James's Weblog

Who is the trouble-maker?

Fri, 24/02/2017 - 13:26 -- James Oakley
Godfrey, the trouble-making parrot

The Gossipy Parrot by Shen Roddie, a story that our children used to love: Godfrey, the parrot loved to make trouble. He used to tell tales on the other animals - "Gorrila says that bee has stung his own bottom." "He does, does he?", says bee - and off he goes to get even. One day the lion decided to teach Godfrey a lesson. He fed him all kinds of juicy snippets: "The trouble maker says that crocodile has false teeth", which Godfrey would faithfully relay to crocodile.

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It really is time to choose

Wed, 15/02/2017 - 21:05 -- James Oakley

Yesterday, I wrote about the debate before the Church of England's General stood as to whether to take note of the House of Bishops' report into human sexuality.

I explained that the document, and the process that led to it, was all about "good disagreement" - how can traditionalists and progressives get along together without falling out.

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How to secure a Drupal website

Fri, 13/01/2017 - 10:45 -- James Oakley

OK - I'll hold my hands up. The title of this post is misleading. I'm not going to give you an ABC on how to secure a Drupal site (maybe another day). I'm responding to a post on the Reseller Club blog entitled How to Secure Your Client's Drupal Website.

There is some good advice in that article, but it's mixed in with some bad advice, and in other parts it's just plain confused. In the hope that it helps people, I'm going to try and untangle things.

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Twelve Days of Christmas - Counting the Gifts

Tue, 03/01/2017 - 17:47 -- James Oakley
The 12 days of Christmas

A few days back, I set a maths challenge:

Prove that, for arbitrarily large N, the total number of gifts given up to and including day N is

( N (N+1) (N+2) ) / 6

I hope you enjoyed it. It's time for a solution:

Lemma: Number of gifts on Day N

First, we need a lemma. (In mathematics, a lemma is a something we prove as a stepping stone towards our main result).

Christmas Maths: Twelve Days

Tue, 27/12/2016 - 16:40 -- James Oakley
And a partridge in a pear tree

While we're in the Christmas season, here's a Christmas-themed maths problem.

The Christmas season is the 12 days from Christmas Day (25th December) until the day before Epiphany (which is 6th January, so the day before is 5th). From that 12 day period comes the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Many of you will know it, but for those who don't:

How far inland is Jerusalem

Tue, 13/12/2016 - 12:08 -- James Oakley
Jerusalem

It turns out you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet. Or at least, if the internet gives you some information, use a bit of common sense to check you've been given an answer that feels right, rather than just taking things uncritically and at face value.

I wanted to know how far it was from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean.

So I asked Google:

From Jerusalem to the Sea - take 1

You what? 1000 miles?

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With what rapture

Sun, 04/12/2016 - 15:26 -- James Oakley

It's Advent, which traditionally has two focii.

The season is about preparing for the coming of Christ. The more obvious half of that is preparing to celebrate Christmas. The other side to it is about the final return of Christ to this world, when he comes to judge the living and the dead, to usher in the new heavens and the new earth, and to free the cosmos from its bondage to decay. What we, slightly mistakenly, call the "second coming". We remind ourselves that it's coming, and we prepare ourselves for it.

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