Not Saussure

May 12, 2007

Thinking bloggers

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 11:51 pm

My thanks to two very different bloggers, both of whom I greatly enjoy reading, Noosa Lee, of That’s So Pants and, belatedly, to Jailhouse Lawyer for both nominating me for this award. I was, in fact, nominated once before, so it’s taking me a bit of time to think of a second tranche of people on to whom to pass this meme.

It’s a bit of a problem with geometric progression, I think. You’re supposed to pass it on to 5 people, so the chap who started it sent it to 5 people he reads, and they then sent it to another 5 each, making 25, and they then passed it on to a further 125, who then passed it on to 625 others,and thence to 3,125, and thence to 15, 625…. you can see where this is leading. Well, according to Matt of Technorati, there are 71 million blogs, which I reckon means everyone gets nominated in about 10 turns if we all nominate five people who haven’t before been tagged..

But thanks, both… I really do appreciate it, and I’ll pass it on shortly.

At least, I think I want to thank Noosa, but I’m still trying to work out the full implications of her comparison between this blog and a Ferrari. There’s a pop-Freudian reading of that simile….

My only close encounter with a Ferrari, as it happens, was when someone was mad enough to lend one to my late wife, when we lived in London.

He’d recently acquired this vehicle and, while he tried to arrange secure parking for it near his flat in Kensington, asked Anna if she’d get it kept in a very secure lorry park near our flat in King’s Cross — hey, it’s central, cheap and, having been educated by the Sisters of Mercy (1), Anna wasn’t scared of anything very much — where she knew the owner. His main business is shipping antiques on behalf of auction houses, so his lorry park really is rather secure.

Delighted to help out a friend, Anna, of course, agreed. I could have told him what would happen if you gave her the keys to a Ferrari, but no one asked me and I wasn’t going to volunteer my opinions since I value domestic harmony very greatly.

Anna, at the time, worked up at The Angel, Islington; for the benefit of those who don’t know that bit of London, it’s only one stop on the tube from Kings Cross, or maybe 10 minutes’ walk up Pentonville Road, which is long, straight and steep.

My beloved  was certainly not going to miss the chance of turning up for work in a new Ferrari.   Unfortunately, she’d hardly ever driven since moving down to London from her native Hull (if you live in Central London and don’t have a company car, which neither of us did, it’s not really worth buying one). Nor, indeed, do they have many hills in Hull, so she wasn’t that used to hill starts, and the Ferrari was, apparently, a bit more powerful than the sort of cars to which she was used.

I wasn’t there, thank God, when she accelerated away from the lights at the bottom of Pentonville Road, but she somehow managed somehow to stop in time for the lights up at The Angel. Astonishingly, both she and the car escaped unscathed; she said it was rather like the first time a horse tried to bolt when she was riding it.

Great fun, apparently, once you get over the initial panic.   And, which was Anna’s great insight, look like you meant to do it, rather in the same way one of her cats looks when it falls in the bath after doing a tight-rope walk round the side and slipping on the soap.         ‘No ordinary person,  or cat, could have done that, could they?  And besides, I meant to do it’.

(1) In fairness to the good sisters, I think they may have found my late wife a bit of a handful. She certainly appreciated her old school and there was a clause in our joint will, which I’ve retained in mine, leaving the school a not inconsiderable amount of money. Nevertheless, she sometimes had the impression they were named in much the same spirit as the ancient Greeks named the Eumenides, or ‘kindly ones’. ‘They taught me the importance of not getting caught.’



  1. I make it 71m blogs after 11.094 turns. ;-) But surely there are some blogs that could never be awarded one. Incidentally, did you know that you’re WordPress’ featured blog for the tag “civil liberties”?

    Comment by thesamovar — May 13, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

  2. Bugger. I must have bought my calculator from the same place the chaps who costed ID cards and the Olympics get theirs from, then. Look, any fool can miss off a few 0’s, and clearly I just did.

    I didn’t know I’m the featured blogger in that respect, though. I think it’s probably just because I use the tag rather frequently, but it’s gratifying to learn, nevertheless.

    Comment by notsaussure — May 13, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

  3. Hang on. I’ve just run it through Excel and I get


    Where am I going wrong?

    Comment by notsaussure — May 13, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

  4. On that table, the 11th turn is 48m and the 12th turn has 244m, so 71m is somewhere in between, no? Hmm, maybe you’re counting the first ‘turn’ as the turn where the original 5 nominees make their nominations, so that after the first ‘turn’, 25 new people get nominated, whereas I was saying after the first turn 5 people get nominated.

    Actually, you also need to do the cumulative sum too. So after the first turn it’s 5, after the second it’s 30=25+5, the 5 original ones and the 25 new ones. The third line should be 155=5+25+125, etc. If you do this though, you still get to 71m somewhere between the 11th and 12th (or 10th and 11th depending on what you’re counting as the first turn). The number 11.094 comes from working on the formula for the nth turn which is (4/5)(5^n-1), and inverting it.

    Comment by thesamovar — May 13, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

  5. Oops, that should be (5/4)(5^n-1).

    Comment by thesamovar — May 13, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

  6. Sorry, I misread the decimal point in 11.094 for a comma! That’s what was confusing me. New glasses are called for, I think.

    Comment by notsaussure — May 13, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

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