All entries for July 2006

July 30, 2006

IQ Tests

Writing about web page

I generally hate IQ tests; they always seem annoying and boring, and they often insist on testing memory; my memory's not too bad, but I can't do these questions that flash a huge block of text for less time that it takes to realise that it was there and then ask you to repoduce it exactly (that was along the lines of the IQ test I tried from the BBC a few years ago). To me, memory isn't a sign of intelligence; someone isn't clever if they can write out an equation they only saw for less than a second – they're clever if they can give you the answer.

Anyway, back to the point:

I generally hate IQ tests, but I've found quite a nice one that only has 40 questions (I think; I was too busy anwering to notice the numbers).

If you're in two minds about doing it: my IQ is apparently 127. There, now you have to do it to get a better 'score' that I did…

July 27, 2006

The Koan

I haven't posted an image for a while and my recent entries are starting to look a bit dull with just text, so here's a random photo of the Koan:

The Koan by Liliane Lijn

July 26, 2006

How odd…

Apparently if you wear glasses that make things look upside down for long enough your brain cottons on and makes things look the right way up, and then things look upside down without the glasses…


July 25, 2006

Answers Given to Questions Never Asked

Before I found the Python script that interprets my blog's RSS feed and allows me to have my blog mirrored on my website I investigated Google's Blogger as a way of getting my blog on to my website. This ultimately failed because I wanted to have all my past entries added to Blogger, which had to be done manually since this was before we could export our blogs. So my Blogger account sat there until just now when I randomly clicked the bookmark that's also been sitting around doing nothing since then.

In the profile is a "Random Question"; I kept telling it to generate new ones until I got one that inspired me, as it were…

I eventually settled for

How is an ankle unlike a consequence?

The random answer I came up with it, unfortunately, about 300 characters longer than their 150 limit, so I decided to blog it instead:

Well it's all relative, you see. If we take "ankle" to be "the bit between your leg and your foot" and we take "consequence" to be "what follows from an action", then we can quite clearly see that you'd find it very difficult to walk on a consequence and you'd be hard pushed to have your actions result in an ankle. But, of course, if we actually exist in a Universe where actions do not lead to consequences, and any examples of such are mere coincidence, then the whole issue falls to pieces and we are left with just an ankle that won't do anything…

Well, it amused me at least…

10 Items or Less

I was waiting in Tesco’s “10 Items or Less” line the other day, staring at the sign and letting my mind wander when it suddenly occurred to me that the sign was wrong; it had never occurred to me before, but I think it did now because I’ve come across a lot of fewer/less confusions lately.

It should, as I’m sure you either know or have guessed by now, be “10 Items or Fewer” – if I had less than 10 items, I’d have 9 normal items and a carton of orange juice cut in half with the liquid magically retained in the remaining half… or something like that, anyway.

In case you didn’t know: less is amount, fewer is number. For example, a bowl of rice will have fewer than a million grains of rice and less than 10kg of rice.

Happy Tuesday to all, and to all a good night!

July 22, 2006

Breaking down the Internet

Using Google I have answered the question of how many web pages there are; there are 137,616,440.

Here's the breakdown:

Porn – 137,000,000 pages
Warwick Blogs – 614,000 pages
Richard Winskill – 2,440 pages

Which also shows that about 2×10-3% of the Internet is about me…

(* Correct at time of blogging)

July 20, 2006

I've Made A Decision

I've decided, starting next year, I'm going to start migrating north for the summer…

July 19, 2006

Circular Logic

I've got an old Dictionary program I got in a PC magazine cover disc in '94 (it's still a great little program) – the Oxford Reference Shelf – and two of its definitions amuse me:

hackneyed adj. (of a phrase etc.) made trite by overuse.

which doesn't look too bad, until you look up "trite":

trite adj. (of a phrase, observation, etc.) hackneyed. tritely adv. triteness n. [Latin tero trit- rub]

So, apparently, "hackneyed" means "make hackneyed by overuse"...

July 16, 2006

Pedant's Revolt

Aside from stealing the odd photo of mine, Never Mind the Full Stops often annoys me with some of its comments on spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Here are some examples from the two most recent episodes:

Julian Fellowes

He's the presenter. His attitude is just a little grating at times; things like him trying to be hip, and being stuck in the past for one sentence then talking about "moving on" in the next.
Plus he insists on pronouncing "dialects" as "Daleks"; every time they get to the round where they showcase (some may say "mock") two regional dialects I always think he's talking about Doctor Who…


Sometimes the question setters demonstrate that they're idiots. Thankfully Julian Fellowes and the 4 panelists all agreed that the answer provided was wrong, so it's not all bad.
In the section where they have to spot the deliberate mistakes in a short passage the singular "manservant" had been used when the plural was needed. The given answer said it should be "menservant" (possibly with an "s" too, but that's not really important for my point) which is quite clearly bollocks. Fortunately the 5 of them all agreed this was wrong and that it should be "manservants". What was also slightly annoying, though, was that the explanation of why the given answer was wrong wasn't very good. I can't remember what they said, but if you look at the word it's quite clearly a word for "the servant of a man" – "man servant". Therefore it's blindingly obvious that "many servants of a man" is "manservants". I'd be quite happy with the neologism "menservants" used in the context of "one servant serving many men", but that wasn't the case here.
I know that's not quite right, but it's an intuitive way of thinking of it…
UPDATE: Just rewriting this paragraph, because a dictionary–consult showed I'd fallen into the same trap as the 5 people on the show. I just want to apologise to the question setters: you're not idiots, you got it right.
Sorry, I was wrong, it shouldn't be "manservants", it should be "menservants". The people on the show were wrong when they criticised the answer. So, it's the panelists and Julian Fellowes that are the fools and not the question–setters (well, I say "now"; it's always been that way, I just didn't realise because I'd fallen into the same trap, as it were…).

Oxford Comma

I love the Oxford Comma. I think it's useful, worthwhile, and really helps with the understanding of written lists. If you don't know what it is, it's the comma before the "and" in my previous sentence. I don't believe there are any grammatical rules covering it, but I feel its effect justifies its use.
The 5 people on the show, however, said it was pointless and useless (well, words to the effect).
They cannot in all seriousness possibly tell me that "I have eaten fish and chips and bangers and mash" is preferable to "I have eaten fish and chips, and bangers and mash"...

Orange, Purple, Silver, and Month

The question was "what's special about these words?" the answer, to which they all agreed, was "they have no English rhymes" which is just not true.
I can't disagree with orange and month, but "silver" and "purple" do have rhymes.
Purple: Admitedly "hirple" and "curple" are technically Scottish words – the first meaning "to walk lamely", and the second being, apparently, a strap near the back–end on a horse's saddle – and the question said "English", but this is a rhyme that comes from within Great Britain, so I say my point still stands…
Silver: A "chilver" is an Old English noun meaning a "ewe lamb" that is still in use in some southern dialects (I actually saw it on signs and possibly a hotel thing – I can't really remember what it was – in Bolsover as I was on my way down to Warwick for Graduation.)

I'm glad I got that off my chest…

July 15, 2006

40 Days and 40 Nights

Happy St Swithin's Day!

July 2006

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