Eiron’s Archives 05

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The Remote Parasite.

This new category necessarily encompasses all animals – you and I included of course – and [ ███████ ] !

Dear PolyUnS4T

No, you should take the concept of ‘ economies’ of scale ’ with a wholesale pinch of salt.

Allow me to give an example ?

Can I surmise that you prefer to use clothes which have been recently washed ? If so, then I contend that we could calculate – within a reasonable margin of error – that, during your entire lifetime you will use a not inconsiderable quantity of washing powder. It will quite probably runs into the low thousands of kilograms.

Now, given the fact that one can command a very substantial discount when buying such a quantity, would it not have been prudent for you to have obtained a loan to purchase the entire lifetime’s supply at, say, the age of 18 or 21 ?

My rough calculations show that, even allowing for interest on the loan, you could still economise at least 60 – 80% on the purchase price – and vastly more if you happen to live through a period of moderate or high inflation . . .

I could continue, but I am confident that by now you will have spotted the Achilles’ heel of my scheme – viz. where will you securely store several tonnes of washing powder for an entire lifetime ? It may come as surprise to you to find out that a large percentage – as much as 15% per month on some items – of the retail cost of general goods comes from warehousing expenses.

Bearing that in mind then, it is not all that outlandish an idea to trek to the store every couple of weeks to buy a moderate supply of the stuff. And of course the nearer you are to your source of supply, the more often you should go, and the smaller quantity you should purchase.

I buy mine every day or so by the cupful – from my neighbour, whose parents provided him a lifetime’s supply as a ‘ coming of age ‘ present.

Dear ScroffOthen12

Well ! How right you are. It seems a coincidence indeed that the century in which Global Warming really took-off was the very same one in which the air-conditioning unit was invented !

Now as to your question – are the factors connected ? – I would certainly say yes. Though I hope you will not take offence if I deflate somewhat your accompanying suggestion. If only we could manufacture an airconditiong unit which was 100% efficient, then that might indeed go some way to alleviating the current global problem. Sadly, the laws of physics utterly forbid it.

Try leaving your fridge door open for a few days and see if your kitchen gets any colder.

Dear Gare]denIspecta

You asked ; “ Why do migrating geese always fly in a V formation ? “. What an odd question.

Clearly they do not. It simply depends on one’s point of view. It may look like a ‘ V ’ to you – but for another person, looking from the opposite direction, the first letter to spring to mind may well be an ‘ A ’.

And, on days with a very strong headwind, more like a ‘ C

From an oblique side-view, another observer will probably think of a ‘ 7 or perhaps an ‘ L ’.

Of course it also depends greatly on the number of birds involved. For example, three might resemble an ellipsis     two a colon :   and one very much like a full-stop .

As an aside, I did once see a wake of vultures forming a distinct ( and rapidly descending ) ‘ o ‘ , or perhaps an ‘ O ‘ . Luckily, I fully recovered and made my escape before they got close enough for me to find out.

Dear HighBr33d

I am sorry to hear that your PTFE non-stick frying pan has begun to stick. Unfortunately, the fact that it was sold to you with a ‘ Lifetime Guarantee ’ will probably not afford you much in the way of legal leverage towards obtaining a refund.

Did you enquire, at the time of purchase, what the ‘ lifetime ’ of the pan would be ? If not, then how can you be sure that it’s allotted span has not already been exceeded ? Worse still, I hope that you did not assume that the guarantee was for your lifetime ? Such a proviso would put your relatives – who may oneday inherit your pan – in a very tricky legal position on the day following your demise.

My advice is to shun such novelties anyway. Buy an untreated cast-iron pan and never wash it – instead, just heavily burn it after each use. The carbonised coating that it will eventually accrue works quite admirably, imparts a pleasing taste, and is perfectly harmless to parrots.

[ Eiron is referring to a conjecture – as yet disputed by manufacturers – that PTFE coated pans sometimes give off fumes which can kill domestic avian pets. Ed. ]

Dear xanthangumm

Your question “ What are Quarks made of ? “ scintillating with naïveté  though it does, is nonetheless a perfectly valid one – but I hope that it will not come as surprise for you to hear that no-one has the faintest idea.

There is, however, already a growing list of proposed names for such a possible particle – should it ever come to light. The favored one is currently ‘ Preon ’.

Though personally, I much prefer two other proposals ‘ Quink ’ or ‘ Tweedle ‘.

In the end, the final choice will probably come down to the person who ‘ discovers ’ it – or at least proves its existence. Convention has it that they should not name the particle after themselves – though of course there’s nothing to prevent them giving it their father’s surname !

Dear Jadkore624hh

Since you ask, no, unlike you, I do not find it particularly offensive to be required to fill-in a box marked ‘ Race ’ on various official forms. I always put ‘ Featherless Biped ’.

( and for the ‘ Religion ‘ box, I generally use ‘ Orthodox Agnostic ‘  )

Dear LymBiz

You asked how the apothegm ‘ Less is More ’ can be applied to scientific study.

I’m not sure that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had science in mind when he coined the phrase, and, I must say that I personally find two ( slightly reworded ) alternatives much more useful.

‘ More is More ’ , and

‘ Less is less ’.

( oh, and ‘ The Same is The Same ‘ )

Dear NiuLfloaT

As always, it is refreshing to have a question on sociological / psychological issues. Though I find your question  “ Why does everybody hate us ? “  perplexing and vexing in equal measures.

Please note that for legal reasons ( as painstakingly explained to me by my editor ) I am not permitted to disclose here who the ‘us’ actually refers to – but I shall do my very best to answer your question nonetheless.

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