Sunday, 30 January 2011

If you think you've got a weight problem......

.....you should have been at the Royal Society this last week when the brain boxes among us scratched their heads and worried themselves about the kilo.

You see the kilo has been putting on weight.... or may be perhaps losing weight. Who knows? You see the international standard for the kilo is set by a lump of platinum which has been kept inside three dome like bell jars at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures near Paris since 1879.

It is held under lock and key and every now and then taken out for comparison with official copies. And that is when the boffins notice all is not well. A few micrograms not well, in fact, up to 69 micrograms not well.

It is going to take a few years to sort all this out by giving up on the good old platinum and working out a new standard based on Planck's constant.

So when you tip the scales after a shower and wonder why the reading seems to show a few more micrograms or perhaps even an odd extra kilo just put it down to those goings on near Paris. When Planck his done his stuff then is the time to give up on the biscuit barrel and the cake box. Until then who knows if the scales are right or wrong. And if old Schrodinger is to be believed who knows if there are really any biscuits in the barrel?

Which reminds me of the old question. How many kinds of physicists are there?  Answer three. Those who can count and those who can't!

Happy weight watching..

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Dreaming...

...was the byword of Darryl Kerrigan, hero of the Castle, my favourite Aussie film. And we sure have been dreaming these last 7 or 8 weeks as the 5 Ashes Tests have been played out down under.

Did we really watch all that cricket and listen to our radios in the small hours? Alistair Cook cannot have scored over 700 runs or Jimmy Anderson taken 24 wickets. Can they? Was it really three victories by an innings and the rest?

I am convinced I will wake up soon as if from a hibernation to the usual noise of Pom bashing headlines from the Aussie media as our brave lads go under Down Under again. But in the meantime let the dream continue.

Or in the case of Mr Kerrigan the nightmare. It just may be a good many years yet before the Ashes can again  go straight to the pool room.