Archive for Vishnu on a Velocipede

Graphic Magnificence

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Irregular Features, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on September 4, 2015 by awickerman

In my ongoing effort to intermittently and irregularly present to you the cream of badly thought through ideas I present this triumph of graphical data representation.

Many would say a graph of Time against Time is a waste of Time. They're probably right

I am delighted this exists. I may well be alone in this delight

Yes it is a graph of time against time. Majestic is the word I hope you are looking for.

Film of the Week

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Irregular Features with tags , , , , on October 24, 2010 by awickerman

Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. From the writer who brought you Under Siege and Pretty Woman, proving some people will do almost anything for money. I know I would.

Dear. Lord. No.

Posted in Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by awickerman

A whole chicken in a can. Words fail me.

Death and Taxes

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Rantings, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by awickerman

A random post about the US. Not living in the country, or indeed being that bothered about it, on the subject of US healthcare reform my indifference is almost boundless, if only BBC News shared that attitude.

However this story did get a reaction from me, mainly one of ‘thank Buddha on a tricycle I don’t live there’. The idea of the tax man being involved in health care is a terrifying one, almost as bad as the idea of using doctors to run the tax service in fact. As the article (almost) says a fair and compassionate tax man is an entirely mythical beast, which bodes ill for anyone getting ill in America in the next few years.

Still at least when you die in hospital because the tax man has sent you forms instead of medicine you will know you’ve died in a tax efficient manner. There’s the added bonus that the tax man can get right on to applying inheritance tax to your estate instead of waiting to be told your dead. Sure that does mean there’s a double perverse incentive for the tax man to kill people not cure them (saving money and getting to tax your grieving relatives  early) but I’m sure they’ll be fair and compassionate…  Oh hang on.

Scotland’s Bid for World Domination

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on June 18, 2010 by awickerman

Never let it be said Scotland lacks ambition, even now they plan to take over the world through the medium of deep fried chocolate.

The best dessert he’d discovered, he said, was a Snickers Bar dunked in pancake batter and, this being Indiana, deep-fried.

So says Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana and Presidential hopeful for 2012. If a man infected with the Scottish fetish for deep frying everything gets in power there is no hope for the world’s cuisine or arteries. Or indeed the world itself for that matter.

Stedfastly Refusing to Learn – Russian Edition

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2010 by awickerman

In engineering certain problems are only obvious after they’ve happen, put brutally someone has to make the mistake before anyone knows there is a problem. This is unfortunate but a fact of life. However after the new problem emerges, is publicised and even turns up in secondary school lessons as the classic example there is no excuse whatsoever for making the same mistake again.

Today’s example of this steadfast refusal to pay attention is; The Volgograd Bridge. If the scene of a wildly oscillating bridge looks familiar, that’s probably because it looks a lot like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which happened in 1940. And it’s not even like Tacoma was a one off freak, half a dozen or so bridges had excess movement and those were just the reported ones, countless others fell over but weren’t caught on camera so aren’t famous.

Now admittedly it’s one of the longer bridges in Russia, but by international standards it’s nothing special, indeed there are even bridges in Russia that are almost twice as long. There really is therefore no excuse for making such a bugger up unless there is something fundamentally wrong with your design and engineering culture. Mind you that’s probably a given as it took 13 years to build it, even in bad conditions that was at worst a five year job, indeed as the second bridge (for the other carriageway) isn’t open yet it is technically took “13 years and counting” to build.

I have saved the best till last, after this embarrassing mistake what has the reaction been? They closed it for a few days to check it out, but have now re-opened it with a clean bill of health and without modification, save for one change; a monitoring system to close the bridge if it gets windy! If that isn’t a vote of confidence I don’t know what is. This will end in tears, mark my words.

The Joy of a Colossal Cheese Grater

Posted in Almost Beyond Words with tags , , on March 18, 2010 by awickerman

It’s that time of the year, the eagerly awaited some-firm-I-forget Skyscraper of the year award! Actually technically speaking it was that time about a month ago, but hey it’s only just made the engineering update emails. If this is a reflection of the laziness of the updaters or the fact no-one thinks the awards are important I know not. But anyway to the awards.

While the winner itself is dull, being basically just another glass and steel tower, second place is funky. Best of all it’s actually happened unlike other crazy ideas. It is, of course, a stupid idea and will doubtless never be filled, there are far too many skyscrapers in Dubai already. But where as the 800m tall Burj Khalifa is merely over-compensation on a colossal scale and thus tiresomely boastful the O-14 is so strange as to be joyous.

As Dubai collapses in a pit of bankruptcy, mainly due to expensive dick waving such as giant empty towers, few will mourn their ostentatious cash splurging and casual contempt for the basics. I however will miss the occasional gems of madness that sneaked through, the strange joys you get when there is far, far more money than sense.

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