February 8th, 2010

This rather amusing picture was linked to from BoingBoing today. I think it’s quite sweet:


February 6th, 2010

I’m sitting by the side of Toby’s tae kwon do class watching him do an extra Saturday session. They have the Korean sparring champion in town for a month (the current grand master of the school was the Korean champion 30 years ago but I suspect he could still kick the ass of anyone he chose). There are about 16 students today, all adults except Toby and a kid who looks about 11. Toby is totally not phased by the adults and they are being really welcoming and setting a great example for the kids. Toby so enjoys doing this and we’ll be here next weekend too for his green belt test. It’s great for his focus, strength, flexibility and stamina and is also helping his swimming which is coming on great too.

the smarts

February 5th, 2010

Emma is currently finishing up her Master’s Research. She also caught Dara’s cold. Feeling a little bit fragile she was explaining to Toby that he had to be gentle with her as she was finding it hard to be a grown-up that night. Toby said he understood as he was finding it hard to be 7, ” you see all my friends know I am the smartest kid and they keep asking me all questions and stuff”. Emma said that mummy and daddy felt like that at work some days too. Toby suggested we should just change our name from Mogendorff to The Smarts  and he could be Toby the Smarts and we could be Andrew & Emma the Smarts.

Later he was reading his new biography of Albert Einstein and came across the word genius. When asked what that meant he said it was someone who is really good at everything. Emma pointed out that it is usually someone who is really really good at just one thing, or a small group of things, rather than everything. Toby announced he that he was the best in class at math and also he always gets nominated in class when they have to work out what new words mean so he must be a genius at two things.

minneapolis in winter

January 26th, 2010

A nice video from local writer James Lileks’ blog today, a montage of downtown Minneapolis on a winter’s day. Lots of skyways and office buildings – enjoy:

why homeopathy is a scam

January 21st, 2010

An article from the Times Online today about the mathematics behind homeopathic remedies, written by a mathematician at the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London.

He describes exactly what it means when arnica is sold at 30C dosage:

…to make a homeopathic remedy, they start with the active ingredient and then proceed to dilute it to 1 per cent concentration. Then they dilute that new solution again, so there is now only 0.01 per cent of the original ingredients. For my 30C pills this diluting is repeated thirty times, which means that the arnica is one part in a million billion billion billion billion billion billion.

The arnica is diluted so much that there is only one molecule of it per 7 million billion billion billion billion pills.

It’s hard to comprehend numbers that large. If you were to buy that many pills from Boots, it would cost more than the gross domestic product of the UK. It’s more than the gross domestic product of the entire world. Since the dawn of civilisation. If every human being since the beginning of time had saved every last penny, denarius and sea-shell, we would still have not saved up enough to purchase a single arnica molecule from Boots.

Great scam if you’re selling it though!


January 19th, 2010

Great video of Bobby McFerrin using hopping and the pentatonic scale to demonstrate the power of expectations, and how this works no matter where in the world he does this:

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.


January 19th, 2010

Dara has been rather obsessed lately with my face, specifically whether or not I have shaved on a certain day. She has taken to touching my face and asking if I am “smoothie” (clean shaven) or “crunchy” (stubbly): “Daddy, are you crunchy today?”

On Saturday she did this before I had had a shower or shave – at which point I was crunchy – and then once I had cleaned up she checked again. She noticed that I had shaved and said “Daddy, did you smooth?” I told her that I had indeed smoothed, and was told “Then you are not a man anymore”. I was a bit upset, but apparently it means that I was a boy instead because boys are smooth.


January 10th, 2010

Apparently there was a twitter thing going around yesterday to make film names Scottish.

Some of my faves: My Big Fat Greenock Wedding, Men Who stare at Oats, Perth Girls Are Easy, A poke o chips Now.

My brother David’s suggestion was The Neverending Stovie, which for some reason wasn’t included. But I’ve included it.

Christmas photos

December 26th, 2009

Thought you might like to see some Christmas pics. Here is the 2009 set, and for contrast here’s the 2008 set, and the 2007 set.

I couldn’t find any old ones specifically labeled from earlier Christmases, but you are welcome to hunt around at Enjoy!

the view from my window

December 16th, 2009

One of my favorite blogs, The Daily Dish, written by Andrew Sullivan, runs a feature called The View from Your Window. I always thought it would be cool to have one of my views published – they do some pretty cool views, and it’s also one of the top five most-read single-author blogs (here are their stats)

At the end of last week I sent in what I thought was a pretty nice shot of the view from my office window in the early evening, and today they published it. I think it looks pretty nice. They don’t ever publish contributors’ names, for photos or feedback, but it’s nice to have some anonymous fame.