Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Just copycatting

Like James Mason (“Halifax is merely the town that spawned me.”) I have publicly renounced my West Riding birthright but am paying the price. Those years spent breathing Bradford’s uncaring air means my head colds now develop into weeks of coughing that scour my bronchia and force me into bed with that hag Catarrh. This evening I had tickets for War Requiem but I detest people who peff-peff during the quiet passages and I have given them away.

I lack the energy to be original but luckily I can fall back on a journalist’s most convenient skill: plagiarism.

Back to that cat. Here’s why quantum mechanics is such fun. At one point Dirac (whose recent biography we must all read) needed some matrix theory. Oh woo-ah but stay with me. The result was this deceptively simple equation: a x b ≠ b x a. But whatizzit? Briefly: a multiplied by b is not equal to b multiplied by a. As the hateful Richard Littlejohn would say: you couldn’t make it up.

My final paid job was to edit a logistics magazine and it’s a field strewn with pomposity. Road hauliers became logistics experts by simply changing the words on the sides of the lorries. One rolled past me today bearing the stultifying slogan: Delivering Global Solutions. Abstract and meaningless. I much prefer another outfit which specialises in transporting chickens: Poultry in Motion.


marja-leena said...

Poultry in Motion- very funny! You haven't lost your sense of humour, BB! Get well.

Lucy said...

Are you anything like James Mason? If you are, or if your huskiness has resulted in a voice anything like his, I would be most interested!

I always think of Schroedinger as the Putative Cat Killer. Salaud.

Feel better soon!

herhimnbryn said...

Oh BB, get well soon. If you sound as 'gravelly' as James Mason, it can't be all bad!

Best medicine? Malt whisky.

Barrett Bonden said...

Good grief, I've triggered a Satanic Plot! It's quite clear that two of the above are besotted with James Mason AND SO IS MRS BB!!! Is my present ill-health psychosomatic and was my reference to this most suave and accomplished of villains the product of my self-conscious? Lucy, you tempt me to lie about my resemblance to this actor (Humbert Humbert! Doctor Fischer of Geneva!) but I could not submit myself for dandling by a woman who is unfair to physicists. HHB - in the end, even that doesn't work. I will now take a vow of silence about my health.

The Crow said...

Hope you are feeling better this day, BB. Constant coughing is a royal pain.

One of the things that keeps me coming back to reading blogs is that they - some of them, at least - help expand my universe, no pun intended.

Your blog certainly falls into this category. I gave up trying to understand unified field theory several years ago, and even Asimov (with whom I corresponded briefly) was no help to me, probably because he couldn't adequately explain the subject on a postcard. But here I am, on a quiet Sunday morning, following links to Dirac and that illogical equation and bosons and fermions, doing my best to grasp an idea when I don't yet know the language.

Not too bad a way to spend my dwindling time on earth. For that, I thank you.


Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: May I suggest a slightly different take on: "I gave up trying to understand unified field theory". The wording doesn't do you credit. Rather you took UFT as far as you could, which probably puts you in a very select world group. Very select indeed, since it's my understanding that Albert did the same and then died.

Dabbling in these subjects I pray (a joke choice of verb) for a more powerful form of osmosis, by which some of the hard stuff will rub off. None of us should, however, apologise for being delighted by insights into how the physical world works. After all, it doesn't prevent us taking time off for Grosse Fuge and Joni Mitchell.

Don't like "dwindling". Embrace the present tense along with "Big Yellow Taxi". Yes, I know it's old hat, but it's lasted. And thank you, too.

The Crow said...

"...since it's my understanding that Albert did the same and then died."

Then, perhaps, I'd best leave well enough alone. :D

Julia said...

Hope you're feeling better soon! And I agree with you about the current pomposity of logistics marketing. It's absurdly far from the nitty gritty of the work they do. My guess though is that we might see a swing in their marketing back to basics. I'd give it a year or less until "We move yours" replace "shiny (and expensive) global solutions."