Saturday, 31 May 2014

Use of 'as per' vs 'per'

Among meanings for preposition per, includes "in accordance with [ e.g.] I parked my car at the curb per your request." It defines as per as a preposition meaning "Consistent, or in accordance, with." Taking wiktionary as a guide, one can use either form with little difference in meaning, but I think some people will object to such use of per and others to such use of as per. My preference is for per because most uses of as per that I've heard seem pompous and verbose.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Narrowest Houses in the World

The 47 inch wide Wedge in Milport, on the island of Great Cumbrae in Scotland, United Kingdom

The 3.2 ft (1 m) wide by 32.8 ft (10 m) tall house of Helenita Queiroz Grave Minho with 3 bedrooms, a kitchen and two other rooms in Madre de Deus, Brazil

The Gap House on an eight-foot-wide (2.5 m) site by Pitman Tozer Architects, London, 2007

The 10.4 ft (3.16 m) wide Skinny House in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts

See full list and photos at

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Types of timber fasteners and connectors

Fasteners and connectors are fixings used to create joints between timbers or to attach other materials to timber.

Fasteners include nails, screws, staples, dowels and bolts.

Connectors are available in a much wider range of shapes, including punched metal plates, joist hangers, split ring connectors and shear plate connectors.

See full article at

Monday, 26 May 2014


In horology, a tourbillon is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement.

… a tourbillon aims to counter the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage, to negate the effect of gravity when the timepiece (thus the escapement) is stuck in a certain position.

Originally an attempt to improve accuracy, tourbillons are still included in some expensive modern watches as a novelty and demonstration of watchmaking virtuosity. The mechanism is usually exposed on the watch's face to show it off.

See full article at

Friday, 23 May 2014

Langdon on inaction

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.

For Langdon, the meaning of these words had never felt so clear: In dangerous times, there is no sin greater than inaction.

From Inferno, by Dan Brown

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Quire, ream, bundle & bale

25 sheets = 1 quire

500 sheets = 20 quires = 1 ream

1,000 sheets = 40 quires = 2 reams = 1 bundle

5,000 sheets = 200 quires = 10 reams = 5 bundles = 1 bale

See more at

Monday, 19 May 2014

PK Porthcurno

Porthcurno is unusually well known for its size because of its history as a major international submarine communications cable station. In the late nineteenth century, the remote beach at Porthcurno became internationally famous as the British termination of early submarine telegraph cables, the first of which was landed in 1870, part of an early international link stretching all the way from the UK to India, which was then a British colony.

Porthcurno was chosen in preference to the busy port of Falmouth because of the reduced risk of damage to the cables caused by ships’ anchors.

In the Inter-War years, the Porthcurno cable office operated as many as 14 cables simultaneously, for a time becoming the largest submarine cable station in the world, with the capacity to receive and transmit up to two million words a day.

Porthcurno is still known colloquially by the acronym 'PK' being represented in Morse code as 'di-dah-dah-dit' followed by 'dah-di-dah'. In the early days of expensive telegraphy, this could be sent unambiguously with just two letters instead of ten.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Envy v Jealousy

The main difference between envy and jealousy is that envy is an emotion related to coveting what someone else has, while jealousy is the emotion related to fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else.

See more at

Thursday, 15 May 2014

What is a Mummers Play, and what is mumming?

Mumming is a word for disguising oneself, going door to door, and performing songs, dances and plays in neighbour's homes and in public places. It's a very old and widespread custom, going back at least to the Middle Ages.

The type of play we call a Mummers Play today is a little less ancient and less universal. In fact, it may not go back any further than the 18th century, since earlier English-language references to "mumming" either are vague about the exact type of performance, or are clearly a different kind of play.

Modern Mummers Plays have a basic recurring plot that is used as an excuse for the actors to sing, dance and rhyme. The plot involves a fight between two champions, who can be St. George and the Dragon, or St. Patrick and the Turkish Knight, or any other combination of historical or fantasy characters.

See more at

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Atlantic Crossing (1)

Atlantic Crossing is Rod Stewart's sixth album, released in 1975. It peaked at number one in the UK (his fifth solo album to do so), and number nine on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.



Atlantic Crossing 1 (AC-1) is an optical submarine telecommunications cable system linking the USA and three European countries. It transports speech and data traffic between the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dually noted

I emailed someone today about two topics.

She responded, "Dually noted."

I'll never know if she was demonstrating her ignorance or her wit.

from Google Groups

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Errors of automaticity

When our attention is distracted we carry out highly practised behaviours automatically, occasionally at inappropriate times.

Like putting the milk out and the cat in the fridge.

In a classic diary study of everyday slips and lapses Reason (1979) got people to describe all sorts of cute out-of-context slips.

One person reported unwrapping a sweet (candy to the rest of you), throwing the sweet away and putting the wrapper in his mouth, another to putting shaving cream on his toothbrush and another to going upstairs to change for the evening, then finding himself wearing pyjamas.

Although practice makes perfect, it can also make an unthinking robot.

See other ways attention goes wrong at

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Cocktail Party Effect

For psychologists the ‘cocktail party effect’ is our impressive and under-appreciated ability to tune our attention to just one voice from a multitude.

At a party when bored with our current conversational partner — and for the compulsive eavesdropper — allowing the aural attention to wander around the room is a handy trick.

See full article at