SHED SALUTES SHED, ACROSS THE SEAS
The Shed was sorry to hear that Egyptian experts have restored the Mask of Tutankhamun to its original 3,800-year-old gravitas, after it got dropped and the lads at the museum took it into their own shed and did their best with Araldite.
Apparently, the professionals spent months scraping off the epoxy resin and have now done a clean job with beeswax. But we would have travelled and paid to see the original repair.
REASONS TO BE HUMBLE ABOUT SCIENTIFIC BRILLIANCE
The Shed was as interested as anyone to read that gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein, have been proved to exist, but as baffled as anyone about how.
We were therefore receptive to the note of caution introduced into the celebrations by Ian Flintoff of Oxford, writing to the Guardian as follows …
Though a devoted admirer of modern science, including gravitational waves , may I advise a word of caution on two principles: one being that the simple labelling of phenomena with metaphorical language – whether big bang, dark matter, black holes, waves, cosmic dust, or selfish genes – while giving the impression of concrete knowledge, may in some cases simply lead to self-satisfaction. Job done! The second is to bear in mind the capacities of the human brain which evolved in a very specific and very narrow window of time, in a very specialised environment. We should not be too cocky therefore in thinking that everything is within our grasp, even when enhanced by technologies (which are also the product of this very limited form of understanding). A modicum of humility is all I ask.”
FOR SHED SHOPPING LISTS
The Shed is always interested in talking glue and noted a rave review in the Daily Mail for Sugru, invented by an Irish art student out of early experiments with a mix of sawdust and bathroom sealant, and apparently listed by Time magazine as one of the top inventions of 2010, somewhere above the iPhone.
Mail reporter Mandy Francis said: “Part putty, part glue, part toolbox, Sugru feels like modelling clay when you get it out of its airtight packet but turns into strong, slightly-flexible silicone rubber in 24 hours. It sticks firmly to leather, glass, ceramics, wood, metal and plastics. It is also water, heat, cold and dishwasher proof. Also, electrically insulating.”
THE SHED TALKS CULTURE
The Shed has always maintained that one of the best public works of art ever was the Bastille Day bicentenary parade organised by Jean Paul Goude in 1989.
We have tried to track down a copy once or twice since, with a surprising lack of success.
But thanks to Google and YouTube, we can now at least point to a sampler, introduced by Goude himself, at
DEVON 1, CORNWALL 4
As we all know, Woolacombe came top of TripAdvisor’s latest Top 10 of UK beaches. But Cornwall got most entries. The full list was …
1. Woolacombe Beach, Woolacombe, Devon
2. Weymouth Beach, Weymouth, Dorset
3. St Brelade’s Bay Beach, St Brelade, Jersey
4. Rhossili Bay, Rhossili, Swansea
5. Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall
6. Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall
7. Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall
8. Perranporth Beach, Perranporth, Cornwall
9. Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth, Dorset
10. Luskentyre, Isle of Harris
WHY THE SHORTEST DAY IS NOT WHEN YOU THINK
One Shed specialty is training for pub bores, so we are pleased to file a report from Paul Simons in the Weather Eye column of the Times of 31.12.15.
He said the shortest day of last year, in terms of daylight hours, was December 22, as expected. But that date had neither the latest sunrise of the winter nor the earliest sunset, which both happened on December 31.
“This oddity is the result of a discrepancy between time measured using a sundial, called solar time, and time measured using a clock. Solar time takes noon as the time when the sun is highest in the sky, and a day is measured from one solar noon to another, and this varies throughout the year. A clock simply assumes every day is 24 hours, from one noon to another. Solar time only matches clock time four times a year and never in December. Solar time is the correct time, although it would be chaos to change clocks every day. Instead we pretend that every day is 24 hours long – hence Greenwich Mean Time, the average length of a day throughout the year. Around the winter solstice, solar time is longer than 24 hours, hence why earliest sunset and latest sunset do not happen on the solstice day itself.
“This mismatch between sundials and clocks is because the Earth is tilted on its axis by 23.5 degrees as it orbits the Sun. Also, the Earth’s orbit is not a perfect circle. The combination of these two factors leads to the lengths of a day varying by some 15 minutes during the year.
“One other complication is that the dates of earliest sunset and latest sunrise depend on latitude. In Singapore, for example, the erliest sunset is November 1 and the latest sunrise is February 11.”
The full article is behind the Times paywall but you can find it at