Ted Yoder Rules The World

NOTE: I would urge even those who don’t usually watch videos on 6000 miles… to watch this video on 6000 miles… 
Go on – give it a go. What have you got to lose? (spoiler: it’s time and bandwidth)

Herewith Ted Yoder. Ted is one of the world’s foremost Hammered Dulcimer players. If you don’t know what a Hammered Dulcimer is, it’s the thing that Ted is playing in the video below, defined by google as:

a musical instrument with a sounding board or box, typically trapezoid in shape, over which strings of graduated length are stretched, played by plucking or especially by being struck with handheld hammers.

And with a Hornbostel–Sachs classification of 314.122-4.

Obviously, the Hammered Dulcimer is wholly different to the Appalachian Dulcimer, which is always plucked. The Hammered Dulcimer is the one that is always hammered. It’s the Amy Winehouse of instruments.

So, without further ado – Ladies and Gentlemen: Ted Yoder! Enjoy his performance, you must.

I’ve never had that much appreciation from anyone for anything I’ve ever done in my back garden.

Remarkable.

Bussessessses

Meanwhile, at the Waterfront, the left lane on Dock Road is reserved for specific vehicles:

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The only problem being that the accepted plural of the word ‘bus’ is ‘buses’. That’s not to say that the erstwhile road painters are entirely incorrect though, merely that they are wildly out of date:

In 21st-century English, buses is the preferred plural of the noun bus. Busses appears occasionally, and dictionaries list it as a secondary spelling, but it’s been out of favour for over a century. This is true in all main varieties of English.

As I mentioned yesterday, visiting Ye Olde Aquarium was on our list over the weekend, before catching the last stagecoach home.

The bird table incident

The weekend started well. I had a bit of stuff to do in the lab on Saturday morning, so I went and did it and then dragged the beagle for a moderate 5km around the neighbourhood. By that time, Mrs 6000 had come home from the important shopping she had been doing, announced that she felt like death (to be honest, she didn’t look like Death – no hooded cloak, no scythe) and went to bed.

We haven’t seen her since.

Still, while the cat is horrendously viral upstairs, the mice will do their own thing, and yesterday’s own thing was climbing trees on the school field and having very good ribs, very good burgers and very average chili poppers from Eat Out The Box. Today, with little or no improvement in the condition of the Matriarch, we hit the Waterfront for Cave Golf (more on that sometime soon), a quick Aquarium visit, and then Woodies burgers and Sushi Hut sushi.

Later, there was beagle bathing and some back garden tennis, which culminated with me smashing my head into a bird table fabricated from a 7kg chunk of pottery slung at an awkward height from a tree in the back garden. Awkward in that it was slung pretty much at exactly my head height. The obvious disadvantage to this set up was evident this afternoon as I saw stars, planets, comets and myriad other heavenly bodies as I fell to the floor wondering who exactly I was, and cursing the idiot who put it in such a stupidly dangerous position.
The obvious advantage was that it was a really convenient height when I put it up several years ago.

And now, another evening alone, contemplating a week ahead full of deadlines (it’s coming, Sam) and with just the beagle and a brandy for company.

And a headache, the likes of which I haven’t known since I can’t remember when.

 

In fact, I can’t remember much right now.

The First Time 

When your club has been around for over 125 years, they’ve played most everyone there is to play –  often several times. But today marked the first meeting of AFC Wimbledon and the Mighty Sheffield United.

And I’m pleased to report…

… that we came out on top.

AFC Wimbledon’s history is short and remarkable, but I think I’m safe to say that (at least until early February 2017), they have a 0% success rate against the Blades.

A bit of science on Friday

Australia is moving

Sadly, it’s towards civilisation (North) rather than away from us all. 7cm a year, to be exact, because of tectonic plate movement. Australia is on the Indian-Australian Plate (can you guess which other country is also on there?) and that plate is moving North, where it collides with the Pacific Plate and the Sunda Plate.

Now, 7cm might not seem like a lot (because it’s not a lot), but there’s been no update of GPS systems and the like since 1994, and now Australia is 1.5m further north than it was back then.

Now, 1.5m might not seem like a lot (because it’s not a lot) (although it’s clearly more than 7cm), but if you are navigating by super-accurate GPS, and the data you’re getting is fundamentally incorrect, then that might have rather serious consequences, as Dan Jaksa from Geoscience Australia told ABC News.

In the not-too-distant future, we are going to have possibly driverless cars or at least autonomous vehicles where, 1.5 metres, well, you’re in the middle of the road or you’re in another lane.

Indeed, so what are they going to do about it?

On 1 January 2017, Australia’s local co-ordinates will be shifted further north – by 1.8m. The over-correction means Australia’s local co-ordinates and the Earth’s global co-ordinates will align in 2020.At that point a new system, which can take changes over time into account, will be implemented.

Can’t we just rather give it a big push back the other way?

Brain Disease

I learned about a disease called kuru when I was at university, but suddenly, it became much more relevant when people worked out that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, Mad Cow Disease – and its human equivalent CJD – Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) had the same causal “agent”.
I use those quotes, because these diseases aren’t caused by bacteria or viruses, but rather prions – tiny strands of protein that gradually destroy the brain. It’s a slow, drawn out, lingering death. And we have no way of stopping it. Any antibacterial or antiviral drug relies on attacking some part of the life cycle of the bug to kill it. Protein strands don’t have life cycles. They’re just protein strands. Prion diseases are (currently) incurable.

What’s interesting about kuru is that it existed solely in remote tribes in Papua New Guinea – specifically the Fore people – who engaged in cannibalism. In many villages:

…when a person died, they would be cooked and consumed. It was an act of love and grief.

“If the body was buried it was eaten by worms; if it was placed on a platform it was eaten by maggots; the Fore believed it was much better that the body was eaten by people who loved the deceased than by worms and insects.”

What’s even more interesting is that these prions attack the nervous system. And the vast majority of the victims were women and children, because traditionally, they were the ones who ate the brains. The elders and men in the tribe were spared the offal, and thus, mostly spared from kuru as well.

There’s more reading on that link above, but the last known kuru victim died in 2009. Sadly, because of the long incubation period of prion diseases (I’m still on 40-year high risk list because I processed patient specimens from suspected CJD cases when I worked in the labs in the UK) we can’t be certain that it’s completely gone, but there have been no cases in the intervening 7 years.

Which probably explains why Australia now thinks it’s safe to drift closer to Papua New Guinea.