Archive for November 2015

Hard Nuts

November 24, 2015

Scientists have discovered nature’s newest, strongest material. In their own version of Top of the Pops, a new entry  has came right in at number one. The previous strongest material was spider silk but the web constructor has been brushed off by a sea snail.

Take a bow… the mighty Limpet.

Microscopic Limpet teeth

 

Researchers announced that the teeth of shelled, aquatic creatures called limpets are the strongest biological material on Earth. The teeth, which are so small they must be examined with a microscope, are composed of very thin, tightly-packed fibres containing a hard mineral called goethite. Limpets use them to scrape food off of rocks. It is hoped that technology will be able to use the teeth for human purposes.

Their secret is in the size of their fibres, which are 1/100th the diameter of a human hair. The ultra-thin filaments avoid the holes and defects that plague larger strands — including man-made carbon fibres — meaning any structure they compose is also flawless, regardless of how big it gets.

So the future is Limpet farming. This aquatic husbandry will not be without its dangers. Think of the Jaws theme as the farmers become dentists and pull the molars out the limpets. The snails might be sluggish but they’d sure pack a punch. Could be a molluscacre. The little Leviathan would make mincemeat out of their pliers and drills.

There are still some man-made structures that are as strong as limpets. The little sachets of sauce in cafes are well nigh impregnable. Tiny nondescript packages filled with condimental delight. This artificial man o’ war loves having a tug of war with invaders. It just won’t open. A Tibetan monk would run out of patience trying to break the seal.
******* ****, oh well, there goes the vow of silence.

Brute force is sometimes not the answer and I have tried to be more subtle by gently attempting to tear the seal. Come on now, there’s a good boy. When this humanist approach fails I fall to my feet and beg the sachet to open.

A Limpet teeth penknife is the nuclear submarine option though that would also cut the table in two.

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Three chances to crack the password

November 22, 2015

Doormen in the Speakeasies of the prohibition era refused entry to thirsty patrons if they didn’t know the password. Now, I wasn’t around in that bygone age but I would Eden Hazard a guess that the passy was a speak easy word to say. something like -De Beers or Slurpity Slurp.

Scottish speakeasies were easily entered with a simple “Jimmy sent me”. Others opened a welcoming door by knocking three times on the door. The Beethoven speakeasy used three knocks then a louder one.

Imagine if illegal gin joints were in use today. We’d all be drier than an Arab’s sandal. Only a gifted few would be able to recite the dazzling code word. This is because sophisticated and complicated passwords are necessary to stop hackers accessing our e-mails and online details. Use capitals, numbers and symbols we are told to create a strong password. It’s just that they’re so hard to remember.

And it’s not just passwords I’ve forgotten. I’ve disremembered  some of my own e-mail addresses. And I’m not the only one. We all use multiple e-mails and, invariably, lose a few along the way. They’re out there floating in cyberspace. Probably, stuffed at the mailbox.

To help with remembering and to make the password reasonably difficult for hackers to copy, I usually go down the basketball route by using scores from NBA games.

Miami112Sacramento106

LAClippers117GoldenState116

UtahJazz99NewOrleans115

Dallas100Boston0

Rangers1872c****c-nil

Going back to prohibition, Al Capone and his mob were a bit lax and would have been easily easily hacked by a half-decent encryptor. No wonder everyone was blind drunk and off the wagon in those days. They would all have been dancing on the ceiling and knocking on the pipes.

A little something to ward off the Dark Nights

November 17, 2015

It was the worst of times.

I cleaned all the windows, including the frames, just as the rain appeared with his big pal, the wind, and the glass became tainted again. The weather also interfered with my attempts to recycle the cardboard packaging. Old Gusty blew some containers out of my hands and into the next garden. The fence was too big and slippery to scale so I shrugged. The curtains drew back from next door and to avoid neighbour rage I ran like the wind.

A wee game of snooker cures all ills. I sauntered to the pool hall. Along the way I encountered many fallen umbrellas with disjointed spokes. What kind of human tries to put a brolly up in a hurricane? It’s just asking for a concave to become convex. Life is a game of angles.

The balls weren’t running for me, I had developed the yips. Weather induced, alcohol induced, who knows, it was induced somehow. Every time I went to play a shot I sh-sh-shook my cue hand. My delighted opponent gave me a twitching lip, rubber-legged rendition of All Shook Up. Including an over the top- Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay. It livened the place up.

Soon the regulars were dancing on the tables. One player picked up the brown ball and belted out a stirring Brown Sugar. This brought a pocket of the old-timers back to life and they rolled about until they got tired. Then they had a rest. For the young squad the party was just starting and routines were breaking out all over the shop. A vaudeville artist was joining all the triangles together then playing them like an accordion.

It was the first time a spider had been used to air guitar.

A dog lover picked up the yellow ball to sing Old Yeller.

Two tin-drinking natives did the can-can.

The owner sang Purple Rain. Not a snooker colour but then he is colour blind. There was a Red Stripe in his hand acting as the MIC.

It was the best of times.

This shang-a-lang went on longer than a Terry Griffiths break. A Chas and Dave cavalcade of beer, song and banter. A definite musical in the making. What to call this melody of madness? Maybe, a little doff of the cap to MGM.

Singing inside, no rain.

Midlife Crisis #3: Horror, Horror and more Horror

November 6, 2015

Midlife is, of course, not the correct word to say. Wrinkle-free, I have yet to close in on a sixteenth (1/16th) never mind middle, of any crisis. Nonetheless, this is a critical story

The reading of first class literature can be rewarding when it is understood. Problems arise when you continue to read just for the sake of it. You can’t make horns or hooves of the narrative: the words are too complex, the metaphors too taxing, the storyline labyrinthine. This high brow culture can drown the brain waves leaving a single, elevated Roger Moore brow bobbing in the tide: yeah, you haven’t got a clue what’s going on and there’s no Barbara Bach to comfort you.

I’ve dabbled in Dostoyevsky, screamed with Bellow, downstreamed with Updike and Chucked trying to spell Palahniuk. Experimentation is over. As the Major said “it’s back to basics”. From now on, and in a reversal of midlife crisis signs, I’m not trying anything new and sticking to the tried and trusted. The only reading I’ll be doing in the future will be Stephen King.

Kingy ain’t no Poe but then again, who is? What King has got in his bulging locker is a fecundity that shames other writers. Novels, novellas, short stories, non-fiction, even pseudonyms (miss you, Pseu). There’s a huge big cannon (sic) of King literature to devour. And the  characters that exist in his multiverse mind: Gage Creed, Kurt Dussander, Annie Wilkes, The Trashcan Man. A galaxy of evil incarnate.

The only music I’ll be listening to in the future will be Queen.

The only movies I will watch will be ones that have Samuel L Jackson in them. Big Sammy is the highest grossing actor at the box office. All of The Samster’s films are good. There’s Shaft, S.W.A.T and Snakes on a Plane in there. SSSSSSSSSS. He flashed a purple lightsabre in the Star Wars prequels. SWOOOOSSSHHH. He also sneaks into a lot of Marvels which makes them eligible to watch. And in a perfect juxtapose he’s appeared in Stephen King vehicles, the haunted house thriller, 1408, with another King production on the way. The upcoming, can’t wait for it, Cell. I just need a Queen soundtrack to flow with the action and my boat has come in.

My Royal blood is happy that it has all the bases covered and all my favourites are Aces-  King, Queen and Jackson. When I told MrsW of my new venture I feared the worst. I expected the last page of all my King novels to be ripped out, my Sammy DVDs to be converted into coasters and the Queen memorabilia for sale on e-bay.

The apocalypse never happened, it was worse. Six weeks later she came back with a plan of her own. From now on all she will listen to will be Spandau Ballet. The only films she will watch will be ones with John Travolta in them and the only reading will be the Beano.

Pulp Fiction seems to be the only thing we have in common. So True, funny how it seems…