Monthly Archives: May 2014

Learning on Roundabouts

A public service blog post today, folks. At the senescent age of 28, I’ve finally started to learn to drive. Today I tackled roundabouts. My instructor briefly explained the theory of how you should indicate depending on which exit you are taking. We then parked up by a roundabout and noticed that about a zillionth of actual drivers would pass the roundabout part of their driving test if they were tested. Most people simply didn’t indicate at all. So, in the service of better driving standards (and as a reminder to myself) I will here set out the correct way to tackle roundabouts. A useful mnemonic is Learning 0n Roundabouts, standing for Left, 0(zero), and Right – L0R. A diagram explaining how to indicate on roundabouts The diagram above is useful.

  • The blue car wants to take the 1st exit – the 1st letter in the mnemonic is L – so indicates Left on the approach to the roundabout and turns.
  • The red car wants to take the 2nd exit – the 2nd figure in the numeric is 0 – and so doesn’t indicate. Keeping on the outer lane of the roundabout, they indicate left only when passing the 1st exit, and proceed to take the 2nd exit.
  • The orange car wants to take the 3rd exit –the 3rd letter of the mnemonic is R -so keeps Right and indicates Right. When passing the exit before its own – they indicate left and take the turn. This procedure would apply for the 4th, 5th exits etc.

I’m sure you know all this – but as Samuel Johnson said, “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed”. I was just surprised at how few people put it into practice.

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The A – Z of Music: M

‘M’ is a really tough choice, and I’ve passed through many excellent contenders, including The King of Pop himself. Next time through, perhaps.

I’ve plumped for Muse and New Born. Three things swayed for it for me. One, they’re a local(ish) band, hailing from Teignmouth, just an hour’s drive from me, still in the beautiful county of Devon. Two, this performance on Top of the Pops still stands out in my memory. And three, it’s a great song – I love the contrast between the soft, piano-driven beginning, and the guitar-heavy finish.

I hope you enjoy it.

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A Couple of Biblical Sportspeople Related Jokes

The week away in Fowey was also a nice reminder of some Biblical sportspeople.

There’s the world’s first goalkeeper, Cain:

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:9

And also the world’s first tennis player, Joseph:

 He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt

Genesis 41:46

I expect to be struck down by a lightening bolt for making such sacreligious jokes. They’re so bad, I deserve to be.

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Biblical Mathematics

Last week, I spent several days in Fowey.

Fowey 1Fowey 2Fowey 3

Renting out a lovely cottage not far from the sea, some friends and I spent a few days studying the book of Revelation. This deals with the supposed end times, when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, the Christians go to Heaven, and the non-Christians go to the Other Place*.

The book deals with a lot of visions which are often a kind of code-language. Different numbers also crop up, and these should often not be taken literally numerically, but rather as having a deeper meaning. Here’s two examples:

666:

Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

Revelation 13:18

666 has passed into popular culture as the number of the devil. But what does it mean?

God made the Universe in seven days***.  God created Adam and Eve on the 6th day of creation, so 6 is man’s number. For the same reason, 7 means completeness, so 6 also represents falling short of completeness and goodness. I suppose putting 3 6’s in a row – 666 – is a perversion of the Trinity.

144,000:

“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

Revelation 7:3-4

Some think that 144,000 is the number of people allowed into Heaven. Indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses used to maintain that only 144,000 of them would get into Heaven… before they realised there were more than 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world, and so Heaven must have an overflow facility.

Rather, it is symbolic. There were 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 disciples of Jesus, so 12 represents the totality of the church. 144 is 12 × 12. 144,000 is 144 × 1000, or 144 × 10 × 10 × 10, where 10 is another of those whole, round numbers. S0, 144,000 is just a code for the whole of the church.

There are others, but that would take an eternity to talk about. The book of Revelation holds out the hope that we will have an eternity to spend.

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The A – Z of Music: L

This is a guilty pleasure. When I was at college, one year after exams had finished, my next door neighbour started playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. While the premise of the game is morally dubious, to say the least, you were able to listen to some great music from the car radio.

I always remember my neighbour calling me into his room to show me this song. It’s very 80s. It’s Laura Branigan and Self Control.

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May The 4th Be With You

Star Wars poster

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May 4, 2014 · 10:04 am

Inspect A Gadget

My family got a new Apple iPad Mini today. It’s really cool. When I was a kid, one of my favourite TV programs was the cartoon, Inspector Gadget. His sidekick, Penny, had a computerised book, which I always wanted:

Penny's Book in Inspector Gadget

We haven’t, and may not, get to the stage where we have wafer thin computers, like pages in a book, although there is plenty of research into wearable computers (like Penny’s computer wristwatch) and plastic ones, even ones in our glasses.

We also have an Amazon Kindle Fire. I read A LOT and should be fairly tempted by e-readers – but I still love the touch, and dare I say it, the smell of books. As another of the greatest Englishmen who never lived, the librarian and Watcher Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, said:

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