Day 314 – Lockdown Pi

It’s the closest we’re going to get to Pi during lockdown.

Well, unless we’re still going on Day 3142.
I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations, and that would be the 1st November 2028.

What a ghastly thought. Still – could be worse*:

On a more positive note, I got a lot of jobs done this morning and was actually pleasantly surprised at the happy, smiling faces I encountered everywhere (ok, aside from the scary, shouty old man in PicknPay, but otherwise…).

Given the state of things at the moment (unpretty) and the state of the customer service industries here in SA, it was genuinely weird to have retail staff actively wanting to assist me and doing it in such a friendly manner.

Long may it continue.


* and indeed, it actually is worse because the beagle has got the farts again today 

Day 313, part 2 – Vaccine delivery

The first vaccines for The Virus arrived in South Africa yesterday, and wow, was the pomp and ceremony was dragged out onto the cold, wet apron at the airport in Johannesbeagle?

(Yes. Yes, it was.)

Dignitaries, politicians, umbrella holders and a really sycophantic media were all present to witness a whole 1 million doses of Covishield™ arriving on an Emirates 777.

That’s just enough to fully vaccinate 0.8% of the population, by my rudimentary calculations.

And yet:

I don’t watch news programmes specifically for this reason. But last night, I flicked on eNCA because I wanted felt I had to watch Ramaphosa’s address on reducing the lockdown. This was long, long, overdue, but clearly held back so that he could wave his little “we’ve got some vaccine” flag.

And wow. The blatant fawning during the pisspoor pre-speech small talk was absolutely sickening.

I looked up several times from the ironing (it’s all about the glamour here, ok?) and was eventually told off by Mrs 6000 for using the phrase

What the actual fuck?

four times – ever more incredulously – in about a 90 second period.

I’m well aware that the art of politics is all about spin, but this was so robustly applied that we were all almost flung outwards at mass times angular velocity squared times radius*.

They’re clearly not even bothering to hide it anymore. Gone are the clever intricacies of subliminal messaging. This was in your face GovernmentLove©. I’m not one for hyperbole, but I was actually quite shocked. I would not have been surprised if they’d cut across the studio to some sort of shrine to the ANC**.
It was actually like I was watching a party political broadcast***.

Stay away from news channels, guys. Or at least watch them with the knowledge that they’re all pushing some sort of agenda. This one wasn’t pretty. But at least it was pretty obvious.

Right. While I’m sounding like some sort of Trump fan with a Masters in Media Conspiracy from the Dunning-Kruger Online College, might I just ask why we’re bothering with this whole injection thing anyway?

It’s a tiresome, clumsy, process and people can avoid getting the jab if they so choose.

Ugh. No. That’s not what our reptilian overlords want.

Why not just use chemtrails?

After all, Darth Putin has got one of his planes in Cape Town right now, ready to go:

The Russian-built, Russian-registered, catchily named Illyushin II-76 TD-90VD arrived last night from the so-called Novolazarevskaya Airbase (which also sounds Russian), and features a huge cargo hold, capable of being adapted to hold fluids to bomb fires (definitely) or spread weather-modification and mind-altering chemtrails (possibly).
Surely it shouldn’t be such a big thing to fill it with vaccine and get us all done in one go?

I mean, that’s almost certainly why it’s here, right?


I’m glad you are all in the know as well.


Stay safe.



* engineers and physicists will know
** ok, that was a bit of hyperbole
*** back to no hyperbole

Day 313 – Thank goodness for this guy

I mean, after just years and years of training, experience and continuous education, that the entire scientific and medical community could have somehow slipped up and overlooked [vital information] about [important subject] is near inexcusable.

Thank goodness for people like this middle-aged man-Karen and his tireless research in the laboratory on social media sites, discovering the bits we didn’t and keeping us all honest.

(Not that I’m necessarily classing myself as one of “the world’s top scientists”.)
(But I can’t be far off, right?)


image supplied by commenter. thank you, commenter.

Day 312 – Serious competition

I mentioned the other day that I’d got back into GeoGuessr a bit again. I like to test myself and my knowledge of geography and ability at sleuthing, and GeoGuessr allows me to do just that, whenever I feel like it.

But wait, there’s more.

The Battle Royale version of the game takes 10 people and gets them to try and work out in which country they have been dropped. There’s a “musical chairs” style format, with at least one person eliminated each round for either making three incorrect guesses or just being the last one to get the correct country, until only one remains. This game means that I can test myself and my knowledge of geography and ability at sleuthing, and compete against other people doing the same thing.

It’s great when you win. It’s rather annoying when you lose.

But I don’t take it too seriously. Not like some people.

I’m referring to a document that was posted online with hints and tips as to how to guess the right country as quickly as possible.

Some of the stuff is a bit generic like:

Kyrgyzstan – mountains.


Lesotho – mountains.


Bulgaria, Albania and Montenegro can be very mountainous.

Look, they’re not wrong, but that really won’t help you a lot. Unless you’re trying to work out whether it’s Lesotho or the Netherlands. But if you need assistance at that sort of level, maybe this game isn’t for you.

But then some of the information is incredibly detailed as well:

Mexico and Colombia are the only countries in Latin America to have a yellow license plate. Colombia also has signs on the taxi doors.

Of course they are. Of course it does.

Philippines – tricky country, probably the only one in east Asia to feature concrete roads.

I have no idea if this is true, but if you find yourself somewhere in east Asia (either in Geoguessr or in real life) and there are concrete roads, well, it’s likely to be the Philippines. Apparently.

And then there are the teeny, tiny details:

Ghana – black tape on the roof rack of the Google car.


I also learned about ‘the Chad move’. It sounds like a dance or maybe a euphemism from I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue, but it’s actually a deliciously devious tactic.

Whenever anyone guesses an incorrect country in any one of the rounds, the flag of that incorrect country is posted in the corner of the screen, so that other players can learn from your mistake (assuming that their vexillology is up to scratch).

‘The Chad move’ is where a player positively identifies the country on screen as being Romania, but then before selecting Romania, instead initially “guesses” at Chad. Chad and Romania have virtually identical flags, but there is no Google streetview in Chad, so that wouldn’t be part of the game. Basically, the upshot of this is that a (seemingly) Romanian flag then pops up in the “already made guesses” corner of the screen, meaning that other competitors won’t guess at Romania and will be knocked out.

And, according to my cheat sheet, you can play ‘the Chad move’ in other ways too:

…or Monaco when they know it’s Indonesia. I once did the Chad move with Ivory Coast and Ireland. And it works to some extent with Liberia-Malaysia as well or Niger-India.

Wow. You sneaky bastards.


I like to win, but I am nowhere near that serious when it comes to my games on Geoguessr.

That said, I am definitely Ghana use that ‘black tape on the roof rack’ one.


And look where it got me:

(via Andorra…)

Day 310 – Another poo mystery solved by science

Via Brian Micklethwait, here’s another one from the category “Who the hell asked?”

Just what we all needed to know. I can finally sleep easy tonight.

Apparently, it’s all to do with the last metre of the intestine and not the shape of the extrusion point. Although, presumably the extrusion point must also be that sort of shape though anyway because isn’t there something about a square peg in a round hole or something?

Ag, it’s actually fine. I really don’t need to know. Really.

There are some delicious little comments in the article, such as the name of the journal in which this study was published: Soft Matter.

It’s not all about shit, either. I was enthralled to read about Phase transition characterization of poly(oligo(ethylene glycol)methyl ether methacrylate) brushes using the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation by Guntner et al., and really enjoyed the incredible work of Hoeger and Ursell at the University of Oregon, demonstrating Steric scattering of rod-like swimmers in low Reynolds number environments. Who knew?

Anyway, what is the reason that wombats have cube-shaped poo?

Asked why wombats have this feature, Carver said one theory was that wombats, with their strong sense of smell, communicate with each other via faeces and that the cube shape helps prevent the faeces from rolling away.

The researchers also found that cube-shaped faeces on an eight degree slope rolled far less than spherical-shaped models.

Well, I’m glad someone has done the hard research yards and discovered that cubes roll less than spheres. Absolutely groundbreaking stuff. Dice manufacturers will be livid when they read that.
All this time and they’ve been wasting their time working with cubes instead of prolonging our anticipation by using spherical-shaped models:

“Will it be a three…? Will it…? Will it…? Ah. It’s not really stopping.
I might just go and grab a quick drink while we wait until it’s done.
Hang on! There! It’s a two!


And it’s also a six.”

Actually, perhaps not.

But if it was so very important for your poo to stay where you left it, why would you evolve:

…big changes in the thickness of muscles inside the intestine, varying between two stiffer regions and two more flexible regions… in addition to the drying out of the faecal material in the distal colon.

Anyway. The paper is here should you wish to read further:

Of course they do.

All your questions will be answered there, aside from the huge, gaping omission: which way do they face when they are doing it?