$5

I’m not a massive fan of Graham Norton or Christine and the Queens, but I happened to see this the other evening and I have to say that I quite like the song, and I really thought that this was a truly striking performance.

So much better than the usual formation choreography nonsense that we get served up, day in, day out.

Really worth 4 minutes of your time. Promise.

And yes, it’s on here. Of course.

Not old yet

Sometimes, I look at my kids and the stuff they know, how they use technology and their general outlook on life, and I think

Wow. I’m getting old.

But then I look at real old people chatting on a Whatsapp group, and I’m like

Nah. We good fam.

I’d fully advise that if you’re feeling a bit long in the tooth, you get yourself on a Whatsapp group with older people in it.

It’s rejuvenating. Like plastc surgery for the mind.

Land Line Less

We’re getting rid of our landline. I know that millions of people have done this already, but there was a landline here when we bought this house, and we’ve just… kept it.

No longer.

The eventual arrival of fibre in our residence meant that we no longer needed a home phone line connection and could move to VOIP. And while I was adding up the cost benefits of making that switch (I worked it out to be a saving of about R150pm), I came up with a third plan: no house phone line at all. The cost benefits of that one are even better: it costs nothing to not have anything.

Who knew?

Anyway, the long and short of it is that we’ve cancelled our Telkom line and they’re going to send us a final bill and cut us off very shortly. If I understand the process correctly, they’ll then send us some more bills and I have to go and shout at them in their posh new walk-in centre in Cavendish.

Some ridiculously poor customer service will then ensue, with a distinct lack of returned phone calls (to our cellphones (or… er… not)), and there will some more shouting from this end.
Anyway, we should be all sorted by July next year, with the threatening letters from misinformed debt collection agencies tailing off by the end of 2022.

I can’t wait. It’s like we’re living in the future.

 

The Radioactive Boy Scout revisited

Soon after I published the tale of the Radioactive Boy Scout, I got an email from a learned friend suggesting that I might actually be reporting a non-scientist’s interpretation. One of the lines therein was:

 I think you might be reporting a non-scientist’s interpretation

See?

I didn’t argue, because actually, that might well have been the case. But then a lot of my readers are non-scientists, so maybe that was ok.
Yes, it was a story about science, but it was also a story about the human spirit, perseverance, adventure, and the triumph of 1990s American high school education. A tale of a Boy Scout gone rogue (or not, depending on your viewpoint of exactly what Boy Scouts are supposed to be like).

And so I went out and I found a piece that included a bit more science, but also a lot more of the human side of things. A more detailed account of the whole story, containing paragraphs like (but not limited to):

David still had to isolate the thorium-232 from the ash. Fortunately, he remembered reading in one of his dad’s chemistry books that lithium is prone to binding with oxygen—meaning, in this context, that it would rob thorium dioxide of its oxygen content and leave a cleaner form of thorium. David purchased $1,000 worth of lithium batteries and extracted the element by cutting the batteries in half with a pair of wire cutters. He placed the lithium and thorium dioxide together in a ball of aluminum foil and heated the ball with a Bunsen burner. Eureka! David’s method purified thorium to at least 9,000 times the level found in nature and 170 times the level that requires NRC licensing.

It’s a much better account of things from start to finish, and while it does corroborate much of that first version; the extra words allowing for more concise descriptions throughout.
As I mentioned, there’s clearly more science in there too. Which is great.

Long story short then, should make everyone much happier.
Especially the scientists.

Suspirium

I’ve loved listening to this wonderfully fragile, simple offering from Thom Yorke for the past few weeks, now. (Yes, it’s on this Spotify playlist.) So I was obviously delighted to find this live performance for 6Music on Youtube.

I know not all my readers enjoy my musical posts (although, reasonably, how could you not love this piece?), but I do have clear evidence that there are others who do enjoy a break from the endless words on here (including me), and thus they are here to stay.

Tomorrow’s post is about music, but isn’t actually music, which will probably suitably alienate both parties.