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Monday 14 May 2012

Police hunt for ‘electrocuted’ thief

... again from the Daily Telegraph

Police fear a thief may have been electrocuted or badly burnt while stealing cable from a railway yesterday.

Officers from British Transport Police found a pile of charred clothes at the scene of the theft in the Theydon Bois area of Essex early yesterday.

About 60 feet of cable was stolen and officers believe the damaged clothing — a blue coat and woolly hat — could belong to someone who was seriously burnt during the theft. They are urging the person to seek immediate medical attention.

Detective Inspector Andy Winters said: "We are clearly very concerned that someone may have been seriously injured.

"In addition, we have the possibility, as a worst-case scenario, that somebody has been electrocuted and is currently unaccounted for."

Who needs to buy comics when there are reports like these?

In a civilised country, the worst case scenario is that the perpetrator is still alive, will steal some more cable, and worse might even train (sorry, couldn't resist) others.

However, Detective Inspector Andy Winters stating that he is 'currently' unaccounted for is hilarious. This was presumably in answer to the question "Watts up?". Priceless stuff.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Special Boat Scheme

There is a great item in today's Telegraph by Jasper Copping ( ). I urge you to read it otherwise, all that follows will be well-nigh meaningless; perusing the article will not, however, guarantee that the converse is true.

The story shows great restraint, as well as introducing us, or at least me, to the EU's Interreg scheme. This is an opportunity to fill in some of the gaps (if you've read the article, please pardon the pun).

The fact that a 26ft boat, having been built at a cost of £1.7 million fails to stay afloat should be viewed as a resounding success, and not a failure, as implied. It is a salutary lesson that anything involving the European Union (as a political entity, not as a trading zone) is doomed to failure. If the lesson is learned at a cost of only £1.7 million, it is the best investment ever authorised by the EU.

Checking the 'leakproofness' of a vessel would seem to be a fairly basic requirement. In fairness, the Titanic got some way before hitting an iceberg; it did not suffer the ignonimity of sinking in the harbour. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that Canterbury Christ Church University will receive many commissions for building boats.

Even the name of the vessel shows scant regard for convention. The sinker is celebrating a 3,500 year-old vessel, and is named 'Boat 1550 BC'. Try as I may to find justification, the name seems inappropriate. The nearest explanations that could be offered are that either:

The Italians were invited to participate and answered: "Boat? Is so busy". Meaning, of course, that they have other fish to fry.


The French, already collaborating (a not altogether non-pejorative reference), thanked their European allies for the invitation, declined politely, and gave a gallic suggestion that the project at least be named 'boat'. This would have the dual benefit of not only distancing their country from the project (bateau, yes; boat, no) and would give the rest of the world a clue as to what the unintentional submarine was meant to represent.

It could, of course, also simply be that the Brussels eurocrats cannot count.

The most likely explanation of why the project failed is more likely to have evolved from an error in translation: half-sized became half-baked.

Various institutions are pooling their resources to find the founder of this project.

Friday 4 May 2012

Conjuring with Maths

I am indebted to my friend Larry for having forwarded this little ditty.

“This comes from 2 math teachers with a combined total of 70 years experience. It has an indisputable mathematical logic.

This is a strictly mathematical viewpoint... it goes like this:

What Makes 100%?

What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%?


We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%.

How about achieving 103%?

What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:



is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 2324 25 26.


8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 =96%

But ,

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 =100%


2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 =103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that while Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.

Now you know why some people are where they are!”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This got me thinking about how easy it is to hoodwink people.

I had some great Maths teachers, and they would all have gone ballistic at seeing this story, and some may well be turning in their graves. To be fair, one of them might not because, he hadn't a clue. We didn't get on because he was ruining my favourite subject, and certainly never understood that there was more than one way of getting a 'right' answer. On second thoughts, perhaps this so-called teacher even penned the above story.

Sorry, I digress... the above story is an excellent example of taking two topics, merging them into one, and coming up with a plausible answer... most people will nod in amazement at the 'cleverness' of the conclusion, without considering, even for the briefest of moments, whether or not they have just been sold absolute bunkum.

The first premise is whether 100% is the most one can expect in life, and the second an illusion based on a total ignorance of arithmetic (sticking a 'mathematics' label on the prestidigitation merely serves to add credence to the conjuring).

So, please allow me to walk you through this field of illusion (hope you're wearing wellies because it may get messy).

A percentage is a ratio expressed as the relationship to 100, or if you prefer, parts per 100. Merely adding numbers to each other, without a base, does not give a percentage.

All this is just as nonsensical as saying that if you add the days in the month of January (31), February (28... at least in non-leap years) and March (31) to the number of letters in "skiing only" (10) then, it is 100% predetermined that you must ski in winter. Although the arithmetic, sure enough, adds to 100, it does not equate to 100%, and is of course total bunkum.

So, in the example, allegedly, put forward by the alleged maths teachers, it would be useful (alright, no use at all but, a bit of fun) to take the base as being the sum of the numbers from 1 to 26, which equates to 351, and then express the values as percentages, which would give:


H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K = 98/351 = 28%
K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E = 96/351 = 27%
A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E = 100/351 = 28%

To which we could add


L-U-C-K = 47/351 = 13%


… and if you add together Hardwork, Knowledge, Attitude, and Luck, you would get 341, which would still leave you with only just over 97%.


So the moral of the story is don’t believe everything you read and always come to your own conclusions.