23 May 2012

A back of the envelope calculation

I was watching my budgies the other day, and had a thought which led to a brief online investigation, followed by the following back-of-envelope calculation: According to a Boeing presentation on airline fuel efficiency that I found on the Internet, a 1% reduction in landing weight gives about a 1% reduction in trip fuel. A Boeing 747’s operational empty weight (with equipment, flight crew etc) is 390,700lbs. Subtracting that from its Maximum Zero Fuel Weight (max weight allowed before fuel is loaded) gives a maximum value for passengers and cargo of 144,300lbs. ... Read more

21 May 2012

Random encounter

We were discussing whether to head out when I saw it. The light was still on in the bathroom, and through the door I had a clear view of the partially demolished far wall above the bath. The creature was scorpionlike, but with a long thin tail that waved and curved, rather than a stinger. The rest of the family continued to argue as I reached into my courier bag and drew out the buzzsaw gun. ... Read more

29 April 2012

Of MP3 players and Apple complacency

We have four iPods of various ages and sizes: one of the first models with the dock connector, one of the early click wheel ones, a nano with clip, and a nano with a screen. One of the classic iPods lives in the car, the other I used the rest of the time; the two nanos are rothko’s. These four iPods appear to need at least three different charging cables. The “universal” USB cable from Apple that works with the dock iPod doesn’t work with the click wheel one, and makes it crash. ... Read more

17 April 2012

Baby bird of a different kind

This evening I went out for a walk; partly for exercise, partly for relaxation, and partly to take a package to the UPS drop-off. As I rounded the corner onto Oltorf Street, I walked under a large tree which partially overhangs the street. On the ground I saw the unmistakable shape of a partially crushed dead baby bird. A few steps on was a second baby bird, as dead as the first, with ants crawling over it. ... Read more

25 March 2012

The music of Baby Bird

Way back in the mists of time — 1996, in fact — I was living in dear old England, pondering whether to emigrate. One Saturday I wandered into my local CD store to trawl the discount rack for anything that looked interesting. On my way there, a CD on the countertop next to the cash register caught my attention: I had no idea what the hell it was, but the cover photo had me intrigued. ... Read more

© mathew 2017