Fun_People Updates 11/2/97
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 97 04:32:26 -0800
Subject: Fun_People Updates 11/2/97
[Follow-ups, responses, and comments relating to recent Fun_People postings
that didn't merit separate distribution...
From: Christopher Leithiser <email@example.com>
Re: parking at apple
> Apple's busy, busy kahuna has reportedly shaved precious seconds off his
> commute by parking in the handicapped spot out front - sometimes
> two or three at once, in fact.
> According to sources dragging their prostheses heavily across the
> asphalt, one Apple staffer finally screwed up the courage to affix a note
> to the Dear Leader's windshield. The message? "Park Different."
As a friend of mine observed,
Apple power corrupts applesolutely.
From: "Stephen Nelson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: Fun_People Updates 10/25/97
If you can tolerate another one on the pitch of a housefly, I suspect that
the pitch might change with temperature (as with crickets chirping).
From: email@example.com (Tom Parmenter)
Re: Fun_People Updates 10/25/97
Supposedly there's a number in Vienna you can dial to get an "A". It
is a "Viennese A" (444 cps) rather than a "conventional A" (440).
Re: Totally Suspect Facts
Good grief! You're right!
The dot over an "i" or "j" is called a "jot." The cross over a "t" is called
From: Ben Herman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: Totally Suspect Facts
My god this was funny..... I've never seen anything so whole heartedly
wrong in my whole life. I would have enjoyed more editors comments
I especially liked these two. Why is it people so often confuse speed and
time. (Kind of like they confuse time and distance, Ie. Light-year).
If you fire a Tachyon beam, it travels before you see it..... not before
you fire it!
And I though everyone knew that a noose has 13 coils (ie is wraped round 13
From: email@example.com (Christopher R. Maden)
>Geology departments often throw parties on Oct 23 thanks to Bishop Ussher.
>They're birthday parties for their patroness, Mother Gaia. I hope they
>did something special for her grand hexamillennial anniversary.
A friend who is a geo grad student baked an Earth cake, with layers for the
core, mantle, and crust. Said it took him twelve hours. I said he was
doing pretty well by comparison...
From: Steve Thomas <Steve.Thomas@isltd.insignia.com>
> From: Joel B Levin <levin@BBN.COM>
> (We're ahead of Gregorian, so the _later_ guesses are closer to
> correct than the _earlier_ ones. I seem to recall that 11 days were
> wiped out, plus about four more for the non-leap centuries since, so
> Oct. 23 + 15, or ~ Nov. 7 seems a decent estimate. I'll put two bits
> on that date, thanks
To get the right date we must first ask ourselves what sort of year we're
going to multiply by 6000 to get the right date on which to celebrate.
Plausible choices are Julian, Gregorian, or mean solar.
6000 Julian years after 23rd October 4004 BC Julian is, naturally, 23rd
October 1997 Julian. The Julian and Gregorian calendars are currently 13
days out (that's 11 days out when Britain & colonies changed in 1752, plus
one day each for 1800 and 1900), so that anniversary falls on Nov 5th by
the calendars we normally use.
Alternatively, let's choose the Gregorian year. I am going to make the
assumption that Gregorian leap years occurred in 1, 5, .... BC, missing the
ones in 101, 201, 301, 501, ... BC, i.e. that the cycle of leap years
continues without change over the AD/BC boundary. Under this assumption,
Gregorian "loses" 45 days with respect to Julian over 6000 years, so
Ussher's date is actually 21st September 4004 BC Gregorian. (This is
encouraging; Ussher chose 23rd October because that was the Sunday nearest
(actually on) the "Autumnal Aequinox" and we know that the equinox falls in
late September.) The anniversary is therefore 21st September 1997
Finally, the mean solar year is shorter even than the Gregorian year by
about one day in 4000 years. 6000 mean solar years after Ussher's date is
1.5 days before the Gregorian anniversary. To settle when that is,
precisely, we'll need to be more precise about when the world was formed.
According to Ussher, this occurred in the evening before the date of the
Aequinox, i.e. at sunset local time (GMT+3) on the 22nd October. At the
equinox, this occurs at very close to 18:00. So, the anniversaries fall at
4th November at 2100 GMT, 20th September at 2100 GMT, or 19th September at
about 0900 GMT.
PS I may mean UTC for some of these times, but the difference isn't very
From: Nichael Lynn Cramer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>From: Joel B Levin <levin@BBN.COM>
>From: Nichael Cramer <email@example.com>
> [...] 5Nov.
>Steve Thomas <Steve.Thomas@isltd.insignia.com>
> actually September 21st
>From: "David M. Lounsbury" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>From: "John S. Quarterman" <email@example.com>
> 3 October.
> ~ Nov. 7
OK, I'll fess up. I made the same mistake as some other folks, in that:
Oct 23 *1997*[Julian] = Nov 5 *1997*[Gregorian]
However, as other folks (e.g. Steve above and Vicki R) pointed out:
Oct 23 *4044BCE*[Julian] = Sept 21 *4004[Gregorian]. So I think this is
the date that we really want.
Note that this date at least makes some sense in that it is the Autumnal
equinox and, if I remember correctly the first day of Rosh HaShanah in that
(For accurate conversions, please see the "Calendar Conversion Home Page"
that I referred to in my earlier note.)
The point here is that there is not a simple 1-to-1 mapping between the two
calendars. That would have been simple enough to fix (or ignore).
The problem is that the years were of different lengths in the two systems
(or more precisely, they handled the issue of leap-years differently) as a
result the old Julian calendar was drifting farther and farther our of
phase with the seasons.
For example, when Great Britain switched calendars in 1752 they did so by
lopping 11 days out of the calendar leading to rioting in the streets (not,
as the folklore has it, because people felt they were being robbed of "11
days of life", but for the perfectly sensible reason that it meant that the
average working stiff lost 11 days wages while still having to pay many
expenses, e.g rent, taxes, for the full month).
(Of course this isn't the first time the conversion has screwed things up.
For example it means that George Washington's birthday is never celebrated
on the "correct" day --even setting aside the "President's day"
switch-over. Likewise since Russian didn't swap calendars until well into
the 20th century it means that the so-called "October Revolution" actually
occured in November.)
From: Vicki Rosenzweig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The key point is that the difference between the Julian and Gregorian
calendars is that, on average, the Gregorian year is slightly longer. This
is why the change from Julian to Gregorian required setting the calendar
forward by 10 days in the late 16th century, and 12 days in Britain in 1752.
(If you're running Unix, try 'cal 9 1752'). The amount to set the calendar
forward by is not a constant. In particular, in 44 BC it was zero, and for
dates before that time, converting from Julian to Gregorian involves setting
the calendar *back*. It's like the conversion between Fahrenheit and Celsius
temperatures, where the two scales meet at -40 and diverge in both
directions, because the key is that Celsius degrees are bigger.
In particular, while Ussher did say "October 23 4004 BC," he also noted that
this date was the autumnal equinox (for the northern hemisphere); the odd
thing is that none of the geologists who throw parties for the Earth's
birthday have noticed the discrepancy between the two calendars.
From: Rick Hulett <email@example.com>
Re: Weirdness  - 12Sep97
At 05:47 PM 10/28/97 -0800, you wrote:
>Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (NotW List Admin)
>Excerpted-from: WEIRDNUZ.501 (News of the Weird, September 12, 1997)
> by Chuck Shepherd
>* Extreme Political Protest: At the Eugene, Ore., city council meeting on
>August 6, an unidentified man who had been sitting in the audience walked
>up to the controversial Mayor Jim Torrey, leaned over, and vomited on his
>shoulder. He then walked out and was not pursued. One council member, who
>was watching the man during the meeting, said the act clearly was
>[Anybody we know? -psl]
In Hood River the other day, one of the elected Port Commisioners asked the
Port Director for some files. The Director said he'd already put them on
the Commisioner's desk. The Commisioner went back back to his desk and
couldn't find them. He did the only logical thing, he went back to the
Director's office, jumped over his desk, and began trying to bite the
Director's fingers off. The secretary heard the comotion and came around
the corner to see blood everywhere, including the mouth of the Commisioner.
We think think there's a new virus going around: Marv Tyson's disease.
From: Thought for the day
One-trillionth of a surprise = 1 picaboo
(and a kiloboo is enough to scare you to death.)
© 1997 Peter Langston