spag boll doused in sweet sticky orange juice or bitter mouth drying lemon juice? Nope, the tomato seems to fit the bill to a tee, not too sweet, not too sour, not too wet, not too dry and just seems to lend itself to savoury and herby dishes and at a reasonable price to boot.
But suppose you don't like tomato? Or just a tad fed up with it? Are you destined to never sample the delights of Canelloni? Are you confined to eating dry Bursa Kebab?
The jolly old tom is a faithful and versatile culinary ingredient as well as being a stand alone drink and salad essential, but is there a substitute for them? Something which would match them on sweetness, wetness and the all important cost.
« on: 06/05/2012 02:45:31 »
Popular belief is that the games were invented by the Greeks to honour Zeus.
This year the games will be held in London.
Does that worry you? It ought to; it sure as hell worries me!
Those French must be thanking their lucky stars they didn't get lumbered with it.
But, at least we're safe from an air attack. Rapier missiles have been deployed to shot down any hijacked plane posing a threat to the games. Might be best not to fly into London City Airport for a while. Being just a few miles from the Olympic village.............. Well, mistakes can happen.
In fact, it might be as well to evacuate east London altogether. Imagine a hijacked airliner in the stack for Heathrow suddenly turns and heads straight for the Olympic stadium. Not a problem. One Rapier Missile will sort it out. The hijackers will miss their target, landing instead on.......... Perhaps, on nearby Westfield, Europe's largest shopping mall.
Ooops, sorry pardon folks.
Or perhaps on Canary Wharf, where the big financial corporations have their HQ's.
Hmmm, maybe not such a bad idea after all.
But just to top it off, the Royal Mint has presented its coins to celebrate the 2012 games. They are resplendent with their Greek Gods portrayed on them. Errr, no, sorry, make that Roman
Yep! No kidding, Roman
When it comes to a right royal cock-up, you just know you can trust us Brits.
OH! The shame!
« on: 03/05/2012 11:13:49 »
The Chelonians have roamed this planet on both land and in the oceans for more than 250 million years. They have survived the Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous mass extinctions, three of the most devastating mass extinctions our planet has experienced. But in the past few hundred years, Man has brought many species to extinction and many more to the brink of extinction.
Yes, Iím banging on about the plight of the tortoises and turtles again, and I make no apology for it.
Last year the National Park Service brought in plans to limit the use of ORVís (off road vehicles) at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. But, as the Center for Biological Diversity reports,
Ö.. a bill in Congress is threatening to undo these critical new protections. H.R. 4094 is a bull-dozing bill that would undermine the public's will and undo new protections for endangered sea turtles which use the beach to nest and lay their eggs. In fact, it would allow ORV use across the entire park. Unrestricted ORV use has been documented to kill sea turtles.
This is in stark contrast to US Federal laws which are supposed to protect all species of marine turtle. Sadly, there are few Federal laws to protect North American tortoises and freshwater turtles. It is left to individual states to introduce protection for these animals. This leads to confusion. Box turtles are protected in some states, not in others. The state of Louisiana reported that in a 21 month period, some 30,000 Box turtles perished as a result of road kill and people taking these highly timid and nervous animals into captivity, which more often than not will result in the animalís demise.
As for the tortoises, the pet trade, despite CITES and national laws designed to protect them, continue to face devastating population decline in the wild, by the hand of unscrupulous, profiteering animal traders.
This email has been sent by the Tortoise Protection Group
Hi,Thank you Darren, yes my two shelled chums are doing just fine, but wouldn't mind some better weather!
Despite many UK Breeders not being able to find good homes for the tortoises they breed, there are still a large number of tortoises that are still being imported into the UK, which is of great concern to us. Many arrive here with illnesses and diseases, due to cross-infection through keeping 100's of tortoises together prior to shipment and during their transportation. The large number of young tortoises sold by dealers with parasitic infestations, is not natural for "captive bred" tortoises. Many of these tortoises are clearly far older than their licenses suggest?
Only a few weeks ago I was speaking to a lady here who had a friend order two tortoises from a certain well known dealer in Essex. Both arrived via a courier DEAD!
In order to offer an alternative to purchasing tortoises from dealers/pet shops etc, we set up a UK Breeders list, which we are now starting to expand (all the breeders on the list are verified by us). This is largely due to the new page we have set up on our website where our verified breeders can advertise their tortoises for sale. Although the page is doing quite well in the Google ratings, we really need to push it further up the ratings; above the dealer's links and other general adverts.
We are asking all members to PLEASE make occasional/daily searches on Google e.g. "Tortoise For Sale" and to click the Tortoise Protection Group link :-
Ėthis will help with the ratings. I believe it is currently on page 2.
To help the ratings we have created a new Facebook Group:-
Please feel free to join and invite your friends too.
Many Thanks for taking your time to read this post.
I hope you and your shelled friends are well Ė sunny here the last two daysÖ.Thankfully:-)
It is the sad truth, that despite their vulnerability, not all species of tortoise are protected by CITES and even those which are, still face the problem of poaching. These illegal animals are made legal by the fact that when imported into the UK, they are claimed as Ďcaptive bredí or Ďfarmedí animals and duly issued with the necessary documentation. I think I can safely say the same is happening elsewhere.
But donít place the blame entirely on the poachers, it is we, the general public, who fuel the demand for this trade.
Most of us are aware that Lonesome George is the last remaining Pinta Island giant Galapagos tortoise, but how many are aware that the Egyptian Tortoise is extinct in Egypt, and hangs on by a thread only in Libya. In Madagascar, both the Ploughshare & Radiated tortoises face extinction due to destruction of their natural habitat and poaching for the pet trade. An estimated 1000 of these two tortoise species are being poached every week. Hermann and Horsfield tortoises are threatened in former Soviet Bloc nations by unscrupulous pet traders. These, like many other species face a new threat from man. The emerging economies of Asian nations is revitalising the threat to them while the threat from the west continues unabated.
Will man be the ultimate nemesis of these ancient creatures? Has CITES failed them?
« on: 10/04/2012 16:36:14 »
« on: 04/04/2012 09:14:22 »
I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever with my Nikon D300 DSLR, though I wouldn't say 'no' to a nice new D800 (hint).
But a DSLR cannot be slipped into the pocket for that opportune shot which sometimes presents itself.
Back in the good old days of film, the same problem came with my various SLR's (Pentax ESII, Canon AE1, Nikon F301), so a compact camera slipped into my pocket was a great and neccessary addition to my photgraphic equipment. It also served as nice Xmas or birthday gift for the Mrs. (I know, 'the cheek of it'). The last was a fantastic little Miranda range finder.
But some years ago I bought 'er indoors a Pentax A10 digital compact. Now don't get me wrong, its a lovely camera which gives very good results, BUT, it has no optical viewfinder and I just don't like trying to compose a frame looking at the display screen. In fact I find it very difficult to do so and there is the problem of seeing the screen in bright daylight (though some later models have screens which address this problem) and keeping the camera on target while you check the composition and when pressing the shutter release and camera shake brought about by the awkward position the camera is held in. OK, camera shake is compensated for, but wouldn't it be that much better if the camera could be held in a position where shake can be minimised in the first place?
We recently bought our daughter a compact Nikon, this has the same problem as the Pentax. So I have been looking for a nice little handy compact to slip in my pocket for those opportune shots and for snap shots of friends and family where I really don't want to be humping around my DSLR kit and/or haven't the time to set up my D300 with appropriate lens and, maybe, flash, set the lens to the appropriate distance, focus and aperture and set the body to 'P', 'A', 'S' or 'M'.
But can I find a suitable camera for the job WITH AN OPTICAL VIEWFINDER? No.
Canon seems to be the manufacturer which still has optical viewfinders on more models than most. But I really only want a handy snapshot camera for which I expect to pay well under £100.
The optical viewfinder is simple accurate and does the job it was intended for very well indeed yet it has been ditched by so many manufacturers in favour of the inferior LCD screen. Is this technology for technologyís sake? Is this a step in the wrong direction? I certainly think so.
« on: 03/04/2012 10:56:24 »
There are web sites for just about anything you care to mention, but there is one site which could be useful to people who can't find the right word for a situation which I have never been able to find.
Sometimes I might be ........ Oh, what's the word I'm looking for? You must know that annoying feeling when the word you want is on the tip of your tongue, but it just won't come out. No matter how hard you try, or how long you leave it till later, it remains as ............ (..... erm........ erm DOH! What's the word I'm looking for......... It means 'hard to find'. Oh yes, that's it...... 'Illusive'.) ...... it remains as illusive as ever.
Now its OK if you have another word which would relate to the word you are looking for. In the above case, I could perhaps type in 'rare' and look at the synonyms. But if I can't even think of a related word and type in 'hard to find', there are no clues to be found in the synonyms.
So where is the web site which will help me spit out that word which tantalizingly plays on the tip of my tongue, but refuses to pop out? Is there such a site?
« on: 02/04/2012 10:04:58 »
+ 1 = ∞
The above must be wrong, because the ∞ in red obviously wasn't ∞. Therefore it follows that the answer ∞ has to be wrong.
∞ + ∞ = ∞
Again, the above must be wrong, for the same reasons as above.
∞ - ∞ = 0 (or possibly ∞) ????
I'm totally flummoxed here.
We live in one infinite universe. There can only be one universe, since it is infinite and there can surely only be room for one in infinity.
So, could it be that :
∞ = 1?
What do you think?
« on: 24/01/2012 16:05:52 »
Just a musing from the yawning chasm in my cranium for you to comment on and ridicule poor old moi.
It is said that the background temperature of space is around 2.4 Kelvin (-270.5oC. ) slightly above the fabled Absolute Zero.
Could it be that 50 billion years ago, there was a universe, totally different to ours, existing at temperatures below absolute zero, but warming? Then 14.7 billion years ago the temperature of this previous universe reached minus 0.175 Kelvin. When another billion years went by, just as an aircraft creates a sonic boom when it reaches the sound barrier, the old universe created the Big Bang when it reached, or passed, absolute zero.
As mass, theoretically does not exist below absolute zero, the previous universe may have been composed entirely of a pure form of energy, which upon reaching 0.00000001Kelvin, became matter in an instant.
« on: 11/01/2012 13:12:11 »
On a similar vein to Chris's thread here
, I have an email from TFL (Transport For London, or as I think of them Tosspots F***up London):-
Dear Mr Don_1,
I am writing to remind you that leaving your engine idling unnecessarily can contribute significantly to local pollution levels.
If you know you are going to be stationary for more than a minute, turning off your engine will reduce harmful emissions. This small change can have a big impact so please help by turning off your vehicleís engine whilst parked or waiting at the roadside. By doing this we can all breathe cleaner air.
We have updated our website with information relating to engine idling and improving air quality. For more information, please visit tfl.gov.uk/switchoffengine
TFL are also running a radio information campaign urging delivery drivers to turn off their engine when making a delivery.
What a bunch of plonkas.
If I were making a delivery in London, I would certainly NOT leave my engine running. Apart from the fact that itís illegal to leave a vehicle unattended with its engine running, it would be inviting every thief for miles around to make off with my van and its contents.
As for leaving my engine running when I am parked, why would I do such a thing? I'm parked!!! You headcases at TFL may have the money to burn in such fashion, most of the rest of us certainly DO NOT!
Now for this bit, and in line with Chris's thread, "If you know you are going to be stationary for more than a minute, turning off your engine will reduce harmful emissions.
If I were to follow this advice, I would be turning off my engine every couple of hundred yards. I can usually reckon to be stationary in London for more time than moving.
For example, if I leave home at 5.30am I can be at Earl's Court in around an hour; leave at 6.30am and the same journey may take in excess of 2 hours. If I were to turn off my engine every time I stopped for more than a minute, would I actually use more fuel than leaving the engine running? Starting the engine uses more fuel than continuous running and constantly turning off and on the engine puts greater wear on the battery and results in 'coking' of the engine, which in turn, leads to reduced efficiency and greater emissions.
Could I also ask why TFL are wasting money on this sort of rubbish and not sorting out the real problems faced by London's ever increasing traffic volumes?
« on: 21/11/2011 18:58:21 »
First thing in the morning I just must have a cup of tea, well, mug actually.
Like many others, I whack a Typhoo tea bag (other tea bags are available) in a mug and pour on boiling water. The tea bag is full of perforations to 'let flavour flood out' (other slogans are available).
Now here's the question, if my tea bag is full of perforations, why does it blow up like a balloon? Even when I push it under the water, it just bobs back to the surface like a, like a........ floaty thing. Why doesn't the air just escape through those perforations and the tea bag sink?
Please write your answers on the back of a tea bag.
To assist you in finding the back of a tea bag, here is a typical tea bag. Front of tea bag Back of tea bag
« on: 10/11/2011 13:15:14 »
For those with an interest in oil exploration, the PESGB 'Prospex' exhibition will take place at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, N1 on Dec 13th & 14th.Details here.
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