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Random Thoughts      copyright    2006-2007  S Zervos


Here are some of my random thoughts plus a few anecdotes that I would like to share with you.

  • Two thicks and a thin.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato said that "necessity is the mother of all invention". Another philosopher (me) says that "egoism is the driving force of all perseverance."

Professor Krakpott invented a wire so thin it was barely visible to the naked eye. He sent a short sample across the sea to impress his good friend professor Phroot-loop. Not to be outdone, Phroot-loop drilled a narrow hole down the centre of the spider-web-thin wire and sent it back to Krakpott.

His ego rattled, Krakpott cut a fine thread inside the narrow tube and promptly sent it back to Phroot-loop. In a fit of pique, Phroot-loop made a ridiculously thin bolt and screwed it into the fine thread cut into the narrow tube drilled through the almost invisible wire and sent it back to Krakpott.

By now, in a salivating rage, the furious Krakpott made ---
Aaaargh!  --- What the heck. They're still at it.

  • A Greek bearing gifts.

When Pythagoras went to America to visit his good friend Chief Giggling Horse he took with him three gifts, one each for the Chief's three beautiful squaws.

He gave the first two dainty squaws a mat each, made from the hide of a buffalo. To the third (better-endowed) squaw, who weighed as much as the other two squaws together, he gave a thicker mat made from the hide of a hippopotamus.

With squeals of delight the three squaws placed their mats on the ground and sat on them. That's when Pythagoras stepped back and made his now famous observation that "The squaw on the hippopotamus is equal to the sum of the squaws on the other two hides."

  • Long days.

The never-satisfied are always complaining that the day is too long and boring. 
I figure that if we lop a few hundred feet off  the top of Mount Everest it would increase the Earth's spin (due to the conservation of angular momentum) in much the same way that an ice-skater's spin increases when she drops her outstretched arms. The extra earth spin should shorten the length of the day by about  .00000000007 seconds, give or take a femto-second or two.

Now, that should be enough to shut up all those whingeing malcontents. 

  • In regard to the relativistic time-warp.

"There was a young lady named Bright,
Who could travel much faster than light.
She went out one day, in a relative way
And came back the previous night."

There are many unsavoury versions of this ditty but, contrary to what my wife would probably say, I am a gentleman so I won't be repeating any of them here.

  • Science-speak.

The original nursery rhyme "twinkle, twinkle, little star" first appeared in the early 1600's and today there are hundreds of versions in hundreds of languages. The original author is unknown.

Where the storyteller would say:

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
how I wonder what you are,
up above the world so high,
like a diamond in the sky."

The scientist would probably say:

"Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific,

fain may I fathom thy nature specific,
loftily poised in the ether capacious,
strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous."

  • In regard to the Doppler shift.

A driver accused of going through a red light explained to the judge that the red light appeared green due to the velocity at which he was approaching it.

The judge, being scientifically aware himself, did a quick calculation, accepted the driver's explanation then fined him for speeding.

  • They do, or they don't.

There are 10 kinds of people --- those who understand binary, and those who don't.

In case any reader is unfamiliar with binary maths and doesn't get the joke, 
I should point out that binary 10 has the same value as 2 in the decimal system.

--- SZ

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