Who has got the cure for the sit-at-home blues? Ask Dr Grabthar. Now with bigger, easier to read font!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Z is for Zurich

Watch out for the wacky-backy kids, it’ll turn you mental. Or so the researchers have found. Sorry I shouldn’t be so glib, it actually makes sense; if you are at risk of developing a mental illness in later life and you put any kind of drug into your system (that plays with your brain) then you are more than likely going to increase your chances of developing that illness. And naturally it makes sense that the risk is higher if you take those drugs during the time of your life when your body is developing (i.e. all the way up to the end of the teenage years).

Life is all about calculating those risks. Like an ongoing version of Fear Factor (without the Playboy models and duck foetuses, unless your very lucky/unlucky).

The part of the (above) Herald article that I like is these two adjacent paragraphs.

"We're not saying that cannabis is the major cause of schizophrenia," said Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, who led the study. "But it's a risk factor."

"I don't think we can deny it any longer," said epidemiologist Mary Cannon of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, based in Dublin, who helped carry out the research in New Zealand. "Cannabis is part of the cause of schizophrenia."

And then there was that smoking pot gives you lung cancer thing a year or so ago. Duh, smoking anything should give you lung cancer. Just put it in your brownies or cake instead.

Let’s leave the drugs for the moment in case my Mum is reading.

Going mathematical, for just a short while, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison USA, believes he has cracked Srinivasa Ramanujan’s number pattern problem from the 19th Century.

Ramanujan noticed that whole numbers can be broken into sums of smaller numbers, called partitions. The number 4, for example, contains five partitions: 4, 3+1, 2+2, 1+1+2, and 1+1+1+1.

He further realised that curious patterns–called congruences–occurred for some numbers in that the number of partitions was divisible by 5, 7, and 11. For example, the number of partitions for any number ending in 4 or 9 is divisible by 5.

Ramanujan was self-taught by the way.

The other day we were talking about the Olympics and the fairest way to decide the host city. We decided that it would be best to do it alphabetically. And as it so happens the first two venues for this century were/are Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). So, where will the games go in 2012? The current contenders are: New York, Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow.

Following the pattern I think it should go to:
Calgary or Calcutta or Christchurch or Cincinnati or Cape Town or…
Then off to:
Denver or Dundee or Detroit or Dunedin or Durbin or Dublin or…

And so on until we get to X, which will be very difficult. If you have any suggestions on where the Olympics should go from 2012 to 2108 (when we get to Z), be sure to send them in.

ps. Turns out my Mum was reading
pps. I am going to see REM in New Plymouth this weekend I'll tell you all how it goes on Tuesday. Don't too many chocolate eggs this Spring Equinox!

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