Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feynman and Fire

Today I tackle fire.

Feymman's book “Six Easy Pieces” is a primer on everything in physics, so I decided to read it. Last time I got stuck on page 7 and found something wrong, this time I got stuck on page 16. I'm not saying he got this wrong too, I'm just saying I don't understand it. Here's what he said:

Now, for example, one of the oxygen molecules can come over to the carbon, and each atom can pick up a carbon atom and go flying off in a new combination-- “carbon-oxygen”-- which is a molecule of the gas called carbon monoxide. It is given the chemical name CO. It is very simple: the letters “CO” are practically a picture of that molecule. But carbon attracts oxygen much more than oxygen attracts oxygen or carbon attracts carbon. Therefore in this process the oxygen may arrive with only a little energy, but the oxygen and carbon will snap together with a tremendous vengeance and commotion, and everything near them will pick up energy. A large amount of motion energy, kinetic energy, is thus generated. This of course is called burning; we are getting heat from the combination of oxygen and carbon. The heat is ordinarily in the form of the molecular motion of the hot gas, but in certain circumstances it can be so enormous that it generates light. That is how one gets flames.

He's explaining chemical reactions and how you get fire. He says that you get light and flame when carbon and oxygen atoms smash together to form a new molecule. He says this agitates the molecules around them and that causes heat. But I don't see how.

I could see it if say, fire was caused by atoms flying OFF a molecule. They could hit molecules around them with great force, which would make those hit others which in turn hit more. Fast moving molecules cause heat. Lots of heat is one of the things you need to make fire.

But atoms imploding? I don't get that. Maybe it's like two people seeing each other across a crowded room? Only instead of walking through the crowd, they run, smashing into everyone that's in the way? But he said the others don't get agitated until after the carbon and oxygen meet.

Again, I could see it if the collision had pieces break off, flying everywhere with such force that these pieces bumped the molecules around them, but that doesn't happen at the molecular level, so I just couldn't get it.

So I decided to check into it.

I looked up fire, burning, combustion, exothermic reactions, endothermic reactions and numerous other things and got nowhere nearer finding an answer to the question, so I asked my husband.

He said that when two things collide, you have two principles involved, the conservation of energy and the conservation of momentum. Let's say you have 2 atoms that are the same weight and size which are going in the same direction. One is going 3 meters per second and it hits the other one which is going at 1 meter per second. What happens if they stick together once they've hit? The law of conservation of momentum says one would slow down and the other one would speed up and they'd end up going the average of their two speeds. This change in speed would change the amount of energy stored in the atoms. (The amount of energy stored in something is called kinetic energy).

So at first you have 1 squared units of kinetic energy (which is 1x1=1) and 3 squared units of kinetic energy (which is 3x3=9). Add them together, you get 10.

But after the collision, they are both going two meters a second so 2 units of kinetic energy squared (2x2=4) plus 2 kinetic energy squared (2x2=4) you get 8.

So you went from 10 energy to 8 energy which is less. Having less energy would mean things get colder, not hotter, which you need for a flame. If the atoms hit head on, things would be even worse because they would slow down even more. Which backs up what I said.

So obviously something is wrong with the model. Earlier in the paragraph Feynman says that the carbon came off a solid crystal such as graphite or diamond. Maybe that makes a difference?

I'll try and figure it out for the next post.
Six Easy Pieces by Richard P Feynman, Penguin Goup, Copyright California Istitute of Technology 1963,1989,1995 Quote is on page 16.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Feynman: What Was He Thinking?

In his book “Six Easy Pieces" Richard P Feynman said this:

“In figure 1-2 we have a picture of steam. This picture of steam fails in one respect: at ordinary atmospheric pressure there might be only a few molecules in a whole room ....”

Last post I showed how actually, there'd be about 143,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of them in that 40 foot square lecture room.

Feynman was too great a physicist to make an error of that magnitude- so I'm guessing there is some kind of a misunderstanding.

Earlier in the book he said you'd have to increase the size of a drop of water a billion times before you could see the water molecules in it. According to Wiki Answers a water molecule is about .0000000003 m big, so each molecule would be 30 cm. big (about a foot).

So think of a magnifying glass looking at a thousands of dots on a page. With each magnification, the dots are bigger, but you see less of them. Eventually you magnify it so much you can only see a couple of the dots at a time. So maybe that's what he meant.

So what if you shrunk that room so it got smaller and smaller. At half the volume, it would only hold half the molecules, at a quarter it would only hold one quarter of the molecules, so at a billionth volume it would only hold one billionth of the molecules. What you are doing is the same as with the magnifying glass, only in 3 dimensions, not just 2.

So let's divide the number of steam molecules in the room by 1 American billion. To do this you'd take the 143,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and knock off 9 zeroes from the end. But that's just shrinking it down a billion times lengthwise. You also want to shrink it down 1 billionth of its height and 1 billionth of its width. So move the decimal point another 18 places to the left. Doing that you get .143 molecules in that room. Put another way, you'd only have a molecule in there about 1/6 of the time.

So it still doesn't agree with Feynman. Of course I might have got the height of the ceiling in the lecture room wrong, so let's double it. That's .286 molecules.

Maybe he meant that when the air is fully saturated. Wikipedia says that the most you can get is 30 grams of water in a square meter of air. I was calculating it with 12. Two and a half times 12 is 30 so let's multiply the number of molecules in the shrunken room by two and a half.

You get .715 molecules. Meaning you'd get a molecule in there about 70% of the time. It's still not what Feynman said. So I think he got it wrong. My husband who understands physics very well (and has an Honours degree in Mathematics) agrees with me.
Six Easy Pieces by Richard P Feynman, Penguin Goup, Copyright California Istitute of Technology 1963,1989,1995 Quote is on page 7.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Tackle Feynman

In my previous blog post I took on Steven Holtzner, the author of Physics Workbook for Dummies. I've found four mistakes now, the earliest being on page 10. When I told my 18 year old son about them, he gave me a bunch of other, better physics books to read, one being Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman. This is a series of lectures he did for first and second year college kids at Caltech in 1961-62. These lectures were written down, then carefully edited for publication.

In his obituary, Richard Feynman was described by the New York times as “arguably the most brilliant, iconoclastic and influential of the postwar generation of theoretical physicists.” He won a Nobel prize for his work on quantum electrodynamic theory. Referring to this book, Feynman said “ I tried very hard to make all the statements as accurate as possible.”

So surely there wouldn't be any errors in HIS book.

Yet I found one. On page 7! There he says:

“In figure 1-2 we have a picture of steam.

This picture of steam fails in one respect: at ordinary atmospheric pressure there might be only a few [water] molecules in a whole room ....”

To me that's blatantly wrong. You can SEE steam. In order to see it, there must be a huge number of water molecules in it, thus the statement must be false. So I decided to find out how many molecules of steam there really are in a room.

First of all, what IS steam? Wikipedia says it is water molecules in the air, commonly known as water vapour.

To make things simple, I figured I'd first work out how many grams of water there'd be in a cubic meter of air and work from there. For those who don't know metric, a meter is about a yard, and a gram is about .04 ounces.

Wikipedia says:

If all the water in one cubic meter of air were condensed into a container, the mass of the water in the container could be measured with a scale to determine absolute humidity.... Absolute humidity on a volume basis is the quantity of water in a particular volume of air.

That's exactly what I'm trying to work out.

So, how to you find out what this number is?

Well, it depends on the temperature and the relative humidity of the air, as you can see from this chart.

At the moment, my room is at 21 degrees C and the relative humidity is 68%. Caltech is in Pasadena California, so this would have been normal for them in the first weeks of October 1961 when Feynman would have given this lecture. So, using this chart, making the temperature to be 20 degrees and the humidity to be 70%, you get that the absolute humidity is about 12 g/m3. So in every cubic meter of air in my room there are 12 grams of water.

So how many water molecules are there in a gram of water? Yahoo Answers says:

If you have 1 g of water, you therefore have 1/18 of a mole, or 3.34E22 molecules.

E just means “times ten to the power of” . To make things simple, let's call 10 to the power of 22 a muvillion (a word I made up).

So, you have 3.34 muvillion molecules in a gram of water. But I have 12 grams in a cubic meter of air, so that makes 12 x 3.34 which equals 40.08 muvillion molecules in a cubic meter of air.

Now Feynman said on a previous page that the average [lecture?] room was 40 feet by 40 feet. He didn't say how high the ceiling was, so I'll say it's the height of our ceiling, which is 2.4 meters. 1 Foot = 0.3048 Meters, so 40 feet is 12.192 meters, so the calculations can begin.

12.192 m (length of room) x 12.192 m (width of the room) x 2.4 m (height of the room)= 356.75 cubic meters in a room that size. Now multiply that by the 40.08 muvillion molecules in a cubic meter of air and you have the number of water molecules in a room that size.

The answer comes to 14298.5 muvillion. Written out and rounded off that comes to 143,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 steam molecules in that room. That's a heck of a lot more than three!

So what was Feynman thinking? That's my next post.


Physics Workbook for Dummies, by Steven Holtzner, Wiley Publishing Inc 2007

Six Easy Pieces by Richard P Feynman, Penguin Group, Copyright California Institute of Technology 1963,1989,1995 The quote is on Page xxiv.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Tackle Physics

I haven't posted for a while, and in that time I decided to ditch the study of religion in favour of studying science, specifically, physics.

I gave up on religion because whatever religion you are checking out, its followers expect you to accept whatever they say as truth. On further investigation you find out that what they say doesn't agree with their own Holy Books because most of them haven't even read them. And yet they teach.

Surely the study of science is going to be way less frustrating. So I went and bought myself Physics Workbook for Dummies, by Steven Holzner, PhD because I figured that way I could start right from the beginning and work my way up.

First section is measurements and conversions. Straight forward right? No way you could disagree with the stuff that's at the most basic beginning right?

Well, I was wrong. I've only gotten to page 15 and I've already found 3 errors. Heaven knows how many there are going to be when I get to the more advanced section.

For instance, on page 12 it says that 1 meter is 39.37 inches. But when they calculate how many inches in two meters, they tell you the answer is 78.6. So obviously they rounded it down to 39.3, though any 4rth grader could tell you that you should round up if the last digit is a 7. Besides, they never said you should round. That's in the next lesson. So the correct answer, is 78.74, not 78.6 which they said. But hey, that's a minor thing compared to this question:

Question 15. How many centimeters in a kilometer? For those of you who aren't metric, there are 100 cm in a meter and a thousand meters in a kilometer, so the answer should be 100,000, or 1.0 x 10 to the power of 5. However, the answer they give is 1.0 to 10 to the power of -5, or 0.00001. Hey, they are only wrong by a factor of 10,000,000,000!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

One Gang of Scammers

What do all these people have in common?

Their pictures have all been stolen by scammers to use for Romance Scams on singles sites.

Who they claim to be and what site they are on:

A Mark Leon from Bayard Iowa on
B Shevi from El Paso Texas on FreeDate 24/7
C Andre Francis from North America on Trust Cupid
D Dorah from California on Mingles
E Julius from El Paso Texas on Friendster
F Daniel Baker from Colorado on Tagged and DateMeFree
G Thomas From El Paso Texas on Mingles
H Grace from Sinn el Fil Lebanon on DateAid International
I Andre from Costa Mesa US on EnableRomance (disability site)
J Andre from London England on
K Rob from El Paso Texas on
and Golah from El Paso Texas on the same site
L Marisa from Ohio on myspace
M John from Baltimore US on
N Andre Francis from Costa Mesa on Bebo
O Charles from Ghana on MyDailyFlog
P Osaka from Nigeria on Tubely
Q Anderson from New York on

Of the above, Grace and Daniel Baker have been identified as scammers on anti-scammer sites.

Another thing these people have in common is that they all have one or more of the following paragraphs in their write-ups:
to love each other each day as if it will be our last day on earth, to get to know each other better each day of our life. I want us to be spiritually close to each other and to feel each other Quite the opposite, I.d like us to be different and have different interests so we could complement one another, I could learn from you and you could learn from me.

Speaking about my character, I am not a typical man, but just like any human being, I.m always different depending on the situation and environment. I can be quiet, shy and reserved in a new environment. I prefer to observe and listen to people before voicing my opinion. With friends and people that are close and dear for me, I.m open, outgoing and joyful. I like to make jokes and laugh with people who know me. I have a great sense of humor and a life that other people tell me makes them feel good to be near me.

I love people and I am always kind and friendly. I would like to tell you about my likes and dislikes. I like nature and animals. I like going to the country, to enjoy fresh air and I like to hear all of the music. I like to camp, I like the smell and the sounds that a campfire makes at night, I like to walk on the beach and to be with that special woman that I will love for the rest of my life. I enjoy watching movies, television and reading books as each time they make me see the world in a brand new way.

Some use all three. There are many many more. They are on networking sites, gay sites, S&M sites, Muscular dystrophy sites, deaf sites, straight sites and religious sites. They claim to be everything from artists to a missionary working in an orphanage.

So who are the scammers and what do they look like? I say scammers plural because someone I know fell for one of these guys and she said it sounded like it wasn't always the same person she was talking to.

By searching for key words in the above paragraphs I came up with a person called Monday from Lagos Nigeria:

He has all of the above paragraphs, but unlike the others, he has lots of photos on his page. There are 99 in all, meanwhile the most you get on any other of these sites is 4. Another thing that is different is the comments- they have advice on how to scam people. So I'd say it's a safe bet that he is one of the scammers. Some of his photos have pictures of his friends and family. Possibly they are in on it too. My friend talked to someone who claimed to be his son.

The scammers would have a lot more trouble doing their trade if sites would allow outsiders to report them, but most don't. You have to be a member to send them a message. So, for instance, the three women who are besotted with Daniel Baker on Tagged, will never know. They would assume that if he was a scammer then he would have been shut down. Because he hasn't been despite numerous comments saying he was, they will end up sending him money.

Though maybe they would gladly do that even if they found out. After all, he is giving them romance and excitement and when you are a 45+ woman that is really hard to find. A person I know kept up the friendship even after she found out. She did eventually dump him, but he's still trying to win her back.

There are more pictures of what other scammers look like here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Evolution of the Story of a Shipwreck

Here are excerpts from a series of newspaper articles about an event that happened to one of my husband's ancestors in 1874. His name was Patrick Humphries. It is interesting to see how the
accounts differ. Here's a map to give you an idea of where in Sydney Australia this happened:

Now here are some basic facts to compare the stories to:

-A fishing boat called the Mermaid left Watson's Bay on Feb 8, 1874.

-There were 4 passengers on board.

-A storm hit shortly after 2PM when they were a couple of miles off Dee Why.

-The boat sank beneath their feet.

-There were 3 oars for 4 people.

-One of those who had an oar didn't make it.

-Of the 3 that made it, 2 had an oar to cling to, the other man didn't.

-The 3 landed at Curl Curl, where they hid in the bushes until a policeman brought them brandy and clothes from Manly.


1. Here's a newspaper report with information from a signaling station:


STORM AND LOSS OF LIFE. The following memorandum was received this morning by Inspector Ferris from the signal station on the South Head:-"The fishing boat Mermaid was capsized and sank off Deewy yesterday. One man, named Manuel Jocento, was drowned; the other three men swam ashore."

2. The article continues with information from a police report:

From Senior-constable Carton, stationed at Manly Beach, we were enabled to gather the following additional particulars this morning:-"Shortly after 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon a very fierce squall came up from the north-east and broke over the Heads and Manly Beach suddenly, and with terrific violence. It continued for over a quarter of an hour, during which time it did a great amount of damage to the timber at Manly, sweeping down the trees and scattering them in all directions. The windows of the station house and other houses were threatened to be broken by the heavy fall of hail, combined with the terrific force of the wind.

During this storm-which seems to have been confined to the locality of the Heads and Manly, -the Mermaid, fishing boat, was running home when she was caught in the squall, capsized, and sank about a mile from the shore off Deewy.

The occupants of the boat were residents of Watson's Bay, named Patrick Humphries, Henry Bowman, John Blanket (a Maori, a servant of the Hon. John Robertson), and Manuel Jocento. When they were thrown into the water, they divested themselves of all their clothes except their shirts, and struck out for the shore. There was a tremendous sea running at the time, and the men found themselves making very little headway, and drifting fast round the North Head. Jocento became exhausted and sank, but the other men buffeting with the waves for over an hour, were finally enabled to reach the land at Curl Curl.

The men hid in the bush, until some boys who were passing by discovered them in then- unhappy plight, and gave information to Senior-constable Carton, who immediately procured some clothes and a bottle of brandy from the lodgers at Lambourne's Hotel, and took them down to the men.

They were much exhausted, so much so that they were all convinced that had they been in the water ten minutes longer they must have given up and sank. When they were sufficiently recovered, Carton put them into a waterman's boat, and they were taken across to Watson's Bay.

3. The Sydney Morning Herald TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1874.

FATAL BOAT ACCIDENT OUTSIDE THE HEADS. At 11 a.m., on Sunday, four men named Patrick Humphries, Henry Bowman, John Blanket (a Maori), and Emanuel Jacinto, left Watson's Bay in a fishing boat and proceeded outside the Heads under sail. Off Long Reef, at between 2 and 3 p.m., and when the boat was about three miles from the shore, she was suddenly struck by a cyclonic squall, which fairly lifted her out of the water and capsized her, leaving the crew struggling in the waves. Having ballast on board, she immediately sank.

The men being all excellent swimmers at once struck out for the shore. Humphries, Bowman, and Blanket succeeded in effecting a landing at Curl Curl, after being over two hours in the water, but, Jacinto unfortunately was drowned. Tho survivors' state that they saw a shark swimming near them shortly after the boat went down, and it is supposed that Jacinto was seized by it.

On reaching Manly Beach the men were kindly received by Mr. John Woods, who supplied them with brandy and tea. Messrs. Lambourne and Barcett also provided them with dry clothing, after which they were sent over to Watson's Bay by senior-constable Carton in one of Mr. B. Skinner's boats.

4.This is a letter to the editor. Patrick Humphries says this is an accurate account:

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, March 4 1874 and republished Monday 26 May 1890 at Humphries' request:



The 8th February last commenced with as lovely a morning as ever brightened our coast, and having had for some days previously exceedingly unpleasant weather, the people of Watson's Bay rejoiced at the change, and many boats that had been long laid up were put in requisition.

A fisherman, named Henry Bornan, a Dutchman, determined to try for the first time the first-class fishing boat Mermaid, which he had lately rented, and with him there went forth to sea Emanuel Jesson, otherwise Jacinto, a Portuguese ; John Blanket, a Maori ; and Patrick Humphries, an Australian, and native of Watson's Bay.

They proceeded to the northward along the coast several miles, and anchored off the headland called D. Y., but had not been there very long before appearances to the northward warned them of a change of weather. They therefore got their boat underway, with the intention of coming home, but when about one mile and three-quarters from the shore, in a line with D. Y. Head, Bluefish Head, and North Head, the severest northerly gale known on our coast since the settlement of the colony overtook them, and completely swamped their boat, which from the weight of the stone ballast she carried sunk from under their feet to the bottom.

I shall not attempt to describe the terrible position of the four unfortunate men ! Nearly two miles from shore, their boat gone, and the sea raging mountains high ! They were good swimmers, all of them, and instead of desponding they bravely determined to battle to the last for dear life. They had but three oars, two of which having floated near to Jesson and Bornan respectively, were seized by them as some slight means of aid in their calamity. The other oar reached at the same time the hands of both Humphries and Blanket ; whilst to only one of them could it be of the slightest use.

Then, in that boiling sea, those two men acted towards each other with such bravery and generosity as has never been surpassed, if indeed equaled, in any age or country. Blanket said to Humphries, ' Pat, you take the oar ; you have a wife and little children, I have no wife, no children, am an old man, never mind me.'

To which Humphries replied, 'No, Blanket ; you are old and weak, I am young and strong ; you keep the oar.' Humphries remained with the oar the shortest possible time necessary to enable him to get his clothes off, and then darted away, leaving it with Blanket.

Nothing but their glorious heroism had those two men in common. One an aboriginal native of New Zealand, between 60 and 70 years of age ; the other a young Australian, of European parentage, of but 29 years.

After three hours battling with the sea, Humphries landed about three or four miles north of North Head. Bornan landed about 20 minutes after Humphries, and Blanket 15 minutes after Bornan, all near the same place ; but, alas! poor old Jesson was never seen more.


5. Here's a letter written 16 years later:

Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 19 May 1890


Several years ago he [Blanket] was capsized in a fishing boat some distance outside Sydney Heads, the only other occupant being a well-known Fisherman of Watson's Bay, whose name I forget.

When the boat sank from under them, leaving the two men floating, Blanket secured an oar, but his comrade was not fortunate enough to find any support, then Blanket performed a grandly heroic deed. He went to his friend and made him take his oar, saying " You got wife and children, Bill, I got nobody," and then struck out for the shore without any support.

Both men were saved or the heroic incident would never have been known. I relate this from memory as I heard it at the time. I shall be glad if someone who remembers the circumstances better than I do will give them to you more completely. They are worth recording in letters of gold.

May 17. HENRY T. FOX.

6.This is written by the same guy who wrote the account which Humphries said was accurate. Notice how he gets some details wrong:

Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 22 May 1890


What happened was this. Three boatmen-Jacinto, Humphries, and Blanket-were out fishing four or five miles north of Watson's Bay, and about two miles from the coast, when a terrific gust of wind upset their boat. Blanket, a New Zealand native, got possession of an oar, and seeing his friend, Patrick Humphries, getting the worst of it with the waves, made his way to him and handed him the oar, saying, "'You take it, Pat you have a young wife and little children, save your life; I have no wife, no children, it don't matter about me."

In the attempt to reach the shore-two miles of a swim-they lost sight of each other, and each thought the other drowned. However, Humphries got on shore, and so did Blanket, a mile or more apart but poor Jacinto was seen no more.


7. Humphries writes to the paper to correct the previous letters to the editor:

Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 26 May 1890


Mr. Fox is very much " at sea " though (as I suppose he ought to be), in his narration of what he "remembers" as the particulars of a capsize which occurred about 16 years ago, and in which "Blanket" played a heroic part. Now, as I am the Bill referred to, I will, instead of narrating the circumstances of this sad affair, as requested by Mr. Fox, forward you the enclosed letter from Sir John Robertson, which states the actual facts correctly, and which is taken from an issue of the Herald of February, 1874, immediately after the occurrence took place. Of a truth it is simply marvelous how the particulars of an incident which occurred but 16 years ago, and which attracted so much attention at the time, should become so twisted and contorted, as also in the case of the Dunbar wreck. No wonder that people doubt supposed historical and biographical facts, and disbelieve that Homer and Shakespeare ever existed.

Watson's Bay, May 23.

The paper then reprinted the letter to the editor, #4 above. This series of articles shows you how quickly the details of an event are forgotten. On the other hand memorable words are preserved quite well.

My computer is busted and I'm using an old one to type this so I'm just going to give the websites of these articles instead of giving in-line citations:

1 and 2:

The map is from Google Earth @2010 MapData Sciences Pty Ltd PSMA

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Illustrations by Gerti Mauser-Lichtl
to a story written by Ida Qualtinger
from an Easter Book called "Mein Hasen-Buch"
copyright 1962

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Four Footed Angel

A friend of mine and her partner were at his family holiday home in
Wyong Australia. It's in a residential area but across the street from a nature reserve. They took the English Staffordshire Terrier they were dog sitting with them.

The boyfriend took the dog for a walk in the afternoon. The path they were on had broken glass on it. Normally he would guide the dog around the glass but this time he lifted him up to protect his paws. He'd never done this before because the dog is so heavy. When they got home the boyfriend wanted to take a nap in the double bed, but he chose to sleep on the lounge room floor because he had some dog fur on his T-Shirt and didn't want it or the doggy smells in his bed.

My friend also wanted to take a nap that afternoon, but the dog began growling & howling when she approached the bedroom door, so she turned back and sat down to comfort him and pat him and ended up falling asleep next to him on the lounge.

About 6:30 that evening my friend got ready to pack to return to Sydney. She pulled back the bed cover on the bed  to tidy it up with her right hand. She was wearing a cotton glove because she had recently had a flare up of dermatitis . She grabbed what appeared to be a bit of black fluff. When she tried to get rid of the fluff it suddenly had legs. As it unfurled she could see it was actually a spider! She screamed loudly and shook it off her glove and it dropped to the floor.  Her boyfriend freaked because he recognized what it was- a male funnel-web spider!

These are one  of the three deadliest kinds of spiders in the world. They give you a nasty bite which releases toxins into the bloodstream that cause tingling around the mouth and tongue, twitching facial muscles, nausea, vomiting, sweating, salivation, and shortness of breath which leads to agitation, confusion and coma if not treated with antivenom. These spiders usually sleep during the day and she discovered the spider when it was still light out so he was probably in the bed in the afternoon, just when they had planned to take their naps. If it wasn't for the dog, they probably would have gotten bitten. The funny thing is, the dog minding just came up at the last minute.

As my friend says:

I think last Sunday the events leading up to finding the spider all seemed to definitely work together - the last minute dog sit ( we had planned to go up together without any dogs), even me having dermatitis! (obviously the spider still thought it was in the sheets or something as the glove is so soft so didn't attack me!) to the broken bottle on the footpath which made my boyfriend pick up the dog who is so heavy and it was such a hot day! You cant say its all coincidence. It just proves to me that something / an all knowing being is definitely watching us and is able to manipulate us when he feels like it! We tend to call it God!

The picture was taken from this website:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

People Are Weird

A woman once told me about something that happened to her when she was 10 years old.

It was school holidays and her family had booked a flight to go from her home town of Amsterdam to New York. She was so excited about going. Unfortunately, two days before departure her mother developed a severe ear infection, meaning she couldn't fly. As a result, they cancelled their trip. Magda was very angry at her parents for this.

On the day they were supposed to fly, the plane that they were supposed to be on crashed leaving no survivors. You'd think that the woman would have been grateful, after all, her mother's ear infection had saved her life, but to this day she is angry at her mother for having ruined her holiday.

Weird, eh?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Unlikely Allies: Your Scammer and Your Friends

If your friends found out you were being taken in by an internet scammer, and they had a way to prove it, would they tell you? You'd probably say "Of course!"

Unfortunately that's not how people work. For instance I know of a case where a woman is totally obsessed with this guy she met on an internet dating site. He's saying he's going to prove how much he trusts her by sending her thousands of dollars, which she should then send back, just to prove than he can trust her too. This is a Romance Scam combined with a Fake Cheque Scam. Obvious to anyone, except the victim of course, who has never heard of either. Her friend is suspicious and told her not to have any financial dealings with this guy, and she promised she wouldn't, but of course if she doesn't the romance is over so she'll probably end up doing it anyway.

The woman's friend doesn't want to take the next step which is to prove that he IS a scammer. She can do this two ways- she can get the guy's photo forwarded to her and check it against known scammers on this site, or get his e-mail address and check it against known scammers on this site. But she doesn't want to do this because she herself doesn't want it to be true. She doesn't even want to warn her friend because her friend will hate her for it. After all, people who are in love don't want to hear anything bad about their lover right? And even if the woman believes her, well it's going break her heart.

So the easy way out is to just leave the poor woman in her deluded state, wait until she's been taken and listen sympathetically to her while she suffers the heartbreak that was always going to happen, and the humiliation of having been cheated out of money that she couldn't afford to lose. The woman will think her friend is a wonderful person for being so supportive. So that's the option her friend is probably going to take. That's human nature.

Worst thing is, the woman met this guy through a Christian dating site. When her friend warned her not to give the guy money she replied that she was sure God would look out for her. God did. He sent her someone who could prove to her she was being scammed. If her friend doesn't do it however then the woman will believe God let her down. Which He didn't. I'm trying to convince her friend to tell her (I don't even know her name), but if I push too hard, I will lose a friend too. And so it goes. So the strongest allies to a scammer turn out to be the victim's best friends, who won't tell even if they know about it.

Lovely isn't it?
....................................... has some of the most common photos used, has more ways you can tell if you are dealing with a scammer.
A high percentage of the listings on dating sites are put there by scammers, so look out!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Research Diary 3: What Made Moses Glow?

Not much luck today. Cronus looks like the Seraphs mentioned in Ezekiel but he's associated with the Greeks, not the Assyrians who were causing trouble in that particular time. Interestingly he was closely associated with El, so much so that I often find the hyphenated name El/Cronus when doing my research. El is of course one of the names of the God of Israel, but he was also the god of the Phonecians. If this is a reference to that it is interesting, because under the Phonecian beliefs, YHWH is a son of El, yet here he is being worshipped by El. Weird.

As for the volcanoes. I'm looking for one that is near a desert. Trying to narrow it down a bit I re-read the passage and found the passage where Moses face is glowing after he came down. Made me think of uranium and radioactivity so I checked that out, and checked out if there could be phosphor in the area too. Turns out there is both, so I have to look into that some more.

Eventually I'm going to check where others think Mt Sinai was, but for now I'm trying to get it from scratch.

Also found out there was a Roman volcano god Vulcan. The mythology doesn't at all match YHWH and the dates are wrong, so that's a dead end. Maybe tomorrow I'll have better luck.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Research Diary 2- Olympus, Atlantis and Garden of Eden

Been looking at articles about volcanoes in the middle East. Came across one site that said
there was a volcano in the Garden of Eden:

Another that said that Mount Olympus was a volcano in Māzandarān

Yet another said that Atlantis could have been a real place sunk by the force of a Volcano 70 miles from Crete that was 120 times more powerful than Mount St Helens.

Also found 55 or so volcanoes in the Middle East region- now I have to go find out more about volcanoes because what I'm looking for is a volcano that hadn't necessarily erupted- just one that was smouldering and shooting the occasional boulder of hot lava out.Apparently the region's volcanoes are mild and don't tend to explode with much force.

Meant to research more today but my friend's friend has been caught up in a romance scam which we were trying to investigate.

Hint- If someone wants to send you money from South Africa and then wants you to send it back, THAT is a scam. Check their photo at this site:

I can't believe how cruel people can be- taking their money, well, that's one thing. but breaking their hearts as well? The woman refuses to believe she is being taken in. Let's hope this site will convince her.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Research Diary 1

I've decided to try something new on my blog- a research diary. Usually I don't publish until I've done a whole pile of research but the process itself is interesting too- it's like you are a detective trying to find out the truth by following the clues. There are lots of dead ends and quirky discoveries which I think would make interesting reading.

Anyway,the topic I am now investigating is where Mount Sinai/Nount Horeb is. This is the place that the Old Testament says Moses went up to get the Ten Commandments. It says that there was smoke and fire at the top. Praying about it, it occurred to me that this sounds like a volcano. I don't even know if there were active volcanoes in the region at the time but I'm going to check it out.

My first guess is that maybe it was near Sodom and Gomorrah- seeing as that was destroyed by fire and brimstone and sulphur but that theory looks unlikely now, as the most likely site for these cities (the Dead Sea) hasn't had any volcanic eruptions in the past 4000 years. Still, no one's certain where they were exactly, so I'm going to chase that up some more as well.

Also, from my previous research on the gods of the ancient world I noticed a distinct similarity between the Titan god Cronus and the seraph angels mentioned in Isaiah. I'm guessing Cronus is the god of some people mentioned there. It's another thing I want to chase up because it should make a quick post that I can publish soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Monckton the Saviour?

My husband debated Christopher Monckton at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney yesterday. It was two hours and in that time I noticed some of the debating tricks the Viscount used. I thought it would be fun to pass these on.

How to Debate Climate Change Monckton Style

When it is your turn to speak, walk forward to center stage in a deliberate manner, plant your feet far apart and thrust out your belly, leaning forward as much as possible. This will give you the air of pomposity that will remind people that you are nobility and your views should not be challenged. Further this by using an internationally recognized symbol on all your work to impress people:

Start your presentation with something emotional- starving people in Africa is a good topic. Makes it look like you are doing it for them, not for your own bank account and the attention you crave.

Next relate the problem to how it affects your audience. Scare tactics work well here. People will believe anything you say.and won't notice that you are using your right to free speech to tell people they don't have any. Global conspiracy? Sure! Show them they will be the victims and that they need a lord to be their saviour.

Then go to the topic of the discussion. Here you are at a terrible disadvantage because any graph you put up is going to show, even to the least scientific member of the audience that temperatures are rising. So use distractions and big words and terms the audience has never heard of before. It will reinforce that you are a genius and they couldn't ever hope to understand the topic let alone trust what their own eyes are telling them. They will feel dumb and helpless and dependent on you.

Know facts and figures, be well read and have a photographic memory so you can pull any figure out of the air that you need. If you don't know, guess, but say it promptly with authority so no one will know.

Always make it sound like you've spoken with the experts or that you know them personally and that they are on your side.

Answer a question, but let the other side answer first. That makes you look gracious. Then, say “Well no, that's not quite right”. People won't notice when the rest of what you say agrees with the opponent- all they will remember is that you said it was wrong.

Take every opportunity to answer questions. Use these questions to slide right into a speech of a related topic that you have already prepared.

Always compliment the question, even if just to say it is interesting. They'll be thrilled to hear that from someone who is as important as you.

If the opponent makes a good point, give the shortest possible answer to it and go directly into a question and topic that is as far related to it as possible. That will confuse he opponent and kill the impact of your opponent's argument.

When you are making your concluding remarks, remember that the audience is there so you can comfort them. They don't want global warming to be true- who does? What they want is someone who sounds like they know what they are talking about to reassure them that everything's going to be all right and they will fight anyone who says otherwise.

In the end that's all you have to do.

I photoshopped the Jughead picture which comes from here, and joined it to another picture I photoshopped using one of Monckton's slides and his publicity shot from here.

The top photo comes from here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Awesome Secret Sea Caves

There's a park between Newcastle and Sydney Australia that has some really impressive sea caves in it, but you can't find it on the net or on the Park's brochures, nor is it marked on any sign. It's at Timber Beach, in the Munmorah State Conservation Area. It's 41 km north of Gosford via Elizabeth Bay Drive off the Pacific Highway. You can get to this beach by going to the second lookout going up the hill from Snapper Point. It's only a ten minute walk down.

Here are some pictures from within the caves:

This is the first sea cave you get to. You can go into this one even when the tide is higher.

This is the second one.

This is the third one which is just around the corner from the second one. This is the passage you have to climb through to get to the fourth cave.

Here's a video of the fourth and biggest cave. There are other passages going off it if you are brave enough to check them out.

There are more pictures here and here.

Note: There are also caves at the next beach over called Ghosties but they aren't as impressive as the ones at Timber beach.

If you do go, bring a strong torch (flashlight) as there are many passages that you can't go into without one. You can only see these caves during extremely low tide (0.2 meters or less) so check the tide tables before you go. Also be careful not to be caught by the incoming tide or you could get trapped in there. I'm guessing this is why the caves aren't publicised. I wouldn't recommend this if you have young children. They might slip or run off into some unknown passage and get themselves lost. Teens on the other hand would love these.

To check the tides go to Ghosties tides.