Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When I first moved into my house, I noticed that the previous people had erected an extra TV aerial on a tall metal mast on the back part of the building. I don't use it, so the socket inside the house isn't connected to anything.

Naturally that suggested to me that I should make a crude field strength measurement by touching one multimeter probe to my hand, and the other to the centre pin of the socket. Indeed I did this on several occasions and generally found an AC voltage of about 1.9V .

Last night I was woken up at 2.30 by a massive thunderstorm, and immediately had the idea of measuring the voltage and seeing if it was different. I judged that I was unlikely to be killed as the mast is by no means the tallest metal object within a radius of its own height (also, if it was struck, I'd probably be killed by falling masonry even if I wasn't holding a metal probe connected directly to the aerial).

I was pleased to find that the voltage was indeed slightly higher - 2.6V .

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

On the bus on the way home today I started wondering how Bilbo Baggins made a living before he brought back the treasure from the Lonely Mountain. If he inherited money from Bungo and Belladonna, how did they get it? Did they live on investments? Did hobbits have banks which paid interest? Or were the Bagginses collecting rents from the tenants of Bagshot Row and Farmer Cotton?

And in the picture of the hall at Bag End in The Hobbit, a barometer is clearly visible. Was that of Dwarf or Dale manufacture I wonder? Were such items widely available in the Shire, or does the picture depict the hall after the Quest of Erebor?