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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in hack's LiveJournal:

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Friday, August 13th, 2010
2:12 pm
Because it's a Friday afternoon ...
I always want to put a break in the middle of this placename, but that's probably not a good idea!

Poll #1605283 Somerset place names

Is "Bussex" an inherently funny name?

Yes
11(68.8%)
No
5(31.2%)
Friday, August 6th, 2010
9:15 am
Mathematical pub names
In the latest issue of Mathematics Today there is a request for traditional pub names which are mathematical in some way shape or form. So far, the best I can do is the Four Alls (for all) and (not really traditional) Zero Degrees.

Does anyone know of any more?
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
1:30 pm
Ploughing the Lowlands low ...
P7070827

Poll #1589593 What's in a name?

Would you live in a house called this?

Yes, sure
7(53.8%)
It sounds a bit dubious to me ...
6(46.2%)
Saturday, December 26th, 2009
11:58 am
Today I shall not be Hunting the Wren; although it has been revived in Suffolk.

Happy St Stephen's Day to you all! (especially any wrens listening).
Thursday, December 24th, 2009
2:00 pm
Merry Christmas to you all!
The Garland at the Great Hall of Cotehele.

IMGP7414
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
3:46 pm
After doing some country dancing on Monday, I was thinking about what skills I don't have which might have been useful ...

Poll #1480732 Your right arm is your faithful arm, your left arm is the unfaithful one ...

Which of these should be required classes?

Formal dancing
0(0.0%)
Folk dancing
0(0.0%)
Polite conversation
3(17.6%)
A basic course in standard duelling weapons
1(5.9%)
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
10:49 pm
Poll #1455465 It was asked for ...

Do you hate the magnolia shade of paint?

Yes
3(16.7%)
No
14(77.8%)
Something else I will explain in a comment
1(5.6%)
Thursday, August 13th, 2009
10:24 am
I was reading about Cheddar Man, and was amused by the fact that the schoolteacher relative of Cheddar Man was offered money by a tabloid to take his clothes off. This motivated me to ask the question:

Poll #1443324 We're not doing it for the money ... We're doing it for a shedLOAD of money!

Would you pose naked in a national newspaper for £100,000?

Yes
11(61.1%)
No
7(38.9%)
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
4:27 am
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
12:27 pm
#I thank the Lord for the harvest moon and the girl from the hiring fair
Some friends and I were discussing how to choose new employees, and one of the people there said that one of the things that he decided on was whether they had showered that day, on the grounds that if they didn't shower on the day of a job interview then it was likely that they would never shower and this would not make for a pleasant working environment.

Is this a legitimate hiring criterion?

Yes
18(81.8%)
No
4(18.2%)
Saturday, June 27th, 2009
1:52 am
On Sunday I visited New York, which needs no introduction. The main purpose of the visit was to watch the British Grand Prix with a university friend of mine, but I found time to do some tourism as well.

I had a wander through Central Park, passing the memorial to John Lennon:

IMGP1718

and I also saw these little guys in the lake near to the memorial:

IMGP1742

My destination was the New-York Historical Society, one of the oldest New York institutions, which has a fantastic collection of historical paintings relating to the city, including a lovely and dignified picture of the unfortunate Dred Scott. Among their treasures is an antique carriage:

IMGP1795

After watching the Grand Prix and having dinner, I had a walk around Times Square before heading back.

IMGP1862

There is a regular and fairly fast train service from Princeton to New York (arriving at Penn Station).

My pictures are all available here.
Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
12:23 am
Trenton, New Jersey
On Saturday I visited Trenton, the state capital of New Jersey.

The Capitol building was very interesting; it had decayed to a very bad state in the 1970s, but money was raised to re-gild the dome and restore the painting and glass of the interior to its former glory. The tour guide was very informative although it was quite annoying that he (whose day job was as a State auditor) had heard about the late unpleasantness at Westminster and that I had to try to explain exactly what had happened there.

IMGP1589

The State Museum, which is next to the Capitol, was also interesting, with a display about New Jersey during the ice ages and the changes in fauna since then; unfortunately much of the museum is currently being renovated so many of the other treasures were absent.

IMGP1597

The major tourist draw is the Old Barracks Museum; these date from Colonial times and were used as a barracks and then a hospital during the wars, and later on part of the building was used as a brothel, conveniently located next to the statehouse. The guides there give a very coherent account of the Battle of Trenton, which changed the course of the Revolutionary War.

IMGP1627

Finally I went to the Trenton Battle Monument, from which one gets a very good view of the city.

IMGP1676

Trenton is not the wealthiest of cities (there are a large number of pawnbrokers and cheque cashing establishments on the main street) but there are enough museums to make it an interesting place to visit. It has a regular train service.

My pictures are all available here.
Friday, April 10th, 2009
9:46 pm
A thought for Good Friday
"Do not despair: one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume: one of the thieves was damned."
Saturday, March 21st, 2009
12:08 pm
A Day of Firsts ...
Yesterday was quite a good day. I got my first royalty cheque for the book:

IMGP7417

and I danced out for the first time with these guys:

IMGP6423

Current Mood: hopeful
Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
11:30 am
A funny thing from the pub last night:
Inspired by the ridiculous number of boxes present, this is sung to the tune of Pleasant and Delightful:

And the freaks all played melodeons
and the freaks all played melodeons
and the freaks all played melodeons
at the dawning of the day.
Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
9:34 pm
#We are Britannia ...
IMGP6383

This weekend I played a board game called Britannia; it's an epic game which covers the history of Great Britain from the Roman invasion to the Norman Conquest. Each player controls various smaller nations (the Saxons, the Danes, the Jutes, ...) and gets points for meeting historical objectives like holding relevant territory, killing other players' war leaders, that sort of thing. It's great fun even if it does take 6 hours to play a game of it!

There is some railroading in the game; some of it is perfectly reasonable, as invasions from the rest of Europe happen due to events outside the scope of the game. Some of it is built into the actual rules; it is partly there to keep the game balanced and enjoyable, but sometimes you do want to do something that won't be rewarded in game terms.

Poll #1347158 The light at the end of the tunnel?

Railroading --- good or bad?

Good
3(42.9%)
Bad
4(57.1%)
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
5:07 pm
I am recently back from Indiana. There is a song by R Dean Taylor called "Indiana Wants Me", which I love but no-one in Indiana seems to have heard of.

Poll #1335637 #Indiana wants me

Have you heard of this song?

Yes
3(17.6%)
No
14(82.4%)
Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
5:31 am
#We wish you a Merry Christmas ...

IMGP4616, originally uploaded by overconvergent.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 12th, 2008
9:41 pm
A friend of mine introduced me to the following interesting problem; you and a friend are meeting for lunch at a particular time in an agreed city (in the original it was Cambridge, England).

However, you have failed to agree where to meet, so you each have to decide on a place to be independently, and only if you are within sight of each other will you be able to meet up. Where do you choose?

(I think that "outside King's College Chapel" is a common answer to the problem as stated).

Can you think of other places in Cambridge, or places in other cities that would be as canonical?
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
12:07 pm
The book meme, from tree_and_leaf
* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Ahem.

You may wish to consider how many cusps Gamma_0(2) has; does this knowledge help you here?
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