Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Ship of the line

A ship-of-the-line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.


Monday, 29 July 2013

Inbox Bankruptcy

Declare Inbox Bankruptcy When Necessary, Save Yourself a Lot of Stress

Whether you're declaring email bankruptcy or laundry bankruptcy, sometimes the only way to climb out from under the pile of real or virtual clutter is to start from scratch.

Our advice: Don't be afraid to declare bankruptcy as often as you need.

See full article at

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Sommers, on protecting yourself from electricity

Rule one: Avoid the juice.

Rule two: If you can't avoid it, protect yourself against it.

Wear PPE, personal protective equipment …

Rule three: If you can't avoid juice and can't protect yourself against it, cut its head off.

All circuits, big or small, have a way to shut them down…


From - The Burning Wire, by Jeffery Deaver

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Hagberg Falling Number

A measure of the quality of wheat and its suitability for certain processes.

In practice it is a measure of the viscosity of a broth made from the grain.

A sample of the grain is ground, mixed with water and heated. It is put into a narrow tube and the time taken in seconds for a weighted plunger to fall a fixed distance is noted.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Stevenson Screen

The Stevenson Screen or thermometer screen is a standard shelter (from rain, snow and high winds, but also leaves and animals) for meteorological instruments, particularly wet and dry bulb thermometers used to record humidity and air temperature.

It is kept 1.25m/4.1ft (UK standard) above the ground by legs to avoid strong temperature gradients at ground level, has louvred sides to encourage the free passage of air, and is painted white to reflect heat radiation, since what is measured is the temperature of the air in the shade, not of the sunshine.

To allow comparability from screen to screen every aspect of construction and exposure is specified by the World Meteorological Organization. For example, its doors opens towards the pole to minimize disturbance when reading in daylight. Double roof, walls and floor of white-painted wood provide screening, and extensive louvres maintain adequate ventilation on all but the stillest days.

It was invented by the British engineer and meteorologist Sir Thomas Stevenson (1818-1887), the father of Robert Louis Stevenson.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Types of clay bricks

Engineering bricks have high compressive strength and low water absorption properties. They are rated as either class A or B, with A being the strongest and they are ideal for use below ground level and for Damp proof courses.

Common bricks have low compressive strength and are of lower quality than engineering or facing bricks as no attempt is made to control their colour or appearance. They should not be used below ground and are generally used for internal brickwork only. The term "frogged common" is sometimes used as a generic term for "flettons" or LBC faced commons. These are bricks that have a common coloured base and then have different face colours added.

Facing bricks give a building its aesthetic appearance and are designed to be used externally against internal block work or brickwork to provide an attractive 'face'. They are by far the most popular type of brick and come in a huge variety of colours and sizes.

See full article at

Sunday, 21 July 2013

All over the shop

If something is completely disorganised or confused, it is all over the shop.


Friday, 19 July 2013

Harry Illingsworth

Harry Worth (born Harry Illingsworth, 20 November 1917 in Tankersley, South Yorkshire, died 20 July 1989 Hertfordshire) was an English comedy actor and comedian.

His standard performance was as a genial, bumbling middle-class and middle-aged man from the North of England, who reduced all who came into contact with him to a state of confusion and frustration.


Harry Worth - The Man In The Window



Set in the fictional town of Woodbridge, 'Here's Harry' presented the star as a bumbling complainer continually pitted against officialdom in a world that he always seemed to be one step behind.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Who Put the Hole in the Doughnut?

In a house in Rockport, Maine there is a plaque that recognizes Mason Crockett Gregory with the invention of the doughnut hole, in 1847. The reason why? He hated doughnuts with an uncooked center.

Even if Captain Gregory came up with the idea, John Blondell was awarded the patent for the first doughnut cutter in 1872. Blondell's version was made of wood, but an 'improved' tin version with a fluted edge was patented in 1889

Extracted from A Short History Of Doughnuts at

Monday, 15 July 2013

Publish and be damned

“Publish and be damned!” was the Duke of Wellington’s famous retort to a former mistress’s blackmail attempt by publishing his love letters and declaring their affair to the world.

A lesser man than the iron duke would have no doubt quietly acquiesced and paid the money.


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Nonexistent Objects

A nonexistent object is something that does not exist. Some examples often cited are: Zeus, Pegasus, Sherlock Holmes, Vulcan, the perpetual motion machine, the golden mountain, the fountain of youth, the round square, etc. Some important philosophers have thought that the very concept of a nonexistent object is contradictory (Hume) or logically ill-formed (Kant, Frege), while others (Leibniz, Meinong, the Russell of Principles of Mathematics) have embraced it wholeheartedly.

One of the reasons why there are doubts about the concept of a nonexistent object is this: to be able to truly claim of an object that it doesn't exist, it seems that one has to presuppose that it exists, for doesn't a thing have to exist if we are to make a true claim about it? In the face of this puzzling situation, one has to be very careful when accepting or formulating the idea that there are nonexistent objects. It turns out that Kant's view that “exists” is not a “real” predicate and Frege's view, that “exists” is not a predicate of individuals (i.e., a predicate that yields a well-formed sentence if one puts a singular term in front of it), has to be abandoned if one is to accept the claim that there are nonexistent objects.

See full article at

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Types of hand-sewing needles

Sharps are the needles most commonly used for hand sewing. They do have a sharp point, as the name implies, and are of medium length (compared, that is, to the short quilting needle or the long milliner's needle, below). Sharps have a rounded eye, which is usually just large enough to accommodate thread. Like the other hand-sewing needles, sharps are available in sizes 1 through 10, which is determined by the diameter of the needle. Size 1 is the longest and thickest, and size 10 is smallest and thinnest.
When choosing a needle size, it's best to consider the type of fabric you'll be using. In general, the lighter your fabric, the thinner the needle you'll want to use with it. Many craft stores stock packs of assorted sizes. If you're unsure of the best needle, just try passing a few different-sized needles through an inconspicuous place on the fabric. Which one passes through most easily? Which one leaves the smallest hole in the fabric?

Ball-point needles have a rounded tip, so they're perfect for sewing on knit fabrics. A sharp needle can easily damage knit fabric by poking though a thread and then pulling out the knit stitches. A ball point, on the other hand, will pass right through the knit. Ball points also come in sizes 5 through 10.

Embroidery needles (sometimes known as crewel needles) are very similar to sharps. The main difference is in the eye—embroidery needles have a larger eye, so that thicker flosses and yarns can pass through. Embroidery needles also come in sizes 1 through 10.

Quilting needles, which are also known as betweens, are much shorter than sharps and also have a small, rounded eye for thread. This type of needle is a bit thinner than a sharp as well. Quilting needles are great for small, detailed stitching, such as quilting, of course. Their thinness and small eye help them pass easily through heavyweight fabrics, like denim or tweed. This type of needle is available in sizes 1 through 10.

Milliner's needles are the longest of the hand-sewing needles. They are traditionally used for hat making but are also great for basting, as you can manoeuvre them quickly through fabric. They're also available in sizes 1 through 10.
Now, there are also "specialty needles," which are used for other purposes. Here are two that are commonly used by crafters:

Tapestry needles have a blunt point and a big eye. They're made this way so they can pass through needlepoint and tapestry canvases without damaging them. And that large eye will accommodate the thicker yarns used for these kinds of crafts.

Chenille needles also have a large eye like tapestry needles, but they have a sharp point. This makes them ideal for crafts like ribbon embroidery, where you need to pull a thick strand through a closely woven fabric.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Ship's Heads

HEADS – the lavatory. Always pronounced in the plural.

In the days of sail, the wind would ideally come from astern or the quarters (45 degrees from astern). Therefore it was prudent to go to the head of the ship (bow) to do your business (remembering the saying "don’t piss into the wind").

You had a choice of which side of the bow to use and this is why it’s referred to in the plural. (only the USN uses the singular ‘head’)


Sunday, 7 July 2013

More Questions

If athletes get athlete's foot, what do astronauts get? Missile toe?

If corn oil is made from corn and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

from uk.rec.humour

Friday, 5 July 2013

How to Tie a Scarf

General Rules
  1. Keep it simple – only tie knots you are comfortable wearing–confidence is everything.
  2. Scarf length & thickness can limit knot style options.
  3. A scarf isn’t a necktie–keep it loose.
  4. Function first–fashion second.  Unless you’re a rock star or The Style Blogger.
Ways to Tie a Scarf
  1. The Drape, or The Simplest Way To Wear A Scarf
  2. Overhand Knot (or Ascot)
  3. The Fake Knot
  4. The Once Round
  5. The Twice Round
  6. The “Parisian” or French or European Knot
See full article at

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

To be knocked into a cocked hat

This means to be routed completely in a physical or verbal contest.

The expression comes from the practice of military officers to carry their soft hats under the arm, thus flattening it out. The hats became triangular shaped when flattened. So, when someone was crushed in a contest, they were flattened as completely as an officer's cocked hat.


Monday, 1 July 2013

The World’s Largest Atlas

Earth Platinum, published at the end of February 2012, in an edition limited to 31 copies, is the world’s largest atlas.

The book is 1.8 m (6 ft) high and 1.4 m (4.5 ft) wide.

When opened, it spans 2.8 m (9 ft).

It contains 128 pages of maps, flags and panoramic photographs, and weighs 150 kg (over 300 lb).

It’s the kind of book you can’t read alone: it takes two persons to turn over the gigantic pages.

See full article at