Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Preparing For The Flupocolypse

Previously my brother has criticised the government's planning for pandemics, which he claimed amounted to sneezing into your elbow. Not so! It seems that the best ways to protect our selves and prevent flu from spreading is:

- Wash your hands regularly
- Don't touch your eyes, mouth or nose with your hands
- Don't sneeze into your hands - use a tissue, handkerchief or your elbow or upper arm
- If you fall sick, stay at home
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Drink plenty of water, eat well, take exercise

(Yes, yes, you all want Raquel Welch and a minaturised submarine zapping flu viruses, or maybe just some kind of anti-flu hat. Sorry, the science fiction mostly takes place on another blog nowadays)

In other news I got overpaid for last month. I had intended to spend it on booze and loose women, or maybe show the highest standard of professionalism and tell the finance team, but now I think I'll buy rehydration mix, hand wash, and tins of soup. Any other thoughts on flu preparation?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Conversation Of The Weekend

Gareth: He's bound to give me a good reference as I taught several curriculums he didn't want to.
Me: Curricula.
Jim: Go and stand in pedant's corner.
Me: Can I stand in pedant's vertex instead?
[Jim and I high five to the embarrassment of the rest of our party]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Quote From A Poem To Unsubtly Comment On My Work Day

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy isloosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

But enough of this; how was your day?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

(Overheard) Conversation Of The Day (and runner-up)

Overheard Conversation of the Day:

One (loudly from 5 metres behind me as I Follow Miss V_ down the corridor): Is that Miss' boyfriend?
Two (equally loudly and equally close) : No it's just some maths guy.

Yes, I am just some maths guy. In addition, a swift glance at Miss V_'s finger jewelry might have indicated to them that, despite going by Miss, she is in fact a married lady.

In a break with tradition here is the runner-up for conversation of the day:

Pupil: Why weren't you in our maths lesson today?
Me: Which period was it?
Pupil: Period one.
Me: I was with 10y1 instead.
Pupil: That's so rude.
Me (muttering apologetically): Sorry.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Conversation Of The Day

Them: Hey sir, you'll never guess what. I looked in my wardrobe and there was a whole other world, with a witch and a lamppost and a talking lion.
Me: Did the lion have some good news?
Them:...what?
Me: Sorry, that was a subtle theological joke. It probably doesn't work if I have to explain it.

Nevertheless I did indeed explain it*. It didn't really work. However I think they got the idea of reading (or watching the film) in your bedroom and this opening up a fantasy world, albeit in your head rather than in your wardrobe.

* The pupil was referencing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which as part of the Chronicles of Narnia contains much Christian allegory of varying degrees of obviousness. Aslan, the lion, stands in for Jesus**, who brought the gospel or "good news". I honestly don't know what audience would have actually got that joke.
** Also for other aspects of God and occasionally other prophets and patriarchs.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Threat Diagrams

As anyone who was in the pub on Sunday will already be aware, dangers threaten us at every turn. But how much should we worry? For those of you without advanced statistical techniques, I devised the following diagramatical method, illustrating on the left two threats discussed that evening, and on the right three threats to Jim's flat.

As we can see there are two axes, Likeliehood (sic), representing how likely the event is and Threat, representing how catastrophic it is. So on the left we have "Girlfriend biting head off during sex" as really quite unlikely[1] but extremely dangerous, while "Drunk man at bar asking for a joke" was very likely[2], but hardly dangerous at all[3].

What we might notice is that the area under each graph is approximately equal[4] and as this area is equal to likelihood multiplied by danger, I call this the threat level. Therefore if we are concerned about one of these dangers and take precautions, logically we should take equivalent precautions for the other. So if after this you are concerned enough after last weekend to look up a joke, you should also wear some kind of armoured helmet whilst in bed.

Similarly, on the right is the diagram for three threats I have identified for Jim's flat. Frogs have invaded the flat twice, making this quite likely to occur, but caused almost no damage. Despite this Jim has often time told me to shut the door to stop letting frog in.

Pterosaurs are unlikely to attack Jim's flat, as they are extinct[5]. As it is a basement flat with three flats above, even if they have survived extinction to attack East Kent, they will be unlikely to damage his flat, at least until they have dealt with his upstairs neighbours. This should allow Jim enough time to 1. update his threat chart and; 2. Acquire a harpoon gun.

Finally Molemen. This is molemen as in half-man half-mole digging monsters as opposed to any other molemen you may have heard of. These are fictional, although widespread throughout fiction especially comics, so the likelihood of an attack is low. The danger however is immense, having an equal threat area to frogs.

What I think surprised people in the pub, was not so much that I was comparing these threats, but that I was sketching the diagrams while doing so. What can I say? I'm just naturally gifted.

A similar way of looking at threats is put forward in this post by The Medium Lobster of Fafblog.

[1] Obviously if one were, for example, a preying mantis, the likelihood would have to be revised.
[2] He'd asked all of us, and frankly we mostly had pathetic jokes. I didn't resort to the joke about the man with 5 willies.
[3] To us anyway; his mockery of my height and a friend's name caused his personal danger level to rise by a small but measurable amount.
[4] However I skipped a few steps in the data collection, so this may not be accurate.
[5] One of the sites I looked at briefly whilst researching this post asked the question "Did pterosaurs survive extinction?" From first principles I must answer "no"; if they are extinct they did not survive, and if they survived, they were not extinct.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Conversation Of The Day

One of the Year 10s who has been blocking me out turned around today and asked for help! In fact she demanded it; just as aggressive when doing the right thing as the wrong thing. However that's not the conversation of the day:

Mum [waving an envelope which, from it's stiffness appears to contain a card of some sort]: Hey, you've got a stiffie!
Me [thinking carefully before replying]: I don't think... that's quite... how I would describe it.
Mum: That's what we used to call it when someone got a card or invitation.
Me: I think it's a wedding invitation. But I won't be calling them that.

Ah, the changing use of English. In other news I now have a classroom key and can get in (and out) of classrooms without having to ask for help. Yay!