Sunday, 25 October 2015

Supination, pronation, sunwise, clockwise, anticlockwise and counterclockwise

A clockwise (typically abbreviated as CW) motion is one that proceeds in the same direction as a clock's hands: from the top to the right, then down and then to the left, and back up to the top. The opposite sense of rotation or revolution is (in Commonwealth English) anticlockwise (ACW), or (in North American English) counterclockwise (CCW).



Supination. Rotation of the hand or forearm so that the palmar surface is facing upward



Pronation. Rotation of the hand or forearm so that the surface of the palm is facing downward or toward the back



From the anatomical position, with the arms fully extended to the sides of the trunk and the palms facing forward, pronation is the movement of the hands to turn the palms posteriorly. In other words, pronation involves placing the palms into the prone (face-down) position, like someone would do when looking at the backs of their hands....



The reason for the clockwise orientation of most screws and bolts is that supination of the arm, which is used by a right-handed person to turn a screw clockwise, is generally stronger than pronation. Also, it was wise to adopt a single standard version for most screws and bolts – in order to eliminate endless confusion.



Why do screws tighten clockwise?

This is because the biceps muscle - the strongest muscle in our arm - actually has two functions:

1) flexion of the arm and

2) supination (which is the motion used when screwing in a screw clockwise).



Why do clocks go clockwise?

The clock that we use today was originally developed from the sundial, which used the sun to cast a shadow that would tell what the time was. In fact, before clocks had become popular the term wasn’t “clockwise,” it was “sunwise,” because that’s the way the rotation went.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

What is the difference between loosen and unloosen?

None, or almost none.


There are two different prefixes here.


The familiar one means "not": unhappy, unfair, unusual, unseen.


The other prefix is rarer. I'll quote the American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition:

1. To reverse or undo the result of a specified action: unbind.

2a. To deprive of or remove a specified thing: unfrock.

b. To release, free, or remove from: unyoke.

3. Used as an intensive: unloose.



Thursday, 25 June 2015

Parts of Hammers

Hammers have two parts--the hammer handle and hammer head.

Many hammers have handles of hickory or ash.

Use the face of the hammerhead for most work.

Some hammerheads have two identical faces, e.g. sledge hammers

Most hammerheads have only one face; the opposite side of the hammerhead is called the peen.

Machinists' hammers have round or ball peen.

Carpenters' hammers include a claw peen for pulling nails.

See more at

See also a Hammer Buying Guide at

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Number 1 Haircut

Q: If a have my hair cut as a number 1, how long is the hair in mm?
A: Grade 1 - 3mm
Grade 2 - 6mm
Grade 3 - 9mm
Grade 4 - 12mm
Grade 6 - 19mm
Grade 8 - 25mm

Q: My husband just had a "number 2" hair cut. What does that mean? Does it mean he has shaved his whole head?
A: Here are the general lengths specified by the different numbered length guards:
      •   #1 – one-eighth of an inch
      •   #2 – one-quarter of an inch
      •   #3 – three-eighths of an inch
      •   #4 – one-half of an inch
      •   #7 – seven-eighths of an inch
      •   #8 – one inch
The #5 and #6 length guards are special tapered guards designed for tapering the hair in an area of the head. One end of the guard is generally longer while the other is much shorter and the lengths graduate in between the two.

Q: Haircut Numbers - What Do They Mean?
A: #1 is 1/8 th inch
#2 is ¼ inch
#3 is 3/8 inch
#4 is ½ inch
#6 is ¾ inch
#8 is 1 inch

Q: How long is a grade 1 2 3 and 4 haircut?
A: Grade 1 - one-eighth of an inch (3mm)
Grade 2 - one-quarter of an inch (6mm)
Grade 3 - three-eighths of an inch (9mm)
Grade 4 - one-half of an inch (12mm)

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Minced Oath

A minced oath is a euphemistic expression formed by misspelling, mispronouncing, or replacing a part of a profane, blasphemous, or taboo term to reduce the original term's objectionable characteristics.

Some examples include gosh, darn, dang, and heck.

See more at

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Homonyms and Consecutive Homonyms

Two words are homonyms if they are pronounced or spelled the same way but have different meanings



Examples -

Joe always pares his pears in pairs

Jared didn't know if the correct answer on his Oceanography homework was choice A, B, or C. His friend said, "Look. It's Sea C -- see?"

Wendy wanted to shop at the new store called "Buy." She said, "I have to hang up now. I'm going by Buy. Bye."

The English teacher asks one of his foreign students: "What time do you have?", and he answers : "Two to two". So the teacher asks another student : 'And you?'... the other student says "Two to two too"



More examples-

Because of living in days of yore, you're your own worst enemy.

I don't carry cash because it's too easy to lose loose change.

The horse could not only count to one, but could count to two, too.

Did the mill wright write right on the left side by mistake?


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Shipping Containers

A shipping container is a container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling. Shipping containers range from large reusable steel boxes used for intermodal shipments to the ubiquitous corrugated boxes. In the context of international shipping trade, "container" or "shipping container" is virtually synonymous with "(standard) intermodal freight container" (a container designed to be moved from one mode of transport to another without unloading and reloading).

Container ships are cargo ships that carry all of their load in truck-size intermodal containers, in a technique called containerization. They are a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport and now carry most seagoing non-bulk cargo.
Container ship capacity is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). Typical loads are a mix of 20-foot and 40-foot (2-TEU) ISO-standard containers, with the latter predominant.

But the record-breaking aspect of the Globe, owned by Shanghai-based China Shipping Container Lines and built in South Korea, is its capacity. It can carry 19,100 standard 20ft containers. That's estimated to be enough space for 156 million pairs of shoes, 300 million tablet computers or 900 million standard tins of baked beans.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Jumper, pullover or sweater?


In the UK this just refers to an garment you wear over your shirt for warmth. It doesn't have buttons, and it pulled over your head.

In the US this has a completely different meaning. It is a type of girl's dress, a top, with attached shorts basically. (Google will be happy to show you images.) It has a kind of "little girl" sense to it kind of like pinafore, however, for sure adult women wear them too.



In the UK this is the same as a jumper, a garment you wear over your shirt, with no buttons, and is pulled over your head.

In the US this is a similar item, however, a cardigan with buttons can also be called a sweater in the US.



Again is a garment you wear over your shirt, pulled over your head. The meaning is the same in the US and UK, but it is a pretty uncommon word in the US.

So in the UK it all means pretty much the same, however there are considerable semantic variations in the US.




Also see

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Avast there, ye landlubbers!

landlubber / lubber. Noun: An inexperienced sailor; a sailor on the first voyage

lubber's line / lubber's mark / lubber's point. Noun: A fixed line on a ship's compass indicating its heading

lubber's hole. Noun: Hole in a platform on a mast through which a sailor can climb without going out on the shrouds

Avast. Interjection: (nautical) cease; stop



Avast, ye landlubbers! (parody of pirate slang) listen!, pay attention!.



A sailor is expected to keep hauling until the mate hollers ‘Avast!’


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Clothes Peg

The first patented clothes peg issued in March 1832, described a bent strip of hickory held together with a wooden screw which proved to be totally impractical. Rain or even dampness would cause the screw to swell, rendering the pin inoperable



The (modern) clothes peg design was invented by David M. Smith of Springfield, Vermont (USA) in 1853 by creating two interlocking plastic or wooden prongs in between which is often wedged a small spring.



Other Names for the clothes peg

  • Clothespin – America
  • C47 – film industry
  • Clothes peg or Dolly peg- UK



Mini Matchstick Gun - The Clothespin Pocket Pistol



33 Crafty Things To Make With Clothespins

Monday, 25 May 2015

Story, storey, stories and storeys

A storey (Australian English, British English, Canadian English, Indian English, New Zealand English) or story (American English) is any level part of a building that could be used by people (for living, work, storage, recreation, etc.). The plurals are "storeys" and "stories" respectively.



Story, a recounting of a sequence of events



Story, plural stories also storeys

The space in a building between two adjacent floor levels or between a floor and the roof



Story, plural stories

An account of incidents or events

A statement regarding the facts pertinent to a situation in question


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Ink Colour Etiquette

Black for business, Blue for social correspondence, Red for correcting errors, Green for stocktaking

Today, I wouldn't use anything but black, blue-black, or conservative dark blue for business, official, or formal writing. The sky's the limit for personal use.

In my previous life as a college instructor I used red and green to make corrections on student papers

A notary once asked me not to sign documents with black ink, because it looks very much like a photocopy. So I avoid signing things in black

Many licenses, etc. must be signed in a colour other than black for legal purposes.

More at


As an attorney I try to make sure to always sign in blue so that I can easily tell the difference between original documents and copies.

More at


Why not black? The clerks have asked me to go to blue (as well as other attorneys) because copy machines are so good now that it is hard to tell the difference between original orders and copies that are to be attested

More at

Monday, 18 May 2015

Kangaroo, Napoleon, etc. Types of pockets

Angled flap






Denim top-stitched


















See more at

Friday, 15 May 2015

Keep the rubber on the road, and look out for squirrels and turkeys

Keep the rubber on the road: A cyclist’s way of saying “ride smart” (or “you better not be a turkey and crash because I want to jam hard today”).

Squirrels and turkeys: Some cycling lingo is just plain fuzzy. Squirrels are panicky or unstable riders who can't maintain a steady line, while turkeys are inexperienced riders. Be cautious around this wildlife to stay safe on the road.

See more cycling lingo at

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Elizabethan Manners - Cutlery

Food was taken from the serving dish using the tip of your knife to spear it and place it in your trencher, where you would eat it with your hands. Knives of the time period had very sharp tips for this purpose. People were constantly being told not to put the knife in their mouths and not to eat the food off the knife (which of course means they did that constantly).

Spoons were used to eat soft foods and broth out of the common dish, which is why it was rude to leave your spoon in the dish when you had eaten your share. Individuals did not have their own bowls to eat soupy dishes.

Forks existed, but these were generally two-tined forks used for carving meat, and not for individual dining. Delicate little forks might be used to eat sticky suckets in the fruit or banquetting course, but this is a very high-class affectation. Use of forks at court was a sign of depravity mentioned in political satires against Henri III.

All this eating with your hands means that they need frequent cleaning (it is bad manners to lick them). Napkins are heavily used. Ladies must have put them in their laps as they are not visible. Napkins are not always available -- the medieval approach was to take the long table-cloth hanging down on the side facing the guests, put it in your lap and use it to clean your hands. Eating without some kind of tablecloth is Not Done.

Extracted from

Monday, 11 May 2015

Lets, Let’s or Lets us?

Q: "let's" is a short form of "let us", but does it have the same meaning? When is it better to say "let us" and not "let's"?

A1: They carry the same general meaning. Let us, though, is more emphatic; used for emphasis, and/or used formally.

A2: "Let's" is commonly used in modern English when you say:
Let's do something...
eg. Let' football, go to the cinema, have a pint down the pub, etc.
No one uses the original "Let us" form in this context anymore unless they are aristocracy!
eg. "I say old chap - let us go boating upon the river this afternoon what what!"
"Let us" is still used but in a different context and to mean "allow/permit us".
eg. allow do something
...Let us in (to the house), Let us help you, etc.

See more at


"let" we all know how to use
"Let" me borrow a pen.

"Lets" is to show action referring only to one thing.
My brother "lets" me hold his car.

"Let's" is a contraction word meaning let us.
"Let's" go to the mall. "Let us" go to the mall

See more at

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Types of ladders

Assault ladder
Attic ladder
Bridge ladder
Cat ladder (US chicken ladder)
Christmas tree ladder
Counterbalanced ladder
Extension ladder or "telescopic ladder"
Fixed ladder
Folding ladder
Hook ladder or pompier ladder
Mobile Safety Steps or Platform
Orchard ladder
Retractable ladder
Roof ladder
Sectional ladder
Step ladder
Telescoping ladder
Trestle ladder,
Turntable ladder,
Vertically rising ladder
X-deck ladder

See more at

Monday, 4 May 2015

Types of chairs

1.  Chair and a Half

2.  Wing Chair

3.  Chaise Longue

4.  Club Chair

5.  Occasional Chair

6.  Klismos Chairs

7.  Slipper Chair

See more at

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Types of staples

Standard Staples. 1/4 of an inch in length and have beveled tips.

Heavy-Duty Staples. They come in 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch lengths. The points are chiseled to penetrate more material than a standard staple.

Mini-staples. These lighter, smaller staples travel well and take up less space

Construction Staples. These staples are thick and have highly chiseled tips.

See more at

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Fall between / through / the cracks / two stools

fall/slip through the cracks

to get lost or be forgotten, especially within a system

'It seems that important information given to the police may have fallen through the cracks'

See more at

fall between the cracks / fall through the cracks

to fail to fit into a given agenda or program

'Some things fall between the cracks - like the value of an anaerobic adhesive at GE'

See more at


fall between two stools

to come somewhere between two possibilities and so fail to meet the requirements of either.

'The material is not suitable for an academic book or for a popular one. It falls between two stools. He tries to be both teacher and friend, but falls between two stools.'

See more at


the idea that anything can “fall between the cracks” just doesn’t make sense to me.

I picture two parallel cracks. Wouldn’t the space between them be the surface?

My guess is that the current illogical form came from a blending of the established metaphors “fall through the cracks” (as small objects might fall through the gaps between floorboards) and “fall between the stools”

See more at

Thursday, 23 April 2015


Stile. A series of steps or rungs by means of which a person may pass over a wall or fence that remains a barrier to sheep or cattle.


The vertical members of a rigid ladder are called stringers or rails (US) or stiles (UK).


Stile. A vertical member of a panel or frame, as in a door or window sash.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Top and bottom horizontal, and the rest vertical

Shit buttons

Because horizontal buttonholes take horizontal stress with less deformation of the buttonhole shape and offer much less likelihood of the button pulling out from such stress than do vertical one

It's the sign of a quality shirt. If you think of the amount of strain on the buttons, the one at your waistband and the one right at the top get the most strain. Both of them are horizontal as this puts less strain on the cotton holding the button on


From my research this is a vestige of when dress shirts were affixed to trousers.  It prevented the shirt from riding up and kept a nice tidy appearance throughout the day.


Friday, 17 April 2015

Top Ten Pirate Punishments

Throwing Overboard
Cat O’ Nine Tails
Walking The Plank
Selling Into Slavery
Clapping In Irons

See more at Http://Pirateattack.Co.Uk/Top-Ten-Pirate-Punishments-2/

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

New York 212

Remember the “Seinfeld” episode where Elaine tried to get her dead neighbor’s 212 phone number when she was assigned a 646?

There are now six area codes in New York City (212, 646, 718, 917, 347, 929), and another might soon be needed.

But people are still behaving like Elaine: scheming for the city’s original prefix, even subscribing to a call-forwarding service for the coveted 212, The Times reports.

See more in these

Manhattan Area Codes Multiply, but the Original, 212, Is Still Coveted

New York Today: What Would You Do for a 212?

Why was New York City’s original area code 212?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Types of Pepper

Salt & Pepper. The common name for edible salt and black pepper, a traditionally paired set of condiments found on dining tables where European-style food is eaten.

See more at


Pepper. The Master Spice. Three types of peppercorn are harvested: black, green, and white. The difference in the peppercorns come from when the berry of the bush is harvested and how it is processed.

See more at


Sweet Peppers. Sweet peppers don't come in just red and green anymore, nor are they just different colors of bell peppers.

See more at


Chilli Pepper. This species includes a wide variety of peppers, including chilli peppers used in curries and sweet bell peppers used in salad.

See more at


Get to know your sweet and spicy peppers.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Roll Eyes

The action of rolling one’s eyes, typically as an expression of exasperation, disbelief, or disapproval:



Looking upward with an expression of contempt, often combined with a sigh. Used to indicate frustration and annoyance with the stupidity of a person or thing.



To move your eyes upwards as a way of showing that you are annoyed or bored after someone has done or said something


Monday, 30 March 2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015


A zeugma is an interesting device that can cause confusion in sentences, while also adding some flavor. Let's take a famous example from Star Trek: The Next Generation: "You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens, as you see fit." In this sentence, the word "execute" applies to both laws and citizens, and as a result, has a shocking effect.

Therefore, a zeugma is a figure of speech where a word applies to multiple parts of the sentence. In the above example, it has a dramatic effect. However, sometimes the attempted use of a zeugma can be confusing.

See lots more examples at

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Morton's fork

A Morton's Fork is a specious piece of reasoning in which contradictory arguments lead to the same (unpleasant) conclusion. It is said to originate with the collecting of taxes by John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury in the late 15th century, who held that a man living modestly must be saving money and could therefore afford taxes, whereas if he was living extravagantly then he was obviously rich and could still afford them.

See more at's_fork


A character is presented two alternatives, A and B. If the character chooses A, then something bad happens. If they choose B, a similar or identical bad thing happens — but for a different reason. The Many Questions Fallacy is often a form of this, where a loaded question ("Have you stopped beating your wife lately?") precludes a "safe" answer (since, in this case, by deigning to answer the question, you are essentially admitting that suspicions about you beating your wife are legitimate).

Also see mentioned Hobson's choice, Xanatos Gambit, Sadistic Choice, Contrast Sweet and Sour Grapes, etc, etc

See more at

Thursday, 19 March 2015

It's not over until the fat lady sings

Q:Who is the fat lady?

Q:Why is it not over until she sings?
A: Kate Smith, a large lady, used to sing the 'Star Spangled Banner' at the end of American football matches in the 1950s. Thus one knew the game was over when she sang.
A:The phrase "It's not over until the fat lady sings" is actually a mis-quote. The correct phrase is "It's not over until the fat lady sinks" and has its origins in the game of billiards. The black eight ball was commonly referred to as the "fat lady" so no matter how bad the game was for a competitor it wasn't over until the "fat lady" sank.!!

Monday, 16 March 2015

A jag

To me, a jag is still a short brass finger on the end of a cleaning rod that is wrapped in four-by-two before being shoved up a rifle barrel with a cry of "up yours!", sar-major.

To anyone in Scotland, a jag is a needle injection, usually preceded by a verbal warning "just a tiny prick". When the person offering just a tiny prick is male, polite patients suppress a smile. Fully-vaccinated children are referred to as having "had all their jags".

from alt.usage.english

Thursday, 12 March 2015


The practice of chclobirie (literally beating one's forehead on the ground) was adopted as part of Russian court etiquette ...

From Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East, By Martin Sixsmith

Sunday, 8 March 2015


Doxing, sometimes spelled as Doxxing, refers to the practice of investigating and revealing a target subject’s personally identifiable information, such as home address, workplace information and credit card numbers, without consent. The word is derived from “docs,” which is a shortened term for “documents.”

See more at

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Sailors Superstitions

Bringers of Bad Fortune -

  • Beginning a voyage on Friday or on the 13th of the month.
  • Losing a bucket at sea brings ill fortune.
  • Sailing on a green boat.
  • Killing an albatross or a dolphin.

See more like this at


If you encounter a red-haired person en-route to your boat, speak to them before they speak to you or prepare for a disastrous voyage.

Shaving, cutting hair, trimming nails is bad luck.

See more like this at


Never step onto or off a boat with your left foot first.

Tattoos and piercing are said to ward off evil spirits, hence sailors’ love for ink.

See more like this at


See also


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Yorkshireman's motto

Ear all, see all, say nowt,
Eat all, sup all, pay nowt,
And if tha ivver does owt fer nowt –
do it fer thissen

from alt.usage.english

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Therein lies the rub

Q: What's a rub?


A1. I was always given to believe that a "rub" was a feature of a bowling green such as a ridge or hump that serves as an obstacle to make the game more difficult, now regularised in crown green bowls. Hence its use to mean an obstacle more generally.

From alt.usage.english


A2. Shakespeare , Hamlet

Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub:

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause: there's the respect

That makes calamity of so long life

The phrase uses "rub" in its less common definition as "obstacle" or "snag" rather than the more common usage of applying pressure to a surface