Eiron’s Archives 06

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Now ask you self the following question – the logic of which is so trivial that even the most modest of computational systems, an abacus, could solve it in a few seconds.

If Arnold mows Bill’s lawn on the condition that he has already mowed Christine’s, but Bill won’t mow Chistine’s lawn unless she’s already mowed his, and he only mows Christine’s providing Arnold’s has not been mowed, will any mowing get done ?

Figured it out yet ? Me neither. D’you see ?

Pianos and buildings are constructed one simple step-by-step at a time. Software, however, requires the use of recursive conditional logic loops – and sadly, we’re just not wired-up for them ( no matter what your snake oil vendor software supplier may try to tell you ).

Dear PicZeeD

I am delighted to respond to your enquiry : “ How should I go about making a really good cup of tea with [ major tea-bag manufacturer name withheld ] tea bags ? “

You will appreciate I’m sure that the fine art of teamaking has been refined over many centuries in mainland China. In the teahouses of Shanghai the aficionados never drink the tea that comes from the first infusion – instead this first-soaking is seen simply as a ‘ washing ‘ procedure, and the results are thrown away. The second infusion is considered to be far superior.

Now, I need hardly point out that the tea which arrives in your [ major tea-bag manufacturer name withheld ] teabags is very unlikely to be of the finest quality. Thus I would venture that it may well require considerably more ‘ washing ‘ . And knowing, as I do, the tea concerned, I would suggest that perhaps 20 or so washing cycles may be sufficient ?

Unfortunately, you still won’t be left with a tea up to YuYuan’s standard – but you will at the very least have a nice cup of refreshing and predominantly harmless tepid water.

Dear AlfreadOncea

In reply to your question : “ My house is built on an ex-industrial ‘ brown-field ‘ site which I have reason to believe may be contaminated with poisonous heavy metals – should I grow potatoes in my garden ? “

I see no reason at all why not. I am quite sure that growing potatoes there will pose absolutely no risk to your wellbeing whatsoever. In fact, you may garner considerable psychological benefit from the almost ubiquitously satisfying procedure of gardening – and indeed horticulture in general. Eating them, however, is another matter entirely.

[ Perhaps best not to then. Ed. ]

Dear Sje44Igb

Yes, probably, I expect so. Perhaps you could ask a vet ? Or a lawyer ?

Dear InbriPorfil

You enquired “ Have you noticed that everytime you break a popadom, one piece always ends up in the shape of the Map of India ?

I readily confess to have been somewhat skeptical regarding your ‘ discovery ‘ at first, and no, I had not noticed. Happily, I have now had the opportunity to test your theory – and find it quite remarkably accurate !

I am greatly puzzled, and am looking forward to the opportunity of investigating further, several more times – preferably with some lime-pickle and raitha.

Dear ShoofaForte

You ask the appealingly simple question “ Why is leafs green ? “

Rather than respond with the stock ‘ chemical ‘ answer ( explaining the quantum photo-absorption properties of chlorophyll ) could I draw your attention instead to an oft-overlooked anomaly ?

It should not be green. Its predominantly green colour means, in practice, that it reflects just the green part of the optical spectrum ( and thus back to us, the viewer ) that is wantonly wasteful is it not ?

It should be black. It would be considerably more efficient that way. Also, golfers could more easily spot their lost golfballs.

Dear Tanplagen8

Yes, I am familiar with the famous cartoon depicting a elderly lady concerned that electricity might be ‘ leaking ‘ out of the power points in her house.

Unlike you, however, I do not find it all that amusing – as the lady concerned was perfectly correct – apparently having a considerably more solid grip on the laws of physics than yourgoodself.

Electricity does ‘ leak ‘ from power points. Electrons will habitually jump from any charged metallic object into the surrounding air. The higher the charge on the object ( compared to the surroundings ) the more will leak away from it.

Electricity supply corporations are very well aware of this – they lose quite a percentage via ‘ leakage ‘ into the air. In fact you can clearly hear the highly charged electrons leaking-out if you stand underneath a high-voltage power line on a dry still day. Don’t get too close though, or you will feel them too.

Dear Pastarafice

Yes, you are absolutely correct, Pythagoras was indeed the inventor of the triangle. His flash of insight totally revolutionized early Greek mathematics, orchestral percussion sections and the paper napkin industry.

If I may go on – we should never underestimate the benefits to society which the greatest-of-scientific-minds can contribute. Ask yourself where would we be, for example, if Sir Isaac Newton had not invented gravity ?

[ Eiron, would you mind not . . . oh it doesn’t matter. Ed. ]

Dear Trychlophial

I am sorry to hear that your pet cat has recently been suffering from sneezing fits. I would suggest, however, ( hoping to alleviate your worries ) , that this does not necessarily imply ( as you fear ) that your house is being infiltrated by highly poisonous radon gas.

For reassurance, you could always take your cat to the vet for a radiation check ?

If I could I point out an alternative ( and considerably more likely ) hypothesis – since it is now known that many humans are allergic to cats, I see no reason why it should not happen the other way around.

Dear Khdbreu989

In reply to your query “ What should I do if bitten by a poisonous jellyfish ? “ I would say that speed is of the essence. You should get yourself out of the water as quickly as possible, dry yourself off, and immediately begin writing a report while the event is still fresh in your mind. When you have finished, contact the relevant scientific journals without delay, because it will almost certainly be the first time that such an attack has been reported.

Of course, countless thousands of people have been stung by jellyfish, but, as far as I am aware, no-one has ever been bitten by one. I am not even sure they have the relevant apparatus.

Dear VolE33x

I was somewhat shocked to read that you believe I am a ‘ Bourgeois [ ███████ ] [ ███████ ] ‘. So much so, that I almost choked on my lychee soufflé.

Now, I must tell you that, bearing in mind the strict definition of bourgeois means ‘ the inhabitant of a town ‘ then, yes, I am guilty as charged.

With regard to the second part of your message, and your suggestion as to how I might profitably spend my free time – I shall politely decline. May I point out that it is entirely legal across nearly all of Europe – and, I am lead to believe, is even encouraged in some parts , e.g. Sardinia.

Dear HD77ArchyB

Actually, I am rather surprised that the professor at the university which you contacted could not ( or would not ) explain to you the origins of the phrase ‘ pinned down ‘.

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