Friday, November 25, 2011

Not Quite Right In the Head

The world is generally more interesting with people who are "different".   At Thanksgiving dinner last night I heard a saying that seems to be common in America, but due to my foreign background,  I never heard before - the saying is "Half a bubble off level"  or "Half a bubble off plumb".    It's sounds pretty American in origin.  It seems that the term was used by none other than  Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain).  This seems about right given that Mark Twain started out as a typesetter and piloted a steamboat on the Mississippi River.  However,  it is very possible that Twain picked up the saying after he moved east to New York and Connecticut.   Twain  loved science and technology  - he was a friend of Nikola Tesla and they used to hang out together in Tesla's lab. Twain  lost a lot of money financing new inventions. 

Now we get to the issue of the meaning of the saying.   I guess the pithy term would be eccentric. But eccentric has several meanings  -  some quite unrelated -    off-center or outside,   imbecility,  folly , insanity,  capriciousness, un-conformity or non-conformity, ridiculous, comical, odd...wow, ain't English a fine language for insulting people.   :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Standing Around in Parking Lots: Bad Idea

Woman killed by truck before Yale-Harvard football game

(Reuters) - One woman died and two others were injured after the driver of a U-Haul truck plowed through a parking lot tailgating area ahead of the annual Yale-Harvard football matchup on Saturday, police said.
Drinking is an indoor sport.
A 30-year-old woman from Massachusetts was killed after the driver accelerated through a parking lot and ran over the three women before slamming into other parked trucks, said New Haven, Connecticut police spokesman Officer David Hartman.
The woman who died was not a Yale student or affiliate, according to a statement from the university, nor was she believed to be affiliated with Harvard.
The deadly accident happened near Yale University's stadium in New Haven, just hours before the noon kick-off for the 128th playing of the Yale-Harvard football rivalry, Hartman said.
Security around the game was tight and traffic patterns were well-established, he said.
"This is very organized," he said. "This was a tragic accident."
A second victim, a Yale School of Management student, was hospitalized in stable condition, the Yale statement said.
The third woman hit by the truck suffered minor injuries, according to police.
The operator of the truck was described as a young male and was being questioned by investigators, Hartman said.
Yale extended its sympathies to the victims and their families. It said college officials would review policies and regulations related to tailgating at athletic events.
Average attendance at the last six Harvard-Yale games played in New Haven was more than 53,000, according to the Yale University website.
Harvard won the game by a score of 45-7.
(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Colleen Jenkins)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marie Curie - Google Doodle

 Today's Google Doodle is about Marie Curie (144th birthday).

Google Doodle - Marie Curie.
 Marie Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes in science.   The others are  John Bardeen (Physics) and  Frederick Sanger (Chemistry) .  Linus Pauling won his first Nobel in chemistry and his second for Peace. He perhaps should have received two just for inventing chemistry.  :) 

Marie's daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie  won the Nobel prize in Chemistry with her husband,  Frederick Joliot-Curie (nee Joliot) .

Utility Pole Replacement in Cambridge (Riverside)

Last night a wooden  utility pole  cracked at the base and fell toward the neighboring pole across the street. This caused the wires to d...