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more interesting facts (1 Viewer)

Olly Buckle

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As I explained in a previous "Interesting Facts" thread these are facts I told my daughter when putting her to bed.

Ellie had been learning in school about James Watt and the first "proper" steam engine.
It's all in the word "Proper" I said, in 1804 a man in America drove a steam car he ad built from his home to the center of Philadelphia. I am bad with dates but I am sure that was before Watt (she is good with them and told me how long, but I can't remember). He came from someway out of town and when he got there he drove down to the river, took the wheels off, put paddles on, sailed for about half a mile up the river and back and then put the wheels back on and drove home. The reason this is not regarded as a "proper" historical event is because we have no real record and know very little about it, the car vanished and there are no blueprints or plans of any sort. Also it never led anywhere, there were no more cars and no development of the engine, which to historians makes it unremarkable apparently.
On the other hand we do know that the man who designed it got his idea from a childhood experience. Some older boys were playing with an old musket barrel, putting water in it, packing the barrel and then heating it so the packing was fired like a bullet from the barrel. His moment of inspiration came when the plug blocking the touchhole in the top of the barrel came out before the packing and the barrel spun wildly. Now, to my mind this suggests that he not only designed the first steam engine, the first motorcar, and the first paddle steamer years before anyone else, he also designed the first jet engine more than a hundred years before anybody else. Remarkable to anyone but an historian I feel.

Sometimes my interesting facts were something that had happened to me during the day, for example, I was down at Foxhole (a local lane) looking at my bees. It was a perfect day, really sunny and warm, and the bees were in a good temper, those that were at home, a lot go out on days like that. I was checking through the frames for queen cells, if you leave them the bees swarm, most of them leave the hive and you get no honey that year. The frames in the center of the hive are the ones with brood in, that can be eggs, larva or pupa. I was holding a frame of sealed brood, they are the pupa, the bees put a covering of wax over them while the grub like larva turn into adult bees, and I noticed a small hole appearing in one of the cells. As I stood watching the bee ate it's way out and emerged to sit on the comb drying out. When bees first hatch they are covered in fur, this begins to rub off as soon as they associate with other bees and as they spend their first few weeks working in the hive you never see these furry bees out gathering pollen and nectar, she was lovely, like a miniature teddy bear. I carefully put the frame back in the hive and the lid back on to leave her in peace. I sometimes wonder if her experience of emerging in full sunlight instead of in a dark hive affected her at all.
 

JoannaMac

Senior Member
Olly, I just love this and can't see any reason why you can't get your collected facts published. It really is a brilliant idea, and with some lively illustrations (I'm thinking Quentin Blake who did all the Roald Dahl books), you'll have a best seller on your hands. Want to read more!
 

JoannaMac

Senior Member
There is so much shit writing on this forum, and then someone writes something truly worth reading and no one comments. What's wrong with you all?
 

JoannaMac

Senior Member
No worries Olly :) I really believe your facts could be successful. When you're rich and famous, remember that I was your first big fan, out there with pom poms on the forum :)
 
J

Jono

Hello Olly and JoannaMac,

Fascinated by your stories Olly. The one about the chap and his steam car reminds me of an unsung hero down here in New Zealand by the name of Richard Pearse. He actually had a light plane up and running on his local farm paddock prior to the Wright Brothers and although a short flight it actually took off.
I was going to post a clipping on him but can't as yet as I haven't done enough posts. Anyway cheers,
Makes for fascinating reading. The world is full of the odd and unexpected things, people, bugs and natural events the minute you walk out the door.
 
J

Jono

Frogs

Including the tadpoles we have outside in a large upside down bell shaped pond. We have just acquired these because the other frog we had inside died apparently from lack of sunlight. One wouldn't think a creature that lives in swamps and ponds and usually underneath things would need sunlight but then of course all sentient beings do apart from botulism and odd undersea worms that live and shrive around the cones of underwater volcanoes north of NZ. But I digress and thinking the tadpoles would be frozen solid after a -2% frost this morning I was amazed to find, on looking though the sheet of ice across the surface, as clear as crystal, that they were happily feeding on the moss growing down the sloping wall of the pond.
Whether they can survive the attentions of Truffle the cat for long is something different again because on returning from taking the kids to school I found the ice cover, flimsy protection at best, had been smashed. Truffle the prime suspect. :-\"
 

Olly Buckle

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Thanks Jono, hadn't heard of Richard Pease before, but the more I learn the less these things surprise me. Interested to read about your tadpoles, are they a native N.Z. species or imported from Europe like Truffle? Surprised to learn that botulism and undersea worms are sentient. I always thought that undersea worms and priests had something in common, or is it just a typo? Only kidding, let's inspire each other to notice the world outside our computers, hope you told the kids about it.
A thought JoannaMac, maybe it's all the shit writing that needs the posts, not me, bet that draws a post
 

JoannaMac

Senior Member
Credit should be given where credit is due. If I think someone did a good job of something, then they should be told. It's good for the soul and gives the writer the encouragement they need to keep going. I know in the end you have to believe in your own work, but in my case, I find it much easier if I have the feeling others believe in it too.

In regards to the shit writing; all the encouragement and useful critique in the world can't fix it, so I'll just stick to the people who's writing I think is worth it :)
 

Olly Buckle

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Patron
The encouragement and useful critique may not fix it but those who write it are also a person trying to get somewhere, maybe none of us will ever get anywhere but it is the trying that sets us apart from the Crypts and the Bloods, the no-hopers and the failed before they start. I know it sounds pretentious and pompous but I feel I have a social duty to spread myself a bit. I can't manage to be constructive about science fantasy, werewolves and zombies though, must be getting old
 

JoannaMac

Senior Member
No, it's not pompous Olly, and it's good that you want to help people. I also understand your point about SF fantasy, zombies, and werewolves. Have you seen how much of that stuff is posted up here for crititique?
 

valeca

Patron
In regards to the shit writing; all the encouragement and useful critique in the world can't fix it, so I'll just stick to the people who's writing I think is worth it :)

That's it in a nutshell. It's personal opinion on who thinks what (or whose) writing is 'worth it'. While you may feel someone's writing is 'shit', others will find what they have to say interesting.

Just keep in mind that someone out there may feel the same about what you put out there, too, and react accordingly.

Everyone needs a cheerleader, even those just starting out.

Olly, I don't know if it's because it's non-fiction (which I enjoy, but generally in the areas of personal interest to me), or because I have no interest in the steam engine, but I found it hard to get drawn into this. I eventually stopped reading and just scanned the rest. The transition from steam engine history to bees was just too abrupt for a smooth read.
 

JoannaMac

Senior Member
You are of course right Valeca, it all comes down to personal opinion. I just got on my high horse about Olly's work because it wasn't getting any attention, and in comparison to what a lot of people post here (in my humble opinion at least), it deserved better.

I've read Olly's other collected facts and I don't think there neccessarily has to be a flow between them. I see this book as a collection of interesting snippets that stand on their own, a bit like a "did you know?" collection.
 

Olly Buckle

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Patron
JoannaMac is right it is not meant to be a smooth transition, each one represents a different night's fact. It's meant more as a miscellany that you can dip into, lightweight gift shop stuff, it's more apparent on the previous thread where there are more of them.
The other thing is that there is a dearth of girlie facts considering they were for my daughter and a lot of things like steam engines and history, that is what I know I am afraid, still it seems to appeal to some one girlie girl. I have a mental picture of you with pom poms JoannaMac
 

valeca

Patron
Ahh, I'd assumed it was one piece rather than two smaller ones. In that case, my comment on the transition is moot.

Meh on girlie facts. I'd much rather teach my spawnlings minor facts on a broad range of things rather than gender specifics ones. It'll benefit them more in the long run, so I tend to think you're on the right track with teaching your girlie about steam engines and whatnots. Who knows where that knowledge could one day lead her.

Joanna, it's alright with me if, now and again, you get up on your high horse to help promote work you enjoy because you've shown you're just as willing to get out of the saddle, too. ;)
 
J

Jono

"Interested to read about your tadpoles, are they a native N.Z. species or imported from Europe like Truffle? Surprised to learn that botulism and undersea worms are sentient. I always thought that undersea worms and priests had something in common, or is it just a typo? "
- Olly wrote

Thanks Olly,
The tadpoles turn into whistling tree frogs and come from Auzzie originally however fairly common around NZ now but are not endemic to here. As for sentient - I refer to the worms ability to live in an odd undersea world which ofcourse is the very opposite to sentient and so possibly the wrong word. You lost me about the priests?

As for what people write about I should think one could write about anything from green onions to witches and vampires. It just gets pretty uninteresting when everyone else is doing the same unless what they have to say is original and attention grabbing.
 

Olly Buckle

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Patron
I think sentient is self aware or capable of having feelings
Your typo made the worms shrive in that environment instead of thrive, I got a lovely picture of them lining up to confess, bet those frogs whistle, Aussies are so literal in their name giving, the barrier reef, the coastal plain, the snowy mountains, the red interior, Baron tells me you can use the qote button in the corner to save yourself typing things out again, that's when it comes up in a blue panel, Have't made it work yet but I'm old and computer illiterate. just noticed the number of your posts and joining date, welcome in, Im flattered to be one of the first, except it has to be chance.
 
J

Jono

Thanks Olly, I find laptops not so conducive to typing as PC's simply because they're, well, flat. Perhaps they should have been called flat tops rather than laptops.
See what you mean about shriving. Bit like qote and quote. Never mind, the message went through and I found your entry by chance because I normally try out for the novel or s/s department but am getting a bit frustrated in that area.
We have been warned about the frogs but after a cold and wet winter I'm looking forward to some balmy tropical island background whistling.
Cheers
 
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