13 September 2007

I must go down to the sea again

Filed under: Uncategorized — bookweevil @ 10:58 pm

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
I left my vest and socks there – I wonder if they’re dry?

— Spike Milligan


sea fever

Filed under: Uncategorized — bookweevil @ 10:53 pm

Sea Fever

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
All I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trip’s over.

— John Masefield

28 August 2007

Sorrows of Werther

Filed under: Uncategorized — bookweevil @ 12:43 pm
Werther had a love for Charlotte
  Such as words could never utter;
Would you know how first he met her?
  She was cutting bread and butter.

Charlotte was a married lady,
  And a moral man was Werther,
And for all the wealth of Indies,
  Would do nothing for to hurt her.

So he sighed and pined and ogled,
  And his passion boiled and bubbled.
Till he blew his silly brains out,
  And no more was by it troubled.

Charlotte, having seen his body
  Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person,
  Went on cutting bread and butter.

— W. Makepeace Thackeray

15 August 2007

wine dimples

Filed under: Uncategorized — bookweevil @ 10:18 pm

Heh, nifty.

Almost overwhelming scientific evidence reveals that it’s possible to work out the price of a bottle of wine without seeing the label:

Well, OK, “overwhelming” might be overstating it a bit. “Scientific” and “evidence” likewise. But it could be a handy trick, particularly if someone works it out for wine prices in countries other than Britain. The magic formula (this one for white wine):

Price of bottle = (Dimple depth in mm + £3.49) / 4.3144 – about a pound

The dimples are apparently called “punts” and there’s no agreement on exactly what they’re for. My favourite suggestion is that they used to make the bottle more stable – a flat bottom would need only a slight bump to make it unstable.

29 June 2007

about a novelist

Filed under: Uncategorized — bookweevil @ 8:34 pm

Nick Hornby on waiting to become a novelist:

I always presumed that I would be a writer, without actually doing any writing. I think I thought I was going to get a phone call from somebody one day saying they had a vacancy for a novelist. When I realised that this wasn’t going to happen I thought it was about time to do something.
– Nick Hornby

22 June 2007

i was a fool when i married you

Filed under: jokes — bookweevil @ 1:31 pm


After a quarrel, a wife said to her husband, “You know, I was a fool when I married you.”

And the husband replied, “Yes, dear, but I was in love and didn’t notice it.”

russell’s teapot

Filed under: atheism, quotes — bookweevil @ 1:13 pm

Russell’s teapot, from Bertrand Russell, “Is There a God?” (1952), in The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, vol. 11: Last Philosophical Testament (ed. John C. Slater and Peter Kollner) (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 543:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

16 June 2007

centrifugal force

Filed under: currently reading, humour, web-comics — bookweevil @ 2:29 pm

Bond: Come now, do you really expect me to do coordinate substitution in my head while strapped to a centrifuge?

Villain: No, Mister Bond. I expect you to die.

From this issue of xkcd, which I got introduced to recently at work.

How to deconstruct almost anything

Filed under: literature — bookweevil @ 1:24 pm

This is actually the clearest explanation of deconstruction I’ve read. (Copy below.)


8 June 2007

Benford’s law

Filed under: mathematics, trivia — bookweevil @ 1:29 pm

From Wikipedia:

Benford’s law, also called the first-digit law, states that in lists of numbers from many real-life sources of data, the leading digit is 1 almost one third of the time, and larger numbers occur as the leading digit with less and less frequency as they grow in magnitude, to the point that 9 is the first digit less than one time in twenty …

The law can be explained by the fact that, if it is indeed true that the first digits have a particular distribution, it must be independent of the measuring units used. For example, this means that if one converts from e.g. feet to yards (multiplication by a constant), the distribution must be unchanged — it is scale invariant, and the only distribution that fits this is logarithmic.

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