Conundrum Revamped

Forgive me internet, but it’s been just over four years since my last post.  I can’t guarantee it won’t be four years until my next post, but I think I made the site look pretty. Agree?

In the last four years, I married that boyfriend that I mentioned in my last post.  We’ve since started our own podcast called Nerd Culture Podcast and it has been going well for about 3 years.

We have also just launched ncptv.net.  Our first video posted today, check it out.





Foiled That Dastardly Cat! Take II

You may remember my ingenious creative solution to stopping my cat Fang from getting into the kitchen scrap bin.  It worked for some time, but now it seems he is able to open it again.  Seems he’s addicted to tea bags!

I’ve come up with a second even more ingenious solution.  I can’t see him getting this one open any time soon, unless he works out how to tip it over.

DSC00105Those rocks are glued on with Liquid Nails, so good luck getting them off Fang.


This is not going to work. . .

. . . but I thought I’d try anyway.  (Yes, I do realise how spam works and that the guilty parties won’t read this.)

Note to spammers:

Stop leaving comments on my posts trying to tempt me with nude celebrities.  No!  I don’t want to see Daniel Radcliffe in the nude!  I really, really DON’T.

Seriously, that’s just weird.



Yesterday I saw a green combie van near my Mum and Dad’s house.
It made a funny noise as it came up the road and stopped at the
traffic lights.  Sounded like it had it’s horn stuck.  I first thought it was
trying to draw attention to itself, as it was clearly some sort of
business van.   A family business I suspect, as the van was old and
the lettering could’ve been more professional.   It had what I
thought was the word BOOBIKES on the front of it.  I couldn’t figure
it out.  I realised before it turned that the driver was frantically
trying to get the horn to shut up.  As they turned I saw the same
letters on the side but written more clearly and separated into two:
Scroll down. . .

Yes, on the front of the van the 1 and the 3 had been painted too
close together and made it look like a B.


Foiled that dastardly cat!

If you are reading this anywhere other than on the conundrum, then this post is stolen.

This time it was Fang who was the naughty one. He’s learned how to get into the scraps bin on the kitchen bench. After thinking through various solutions, I remembered some table cloth weights I had. I think they were given to me among other kitchen implements by my friend Miztres, thanks Miztres!

Here’s my solution!  Hopefully the weights will make it too heavy for him to lift, and the lemons look rather attractive, for something that belongs in the kitchen.



iapetus1Click on the pic and check out the pictures from Cassini of Saturn, it’s moons & rings.

There’s 24 of them.

It could be just me, but in image 21, Mimas looks like the Death Star.


So now I know why the sky is blue

Have you ever wondered why the sky is blue?  Well, I can tell you.  But I’m not going to.  Instead I suggest you read Bad Astronomy by Philip C. Plait.  He writes in an easy conversational manner and before you know it you know not only the answer to that question, but you will also know why sometimes you can see the dark side of the moon (and by that I mean the side not lit by the sun, not the opposite side to the earth).  Does water really swirl down the drain in the opposite direction in the northern  hemisphere?  Why do stars really twinkle?  And many more. . .

The explanations are easy to read, if any jargon is used it is explained.  

The only critism I would have is that it’s very northern hemisphere-centric.  The author can’t help that though, that’s where he lives and works.  He does make an attempt talk about the southern hemisphere too.  I guess when you are an astronomer though, there’s enough to study in your own hemisphere.  It’s not like you can just quickly pop over to the other side of the earth every time you want to make a comparison.  Although, with modern technology. . .

He also gets a bit preachy when it comes to sceptical matters (highly unsurprising as he is a prominent sceptical activist).  This could be a down side if you don’t really want it shoved in your face.  I find it interesting though.  Some who have already drawn conclusions about certain things and refused to believe otherwise even when confronted with the evidence, however, may find it annoying.

Here is an amazon link so you can see what I’m talking about.  However, you could probably also find it at  your local library.


Sceptical or Cynical

Congratulations to Barack Obama! That’s totally unrelated to this post, but I thought while I’m posting I may as well say it.

sceptic /’skɛptɪk/, n. 1. one who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be knowledge. 2. one who mistrusts and who maintains a pessimistic attitude toward people, plans, ideas, etc. 3. one who doubts the truth of the Christian religion or of important elements of it. 4. (cap.) Philos. a member of the philosophical school of ancient Greece, or any later thinker, who maintained that real knowledge of things is impossible. –adj. 5. pertaining to sceptics or scepticism. 6. (cap.) pertaining to the Sceptics. Also U.S., skeptic. -sceptical, adj. –sceptically, adv.scepticalness, scepticism, n.

I would perhaps delete point number two. I would delete the word ‘Christian’ from point three, and the last part of the sentence. Then that sounds pretty much like me.

cynic /’sɪnɪk/, n. 1. a sneering fault finder; one who doubts or denies the goodness of human motives, and who often displays his attitude by sneers, sarcasm, etc. 2. (cap.) one of a sect of Greek philosophers founded by Anisthenes of Athens (born about 444 B.C.), who sought to develop the ethical teachings of Socrates. –cynicism, n.

This one does not sound like me at all.
I’ve been thinking lately a lot of people tend to interchange these two words, and think they’re the same thing. I heard people on the radio this morning calling themselves cynical because they didn’t believe in haunted houses. It sounds a little negative to me.
I’d like to think a sceptical person is an open minded person who likes to see evidence before putting faith in things. I’d like to think a sceptical person would be excited to be proven wrong about things. I heard a great quote about science on a podcast today:
There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.” –Enrico Fermi

Definitions from The Concise Macquarie Dictionary, 1982 ed.


No, I’m from Australia. Austria is a small country in Europe.

I was listening to “The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe” podcast. It’s an American podcast (hence the ‘k’ in skeptics’). They did an interview with Matthew Chapman (incidentally, Charles Darwin’s great-grandson). Which is not really the point of this post. The point I wanted to talk about is that during this interview one of the Skeptics happened to make a comment that I thought would be a good talking point. Chapman said that “As a European I find that Americans are very disinclined to look at things in an international way”
To which one of the Skeptics replied:
“In Europe, the countries are all so close they’re very intermingled and here (US) it’s almost like we’re isolationist, because we don’t have the opportunity or didn’t have the advantage of living so close to other cultures and, you know, we’re just pretty much by ourselves over here with Canada, and you know it’s like Canada and the United States, we’re the same people- as far as I’m concerned. The Canadians don’t think that!”(laughter).

Now he qualified this by saying “who the hell am I to comment” and I’ll quallify my comments the same way. This is purely my opinion-
Australia is even more geographically isolated than the United states. However the average Australian knows a fair bit about foreign cultures. Particularly American and Brittish because our media is full of it. From what I can gather, the US media is largly US-centric. A majority of their TV is all American, most of their news is America.
Here a large magority of our TV is American, or Brittish. There is a channel dedicated to international television.

I would say it’s the American culture itself (or perhaps the media) that keeps it ‘isolationist’ and ignorant of other cultures. Speaking very generally there of course. I know many Americans who are quite knowledgable of other countries and thier cultures.

Thoughts. . . ?