Quick links

First up: I’m fine. Thanks to everyone who’s written and called for being so lovely. But really, I’m fine. No, I’m not quite sure why, either, but I am.

But now, this blog will return to its usual mix of sparse posting, rubbish, and dull geekery. I know you wouldn’t have it any other way.

First up: the curious case of the aeroplane on the conveyor belt. This is the sort of question that’s famously prevalent in Cambridge physics (so… you’d think I’d be better at them, but sadly not). In this case, however, there’s a crucial additional piece of information – the precise wording of the question is utterly dreadful. Once you know that, it’s entirely obvious that the aeroplane takes off (though of course in any real-world situation it would suffer horrific undercarriage mechanical failure and, very likely, grease fires. But this is a physics question so deal with it).

Next: Frasier Spears being deliciously cynical about the Danish Cartoons farce. Of course, the joy of a conspiracy is that one can usually construct arguments why either side might play the same game, which is the case here.

A very quick link: A Mac OS X weather widget that uses the BBC as its data source, rather than the flaky US-centric thing the standard Apple widget uses.

And finally: I had an entertainingly rambling conversation with my sister last night, who was holed up in some ghastly hotel near Euston between a council meeting of the Theatrical Marketing Association and another meeting with PR types. The latter thanks to a stage adaptation of a TV show that Kate’s theatre is putting on. Now, I’ve known my sister all my life – obviously – but she still surprises me on a regular basis. Last night’s shocks were: (1.) she can do a better-than-passable impression of girlie London PR types, which is so not her I found it slightly alarming, and (2.) she’s learning about the pros and cons of different SQL servers.

Understand that Kate is a fluffy arty type who’s worked in theatre management and marketing for about fifteen years: she really has no business knowing more about thread-safe transactions than I do, let alone load-balancing server configurations.

I’m unreasonably proud of her.


  1. the aeroplane question was deliberately worded to mislead which is crap. Bad semantics confuses interesting physics which isn’t cricket. [er…] anyway it led me to that excellent article in the guardian by Dawkins [for those who missed it] I love it when thinking people out-think thoughtless people.

  2. I find the BBC weather widget rather flakey too.
    The bes one is this one:
    which takes it’s data from the met office and is both stable and reliable.

  3. “Fluffy arty”?! Moi?
    The cheek of it…

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