Thursday, 31 January 2008

How to recognise and destroy a vampire

from Dracula, by Bram Stoker

So far, then, we have all we may act upon, and let me tell you that very much of the beliefs are justified by what we have seen in our own so unhappy experience. The vampire live on, and cannot die by mere passing of the time, he can flourish when that he can fatten on the blood of the living. Even more, we have seen amongst us that he can even grow younger, that his vital faculties grow strenuous, and seem as though they refresh themselves when his special pabulum is plenty.

But he cannot flourish without this diet, he eat not as others. Even friend Jonathan, who lived with him for weeks, did never see him eat, never! He throws no shadow, he make in the mirror no reflect, as again Jonathan observe. He has the strength of many of his hand, witness again Jonathan when he shut the door against the wolves, and when he help him from the diligence too. He can transform himself to wolf, as we gather from the ship arrival in Whitby, when he tear open the dog, he can be as bat, as Madam Mina saw him on the window at Whitby, and as friend John saw him fly from this so near house, and as my friend Quincey saw him at the window of Miss Lucy.

He can come in mist which he create, that noble ship's captain proved him of this, but, from what we know, the distance he can make this mist is limited, and it can only be round himself.

He come on moonlight rays as elemental dust, as again Jonathan saw those sisters in the castle of Dracula. He become so small, we ourselves saw Miss Lucy, ere she was at peace, slip through a hairbreadth space at the tomb door. He can, when once he find his way, come out from anything or into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused up with fire, solder you call it. He can see in the dark, no small power this, in a world which is one half shut from the light. Ah, but hear me through.

He can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell. He cannot go where he lists, he who is not of nature has yet to obey some of nature's laws, why we know not. He may not enter anywhere at the first, unless there be some one of the household who bid him to come, though afterwards he can come as he please. His power ceases, as does that of all evil things, at the coming of the day.

Only at certain times can he have limited freedom. If he be not at the place whither he is bound, he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunrise or sunset. These things we are told, and in this record of ours we have proof by inference. Thus, whereas he can do as he will within his limit, when he have his earth-home, his coffin-home, his hell-home, the place unhallowed, as we saw when he went to the grave of the suicide at Whitby, still at other time he can only change when the time come. It is said, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide. Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic that we know of, and as for things sacred, as this symbol, my crucifix, that was amongst us even now when we resolve, to them he is nothing, but in their presence he take his place far off and silent with respect. There are others, too, which I shall tell you of, lest in our seeking we may need them.

The branch of wild rose on his coffin keep him that he move not from it, a sacred bullet fired into the coffin kill him so that he be true dead, and as for the stake through him, we know already of its peace, or the cut off head that giveth rest. We have seen it with our eyes.

Thus when we find the habitation of this man-that-was, we can confine him to his coffin and destroy him, if we obey what we know. But he is clever. I have asked my friend Arminius, of Buda-Pesth University, to make his record, and from all the means that are, he tell me of what he has been. He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkeyland. If it be so, then was he no common man, for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyond the forest.' That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with him to his grave, and are even now arrayed against us. The Draculas were, says Arminius, a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due. In the records are such words as 'stregoica' witch, 'ordog' and 'pokol' Satan and hell, and in one manuscript this very Dracula is spoken of as 'wampyr,' which we all understand too well. There have been from the loins of this very one great men and good women, and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. For it is not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good, in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest."

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

"Book 'em, Danno!"

"Book 'em, Danno! (...Murder One...Two Counts)" - Steve McGarrett's (Jack Lord) favorite saying to his top assistant detective Danny "Danno" Williams (James MacArthur) when he caught a criminal on the conclusion of each episode of the police drama HAWAII FIVE-O/CBS/1968-80.


Tuesday, 29 January 2008


Without being familiar with the industry, very few would guess that nearly 80% of the billiard balls used worldwide come from a small village in the countryside of Belgium. For over half a century, the company SALUC SA has produced in the secrecy of its premises in Callenelle the unique and well-known Aramith phenolic balls, making this miniscule village the world’s capital of billiard ball production.

See the full story at

Monday, 28 January 2008

Football Quotes

"They're the second best team in the world, and there's no higher praise than that."

"England have the best fans in the world and Scotland's fans are second-to-none."

"It's like a toaster, the ref's shirt pocket - every time there's a tackle, up pops a yellow card."

"I don't think there's anyone bigger or smaller than Maradona."

"England can end the millennium as it started - as the greatest football nation in the world."

"You can't do better than go away from home and get a draw."

"He's using his strength and that is his strength, his strength."

"Gary always weighed up his options, especially when he had no choice."

"The tide is very much in our court now."

"Chile have three options - they could win or they could lose."

"I came to Nantes two-years-ago and it's much the same today, except that it's totally different."

"I know what is around the corner - I just don't know where the corner is. But the onus is on us to perform and we must control the bandwagon."

"In some ways, cramp is worse than having a broken leg."

"The 33 or 34-year-olds will be 36 or 37 by the time the next World Cup comes around, if they're not careful."

"It's understandable that people are keeping one eye on the pot and another up the chimney."

"I'd love to be a mole on the wall in the Liverpool dressing room at half-time."

Sunday, 27 January 2008


Homographs are words with identical spellings but different meanings.

A famous example is the town of Reading (pronounced to rhyme with threading) vs. the gerund reading, as in reading a book (pronounced to rhyme with feeding). At one time the bookseller Blackwell's had a branch in Reading, signed "Blackwells Reading Book Shop", in which either pronunciation made sense.


Saturday, 26 January 2008

The Mallard

The Mallard was, and still is, the fastest steam locomotive in the world.

It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, an engineering genius who had already produced a world-beater in The Flying Scotsman.

To Gresley it became a matter of national pride to break the record. He built and carefully prepared the streamlined Mallard – The Blue Streak – and finally, on 3 July 1938, Mallard reached a top speed of 126mph (202kmph), claiming an unassailable place in the railway hall of fame. Its record is unlikely ever to be challenged.


Friday, 25 January 2008


Ewe and you are a pair of words with identical pronunciations that have no letters in common.

Another example is the pair eye and I.


Thursday, 24 January 2008

Leslie Hore-Belisha

A Belisha beacon is a flashing orange globe atop a tall black and white pole. They appear on either side of the road at zebra crossings in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in the former British crown colonies of Singapore and Hong Kong. They are named after Leslie Hore-Belisha (1895-1957), the Minister of Transport who introduced them in 1934.


Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Sequences of words formed by the addition of letters

The nine-word sequence

   I, in, sin, sing, sting, string, staring, starting (or starling), startling

can be formed by successively adding one letter to the previous word.

There are a number of other nine-word sequences that use only common words, and numerous shorter sequences, such as the seven-word

   a, at, rat, rate, irate, pirate, pirates.


Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 2007

Thousands of you took part in the search for Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2007, and the vast majority of you chose a small word that packs a pretty big punch. The word you've selected hasn't found its way into a regular Merriam-Webster dictionary yet—but its inclusion in our online Open Dictionary, along with the top honors it's now been awarded—might just improve its chances. This year's winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t ("leet," or "elite") speak—an esoteric computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters. Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "we owned the other team"—again stemming from the gaming community.

Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from visitors to our Web site:

1. w00t (interjection)

expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay"

w00t! I won the contest!

The other words in the Top Ten List are

  • facebook
  • conundrum
  • quixotic
  • blamestorm
  • sardoodledom
  • apathetic
  • Pecksniffian
  • hypocrite
  • charlatan

More at

Monday, 21 January 2008

More adages

The stylus is more potent than the rapier.
= The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.

It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative manoeuvres.
= You cant teach an Old Dog new Tricks.

Surveillance should precede saltation.
= Look before you leap.

Scintillate, scintillate, asteroid minim. (not a proverb)
= Twinkle twinkle little star

The person presenting the ultimate cachinnation possesses thereby the optimal cachinnation.
= One who laughs the last, laughs the best.

Exclusive dedication to necessitous chores without interludes of hedonistic diversion renders John a hebetudinous fellow.
= All work and No Play makes Jack (?) a Dull boy.

Individuals who make their abodes in vitreous edifices would be advised to refrain from catapulting petrious projectiles.
= Those who live Glass Houses should cast no stones.

Where there are visible vapors having their provenance in ignited carbonaceous materials, there is conflagration.
= Where there is smoke, there will be fire.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Railway Gauge

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches - an exceedingly odd number.  Why was that gauge used?

Because that's the way they built them in England, & English émigrés built the US railroads. Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the people who built the pre railroad tramways, and that is the gauge they used. Why did they use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used the same wheel spacing. Okay!  Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.  And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they all had the same wheel spacing. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Specifications & bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you're handed a spec and wonder what horse's butt came up with it, you may be right... because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war-horses.

Now, the twist to the story...

There's an extension to the story about railroad gauges and horses' behinds. When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.  Thiokol makes the SRBs at its factory at Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs wanted to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel--which is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, a major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined 2 thousand years go by the width of a horse's butt.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

For the lexophiles

A bicycle can't stand alone because it is two-tired.

What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway).

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In democracy it's your vote that counts; In feudalism, it's your count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

If you don't pay your exorcist you get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I'll show you A-flat minor.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.

He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.

Every calendar's days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted. 'Taint yours and 'taint mine.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.

Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.

When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she'd dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.

Friday, 18 January 2008

How to Kill a Vampire

The problem with vampires is these pesky bloodsuckers tend to hang around forever, if only in our imaginations.


  1. Look for a hole above a grave. Sometimes vampires have to dig their way out.

  2. Scatter salt on the floor in the vampire's latest victim's room. Help the vampire lead you right to his or her tomb.

  3. Use garlic, hawthorn branches, or a cross to trap your vampire in a corner. Protect yourself from revenge by making a cross of tar on your front door.

  4. Dig the vampire up on a Friday. According to the early Greeks, that's when a vampire is weakest. Take advantage of the day when vampires can't come out to play.

  5. Pound iron stakes through his coffin and straight into the ground if you catch him at rest.

  6. Bury his body under running water - vampires can't stand it.

  7. Fire a silver bullet blessed by a priest into his heart.

  8. Drive an aspen, ash or white thorn stake through his heart with a single blow if you want to make a lasting impression.

  9. Pour boiling water, boiling oil or holy water into his grave.

  10. Cremate his body or make a paste from his flesh for closure. Then sit down and feast on the beast.


Remember that a vampire in a coffin always appears to be dead already. Examine the body closely and you'll see that the vampire is only breathing slightly, or perhaps not breathing at all.

Brace yourself for plenty of loud screaming and wailing. Wear old clothes or a raincoat, because there's always lots of blood.

Turn your vampire over in his or her grave if you forget your wooden stake. Make sure the vampire digs the wrong way if he or she tries to escape while you're running home to fetch the stake.


The undead tend to have extremely bad breath.

Vampires sleep with their eyes open, so you'd better be quick.

Russians used to think that a vampire's teeth were made of steel, making it possible to chomp through the coffin. Keep your hands and feet away from the vampire's mouth.

Don't forget:

Dracula and his ilk don't cast shadows, nor do they have reflections. Plus, they can change into bats or foggy mist instantaneously.

Understand that you must succeed on your first attempt at terminating your vampire. Failure to do so could mean immortality for your victim.


Wednesday, 16 January 2008

A Brief History of the Pocket

To begin with, the definition of the word 'pocket' states that it is 'a small baglike attachment'. The reason for this particular definition is that the pocket was not originally sewn into garments as it is today. In fact, the first pockets were actually small pouches that hung from the belt where one could carry valuables and coins. The word itself comes from the Anglo-Norman word pokete and traces its roots to the Germanic root word 'bag', which is like the Old English word pocca. Therefore, the definition makes sense. 'Purse' and 'pocket', incidentally, have the same root word, only one is plural and the other singular.

In addition and worthy of note is the Scottish sporran, which is that nifty purse worn at the front of the kilt in traditional wear. The word sporran itself comes from the old Irish word sparán, which traces its roots back to the Latin word bursa, or 'purse'.

The First Interior Pockets

Since the pocket was on the outside of one's clothing, it was unfortunately subject to thieves or, more appropriately, cut-purses. More cautious people realised that if they kept their purses inside their trousers1, it would deter the pickpockets by making the theft more difficult.

But, there came a realisation: Although keeping one's pouch inside of one's clothes made it more difficult for thieves to get at the pouch, it also made it more difficult for the owner of the purse to get at the contents! And as the point of the purse in the first place was to make it easy to carry one's money, making it impossible to get at without embarrassment was not the greatest of solutions. Imagine, there you are, in the common market, and you want to buy yourself an apple. In order to buy it you must drop your trousers and expose your buttocks to the entire marketplace! (Note: In that day and age, not only did people not have interior pockets, but they also did not wear undergarments!)

The next step in the evolution of the pocket was what most people see them as today: a simple slit in the clothing. A slit cut into the side of your trousers (or by this time your skirt as well, as women have never been known for dropping their skirts in the marketplace... much) would enable you to reach into your purse with ease, while others would find it difficult to reach in without your knowledge and acquiescence. This act of the clothes slit caused a revolution in the shape and the angle of the opening in the purse, and it was around this time that they began to be called pockets.

The pocket flattened out, and became two pieces of cloth, one solid (the one at the back) and the other shaped almost like a 'U'. The pocket was also attached to its own belt, usually cloth at this time, and was often elaborately embroidered and decorated. You can still see some of these beautiful works of pocket artistry in museums that are dedicated to original period costumes.

However, if history had been left to the rich and carefree who had time to make and elaborate on the undergarment pocket, then our pocket history might have ended here. In many ways, that would have been a prettier solution. Imagine, pocket factories, we'd have them made out of all sorts of materials; after all, they were often right up next to the skin. Angora pockets, velour pockets, pockets made of polar fleece with silken tassels on the bottoms, etc...

The Modern Pocket

Looking to the modern pocket, we must go back to the trousers again. We are now in the late 1700s. Let's say it's 1784 before some poor soul gets sick and tired of having to remember to tie his pocket on every day before he gets dressed. Most likely, you know a person like this. This is a person who has problems remembering to put his trousers on before his shoes, let alone remembering to tie his pocket on before his trousers.

Yet, absent minded as he is, he is no dunce. Therefore, in a fit of pique, he asks his wife to sew the pocket right to his trousers so he will never forget it again. And suddenly, there you have it. The pocket. The real, true, ultimate pocket. The friendly pocket you and I know and love that has been our most intimate friend since childhood... warming cold hands or holding fluff, bits of string and useless notes from friends long past and best forgotten.

The pocket has gone through many changes since that fateful day. People have placed pockets in other places than the waist: on the knee, on the thigh, and at the chest (the infamous 'breast pocket'). People have even returned to the practice of inside pockets, again requiring people to pull down their trousers and moon the supermarket in order to get at their cash (though, thankfully, that is very rare).


Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Kangaroo Words

A kangaroo word is a word that contains letters of another word, in order, with the same meaning. For example: the word masculine contains the word male, which is a synonym of the first word; similarly, the word observe contains its synonym see. From

The kangaroo word illuminated contains the synonym lit among its letters. Similarly exists hides the word is. From

Monday, 14 January 2008


In the Roman and Byzantine Empires of the 5th and 6th centuries AD, the comes stabuli (count of the stable) was the person in charge of the stables at the imperial court.

The Franks borrowed the title and but changed the position slightly to the head of the royal stud. During the 12th century in France, the comes stabuli became an important commander in the army and the title became conestable in Old French.

Eventually the word was borrowed into English as constable and referred to “an officer of the peace” - this meaning was first recording in 1596. During the 19th century, a regular police force was established in England and the police officers were given the title constable under a chief constable.

Today constable is the lowest rank in the British police, followed by sargeant, while Chief Constable is the highest rank.


Sunday, 13 January 2008

Eleanor crosses

The Eleanor crosses were 12 lavishly decorated stone monuments, of which three survive intact, in a line down part of the east of England. King Edward I had the crosses erected between 1291 and 1294 in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile, marking the route of her body as it was taken to London.

The twelve places

  1. Lincoln
  2. Grantham
  3. Stamford
  4. Geddington
  5. Hardingstone, Northampton
  6. Stony Stratford
  7. Woburn
  8. Dunstable
  9. St Albans
  10. Waltham (now Waltham Cross)
  11. Westcheap (now Cheapside)
  12. Charing (now Charing Cross)


Saturday, 12 January 2008

The whole nine yards

The whole nine yards - everything; full measure

On a ship, square sails were supported at their tops and bottoms by wooden yards, which were attached at right angles to the masts. The ‘whole nine yards’ describes a three-masted ship sailing with all three major sails unfurled on each mast.


Friday, 11 January 2008


Shibboleth - a use of language regarded as distinctive of a particular group

A person's pronunciation of words provides many clues for determining where he lives or comes from.

In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Judges, there is an account of a battle between the Gileadites and the Ephraimites in which a test of pronunciation was used to distinguish members of the opposing armies. The Ephraimite army was routed, and in their retreat they attempted to cross the Jordan river at a ford held by the Gileadites. Anyone wishing to pass was asked by the Gileadites if he were an Ephraimite. If the reply was "No" he was then asked to say the word shibboleth. In Hebrew shibboleth may mean either 'an ear of grain' or 'a stream', but on that occasion its meaning was of no importance. Unlike the Gileadites, the Ephraimites were unable to pronounce an sh sound. Thus if the reply were "sibboleth" the Gileadites knew the speaker was an Ephraimite; "then they took him and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand" (Judges 12:6, Authorized Version).

In English, shibboleth was borrowed from this passage and has come to mean 'a use of language or custom regarded as distinctive of the members of a particular group'. From this it has also developed the sense of 'a slogan or catchword used by a particular group'.

See also

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Traffic Lights

In 1868 the first traffic lights were installed outside the Houses of Parliament in London, resembling railway signals with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for night use.


Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Brown Dog affair

The Brown Dog affair was a political controversy about vivisection that raged in Edwardian England from 1903 until 1910, becoming a cause célèbre that reportedly divided the country.

It involved the infiltration of London University medical lectures by Swedish women activists, pitched battles between medical students and the police, round-the-clock police protection for the statue of a dog, a libel trial at the Royal Courts of Justice, and the establishment of a Royal Commission to investigate the use of animals in experiments. The affair was triggered by allegations, vigorously denied, that Dr. William Bayliss of University College, London had performed an illegal dissection on a brown terrier dog — anaesthetized according to Bayliss, conscious according to the Swedish activists. A statue erected by antivivisectionists in memory of the dog led to violent protests by London's medical students, who saw the memorial as an assault on the entire medical profession. The unrest culminated in rioting in Trafalgar Square on December 10, 1907, when 1,000 students marched down the Strand, clashing with 400 police officers, in what became known as the Brown Dog riots.

Read the rest of this article at

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Thurber on Martinis

One martini is all right, two is too many, three is not enough.

-- James Thurber

Monday, 7 January 2008

100 things we didn't know last year

1. Coach travel is the safest form of road transport in the country.
2. Saddam Hussein's codename while in US custody in 2004/5 was "Victor".
3. Adding milk to tea negates the health-giving effects of a hot brew.
4. The word "jaywalking" came from the US slang "jay", a term popular in the early 20th Century meaning a rustic newcomer unfamiliar with city ways.
5. Cloudy apple juice is healthier than clear, containing almost double the antioxidants which protect against heart disease and cancer.
6. Dishcloths are purged of 99% of their bacteria during two minutes in a microwave.
7. A haddock's mating call starts as a slow knocking sound, before turning into a quicker hum similar to a small motorcycle revving its engine.
8. Newcastle is the noisiest place in England.
9. The people who built Stonehenge lived at an ancient village in Durrington Walls.
10. Brazil nuts are seeds encased in an outer shell that weighs more than 1kg.

See the full list at

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Pies and tarts


It seems that there is a difference between pies and tarts in AmE and SAfE.

In South African English the primary difference is that a pie has a pastry crust on top, whereas a tart doesn't.

It seems that in American English the difference is mainly concerned with size.


That's the biggest part of the difference in AmE as I know it, a pie being larger (generally over 8" in diameter) and served by the slice and a tart being smaller (generally under about 4" in diameter) and served one to a person rather than being cut into slices. If the diameter is under about 2" it's often called a "tartlet".

However there are some recipes that are called tarts, no matter how large the pan used is. In these cases, (like tarte tatin and Bakewell tart) the name has been imported with the recipe.

The other difference, according to the cookbooks (which may or may not be reflected in common usage) is the type of pan that it's baked in. A pie-pan has smooth sides; the sides of a tart pan are fluted, producing a crust that has a scalloped outside profile, rather than a smooth circle.

Then there are meat pies, which can be 2" or so, and up.

from alt.usage.english

Saturday, 5 January 2008


The Mine-Explorer website provides photographs and information on many of the disused mines found across the U.K. It is intended as a comprehensive resource for not only Mine-Explorers, but cavers, historians, industrial archaeologists and professional bodies. It relies on content provided from Mine-Explorers out in the field who continually update the database.


Friday, 4 January 2008

They Really Said That?

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."

Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949


"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943


"I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."

The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957


"But what ... is it good for?"

Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.


"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.,1977


"640K ought to be enough for anybody."

Bill Gates, 1981, commenting on size of RAM in computers

Go to source web page: They Really Said That?

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Rules of Life

01. If you're too open-minded, your brains fall out.
02. Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
03. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
04. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
05. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one that you haven't tried before.
06. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
07. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
08. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
09. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
12. A conscience is what hurts when all other parts feel so good.
13. Eat well, stay fit and die anyway.
14. Men are from earth, women are from earth, deal with it.
15. No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
16. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.
18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.
19. Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.
20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
22. By the time you've figured out how to make ends meet, the ends move.
23. Thou shalt not weigh more than the refrigerator.
24. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
25. Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
26. Doctors can be frustrating. You wait two weeks for an appointment, and he says, "I wish you'd come to me sooner."

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Rubber band ball falls flat

2,600lb of wound elastic fails to bounce for TV cameras THE world's biggest rubber band ball has been dropped from an aeroplane a mile up to see if it would bounce when it landed - but things didn't go exactly according to plan. The ball, which weighed an incredible 2,600lb, was sent plunging to earth for a television show.

Experts thought the ball would bounce hundreds of feet into the air.

Instead, it created a massive crater when it crashed into the sun-baked earth of the Mojave Desert in Arizona at 400mph.


Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Types and Uses of Modern Pockets

The modern pocket is a tool with various uses and styles, and it can be found in almost every article of men's and casual women's attire in a variety of forms.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Watch-pocket - Essential for keeping a gentleman's pocket watch. Often found on the man's vest or even on his trousers. The watch had a chain or a fob, to prevent it from being lost, and this pocket sometimes could be called the 'fob pocket'.
  • Breast pocket - Located on the outer left-hand side of a gentleman's jacket, it must contain nothing more than a pocket-handkerchief and is for display only.
  • Inner breast pocket - Found on the inside of the jacket. It's normal to have two of them, for carrying a wallet or pen, or legal papers such as a passport.
  • Ticket pocket - This is a small pocket inside the right-hand waist pocket on a jacket and is used in previous times for carrying small cardboard rail tickets. These days, it might be used to store your business cards or other light items (such as a lucky coin).
  • Coin pocket - This is a small pocket inside the right-hand hip pocket on a pair of jeans. It's a rather tight fit, but its design is quite effective at keeping your loose coins from rattling around.
  • Cargo pockets - These pockets appear commonly on trendy jeans and cargo pants as a large pocket on the thigh, usually with snap-flaps or Velcro flaps, and accordion folds in the sides for increased capacity. It's believed these first appeared on battle dress uniforms.

There are various other pockets of note, such as hip pockets, thigh pockets, etc. Other pockets with specific uses include a mobile pocket on a woman's purse for carrying a mobile phone (which are often unsightly-looking after-thoughts of pockets, carelessly sewn on the outside of the purse) and the unusual 'mitten pocket' found on some woolen scarves, for storage of the matching mittens.