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Welcome to The Lotus Position, an intermittent collection of extempore navel gazings, ponderings, whinges, whines, pontifications and diatribes.

Everything is based on a Sample of One: these are my views, my experiences... caveat lector... read the Disclaimer

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey


Thursday, 27 August 2009


Writing, as I do - more than I usually care to admit (which I am nonetheless obliged to on this occasion) - somewhat parenthetically, I have perceived, in the course of writing IT, some apparent deficiencies in English punctuation ( in addition to a lack of words for certain things and other minor irritations* with the language as a whole).

I am therefore pleased to note that I am not the only one to suffer in this way...

Here's a lovely sentence from the article A cooler way to operate atomic clocks (American Physical Society)

"Since only the phase difference of the two sidebands is detected, length fluctuations of a cavity that has a free spectral range, such that it is resonant to both sidebands, do not deteriorate the measurement."

Written here in shorter lines, the problem is not quite as apparent as it was when I first read it, but on first (and second) reading the clause "length fluctuations of a cavity that has a free spectral range" completely threw me. Reading ahead to the "such that it is resonant to both sidebands" didn't help because the un-nesting only occurs in the next clause.

I wondered whether a dash would have helped in place of the first comma... no that doesn't help. Eliminate the second comma? Possibly, but the "such..." clause should be set off somehow.

And so, at last, we come to the need for something like a double comma which serves to structure the sentence without creating a parenthetical aside as a dash would do. Here it is, re-punctuated

Since only the phase difference of the two sidebands is detected,, length fluctuations of a cavity that has a free spectral range, such that it is resonant to both sidebands,, do not deteriorate the measurement.

Much clearer! It's a pity though that ",," is so ugly. We need (at least!) one other punctuation mark.

Any ideas what it should look like - or be called?

I doubt it would catch on though - much as the "rhetorical question mark" has rather failed to gain much acceptance (who even knew there was one?)

* Why don't we have a word meaning back of the hand? Or one for the inside of the elbow? (Yes Mum, I know it's the Cubital Fossa but that's not "a" word.) I could go on, but I would have to look things up (notes etc.) and I don't have the time right now...

?~=",," Stuff?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Hats off to Hungary

(Click the photo to go to the photo's page on Flickr)

August 20th is the anniversary of the foundation of the Hungarian state and traditionally the fireworks begin at 21:00 and the rain begins at ~21:10. But this year - no storm this year!

These were the best fireworks I have seen in ages... the line of green, red and white (the colours of the Hungarian flag) are nicely presented along the Buda side of the Duna (Danube)... in that place, earlier in the display a line of pure white jets had played earlier, leaving a drifting swarm of sparks dangling in front of a smoky background that made the far side of the river look for all the world like a close-up of the Milky Way.

It was an excellent display - more elegant, creative and spectacular than in previous years: the colours and patterns seemed somehow more thoughtful. Of course, the bangs are always loud. Fortunately the Pest bank of the Duna is only about a 5 minute walk from the flat so not only was it easy to get to the Pest side of Lanchid (Chain Bridge - Lanc-hid) it was no great detour to get to Godor for a beer on the way back.

A cheap and spectacular night out!