2014 — 23 November: Sunday

Grey? Check. Drizzle? Uncheck. This time, it's actually already raining.1 What an unlovely time of year this is. Seven years, too, since Peter and I drew that line in the sands (of Time) that celebrated Christa's Life and marked her departure. I wonder how many refreshing cups of tea have kept me going since then?

Here comes the next :-)

One of last night's...

... little unplanned adventures — all because I wanted to listen to "The Sword in the Stone" while housing the latest accumulated batch of DVD and Blu-ray artwork into the display book folders that now live on a bookshelf on the landing — saw me scrabbling around upstairs in what used to be Christa's study re-working the audio system there...

Reading room audio system

... in the light of the unexpected failure of my tiny Class D amp. And thus, of course, an unwanted silence upstairs. Yes, I could just have turned up the wick on the living room system. Bite me.

So I brought my venerable Denon CD/Tuner/Amp back into use, at least temporarily, but have currently lost the possibility of using digital audio until I also re-instate the Audiolab CD/DAC as a switching unit. That meant taking analogue audio via a SCART socket on the back of the Sony Freeview TV2 box that I use purely for digital radio.


Painful analysis of the byelection victory for that nice Mr Farage (who so kindly warned me I was about to be inundated by 29,000,000 Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants until someone told him Chandlers Ford had been gerrymandered out of Eastleigh and into Winchester).

A good beating

Call yourself a completeist?

I've seen only 12 of the 20 films listed here. (But Len has lent me a 13th that I may yet watch.)

A few years ago...

... well, OK, in December 1980, I bought Mitchell Beazley's magnificent "The Joy of Knowledge" two-volume encyclopaedia in hopes that Peter, at least, would one day derive as much benefit and pleasure from it as I had done even more years ago (1958/59 if you must know) from a single-volume ancestor of the species. The "JoK" pioneered the use of the so-called "two-page spread" that was to conquer many a magazine in later years. One such was for a while in the late 1990s my favourite piece of techno-porn: T3. Here's a typical spread from the June 1997 issue:

The Denon RCD-100 CD/Tuner/amp

Click the pic to stand a chance of being able to read the bottom right hand corner text.

Round and round...

... we go.

It is perfectly reasonable that powers to provide the police with the ability to match an IP address to the person using that service is investigated. However, if such a power is required, then it should be subject to the widespread consultation and comprehensive scrutiny that has been sorely lacking to date with industry, civil society and the wider public when it comes to introducing new surveillance powers. It is important to also recognise that the Communications Data Bill went far, far beyond being a focused attempt to solve this problem.
Before setting her sights on reviving the snoopers charter, the Home Secretary should address the fact that one of the biggest challenges facing the police is making use of the huge volume of data that is already available, including data from social media and internet companies. The snoopers charter would not have addressed this, while diverting billions from investing in skills and training for the police.

Emma Carr in Big Brother Watch

Somewhat predictably, a Lib Dem has already had to tell the Daily Mail that our fragrant Home Secretary's claims that Lib Dem opposition to her pet "snooper's charter" had "put children's lives at risk" was "deeply misleading". All I ask is the age-old question: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Much as I admire...

... Randall Munroe's class act XKCD, I think even he might well admit that one of his spiritual forebears could well be John Walker of Fourmilab. Evidence:

We usually think about the interconversion of mass and energy in connection with nuclear reactions, because that's where it is most apparent, but it is a general phenomenon. For example, if you heat a litre of water from near freezing to near boiling temperature, the random jiggling of the water molecules will increase in velocity (which is precisely the definition of heat). This motion, according to Einstein's equation...
... will cause a small increase in the mass of the water and, in the Earth's gravitational field, its weight. How much? Well, a litre of water is about a kilogram, so to heat it from 0C to 100C will require 100 kcal of energy (about two Oreo cookies), which will increase its mass by 4.66 nanograms. This is a tiny value, but comparable to the mass of four average human cells.

John Walker in Relativistic Nutrition

I omitted Einstein's equation simply because of the tedious process to reproduce it in SHTML. (That's my story.) Somehow, it had never occurred to me to contemplate the mass of an average human cell in the whole of my life so far.

Brrr. It's about 6C outside. I've just added another layer (as advised by one of those "Keep warm in the winter" pamphlets sent out to us elderly types). 20.4C in the living room while sitting still isn't quite warm enough for comfort. But Peter's 'fleecy' jacket (made, I suspect, from recycled polycarbonate bottles) will do the trick. If that fails, I shall put on some socks, too. And have another hot cuppa. Or, as a last resort, close a window.



1  And all set to continue doing so, I gather...
2  The portion of the local Universe here in Technology Towers that runs strictly in accordance with Murphy's Law had clearly noted my getting rid of a sack full of SCART leads and adapters a week ago and decided to keep me on my toes.