Friday, 29 November 2013

Nobles, knights, clergy, tradesmen and peasants

In the Middle Ages, there was a definite structure in society.

You were born into a class of people and generally stayed in that class for your entire life.

Working hard did not change your status.

Your clothing, food, marriage, homes, etc., were determined for you.

After the rank of king, the hierarchy was the nobles, the knights, the clergy (religious people), the tradesmen and the peasants.

See more at

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What is gingham?

Gingham is a type of simple woven cotton or linen cloth, originally with a regular bright coloured stripe but later appearing as a check or plaid pattern.

The colours are commonly blue/white or red/white. This cool, breathable textile varies from medium to light-weight and can range from a very small checked pattern to very large checks.

There is no right or wrong side in gingham as it has the same appearance on both sides. This is due to the fibres already being coloured before they are woven together.

This makes gingham very economical for dress-making or home furnishing.


Monday, 25 November 2013

It's a fair cop

Used just after being caught at something.
Roughly equivalent to "Yes, I did it."
From "cop", to catch.
The full version is "It's a fair cop, guv, you've got me bang to rights".

See full list of Stock British Phrases at

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Langton's ant

Langton's ant is a two-dimensional Turing machine with a very simple set of rules but complicated emergent behaviour.

It was invented by Chris Langton in 1986 and runs on a square lattice of black and white cells.

Squares on a plane are colored variously either black or white. We arbitrarily identify one square as the "ant". The ant can travel in any of the four cardinal directions at each step it takes. The ant moves according to the rules below:

  • At a white square, turn 90° right, flip the color of the square, move forward one unit
  • At a black square, turn 90° left, flip the color of the square, move forward one unit


Thursday, 21 November 2013

The world's largest zip manufacturer

The YKK Group (YKKグループ Waikeikei Gurūpu?) is a Japanese group of manufacturing companies. As the world's largest zipper/zip manufacturer, YKK Group is most famous for making zippers; however, it also manufactures other fastening products, architectural products and industrial machinery.

The initials YKK stand for Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha (吉田工業株式会社?), Yoshida Manufacturing Corporation.

More than 90% of all zippers in the world are made in over 206 YKK facilities in 68 countries around the world, with the largest factory in Georgia, USA which produces more than 7 million zippers per day.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

‘You and I’ or ‘You and me’?

To find out whether to use ‘I’ or ‘me’, simply drop the name or pronoun that goes before and and the word and.

Then see if the sentence makes sense.

Example - I made dinner reservations for Rex and I.

Now drop ‘Rex and’ - I made dinner reservations for I.

Now this sentence sounds wrong, so you know it should be me. Let’s fix it - I made dinner reservations for Rex and me.

Bingo! Now it’s correct.

See full article and more examples at

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Duffel / Duffle

Duffel is a municipality in the Belgian province of Antwerp.

The town gives its name to a heavy woollen cloth used to make overcoats, especially for the military, and various kinds of luggage.

Items made from this material are sometimes spelled duffle as in Duffle Coat and Duffle bag.


Friday, 15 November 2013


Catachresis is a the use of word or a figure of speech incorrectly, breaking the rules of usage.

Catachresis can be used in a number of ways, for example:

  • Using a word outside its normal context, where it appears wrong.
  • Creating a contradiction or paradox.
  • Substituting one language element for another.
  • Using mixed metaphor.
  • Using a simile that does not work.


  • Her laughing feet fell overboard with amazement.
  • He looked at the price and his pockets ran dry.
  • She grabbed the bull by the horns of the dilemma.
  • He was as happy as a corpse.

See full article at

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Additives in table salt

Most table salt sold for consumption contain additives which address a variety of health concerns, especially in the developing world. The identities and amounts of additives vary widely from country to country.
  • Iodine and iodide. Iodine is important to prevent the insufficient production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), which can cause goiter, cretinism in children, and myxedema in adults. Iodine-containing compounds are added to table salt. Iodized salt is thus table salt mixed with a minute amount of potassium iodide, sodium iodide, or sodium iodate.
  • Fluoride
  • Anti-caking agents
  • Iron

See full article at

Monday, 11 November 2013

Semantic satiation

Semantic satiation (also semantic saturation) is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then processes the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.


Here's a fun experiment that you can do, right now, without leaving your computer. Take a two-word expression, any two words, let's say, "divine inspiration," and say it out loud repeatedly.

After the 20th or 30th time, the words will seem like a blur in your head. To an outsider, your words will make sense, but inside you will not be sure about what you are saying.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Why Are The Numbers On A Dartboard In The Order They Are?

The man who is credited with the ‘invention’ of the numbering sequence of the modern standard dartboard is BRIAN GAMLIN.

Gamlin was a carpenter from Bury in the County of Lancashire, England and came up with the infuriating sequence in 1896, at the age of 44. He died in 1903 before he could patent the idea.

The numbering of a standard dartboard is designed in such a way as to cut down the incidence of ‘lucky shots’ and reduce the element of chance. The numbers are placed in such a way as to encourage accuracy. That’s it. Pure and simple. The placing of small numbers either side of large numbers e.g. 1 and 5 either side of 20, 3 and 2 either side of 17, 4 and 1 either side of 18, punishes inaccuracy. Thus, if you shoot for the 20 segment, the penalty for lack of accuracy or concentration is to land in either a 1 or a 5.

See full article at

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Churchill’s good ideas

Churchill's tendency to conduct strategy by impulse infuriated his advisers.

His chief of staff Alan Brooke complained that every day Churchill had 10 ideas, only one of which was good--and he did not know which one.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Ace of Spades

From 1712 until about 1718, a “duty stamp” was placed on one card in each deck to prove that duty tax had been paid after the wrapper had been discarded. Initially, no standards specified which card would be stamped.

Because the Aces had the most white space of any card, the duty stamp was usually made on one of them. The customary order of cards in a new deck has the Ace of Spades on the face (the top, if the deck is held face-up), so the Ace of Spades was the card most often stamped.

In 1765, the Tax Office began printing Aces of Spades. Playing card manufacturers were not allowed to sell their own. It was a capital offense to forge an Ace of Spades. The designs for the various taxes, based upon the cost of the pack of cards, had an enlarged spade pip in the center of the design. The large spade both clearly identified the card as the Ace of Spades and became part of the official stamp design. This is how the Ace of Spades got a big spade in the middle.

See full article at

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Elements from elements

Chemical elements that can be spelled using element symbols:


See full list at

Saturday, 2 November 2013


Survival Prepping is not just stocking up on supplies but also getting the right frame of mind for when the SHTF.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

- Benjamin Franklin


Key Survival Prepping Definitions / Acronyms

  • SHTF – Sh*t Hits The Fan
  • TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It
  • GOOD – Get Out Of Dodge
  • Prepper – One who is planning or preparing for a disaster/emergency
  • BOB – Bug Out Bag (one small bag you can grab with essentials if you have to leave your place immediately) aka SHTF Bag
  • BOL – Bug Out Location
  • WROL – Without Rule Of Law
  • MRE – Meal Ready to Eat
  • SP – Survival Prepping



Friday, 1 November 2013

Types of Spanners and Wrenches

Spanners come in all shapes and sizes, many being developed to deal with a specific job.

By far the most important consideration when using a spanner is to ensure that it fits the nut perfectly.

  • Open ended - 'C' spanner
  • Ring spanner
  • Offset ring spanner
  • Split ring spanner
  • Adjustable spanners
  • Wrench
  • Bulldog spanner
  • Precision adjustable spanner
  • Box spanner
  • Socket
  • Allen key
  • Torque wrench
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Stilson wrench
  • Strap wrench
  • Mole Wrench
  • Tap spanner

See full article at