Saturday, 28 April 2007

Up up and away!

15 descriptions of hot-air balloon photos. For over a hundred more (and the photos themselves) see's picture gallery here

1. A gathering of a large number of hot air balloons all taking off simultaneously.

2. The hot air balloons flying over the road in the ski resort.

3. Another Alpine hot air ballooning photo, this time of a great swarm of balloons all taking off together.

4. The hot air balloons taking off over a cable car.

5. The balloons envelope casting a shadow on to the ground in the snow.

6. Birds eye view picture of a hot air balloon on the ground, taken from a balloon above.

7. Balloon flying over the Alps in a Swiss resort.

8. A hot air balloon landing marker on the ground which is used in much the same way as a heli-pad, a cross to mark the spot where the balloon should land.

9. A selection of different company balloons (Canon etc) flying over the Swiss Alps.

10. A helicopter being used to transport the envelope and basket back to resort. In Alpine ballooning, the helicopter will have to be used as it is impossible to drive in the snow.

11. The basket and envelope being dropped off back at the starting point.

12. A bunch of hot air balloons waiting for take off at the Alpine Balloon Meet in Switzerland.

13. Hot air balloons flying over the Swiss Alps.

14. Serene, quiet beauty as a hot air balloon flies over the Alps of Switzerland.

15. Alpine Balloon Meet in Chateau D Oex, Switzerland.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Saturn (3)

List of recent news from the world of Saturn. For more stories (as well as views and movies), visit Saturn Today, "Your Daily Source of Saturn News" here (or give them a ring...)

[Sunday, April 22, 2007] The Cassini spacecraft gazes upward at the face of giant Saturn, seeing beyond the equator to where ring shadows fall across the bluish northern latitudes.

[Saturday, April 21, 2007] A group of friends gazes upward at Saturn through a telescope in a suburban backyard, seeing a tiny, bright-white dot, precisely-ringed, on a black background the size of a coin.

[Friday, April 6, 2007] Cassini spacecraft view shows details of Saturn's outer A ring, including the Encke and Keeler gaps. The A ring brightens substantially outside the Keeler Gap.

[Friday, April 6, 2007] Infrared view from high above Saturn's ringplane highlights the contrast in the cloud bands, the dimly glowing rings and their shadows on the gas giant planet. The overall effect is stirring.

[Monday, April 2, 2007] The Cassini spacecraft gazes toward the multiple strands of the ever-changing F ring, also sighting Atlas at its station just beyond the A ring edge.

[Wednesday, March 28, 2007] Cassini takes in a sweeping view of Saturn's south polar region as the planet's shadow masks the rings and bright, icy Mimas looks on from left.

[Wednesday, March 28, 2007] A serene orb of ice is set against the gentle pastel clouds of giant Saturn. Rhea transits the face of the gas giant, whose darkened rings and their planet-hugging shadows appear near upper right.

Saturn (2)

Here is a poem (a list of lines) by Robert Browning.

My Star
All, that I know
Of a certain star
Is, it can throw
(Like the angled spar)
Now a dart of red,
Now a dart of blue
Till my friends have said
They would fain see, too,
My star that dartles the red and the blue!
Then it stops like a bird; like a flower, hangs furled:
They must solace themselves with the Saturn above it.
What matter to me if their star is a world?
Mine has opened its soul to me; therefore I love it.


Here is a list of Saturn's moons. For more information about Saturn and its many moons visit NASA's Saturn page here

1. Albiorix
2. Atlas
3. Calypso
4. Daphnis
5. Dione
6. Enceladus
7. Epimetheus
8. Erriapo
9. Helene
10. Hyperion
11. Iapetus
12. Ijiraq
13. Janus
14. Kiviuq
15. Mimas
16. Methone
17. Mundilfari
18. Paaliaq
19. Narvi
20. Pan
21. Pallene
22. Pandora
23. Phoebe
24. Polydeuces
25. Prometheus
26. Rhea
27. Siarnaq
28. Skathi
29. Suttungr
30. Tarvos
31. Telesto
32. Tethys
33. Thrymr
34. Titan
35. Ymir
36. S/2004 S7
37. S/2004 S8
38. S/2004 S9
39. S/2004 S10
40. S/2004 S11
41. S/2004 S12
42. S/2004 S13
43. S/2004 S14
44. S/2004 S15
45. S/2004 S16
46. S/2004 S17
47. S/2004 S18
48. S/2004 S19
49. S/2006 S1
50. S/2006 S2
51. S/2006 S3
52. S/2006 S4
53. S/2006 S5
54. S/2006 S6
55. S/2006 S7
56. S/2006 S8

Saturday, 21 April 2007

19th Century Picnic Luncheons

Two Picnic Luncheons for Twenty Persons - Summer
(From Mrs Beeton's Household Management, 1891)

No. 1
5 lbs of Cold Salmon
Mayonnaise sauce
1 Quarter of Lamb
Mint Sauce
1 Large Galantine of Veal
3 Boiled Chickens
1 Ham
2 Pigeon Pies
Salad. Dressing
2 Cucumbers
2 Fruit Tarts
Pastry Sandwiches
2 Jellies, 2 Creams
1 gallon of Strawberries
3 lbs of Grapes
1 lb of Cheese
1/2 lb of Butter
4 loaves of Bread
or Rolls

No. 2
4 Lobsters
8 lbs of Cold Boiled Beef
2 Veal Pies
3 Roast Fowls
1 Tongue
2 lbs of Tomatoes
2 Fruit Tarts, Custard
1 Lemon Sponge
2 Jellies
1 gallon of Strawberries
4 lbs of Cherries
1 lb Cheese
1/2 lb of Butter
4 loaves of Bread
or Rolls
1lb of Biscuits

Items for both picnics

bottled beer
soda water
glass cloths
castor sugar
champagne opener

Thursday, 19 April 2007

An Alphabet of Soup

Either hot or cold
French Onion
Have it with a bun
I love it every day
Just once in a while, you
Left over
Or nasty
Roast vegetable
Very special
Winter Squash
Xtra tasty
Yum (uk)

Scotland's largest lochs

For more information about the lochs, as well as "13,000+ Scottish-related links and 3,700 Web page features on Scotland and the Scots" visit the aptly named Rampant Scotland here

Largest Lochs (By Area)

Loch Lomond - 27.5 square miles (71.1 square km)
Loch Ness - 21.8 square miles (56.4 square km)
Loch Awe/Etive - 14.9 square miles (38.5 square km)
Loch Maree - 11.0 square miles (28.6 square km)
Loch Morar - 10.3 square miles (26.7 square km)
Loch Tay - 10.2 square miles (26.4 square km)
Loch Shin - 8.7 square miles (22.5 square km)
Because of its depth, Loch Ness is the largest loch by volume of water.

Longest and Deepest

Deepest Loch - Loch Morar, Lochaber (1077ft/328m deep)
Longest inland loch - Loch Awe, Argyll (25 miles/41km long)
Longest sea loch - Loch Fyne, Argyll (approx 44 miles/71km long)

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Darjeeling Tea-Grading Acronyms and their Meanings

To re-fill your pot with fascinating and fragrant tea facts visit Darjeeling News here

FOP - Flowery Orange Pekoe
GFOP - Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
TGFOP - Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe
FTGFOP - Fine Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe
SFTGFOP - Super Fine Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe
SFTGFOP-1 - Super Fine Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe (top grade)
BOP1- Broken Orange Pekoe One
GFBOP - Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
BPS - Broken Pekoe Souchong
GBOP - Golden Broken Orange Pekoe
FBOP - Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe
BOP - Broken Orange Pekoe
TGOF - Tippy Golden Orange Fannings
GOF - Golden Orange Fannings
OF - Orange Fannings
YH - Young Hyson
FYH - Fine Young Hyson
GP - Gun Powder
H - Hyson
FH - Fine Hyson

Monday, 16 April 2007

A very big number and all the words to spell it!

To have your own number spelled, visit here and type it in!

57843984578923847894358738945782938578439875295984787678789782334: fifty-seven vigintillion, eight hundred and forty-three novemdecillion, nine hundred and eighty-four octodecillion, five hundred and seventy-eight septendecillion, nine hundred and twenty-three sexdecillion, eight hundred and forty-seven quindecillion, eight hundred and ninety-four quattuordecillion, three hundred and fifty-eight tredecillion, seven hundred and thirty-eight duodecillion, nine hundred and forty-five undecillion, seven hundred and eighty-two decillion, nine hundred and thirty-eight nonillion, five hundred and seventy-eight octillion, four hundred and thirty-nine septillion, eight hundred and seventy-five sextillion, two hundred and ninety-five quintillion, nine hundred and eighty-four quadrillion, seven hundred and eighty-seven trillion, six hundred and seventy-eight billion, seven hundred and eighty-nine million, seven hundred and eighty-two thousand and three hundred and thirty-four

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Yodelling phrases

For these phrases and more, as well as accompanying musical notation, visit the 10 Level Yodel Course here

Hod--oh-ooh-dee,-hodl-eh-ee-dee,-hod-oh-ooh-dee-dee yoh.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Monster Trucks

From a high-rollin' and rammin' collection here

Airborne Ranger
Awesome Kong
Bad News
Boogie Van
Bounty Hunter
Bustin' Loose
Carolina Crusher
Dragon Slayer
High Roller
Kaptain Insano
King Krunch
Lil Miss Dangerous
Maximum Destruction
Monster Mutt
Nitemare Express
Rap Attack
Safe Auto Minimizer
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Towasaurus Wrex
Wild Hair

Friday, 13 April 2007

Unsolved Problems in Belly Dancing

When difficult mathematics meets intricate dance, you get unsolved problems in belly-dancing...

1. The Twin Eyebrow-Raise Conjecture

2. Goldbracelet’s Conjecture

3. Existence of Quasi-Perfect Veil-Tosses

4. Infinitely Many Regular Shimmies

5. Snake-Arms Existence and Smoothness

Sounds made in various contexts by Norwegian rats Snip, Cricket, Widget and Squeak

Snip peeps while Cricket grooms his head.
Snip peeps several times in a row while Cricket grooms his head.
Short squeak by Snip during head grooming.
Cricket and Snip are both in a tube hammock, and one of them squeaks twice.
More short squeaks...
Widget gives "chevron-shaped" squeak during altercation with Snip.
Widget squeaks during altercation with Snip
Snip squeak-churrs during altercation with Widget
Three long squeaks by Snip during intense altercation with Widget
Double shriek by Widget, during petting when he didn't want to be petted.
Long squeaks, broken long squeaks, squeak-churrs, then shrieks from Widget during an attempt to give him medicine orally by syringe (no, he wasn't hurt, just furious).
Widget chatters during agonistic encounter with Snip
Longer sequence of Widget chattering, with simultaneous ultrasonic vocalizations by Snip
Snip emits series of Distress Ultrasonic Vocalizations during intense nose-off with Widget (inaudible to human ears)

To listen to these sounds and more visit here

Retired Crayola Colors

Occasionally, after years of faithful service, it comes time for a Crayola color to retire. Since 1903, when Crayola launched its first eight colors, there have been two sets of retirements, one in more glamorous circumstances than the other...

Colors that retired in 1990 (these colors were enshrined in the Crayola Hall of Fame)

Green Blue
Orange Red
Orange Yellow
Violet Blue
Lemon Yellow
Blue Gray
Raw Umber

Colors that retired in 2003 (these colors were booted off by consumers - who also named new colors - to mark Crayola's 100th anniversary)

Blizzard Blue
Magic Mint
Teal Blue

For more fascinating facts about the history of Crayola colors see here

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Questions recently asked on "Ask a Philosopher"

For answers visit the website here

Ann asked: Is there such a thing as nothing?

Lawrence asked: What is it for an argument to be sound? Can arguments be valid but not sound or sound but not valid?

Laura asked: What is most 'real', the chair you are sitting on, the molecules that make up the chair as you are sitting on it, or something else? Why?

Anos asked: What are the three stages which contributed to the change of life from the state of nature to the present society according to John Jacques Rousseau?

Maria asked: What is the definition of love from a philosopher's point of view?

James asked: What is the comparison between Aristotle and the Stoics on the importance of externals?

Kassandra asked: Do we need a solar system?

Richard asked: Please explain the epistemological difference between 'real' and 'true'.

Anders asked: Is it possible to make sense of explaining a word like 'meaning'? If so, how can one try to explain (or understand) it?

Hungarian tongue-twisters

List of roughly translated Hungarian tongue-twisters, from the 1st International Collection of Tongue-twisters here

Sour-cherry seed! Are you a cultivated sour-cherry seed, or a wild sour-cherry seed?

I saw a bearded hamster. It was lapping syrup. If a hamster is lapping syrup, it will be seized with a hamster-clamp.

Black bull hoofs are knocking on the checquered stone floor of the pharmacy.

You committed this fake crime, you!

Give me a mouthful of wall, said the wall eating wooden horse.

There is going to be a party on Sunday, if it is raining there won't be one, if it isn't there will be one.

A tiny vole poked the tummy of another tiny vole, then the tiny vole who got his tummy poked also poked the tummy of the tiny vole who had poked his tummy.

The whisky-mixer Mr. Whisky, doesn't serve mixed whisky.

Two piles of bald worms plus two piles of bald worms equals four piles of bald worms.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007


List of items recently found by shoppers using

gas grills
pond pumps
cat litter box
lawn gnome
disposable cameras
white stripes
sharp lcd tv
gold chain
usb cd writer
gel pens
tennis bracelet
mickey mouse toaster
straw hat
kitchen tv
graphing calculator
patio furniture
key chain
baby booties
handmade soap
stereo system
high chair
bubble machine
camelbak classic
suntan lotion
g.i. joe
pumpkin seeds
shoe stretcher
celtic jewelry
king size mattress
frette robe
sapphire ring
foam board
adidas track jacket
organic baby food
mason jars

Monday, 9 April 2007

Fruit fly genes

A list of fruit fly genes. To see more visit FlyNome, "a database of drosophila nomenclature" here

always early
bag of marbles
fringe connection
glass bottom boat
jelly belly
ken and barbie
out of sync
seven up
short egg
spaghetti squash
Van Gogh
wishful thinking

Sunday, 8 April 2007

American quilts

A list of quilting designs, from a large collection here.

A Bevy of Bags
Aged Amish Schoolhouses
Arkansas Crossroads
A Yankee Doodle Trip Around the World
Balkan Puzzle
Bridal Path
Broken Dishes
Canadian Gardens
Card Trick
Christmas In Ohio
Churning Stars
Columbian Puzzle
Country Checkered Board
Crossed Canoes
Cubed Lattice
Drunkards Path
Dublin Steps
Dutchmans Puzzle
Eccentric Star
Fair and Square
Floating Stars Over Moosehead Lodge
Fresh Apples From the Country
Glow in the Dark Tote
Grandma's Stars in Victorian Roses
Green Mountain Star
Homespun Christmas Stockings
Jack in the Box
Jewels Tossed in a Stormy Sea
Jobs Troubles
Kansas Star
Log Cabin Stars on Mistletoe Mountain
Miniature Wedding Ring
Monkey Wrench
Ohio Star
Patience Corners
Paws and Pinwheels
Pieced Star
Pinwheels on Paradise
Road to Tennessee
Secret Garden A Haven for Geese
Shoo Fly
Simple Attic Windows
Snail Trail
Stars in My Garden
Swing in the Center
Texas Treasure
This and That in Redwork
Trip Around a Paint Box World
Underground Railroad Miniature
Vintage Propellers