Sunday, 30 November 2008

Legal Maxim quotes

  • Justice is better when it prevents rather than punishes with severity
  • It is fraud to conceal fraud
  • A public right cannot be changed by private agreement
  • No cause of action arises from a bare promise
  • The trodden path is the safest
  • He who spares the guilty threatens the innocent
  • Every innovation occasions more harm and and derangement of order by its novelty, than benefit by its abstract utility
  • That which necessity compels she excuses
  • The laws are adapted to those cases which most frequently occur

Extracted from

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Roche limit

The Roche limit, sometimes referred to as the Roche radius, is the distance within which a celestial body held together only by its own gravity will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction. Inside the Roche limit, orbiting material will tend to disperse and form rings, while outside the limit, material will tend to coalesce.

The term is named after Édouard Roche, the French astronomer who first calculated this theoretical limit in 1848.

From Pocket Wikipedia,

Friday, 28 November 2008

How to Train Your Brain to Think Like a Genius

  1. Visualize and Realize
  2. Connect the Dots
  3. Master Lucid Dreaming
  4. Forget the Facts
  5. Read, Read, Read
  6. Write Your Ideas Down
  7. Employ Bloom's Taxonomy
  8. Use Your Subconscious
  9. Don't Give Up
  10. Forget about Failing

See full article at

Thursday, 27 November 2008


During the 70's Bonanza was shown regularly on BBC television and for young kids like myself it represented a thrilling recreation of the wild west.

Bonanza got its name from the Comstock Lode which was "an exceptionally large and rich mineral deposit" of silver. Virginia City was founded directly over the lode and was mined for 19 years. Ponderosa was an alternative title of the series, used for the broadcast of syndicated reruns while "Bonanza" was in first-run on NBC.

See full article at

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Davis Municipal Code on Safes

8.14.130 Security measures


(1)Commercial establishments having more than the cash to begin the next day's business on the premises after closing hours, or those businesses designated by the Police Department as being highly susceptible to theft because of items or materials they have on the premises, shall lock such money or items in a safe with a minimum rating of TL-15. The safe shall weigh at least 750 pounds or shall be equipped with suitable anchors. Re-locking devices are required. Businesses required by section 8.14.140(b) to have a silent intrusion alarm are considered businesses highly susceptible to theft and are required to have a TL-15 safe in compliance with this section.

(2)A business that would be subject to a high risk for robbery of classified materials or large amounts of cash shall have a TXTL safe. Businesses required by section 8.14.140(a) to have a central station silent robbery alarm are considered businesses subject to a high risk of robbery and are required to have a TXTL safe.


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Timber Joints


In this type of joint one piece crosses over the other.


These two ‘bridle joints’ are used when a light frame is needed. for example, a picture frame. One part of the joint fits into the other part and is glued permanently in position.


These are used when making tables or cabinets and they are very strong when glued together.


This is another example of a mortice and tenon joint. However, in this example a piece of dowel rod is drilled through the mortice and the tenon. This helps keep the joint together even when it is under great pressure. This is used as a joint on chairs and other pieces of furniture so that the joints do not break apart when extra weight is applied.


If the mortice and tenon joint is to used as part of a frame a secret or sloping haunch is used. The tenon does not show on the outer side of the joint and it gives greater gluing area, adding to the overall strength of the joint.


This is a very strong and attractive joint. The tenon has two slots and when it is pushed into the mortice wedges are tapped into position. The wedges hold the joint together firmly and they also give the joint an interesting look.

See more and photos at

Monday, 24 November 2008

Fuller's Earth

Soft, greenish-grey rock resembling clay, but without clay's plasticity.

It is formed largely of clay minerals, rich in montmorillonite, but a great deal of silica is also present.

Its absorbent properties make it suitable for removing oil and grease, and it was formerly used for cleaning fleeces (‘fulling’). It is still used in the textile industry, but its chief application is in the purification of oils.

Beds of fuller's earth are found in the southern USA, Germany, Japan, and the UK.


Sunday, 23 November 2008

Measuring the girth of a tree

The girth ( circumference) of a tree is – or at least should be – much easier to measure than the height, as it is a simple matter of stretching a tape round the trunk, and pulling it taut to find the circumference.

As a general standard, tree girth is taken at 'breast height'; this is defined differently in different situations, with most foresters measuring girth at 1.3 m above ground, while ornamental tree measurers usually measure at 1.5 m above ground; in most cases this makes little difference to the measured girth. On sloping ground, the "above ground" reference point is usually taken as the highest point on the ground touching the trunk, but some use the average between the highest and lowest points of ground.

Some of the inflated old measurements may have been taken at ground level. Some past exaggerated measurements also result from measuring the complete next-to-bark measurement, pushing the tape in and out over every crevice and buttress.

Modern trends are to cite the tree's diameter rather than the circumference; this is obtained by dividing the measured circumference by Pi; it assumes the trunk is circular in cross-section (an oval or irregular cross-section would result in a mean diameter slightly greater than the assumed circle). This is cited as dbh (diameter at breast height) in tree literature.

From Pocket Wikipedia,

Saturday, 22 November 2008

All over again ...

Q: If you do everything, you do "it all". If you do something anew from the very start, you do it "all over again".
Now - if you do everything anew from the very start, and you want to emphasize that you really do every bit of it, do you do "it all all over again" or "it all over again"? Or are both equivalent?

A1: I would say I'll "do everything over again."  I don't like a doubled "all," even if you put a comma between them.  I suppose "do everything all over again" would work for serious emphasis.

A2: If you want to emphasize that you redo the whole thing, you do indeed "do it all all over again".  At least, I would.

from alt.usage.english

Friday, 21 November 2008

100 Skills Every Man Should Know


1. Handle a blowout

2. Drive in snow

3. Check trouble codes

4. Replace fan belt

5. Wax a car

6. Conquer an off-road obstacle

7. Use a stick welder

8. Hitch up a trailer

9. Jump start a car

Handling Emergencies

10. Perform the Heimlich

11. Reverse hypothermia

12. Perform hands-only CPR

13. Escape a sinking car


14. Carve a turkey

15. Use a sewing machine

16. Put out a fire

17. Home brew beer

18. Remove bloodstains from fabric

19. Move heavy stuff

20. Grow food

21. Read an electric meter

22. Shovel the right way

23. Solder wire

24. Tape drywall

25. Split firewood

26. Replace a faucet washer

27. Mix concrete

28. Paint a straight line

29. Use a French knife

30. Prune bushes and small trees

31. Iron a shirt

32. Fix a toilet tank flapper

33. Change a single-pole switch

34. Fell a tree

35. Replace a broken windowpane

36. Set up a ladder, safely

37. Fix a faucet cartridge

38. Sweat copper tubing

39. Change a diaper

40. Grill with charcoal

41. Sew a button on a shirt

42. Fold a flag

Medical Myths

43. Treat frostbite

44. Treat a burn

45. Help a seizure victim

46. Treat a snakebite

47. Remove a tick

Military Know-How

48. Shine shoes

49. Make a drum-tight bed

50. Drop and give the perfect pushup


51. Run rapids in a canoe

52. Hang food in the wild

53. Skipper a boat

54. Shoot straight

55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike

56. Escape a rip current

Primitive Skills

57. Build a fire in the wilderness

58. Build a shelter

59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes

60. Floods

61. Tornados

62. Cold

63. Heat

64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids

65. Cast a line

66. Lend a hand

67. Change a tire

68.  Throw a spiral

69. Fly a stunt kite

70. Drive a stick shift

71.  Parallel park

72. Tie a bowline

73. Tie a necktie

74. Whittle

75. Ride a bike


76. Install a graphics card

77. Take the perfect portrait

78. Calibrate HDTV settings

79. Shoot a home movie

80. Ditch your hard drive

Master Key Workshop Tools

81. Drill driver

82. Grease gun

83. Coolant hydrometer

84. Socket wrench

85. Test light

86. Brick trowel

87. Framing hammer

88. Wood chisel

89. Spade bit

90. Circular saw

91. Sledge hammer

92.  Hacksaw

93. Torque wrench

94. Air wrench

95. Infrared thermometer

96. Sand blaster

97. Crosscut saw

98. Hand plane

99.  Multimeter

100. Feeler gauges

From Popular Mechanics at

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Bulldog clip

A BULLDOG clip is a clip manufactured under the BULLDOG trade mark owned by Setten IXL Limited.

The device is commonly used for temporarily binding sheets of paper together and a popular range is one which consists of a rectangular sheet of springy steel curved into a cylinder, with two flat steel strips inserted to form combined handles and jaws. The user presses the two handles together, causing the jaws to open against the force of the spring, then inserts a stack of papers and releases the handles. The spring forces the jaws together, gripping the papers firmly.

BULLDOG is a registered trademark throughout the world in relation to stationery equipment. Its registration as a trade mark in the United Kingdom dates back to 1944.


Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) numbers among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle's works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with keen, non-antiquarian interest. A prodigious researcher and writer, Aristotle left a great body of work, perhaps numbering as many as two-hundred treatises, from which approximately thirty-one survive.[1] His extant writings span a wide range of disciplines, from logic, metaphysics and philosophy of mind, through ethics, political theory, aesthetics and rhetoric, and into such primarily non-philosophical fields as empirical biology, where he excelled at detailed plant and animal observation and taxonomy. In all these areas, Aristotle's theories have provided illumination, met with resistance, sparked debate, and generally stimulated the sustained interest of an abiding readership.


Tuesday, 18 November 2008


Signboards and notices can simply indicate the bare facts about their purpose; or sometimes the originator can enliven his with a bit of humour thereby making it more memorable. Some examples . . . . . ...

Over a Gynaecologist's Office: --- Dr. Jones, at your cervix.

In a Chiropodist's clinic --- Time wounds all heels.

On a Septic Tank lorry: ---- Yesterday's Meals on Wheels

On a Plumber's van: --- We repair what your husband fixed.

On another Plumber's van: --- Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.

On an Electrician's van: --- Let us remove your shorts.

On a Maternity Room door: --- Push. Push. Push.

At an Optician's : --- If you don't see what you're looking for you've come to the right place;

On a Taxidermist's window: --- We really know our stuff.

In a Vets waiting room: --- Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!

At a Radiator Shop: --- Best place in town to take a leak.

from uk. rec. humour

Monday, 17 November 2008


A psychiatrist (also archaically called an alienist) is a physician who specializes in psychiatry and is certified in treating mental disorders.


Sunday, 16 November 2008

Rebuff, refute and repudiate

Refute is sometimes used to mean 'deny or contradict without argument or proof' (although many people think this is wrong), and in this sense it can be confused with repudiate, which means to reject the authority or validity of something: He repudiated the accusation (because it was invalid, there was no evidence for it). Repudiate can also mean 'refuse to have anything to do with something': She repudiated all our offers of help. In this meaning it overlaps with rebuff, but usually refers to the offers rather than the person making them.


Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Island of Poveglia

Frequently referred to as Italy's island of horror, Poveglia is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon. Although there were small settlements on this island at certain points, it was still largely uninhabited. During the first outbreak of the bubonic plague, the city of Venice decided to use this place as a dumping ground for victims of the Black Death, dead or alive. Those who showed the slightest/most trivial signs of the fabled disease were dragged from the city and thrown into pits of rotting corpses. It is said that much of the island's soil consists of human bones and remains and fishermen avoid venturing anywhere near the island so they won't catch rotting human body parts.

As terrible as this already sounds, in the 1920's, a mental hospital was built. The patients immediately issued complaints and reports of hearing screams and voices and even seeing full bodied spirits of the plague victims. All of these were ignored, it didn't help that the main doctor performed procedures that were most inhumane. Eventually, this doctor began witnessing the same things, which drew him to insanity. There are many different stories about his demise, but the most common is that he was thrown off the bell tower next to the hospital and was buried in the tower.

The hospital has been abandoned and the island has returned to it's uninhabited state. It is said that the island is a true place of horror, with the ghosts of both black plague victims and mental hospital patients that were used for torture. Locals say that if you are to venture anywhere near the island at night, you can hear screams and cries of agony and fear. Rumour has it that the bell in the bell tower even rings on occasion.


Friday, 14 November 2008

William Wyon

William Wyon, RA (1795 – October 29, 1851), was official chief engraver at the Royal Mint from 1828 until his death. He was influenced by the master of relief sculpture, John Flaxman. Wyon was a highly visible proponent of the Neoclassicist vogue, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1838.

Wyon was born in Birmingham, England. In 1834 he modeled the head of Princess Victoria, who was 15 years of age at the time. This work was subsequently used for the City Medal struck in 1837 to celebrate Victoria's first visit to the City of London after her accession to the throne and another medal also issued in 1837 commemorating her visit to the Guildhall. The name of William Wyon is well known among coin and medal collectors because of his prodigious output and artistic skill. He designed “The Young Head” which graced Victoria’s coinage from 1838 to 1860 on the pennies and the rest of the coinage until 1887. Notable among his medallic work are the obverse designs for the prize, juror and other medals for The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851, the year of his death.

Wyon's City Medal was the model for the head on the line-engraved postage stamps of 1840-79, beginning with the Penny Black, the world's first postage stamp, the embossed stamps of 1847-54 and the postal stationery 1841-1901. The primary die used for the embossed issue was engraved by Wyon; the 1s and 10d stamps have the initials "ww" along with the die number at the base of the neck. His design also influenced the surface-printed stamps first printed in 1855.

Wyon is buried under a simple rectangular York stone slab at West Norwood Cemetery.


Thursday, 13 November 2008

Diet Rules

  1. If you eat something, but no one else sees you eat it, it has no calories.
  2. When drinking a diet coke while eating a Mars bar, the calories in the Mars bar are cancelled by the diet coke.
  3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count as long as you don't eat more than they do.
  4. Foods used for medicinal purposes "never" count (e. g. hot chocolate, toast, Strawberry cheesecake).
  5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
  6. Movie-related foods do not have calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel (e. g. milk fudge buttered popcorn, chocolate mints and Toffee Rolls).
  7. Biscuit pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking the biscuit causes calorie leakage.
  8. Late-night snacks have no calories. The fridge light is not strong enough for the calories to see their way into the calorie counter.
  9. If you are in the process of preparing something, food licked off knives and spoons have no calories (e. g. peanut butter on a knife, ice cream on a spoon).
  10. Food of the same colour have the same number of calories. Examples are water-cress and pistachio ice cream.

from uk.rec.humour

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Odd Book Titles

"The 2007-2012 Outlook for Tufted Washable Scatter Rugs, Bathmats, and Sets That Measure 6-Feet by 9-Feet or Smaller in India".



"The 2007-2012 Outlook for Bathroom Toilet Brushes and Holders in Greater China".



"The doctrine of life-annuities and assurances, analytically investigated and practically explained, together with several useful tables connected with the subject, Francis Baily, edited from the original, with the modern notatation, and enlarged both in the extent of the treatise, as well as in the variety of tables, including a table of deferred annuities on single lives, Carlisle four per cent.; and several others on the English life Table, by H. Filipowski, Late of the Standard, the Colonial Life Offices, Edinburgh, and of the Royal Insurance Office, Liverpool, Author of a Book of Antilogarithms, etc. etc. etc."


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

High Tea & Low Tea

High Tea is often a misnomer. Most people refer to afternoon tea as high tea because they think it sounds regal and lofty, when in all actuality, high tea, or "meat tea" is dinner. High tea, in Britain, at any rate, tends to be on the heavier side. American hotels and tea rooms, on the other hand, continue to misunderstand and offer tidbits of fancy pastries and cakes on delicate china when they offer a "high tea."

Afternoon tea (because it was usually taken in the late afternoon) is also called "low tea" because it was usually taken in a sitting room or withdrawing room where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas or chairs generally in a large withdrawing room. There are three basic types of Afternoon, or Low Tea:

  • Cream Tea - Tea, scones, jam and cream
  • Light Tea - Tea, scones and sweets
  • Full Tea - Tea, savories, scones, sweets and dessert


Monday, 10 November 2008

Wollaston Medal

Awarded by the Geological Society of London, to "geologists who have had a significant influence by means of a substantial body of excellent research in either or both pure and applied aspects of the science." Funded with a bequest by William Hyde Wollaston.


Sunday, 9 November 2008


Q: Do most people in the UK think of members of the House of Lords as being MPs?

A: "Member of Parliament" is the formal designation of a member of the House of Commons. For example my local MP is, in full: Rt Hon Jeffrey M. Donaldson, Member of Parliament for Lagan Valley.

The title "Member of Parliament" or "MP" applies only to members of House of Commons. The phrase "Members of Parliament" is the plural form for members of the House of Commons.

To refer to MPs and members of the House of Lords as a group it is necessary to use a phrase such as "members of both Houses (of Parliament)" or "members of the Lords and Commons".

It is possible to use "members of parliament" to refer to Lords and MPs as a whole, but there is a serious risk of misunderstanding.

At the annual formal opening of parliament, at which MPs and Lords crowd into the Lords' chamber, the Queen addresses those present as "My Lords and Members of the House of Commons".

(The equivalent in Canada is the Speech from the Throne by the Governor General in which she addresses the members as "Honourable Senators, Members of the House of Commons".)

from alt.usage.english

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The World's Strongest Acid

None of the  strong acids traditionally listed in a chemistry text holds the title of World's Strongest Acid. The record-holder used to be fluorosulfuric acid (HFSO3), but the carborane superacids are hundreds of times stronger than fluorosulfuric acid and over a million times stronger than concentrated sulfuric acid. The superacids readily release protons, which is a slightly different criterion for acid strength than the ability to dissociate to release a H+ ion (a proton).

Strong Is Different from Corrosive

The carborane acids are incredible proton donors, yet they are not highly corrosive. Corrosiveness is related to the negatively-charged part of the acid. Hydrofluoric acid (HF), for example, is so corrosve it dissolves glass. The fluoride ion attacks the silicon atom in silica glass while the proton is interacting with oxygen. Even though it is highly corrosive, hydrofluoric acid is not considered to be a strong acid because it does not completely dissociate in water.


Friday, 7 November 2008


The Bethlem Royal Hospital of London, which has been variously known as St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Hospital, Bethlehem Hospital and Bedlam, was one of Europe's first and most notorious psychiatric hospitals.

The word Bedlam has long been used for lunatic asylums in general, and later for a scene of uproar and confusion.


Thursday, 6 November 2008


Wood is derived from woody plants, notably trees but also shrubs. Wood from the latter is only produced in small sizes, reducing the diversity of uses.

In its most common meaning, "wood" is the secondary xylem of a woody plant, but this is an approximation only: in the wider sense, wood may refer to other materials and tissues with comparable properties. Wood is a heterogeneous, hygroscopic, cellular and anisotropic material. Wood is composed of fibers of cellulose (40%–50%) and hemicellulose (15%–25%) held together by lignin (15%–30%).

From Pocket Wikipedia,

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The McNaughton Rules

In 1843, Daniel McNaughton opened probably the biggest can of worms that exists in law when he shot and killed Edward Drummond, Private Secretary to the then British Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. The murder was a mistake; McNaughton meant to kill Peel. His defence was based largely around the fact that for years he had suffered from paranoid delusions, namely that Peel's Conservative Party was trying to kill him. McNaughton was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was committed to Bethlem Hospital, and thence to Broadmoor Criminal Asylum shortly after it opened. The case gave cause to great debate in the House of Lords, resulting in the McNaughton Rules, which, although having no statutory basis, were afforded the same status as actual law.

In summary, these rules state that a person cannot be held responsible for a crime if they were 'labouring under such a deficit of reason from disease of the mind to not know the nature and quality of the act; or that if he did know it, that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Ham in the Hamburger

Have you ever bumped into the anecdotal or philosophical question: 'why is there no ham in a hamburger?'

This question is often used as an example to demonstrate the complications generated by homonyms in folk etymology, or to remind us to widen our horizons.

The standard answer, of course, is that in reality the hamburger is named after the German city of Hamburg. It follows the same naming pattern as numerous other foodstuffs, like the kasseler (a cured pork thing from Kassel), the manchego (a cheese from La Mancha) or mayonnaise (the amorphous white stuff from Menorca).

The fact that one will find the word 'ham' in 'hamburger' is mere coincidence.


Monday, 3 November 2008

Dressed to the nines

This expression, meaning "very fashionably and elaborately dressed", is recorded from the 18th century.  "The nine" or "the nines" were used to signify "superlative" in numerous other contexts.  Theories include:  9, being the highest single-digit number, symbolized the best; a metanalysis of Old English to then eyne "to the eyes"; and a reference to the 9 muses.


Sunday, 2 November 2008

Semantic saturation

Semantic saturation is a cognitive neuroscience phenomenon where intense repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who can only process the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.


Saturday, 1 November 2008

Maxim Gun

In 1881 the American inventor, Hiram Maxim, visited the Paris Electrical Exhibition. While he was at the exhibition he met a man who told him: "If you wanted to make a lot of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each other's throats with greater facility."

Maxim moved to London and over the next few years worked on producing an effective machine-gun. In 1885 he demonstrated the world's first automatic portable machine-gun to the British Army. Maxim used the energy of each bullet's recoil force to eject the spent cartridge and insert the next bullet. The Maxim Machine-Gun would therefore fire until the entire belt of bullets was used up. Trials showed that the machine-gun could fire 500 rounds per minute and therefore had the firepower of about 100 rifles.

The Maxim Machine-Gun was adopted by the British Army in 1889. The following year the Austrian, German, Italian, Swiss and Russian armies also purchased Maxim's gun. The gun was first used by Britain`s colonial forces in the Matabele war in 1893-94. In one engagement, fifty soldiers fought off 5,000 Matabele warriors with just four Maxim guns.

The success of the Maxim Machine-Gun inspired other inventors. The German Army's Maschinengewehr and the Russian Pulemyot Maxima were both based on Maxim's invention.

In 1912 the British Army transferred its loyalties to the Vickers Gun and lighter Lewis Gun. However, in the First World War, several of the minor European armies continued to use the Maxim Gun.