Archives for the month of: June, 2006

Don’t under any circumstances assume that this will become a weekly thing.
Firstly, many of you will be aware of the phenomenon called 419 scams. Email comes in offering lots of money to help x get out of or into y…. quite amusing, but what is more amusing is persuading your potential scammer to carve a replica commadore-64 out of wood and ship it to you. Lots of text but you can scan it pretty quickly and just look at the pictures to get a good idea of what’s going on.

Lastly, tickled my humour: Body illusions. Not the actual illusions themselves, they are quite interesting, but the fact that the second illusion requires:
1 friend
1 fairly realistic rubber hand or arm

Sadly I am lacking, and my realistic rubber hand is in my other jacket, ready to detach for unsuspecting hand shakers.

“Where do the bubbles in beer come from Rob?” An almost child-like question in it simplicity, but one that can produce a rather in-depth answer. One which I decided not to explain at the time. Mostly because I was unsure of most of the facts at the time, and partly because of the seemingly high chance that the questioneer would be too ‘lubricated’ by said substance to fully appreciate the information I’m sharing with you here.

So, where to begin. The bubbles in beer, and in fact all ‘bubbly’ drinks is carbon dioxide. Thus the name ‘carbonated-drink’. Where does this CO2 come from?
Well in the case of beer it comes from yeast. When yeast grow they consume complex sugars. Their primary method of doing this involves the use of oxygen (no need to go into this further I feel, if you’re interested check the links at the bottom of the page). When the oxygen runs out, the yeast uses a different method to extract energy from sugar, the by-product of which is alcohol and carbon dioxide. Coincidently the carbon dioxide given off by yeast is what makes bread rise. So, being in a sealed environment, the CO2 given off by the yeast is held in the beer as a solution.

Why does this CO2 get released in the glass or after the bottle top has been popped?
Well this is all to do with pressure. The decrease in pressure allows the gas to essentially boil away (bubbles!). The last point to cover is the ‘dots’ on the glass where the bubbles seem to magically spring from. These are called nucleation sites, these have in fact been already touched on in this blog when I was talking about super-heated water in the microwave. Nucleation sites are usually defects in the glass which cause low pressure due to surface tension. Essentially (as far as I can make out) the sites are ‘mountainous’ enough to cause the beer problems in properly filling in all the gaps.
This reduced pressure enables the CO2 to congregate (it is evenly distributed throughout the liquid) until it has enough mass to survive without being re-absorbed in the liquid. The it releases (being less dense than the liquid) and rises. This bubble does in itself act as a nucleation site during it’s rise, which is why it grows during the assent.

That’s why beer has bubbles 🙂 I look forward to the next question 😉

Alaska Science Forum
The straight dope
Stanford Report

A common saying that I’m sure you’re familiar with. Unfortunately it does not apply to speed limits while driving. Not only is ignorance not bliss in this instance it is also, apparently, not an excuse. Which is a real problem as it’s the only excuse I had.
“Officer I was rushing with semi-haste to a dinner reservation” really doesn’t cut any substance (be it mustard or your garnish of choice). Even that would have been a lie seeing as I was going at what I thought was the speed limit… and talking to one of those automated cameras will never get you anywhere anyway.

But fortunately there is a bright side to this, the police have a newly enforced speed awareness course. I can pay what would have been my fine (£60) and take a three hour lesson in how not to speed, thus removing the need to have 3 points added to my licence. Well worth it in my opinion, so thats what I’m doing. Only drawback is that there are no local courses… so I’m having to decide where in England to take it, possibility exists that I’ll have to drive back to Plymouth for it.
As soon as I know the situation I will keep you informed, gentle reader.

Pete said. The unlikeliness of this phrase is ignored as I’m dreaming. The immediate association with the inch worm song (#… sixteen and sixteen is thirty-two…#) is slightly more perplexing. Some vagaries about the Archbishop being a casual World of Warcraft player emerge and the rest of the dream is lost to the oblivion of time.
The fact that I was up far later than anticipated (still ‘only’ 10:45pm) playing the aforementioned game is probably related to the dream in some way. Waking up early in the morning to hear whispering is not. Being slightly (read very) un-alert at the time of half-silly in the morning the possibility of it being contact from a spirit world occurred to me. I’ve been reading Steve and Erin Pavlina’s blogs quite a bit recently, a husband and wife team that are convinced of spirit guides, higher vibrations and all that jazz. Reading compelling accounts by seemingly fairly normal people does raise question with the reality of existence. Of course it could well have been people talking in the street outside. Being very cosy I didn’t get up to check.

This morning was the first morning in a long time that I actually watched my Hi-Fi turn on to wake me up, the longest day is not far away now!!

So, a weekend ago I went to a medieval festival reenactment thingie at Loseley Park. It was good, and despite being slightly hung-over, very tired, and forgetting to take any anti sun (thus getting burnt), I enjoyed it. Lots of pictures were taken… I’m almost ashamed to admit it was nearly 400.
This could be a good thing though, check out the ones I liked. Hopefully I’ll be adding to this collection over the next few days (weeks, years, whatever).

I don’t know how it has happened but I’m now a spam member. This morning, 47 emails and 2 comments loitered in my inbox to waste my time.


Fining spammers millions of dollars is a good start but some kind of public flogging also sounds like a good idea to me. I’ll tell you why: Once upon a time I got some spam, advertising some site or other. Perhaps, I thought, if I go to the site and inform them of the unsolicited nature of the advertisement they’d investigate.
I know what you’re thinking, and it goes along the line of ‘You’re a fool to think that Rob’. Here however is the vicious twist of irony. The link didn’t go to a web page. Nothing, nada, zip. So even if the advert had worked, I wouldn’t have been able to buy pharmacy grade viagra or whatever it was. (I’m sure it wasn’t that but I can’t remember what it was).
Stupid spammers!

It is a topic of hot contention between the sexes: Could a man take the pain of child birth?
Putting aside the fact that men and women naturally have different response levels to pain, the only way to successfully determine the answer to this question is via a means of comparison.
If child birth were, for example, equally painful or more painful than pulling out a nose hair then I don’t think I could do it. I had an aesthetically displeasing long nose hair once, and with a pair of tweezers gave it an experimental tug.

Five minutes later I emerged from the foetal position and decided to tackle the problem with some carefully wielded nail scissors.

Somehow, I don’t seem to find the time to blog as much as I used to. It almost feels that this site is falling into disrepair or being ignored like a favourite old teddy bear that has been put on the top shelf to gather dust.

I’d like to promise that this is not true, but work is busier than it used to be and I never was very good at blogging from home.
I’m certainly not going to give up on this, no sir. I have however been thinking about changing direction slightly, making the gallery a lot more of a prominent feature. The fact that only 5% of visitors look at the gallery and the last two pictures I’ve put up have only been viewed once (by me) also points to a long overdue redesign.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading recently, reading about psychology, philosophy, religion, all those kind of conceptual and meaningful lifestyle topics. I hope, at some point in the future I’ll make some kind of sense of it all and share my findings with my prestigious audience (you).
Until then I imagine that my posting will be a bit sporadic in nature.