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5:49pm on Monday, 19th March, 2007:

Noticing Notices


It was Final Year Project day today, in which our third-year undergraduates all demonstrate their projects to nodding members of staff (or, in the case of my own supervisees, explain to frowning members of staff why their projects weren't in a state fit for demonstrating).

Always being more impressed by the hardware projects than the software ones, I approached one of them from the side and read the posted. It was all about RFID chips, at least in theory; in practice, it was just like an A-level physics experiment I did at school to make a transformer. Anyway, I leaned over the partition to take a closer look at the wires, and saw there was a notice pinned to it. The notice read: "warning: do not place mobile phones, memory sticks or other forms of electronic data storage within 20cm of this loop". My mobile phone was in my pocket less than 2cm from it, right next to the memory stick.

Hmph. Well, the memory stick seems to have survived a massive induction loop. I suppose I should check the phone sometime.

In 1989, our last holiday before having children (which we knew would condemn us to child-friendly places for the next 20 years) was to Egypt and Jordan. In Jordan, we visited Petra — an absolutely amazing site which I'd love to revisit. At one point, we came down from the High Place of Sacrifice and took a detour to see some out-of-the-way rooms (all the rooms there are carved into the rocks). Having seen them, we didn't fancy walking all the way back up the hillside again, so we decided to walk back at the lower level. Our map wasn't all that good, but we knew the general direction of civilisation so we walked ... and walked ... and eventually spotted a signpost. We couldn't see what was written on it because we were appraoching from behind, so as we got closer we were hoping it wasn't going to send us back the way we'd come.

It didn't. When we got to the sign and looked at the front, it said:

I always thought it a fine testament to national tendencies that the sign was written only in English.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).