Thursday, 29 December 2011

What do those crazy letters and numbers on your drumsticks (5A/5B/7A/3S) mean?

The stick model (5A/5B/7A/7B/etc.) refers to the length and thickness of the shaft and taper of the stick.

The numerical portion signifies the circumference of the stick. In general, the lower the number the larger circumference, and the greater the number the smaller the circumference. For example, the 7A is smaller in circumference than a 5A which in turn is narrower than the 2B. The exception is the 3S, which is larger in circumference than a 2B despite its number.

The letter suffix: "S," "B," and "A" originally indicated the recommended application.

  • "S" model sticks were designed for Street applications such as drum corps and marching band, and are typically the largest diameter sticks.
  • "B" model sticks were intended for Band applications such as brass bands and symphonic concert bands. Smaller in circumference than the "S" models, they were easier to control and thus especially popular with beginning drummers. To this day the 2B is recommended by teachers practically everywhere as ideal starter sticks.
  • "A" stands for Orchestra. "A" model sticks were designed for big band or dance type orchestras. They're smaller in circumference than "B" series sticks and lend themselves well for softer type playing. Nobody really knows why Ludwig chose to use "A" for "orchestra" (I think it was because they didn't like the way the "O" printed on the stick), but they were the first and now everybody uses it.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Pakistan bans 'obscene' words in cellphone texts

Pakistan's telecommunications authority sent a letter ordering cell phone companies to block text messages containing what it perceives to be obscenities, Anjum Nida Rahman, a spokeswoman for Telenor Pakistan, said Friday.

It also sent a list of more than 1,500 English and Urdu words that were to be blocked. The order was part of the regulator's attempt to block spam messages, said Rahman. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority refused to comment on the initiative.

Many of the words to be blocked were sexually explicit terms or swear words, according to a copy of the list obtained by The Associated Press.

It also included relatively mild terms like fart and idiot.

See full story at

Monday, 19 December 2011

Things you can get away with saying only at Christmas

1. Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist.

2. Smother the butter all over the breasts!

3. If I don't undo my trousers, I'll burst!

4. It's a little dry, do you still want to eat it?

5. Stuff it up between the legs as far as it will go.

6. Do you think you'll be able to handle all these people at once?

7. I didn't expect everyone to come at the same time!

8. You still have a little bit on your chin.

9. You'll know it's ready when it pops up.

10. I'm so full, I've been gobbling nuts all morning.

from uk.rec.humour

Friday, 16 December 2011

What is the longest movie title in the world?

Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2: In Shocking 2-D.

See this, and other 'longest' stuff, at

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Red Book

The Red Book of Westmarch (sometimes Red Book of the Periannath, and The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings, also known as the Thain's Book after its principal version) is a fictional manuscript written by hobbits, a conceit of author J. R. R. Tolkien to explain the source of his fantasy writings.

It is a collection of writings in which the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were recounted by their characters, and from which Tolkien supposedly derived these and other works.

The name of the book comes from its red leather binding and casing, and also it having been housed in the Westmarch.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Relationship Terms

The English language has quite an array of relationship or kinship terms, which can baffle even native English speakers. What’s the difference between a second cousin and first cousin once removed, or stepsister and half sister, let alone ortho-cousin and cross-cousin? This page demystifies some common and uncommon terms, with diagrams.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

2D4D, Digit ratio

The 2D:4D ratio is calculated by measuring the length of the index finger of the right hand, then that of the ring finger, and dividing the former by the latter. A longer index finger will result in a ratio higher than 1, while a longer ring finger will result in a ratio of less than 1.

The 2D:4D digit ratio is sexually dimorphic: in males, the second digit tends to be shorter than the fourth, and in females the second digit tends to be the same size or slightly longer than the fourth.

A number of studies have shown a correlation between the 2D:4D digit ratio and various physical and behavioural traits.


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Navy Mugs

Q: Why do many navy coffee mugs have no handle?

A: So you can tell if the liquid is too hot to drink. They were used in WWII and were called "watch mugs" and had no handles to keep the watch sailors' hands warm.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Professor Liedenbrock's view on what makes a splendid book

"See," he went on, both asking the questions and supplying the answers. "Isn't it a beauty? Yes; splendid! Did you ever see such a binding? Doesn't the book open easily? Yes; it stops open anywhere. But does it shut equally well? Yes; for the binding and the leaves are flush, all in a straight line, and no gaps or openings anywhere. And look at its back, after seven hundred years. Why, Bozerian, Closs, or Purgold might have been proud of such a binding!"

from A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne

Monday, 28 November 2011

Pencil museum celebrates 30 years

Cumbria is the birthplace of the pencil. Legend says it all began in the early 1500s when a violent storm in Borrowdale led to trees being uprooted.

A strange black material was discovered underneath. The substance was initially thought to be a form of lead. It was actually graphite. And it was soon apparent that this stuff could be used to mark paper. The discovery revolutionised writing and drawing.

Keswick became the pencil capital of the world, leading to the formation of Britain’s first pencil factory in 1832.

The Cumberland Pencil Company was formed in Keswick in 1916 and opened the pencil museum in 1981.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

World’s Largest Propeller

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the manufacturer of the world’s largest propellers, has set a new record in this category.

The newest propeller is 101.5 tons in weight and 9.1 meters in diameter, or as large as a 3-story building. While a standard commercial propeller has between 4 and 5 blades, this propeller has 6. It is intended for the first of four 7,200 TEU containerships, currently under construction for Hapag Lloyd.

Until now the largest propeller in the world was 99.9 tons, manufactured for a 5,600 TEU containership built by HHI in March


Saturday, 19 November 2011

How to hold a tea cup

In order for one not to spill the hot liquid onto oneself, the proper way to hold the vessel of a cup with no handle is to place one’s thumb at the six o'clock position and one’s index and middle fingers at the twelve o'clock position, while gently raising one’s pinkie up for balance.

See full article at

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Single-sideband modulation (SSB) or Single-sideband suppressed-carrier (SSB-SC) is a refinement of amplitude modulation that more efficiently uses electrical power and bandwidth.

Amplitude modulation produces a modulated output signal that has twice the bandwidth of the original baseband signal. Single-sideband modulation avoids this bandwidth doubling, and the power wasted on a carrier, at the cost of somewhat increased device complexity.


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Standing End, Tail, and Bitter End

In many boating knots it is convenient to talk about the Standing End - which takes the strain, and the Tail - the loose end in your hand.

On a large ship, each shore line is initially tightened using the winch. The tail is then properly called a Bitter End as it is transferred to the Bitts.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Types of Fences

  • Barbed wire fence
  • Chain-link fencing, wire fencing made of wires woven together
  • Concrete fence, easy to install and highly durable
  • Chicken wire, light wire mesh for keeping predators out and chickens or other small livestock in
  • Electric fence
  • Ha-ha (or sunken fence)
  • High tensile smooth wire
  • Hurdle fencing, made from moveable sections
  • Newt fencing, amphibian fencing, drift fencing or turtle fence, a low fence of plastic sheeting or similar materials to restrict movement of amphibians or reptiles.
  • Palisade
  • Pest-exclusion fence
  • Pet fence Underground fence for pet containment
  • Picket fences, generally a waist-high, painted, partially decorative fence
  • Pool fence
  • Post-and-rail fencing
  • Roundpole fences, similar to post-and-rail fencing but more closely spaced rails, typical of Scandinavia and other areas rich in raw timber.
  • Slate fencing in Mid-Wales
  • Slate fence, a type of palisade made of vertical slabs of slate wired together. Commonly used in parts of Wales.
  • Snow fence
  • Spear-top fence
  • Split-rail fences made of timber, often laid in a zig-zag pattern, particularly in newly-settled parts of the United States and Canada
  • Stockade fence, a variation of the picket fence that is typically 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) high with pickets placed adjacent to one another with no space between. This type of fence is commonly used for privacy.
  • Vinyl fencing
  • Wattle fencing, of split branches woven between stakes.
  • Wood-panel fencing
  • Woven wire fencing, many designs, from fine Chicken wire to heavy mesh "sheep fence" or "ring fence"
  • Wrought iron fencing, made from tube steel, also known as ornamental iron.
  • Hedge
  • Walls


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Ponzi scheme

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation.

The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent.

Perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to keep the scheme going.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011


A kludge (or kluge) is a workaround, a quick-and-dirty solution, a clumsy or inelegant, yet effective, solution to a problem, typically using parts that are cobbled together.

This term is diversely used in fields such as computer science, aerospace engineering, Internet slang, and evolutionary neuroscience.


Sunday, 30 October 2011

How to Get the Respect You Deserve at Work

Don’t care so much.  Seriously..

Never miss a deadline.

Never be late to an appointment. 

Don’t waste anyone’s time, but sometimes allow your superiors to waste yours.

Treat those “underneath” you well.

Dress like you’re going to ask for a raise.

See full list and article at

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Truthful Numbers

FOUR contains four letters.

TEN is spelled with ten raised dots in Braille.

TWELVE is worth 12 points in Scrabble.

FIFTEEN is spelled with 15 dots and dashes in International Morse Code.

TWENTY-NINE contains 29 straight lines — if you don’t count the hyphen


Saturday, 22 October 2011

Joseph C. Gayetty

Joseph C. Gayetty was an American inventor credited with the invention of commercial toilet paper. Gayetty first marketed toilet paper in 1857 which originally sold for US$0.50 in packs of 500 bearing a watermark of his name.

The original product contained aloe as a lubricant and was marketed as an anti-hemorrhoid medical product.

Gayetty's product was licensed to other manufacturers and sold as late as the 1920s.


Monday, 10 October 2011


Recycled or remanufactured wool which is of inferior quality compared to the original wool.

Historically generated from loosely woven materials.

Benjamin Law invented shoddy and mungo, as such, in 1813. He was the first to organise, on a larger scale, the activity of taking old clothes and grinding them down into a fibrous state that could be re-spun into yarn.

The shoddy industry was centred on the towns of Batley, Morley, Dewsbury and Ossett in West Yorkshire, and concentrated on the recovery of wool from rags.

The importance of the industry can be gauged by the fact that even in 1860 the town of Batley was producing over 7000 tonnes of shoddy.

At the time there were 80 firms employing a total of 550 people sorting the rags. These were then sold to shoddy manufacturers of which there were about 130 in the West Riding


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

How to Identify a werewolf in human form

Identification of a werewolf in human form is quite difficult, and there is no one way to tell.

European legends reference some physical characteristics including distinctive heavy-set eyebrows, low-set ears, and curved nails.

Many other legends around the world reference different traits including dark thick hair and long middle fingers – or odd characteristics such as hairy palms.

All these identification methods are hit or miss however as not all or necessarily any of these characteristics will apply to all werewolves.

There is however a more agreed upon method to identify a werewolf, which is through the eyes – werewolves in human form are said to have very distinctive eyes that draw you in.


Friday, 30 September 2011


Margarine was invented in the 1860s by a French chemist as a cheap replacement for butter. Nowadays, margarine is frequently bought in the belief that it is a healthier option than butter.

All margarine contains as much fat as butter, but some are lower in cholesterol and saturated fats.

However the health benefits of many of these types of spreads has been called into question as most of them are made with hydrogenated (chemically hardened) vegetable oils and this process is believed to convert the polyunsaturated fat into trans-fats which have a negative effect on cholesterol and are now thought to be linked with heart disease even more than saturated fat.


Friday, 23 September 2011

nolens volens

From - Latin nolens (“unwilling”) from nōlō (“I am unwilling”) and volens (“willing”) from volō (“I am willing, I will”).

Meaning - Willing or unwilling; willy-nilly.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

World Records You Can Break

Here’s a list of several standing Guinness World Records that just about anyone could break if they really wanted to…

  • The most steps walked down by a dog facing forwards while balancing a 5oz. glass of water - Current record is 10.
  • Most body piercings in one session - Current record is 3,900 in 7 hours, 46 minutes.
  • Longest bumper car marathon - Current record 24 hours.
  • Loudest male burp - Current record 109.9db
  • Oldest male stripper - Current record 66 years, 233 days

See full article at

Thursday, 15 September 2011

World’s Largest Chocolate Bar

This six ton, twenty one foot bar of awesome smashes the old record by over 2,000lbs, contains 1,000lbs of almonds and over two tons of sugar.

More, and photo, from

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Hg is the modern chemical symbol for mercury.

It comes from hydrargyrum, a Latinized form of the Greek word `Υδραργυρος (hydrargyros), which is a compound word meaning 'water' and 'silver' — since it is liquid, like water, and yet has a silvery metallic sheen.

The element was named after the Roman god Mercury, known for speed and mobility. It is associated with the planet Mercury. The astrological symbol for the planet is also one of the alchemical symbols for the metal.

Mercury is the only metal for which the alchemical planetary name became the common name.

From Pocket Wikipedia,

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Types of Totem Poles

Totem poles can be made to fill a variety of needs, but their primary purpose is to commemorate a person or event. Some of the most common types of totems are entryway totem poles. These are placed at the entryway of a home to serve as a coat of arms of sorts. Entryway totems mainly serve to honor ancestors, make the family or clan's social and economic standing known, broadcast family accomplishments or detail a spiritual event.

On a more literal level, mortuary poles honor the dead by holding deceased ancestors' remains. Mortuary poles are like urns -- they contain a cavity that holds a deceased person's ashes.

Ridicule poles, also called shame poles, are used to elicit public embarrassment, usually for unpaid debts. Shame poles aren't erected very much anymore, mostly because American Indians strive for solidarity, rather than fighting amongst each other.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Lincoln on productivity

Abe Lincoln's productivity secret was to use sharper tools to get the job done more efficiently.
He said: "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four hours sharpening the axe."

See full article at

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Famous Last Words

Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.

Said by: Queen Marie Antoinette after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine.


I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.

Said by: Humphrey Bogart


Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!

Said by: James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.


See full list at

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hitchcock on bagpipes

"I understand that the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of sound achieved by the pig."


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Everything From This to That

My colleague Vanessa Gordon and others have noted our frequent use of what critics call “false ranges.” These constructions generally are framed with phrases like “everything from … to …” or “ranging from … to …” and include two or more disparate items: “The legislation includes everything from stricter bank regulations to new taxes on overseas corporations.”

Judging from how often this idiom appears in our prose, many of our writers and editors obviously have no qualms about it. Other editors, as Vanessa said, take a hard line against the construction, “believing that if a list doesn’t run from high to low, short to tall, past to present, it should not be called a range.”

See full article at

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


The mechanisms behind the production of the heavier elements (the s- and r-processes) were first pointed out in a long theoretical paper published in 1957: ‘Synthesis of the elements in stars’ (Burbidge et al., 1957).

This revolutionary and still up-to-date paper is signed B2HF – not a strange chemical compound but the initials of the surnames of the scientists who wrote it: Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge, William Fowler and Fred Hoyle.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Keep 'em peeled!

Shaw Taylor is today best known for presenting Police 5, a long-running 5-minute television programme first broadcast in 1962 that appealed to the public to help solve crimes.

He later presented a spin-off show for younger viewers called Junior Police 5, aka JP5.

His catchphrase was "Keep 'em peeled!" - asking viewers to be vigilant.

This was originally used at the end of every JP5 programme, but according to Shaw Taylor himself, " the suggestion of a friend I tried it out on the adult Police 5. I thought it sounded a bit naff at first but then the studio crew seemed to get withdrawal symptoms if I didn't say it at the end of the programme and it became a catchphrase that complete strangers still shout at me in the street".


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Maths Note

5^9 + 3^9 + 4^9 + 4^9 + 9^9 + 4^9 + 8^9 + 3^9 + 6^9 = 534494836


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

How to kill a werewolf

There is no safe way to dispose of the werewolf, a resilient and very harmful monster.  Unlike vampires, they are not generally thought to be harmed by religious artifacts such as crucifixes and holy water.

In some cases, the werewolf is portrayed as being invincible and nearly indestructible, with decapitation of its head and removal of its heart as the only surefire way to kill one.

In the old Hollywood version of the myth, a werewolf can be killed with a silver bullet, and is allergic to the herb wolf's bane. More modern films have werewolves being killed by various silver objects.  

To tell the truth, since there is little opportunity  when a werewolf is really vulnerable in its animal form, over the centuries werewolf hunters have learned to wait until the creature has shifted back to its human shape.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Einstein's dictum

“Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler”


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Types of Men's Shoes

Men's shoes can be categorized by how they are closed:

  • Oxfords (also referred as "Balmorals"): the vamp has a V-shaped slit to which the laces are attached; also known as "closed lacing". The word "Oxford" is sometimes used by American clothing companies to market shoes that are not Balmorals, such as Blüchers.
  • Blüchers (American), Derbys (British): the laces are tied to two pieces of leather independently attached to the vamp; also known as "open lacing" and is a step down in dressiness.
  • Monk-straps: a buckle and strap instead of lacing
  • Slip-ons: There are no lacings or fastenings. The popular loafers are part of this category, as well as less popular styles, such as elastic-sided shoes.


Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Best Mechanical Pencil?

Top 10 Mechanical Pencils for General Writing and Office Use, aka...The Best Mechanical Pencil?

The Top 10 are in alphabetical order, apart for the first two pencils. When compiling the Top 10, the first two mechanical pencils were clearly far ahead of the rest of the pack, they were arguably the best mechanical pencils for general writing and office type work, and deserved to be placed at the head of the list, but after them, the others are all in alphabetical order.

Pentel Sharp P200(P203/5/7/9)
Pentel Sharp Kerry(P1035/7)

Lamy 2000
Parker Jotter
Pentel Graph Gear 1000
Pentel Techniclick
Pilot Shaker H-245
Staedtler Graphite 777
Staedtler 925 25
Uni Kuru Toga

See full article at

Monday, 25 July 2011

Credit card roulette

Matt recently went to dinner with a bunch of poker friends. They decided to play credit card roulette for the $2,000 dinner tab -- everyone tossed their credit cards into a pile, and the server picked one at random to charge. Matt's card got picked, and the only reaction it elicited from him was an annoyed chuckle. And it wasn't because $2,000 meant nothing to him. It's just what poker does to you. You get desensitized to losing huge gobs of money due to random chance.


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Redouble means quadruple, or double?

"Redouble" means "quadruple" rather than "double with an oomph"?

Does it?

It ought to, but so many people use it to mean double with an oomph that this may be what it does mean. If it does mean quadruple, then you would need to do it one more time (the thing, not the quadrupling), making five, if you wanted to pip the redoublers to the post. "Redouble and then some" is what I'd do.


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Surprising Answers to Professor’s Questions

Geology Professor: Does anyone know how old the Earth is?

Student at the back: Oh, oh! I do! Four billion and three years!

GP: Hmm, how did you get that number?

SatB: Well, I flunked this class three years ago but I remember you said four billion years then.


Geology Professor: These students today are all alike. They look the same, they dress the same, and they have the same hair. How do tell the difference between the boys and the girls?

Biology Professor: Oh, that's easy. You look into their genes.


The afternoon was hot, and the professor noticed that Billy was drowsy. Resolving to wake him up she asked, "Tommy, if the distance to the sun is 93 million miles and the first president of the United States was George Washington, how old am I?"

"You're forty-eight", answered Tommy promptly.

"My goodness, how did you know", said the surprised professor.

"That's easy", said Tommy. "My brother's twenty-four and he's only half crazy."


From alt.usage.english

Friday, 15 July 2011

20 Things you’d rather not hear about your appearance

1. You look tired.
2. Can you breathe in that thing?
3. How was the camping trip?  (When in fact, you didn’t go camping)
4. Uh oh.  Looks like someone has a job interview today.
5. Come here, I need to fix your collar.

See full list at

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Don't rely solely on GPS

Authorities in the western United States have reminded travellers not to rely solely on GPS when navigating in remote areas.

The warning follows the case of Albert and Rita Chretien, a Canadian couple, who went missing during a road trip from their home in British Columbia to Las Vegas.

They had used a handheld GPS to guide them and became stuck in snow on a remote track near the Idaho-Nevada border. Rita Chretien was found by hunters with her vehicle after surviving for 48 days but the search for Albert has now been called off. He had set off to find help after after being stranded three days.

See full story at

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Who Pays the Ferryman?

Who Pays the Ferryman? was a television series produced by the BBC in 1977.

The title of the series refers to the ancient religious belief and mythology of Charon the ferryman to Hades. In ancient times it was the custom to place coins in or on the mouth of the deceased before cremation so that the deceased could pay the ferryman to go to Hades.


Saturday, 2 July 2011


Chessboxing is a hybrid sport which combines boxing with chess in alternating rounds.

Several chessboxing events have taken place around the world including in Iceland and Siberia although in recent years the UK has emerged as the most important centre for chessboxing.

Competitors may win by a knockout, achieving a checkmate, by the judges' decision, or if their opponent's twelve minutes of chess time is exceeded.If a competitor fails to make a move during the chess round, he is issued a warning and he must move within the next 10 seconds.


Monday, 27 June 2011

Types Of Drumsticks

The Wood

There are 3 main types of wood used to make sticks.

  • There is Maple, which is a lighter weight wood that has excellent flexibility. Maple is great for energy absorption, meaning you will fell less of the hit in your hands.
  • There is Hickory, which is the most common wood with decent energy absorption and flex. Hickory is a well rounded wood.
  • Lastly, there is Oak, which is the densest of wood. Oak sticks will not break as much, but you will feel the vibrations a lot more due to poor energy absorption. If the stick doesn’t state what wood it is, back away. This usually means it is a blended wood and is not made up to standard.


The Tip

There are 2 types of tips to choose from

  • Most common is the wood tip. This is a solid choice for most applications. The only real downside to wood tips is the fact that they may chip after extensive use. Wood tips can splinter and severely damage your drum pads!
  • Nylon tips are great for bringing out your cymbals and getting better rebound from your stick. They are great for studio work when you want to really make your cymbals shine. The problem with nylon tips is they sometimes fall off your stick, which can be a real problem in the middle of a show! If you are playing on an electric drum set, you want to use nylon tips.

The Size

There are three main stick categories.

  • 7a. This is a thinner, lighter feeling stick meant for a softer sound on you drums. These work great for jazz drumming, or younger drummers.
  • 5a. This is the most common stick. Medium thickness allows for both loud and softer play. Great for rock drumming!
  • 2b/5b. These are thicker than average. They allow for louder sounding drums, and are ideal for heavy rock.

See the full article at

Friday, 24 June 2011


Built in 1888 for a national exhibition (the Nordic Industrial, Agricultural and Art Exhibition), the Tuborgflasken looks, on the outside, like a giant beer bottle standing on the street. But it is actually an observation tower that was once outfitted with an internal elevator, Denmark's first; the elevator has since been replaced by a more maintenance-friendly spiral staircase.

See photo at

Friday, 17 June 2011

Map of the World's Countries Rearranged by Population

What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area?

And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

See full article and map at

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Types of Sea Shanty

  • Long-haul (also called "halyard" or "long-drag") shanties:
  • Short-drag (also called "short-haul", or "sheet") shanties:
  • Capstan Shanties:
  • Stamp-'n'-Go Shanties: were used only on ships with large crews. Many hands would take hold of a line with their backs to the fall (where the line reaches the deck from aloft) and march away along the deck singing and stamping out the rhythm. Alternatively, with a larger number of men, they would create a loop—marching along with the line, letting go at the 'end' of the loop and marching back to the 'top' of the loop to take hold again for another trip. These songs tend to have longer choruses similar to capstan shanties. Examples: "Drunken Sailor", "Roll the Old Chariot". Stan Hugill, in his Shanties from the Seven Seas writes: "(Drunken Sailor) is a typical example of the stamp-'n'-go song or walkaway or runaway shanty, and was the only type of work-song allowed in the King's Navee (sic). It was popular in ships with big crews when at halyards; the crowd would seize the fall and stamp the sail up. Sometimes when hauling a heavy boat up the falls would be 'married' and both hauled on at the same time as the hands stamped away singing this rousing tune."
  • Pumping Shanties:
  • Fo'c's'le (Forecastle) Songs, Fo'castle Shanty (Chantey) or Forebitters:
  • Menhaden Shanties:

See full article at

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Casino Dice

Casinos don't take any chances when it comes to profit so they don't use just any dice when thousands of dollars are riding on a roll.

Casino dice are called perfect or precision dice because of the way they are made.

They are as close to being perfect true cubes as possible, measured to within a fraction of a millimetre, manufactured so each die has an absolutely equal chance of landing on any one of its six faces.

Casino dice are specially hand made to within a tolerance of 0.0005 of an inch.

The spots are drilled and filled with material that is equal in weight to the material removed. Usually sides are flush and edges sharp. 

They are predominantly transparent red but can come in other colours like green, purple or blue.

See full article at

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Seven Curses of London

James Greenwood is considered one of the first "investigative journalists" of Victorian London's seedy underbelly.

In his book (of the same name) he examines the seven "curses" of London

  • beggars, drunks, thieves, neglected children, prostitutes, gamblers and "wasters of charity."

An insightful view of the dirtier side of London life.


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Twain, on the right word

The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.


Monday, 30 May 2011

... never trust a fart

" ... never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard-on, and never trust a fart."

Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Boxcars, Midnight & a Freight Train

Boxcars (also: "Midnight") is the outcome of rolling the dice in a game of craps and getting a 6 on both dice. The pair of 6 pips resembles a pair of boxcars on a freight train.

In some role-playing games, especially ones where a roll of 3 six-sided dice is a standard action-resolution mechanism, a roll of three 6s is often referred to as a freight train


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Charon’s obolus

Charon, in Greek mythology, is the ferryman of the dead. The souls of the deceased are brought to him by Hermes, and Charon ferries them across the river Acheron. He only accepts the dead which are buried or burned with the proper rites, and if they pay him an obolus (coin) for their passage. For that reason a corpse had always an obolus 1 placed under the tongue.

Those who cannot afford the passage, or are not admitted by Charon, are doomed to wander on the banks of the Styx for a hundred years.

Living persons who wish to go to the underworld need a golden bough obtained from the Cumaean Sibyl.

Charon is the son of Erebus and Nyx. He is depicted as an sulky old man, or as a winged demon carrying a double hammer.


Friday, 20 May 2011

Strange habit

When people mention about a bad thing, and you don’t want this thing to happen to you; you hold one of your ears with your hand ,and hit wood (for example - a wooden chair,table..) with the same hand.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Zen Priorities

Adding a priority when I add a new task always seems so arbitrary. All tasks are P1 at some point, right?

After a period of constantly changing priorities on tasks as they came due, I finally just set all tasks to "No Priority" and then each morning, or the night before, when I review my tasks for the day, I pick only 3 absolutely must-do tasks for Priority 1, the 3 second most important for Priority 2 and so on.

This gives me a clear picture of what must be done first and to completion each day.


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Secret chamber in National Library

The Indian National Library in Alipore has always been reputed to haunted. Now, here is a really eerie secret. A mysterious room has been discovered in the 250-year-old building a room that no one knew about and no one can enter because it seems to have no opening of kind, not even trapdoors.

The chamber has lain untouched for over two centuries. Wonder what secrets it holds. The archaeologists who discovered it have no clue either, their theories range from a torture chamber, or a sealed tomb for an unfortunate soul or the most favoured of all a treasure room. Some say they wouldn't be surprised if both skeletons and jewels tumble out of the secret room.


Saturday, 30 April 2011

Pirate Stuff

A Pirate Primer


5 Pirates Every Man Should Know

Including -

William Kidd
Years active: 1696-1701
Location: Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and off the east coast of North America.
Fate: Hung and gibbeted over the River Thames in London, where his body remained for over twenty years as a warning to those considering piracy as a profession.
Claim to fame: Originator of the idea of “buried treasure.”

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Password Audit

During a recent Password Audit at the Bank it was found that Timmy was using the following password:


When Timmy was asked why he had such a long password he replied, "I was told my password had to be at least 8 characters long
and include one capital."

from uk.rec.humour

Friday, 22 April 2011

Naming of a Member

Is the term used to describe the disciplining of an MP for breaking the rules of the House of Commons. The term comes from the fact that during a debate in the House of Commons, MPs refer to each other only by the name of their constituencies or by their official position, not their actual names. The only time names are used are when the Speaker calls MPs to speak or disciplines them. If an MP disregards the authority of the Chair or persistently obstructs the House in its duties then he or she can be 'named'. The Speaker says "I name the Honourable Member for ..... Mr/s…….., for disregarding the authority of the Chair." A first offence brings suspension for five days. The second offence in the same parliamentary sitting carries twenty days suspension - a third offence a period the House itself decides. Should an MP refuse to withdraw and resist removal, then suspension for the rest of the session is the punishment.

Monday, 18 April 2011

WSOP bracelet

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet is considered the most coveted non-monetary prize a poker player can win. Since 1976, a bracelet has been awarded to the winner of every event at the annual WSOP. Even if the victory occurred before 1976, WSOP championships are now counted as "bracelets". During the first years of the WSOP only a handful of bracelets were awarded each year. In 1990, there were only 14 bracelet events. By 2000, that number increased to 24. As the popularity of poker has increased during the 2000s, the number of events has likewise increased. In 2009, there were 57 bracelets awarded in Las Vegas and 4 at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE).


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Types of Hinges

Butt Hinge: Comes in a range of sizes from 13mm to 150mm and is normally used for cabinet doors. They are very strong but cannot be adjusted once they are fitted.

Butterfly Hinge: This is often used on light-weight doors and different shapes and patterns are available. They are generally easy to fit.     

Flush Hinge: This type of hinge does not require a recess to be cut. They are not as strong as butt hinges but can be used for light-weight doors and small box construction.

Barrel Hinge: This comes in two parts. The threaded part of the hinge is screwed into a pre-drilled hole. They are easy to fit and the hinge can be dismantled.     

Concealed Hinge: These normally come in two sizes (25mm and 36mm. The hinge is adjustable once fitted and is designed with chipboard and MDF in mind.

Continuous or Piano Hinge: This is a hinge that comes in different lengths and can be bought in brass or steel. It is ideal where a long hinge is required such as a desk top or a cupboard door. Small countersink screws are normally used to fix it in position.


Sunday, 10 April 2011


Broscience is a derogatory term for misconceptions and ideas of questionable scientific credibility, passed around among laymen by word-of-mouth as if factually true.

Most examples of broscience pertain to biology, fitness and sports, and it most often circulates in fitness, athletic and bodybuilding circles, where many people want to know how to most effectively work out but are either ignorant of or do not fully understand the actual science. In general, such beliefs rely on anecdotal evidence and gain their popularity more from how ripped the speaker happens to be than from proof or references.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

State of Jefferson

The State of Jefferson is a proposed U.S. state that would span the contiguous and mostly rural area of Southern Oregon and Northern California, where several attempts to secede from Oregon and California, respectively, have taken place in order to gain own statehood.


Friday, 25 March 2011

Kinds of people

There are three kinds of people in the world; those who can count and those who can't.

There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary math, and those who don't.

There are two groups of people in the world; those who believe that the world can be divided into two groups of people, and those who don't.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

How to tell you're buying an authentic Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie is a distinct product that is recognisably different from other pork pies, both in physical characteristics and in reputation. It is rich in history and is recognised by consumers as a traditional, regional food product.

The sides of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie are bow-shaped as they are baked free standing, whereas most other pork pies are straight-sided being baked in hoops. The meat used is fresh pork which is naturally grey when cooked (like roast pork), not pink like most other pork pies, which use cured pork. The meat must be particulate, as we used chopped pork, not smooth on the palate as most other pork pies are because they used minced meat. The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie is also well jellied and the meat seasoned with salt and pepper.

The recipe for the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie is not complex. Indeed, its simplicity underlines its very authenticity and reminds us that the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie has remained true to its roots and is still baked without a hoop as it was the end of the 18th Century.

Other kinds of pork pies share some of the physical characteristics of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie (just as many blue cheeses share certain characteristics with Blue Stilton), but the combination of all these physical characteristics coupled with the product's reputation, is unique.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Is a mountain tunnel in Bragernesåsen, opened in 1961 when Drammen celebrated its 150th anniversary.

With six spirals, the tunnel goes through a massive of eruptive rock (granite porphyry below, basalt above), ending at Nedre Skanse, formerly called Breidablikk.

The tunnel is 1650 metres long, 9 metres wide and originally had a height of 3.1 metres but it was extended later and today also large, modern touring coaches can pass.

The rise is from 20 to 213 metres above sea level with a gradient of one in ten, and each spiral has a 70 metre diameter.

Shortly after the turn of the century, the Spiralen started as an open quarry to provide road construction with materials. It was the city engineer Eivind Olsen's idea that the quarry could be developed into a spiral tunnel up through Bragernesåsenand this work commenced in 1953 after 70,000 cubic metres of rock had been blasted off. The road has been tolled from the beginning except for the period of 1987-1994.


Saturday, 12 March 2011

You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with

Does who you are and who you will become depend heavily on the company you keep?

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn suggests it does.


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ship Naming in the Royal (British) Navy

Royal Navy ships were named according to one of several standard systems; class names varied according to the system:

Capital ships such as battleships, battle cruisers and aircraft carriers always bore traditional and for the most part, inspirational names. Here's a sampling

e.g. HMS Dreadnaught, HMS Agincourt, HMS Iron Duke, And so on and so on...

Classes were named after a "name ship" of the class. The British usually tried to give ships of a class similar names; for instance "Lion" and "Tiger" usually went together, as did "Couraegous", "Glorious" and "Furious" and the distinctly British combination of "Invincible", "Inflexible", "Indomitable", and "Indefatigable"

"Letter Classes" are usually used for Destroyers and Submarines (The class name is a letter of the alphabet; all ships in the class have names starting with this letter.


"B"-class destroyers -- HMS Basilisk, Beagle, Blanche, Boadicea, Brazen, Bulldog.
"D"-class cruisers -- HMS Danae, Dauntless, Dragon, Durban, Diomede.
"U"-class submarines -- HMS Upholder, Undine, Unity, Ursula, Unbeaten, Undaunted, Upright.

"Generic Classes" were usually used for Cruisers and some Destroyers. The class has some generic name and each ship in the class is named after a specific example of the class name. Examples:

Weapon-class destroyers -- HMS Battleaxe, Broadsword, Carronade, Culverin, Crossbow, Halberd, Musket, Tomahawk.
Tribal-class destroyers -- HMS Ashanti, Gurkha, Huron, Iroquois, Maori, Mohawk, Sikh, Zulu.
Town-class destroyers -- HMS Leeds, Campbeltown, Lancaster, Lincoln, Bath, Brighton, Newport.
Hunt-class escort destroyers -- HMS Berkeley, Exmoor, Southdown, Tynedale.
Cathedral-class cruisers -- HMS Exeter and York.
County-class cruisers -- HMS Cornwall, Cumberland, Kent, Dorsetshire, Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Sussex.
Flower-class sloops -- HMS Foxglove, Lupin, Rosemary.

Once a ship had been named, the name was almost never changed. Remainder of a belief that the ship's name was its "soul", changing the name was thought to bring bad luck to the ship. The major exceptions were of captured (or otherwise acquired foreign-built) ships, which were re-named if their name duplicated that of an existing British ship or sounded very "un-British".


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Among the items you are prohibited from mailing to Australia …

-- Fruit cartons (used or new).
-- Goods bearing the name "Anzac."
-- Goods produced wholly or partly in prisons or by convict labor.
-- Registered philatelic articles with fictitious addresses.
-- Seditious literature.
-- Used bedding.


listed in alt.usage.english

Monday, 28 February 2011


In recreational mathematics , a repdigit is a natural number composed of repeated instances of the same digit, most often in the decimal numeral system .
Examples are 11 , 222 , 4444, 77777, and 999999.
All repdigits are palindromic numbers and are multiples of repunits .
One of the most famous repdigits is 666 , the number of the beast .
The word repdigit is a portmanteau word, formed from repeated digit .

Friday, 25 February 2011

The world's' largest tyre and nail

Allen Park is home to the Uniroyal Tire, the world's largest tire. The tire, moved from the 1964 New York World's Fair to Allen Park in 1966, is 80 feet (24 m) tall and weighs 12 tons. The tire is located off Interstate 94. This 12-ton, 80-foot (24 m)-tall behemoth was built to withstand hurricane-force winds, and served as a ferris wheel (and a huge advertisement for Uniroyal) at the 1964–65 New York World's Fair. Twenty-four gondolas circled the tire where the treads are today, carrying nearly two million people.

In 1998, Uniroyal stabbed the tire with the world's largest nail. The nail was 11 feet (3.4 m) long and 250 pounds. This was done to promote their puncture-resistant Tiger Paw Nailgard tire. The big tire withstood the assault and the nail was eventually removed and given to Allen Park, which then put it up for sale on eBay in 2003 to raise money for a local historical society. The city hoped that someone would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the nail, the final price paid by local businessman Ralph Roberts was $3,000 (Roberts lends out the nail for local events).


Monday, 21 February 2011

The Roller Coaster DataBase

The rcdb is a comprehensive, searchable database with information and statistics on over 2000 roller coasters throughout the world.


Friday, 18 February 2011

The longest running western TV series ever

Bonanza -  which ran from 1959 - 1973 and lasted 18 seasons it is the second longest running western TV series ever

First place is held by Gunsmoke which ran for 20 seasons

In the UK Bonanza is the better known of the two.


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Hard Hat History

Hard hats can be found as helmets throughout history.
Soldiers have adapted helmets for head protection from the beginning of military record keeping.
The helmets developed in WWI were made out of metal and widely used by all soldiers.
After the war, these helmets were adapted for worker safety on construction sties and in manufacturing settings.
The industrial hard hats were initially made from metal, then they evolved to fiberglass.
Hardened reinforced plastic hard hats are the most common types of hard hats used today.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

The 100 Greatest Mathematicians of All Time

The 100 greatest mathematicians of all time, born before 1930, and ranked in approximate order of "greatness."

To qualify, the mathematician's work must have breadth , depth , and historical importance .
     1. Isaac Newton
     2. Carl F. Gauss
     3. Archimedes
     4. Leonhard Euler
     5. Euclid
     6. Bernhard Riemann
     7. Henri Poincaré
     8. David Hilbert
     9. Joseph-Louis Lagrange
     10. Gottfried W. Leibniz

See full list at

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Antecedent and Anaphor

An antecedent is a linguistic expression which provides the interpretation for a second expression (anaphor) which has little meaning of its own.

An antecedent is usually a noun phrase.
An antecedent usually comes before its anaphor.

  • If you see Ram, give him your shirt. (Antecedent – Ram; anaphor – him)
  • He went to his shop. (Antecedent – he; anaphor – his)
  • Ravi injured himself playing Volleyball. (Antecedent – Ravi; anaphor – himself)

An antecedent occasionally follows its anaphor.
An anaphor that precedes its antecedent is sometimes called a cataphor.

  • If you see him, give Ram your shirt.

Antecedent and its anaphor can be in different sentences.

  • Palaniappan is my brother. He is a merchant. (Antecedent – Palaniappan; anaphor – he)

An antecedent can be a verb phrase, an adjective phrase or a prepositional phrase.

  • My father asked me to open the door and I did it. (The antecedent ‘open the door’ is the verb phrase)
  • John thought Devi was in hospital, but he didn’t find her there. (The antecedent ‘in hospital’ is the prepositional phrase)

Antecedent can be a complete sentence.

  • Sita: Arun is teaching English.
  • Ragu: Who told you that?

The anaphor ‘that’ refers to the complete sentence ‘Arun is teaching English’.


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Prefixes in ship names

Ships often have a prefix attached to their names to indicate which type of vessel they are, or their national affiliation. This isn't enforced by any law or governing body - it's tradition, as are so many other maritime customs. Thus, there aren't any strict guidelines that define what class a vessel falls into (with some obvious exceptions, "USS" being a prime example.) Here are the most commonly-seen acronyms, some of which are no longer in broad use:

DS        Diesel Ship
Fishing Vessel     HMAS
FV     Fishing Vessel
HMAS     Her Majesty's Australian Ship (used exclusively by the Australian Navy)
HMCS     Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (used exclusively by the Canadian Navy)
HMS     Her Majesty's Ship (used exclusively by British Navy vessels)
MS     Motor Ship
MTS     Motor Turbine Ship
MV     Motor Vessel (this is commonly used in the US for ferries, cargo vessels, and cruise ships)
NS     Nuclear Ship
RMS     Royal Mail Ship
RV     Research Vessel (typically oceanographic science ships)
SS     Steam Ship
SSC     Semi-Submersible Craft
STR     Steamer
STV     Sail Training Vessel
TS     Training Ship
TSS     Turbine Steam Ship
USCGC     U.S. Coast Guard Cutter
USNS     United States Naval Ship (used for vessels in US Navy service but manned by civilian crew)
USS     United States Ship (used exclusively for commissioned US Navy vessels)


Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Dewey Decimal System

The Dewey Decimal System organizes information into 10 broad areas, which are broken into smaller and smaller topics. Different topics are assigned numbers, known as "call numbers." For example, "Animals" are given the number 599. To see what books the library currently has in on animals, go to the nonfiction shelves and find the books that have a 599 as part of their call number. A list of some of the information you can find in the different Dewey Decimal areas, appears below.
You can learn more about the Dewey Decimal System and how it works in the book The Dewey Decimal System by Allan Fowler. The call number for this book is: J 025.431 Fo.

Dewey Decimal System


Thursday, 20 January 2011

Gordian Knot

In Greek and Roman mythology, the Gordian knot was an extremely complicated knot tied by Gordius, the king of Phrygia in Asia Minor*. Located in the city of Gordium, the knot came to symbolize a difficult problem that was almost impossible to solve.

According to legend, Gordius was a peasant who married the fertility goddess Cybele. When Gordius became king of Phrygia, he dedicated his chariot to Zeus* and fastened it to a pole with the Gordian knot. Although the knot was supposedly impossible to unravel, an oracle predicted that it would be untied by the future king of Asia.

Many individuals came to Gordium to try to undo the knot, but they all failed. Then, according to tradition, the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great visited the city in 333 B . C . After searching unsuccessfully for the hidden ends of the Gordian knot, Alexander became impatient. In an unexpected move, he took out his sword and cut through the knot. Alexander then went on to conquer Asia, thus fulfilling the oracle's prophecy.

Alexander's solution to the problem led to the saying, "cutting the Gordian knot," which means solving a complicated problem through bold action.


Monday, 17 January 2011

Turducken, Gooducken

A turducken is a dish consisting of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed into a de-boned turkey. The word turducken is a portmanteau of turkey, duck, and chicken or hen.

Gooducken is a goose stuffed with a duck, which is in turn stuffed with a chicken.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Deepest Swimming Pool In The World

Nemo33 , Brussels

The pool itself consists of a submerged structure with flat platforms at various depth levels. The pool has two large flat-bottomed areas at depth levels of 5 m  and 10 m , and a large circular pit descending to a depth of 33 m . It is filled with 2,500,000 litres of non-chlorinated, highly filtered spring water maintained at 30 °C  and contains several simulated underwater caves at the 10 m depth level. There are numerous underwater windows that allow outside visitors to look into the pools at various depths.  The complex was designed by Belgian diving expert John Beernaerts as a multi-purpose diving instruction, recreational, and film production facility, and opened in 2004.

Photos and full article at

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Fat Owl of the Remove

Billy Bunter, of Greyfriars School, was one of the first successes from the fledgling BBC Children's Department at the tiny Lime Grove studios, this comedy series was based on the stories of Frank Richards (real name Charles Hamilton).

Richards' tales of Greyfriars public school had appeared in the first issue of comic paper The Magnet in 1908, continuing until it folded in 1940. Billy Bunter stories continued in novel form thereafter, with this TV series arriving in 1952.

The rotund Bunter was one of several boys in the class known as 'The Remove' year and his round face and horn-rimmed glasses earned him the nickname 'The Fat Owl of the Remove'


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Bank vault quality control

Bank vault quality control for much of the world's vault industry is overseen by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), in Northbrook, Illinois. Until 1991, the United States government also regulated the vault industry. The government set minimum standards for the thickness of vault walls, but advances in concrete technology made thickness an arbitrary measure of strength. Thin panels of new materials were far stronger than the thicker, poured concrete walls. Now the effectiveness of the vault is measured by how well it performs against a mock break-in. Manufacturers strive to make products that repel attacks for a certain number of minutes.

A UL Class 1 vault is guaranteed to withstand a break-in attempt for 30 minutes, a Class 2 for 60 minutes, and a Class 3 for 120 minutes.

UL's workers attack sample vault walls and doors with equipment that is likely a burglar could carry into a bank and use. This usually includes torches and demolition hammers. If the UL worker can make a hole of at least 6 × 16 in (15.24 × 40.64 cm) in less than the set time, that particular part has failed the test. Manufacturers also do their own testing designing a new product to make sure it is likely to succeed in UL trials.