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Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Spot the problem

safety concerns

Do you notice anything untoward about this image. Click on the photograph to “embiggen” it.

Posted by bigblue on 21/02/2007 at 06:58 AM
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Tuesday, 20 February 2007
All thumbs


I think these branches are of the Quince plant.  Quince is one of my favourite fruits.

The modern name derives from the fouteenth century plural of quoyn, via Old French cooin from Latin cotoneum malum / cydonium malum, ultimately from Greek kydonion malon “Kydonian apple” (in the figurative sense, similar to pomodoro - Italian word for tomato literally meaning “apple of gold”, pomme de terre - the French word for potato, literally meaning “apple of the ground”, and the classical “golden apple”). The plant is native to Persia, Anatolia, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, and Bulgaria, but the Greeks grafted from a superior strain from ancient Kydonia, now Khania, a port in Crete, whence both the common and better-preserved genus name. The Lydian name for the fruit was kodu. Cultivation of quince may have preceded apple culture, and many references translated to “apple”, such as the fruit in Song of Solomon, may actually have been to a quince. Among the ancient Greeks, the quince was a ritual offering at weddings, for it had come from the Levant with Aphrodite and remained sacred to her. Plutarch reports that a Greek bride would nibble a quince to perfume her kiss before entering the bridal chamber, “in order that the first greeting may not be disagreeable nor unpleasant” (Roman Questions 3.65). It was a quince that Paris awarded Aphrodite. It was for a golden quince that Atalanta paused in her race. The Romans also used quinces; the Roman cookbook of Apicius gives recipes for stewing quince with honey, and even combining them, unexpectedly for us, with leeks. Pliny the Elder mentioned the one variety, Mulvian quince, that could be eaten raw. Columella mentioned three, one of which, the “golden apple” that may have been the paradisal fruit in the Garden of the Hesperides, has donated its name in Italian to the tomato, pomodoro.

Posted by bigblue on 20/02/2007 at 06:44 AM
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Monday, 19 February 2007
Flashback to snow days

snow on road

I took this photograph on 8 February when we had our second snowfall of the year.  I didn’t blog it at the time, as I was at a meeting in Windsor.

On the day many schools in England were closed and commuters faced various disruptions. (Yet I didn’t because there were very few other cars on the road that morning: Strange that.).

In a further twist to this story the leader of the opposition, David Cameron, subsequently stated that it is wrong that pupils should miss school due to a few inches of snow, and other stuff

David Cameron has also been in the news lately urging a crackdown on young drug offenders. Previously he had called for softer punishments for ecstacy users. Is this a change in his beliefs, or does he just say whatever whatever he thinks is popular at the time?

Posted by bigblue on 19/02/2007 at 06:53 AM
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Sunday, 18 February 2007
Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna London

Question: How does one find the Hare Krishna Temple or Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant (both in Soho, London)?

Answer: Take the tube to Tottenham Court Tube Station, then follow the Hare Krishna train (pictured above). 

The Sunday Love Feast requires special mention here:

It starts at 15:30h with temple resident devotees sing bhajans (sweet devotional songs) in the temple room. These always create a very deep and spiritual atmosphere, setting the mood for the rest of the program. At 16:30h there is Dhoop-arati (singing and service to Their Lordships), followed by a lecture, usually given by a distinguished guest-speaker and always by a senior devotee with a deep understanding of Krishna consciousness.

After the lecture comes the part of the program everyone is eagerly waiting for: the prasadam feast. This is served in the temple room and restaurant by temple residents and guest volunteers.

These items can be partaken of individually. For example you can skip the dancing and lecture and just turn up for the love-feast at 5:30 pm.  In this case you will be asked for a two pound donation towards the meal. (Guests arriving for the earlier chant-and-listen-to-a-lecture activities receive a ticket which exempts them from the donation). After the meal there is another programme of education and chanting, but this is optional.

Happy New Year everyone: It’s the year of the Female Fire Pig

Posted by bigblue on 18/02/2007 at 10:24 AM
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Saturday, 17 February 2007
Presenting The German Langwitsch

Thanks Tim for this two and a half minute presentation.

Posted by bigblue on 17/02/2007 at 10:39 AM
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Thursday, 15 February 2007
Oh dear what can the matter be?

windows error

Since I installed the latest Microsoft Windows security updates I seem to be having some problems with my computer.  Still, it could be worse: what if I installed the new Microsoft Vista?

The BBC News site seems to be buzzing with the story of the conversational parrot, and it’s not even 1 April yet.  I’ll be waiting for the YouTube video.  Meanwhile researchers have discovered that stoneage chimp ancestors used tools (that’s not our ancestors but the chimps’ ancestors).  Via Philobiblon, who quotes the interesting bit:

Before this study, chimpanzees were first observed using stone tools in the 19th century. Now, thanks to this new archaeological find, tool use by chimpanzees has been pushed back thousands of years. The authors suggest this type of tool use could have originated with our common ancestor, instead of arising independently among hominins and chimpanzees or through imitation of humans by chimpanzees.


Posted by bigblue on 15/02/2007 at 11:11 PM
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Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Heart Art… (Barbed Wire Love)

Heart Art… (Barbed Wire Love)

This is Heart Art… (Barbed Wire Love) by trapac.  Click on the image for the original.  Consider it your personal Valentines message.

Posted by bigblue on 13/02/2007 at 11:01 PM
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Mind the Gap #2

London Underground

This is the second of two photographs which I took with my mobile phone on the London Underground recently looking at that Mind the Gap theme.

Posted by bigblue on 13/02/2007 at 06:52 AM
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