Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ideas, Apples and Dollars

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

- This quotation is commonly attributed to George Bernard Shaw, but it is doubtful that he ever said or wrote it.

The first recorded use of the expression, or close to it, was an advertisement in 1917 that used dollars instead of apples:

You have a dollar.
I have a dollar.
We swap.
Now you have my dollar.
We are no better off.
• • •
You have an idea.
I have an idea.
We swap.
Now you have two ideas.
And I have two ideas.
• • •
That’s the difference.
• • •
There is another difference. A dollar does only so much work. It buys so many potatoes and no more. But an idea that fits your business may keep you in potatoes all your life. It may, incidentally, build you a palace to eat them in!

Apples were substituted in a speech in 1949 by the US Secretary of Agriculture.

Here is a recent (2011) restatement of the subject:

"If I have an idea and give the idea away it is not gone, but I still have it! This experience does not conform to the arithmetic of things.
Let us examine this experience from the point of view of exchange. If I have an apple and you have an apple and we exchange apples -- then you have an apple and I have an apple. But if I have the idea that the apple is red and you have the idea that the apple is small and we exchange ideas, then you have two ideas and I have two ideas. It is quite obvious, therefore, that the laws governing thoughts or ideas are different from the laws governing things. If I have an idea and give it away, I still have it to give again, and if I give the idea away again and again, I still have the idea left."


Sure it's corny but isn't there something delightful in being unashamedly moved by corn rather than being cynical and overly sophisticated?

This is from Byter Charles D. Thanks Charles.

A son took his old father to a restaurant for an evening dinner. 

Father being very old and weak, while eating, dropped food on his shirt and trousers. 

Others diners watched him in disgust while his son was calm. 

After he finished eating, his son who was not at all embarrassed, quietly took him to the wash room, wiped the food particles, removed the stains, combed his hair and fitted his spectacles firmly. When they came out, the entire restaurant was watching them in dead silence, not able to grasp how someone could embarrass themselves publicly like that. 

The son settled the bill and started walking out with his father.

At that time, an old man amongst the diners called out to the son and asked him, "Don't you think you have left something behind?".

The son replied, "No sir, I haven't".

The old man retorted, "Yes, you have! You left a lesson for every son and hope for every father".

The restaurant went silent.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quote for the day

"Men thought and fought and wept and laughed and even died in despair over the ideas that look so dull on these pages." 

- Will Durant (1885-1981)

American writer, historian, and philosopher.

More Faces in Objects

Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) which is perceived as significant. Common examples of this are seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, the moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on phonograph records when they are played in reverse. Pareidolia is the visual form of apophenia, which is the perception of patterns within random data. Combined with apophenia and hierophany (manifestation of the sacred), pareidolia may have helped ancient societies organise chaos and make the world intelligible.

- Wikipedia

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Miscellany: Odds, Ends and Personals

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Listening to a news item as to which driver had pole position for the Formula 1 race yesterday had me wondering as to the origin of the term.  

It turns out to be a 19th century expression that came to be applied to car racing in the 1950's to denote the front position of the starting grid.  In horse racing the fastest qualifyig horse was placed on the inside position next to the starting pole.
* * * * * * * * * *
From Byter Brett B in respect of the Ronald Kessler post:

I'm not saying Mr. Kessler is wrong, but I notice he bad-mouths every Democrat, and praises every Republican.  Truth, or bias?   Brett
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When an Australian man recorded his own fart to send to his brother, he inadvertently popped out a major seventh arpeggio in B flat, with a trill at the end. It could happen to anyone, really. Calling it his "Magnum Anus" and a "rectum opus", it was the number one You Tube video in the world for one day in May 2015. Cue a standing ovation from musical-fart aficionados everywhere. 


Here is the link to the YouTube item: 

Makes one proud to be Australian. That should have been in Eurovision instead of Guy Sebastian.

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The following obituary was sent to me as an email under the subject heading "An Obituary that appeared in the London Times." It was sent to me by Byter Sue De L and is based on an item by Lori Borgman, which can be read at:

I am unaware as to whether it appeared in The Times, as stated, but it was read on the BBC, see:

You may not agree with all the comments made but a lot of it makes good sense, which is probably a sibling of Common Sense.

The Death of Common Sense.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm:

Life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults are in charge not children)

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of an 8 year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims,

Common sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common sense finally gave up the will to live, after a women failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common sense was preceded in death, by his parents, truth and trust

His wife, discretion

His daughter, Responsibility

His son, reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers

I know my rights

I want my rights

I want it now

I’m a victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on if not, join the majority and do nothing.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lieutenant-General David Morrison retires

On 14 May 2015 Chief of the Australian Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison retired after 36 years of military service.

My reason in mentioning this is that at a time when most people would probably sum up the Army in terms of Peter Sellers’ portrayal of Queen Victoria – “Join up and travel to distant and exotic places. Meet interesting and exciting people, and then kill them." – Morrison’s no-nonsense, non-sexist outlook was an inspiration.

Most notably in 2013 he gave a short speech in respect of an internet sex-ring in the Army that went by the name of the Jedi Council. 

The speech may be heard and seen by clicking on the following link:

The text of the speech follows.

It is well worth reading again.

“Earlier today I addressed the media and through them and the Australian public about ongoing investigations in to a group of officers and NCO’s whose conduct, if proven, has not only brought the Australia Army into disrepute, but has let down everyone of you and all of those whose past service has won them the respect of our nation. 
There are limits to how much I can tell you because the investigations into this network by both the NSW Police and the ADF Investigative Service are ongoing, but evidence collected to date has identified a group of men, within our ranks, who have allegedly produced highly inappropriate material demeaning women and distributed it on the internet and Defence's email networks. If this is true, then the actions of these members are in direct contravention to every value that the Australian Army stands for. 
By now I assume you know my attitude to this type of conduct. I have stated categorically, many times, that the Army has to be an inclusive organisation in which every soldier, man and woman, is able to reach their full potential and is encouraged to do so. Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this Army. Our service has been engaged in continuous operations since 1999 and in its longest war ever, in Afghanistan. On all operations female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian Army. They are vital to us, maintaining our capability now and into the future. 
If that does not suit you, then get out! 
You may find another employer where your attitude and behaviour is acceptable, but I doubt it. The same goes to those who think toughness is built on humiliating others. 
Every one of us is responsible for the culture and reputation of our army and the environment in which we work. If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it. No one has ever explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honours the traditions of the Australian Army. 
I will be ruthless in ridding the army of people who cannot live up to its values and I need everyone of you to support me in achieving this. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. That goes for all of us but especially those who, by their rank, have a leadership role. 
If we are a great national institution, if we care about the legacy left to us by those who have served before us, if we care about the legacy we leave to those who, in turn will protect and secure Australia, then it is up to us to make a difference. If you’re not up to it, find something else to do with your life. There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters.”

– Chief of the Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison speech transcript.