Fun Friday Facts.......

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So @Lucy_OVO, if you study astronomy, then you'll appreciate why I was able to challenge @Emily_OVO three weeks ago about the history of Egypt.

Helpfully, the scribe Manetho gave us a "King List" for all the Pharoahs, described by their regnal names. Because it is the only civilisation to have such a list, all other archaeology is dated by cross-reference to Egyptian pottery records.

Prior to the Julian calendar, dates were counted according to regnal years, viz: In the seventh year of Rameses...

In order to establish the corresponding dates in our (modified-Gregorian) calendar, all we need is to be able to fix certain key events. Then everything else can be extrapolated from Manetho's list.

The best way to fix these dates is by checking contemporaneous historical records against rare astrological phenomena.

Thus, the date of King Herod's death (in Jerusalem) can be set at 4BC because the historian Josephus records the lunar eclipse which coincided - a bad omen.

Equally, 1517BC is set as Year 9 of Egyptian Pharoah Amenhotep I because the Ebers Calendar, found at Thebes, records the heliacal rising of the Dog Star (Sirius/ Sopdet) at the start of the Great Sophic Year. The astronomical Sophic Year is 1461 years long, which is sufficiently rare to be regarded as a reliable chronological marker so long as you know from where on the earth the observation was made.

Once we know the date of one Pharoah, Manetho enables us to calculate the rest. So that brings the date of the 1st Egyptian Dynasty around 2400BC - shortly after the Biblical record of the Great Flood.

But you probably knew all that didn't you?
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Erm... I wrote astrological, didn't I?

Bah. Onset of senility!

It should, of course, have been "rare astronomical phenomena".
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Customer: Hello, is that Customer Services?
CS: Yes, sir. How can I help?
Customer: It's my new Smart Meter. It doesn't work.
CS: What's the problem, Sir?
Customer: I can't find which buttons I press to send in my monthly reading.
[pause whilst CS stifles a deep sigh]
CS: I think you require the User Implementation Feature
Customer: Really? How do I do that?
CS: Read the Manual!

Moral:- You can install a Smart Meter, but you can't upgrade the Customer :8
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@Transparent That's brilliant! 😉
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So... it's not just a Friday - it's Good Friday. Let's try a topical Friday Fact for this week:

When you think of the event we commemorate on this day, who comes to mind?

- someone who preached "The Kingdom of Heaven has come!"

- a guy who went around healing the sick

- and driving out demons

- who plays a key pivotal role in the crucifixion story

- whose name begins with a J

What about Judas?

You thought I was going to write Jesus, didn't you?

But actually, the man we all remember for betraying Jesus really did go out performing miracles, curing lepers and raising the dead.

Don't believe me?
Have a look at Matthew's Gospel, chapter 10, verses 2 to 8, where Judas is named as one of those sent out by Jesus.

Bizarre, or what?!
I'm still trying to get my head around that one!
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It's Friday again! :8

You know - I was once thinking of writing a satellite-tracking app, but I had neither the time nor the inclination! 😛
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A Photon checks in at an airport.

"Do you have any baggage?" asks the receptionist.

"No," replies the Photon. "I'm traveling light!"
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Friday news from deepest, darkest West-Country:

A Street-Trader has been arrested for selling flat batteries.

A police spokesman said that after a night in the cells, he was released without charge.
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In mankind's quest to understand Life, The Universe and Everything, there can be few better places to commence that journey than the OVO Forum.

Let's start this Friday with the Universe:

I was fortunate to be at school when everything had to be learned by experiment. Health & Safety and Risk Assessments were in the distant future. Here was a playground to enthrall inquisitive minds around which few boundaries were in place to hold us back.

And so it was one day that our class of 11-year-olds was investigating the properties of gases using Bromine, because it is clearly visible, albeit highly toxic! In front of me was a pair of glass vessels linked together with a tube, in the middle of which was a ground-glass tap. The left chamber held the deadly mix of brown gas, whilst to the right there was a vacuum.

Slowly I turned the tap, ever eager to catch that moment when the bromine was expected to seep from left to right. But alas, we all missed it: for in a moment, both vessels seemed instantaneously filled with the same brown cloud. Imprinted on my mind was the principle that all particles move at the speed of light unless otherwise interacted on by an impeding force (of which there was none in the vessels before me).

Move forward a decade or two and I had come to appreciate the Standard Model of Physics, commencing with the Big Bang - the beginning of all that now comprises the Universe. Until, that is, along came Dr Saul Perlmutter, who in 1998 measured the velocity of Supernovae, and informed us all that the Universe was actually accelerating in its expansion.

Alas! The Big Bang couldn't account for such findings - all theories of explosions being based on the understanding that the rate of expansion would slow down over time as the particles/atoms/cosmos were attracted to each other by gravity.

So we did what all good scientists do... we waited 13 years before awarding Dr Perlmutter the Nobel Prize in the hope that someone... anyone... could demonstrate the errors of his measurements or the flaw in his calculations. 🙂

Throughout those years we weighed the matter furiously and devised ourselves innovative explanations based on things we knew nothing about and that we couldn't detect. And lo: we named those things Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
And behold... Physicists once more slept soundly in their beds.

So "what has this to do with bromine?" I hear you ask.

Well suppose we're looking in the wrong direction?

Instead of contemplating the matter which exists within the centre of the known Universe, shouldn't we be turning our gaze to what lies beyond it...

If, beyond the furthest edge of everything that exists, is a vacuum, then, like the bromine gas in my school lab experiment, wouldn't the material universe rush forward to fill that void?!

Matter would accelerate ever faster until it attained the speed of light - pulled by the "nothing" which stands in its way.

So there we have it, dear Reader - my new theory. It's not an expansion energised by a Big Bang which forces matter apart, but rather, a pulling effect, dragging everything ever onward.

Or to put it another way:

Look not from where the Big Bang's been
- the source of quarks and lux;
For beyond horizons never seen,
The Universe - it Sucks!
Happy Friday everyone! I'm back with another Fun Friday Fact.

As you may already know, today is Star Wars day! Do we have any Star Wars fans on the Forum?

Although I must admit...I haven't watched all the films, I do have a pretty cool Star Wars fact...

Did you know that the actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films grew up in Bristol? Which is where our main OVO office is based!

Dave Prowse starred in episodes four to six but his Bristolian accent was later dubbed over by James Earl Jones! The cheek!

May the 4th be with you!
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If I remember correctly, wasn't Bristol also the city where JJ Abrams held the first auditions (2013?) when they were looking for the character we now know as Rey?
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Time for my second attempt to cover Life, The Universe and Everything

This Friday we'll cover Everything: 🙂

The currently accepted Standard Model of Physics describes that this Everything is comprised from just 17 known particles.

On the right are the five Bosons. They have no Mass... which has nothing to do with their religious preferences, despite the Higgs Boson being nicknamed "The God Particle". 😛

The left of the chart shows the twelve Fermions.

Actually each of these twelve also has an anti-particle. The Anti-particle equivalent of an Electron is called a Positron and when they meet they destroy each other. But that's no matter!

Six of the Fermions are called Quarks.
Don't ask me why. Perhaps @Lucy_OVO can tell us. She's brainier than me, and probably knows a Strange Quark when she sees one.

The other six are the Leptons. You'll all know the Electrons because that's what OVO actually sell you when you buy electricity.

Now here's the interesting fact....

Although in theory Everything with mass (weight) is made from these twelve Fermion particles, in practice Everything we've ever discovered in the universe is actually formed using just four of these. The other eight don't occur naturally.

Protons and Neutrons, which form the centre of every atom, are made from a combination of Up Quarks and Down Quarks. And Electrons are the outer part of the atom.

So what's the fourth naturally occurring particle I hear you ask?

Well it's the Electron Neutrino, which we normally simply call by its surname, the Neutrino. It seems to do naff all.

Now we can make all the other Fermions. We simply send our most prestigious physicists to work at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, where by all accounts they seem to have a smashing time. But those man-made particles have a shorter life than a twinkle in your eye, which isn't very long at all.

As many readers here will know, The Theory of Everything was the title of the 2014 film starring Eddie Redmayne as Prof Stephen Hawking, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

And that brings me to the scene I'd most like to have witnessed... the meeting between Hawking and God. I guess it went something like this:

God: Welcome Stephen. It must be a pleasant surprise to no longer be constrained by space and time.

Hawking: Not half as much as my surprise in seeing you!
I was pretty sure you didn't exist!

God: Well that's the trouble with physics. You spend your life investigating Everything and then suppose you've accounted for all that exists.

Hawking: Well, I couldn't account for Everything. I mean - I could never work out what those annoying Neutrinos were for.

God: Oh, those? Yes, I thought you'd like them. They're not for anything.
I just threw them in there for a bit of fun.

Hawking: Aaagh!! 😛
Happy Friday everyone! Can you believe it’s June already?!

June is my favourite month - not only because it’s my birthday month (and Father’s Day) but also because June 1st celebrates National Donut day - Yum!

Is anyone else celebrating their Birthday in June?

June also gives us the longest day of the year! 🆒

The month even has a bug named after it! The June Bug, also known as June beetle, is the name for several large beetles seen in the United States during May and June.

Of course, if you’re a football fan, you’ll know that the World Cup begins on the 14th June. Do we have any football supporters on the Forum?
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June Bug, huh?

Down 'ere in deepest, darkest Devon we have a May Bug:

Also known as the cockchafer, they rise up from the ground during the evening sunsets. Due to their lack of aerodynamics, their flight is unwieldy, usually resulting in them landing in your hair or glass of wine 😛

Is this what the Americans call a June Bug?
Does it have a different accent?
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Happy Friday everyone 🙂

It's that time of year again. Wimbledon starts next week, the sun is shining and it's definitely summer.

The bumble-bees have done their work and here's the fruits of our collaborative labour...

The moment of realisation that one should've used two jam-pans instead of one...

and the final products now awaiting scones and clotted cream...

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Did you know...?

A strawberry isn't a berry...
... but both the banana and the tomato are!

A strawberry is actually a composite fruit carrying many achenes on the outside wall. Each achene contains a seed.
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That's a good looking batch @Transparent - are these home grown strawberries?

Cream and then jam, or jam and then cream?
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Oh yes - they're home grown alright! 😃

And I'm not falling for that trick question about which goes onto the scone first. I'm within 5 miles of the Kernow border and can't risk a resumption of the cream tea wars!

I find that if you first place a large quantity of cream and strawberry jam on your plate, you can actually use the knife, slid down the edge of the scone, to apply equal quantities of each to the top surface. Then you have to bite it quick before the load falls off.

With practice it's possible to enjoy a good 50gm each of jam and cream whilst appearing to eat only two small scones! 😛
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On a somewhat related note, @Tim_OVO although I don't yet have a Smart Meter, I've been monitoring one of my electricity circuits and observed that it's often been around 250v rather than 230-240v.

Possibly this is due to more local solar-generation in the past fortnight.

However in the last couple of days, I'm now also noticing an over-supply of currant:-

Is this also linked to increased solar irradiance, do you think?
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I've done more extensive investigations into the effect of solar radiation on currant flow. I'm sharing here the experimental strategy for peer-review, before publishing the results later.

In a Direct Currant circuit, conventional currant is deemed to flow from the positive terminal to the negative:

Currant Measurement requires accurate instrumentation:

And by way of comparison, here's alternating currant:

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Transparent wrote:


And by way of comparison, here's alternating currant:

Love it! Happy Friday!
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Mid-July is the season when we get to milk the bees...
... and produce sweet vessels of pure liquid gold.

Top quality honey can sell for a higher price per kilo than best steak. Mine's pretty good, but really just B-grade 😛

I found out too late that honey bees don't pollinate soft-fruit.... which is shame because I planted all my soft-fruit buses right next to the hives!

As that first spring dawned, I watched as a hundred thousand bees rose into air, flew above my fruit bushes and headed out over the fields to the nearest woods. Bah! And so it was that I discovered most of our British honey derives from tree pollen.

In contrast, it's those solitary bees which we need for pollinating soft fruit... so it's just as well I have a garden full of them too.

This large Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) is a species which only arrived in Britain around fifteen years ago, but is already found abundantly. They have a preference for man-made structures, such as bird-boxes... and my hay-loft, apparently!

Like all solitary bees, they fly around whilst seemingly unaware of the physics of aerodynamics, which should have grounded them long before their first flight.
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Loving the theme on your Friday facts @Transparent!! You must have your own farm shop by now, if not you should!!

@Emma_OVO loves bees so this post will be right up her street!!
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I'm a little wary of the farm-shop idea. I tend to produce only the sort of quantities we can use within the household... and then try to preserve food in a way that stretches it beyond the harvest season.

I've been somewhat influenced by travels in rural areas of the Developing World. Some of the happiest people I've met are those living below the UN threshold of absolute poverty (less than $2/day). They tend the world, its soil and its produce in a way that's largely absent from Western thinking. They don't need an abundance of anything... and thus they thrive whilst keeping a low energy/CO2 footprint.

This strategy needs to find its way into the UK energy market. And I think OVO's investment into V2G and the Home Storage technology is key. It will help all of us take more responsibility for what energy we use and when.
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Transparent wrote:

And by way of comparison, here's alternating currant:


This made me chuckle 🙂


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