Saturday, 8 November 2008

Random Snippets Meme

Cantoris Bass 1 has tagged me to do this meme. I can't remember the rules, but it's something like

  • reveal 6 random facts about yourself
  • notify your tagger that you've done so
  • tag 6 other victims friends.
Actually, I don't think I'm going to specifically tag anyone, but if you feel like picking up the meme, please do so and let me know, so I can read your posting. If you look at CB1's entry, it's clear he's a crossword fan. I have no idea what gems he's revealed in his post. I just don't understand them!

  1. My maternal grandfather was head of the Post Office in South Africa in the 1950's. I didn't realise he was quite so high powered until fairly recently. I don't think he was paid much, despite the top position. At least, we never saw any indication of it.

  2. We have solar panels on the roof of our house, generating electricity which feeds into the National Grid, for which I get the same rate as I pay for the power I import. There was a short-lived opportunity a few years ago when the gummint would pay roughly half the cost of the installation, and I managed to get in there. Sadly, soon afterwards they capped the grant at some rather pathetic figure, so now there's not much incentive. Well, to tell the truth, there is an incentive because there are also these things called ROCs. Renewables Obligation Certificates. The power generators have to buy the certificates from folks like us who generate from renewable sources, one certificate per kWh. Which doubles what they pay me, since they buy ROCs at the same rate as they buy the actual power. Re-reading this, I realise it's almost completely unintelligible, but I don't have time to reword it right now. I'll come back some time later and do something about it.

  3. I love fixing things, and hate throwing anything away. When I was a kid, my father was always making stuff or fixing stuff, and I guess that rubbed off. He did all the servicing on the car, made the dining table when we lived in Cape Town, made cabinets for record players, all that kind of stuff. Now when things break at home, I always take them apart to see if I can fix them, and I often can. Washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, vacuum cleaners. It distresses me that so much is regarded as unfixable these days. There used to be a man in Royston who mended things, but he went bust because so few people brought stuff to him. They just threw it in the bin and bought another one.

  4. I have Dupuytron's Contracture, also known as Grandad's little finger. The tendon on the palm of my right hand that pulls my little finger has deposits of calcium building up inside. As the calcium accumulates, it effectively shortens the tendon, pulling the finger inwards. So now I can't straighten my little finger. The operation to remove the deposit is fairly trivial, but sadly the scar tissue that's left provokes further deposition, so they leave it as long as possible before getting out the knives. It's inconvenient, that's all. There will come a time when, shaking hands with someone I've not met before, I'll have to tell them it's not a funny handshake.

  5. Whenever I wash a kitchen knife I remember Janet in Dr Finlay's Casebook, which was a TV soap in the 60's. Dr Finlay and Dr Cameron were Scottish doctors who lived a quietly genteel life with Janet, their housekeeper. Like the Archers on Radio 4, it was used by the authorities to convey public health information, dressed up as drama. On one occasion they had an honoured guest staying but he was taken ill with food poisoning. Came down to Janet's habit of only wiping the kitchen knives rather than washing them properly. I surmise that was due to the knives in question being carbon steel rather than stainless, so you'd want to keep them dry to prevent rusting.

  6. I was instrumental in kick-starting Jenny's career in Cambridge. After she'd submitted her PhD a year or so after starting in Cambridge, she was casting around somewhat, looking for a research project. She'd often bemoaned the lack of information about the early tetrapods and the fact that all the material was in Stockholm, where the increasingly decrepit Erik Jarvik seemed to do nothing. I said (jokingly) that we should either mount a commando raid and steal the fossils or go to Greenland ourselves and find some more. Jenny made enquiries around Cambridge and soon met geologist Peter Friend, who'd run a few trips to the right part of Greenland around 1970, and he turned out to have a couple of tetrapod skulls in a drawer in his office. The truly lucky part was that these were not Ichthyostega, which was the beast Jarvik was working on, but Acanthostega, so by working on that, Jenny would not be treading on Jarvik's toes. And what she discovered about Acanthostega was truly groundbreaking stuff and resulted in quite a long publications list.


ArcticFox said...

TRULY random facts - but not in the least bit trivial - you're a very surprising character, sir!! Thanks for sharing.


Can Bass 1 said...

My word, old chap. Makes my life look, well, pedestrian by comparison. (Although I did once meet Her Majesty when she came to distribute the Royal Maundy!)

Rob Clack said...

Perhaps, CB1, but if you'd asked me to do the same meme when I was in my 20's I'd have had real difficulty thinking stuff up. Now it's a struggle fitting everything in. A few years ago I was unemployed for about 5 months, and when I finally found work again, I hated having to give up all those things I'd been doing while 'idle'.