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Two old favorites

An article about the Antikythera mechanism came across my Twitter feed today. I’m sure you’ve heard of it and I’ve posted about it before because I think it’s really neat.

Over time, they’ve learned more and more about it and what it originally looked at. The surviving bits represent about a third of the original mechanism. They’ve managed to recreate it, both in computer simulation and for reals. (I think the illustration above is a 3D model).

Interesting stuff.

The thing about this is, I’m not sure why, I overheard Uncle B have a conversation about the Antikythera mechanism on the phone last night. And then the article today. And that, friends, is the Baader-Meinhof Effect, and I’ve posted about that before, too. (Scroll down; it’s a discussion in the comments).

Good weekend, everyone!

January 14, 2022 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 9

At last – I’m a world-class athlete!

Did you see this? It’s from an online ‘zine called Self making the rounds. This issue is devoted to the Future of Fitness. This particular picture was captioned “What the Future of Fitness Really Looks Like.”

Yes, apparently, the future of fitness is morbidly obese. Who knew?

I’m not entirely sure what they’re playing at. The whole front of the magazine is ham planets, but dig further in and they have a traditional weight loss category in their food section.

Have a poke around if you want to feel svelte after your traditional holiday enbiggening.

January 13, 2022 — 8:39 pm
Comments: 3

Stately.

Today’s Adventures in British Architecture: Chesworth House. It was the childhood home of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, but it’s much older than that.

The picture is the banquet hall. I love this about the Medieval great halls: it is simply a continuation of the ancient Viking long hall or Sussex round house. A big open room with a long firepit in the middle (well, it would have had a firepit in the middle) and a high peaked ceiling to draw the smoke away. It’s a design so successful it stretches back to prehistory and didn’t change much until late Tudor times.

The Clergy House in Alfriston is a much smaller house on the same plan. This was the National Trust’s first property, by the way. It was falling to bits and they paid £10 for it. A short but very cool day trip.

It’s also the plan of all the inns and Breezehome, your first house in Skyrim, though game designers didn’t have to worry about where the smoke was going to go so they put a floor directly above the fire.

Badger House was innovative because, you know, chimney. But the mantlepiece is a great beam of wood flush with the wall. They hadn’t figured out they could keep their Christmas cards on it if it stuck out a little.

Anyway, back to Chesworth. It’s a private home. In fact, it’s only Grade II listed – same as Badger House. Last time it was on the market, in 2018, it was up for £6 million. Do have a look around.

The beams! That kitchen!

I’d hate to have to heat the place, but I suppose whoever bought it is a creature made entirely of money.

January 12, 2022 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 6

Only the Brits…

…would put a generic baked-bean “shootout” in the newspaper Foodie section.

After tasting the Heinz beans first, it’s fair to say the other supermarkets have a lot to live up to.

My first reaction to the Tesco baked beans was that they had a bit more of a solid texture.

This wasn’t too off-putting, but the sauce was a bit too thin and its flavour was not at Heinz’s standard.

Sainsbury’s definitely won the battle of the own-brand beans.

The thick sauce had the perfect amount of tomato and sugar, providing a similar kick to Heinz.

My only criticism is that the texture of the beans was a bit stiff, but this should not take anything away.

Oh, yes. They’re this serious.

The article is part of this Veganuary bullshit. Which goes hand-in-hand with Dry January.

The most depressing month in the calendar, and they want to take food and drink out of the equation.

p.s. Just kidding. February is the most depressing month.

p.p.s. god, I hate Heinz baked beans.

January 11, 2022 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 10

Fox watch

They look such little angels when they sleep, don’t they? I did try to find the owner of this image. I got 13 pages of hits on Tineye.

My next door neighbor did send me a phone pic of the actual fox, but it was an unreadable blur and now I can’t even find it. I don’t know which benighted app she used to send it to me.

Yes, fox. Two, in fact. In broad daylight. Canoodling.

Well, I don’t mind the canoodling so much. It’s the attempting to eat my chickens part I object to. Uncle B chased them out of our garden, then we heard reports up and down the neighborhood as two amorous foxes had appeared in back gardens.

Three. We got three reports. We’re rural.

This puts pressure on my housing situation. A certain amount of free ranging is necessary for me to cope with four adult roosters (swapping them in and out as necessary).

I’m going to try to give away one of my boys 🙁

January 10, 2022 — 8:02 pm
Comments: 5

Dead Pool Round 150: day after Insurrection Day, back to work

Well! Armybrat has two dicks. Desmond Tutu and Betty White, two perennial favorites.

Sidney Poitier is now out of the running, too – though, to be honest, I hadn’t thought of him in years. Not one of those celebrities who cling on to the limelight, I guess.

And now I have to go batten down the hatches (or at least tarpaulin the chicken house) before a storm reaches us tonight – high winds and heavy rain. I am turning into a mushroom people.

So, before I get spores all over everything – are we ready?

Then let’s begin.

0. Rule Zero (AKA Steve’s Rule): your pick has to be living when picked. Also, nobody whose execution date is circled on the calendar. Also, please don’t kill anybody. Plus (Pupster’s Rule) no picking someone who’s only famous for being the oldest person alive.

1. Pick a celebrity. Any celebrity — though I reserve the right to nix picks I never heard of (I don’t generally follow the Dead Pool threads carefully, so if you’re unsure of your pick, call it to my attention).

2. We start from scratch every time. No matter who you had last time, or who you may have called between rounds, you have to turn up on this very thread and stake your claim.

3. Poaching and other dirty tricks positively encouraged.

4. Your first choice sticks. Don’t just blurt something out, m’kay? Also, make sure you have a correct spelling of your choice somewhere in your comment. These threads get longish and I use search to figure out if we have a winner.

5. It’s up to you to search the thread and make sure your choice is unique. I’m waayyyy too lazy to catch the dupes. Popular picks go fast.

6. The pool stays open until somebody on the list dies. Feel free to jump in any time. Noobs, strangers, drive-bys and one-comment-wonders — all are welcome.

7. If you want your fabulous prize, you have to entrust me with a mailing address. If you’ve won before, send me your address again. I don’t keep good records.

8. The new DeadPool will begin 6pm WBT (Weasel’s Blog Time) the Friday after the last round is concluded.

The winner, if the winner chooses to entrust me with a mailing address, will receive an Official Certificate of Dick Winning and a small original drawing on paper suffused with elephant shit particles. Because I’m fresh out of fairy shit particles.

January 7, 2022 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 58

This is what I’m doing tonight

We got a quadruple load of wood today. We’re expecting high winds and heavy rain tonight. My job is to check the CCTV from time to time to make sure the tarp hasn’t blown off. I’m just about up to it.

It dipped into the low twenties last night. Very unusual here – it does it maybe once or twice per Winter, if at all. I had to boil a kettle to unfreeze the chickens’ water this morning.

That wouldn’t be impressive in Rhode Island, but a 500 year old house on the shores of the English Channel gets cold. I mean, really cold. I don’t know what the insulation R-value of wattle and daub is, but it can’t be good.

No power on earth could drive me out of this comfy chair with my two (2!) hot water bottles and my large fat cat.

Dead Pool tomorrow! Be here, but bring your own hot water bottle!

January 6, 2022 — 7:46 pm
Comments: 13

I’ve had ’em all and they was lousy

Didja catch the stampede this week? Twitter put the kibosh on Marjorie Taylor Greene (a woman I’ve worked very hard to learn nothing about) and everyone went galloping over to GETTR. I went to register my handle and it turns out I’d already registered it in July. I’m such a social media slut.

I just can’t keep my yap shut.

Gab. Didn’t like the atmosphere, didn’t like the founder. It had a revival meeting kind of vibe.

Parler. I like Dan Bongino and I would be pleased if he succeeeded. They done him dirty, trying to muscle Parler out before it got started. Last I was there, though, it was really slow and infested with “buy a Donald J Trump commemorative lucky coin!” spam.

Unflappabl. This one is small and struggling to get going. They tried fundraising at the start, which seemed a little unsavory. I see more of them on Twitter than their own site.

GETTR. Closest in look and feel to Twitter. Maybe even actionably so. Rumored to have been founded by a shady Chinese spy, so keep your Tienanmen celebrations to yourself.

Who knows what Trump’s thing will be like. Supposedly happening next month.

Philosophically, my heart is still with the Fediverse – hundreds of decentralized individually owned servers voluntarily interlinking. It has a real Internet 1985 feel. Unfortunately, it has a real Internet 1985 interface. It’s crying out for someone to build a slicker front end for it. (For a while, Gab was connected to the Fediverse, but Torba cut contact). I considered asking my host if I could operate a node, but I didn’t think you guys would be very interested.

If you’re looking for me, where e’er you go, I am @sweasel (or sometimes @stoaty) on social media and AuntieWeasel on gaming platforms. Except Epic Games, where I’m AuntieWeaselx because I guess I registered AuntieWeasel at some point and then forgot my login credentials.

I am *way* too online.

January 5, 2022 — 8:12 pm
Comments: 7

Does this look lucky to you?!

So, a seagull shat on me today.

I was walking past a lady talking on her cellphone with a nice little dog at her side. I bent over to say hello to the dog, and seagull dipped out of the sky and strafed down my back.

The horrified look on the lady’s face almost made up for it.

Then the whole rest of the day, everyone consoled me by saying getting shat on by a seagull is good luck. You ever heard this? It is not part of my store of legends.

Poking around the web, it does indeed seem to be a thing. In Britain, it’s seagulls. For the Russians and the Turks, any old bird will do. It generally means money coming your way (a Turk buying a lottery ticket with shit on his head is a cartoon staple). This article is representative.

My grandfather took my grandmother on a first date on a river boat in New Orleans. 1920 maybe. Something of a dandy, he was wearing an all-white suit. Right off the bat, a seagull pooped on his knee. He spent the rest of the date strategically holding his Panama hat over his knee.

Was it lucky? They got married. That could go either way.

That same grandfather never once, since he was weaned, missed eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s day. For luck, if you don’t know. He had a bowl brought to him in the hospital. Then he died.

No comment.

January 4, 2022 — 8:10 pm
Comments: 10

Merry Chickmas!

The last chicken of the year is…a robin. He’s an honorary member of my flock. We always have one, and he always comes to feed with the chooks.

You’ll note it’s a completely different species than an American robin – more like a chickadee in size and shape. Here he is in color. The European robin (Erithacus rubecula).

The robin is beloved of Brits and frequent symbol of Christmas here because they are around all Winter and they’re cheeky little bastards. If they were the size of seagulls, they’d probably have a bodycount.

And with that, I’m back to work tomorrow. I hope you had a great break and thank you for indulging me!

January 3, 2022 — 6:55 pm
Comments: 5