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Sunday, 14 December 2008
Nanterre Prefecture

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As it starts to get dark on a winter’s afternoon they turn on some lighting on these pillars that mark the entrance to the park from the station square.

I suppose that if you are here late in summer you notice the same thing.

Posted by bigblue on 14/12/2008 at 05:58 PM
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Friday, 12 December 2008
Christmas Bling in Chertsey

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And the house next door are advertising airguns and slingshots. Perhaps they share my sentimentality about these things.

Posted by bigblue on 12/12/2008 at 07:25 PM
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Thursday, 11 December 2008
M25 parking lot

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So between junctions 10 & 9 (anti-clock) tonight there was a two car pile-up and we ended up parked for a while. I turned off my car engine and pondered how these three trucks could end up adjacent to each other across three lanes. Bear in mind that the fourth lane was closed to traffic.

This thing of one truck going 70 overtaking a second truck going 68 that is overtaking a third truck going 66 should be illegal. The numbers above are indicative: when the trucks are going uphill you can reduce their speeds by up to 10 miles per hour, and reverse the order of the trucks.

Posted by bigblue on 11/12/2008 at 09:38 PM
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Wednesday, 10 December 2008
‘ere you go darlin’

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There’s more than a touch of Catherine Tate’s nan character in the woman who works behind the counter in my local health shop. I had to stiffle some laughter this afternoon, know what I mean?

To be fair she’s the ‘polite’ nan: she’s all sweet and polite as Catherine Tate’s character starts out every time.

But she talks just like nan, and she made some disparaging remarks about the New Age magazine they sell in the shop. Not quite “crock of ####”, but I expected her to say that at any time.

Posted by bigblue on 10/12/2008 at 11:18 PM
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Tuesday, 09 December 2008
Parisian graffiti tag

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I spotted this tag in Nanterre, Paris a couple of weeks ago. Is it complete? Was it someone practicing for a more spectacular effort? Was the sprayer just marking their territory like the neighbourhood dog?

Posted by bigblue on 09/12/2008 at 11:15 PM
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Monday, 08 December 2008
Model cars

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Following yesterday’s photo of the model train, here’s a photo of what looks like model cars but are in fact real ones. I took this photo near the Prague metro stop IP Pavlova, which is named after the Russian Nobel Prizewinner Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, famous for his dog (used to describe classical conditioning)

The original and most famous example of classical conditioning involved the salivary conditioning of Pavlov’s dogs. During his research on the physiology of digestion in dogs, Pavlov noticed that, rather than simply salivating in the presence of meat powder (an innate response to food that he called the unconditioned response), the dogs began to salivate in the presence of the lab technician who normally fed them. Pavlov called these psychic secretions. From this observation he predicted that, if a particular stimulus in the dog’s surroundings were present when the dog was presented with meat powder, then this stimulus would become associated with food and cause salivation on its own. In his initial experiment, Pavlov used bells to call the dogs to their food and, after a few repetitions, the dogs started to salivate in response to the bell. Thus, a neutral stimulus (bell) became a conditioned stimulus (CS) as a result of consistent pairing with the unconditioned stimulus (US - meat powder in this example). Pavlov referred to this learned relationship as a conditional reflex (now called Conditioned Response).

Posted by bigblue on 08/12/2008 at 09:29 PM
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Sunday, 07 December 2008
Model train

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I was in Berlin again this week. This is a model train in the foyer of the building of the company which makes these things.

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2008 at 02:19 PM
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Thursday, 04 December 2008
Heat efficiency

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Mmm, one of these houses is letting off more heat than the other, thereby melting the frost on the roof. Is the other house better insulated and heat efficient? Or is the other house simply letting off less heat because the occupants haven’t turned their heating on, or as high?

Posted by bigblue on 04/12/2008 at 09:17 PM
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