Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category

Never mind the quality

February 22, 2018

I am old enough now to be allowed to be cynical:


 

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Being 70

February 19, 2018

So, I turned threescore and ten last week.

The Bible (Psalms 90)

The days of our years are threescore years and ten;
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
yet is their strength labor and sorrow;
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Shakespeare (Macbeth, II, 4)

Old man: Threescore and ten I can remember well: 
Within the volume of which time I have seen 
Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night 
Hath trifled former knowings.

The angels were not visible but there was celestial music all day. Everything I ate tasted like an ambrosia gel and everything I drank was like a single-malt, 18 year old nectar. My understandings of all things philosophical turned profound. The mysteries of life, the universe and everything were revealed. It is not just coincidence that 42 plus the singularity is a prime and exactly half of 86. Ytterbium (Yb) has atomic number 70 and is a lanthanide. There have to be 52 cards in a pack because there are 52 weeks in a year. There must be 13 cards in a suit to account for the missing 13th month. I finally understood why there are 7 days in a week and humans have five digits on each limb. I solved the last missing theorem. A teenager’s speech was almost intelligible and didn’t turn me off. A car stopped in heavy traffic and allowed me to merge into the queue. And it snowed all day.

At 70, the answer to life, the universe and everything on any limb and on any day of the week becomes obvious.

Apart from that it was just another day.

In Sweden, to be 70 is no big deal. Around 16% of the population is 70 or over. In Japan 20% of the population is 70 and over. But in India and China only about 6% are over 70. Globally, the over-70s are just under 6% of the population.


 

Decadent or depraved

December 11, 2017

So are we decadent or are we depraved?

Decadence

dissipation, dissoluteness, degeneracy, debauchery, corruption, depravity, vice, sinfulness, perversion, moral decay, immorality, lack of morals, lack of principles, lack of restraint, lack of control, lack of self-control, immoderateness, intemperance, licentiousness, wantonness, self-indulgence, hedonism, epicureanism, voluptuousness

Depravity

corruption, corruptness, vice, perversion, pervertedness, deviance, degeneracy, degradation, immorality, shamelessness, debauchery, dissipation, dissoluteness, turpitude, loucheness, profligacy, licentiousness, lewdness, lasciviousness, salaciousness, lechery, lecherousness, prurience, obscenity, indecency, libertinism, sordidness; wickedness, sinfulness, vileness, baseness, iniquity, nefariousness, criminality, viciousness, brutality, brutishness

I suspect it is decadence.

Bit it is surely one or the other.


 

Five decades

December 8, 2017

One ages and one gets nostalgic.

The past gets compressed into some kind of a zip-file in my memory and sometimes the file is difficult to open.

But five decades of a working life does not take much space to summarise.


 

Political Dyslexia

November 7, 2017


 

Some marvellous inventions that changed my world (and are now obsolete)

September 3, 2017

Marvellous inventions that changed my world and which are now obsolete. (Dates are when I came across the invention).

  • 1959 – My first fountain pen
  • 1960 – first biro (not quite obsolete yet)
  • 1961 – Kodak box camera
  • 1962 – birthday present of a Sony transistor radio
  • 1963 – My own book of log tables
  • 1964 – a Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder (which I could play backwards!)
  • 1966 – a Faber-Castell slide rule
  • 1967 – allowed to use a Curta mechanical rotary calculator
  • 1968 – a Kodak Instamatic
  • 1969 – a casette tape recorder
  •  1972 – a Sinclair pocket calculator
  • 1974 – allowed to share a Hewlett-Packard 9100A desktop
  • 1975 – allowed to use a PDP-11 mini-computer
  • 1976 – using a Telex machine
  • 1977 – a Sony Betamax video player
  • 1978 – a Polaroid camera
  • 1980 – used a facsimile machine (G1)
  • 1983 – first PC (not obsolete yet)
  • 1984 – used a fax machine (G3)
  • 1989 – First Nokia talkphone (model now well obsolete)

image birmingham history

and the rest is still unfolding.


 

Sunday morning blues

August 27, 2017

The world is a round hole and I am square.


 

In the galaxy of my childhood

June 30, 2017

Long away and far ago, in the galaxy of my childhood, in a space-time continuum that has ceased to be:

  • Nothing was impossible,
  • Banks were known to handle cash,
  • customers were always right,
  • shop-keepers thanked you for your custom,
  • restaurants were happy for you to eat and dawdle,
  • the milkman brought the cow around every morning and evening to be milked,
  • coffee beans were roasted and ground every morning for the day’s consumption,
  • if it wasn’t raining it was hot,
  • if it wasn’t snowing it was cold,
  • ice cream and chocolate bars came once a week,
  • cakes were for birthdays,
  • a girl could be a tomboy and remain a girl,
  • scientists were skeptical,
  • the postman was always on time,
  • extreme weather was just extreme weather, 
  • newspapers told the truth, and
  • everything was possible

 

Disillusionment

June 29, 2017

It is one of the worst feelings one can experience. To have reality intrude rudely on illusions one has cherished.

And the worst of the worst is when it is another person who is the disillusionment. When somebody turns out to be not quite what they seem to be.


 

Full emancipation

June 19, 2017

In a certain country, it eventually came to pass, that women gained equal rights to men.

Every man was still allowed up to 4 wives, but now each woman was also allowed up to 4 husbands.

This led to some complex situations arising and a few additional rules had to be introduced.

Marriage was defined as between men and women. Men could not be wives and women were not eligible as husbands. Same-sex relationships were perfectly acceptable but did not constitute a formal marriage.

In each marriage the parties had to be designated in hierarchy (first wife, second husband, third husband, fourth wife and so on). Spousal points were introduced. Being first spouse gave 4 points to the partner, being second spouse loaded the partner with 3 points, being third gave 2 points and being a fourth spouse gave 1 point. No person could have more than 4 spouses and no person could accrue more than 10 spousal points. A person’s spouses took their spousal hierarchies in sequence. (A person could not take a third spouse without first taking spouses one and two). No person could have two partners having the same spousal hierarchy (having two first husbands or two third wives was not permitted). But a man could be first husband to two different women and fourth husband to two others. Similarly, a wife could be first wife to two different men but then could not be greater than a third wife to just one other husband or a fourth wife to two more.  A man could be second husband to three women or, third or fourth husband to four women, if he (and they) so chose.

Monogamous relationships were permitted but considered mildly anti-social. Generally having two spouses or less was considered a sign of eccentricity or social failure.

On the demise of a spouse, changes to the hierarchy of the surviving spouses was permitted – provided there was consent from all affected parties. In practice, such consent was impossible to obtain and hierarchy changes rarely took place. For example, suppose that a first husband to one woman died or was divorced.  In theory she could then elevate her second husband (or fourth, for that matter) to be her new first husband. However, such an elevation could (would), in turn, affect the hierarchy of that husband’s wives and their husbands. Such elevations could lead to the spousal points exceeding ten. Exceeding the 10 spousal-point rule required the shedding (by divorce) of a spouse (also by consent of all affected parties) for compliance. The lowest ranked spouse usually had to be shed first but this was not obligatory. Shedding by murder was not permitted.

Divorce was, of course, permitted as the right of every person on demand and whenever spouse-shedding had to be exercised.

A household was required to be registered to an individual (joint ownership was not permitted). However while every individual could only be responsible for one household, he or she could also belong to a household registered to his or her spouse. Each person’s assets or liabilities devolved first to surviving spouses in proportion to their spousal points (a death then leaving 40% of assets or liabilities to the first spouse, 30% to the second spouse and so on) and to surviving offspring only if no spouses were surviving and in the very rare cases they could be unambiguously identified.

While the mothers of children could generally be identified, determining the father was a little more difficult. All children were therefor made wards of the State and were transferred to State custody at the age of 12 months. Naming of children after their parents or relatives became impossible so the State allocated numbers to all people. This was a simple 16 digit, unique identification number (an 8 digit gene-scan id and 8 digits for the date of birth).

Inherited wealth virtually disappeared.

It soon became established practice for young people to begin married life as the third or fourth spouse of a much older partner and progress, with experience, to be higher ranked spouses of other partners.


 


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