Showing posts from December, 2016

The facts of life

"Facts are sacred" Well, no - sacred things are sacred: facts are just facts. But I think the quote is trying to say that facts are true, which is different from sacred - except in the sense that one can use 'sacred' to mean 'inviolable', or 'unquestionable' - or 'matters of faith". A short talk by James at Woking's Cafe Scientific: and an animated discussion that preceded it, reminded me of a statement that is commonly made but that I suspect is not so. In a discussion, one participant may say that something they are asserting is a 'fact' - and that should end the argument, because facts are unquestionable. Except they are not. And I don't mean just in the sense that people sometimes use, where they imply that the person questioning their fact is doing so only in some deluded counter-factual sense. In fact (sic) I would suggest that facts are inherently ques

Slow Driving

Sarah can be a bit literal at times. Today I drove the  grandchildren to school, and on my return what seemed like hours later I remarked that we could have walked in the time it took me to drive. Sarah of course - and quite correctly - contradicted me. Sometimes Sarah does not permit hyperbole. However, I was motivated to check. And she was right. But there is more to it. When you drive, you have to go a more circuitous route - 3 miles in total, each way. In today's traffic, that took me about 20 minutes each way. To walk, I would have followed the towpath along the canal most of the way - 2 miles, so only two thirds of the distance. At my regular walking pace of 12 minutes per km (20 minutes per mile) that would have taken me 40 minutes each way - twice as long as the car journey. With the grandchildren, walking slower, diverting off to points of interest, and probably stopping occasionally to complain of various ephemeral aches and pains and reasons why they could not walk