Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Royal protocol

Some royal or other is coming to open our company's offices officially (despite the fact we've been in them a year).

Apparently this is the correct procedure for meeting said bigwigs:

If [the royal in question] approaches you, bow/curtsey, shake hands if offered, let him speak first, and the first time you speak address him as "Your Royal Highness" and after that as "Sir"

This is from our official instructions. Other gems include an exhortation not to use the toilets (presumably we don't want to offend the royal nose).

Fortunately, I have the day off.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Sic is latin for thus

Not much more to say really, except maybe a link.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Concorde would stretch up to 10 inches in flight

Thanks to John at work for providing the first fact I failed to verify at Wikipedia.

The plane actually stretches when it is in flight, Brody says. "We’re heating the air ahead of the aircraft and going through the air ahead of us so fast," he explains, "we compress the air and it results in connecting heating and we expand 10 inches to one foot during the flight.

Friday, June 10, 2005


It's a contraction of Granular Bed Baffled Reactor.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The dreaded diamond!

Apparently this is not something out of a pirate movie, but instead refers to some arcane bit of C++ that I had to deal with today.

The "dreaded diamond" refers to a class structure in which a particular class appears more than once in a class's inheritance hierarchy.

Fortunately it's not dreaded any more, which is something of a relief.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Monsters, Inc. continuity

When Mike first tries to put Boo back through the wrong door the clock on the Scare Floor shows 8.50 AM. Boo runs off and Randall intercepts Mike and Sulley. Sulley goes after Boo, but Mike is chased by Randal. The chase is very short but when Randall catches Mike it is 11.55.

Some poindexter at has tried to rationalize this, but you don't watch as much Monsters, Inc as I have over the last few days without spotting a genuine mistake.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Strawberries are often grown on beds of straw to stop them getting eaten by slugs or covered in mud.

They are probably called strawberries for this very reason.

This factoid came courtesy of Gordon the Gnome but I've checked it in a more reliable source.

Friday, June 03, 2005

It is 5238 miles from Sheffield to San Francisco

According to this calculator

Why should you care? Well the question's posed by the Arctic Monkeys' song Fake Tales of San Francisco. Possibly the only song in the world to namecheck Hunter's Bar.

He talks of San Francisco, he's from Hunter's Bar
I don't quite know the distance
But I'm sure that's far
Yeah I'm sure that's pretty far

It is indeed pretty far, it's 5238 miles.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


A MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is a plot device that motivates the characters and advance the story, particularly one whose importance is accepted completely by the story's characters, yet from the audience's perspective it might be minimally explained or may test their suspension of disbelief if it is scrutinized. The device, usually an object, is common in films, especially thrillers.

Swinging the lead

[As] old sailing ships neared land, it was important to know the depth of water beneath the keel. Most sailors had no formal education, therefore a very simple foolproof system was invented. A lead weighted rope was set to have a knot tied every fathom length. A fathom being 6 foot

A sailor had the job of throwing the weight forward and feeding out the rope until he felt the weight hit bottom. By now the rope should be vertical in the water. The sailor retrieves the rope counting the knots that were submerged and calls out very loudly 30 fathoms.. (or whatever the count was)


It was very hard work throwing and retrieving this heavy lead weighted rope. So the lazy sailor would pretend to do it when he thought that no one was supervising him. He would stand there "swinging the lead" so that as soon as an officer appeared he could let it go forward and appear that he had been correctly doing his job all along

Gangs of Four

The sheer number of Gangs of Four out there meant that there must be an original, but I never knew which one it was.

I knew about the SDP,Software Geeks and the Rock Stars.

I didn't know about the Australian Politicians, the WAN protocol or the Comics.

But most significantly I didn't know about the purged Chinese politicians that started the whole thing off.