Month: June 2014

Unholy trinity

Who was the bright spark who looked at the calendar for 2014 and did not co-ordinate the dates of the World Cup, the Cricket, and Wimbledon? It must have been what my snarky side calls a very special person.

And now I will stop using italics in the way St. JP2 did. All other things being equal, the way in which his encyclicals etc. seemed to be peppered with italics grated a bit.

What kind of character imperfection is that?


Oranje are playing Mexico right now (shall we just…not talk about how England fared in Brazil? *snigger*), apparently Eng-er-land got thrashed at the cricket (I’m not even totally sure who they were playing…Sri Lanka?), and apparently Wimbledon started. Somewhere. Sometime. Iono.

This latter in particular is a sign of how so much of what you hold dear as a Brit™ can be whittled away after time as an expat. How could the start of Wimbledon possibly pass me by?!

The Summer is here, bringing with it empty weeks that will be filled with all sorts of constructive and industrious activity (which will also include sleeping in…well, probably). I plan on taking over the world. Probably for Christ. Hopefully for Christ. Or at least for an ice cream.

But really, what is it with England losing at cricket all the time?

Also, our goalie has much too much work to do. Plus it’s about 39ºC out there. This is just nuts.

But we’re going to win! Hup Holland Hup! Etc.


For years I have wondered exactly how badminton (the racquet game, not the horse trials) works, specifically with regards to the shuttlecock. That is…how do you hit the thing?

Tennis is simpler – there’s a ball, which by nature of its ballness, is spherical, and when it hits a surface (like a racquet) it stops in that direction and goes back in the opposite one (spin etc. notwithstanding).

But badminton is different; the shuttlecock is a different beast with fewer symmetries. What happens when you hit it dead-on? If the force of the strike is perfectly evenly distributed, the feathers/skirt perfectly symmetrical, how does that thing turn around for the return? Does it turn inside out? (…but those things are pretty rigid)

I could say that these thoughts were what distracted me in school when I came a miserable 10th out of 11 in a tourney in PE…but I just sucked at PE (wasn’t much better at Physics either*).

However, my schooldays were prior to the Golden Age of YouTube.

The interesting bit (in terms of this question) starts at about 1:00, when we see a series of ‘head-on’ shots. Those at about 1:30 and 1:40 are even clearer. The show the head being pushed back into the body of the shuttlecock, which (I guess because of non-symmetries in the fabric of the skirt?) at a certain point must give in and flip.

But what would happen if the axis of a flawless shuttlecock were exactly normal to the racquet? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW.

Also I probably need help in overcoming some high school demons. Thanks.

* Physics is simply Maths made unnecessarily a) difficult, and b) applied. And because it’s quagmired in this need to describe the universe and stuff, it’s going to inevitably come a poor second to Maths, which is second only to the Queen of Sciences herself (which is Theology if you don’t read Aquinas, shame on you). This is the main reason I would be an outsider nerd even on The Big Bang Threory.