Poem about how hot it is #2

Hello friends.

Not a huge amount of poetry recommendation today, partly because I’m still stuck in the flytrap-sticky, rabbit hole world of Alan Turing and partly because the only other poetry I have read recently is by Adrienne Rich, and it’s not really my thing. In poetry as in prose fiction, I need a bit more of the surreal. I like a blurring of lines. There were lines I liked (“Your silence today is a pond where drowned things live/I want to see raised and brought dripping into the sun.” from IX of her Twenty One Love Poems) but in general it felt like captured moments played straight, rather than tampered with the way Tomas Tranströmer does it.

Maybe there isn’t such a thing as poems I like or dislike, only poems read at the right or wrong times. Who knows.

All I know is that you shouldn’t hold me to any of my lofty opinions when you read part 2 of It’s So Hot, So Very Very Hot.

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Frankfurt Maths 3: The S-Bahn to St Ives

By Roje, Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

After weeks of work, the S-Bahn is running properly once more! To celebrate, here’s one of my favourite little maths problems. It’s something I first noticed during the torturously long wait for a Merseyrail train before the timetable improvements. I haven’t a clue whether it has a real name, so for now, let’s call it the S-Bahn Paradox.

Suppose you want to go from Frankfurt West to Frankfurt Süd (this was the limit until the building work ended). Well, there’s a train precisely every five minutes during the day, and the journey takes almost exactly 15 minutes (more like 16, but let’s say 15). As you travel, you’ll pass trains travelling in the other direction. Supposing you leave just as the next train is coming in, how many will you meet along the way (including the ones at the start and end stations)?

15 minutes, a train every five minutes, that means that there are three five minute periods, and (not forgetting the train you meet at time zero), you meet four trains altogether, right?

Well, not quite.

Let’s do this the easy way, with pictures. Here’s our train line, straightened out and with the stations removed (as well as trains that don’t travel the full distance between West and Süd). Our train is on the left hand track, facing south. Each tick represents the distance that the train can travel in one minute. (It doesn’t matter that this distance may vary as the train speeds up and slows down – all that matters is average speed)

As you can see from the number on the right, we’ve just met one train, and there are three more waiting for us. The four theory’s looking pretty good right now. Let’s see what happens if we bump the clock along by one minute.

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Frankfurt Flexity Tram in Lego

Wow, long time no blog.

I recently discovered Lego Digital Designer and, immediately after, the Lego Digital Designer to POV-Ray Converter. With these two tools, you can create basically any Lego model you like, for free, without having to hunt for pieces, and then render a realistic image of it. So that’s neat.

So, here’s a model I created to try it out.

Render of the Flexity Frankfurt model.

It’s a Frankfurt tram! To be specific, a Flexity Classic! These are a) mostly low-floor and b) bogied, which makes them a bit of a pain to model within the limits of Lego Train sets, since these are all designed around high-floor mainline stock. I’ve cheated, and attached the wheels straight to the body. Hopefully this way of doing it looks OK. Other caveats: the doors are the wrong colour (they should be azure, which is the closest I could find to the Frankfurt Straßenbahn green in Lego, but there are no azure window pieces. Luckily, the window frames are meant to be black) and the articulation is rigid. Although you can’t see it here, I actually went to the effort of making sure all the transformers and air conditioners on the roof were accurate. Front probably needs some work too.

Other than that, there’s nothing too complicated about it. I thought the wing mirrors would be tricky, but modified 1 x 4 offset plates (4590) work pretty nicely!

Stay tuned for more Frankfurt-y Lego things…

Rail Replacement Bus

A SPOOOOOOOKY story about a bus. Get ready for TERROR.

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Google Search Q&A 3

Time to stick my hand into the lucky dip of our incoming Google Searches once more and see what comes to the top…

difference between dove and sparrow

what is the difference between a dove and a sparrow

whats the difference between sparrows and doves?

difference between sparrows + doves

difference between a dove and sparrow

sparrow or dove


This will never do. Let’s have another look.

sparrow tram

Ah, now that’s a good question.

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Solving the Börneplatz Problem

Last night, I blogged about an inefficient bit of track design at Börneplatz in Frankfurt. And to make it EVEN MORE exciting, I left… A CLIFFHANGER.

In case you forgot the thrilling tram junction diagrams.

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The Börneplatz Problem

This is a little maths problem I was thinking about on the tram back today.

Until recently, there were two tramlines running through the centre of Frankfurt, the 11 and the 12. The two lines follow the same track through the old town, then split at a major crossroads outside the Judengasse Museum, at a plaza called Börneplatz. Since it’s in a convenient location for various museums and things, Börneplatz is an obvious place for a tram stop. This is easy enough to set up; just put a set of platforms on the shared track leading up to the junction.

The blue line (straight on) is the 11, the yellow line (curving) is the 12. The white rectangles are the platforms.

Then Frankfurt Transport decided to open a new tram route, the 18. The 18 doesn’t share the same track as the 11 and the 12 through the old town. Instead, it comes in from the other side, using the same track as the 11 up to Börneplatz, and then switching and following the route of the 12. Continue reading