October 07, 2009
Furnishing the house
As long time readers will know we've been working on this house down here for some time now. In fact, for such a time that we're getting to the very last bits of it: one more bathroom and kitchen to go in and we're done: or at least, we've got to start furnishing it.
One of the things I very much do want to have is one of these grandfather clocks. It's not just that they look good (like this example of the Hermle clocks) but also, as this blog post shows, because grandfather clocks are really the thing that ushered in the modern age.
There's two technical reasons for this. The first is that without a reliable method of telling the time it simply isn't possible to coordinate activities. When everyone is living a peasant life this isn't that much of a problem, but as soon as we start to have any larger scale form of cooperation then we need to be able to tell when this cooperation should happen.
The other technical point is that before the technology of clocks had advanced sufficiently, the only method known of having an accurate clock was to have a long pendulum: thus the actual shape of the grandfather clock itself. It simply needs the long cabinet because that's what you need to have the long pendulum and weights sytem that makes it accurate.
So it isn't that these clocks are simply good looking: it's that they're a reminder of the very thing which brought us this advanced civilisation we all enjoy so much. And those are the two reasons why I want to have one in my newly renovated house, right in the main living room, opposite the fireplace.
October 01, 2009
This is interesting, there's a flurry of interest in Fraunhofer Lines. Umm, so you say, what are Fraunhofer Lines? Well, they're the thing that are going to tell us all whether I really am responsible for 50% of the light that you can see from space. Light from the earth, that is:
Quite seriously, economists are thinking about measuring how rich a place is by how well they can light up the night. The richer, the more street lights there will be, as an example. But street lights use a very specific technology, one that uses a sodium/scandium cycle. And scandium is used very rarely indeed other than in street lights. So if we look at the Fraunhofer Lines in the light that we can see from satellites in space, then we can work out how much of that light we can see comes from street lights.
Your humble reporter is not only the person who supplies most of the scandium for street lights: he is also the person who suggested this avenue of research to the economists, that we should look for the Fraunhofer Lines.
One does have to admit to a certain amount of chest beating over this: you can be sure that if the research does indeed show this then I'll tell you. Absence of information will of course be evidence that research is ongoing, not that it has failed :-)
February 27, 2009
Polishing the house off
Long time readers will know that we're in the process of redoing a house down here, turning what was a wreck into a decent home. We're so into it that we just this morning agreed a mortgage on the place so that we can finish the second side....how about that for confidence, eh?
The first side is indeed finished, nice little two bedroom with all the extras and so on. And thatºs where we're just finishing off things. You know, putting in the herb garden (herbs, not 'erb!), planting the flowerbeds and...well, yes, since we're here full time now, we've got to get the mailboxes sorted out. I've been wondering though about what sort we should go for. Maybe one of these whitehouse mailboxes? Or a more traditional type on a mailbox posts? or do we just stick up a few address plaques and tell people to ring the bell?
I have to tell you though that this whole experience has shown me one thing. That when the builders leave you're only half way through. There's a huge amount of stuff that you've got to do after everyone thinks that the place is ready to live in.
August 27, 2008
That house thing again
Regular readers will recall that we're sorting out this new (to us at least) house down here at the moment.
We've got most of it done and it'sthe prettifying bits that need doing now. One of the things about the area we're in is that it's both dry and hot. So I'm seriously considering adding exterior shutters. In fact, given that just about every other house around here already has them, and that we've just completed our first full summer down here, I rather wish that we'd installed such exterior shutters before.
Still, time to fit them before the next summer, eh? To which end I've been looking around at who might be the best possible supplier and as such I've got Larson's in the frame (umm, sorry, bad pun, couldn't resist).
Click through either of the links to see what they've got to offer.
August 20, 2008
As regular readers will know we're just finishing off this new to us house down here. We've got the main part of the house done (just the barn to turn into extra bedrooms now) and now it's time to furnish the place. And I'm higly likely to indulge myself in something I've always wanted. That's right, I want a grandfather clock. There's simply something comforting about that slow tick, the swing of the pendulum and it helps that my own grandfahter had one: for years I thought they were named after him (obligatory cute kid story!).
Now, when looking around for one such closk I obviously thought about buying a clock online. As that post makes clear,the problem with bricks and mortar stores is that they'll not have that wide a range of clocks. They can't they're limited by their very bricks and mortar status. But an online store can of course stock every clock under the sun, meaning a vastly greater available choice. Looking at what's available I think this Bulova Jerome clock is what I would like. That contrast between the old fashion of a granfather clock at all and the modern design is most pleasing. It will of course, go in my combination study/library: the tick can accompany me as I write.
Hmm, how many do you think I should have? .....how many do you think I might be able to afford, even at these sale prices?
December 04, 2007
When Not To Tip
The anwer to "When Not To Tip" is when you've been given lousy service. That's pretty much it really.
Well, OK, there's a more complex answer to the question of when not to tip. First, you've got to work out what are the cultural mores in the place or country you're in. In Japan, for example there's very little (perhaps even none) tipping so the answer to "when not to tip" is always.
On hte other hand, in the US, tipping is expected in a lot of situations. Waiters, bartenders, bellboys, pizza delivery, croupiers: all are making their livings from tips. So in those situations if you've got reasonable service, tip the normal amount, if good more, an when not to tip is when you've had terrible service.
Does that make it all clear?
Other countries will be somewhre in between the US and the Japanese scenarios. In Britain, for example, you do tip waiters, but you don't tip barmen. And every other place on hteplanet has their own little rules about such things.
October 31, 2007
Guys, we're over here:
The feed is here:
September 21, 2007
Major Blogging Announcement.
The future is upon us!
New blog posts will be over here.
Not that much there now but there will be more going forward.
Two at the Business.
At the ASI. Amazing how this competition thing works, ain't it?