What I’ve Learned This Week.

Hello you!  Aw I’m so thrilled to see you here, thank you so much for coming.  I could do with a cheery friend with a smiling face.  Fancy a coffee?  Tea?  You sit down at the table and I’ll pour us a drink.  Help yourself to biscuits!

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So … you’re here to find out what I’ve learned this week aren’t you?  Well… I’d better make a start then!

This week I seem to have spent ages crying over one thing or another.  Things I’ve seen on the news.  A programme about a footballer whose wife had passed on (from Cancer), leaving him and three children.  (wept several times during that programme).  I cried hot tears for the Liberian children in West Africa, and all of the children living in poverty around the world, when I watched one of our annual big fund-raisers – Comic Relief – on TV.  (I donated.  Like I wouldn’t?).   Oh … and other things had me in tears … some of them piffling little things and then others which weren’t in the least bit piffling,  but I’m not going to list and share them because if I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster, I don’t want to put you on one as well!  eek!

I’ve learnt that just as I sit down to visit ‘my reader’  (a wonderful device on WordPress,  where all the blogs a person follows, with all the latest blog posts, are all listed out for them on one continuous page!) …  and have a look at all the blogs I follow and leave comments or likes etc….  it’s right at that VERY moment that the phone rings; or the door knocks; or it’s time for lunch/dinner/something/or other.  And I think I’m now so far behind on all the fabulous people’s blogs I follow, that I’ll never catch up ever again!  But … I’m trying.  I really am.  So bear with me if I haven’t been to your blog yet…  I’ll be getting there very soon.

I’ve learned this week ….  rather a lot about Octopuses.  (… not Octopi.  Octopuses is the preferred plural).

People of the world who watch the news (and especially those who love football)  for sure will remember that eight-tentacled seer – Paul the Octopus – who was used to predict football scores during the World Cup in 2010.  Yes?  Well for those who don’t know or would like a reminder … here’s a very short video of Paul, choosing the final ‘winner’ (in his opinion) …

During the 2010 World Cup, the cephalopod pundit, living in a German  Sea-life centre was SO accurate in his forecasting that he became an international headline.  He got nine out of ten matches in that tournament SPOT ON!  When it came to predicting a football winner, this little chap was amazing.

Now before I go any further …  I’m not a football fan.  Not even a teeny bit.  In fact I dislike it so much that I can’t be in the same room as a television which is broadcasting it.  The noise, the roar of the crowd, the wails and ‘woo hoos’,  I can’t bear it.  (Now you see why I have a craft room   🙂   lol).

Anyhoo …back to Paul..  There were, of course, people who said when Paul fished a tasty mussel out of a box which was ‘wearing’ the flag of one of the football teams who were in a forthcoming match, it was just coincidence that he picked the winner.

However they couldn’t have been more wrong.  An Australian philosopher, Peter Godfrey-Smith had detailed his own opinion of the Octopus, and upon reading it, it soon becomes clear that Paul was no ‘one-off’.   Godfrey-Smith told of one captive octopus that lived in a laboratory tank.  He said that they are very particular about their diet.  They like crab, eased fresh from the shell.

In this experiment, a researcher had been feeding captives chunks of frozen squid.  One day, as she made her way down the row of tanks, the scientist’s noticed one of the Octopuses in the tanks.

“It had not eaten its squid, but was holding it up conspicuously,” Godfrey-Smith writes.  “As she stood there, the octopus made its way slowly across the tank to the outflow pipe, watching her all the way.  Then, still watching her, it dumped the bit of squid down the drain”.

She wasn’t impressed with the food in that restaurant, that’s for sure!

Getty Images Credit

credit:  Getty Images

An octopus has no bones,  its bone-free body can be ‘re-made’ to fit the space available, and its skin –  (and this might surprise you)can see!  An octopus’ skin is rippling with little receptors that react to light and allow it to navigate its way around the depths of the ocean, changing colour as it goes.

Sadly, these fascinating, cunning, clever creatures don’t live much past the age of two.  And this is why no one ever saw Paul back on the footballers seats, prophesising who was going to win the next match.  Paul passed away shortly after the end of the football tournament in 2010 which made him famous world-wide.  A fabulous one season wonder.

More about Professor Godfrey Smith and Octopuses, along with a photograph of the man himself, can be found on the following link,  which will open in another window for you:-   Harvard Gazette – Thinking like an octopus

So .. what else did I learn? . . .

Ohhh… I learned this, about the Prime Minister’s Residence, at number 10 Downing Street,  here in the United Kingdom…

It is only since Arthur Balfour became Prime Minister in 1902 that the Prime Minister has been expected to live at No. 10.  Only one former Prime Minister has ever died there:  Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who resigned as Prime Minister on the 3rd April 1908 but was too ill to move and died 19 days later.  His last words were: ‘This is not the end of me.’

10 Downing Street is one of the most heavily guarded buildings in Britain. The front door cannot be opened from the outside because it has no handle, and no one can enter the building without passing through an airport-style scanner and a set of security gates manned by armed guards.  However, in the first five years after Tony Blair became Prime Minister,  37 computers,  four mobile phones,  two cameras,  a mini-disc player,  a video recorder,  four printers,  two projectors  and a  bicycle  were stolen from the building.  (Not sure what that says about who  …  Tony Blair or his staff.  [gulp])  lol

Ohh, and you’ll never guess what I learned about…. Potatoes!

Genetic testing has proved a single origin for potatoes,  – in the area of southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia where they were domesticated between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Potatoes were taken outside the Andes region about four centuries ago and now they are the world’s fourth-largest food crop, after maize, wheat and rice

Following centuries of selective breeding there are now about 5,000 different varieties of potatoes.

Now let’s see…  there was something else I know I learned, and really wanted to share with you … what the divil was it? .. OH …  TIME TRAVEL!  Now pay attention you lot at the back.  This is good stuff!

According to General Relativity, everything in the Universe is played out on a stage that has three dimensions of space and one of time.  This space-time is warped by the mass and energy of the Universe’s contents.  Theoretically a large enough concentration of mass or energy can distort time so much that it folds back on itself like a crumpled sheet. 

These folds were described by Kurt Gödel in 1949 and are known as ‘closed time-like curves’.  They ought, at least in theory, to allow us to revisit past moments in history by using an idea developed in 1988 by Kip Thorne and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, who showed that tunnels through space-time (wormholes), would allow time travel by taking a shortcut from one fold to the next.

There are still plenty of obstacles to time-travelling through wormholes. Not least is the fact that the only wormholes we can possibly make with present-day technology are tiny: only subatomic particles would be small enough to travel through them. 

I learned more about Time Travel …. but I’ll save it until next week.  I don’t want to explode your brain!  (ohhh the very thought!).

So …  this is how much more educationamalised I am this week.  You know … I’m seriously beginning to wonder where I’m storing all this stuff, and how much of the other stuff is being shifted out.  What if something really important is being thrown over-board, like …  my address, or my name?  How will I know what to tell the Police if I get lost?  “What’s your name?”  I dunno!  “Where do you live?”  Don’t know that either …. but I can tell you something about potatoes which might thrill you!   Don’t laugh … it could happen!

But anyhoo …  we have now come to that time where you sit back,  get comfortable … and I slay you with some jokes.  Well … perhaps not slay you exactly …  perhaps ‘tickle your chuckle muscle’.  …  Are you ready??  Ok, lets go!

The Jokes

I went to a karaoke bar last night that didn’t play any 70’s music…
at first I was afraid,  I was petrified!

My doctor thinks I’m taking hallucinogenic drugs… how do I know?  … let’s just say a little bird told me.

My dad has a weird hobby; he collects empty bottles…  which sounds so much better than “alcoholic.”

My husband and I decided we don’t want children;  . . .  so if someone wants them, we’ll drop them off tomorrow.

What do you call a line of men waiting for a haircut? . . .   A barberque!

What do you call a train loaded with toffee?  . . .   A chew chew train.

What’s round and bad tempered?  . . .  A vicious circle.

and finally . . .

I don’t think I got the job at Microsoft  . . .    they didn’t respond to my telegram.  😀

Thank you so much for coming and having a coffee moment with me.

I hope you have a beautiful Friday, and that tomorrow doesn’t catch you by surprise  …..  (in case you hadn’t noticed … tomorrow is April Fools Day!).  May you find some more smiles to add to those you’ve just found, and I hope both today, and your whole weekend, are truly blessed.

May the winds be soft, the rain be somewhere else, and may your heart and mind work together as one.

Be good to each other and  . . .  may your God go with you.

Squidges ~

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