Jamie123

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Everything posted by Jamie123

  1. Jamie123

    Planet Discovered Around Barnard's Star

    I can remember astronomers talking about Barnard's Star and its wobbling - and the likely presence of large planets there - from back in the 1970s.
  2. Jamie123

    Hunter Discovers Black Bear in Tree Stand with Her

    Quite unBEARable in fact! 😜
  3. It's curious that we find the concepts of "forever" and "infinity" a lot easier to accept than "very very big". Tell someone that the universe is infinitely big, he/she will just shrug. Tell them that from the closest star, light (which as Douglas Adams once observed, travels so fast that it takes most civilizations millennia to discover that it travels at all) takes 4.2 years to reach us, the imagination starts to balk.
  4. Speaking for myself I think we are. (Or at least I am!)
  5. Do you remember the first movie version of The Hobbit? If you think I'm talking about the Bass-Rankin animated version, think again. Not many people know this, but the first movie adaptation came out in 1967, a full 10 years before the Bass-Rankin movie! Wikipedia gives us the story behind it: it seems that producer William L. Snyder had bought the film rights in 1964, but was unable to find the collaborators he needed to make the movie. With the rights about to expire, he needed to (i) make the movie and (ii) have people pay to see it, or else the rights would revert to Tolkien So he commissioned animator Gene Deitch (who had worked him on Popeye and Tom and Jerry) to make The Hobbit as a cartoon short. Having flung the thing together as cheaply and nastily as he could, he charged his audience a dime each to see the it (dimes, by the way, that he had given them beforehand) so that they could honestly say they had "paid to see the movie". Thanks to this, Snyder kept the movie rights, which he was then able to sell back to J.R.R. Tolkien for $100,000. And thanks to YouTube, we can see this wonderful movie in it's full 12-minutes of glory! Enjoy! P.S. I was so fascinated I did some more web searching. I don't know how reliable this is, but I've read the movie cost $50 to make. I don't believe it - even the puerile Super 8 animations my friends and I used to make at school - which didn't even have sound (let alone music) - couldn't have cost much less if you factored everything in.
  6. Jamie123

    The Hobbit (As you've never seen it before!)

    Unfortunate it may be, but it's not gone unnoticed that this version does at least make some sense out of the bizarre cover artwork of the original authorized US edition of Lord of the Rings. (Emus? What was that artist smoking when he read the books!?)
  7. Jamie123

    Titanic...weirdness

    The film makers have generally speaking done the Titanic story justice. Who can forget A Night to Remember (it would be a contradiction in terms if you didn't) and the Kate Winslet/Leonardo DiCaprio version of the 1990s - especially with Celine Dion's haunting song. But don't lets forget the less well known adaptations. First of all there's this: The Legend of Titanic is told in flashback by a mouse who was on board, and who helped the hero and heroine to get together, despite a dastardly villain who hired sharks (I'm not joking)...actual sharks...in prison uniforms to sink the ship at exactly midnight. (If it's ever explained why it had to be exactly midnight, I missed it). There are whales in the story too, not to mention a giant octopus who saves the day. And NOBODY DIES!! (Or did they? The old device of the "unreliable narrator" is at work here.) I'm not making any of this up...watch it yourself and see! (Well actually I suggest you don't waste time watching it all - it's time you'll never see again. But if you can see the head shark in his prison togs at 56:37 and some giant octopus heroism at 1:08:42.) Having said all that, it is just about possible to get through this entire movie without gnawing your arms and legs off. So kudos to the makers there! (Or so I suppose: I'll shame the devil by admitting I did skip over some of it.) As for this one though... It starts out with a blatant and badly-made rip-off of Cinderella - complete with ugly sisters and cute anthropomorphic mice - until 10 minutes in when a bunch of rapping animals deliver the all-important message that "it's party time". At this point I had to stop. I couldn't face any more. I'd have been of little use to my family in a straitjacket, confined to a padded cell. If you do manage to get through it, please tell me how it ends! 🤡
  8. Jamie123

    Titanic...weirdness

    You're absolutely right - there was a Nazi version of Titanic, and YouTube has it complete with subtitles! It's very interesting: the nasty British owners want the ship to make the shortest ever Atlantic crossing in order to manipulate stock prices - so they order the captain to go full steam. The hero - a German crew member - tries to make them see reason, but their greed has blinded them. In the aftermath they all blame the conveniently drownded captain and walk away scot free. Germans good, British and Americans bad. But its more interesting even than this: the director was arrested during filming for criticizing the Nazis, and was later found hanged in his prison cell (a la Epstein). The movie was never actually shown in Germany by order of Joseph Goebbels, who eventually banned the movie entirely. Perhaps if they'd included a giant octopus, things would have gone differently... The idea that Titanic was attempting to break some speed record seems to have stuck in our collective consciousness - if I remember rightly, there's even some mention of it in the Cameron movie. But the White Star ships were never designed for speed. They were luxury liners. If the ship arrived to soon, you missed out on some of the luxury. One theory that's gained traction recently is that a fire had broken out in one of the coal storage bunkers. This may sound alarming, but it wasn't. Coal fires were always happening in steam ships. The way to put out such a fire out was not to douse it with water, but to shovel the burning coal as fast as you could into the furnace. This of course makes more steam, which in turn makes the propellers go round faster, which is why Titanic was travelling so fast, and wasn't able to avoid the iceberg.
  9. Jamie123

    Rejoice With Me! Two Milestones Almost Reached

    And if you use petrol, you can get a hundred cups of tea to the gallon!
  10. Jamie123

    Rejoice With Me! Two Milestones Almost Reached

    You're thinking of Canada. No one uses kilometers in the UK.
  11. Jamie123

    If you inherited 5 million dollars

    I'm joking about all this of course. What I'd really do if I had that kind of money is sell our house (along with its wonky garage door) and buy a large luxury bungalow, so my wife (who suffers from arthritis) wouldn't need to go up and down stairs. I'd also have a large indoor swimming pool so she could exercise easily. I'd also take her on a cruise - a long cruise on a very large and luxurious boat. We'd definitely go to Venice at some point, and ride in a gondola. I'd then take her to Memphis Tennessee to the Grand Old Opry (though obviously not by boat) and to Utah, and somehow arrange for her to meet her hero and heroine Donny and Marie Osmond. I'd offer to put my older daughter (actually stepdaughter, but she's like my daughter) through college - but since I doubt she'd want that, I'd give her the money anyway and let her chose how to spend it herself. I'd set up a college fund for my younger daughter. When the time came, I'd give each girl exactly the wedding she wanted. And then I'd bribe someone to go to boring faculty meetings for me...
  12. Jamie123

    I apologize

    All this talk of adorable kittens has reminded me of the "Jojobags' Pig" phenomenon, discovered by @Vort a few years ago. By chance I came upon the very cute-kitten picture: Instructions: 1. Shrink the picture using the ctrl key and the mouse wheel. 2. Screw your eyes up tight. 3. The "pig" emerges! Simples!
  13. Jamie123

    If you inherited 5 million dollars

    Officially networking and cyber security, but that's mostly because those subjects pay. On the side I'm very interested in information theory and computational linguistics, and type-token systems in general. At the moment I have little time to spend on such things, though I did manage to get a paper on vocabulary prediction submitted to a journal back in April. (It's still "under review".) If I had more free time I'd go more in those directions. At least I think I would. My problem is I have the heart and temperament of a polymath, but not the brains to be one.
  14. Jamie123

    If you inherited 5 million dollars

    I teach at a university - which you probably think is a cushy job - which it probably is - but...oh the tedium of marking undergraduate assignments! Sometimes over 100 of them, all saying more-or-less the same thing with varying levels of articulation and accuracy, and having to assign fair marks to all of them - and give feedback! And defend those marks when the complaints come! The tedium of MEETINGS - listening to people argue for hours! Perhaps if I had 5 million, I'd offer to pay my own salary but only do the bits of my job that I enjoy. So: No more undergraduate marking. Just research dissertations. Nothing else. No more than one undergraduate lecture and a couple of undergraduate tutorials per week. I get to go to whatever conferences I want. (I'd pay my own travel and accommodation.) I get my own lab, for my own research students, picked by me. (I'd pay their stipends and their tuition fees.) No more going to meetings. I'd pay a student to sit in meetings for me, and tell me if anything happened that I needed to know about. Deedle deedle dum.
  15. Jamie123

    Thought by analogy

    When I was a kid, we had a a Burmese cat called Chip. We actually had two of them - the other was called Coffee. They were both brown Burmese, but Coffee was a dark brown (like the colour of coffee) and Chip was a lighter colour - somewhat like a Siamese, but much more heavyset. I loved both of them, but Chip was by far the most intelligent and mischievous. For example, he would sometimes claw the cushions and keep on clawing even as everyone dashed to stop him - only bounding away at the last available moment. Anyway, my brother's bedroom had a large built-in wardrobe, positioned such that room door and the wardrobe door - if they were both open - swung quite close to each other. On one occasion Chip had climbed to the top of the room door, and decided to jump from there to the top of the wardrobe door. As he sprang the door obeyed Newton's 3rd law, swinging back on its hinges and causing Chip to miss his landing. He fell about 7 feet to the floor - no great fall for a cat of course, but it was certainly not what he had expected! I think the default programming in Chip's feline brain was to interpret anything above ground that he was standing on as a tree branch. Unlike doors, tree branches are not hinged; they are fixed to trees. Furthermore, any branch large enough to take the weight of a large cat would not move much when the cat jumped. The cat's natural woodland habitat does not really contain anything equivalent to a hinge, so it does not appear in a cat's programming. On the other hand, the cat's natural habitat does not contain glass either; yet cats quickly learn that while you can see through closed windows, you can't get through them. They sit on the windowsills gnashing their jaws at the sight of birds outside on the lawn, but they know full well they can't get them. Feral kittens - when you bring them inside for the first time - will hurl themselves at closed windows, but they quickly learn that this is pointless. So I daresay a wider experience of jumping from hinged doors would have taught Chip that a door does not behave as a tree-branch. So the programming is not - in fact - hard-wired. It can be overwritten. Are we so very different? I remember when I was about 11, jumping into a moored dinghy, taking no account of the fact that as I landed on the foredeck the boat would tip towards me. Luckily the boat had a mast I was able to grab, otherwise I'd have gone into the water. My mental model of the boat was something which would support my weight without moving - so I suppose I was very like a cat on that occasion. From thereafter, my mental model of a small boat was different. I was "reprogrammed". How does this relate to the "upper layers" - to use the OSI analogy? I don't know. I've tried writing this paragraph a few times, and I keep discovering that my ideas are flawed and deleting it. Did an extension of this kind of learning lead to quantum electrodynamics, or to the painting of the Mona Lisa? When you look at the higher primates - orangutans for instance - creatures not so very different from us - can you imagine them (perhaps in a few million years) discovering Lagrangian optimization, or writing the simian equivalent of Shakespearean sonnets? (I'd already written that before I remembered someone already did imagine something very like that - it was called Planet of the Apes.) Speaking of orangutans, did anyone see Judi Dench's program about Borneo last night? Well - I daresay you didn't because most of you are in the USA, but look out for it in case they show it there. Absolutely wonderful.
  16. Jamie123

    I apologize

  17. Jamie123

    I apologize

    I've never heard of an non-neutered one doing it either. I believe you're thinking of tigers. Also a typical litter of kittens can include the offspring of several different toms. P.S. It seems actually there is an element of truth to this: https://www.metaphoricalplatypus.com/articles/animals/cats/pregnant-cats-and-kittens/will-tom-cats-kill-kittens/#:~:text=Tom cat responses to kittens,area and competition is intense. However, I've known feral and farm cat colonies where the kittens were tolerated by the adult males. In fact, in one cat colony at a farm I once visited, the adults worked together to protect the kittens from raccoons. (Sadly I was told the raccoons did pick off a fair few kittens each year, but enough always survived to adulthood to keep the colony going.)
  18. Jamie123

    I apologize

    Some of the big cats I believe do that, but not felis catus. Or at least its extremely rare. P.S. Pest control is why the cat was originally domesticated. If they didn't kill rats and mice, we would probably never have become our pets.
  19. Jamie123

    If you inherited 5 million dollars

    Oh - and I'd get some decent slippers too.
  20. Jamie123

    If you inherited 5 million dollars

    The first thing I'd do is to get the garage door fixed. I had to cut the cables on it the other week because they'd got all snarled up and mangled so it wouldn't close at all, and now I have the full weight to lift whenever I open it. It's also got free of its runners, so when it closes it comes down at all kinds of funny angles. I have to open and close it several times before I can lock it. It's an absolute nightmare.
  21. Jamie123

    I apologize

    I must confess - I do sometimes come to this forum to "have a winge", but I'm glad there are people like you to make sure that my "winges" don't go unchallenged. 😁
  22. Jamie123

    What is happening?

    Also Anatess seems to have been banned. I'm not asking why, so please keep your hair on - I'm just commenting that this forum won't be the same without her.