Sunday, February 17, 2008

Of the week

  • Update of the week: I've placed a customized Google-search box in the sidebar. I hope you find it as useful as I do.

  • Question of the week: Why is the cord of the vacuum cleaner always 20 cm too short?

  • Newspaper article of the week: Using quiet diplomacy to reshape women's lives

  • Picture of the week

  • Quotation of the week:

    "Learning about modeling is a lot like learning about sex: despite its importance, most people do not want to discuss it, and no matter how much you read about it, it just doesn't seem the same when you actually get around to doing it."
    ~ John H. Miller and Scott E. Page in Complex Adaptive Systems


  1. Hi Bee,

    “Question of the week: Why is the cord of the vacuum cleaner always 20 cm too short?”

    One could say that all is relative and it is equally valid to ask why the room is 20 cm too wide or why there are not enough outlets per room?

    This reminds me of an optimist, a pessimist and a engineer going to a bar and ordering a beer. When the glasses were delivered with the beer being half way between the bottom and the top of the glass the pessimist was first to complain; “this glass is half empty”. After which the optimist exclaimed cheerfully; “that his glass is half full”. Last, after taking a moment to consider, the engineer remarked:” this glass was designed twice as large as it needed to be”. This is of course is to indicate that there are differences between the subject and the objective perspective’s and yet the reality remains the same:-)



  2. 'coz you don't buy the vacuum cleaner with the longer cord.

  3. I thought you were talking about this till the very last words. LOL!

  4. The quiet diplomacy link was interesting. On a related, if more depressing, note:
    Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)


  5. Dyson DC07 vacuum cleaner purchased at "Bed, Bath, and Beyond" with a 20% discount coupon. It is brilliantly engineered, it is perfect in every way, and its cord is long enough.

  6. Dear Bee,

    wow, the "search backreaction" button is great news - it's really helpful for me! Thank you!

    Concerning vacuum cleaners, some warnings/hints about full dust bags would also be helpful - or even better, Schwarzschild-enhanced non-filling dust bags ;-)...

    Best, Stefan

  7. Hi Uncle,

    I will keep that in mind as I am indeed on the verge of throwing that vacuum cleaner in the garbage. I'd have already done so, but it doesn't fit in the chute.

    Dear Stefan,

    Well my cleaner has a signal that's supposed to turn from green to red when the bag is full. It doesn't work though.

    Hi Phil,

    I am too pragmatic to ask why my apartment is 20 cm too wide, as buying an extension cord or a new vacuum seems more doable than shrinking the apartment. As to the beer, I am German. If the glass isn't filled up to the calibration mark I wouldn't pay it. Besides this, fire the barkeeper. Best,


  8. Hello Bee,
    "As to the beer, I am German. If the glass isn't filled up to the calibration mark I wouldn't pay it."
    Obviously You never have been at the
    Oktober"fest" in München. :=)

  9. I have. Once. On my 18th birthday. That was more or less a coincidence, but sufficient for the rest of my life. Admittedly, I don't drink beer unless under severe peer pressure. Having grown up in Frankfurt, I prefer Äpplewoi :-)

  10. Hi Bee and Georg,

    As it so happens I was out with my daughter and son-in-law (and others) to have a few beers and shot some billiards. As you know of course I am not a scientist and yet my limited exposure to it has proved very beneficial at such occasions. Not so much for the drinking, yet more so for the billiards. All that’s required is a good understanding of Newton’s laws and the ability to execute in relations to those laws. The catch of course in such circumstances does relate to the drinking; for while you may still retain the understanding of the laws the ability to execute can suffer:-)

    By the way I never observed that my glass needed to be re-engineered:-)

    Prost (to Georg),
    Zum Wohl (to Bee),


  11. Hello Bee,
    "I have. Once. On my 18th birthday"
    Presumably someone else payed for the beer? :=)
    BTW, the pictures of the week, those
    irides, are that real ones?

  12. I prefer Äpplewoi :-)

    Good taste you have in abundance!

  13. Question of the week: Why is the cord of the vacuum cleaner always 20 cm too short?

    The Anthropic Principle.


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