We've just got back from a week in Wales. We didn't do a lot while we were there - although we did visit Bodnant garden and Plas Newydd on Anglesey. We did drive out to Aberdaron at the end of the Llyn Peninsula and spent a pleasant afternoon at Porth Oer, or Whistling Sands. The weather was quite stormy and the waves, spectacular. On the way, we stopped near the top of Rhiw Mountain and took a photo of the waves breaking on the beach at Porth Neigwl:
I took one or two other photos, on the hills just outside Llanberis:
I always look forward to visiting art galleries in North Wales. A lot of very adventurous art is produced round there, I think. We've often visited Harlech Pottery, but Zeb Reynolds' ceramics were new to me. I've blogged before about Oriel Croesor which is still -I think- as good as it is remote! On our last day we discovered Ffin y Parc gallery, just outside Llanwrst, where there is currently an exhibition of Chloe Holt's work.
I'm still reading Herzog on Herzog and looking for any related material out there on the internet. I've always liked Herzog's assertion that he seeks in his films to expose "ecstatic truth" rather than "an accountant's truth". I came across this short film which I liked not only for its subject but also on account of its film (and film music) clips:
Talking of truth, while in Wales I picked up a book of simple science experiments for children on a second-hand bookstall. It appealed to the big kid in me. There's all sorts in it - for a start, it shows you how to explore stereoscopic vision by holding up two parallel fingers to create a floating sausage in front of your nose. This one was a bit obvious, I thought. I do it most days. Then there was how to make a planetarium out of a tin can - something I've always fancied doing but never got round to.
What caught my attention most of all, though, as I flicked through the book, was how to multiply on your fingers. It only works for tables from 6 to 10 but it's uncanny.
Assign your fingers a number (same on each hand):
Little finger - 6
Ring finger - 7
Middle finger - 8
Index finger - 9
Thumb - 10
If you want to know, say, 7 x 8, then look at your hands, palms up.
Touch your left ring finger (7) with your right middle finger (8). Add these two fingers to the total fingers below them. For most people, this should come to five fingers.
Add a zero. 5 becomes 50
For most people, there are 5 fingers in total above the touching fingers. 3 on the left, 2 on the right. Multiply these two numbers together. 3 x 2 = 6
The answer to the multiplication, "seven eights" is 50+6=56.
Uncanny, but it works! Touch any two fingers and do the sums. It's uncanny because it's impossible -well, for a non-mathematician like me- to see why it works. I phoned my son (whose big subject is maths) and asked him if he could find out why it worked. He emailed me a chunk of algebra. Assume the two numbers we want to multiply are a and b:
I pondered this until steam came out of my ears - and I thought Daniel had explained it all for me until I tried working it out on my fingers...
3 years ago