Thursday, 18 December 2014
For instance: there is a wild and wacky world of subatomic particles. If you take two waves in a tank of water and fire them off at the same time when they meet they will interfere with each other, creating further waves. So far so simple.
However if you take a single subatomic particle and fire it at a wall it will, like a 13-year-old boy with a poster of Lady Gaga, interfere with itself (and yes, I’m aware that’s a slightly disturbing analogy). Subatomic particles also react differently depending on whether you observe them or not.
Now there are those that say that quantum physics has no real-life applications: however, they are wrong… especially when it comes to the subject of socks. For instance: take a bunch of washing, including a variety of socks in pairs and put them into your washing machine.
No matter how hard you observe them there will be no correlation between the amount of socks you put into the machine and the amount that you take out.
This is known as Argyle’s Uncertainty Principle, which also goes on to talk about the differentiation between the amount of socks taken out of the machine, hung on the clothes line and eventually paired up into socks.
There is currently no theory as to why this number, expressed mathematically as S = ((WM/CL)x(Px2)), again fails to explain why you can never find a pair of socks in the morning.
It is also a little-known fact that Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment initially had a different subject.
As some of you will be aware Schrödinger postulated that if you were to take a cat and put it in a box with a radioactive isotope then there were 3 possible options: 1) you would open the box to a hissing the ball of fur and claws and win a free trip to hospital, 2) you would open the box to find the cat had asphyxiated or 3) you would open the box to find that the cat had died from radiation poisoning – however until such time as you open the box and observed the contents the cat existed in a state of quantum flux where all 3 possibilities existed at the same time.
However what is generally less well-known is that after a visit from the Cat Protection League, where Schrödinger spent a very frustrating 12 hours patiently trying to explain that in fact he didn’t even own a cat (something he couldn’t entirely prove because the mere fact that it wasn’t there wasn’t necessarily evidence he didn’t have one), he initially decided to publish his theory as being about being given socks for Christmas: which went likethis...
A present under the Christmas tree that looks like socks, feels like socks and is from a relative world renowned for always providing you with socks does, in fact, only have the potential to be socks until such time as it has opened – until when it could equally be a packet of Jelly Tots, completely empty or something that was actually intended for different relative entirely.
So when your relatives turn up on Christmas day take a moment before you open your presents to hold one up and say: “I don’t know if you realise it, but I am holding in my hand the essence of quantum physics” – they will either be mightily impressed, or they will run for the hills: which depending on how you feel about your relatives can be considered a win-win solution
Merry Christmas and hope to see you in 2015
Monday, 8 September 2014
Monday, 23 December 2013
That is to say that one of our presents this year was a box of goodies that we cleared out to make space on the floor - only for Giles to decide that the box was a fantastic new place to sit.
And so it is that several days later the empty, decorated box is still in the centre of our floor - only now it is slightly more of an obstacle because of the semi-resident cat.
So whilst Giles prepares himself for Christmas how are the rest of the Pixie Clan getting ourselves in the mood for some Chrimbo Cheer whilst working ever-so-hard (honest) in our jobs in the run up to some much needed time off?
Well, as the long suffering readers of this blog will know I am rather fond of creating List-o-Fives (none of which ever add up to only five) and so here's a list of things that we often share to get us in the mood:
Christmas Televisual Feasts (available on "terrestrial" TV - ie non-subscription channels):
#1: Doctor Who (Christmas Day)
Back in the 1960s a single episode of Dr Who aired on Christmas Day. It was, for the officianadoes out there, a middle episode of The Dalek Masterplan (13 episodes long) called "The Feast Of Stephen" - it was the last time the show would air on Christmas Day for 40 years. However, ever since the re-boot of the show about 7-8 years ago it has been an annual thing. This year sees the final story of current incumbent in the title role Matt Smith running around yelling a lot and waving a sonic screwdriver at anything and everything - threatening to assemble ad-hoc furniture at every turn (presumably). The last few have been a bit disappointing so I am hoping for a return to form this year as we see the arrival of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor...
#2: The Sound Of Music
Some time in the 1980s they passed the Von Trapp Law meaning that it was illegal for The Sound Of Music to be left out of the Christmas schedule from thereon - or so it feels as every yuletide the screens fill with what feels like six hours of tap-dancing nazis. After all: what could be more festive? The way that most people watch this film is in bits -the first hour one year, the last hour another year and the twelve hours in between in odd bits whilst avoiding the Queen's Speech. Very few people watch it in a single sitting unless they are really, really bored.
Don't ask me why this is part of the festive programming but as with Sound Of Music it is now on every year. A fascinating fact is that Ronald Regan was, at one point, in line for the role of Rick so we must be eternally greatful that they elected him President instead...err.....
#4: Father Ted Christmas Special
The hapless residents of Craggy Island get lost in Habit-hat (a specialist shop for Priests...) and narrowly avert a scandal thanks to the quick thinking of Ted: who is awarded a Golden Cleric award as a result. Father Ted was a fantastically daft and funny sit-com, cut short too soon by the death of it's star.
#5: Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Ebeneezer Blackadder, the white sheep of the dastardly family, is visited by the spirit of Christmas who inadvertently shows him how much better off he'd be if he were evil. Blackadder is still one of my favourite all time sit-coms and this subversive version of Charles Dickens is amongst the best on offer.
#6: It's A Wonderful Life
So it turns out that my mother has never seen It's A Wonderful Life and, when i described it to her, she said "well that doesn't sound much fun" (or words to that effect). She is, of course, wrong - the film is rather odd because it's mostly slightly depressing until the uplifting bit where if you don't cry then, quite frankly, you have no soul. James Stewart is, as always, a joy to watch - but be warned: if I find out that if you watched the colourized version instead of the original black and white i shall be severely disappointed with you to say the least.
#7: The Box Of Delights
A children's TV series that first ran in the early 1980s about a magic box, an incredibly posh young boy and a ripping adventure yarn that could only ever be written in England. True some of the special effects were naff even then but it still has a certain sense of magic. The best way to watch this is episodically so that the final episode falls on Christmas Eve (which is when it is based to happen)
Some other films for your consideration:
The Wizard Of Oz (Herself insists its on at Christmas - not aware of it myself but it wouldn't surprise me in the least)
Scrooged/The Muppett Christmas Carol - one or the other of these is always on and both are worth your time
Merry Christmas to all bloggers
Saturday, 23 November 2013
Monday, 11 November 2013
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Thursday, 22 August 2013
To his place above the chip shop
You can hear the trucks go by
You can smell potatoes frying
And you know that he’s half crazy
And you’d really like to leave now
But he feeds you bread and marmite
That came all the way from Tesco’s
And he shows you his apartment
And it really is quite grotty
And just when you mean to tell him
That you’ve got to catch the late bus
He offers you some biscuits
That have chocolate on one side
That just seem so very tempting
And you want to call a taxi
When he tells you all the time
He’s been wearing womens’ undies
Now you’ll never wipe that image from your mind
Barry used to be a sailor
At the local water centre
And he used to own a speedboat
That he won on some old game show
But when he knew for certain
He was moving to the chip shop
He swapped it for a Rover
Which came all the way from Luton
And he gets out some more biscuits
With some jam in and rice paper
And he’s got a stamp collection
That could clearly last for hours
And there’s no sign of that taxi
And you’ve lost track of the time
And you’re thinking of those knickers
Yes you know you’ll never get them off your mind
Now Barry takes your hand
And he leads you to the chip shop
But the food is far too greasy
And your ulcer is complaining
And he really is depressing
As he talks of stamp collections
But he gets out some more biscuits
And this time they’re digestives
And you start to feel quite guilty
That you find him oh so dreary
He is leaning out for love
And will be that way forever
So you eat another biscuit
And you finally hear that taxi
And he chases you outside
Still wearing women’s knickers
And that image never fades within your mind
By the way - my blog is only allowing me to create posts in HTML - does anyone have any ideas what i can do about this?