Saturday, April 9, 2011

There aren't enough points on the chicken

This is what happens when synæsthetes become celebrity chefs. They insist that every dish has its own ideal platonic shape so that serving it in any other geometry detracts from the flavour.

I can cope with triangular omelettes and snowflake-fractal pizza, but why should sausages always be sausage-shaped?

Then there's the whole "colour palate" business.

UPDATE: Bonus Möbius pasta [for ckc (not kc) in comments].

Friday, April 8, 2011


We would like to reassure our customers that sword-related malfunctions in the Riddled Coalbot are rare events. The Operating Manual states clearly that the Coalbot must be fueled with anthracite to keep the dual-core processor at correct operating temperature. Charcoal is not an adequate substitute.

Ignore the rumours put about by rival manufacturers of inferior coalbots. This rare and hardly-ever-fatal malfunction is not a software fault with incorrectly instantiated objects causing the random ejection of variables 'A' and 'B'. Do not buy from Substance Laboratories.

The Inevitable Outcome of an Unexpected Question

A surrealist-themed remake of "Get Smart".
The closing credits sequence with the sliding doors will be the easiest part.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

For it was only a candle, a Roman scandal oh oh oh

I was disgusted by the vileness of my imagination when I found myself wondering whether there was a market for seated Buddha candle holders. "No-one could be that tacky!" I rebuked myself.

Popular taste: Over-estimated again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In a purple vision Many thousand years ago

Remains of whelk-processing
workshop, Inishkea coast
Irish dyers in the early mediaeval period knew how to make red / purple fabric using dog whelks, competing with the murex-purple fabric imported through the trade routes from Constantinople. Carole Biggam suspects that their Anglo-Saxon contemporaries across the water in England had the same technology, but the archeological evidence is absent. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions prestigious purple clothes (which Bǣda describes as "Fabulosa!!" and "the must-have colour for 687"), but samples have not survived, making it hard to determine whether they were locally sourced or imported.*

Fuligin, the colour that is blacker than black, is obtained by processing the Sarmatic Cone-shell with avern juice. As any fule kno, the Sarmatic Cone -- an cacogen species brought to Urth through the mirrors of Father Inire -- is a voracious carnivore with lightning-fast reflexes and a venomous, razor-edged radula that can disembowel an unskilled hunter outright or paralyse him for the shell to devour at leisure in its lair. Cone hunters expect remuneration for their risk, so fuligin is expensive.

At Riddled Enterprises we believe we can extract a reasonably-priced substitute from the carnivorous Powelliphanta augusta flax snail. Unaccountably, the Department of Conservation were all "Blah blah blah endangered species blah blah" and turned down our business plan. We may have to go over their heads to Type 1.**

Tetrachromium is the colour out of space, the ultramundane colour that the savants at Miskatonic University were unable to locate on any terrestrial spectrum. Currently it can only be extracted from the leprous disintegrating flesh of livestock that has fed on the unnatural vegetation of the star-blasted Gardner farm and has drunk the tainted water from the Arkham reservoir.

Again, any affordable local substitute looks like being mollusc-based.

* There is a manuscript fragment in which King Æthylene the Impressionable of Mercia consults his economists. They advise him against promoting the local industry -- whether directly through subsidies and research grants, or indirectly through tariffs on the Byzantine imports -- which would distort the market and unlevel the playing field. It sounds better in Old English alliterative verse.

** "Diabetes Type 1" is the nickname for Gerry Brownlee among the NZ press corps. His chief assistant -- a fellow of comparable body type -- is known as "Type II".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

And that ain't no joke, you can disappear in smoke

National Gallery visitor attacks Gauguin painting
Screaming “This is evil,” a woman tried to pull Gauguin’s “Two Tahitian Women” from a gallery wall Friday and banged on the picture’s clear plastic covering, said Pamela Degotardi of New York, who was there.
I remember the protests against French bong testing in the South Pacific.


My geotomographic friend Daedalus:* Ariadne Homage Post

"The prefect homeopathic remedy for radiation exposure would be a neutrino beam". This was the thought that sprung unbidden into my head this morning, during the brief period of febrile lucidity that comes after the realisation that certain members of the household forgot to clean the coffee-grinder after using it for their morning-glory seeds. AGAIN.

Eight hours later, once I'd found my clothes, I realised that if Riddled Industries is to profit by exploiting the media-hyped fears of a credulous and ill-informed public then we'd best get cracking, because other charlatans entrepreneurs were already promoting homeopathic protection against fall-out from Japan.
Also the colloidal-silver merchants are climbing aboard the FAILwagon;
the chelation-therapy marketers;
and the disease-is-acidosis crowd with their emergency-pack water alkalinisers. VILE UNSCRUPULOUS OPPORTUNISTIC SCUM. Ah, but neutrino beams... what could be more homeopathic than a form of radiation that hardly even interacts with matter??

So as you see, we are scrambling to complete the Riddled circular β-beam neutrino factory with dual demon proton-injector systems. When the gimbals on the decay loop are installed, we will be able to point the neutrinos [produced by the decay of the relativistic muon beam, in turn produced by the protons' collision with the high-Z targets A] at the GPS coordinates of a paying customer anywhere in the world and they will receive their prophylactic dosage immediately, the intervening presence of the Earth making almost no difference to beam intensity.² Let's see our 'pHmiracle' competitors match that level of customer convenience!

We have opted for the β-beam geometry rather than a superbeam or Tevatron design because Canterbury Jack's Demolition Spares and Superconducting Magnets Emporium had a sale on 201-MHz RF cavities.

The photograph does not show Evangeline van Holsteren. She is off to the side, telling us that no-one would be that credulous because everyone knows that we are already bathed in a flux of neutrinos from umpteen sources. Also we are loonies. HA they laughed at Galileo too.

Mind you, there are serious plans to use that ~1% attenuation to map the interior of the Earth. And as well as Neutrino Absorption Tomography, there is Neutrino Oscillation Tomography, which I shall not go into because it involves the poorly-specified parameter θ13 and has no marketable implications for homeopathy.

Walter Winter is the scientist best associated with the scheme. For us old-timers, however, Dr Winter is a Johnny-come-lately and we fondly remembered the original 1983 paper by De Rújula, Glashow, Wilson & Charpak.³ Rather than detect the neutrino beam and measure its attentuation directly, their plan was to use an array of microphones and pulse the beam while listening for the faint sounds that would be emitted from oil and gas fields in the Earth's crust as they absorb neutrino energy.

* Viz. Amusingly, the example used in the Whackyweedia to illustrate "Daedalus's" inventions is actually misremembered from Flann O'Brian.

² About 1% attenuation of a beam of 1-TeV neutrinos after it has passed though the globe from the Antipodes to the Podes.

³ Not accessible in electronic copy because the bastridges who publish Physics Reports have not digitised their back issues so I'm working from memory.

The three points in the Northern Hemisphere are neutrino-emitting facilities and the one in Japan has just experienced a massive earthquake. The three ovals in the Southern Hemisphere are locations of neutrino detectors to pick up the particle beams that have traversed the Earth from the three emitting facilities and OMFSM Christchurch has just experienced two earthquakes.

This however entirely a coincidence and the operations of the Riddled accelerator is completely unrelated to the fire breaking out in Paddy's #2 Barley field.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stat you?

Indeed sportsfans and Fulham soccer team fans may be asking "Is that you and who the the hell are you anyway and what is the action figure of the alleged child abuser in front of the ground, then?" Because sportsfans do like a bit of a chin wag.
Well what, I hear you ask in those dazed tones so redolent of a misspent youth, is this all about, do we have to click a link!?!?! We shatner't be back!!!
This is IT. Mohamed-Al-Fayed (this reporter has found that one cannot call him Al) is the Madman very rich person who owns Fulham soccer club (Motto: Are These Your Teeth?") and he decided to put up a statue to Michael Jackson a singer of some fame.
Now, not for nothing is the Fulham crowd called "The Aesthetes" and some of them have expressed some annoyance of the seemingly abitrary strewing around the ground of Mr Al-Fayed's friends of questionable reputation.
One Kevin "Bloody Pyscho" Mills said he was speaking for many fans when he said "Contextually there could be no greater crime than this statue in this place. The garish rendition, is a shriek against humanity."
He added "Lorrer wankurs, then?"
Mr Al-Fayed was unmoved by the fans displeasure.
"Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift they can go to hell."I don't want them to be fans. If they don't understand and don't believe in things I believe in they can go to Chelsea ..."
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are taking legal advice about being compared to hell. 
But keen eyed readers will have noticed the key statement here ...and don't believe the things I believe in...
When I were a lad it were enough just to 'ave a scarf what yer mam had knitted.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Geoff Dixon, Painter of Orbs

HA HA fooled you. They're really fried eggs. Dixon was the first New Zealand painter to experiment with enamel on glass induction-heat stove-tops as a medium. Apparently it is an admonitory warning about the threat of global warming. His favourite motifs are endangered bird species and spaceships.

You can fry your breakfast directly on the painting or in a glass frying-pan.

We own one of his works but the Frau Doktorin is not well-pleased if I cook black pudding on it.