Saturday, 27 November 2010

What is a Dobson Unit?

A dobson unit is the most basic measure used in ozone research.

The unit is named after G.M.B. Dobson, one of the first scientists to investigate atmospheric ozone (~1920 - 1960). He designed the 'Dobson Spectrometer' - the standard instrument used to measure ozone from the ground. The Dobson spectrometer measures the intensity of solar UV radiation at four wavelengths, two of which are absorbed by ozone and two of which are not.


Monday, 22 November 2010

Stu Ungar, poker legend

Stu Ungar is considered by most professional poker players to be the best Texas Holdem poker player who ever lived. No poker player equals Stu’s reputation, and currently the only player who could contend is Phil Ivey. Honestly he has a good chance with his WSOP main event final table.

If this were not enough, he is also widely considered to be the greatest player of gin rummy who ever lived, and gin rummy is a rather different game than poker without any bluff occurring.
Stu Ungar was so good at gin rummy and dominated his opponents so artfully than he could not find player willing to play gin for money. This is why he turned to poker and became once more the best player in his game.

Stu Ungar is the only poker player to have won the WSOP main event competition three times (Johnny Moss won three times as well by the first time was by vote). He also has the highest winning rate ever in high buy-in tournaments, winning over ten in the thirty he enrolled in.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Double First

A "double first" can refer to first-class honours in two separate subjects, e.g., Classics and Mathematics, or alternatively to first-class honours in the same subject in subsequent examinations, such as subsequent Parts of the Tripos at Cambridge. The term "double-starred first" is used at Cambridge in the same fashion. At Oxford, this term normally refers to a first-class honours in both Honour Moderations and the Final Honour School.


Monday, 15 November 2010

What is a Woodruff key?

A device with a flat top, flat sides, and a semi-circular curved bottom. Woodruff keys are used to assemble components on a shaft by fitting into a matching curved key slot.
More at

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Canon of Sherlock Holmes

Traditionally, the canon of Sherlock Holmes consists of the fifty-six short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In this context, the term "canon" is an attempt to distinguish between Doyle's original works and subsequent works by other authors using the same characters.


Monday, 8 November 2010

The Cockney Alphabet

Here we present a couple of versions of the classic Cockney alphabet. As taught to me by my grandfather. Teach it to your kids, it'll make them grow up to be well-rounded, learned individuals who can get along in any social situation.

A for Horses (or A fer Gardener - thanks David Campbell)
B for Mutton
C for Miles (or Seaforth Highlanders - thanks Geoff Firth)
D for Kate (or D fer Ential)
E for Brick
F for Lump (or F fer Vescence)
G for Police (or G for Get It)
H for Consent (or H for Bless You)
I for Novello (or I for the Engine)
J for Nice Time (or J for Oranges)
K for Restaurant
L for Leather
M for Cream (or M for Sis)
N for Lope
O for the Wings of a Dove (O for the Rainbow)
P for Relief
Q for the Loos
R for Mo (or R fer English - thanks David Campbell)
S for you, you can take a hike (or S for Rantzen)
T for Gums (or T for Two)
U for Me (or U for Mism - thanks Andrew W Llewellyn)
V for Espana
W for a Quid (or W for the Winnings)
X for Breakfast
Y for Mistress
Zee for Moiles (or Z for Wind)


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Blackwing 602

The Blackwing 602 is a discontinued model of pencil that has developed a cult following as "the best pencil ever made". It was produced by the Eberhard Faber company until 1998. Initially sold for 50 cents, Blackwings were being sold for $20 in 2006, and as of 2009 cost about $35 on E-Bay.

It was a very soft pencil with wax addition to the lead, and has been advertised as requiring only half of the usual physical effort to produce the marking. The wood was made from cedar. The pencil was used mainly by artists and writers, some of them famous, for writing text. After the pencil was discontinued, these known writers (Joseph Finder, Stephen Sondheim) tried to convince to continue production or at least said some warm words about the tool they were used to. This likely popularized the pencil, creating its cult following.

While the company says that other pencils with similar leads are available, the devotees are convinced that there is no adequate substitution.

The Blackwing used a special eraser ferrule, which required special clips that could only be manufactured by a custom-made machine. By the time Eberhard Faber was acquired by Faber-Castell in 1994, this machine was broken; however, a sufficient backstock of ferrule clips enabled Blackwing manufacture to continue until 1998. At this point, the company ceased production on the Blackwing, claiming it was not commercially successful.