I’ve had some ideas lately for some really great inventions… The Pinwheel. Applies to any modern twin-jet. Instead of hanging the two engines as close to the fuselage as possible, why not stick them on the wingtips? It’ll be quieter for passengers and – even better – the engines can act as an anti-flutter weight. … More My latest inventions – what could POSSIBLY go wrong?
I have never really understood why people like nineteenth century opera. You know, those bombastic audio-torture events that feature singers making the kind of noises you’d expect from someone who’s just had particularly delicate body part slammed in a door. Usually the songs involve an obese soprano waddling out on stage looking like a giant … More Why I think opera is a kind of audio torture
I’ve found a way to save hours on housework. These methods are so good I don’t know why everybody doesn’t just use them. Microwave oven. Surprisingly, these need cleaning. The best way to do it is by chucking a bar of tallow-based soap into the unit and turning it on for three minutes. The soap … More Handy household cleaning hacks, part 892
Being summer and all that in the southern hemisphere I figured I should finish up the year with a small homage to summer clothes, Kiwi bloke style. Disclaimer: I have none of these in my own wardrobe. 1. Walk shorts. Style: Short trousers for men, same style as a business suit but stopping mid-thigh. Accompanied … More Summer sartorialism, Kiwi style
I use a lot of words in my books. Most of them are words such as ‘and’, ‘it’, ‘the’ and so on. But every so often I try to stretch that vocabulary a bit. Here’s a list of words I’d like to use in future, ideally in the same sentence or two: adiabatic (I might … More Words I want to use in my books
Back when I was at school English spelling was simple: I had to come before E, except after C. It was an iron-clad rule. No kid or their neighbour deigned to seize the moment by disagreeing. The usual forfeit was swift reinforcement, either via some heinous and weird punishment, by seismic kick to the keister, … More Weighing in on the ancient ‘I before E except after C’ rule
I’ve always been intrigued by the way one novelty or another is often seized by society and, briefly, becomes an all-consuming passion. I’m not just talking about Rubiks Cubes or those irritating finger spinners. I’m talking atomic. Back in the 1950s and into the early 1960s, atomic power was ‘in’. I mean, really ‘in’. This … More Atomic cars and nuclear trains – 1950s style