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mglovesfun [userpic]

Victim blaming

April 14th, 2014 (02:31 pm)

I dislike addressing controversial subjects because I'm rubbish at dealing with conflict. This one however shouldn't be controversial, though it often is. Specifically victim blaming in relation to sexual assaults and rape.

First of all, victim blaming is real. I have witnessed it. Problem is labelling something that isn't victim blaming with the same label.

I mean, in any other circumstances if you suggested to someone they should think about their safety, no one would ever think to cry out 'victim blaming'. If someone tells you to lock your door before you go to bed at night or after you leave the house, no one objects to this.

Taking this analogy, if you leave you door unlocked and leave the house for a day, that doesn't mean it's morally justified or legal for someone to rob your house. It's not either of them. Is it generally speaking in the majority of cases good to lock the house if nobody is going to be in it for several hours? Yes. But it's not a moral judgment.

People who say that woman (mainly women, men to a much lesser extent) should think about their safety aren't victim blamers. There's no moral judgment here, not are they saying that not being careful entails that a sexual assault is morally justified and not illegal. They're not.

I mean I'm a man I'm six foot tall I'm quite careful when I go around town when getting money out of cash machines and so on. But I don't feel like I'm doing anything 'wrong' by being careful. It's not an attempt to avoid blaming myself if I get mugged or assaulted or whatever, it's an attempt to avoid being mugged or assaulted in the first place. I'm not making a moral judgment against myself.


mglovesfun [userpic]

Juggling et al.

April 12th, 2014 (11:52 am)

I can't quite remember how much I've posted on this issue already, but I'm reducing the amount of juggling I do. Not as a conscious effort either, just as a natural progression that I've been doing this for five years now, a little more, and I while I do enjoy it, I enjoy it for less long.

So while typically a two hours practice session would be 'easy', now after the first hour I start to feel bored. It all feels more the same than it ever has before. And realistically there are now some tricks that I will never learn because I'm just no longer prepared to put the time in.

Having said that I'm definitely not quitting juggling. Not now anyway. I suspect I will give up at some point but I doubt it will be this year. Maybe 2015, maybe 2016, who knows? Who cares really, as long as I'm doing something healthy as I really need to move on to something active if I am going to juggle less. So far I'm doing more yoga, more stretching and so on so I'm as active just in a different way. In 2012 I was aiming for 7 hours a week of juggling, 6 hours in 2013, down to 5 at the start of this year and now I have no target for minimum number of hours, just to enjoy what I do and to stay active if I'm not juggling.

I don't think my skill level has dropped at all. In fact I'm still learning new tricks, as recently as Thursday I got a trick that I'd never done before, and I don't think there are any tricks that I could do that I now can't. I'm a bit rusty on some, I do have 'revision' sessions where I take three ball tricks I haven't done in a while and practice them. Not just three ball of course, but usually three balls to start with.

More generally I've had a lot of good luck in my life. Apart from mental illness, I'm rarely ill. I have broken one bone in my whole life which was at 10 years old. I've had one serious injury since I was 10, which was my Achilles' tendon. One in 20 years. I don't think I've ever had a serious illness, last time I spent a night in hospital I was about 8 (other than psychiatric hospital in 2010 for three nights).

I very rarely get headaches, when I was younger one every few years, though I had a slight headache on Thursday, which by my standards is quite early on - it's only April and I've had a headache already this year! I tend to get a cold about twice a year and nothing else.


mglovesfun [userpic]

Our 'holy cows' are own worst enemies

April 8th, 2014 (12:52 pm)

This is in reply to which is itself a reply to

I'm not going to tell you I think Maureen Messent is right, because I don't. I mean she's not wrong so much as she misses the point, which is the point in the Channel 4 article about women being controlled and manipulated by the abusers in question.

A little housekeeping, I am going to refer to them as 'women' being abused and 'men' doing the abusing. I freely admit this isn't accurate. I mean, I was hit by one of my girlfriend in the face and didn't leave her. And that was ultimately my choice. You can talk about coercion and pressure and manipulation all you like, but ultimately it was my decision and nobody else could take it for me. Which brings me to the really good point in Maureen's article:

"There are limits to how far police can help victims. Ultimately the women decide their own fates."

This could describe my situation where nobody can 'force' me to leave my girlfriend if I don't want to. The police have no powers to 'force' me to leave her. And that's a good point and it shouldn't be censored.

My real issue here is that she's being asked to apologize for having an opinion that's different from the mainstream one. I don't believe in punishing people for controversial opinions. Furthermore when everyone is singing from the same song sheet it can lead to too much consensus and a lack of creative thinking.

By way of analogy, I had my opinion challenged on the issue of use of accents in Old French (French pre-1340). To give an informed answer I had to do a lot of research and I learned a lot as well as getting some good material to quote from. The guys statement was bollocks, but it forced me to do some proper research.

So what I'm saying is that even a 'bad' opinion can lead to good things. It can lead to thought and reflection and research so we shouldn't seek to censor 'bad' opinions. Alright this is asking for an apology not censorship. But in my opinion it is not appropriate for her to apologize for having an opinion that isn't mainstream.


mglovesfun [userpic]


April 5th, 2014 (09:03 pm)

Apart from being away for the funeral then out two nights running – can't remember the last time I did that – I've been sleeping too much again. Hence in effect less hours in the day, bet I've spent 24 or more of the last 48 hours sleeping. Though I feel really good. Hard to pin it down to one thing; certainly Cats Protection is a factor because I'm working there more. I wouldn't if I didn't like it. I have a good friend that I've made through circus society who is very supportive and unlike my other friends currently – and I'm not saying this to 'blame' them – I'm seeing her quite often so it's actually support rather than hypothetical support. Finally the confidence building course hasn't really made me more 'confident' but I do feel better overall. Better overall, more positive, less tense, more open, but not more confident.

As a segway, that course is the first of three courses. Of course (no pun intended) they're not mandatory, you can do one and not the others or do two and not the third. But I'm doing the second which is 'assertiveness skills' (I may have the title a little wrong, the first word is definitely 'assertiveness'). Again, like with confidence, I wouldn't say I'm either unconfident or unassertive. But that doesn't mean I can't benefit from the course in other ways. The third course which I guess would be June at the earliest now, is 'self-esteem building'. While I wouldn't say my self-esteem is that bad, there's certainly room for improvement.


mglovesfun [userpic]

Granddad's funeral

April 5th, 2014 (08:23 pm)

Last week I attended my granddad's funeral. He was the last of my grandparents. In general it wasn't a very sad affair. I mean, he was 76 so not very old (though hardly 'young') and there was very little family there. I mean, there aren't many of us. My uncle, his son, lives and works in Canada and couldn't get here with only a week's notice. He and his wife both work and have two kids so they can't just fly half way across the world (pretty much literally in this case). He had one niece who couldn't come, his two older sisters had already passed away so in terms of genetic family, it was mum, me and my brother.

It was a humanist funeral, the first non-Christian funeral I've been to. This is the fifth. It was I thought a very short service. We had a 30 minute slot before the next funeral and we did it in about 25 minutes. I suppose when you have no religious rites to complete it's just a case of speeches and music. We went for Mozart which I was quite pleased with. 2 minutes reflection to Mozart.

If I sound a bit detached it's because he and I weren't close. I mean I'm not glad he's gone but we all have to go sometimes and as Bon Jovi said "I don't wanna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive."


mglovesfun [userpic]

That blasted box again

March 20th, 2014 (08:06 pm)

I'm determined not to be beaten by the volume of that blasted box. If I start with a diagram, then:

bag box diagram

It's a genuinely shit diagram as all the angles are 90° including the one's that aren't meant to be. A bit of housekeeping:

All sides are straight lines, distances are given in cm. Given this, the volume is the the perpendicular height multiplied by the mean of the two widths and then multiplied by the mean of the two lengths. Arbitrarily the lengths are the longer sides 50cm & 42cm and the widths are the two shorter sides 33cm & 25cm. A litre is 1000cm³

The box must be the way up that the base is 42cm by 25cm. In other words, you can't rotate it. This is important when it comes to filling it with liquid where the liquid starts and finishes. That is, you can't fill the top part with liquid before you fill the bottom part, because the liquid is heavier than the gas (air) and therefore displaces it. Yes I'm being very precise here.

So the volume of the whole thing is pretty trivial. I feel I must repeat the calculations quickly (50+42)/2 * (33+25)/2 * 39 = 52026cm³ or 52.026 l

The next step for me is to skip entirely the two dimensional step which actually is more like 'practice' than contributing anything to the actual answer.

All the sides are flat (not curved) so Euclidean geometry holds true. All the sides are quadrilaterals so the internal angles add up to 360°. It turns out that that for all four sides, the bottom angles are 108.2° and the top are 81.8°.

All the measurements must remain in proportion. That is to say, multiplying one measurement by a factor of 0.5 means that one must also multiply all the other measurements by a factor of 0.5. Pretty simple so far. Now we state the problem we're trying to solve:

Find a decrease of the perpendicular height h so that the volume of the box is equal to 50l. This decrease in h shall be known as x so that h' (aitch dash, i.e the new height) + x = hThe box must retain the same angles therefore the side lengths must remain in proportion to what they are now.

A note here, the difference in the two widths and the two lengths is 8cm in both cases. Though it's really lazy to group this into one constant since I only want to solve this case and not come up with a solution for all cases, it's acceptable.

Let's write this as an equation now

50 000 = (h-x) * (L₂ + L₁(h-x)/h)/2 * (W₂ + W₁(h-x)/h)/2

We know the values of the following:

h = 39

L₁ = 50

L₂ = 42

W₁ = 33

W₂ = 25

The first thing to check is that when x = 0 you get 52026. And it works.

First of all you can get rid of the divisions by two by doing

200 000 = (h-x) * (L₂ + L₁(h-x)/h) * (W₂ + W₁(h-x)/h)

Put in the actual numbers

200 000 = (39-x) * (42 + 50(39-x)/39) * (25 + 33(39-x)/39)

The good news is I know what to do from here which is to multiply out all the brackets. Erm, all of them, collect the like terms and then feed it into the quadratic equation formula which someone kindly posted.


Oh wait just realized that actually the quadratic formula won't work because the final answer will have x³ in it. I'd imagine there's a formula for that though... So in fairness despite the apparent simplicity it's actually beyond anything I've done before!

So I decided to put it into Excel where x is the name of a cell where I keep changing the value, then simply use the method of every improving estimations. Using this method, x = 0.72805 gives a volume of 50.00003 l! Though that's not an exact solution, it's much more accurate than I could ever hope to be in real life.


mglovesfun [userpic]

Gatto retires?

March 20th, 2014 (06:17 pm)

This is a rather long but nonetheless good article on the world's best technical juggler Anthony Gatto. I've commented on him pretty recently.

I haven't fact checked the article at all. Most of it is well-known stuff anyway though importantly a lot of the stuff I've never heard before but I haven't bothered to try and find any sources for it.

The author (Jason Fagone) admits he hasn't spoken to Gatto though he has tried to get in contact with him both in person and via the phone. It's not Fagone's fault of course that Gatto hasn't replied and Fagone admits that some of it is speculation because only Gatto himself knows if he's retired or not.

First of all, I don't think it would be a great shame for the juggling community if he retired. He's publicly said he's not interested in breaking world records (see the article) and as great as his stage routine is, to a juggler it's just the same thing being repeated again and again. Punters will only see his shows once. Well most punters. And it is an incredible routine that a non-juggler really can appreciate up to a point.

But for juggling enthusiasts who follow juggling on the Internet seeing the same routine again and again isn't that interesting. It's a bit like watching your favourite film 2 in a week.

Jugglers aren't particularly popular in circuses either. Even as a juggler I don't think juggling is the most visually pleasing thing you will see in a circus. So even the best juggler in the world isn't going to be the most popular act in a Cirque du Soleil show. So would Cirque du Soleil suffer if he retired? Definitely not. There's no question about it.

This all seems rather negative and I suppose it is. The thing is, in an era where technical juggling is very popular due to sharing/swapping videos on the Internet, the best technical juggler in the world (by some margin at that) barely wanted any part of that. If you want to make money then sure Cirque du Soleil. If you want to gain people's respect, then it's YouTube you want. Yes I'm totally serious. Jugglers don't see themselves so much as performers these days. Many do of course, but most don't.

For most people it's a hobby. I've done a couple of performances and I hate it to be honest. Like the article says, if you do really hard, fast, technical stuff then the audience can't follow what's going on. Often an easy trick will get a better reaction than a hard one because the audience can at least follow it. This is my own experience as well.

So if you want to be appreciated, it has to be in front of other jugglers. From what he said, he considered himself an entertainer. I'm not quite sure what matters to him in that case. If not to be appreciated by people who know what he's doing — which we've ruled out — to be a general entertainer rather than a juggler. But while he's the best juggler in the world no question, he's not the best entertainer in the world. In the end, perhaps to make a living out of being a juggler by being an entertainer.

I stand by my comment that Gatto's routine while technically as hard and as flawless as anything you will ever see, isn't the most entertaining I've ever seen. And Gatto as a person is mediocre at entertaining an audience. He basically walks about the stage to avoid standing still, and that's as far as he goes. And I never feel like his laughter or his smiles are genuine which frankly, puts me right off.

So even if he's the best of all-time — which I believe he is — his retirement if it turns out to be a retirement isn't a great shame for the juggling or the entertainment community. He retired long ago from the type of juggling jugglers actually want to see, and in the entertainment world, nobody misses a juggler when they retire they're just not popular enough.


mglovesfun [userpic]

(no subject)

March 18th, 2014 (11:48 pm)

I really need to be on the computer less and yet I haven't had a lot to do today.

So, splits and handstand training started yesterday. Am not expecting to get the splits at all truth be told, but of course if I can just get better that will be good enough. I can certainly feel that my left hamstring in particular is sore. Sore but not 'injured' per se. I think it probably needs a day to heal and since Wednesday and Thursday are the two days I'm most tired I'm sure I can spare at least one day. Handstand training, the two problems are strength and fear. Having got into something that's approximately a handstand I panicked and luckily lowered myself down onto my head rather than just 'dropping' myself. Hey I'm quite a heavy weight remember.

Basically getting fully upside-down I no longer knew where I was, panicked and sort of fell over. I suppose a controlled fall is still a fall, so yes I fell over.

In other news I think that initially the confidence building training helped. Mainly it's more about the technique than the content, it's got me thinking about how to help myself more.

But since then it's gone pretty poorly. You see, I've met this woman. Yes it really is always the same story with me. I think I should stress this is really about me, about how I have reacted to her rather than her having 'done' anything other than being reasonably nice, polite, friendly and so on.

But yeah for a while I couldn't stop thinking about her which I know is unhealthy but it's not so easy to stop. Even if she were single, and she isn't, those sort of thoughts are upsetting and I'm extremely glad they've passed. I would say they lasted for about 9 days though I didn't count.

Her and I do have quite a unique friendship though. I think a lot of that is down to changes in me, such as the course bringing about a change in attitude. But certainly she's got me talking about myself and I'm not even sure how.

And I've accidentally upset her a couple of times which I regret. Having said that... both times were by telling the truth so it was kinda awkward as I can't really tell the truth then take it back, but I can apologize.

Sigh, I feel like carrying on but I'm too tired. I give up, good night.


mglovesfun [userpic]


March 17th, 2014 (01:07 pm)

I've been struggling with juggling this year. After the York Convention which I thoroughly enjoyed I've been short of motivation. In fact I'm more motivated to hoop than to juggle. I would happily make a hoop video but... I can't do enough moves yet to do one. Bear in mind my first juggling video was over three years after I started juggling, and I've been hooping less than six months so far.

So it makes me think while I class myself as a juggler more than as a circus performer, perhaps the time is right to move on. If anything I'm getting really interested in handstands and doing the splits, while juggling feels more like a chore. I still enjoy juggling, just after about 30 minutes I'm bored whereas before I could do two hours and still want to do more. Can't remember the last time I juggled for an hour and enjoyed the whole hour. Now it's more like 40 minutes until it starts feeling like I'm juggling to retain the skills I have rather than to enjoy it.

So I think the future is probably in learn handstands and other physical feats. Maybe become a base i.e. the bottom person in a hand-to-hand act who supports the lighter person (usually a large man and a small woman, I'm pretty large and somewhat strong so I do fit the bill).


mglovesfun [userpic]

More mathematical fun

March 16th, 2014 (06:13 pm)

Let me give a bit of background first.

At cats protection we use a product called Anistel (brand name) to disinfect damn near everything. From the litter trays to the food bowls to the floor itself. It has to be in a ratio of 1:100 (with water), undiluted it can cause lesions on the skin, both of humans and of cats!

We have an approximately cuboid box which we keep the bag of used cat litter in. This has two purposes, if any litter is spilled when emptying the litter boxes it goes in the box not on the floor. And it can be closed to keep the odours in the box.

plastic box 1

(image credit:

As you can see it's slightly wider and longer at the top than at the bottom.

So when going to clean the box which had little bits of cat litter in it, I need to know the volume in litres in order to work out the dilution. This is fairly simple, as it has straight sides to treat it like a cuboid box but take the mean of the width of the top and the width of the base and the length of the top and of the bottom. Work these out you get:

46cm x 33 cm x 39cm

= 52026cm³

Divide by 1000 to convert to litres gets a nice handy 52.026

Bearing in my the ratio is 1:100 not 1:99 you need to divide by 101 to get the 1 part and obviously multiply that by 100 to get the 100 part.

Now this is where I've got stuck so far. In order to not fill it right to the brim, why not put exactly 50 litres of water in and add 0.5l of Anistel? The only thing I can vary is the height (39cm) as I can't change any of the dimensions of the box, and I can only fill it with it the right way up without the water just following straight out.

Of course this isn't linear so I can't just multiply the height by 50/52.026. Admittedly in practical terms this is close enough as the ration doesn't have to be exactly 1:100 but just fairly close to it. We don't measure to the millilitre. But since it's not linear I need to do something else.

Let's give all the numbers first, the volume happens to be (50+42)/2 x (37+29)/2 x 39. 39 is the perpendicular height in cm. But of course, if we don't go all the way to the top, the top length and width are not 50cm and 37cm anymore!

So I thought I'd start with a two dimensional model. It is to scale. At this point it's best to stop using the actual numbers and use algebra to solve the problem for all cases:

area of a parallelogram

So, using this notation the area of the whole thing is (2a + 2b)/2 x h which is just h(a + b)

If we reduce h, a always stays the same but b is reduced by the same coefficient. Might as well use x for the decrease in h, which gives us

(h-x) x (2a + [2(b[h-x]/h)])/2

The bracketing is particularly ugly which is why I've alternated between parentheses and square brackets.

Basically because of how similar triangles work, the coefficient of the decrease of h which is (h-x)/h, we then have to multiply that by b to find out what the new b is. To state the obvious, h>x, x>0, a>0, b>0 (basically everything is more than zero and h is greater than x).

This is as far as you can go without using the actual numbers, because to turn it into an equation, something has to be equal to something else.

So, all in cm, a = 42, b = 4, h = 39

Area of the whole thing is 46 x 39 = 1794 cm²

This is why we need real numbers. I haven't specific x because it depends on what the area you want is. Note that if you use the longer formula (h-x) x (2a + [2(b[h-x]/h)/2] where x=0 you end up with the same answer. So if I want to find out what value of x and therefore of h-x I want for the area to be 1500cm

1500 = (39 - x) x (84 + [2(4[39 - x]/39)])/2

Must take a break. To be continued...

Alright, meant to take a break but actually just continued on pen and paper

Get rid of the final /2:

3000 = (39 - x) × (84 + [2(4[39 - x]/39)])

3000 = (39 - x) × (84 + [8(39 - x)/39)])

3000 = (39 - x) × (84 + [316 - 8x]/39)

This is as simplified as it gets before the painful multiplying the brackets stage:

3000 = 3276 - 84x + (12324 - 312x - 316x + 8x²)/39

Collect the exes in the brackets, then multiply everything by 36:

11700 = 127764 - 3276x + 12324 - 628x + 8x²

More collecting of like terms:

11700 = 140088 - 3904x + 8x²

Another break, with an actual break this time

Take 140088 from each side, then multiply by -1 (flip the signs as it's usually known)

128388 = 3904x - 8x²

Divide everything by 8

16048.5 = 488x - x²

And I've definitely gone wrong. I don't know how to solve it, but I know x>16048.5/488, which means x>32.89 which is clearly bollocks since we started with x<h we know h-x can't be as little as 6.11 which is less than 6.11/39 of the original area. As a juggler, I won't delete this but keep it because all the time you spending getting it wrong makes it sweeter when you get it right. Martin

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