# February 30th

Here’s the problem: the tropical year, the time it takes the Earth to go through a complete cycle of seasons, is 365.2422 days long (to four-decimal accuracy). If every calendar year were 365 days long, then the missing 0.2422 days would add up from year to year, each year starting a little earlier relative to … Continue reading February 30th

# Aegophony

iːˈɡɒfənɪ ægophony: a characteristic “bleating” quality heard in conducted voice-sounds when listening to the chest over an area of consolidated lung When I was a medical student, we spent a lot of time listening to patient’s chests with our stethoscopes. Two things we were told to listen for were bleating ægophony and whispering pectoriloquy, which … Continue reading Aegophony

# Greg Egan: The Orthogonal Trilogy

Greg Egan is an Australian mathematician who has been writing hard science fiction for thirty years, although his hard science is the stuff that sits at the borderland of philosophy: the relationship between mathematics and reality, the nature of consciousness, the implications of quantum mechanics. Previous novels have involved speculations on what life might be … Continue reading Greg Egan: The Orthogonal Trilogy

# Airfix 1/72 Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King: Part 4

Go to first post of this build log So, much masking later, I got the black, silver and red detailing done on the body of the helicopter. Gad, that’s hard work on something with so much rivet detail—very difficult to mask effectively without one pesky rivet being right on the edge of the masked region, … Continue reading Airfix 1/72 Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King: Part 4

# Human Exposure To Vacuum: Part 2

In my first post on this topic, I discussed some physics and physiology, in an effort to predict and explain the likely consequences for a person exposed to the vacuum of space. Go to Part 1 In this part, I’m going to look at the evidence from animal experiments and human accidents. ANIMAL DATA The … Continue reading Human Exposure To Vacuum: Part 2

# Human Exposure To Vacuum: Part 1

The topic of explosive decompression generates a lot of nonsense, particularly in science fiction films and television series, but also scattered across the internet generally. We actually know quite a lot about what would happen if a human being were exposed to the vacuum of space—and it turns out not to be like the movies. … Continue reading Human Exposure To Vacuum: Part 1

# Kruger & Dunning: Unskilled and Unaware of It – How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon—where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon monologues, passim My paper this time comes from the June 1999 edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Here is a link to the original … Continue reading Kruger & Dunning: Unskilled and Unaware of It – How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

# Sidlaws: Lundie Craigs to Newtyle Hill

Lundie Craigs (NO 281378, 353m) Keillor Hill (NO 281385, 334m) Donald’s Brae (NO 293396, c800m) Auchtertyre Hill (NO 293398,  278m) Newtyle Hill (NO 296399, 270m) Ardgarth Hill (NO 277372, 320m) Smithton Hill (NO 276366, 324m) 15 kilometres 460 metres ascent In my continuing campaign of Sidlaw-bagging, this walk fills in a missing chunk of the … Continue reading Sidlaws: Lundie Craigs to Newtyle Hill

# Nacreous

ˈneɪkriːəs nacreous: pertaining to or resembling mother-of-pearl Nacreous clouds are in the UK news at present, with multiple sightings in Scotland. There was an interesting divide in the BBC news coverage of the phenomenon this evening, with national newsreader George Alagiah intoning some twaddle about “forming at sunset” and “caused by refraction” in a sing-song … Continue reading Nacreous