28 May, 2007


Something Quite Interesting

I was watching QI, one of my favourite TV programmes, a few days ago using my shiny new Virgin media plus box doodah.

There was a great piece about a letter from Charles Babbage to Alfred Tennyson. Here's the bit of interest...

"In your otherwise beautiful poem, one verse reads,

Every moment dies a man,
Every moment one is born.

... If this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death. I would suggest [that the next edition of your poem should read]:"

Every moment dies a man,
Every moment one and one sixteenth is born.

Strictly speaking, the actual figure is so long I cannot get it into a line, but I believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry.

Googling brings up a slightly different version:

"Every minute dies a man, Every minute one is born;" I need hardly point out to you that this calculation would tend to keep the sum total of the world's population in a state of perpetual equipoise, whereas it is a well-known fact that the said sum total is constantly on the increase. I would therefore take the liberty of suggesting that in the next edition of your excellent poem the erroneous calculation to which I refer should be corrected as follows: "Every moment dies a man, And one and a sixteenth is born." I may add that the exact figures are 1.067, but something must, of course, be conceded to the laws of metre.

I'm not sure which is correct. Maybe both, if Babbage was trying to fill two blogs and decided to re-use a post he found quite funny.

24 May, 2007


This is clever

A Google Maps mashup that shows you a panoramic view from a given point. The really clever part is the way it uses the terrain height to occlude things that you would be unable to see. It's hard to explain, so play with it and see.

16 May, 2007


Callington Cordley

Callington Cordley: overly maudly,
skittering quickly and sniggering baud'ly.
Patter-mouth pies, kitten's-teeth ties,
Buffs up his soul and shine-strikingly lies.

10 May, 2007


Interesting pants

Due to a laundry incident, I'm wearing novelty underwear.

08 May, 2007



Posted by ShoZu

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