April 15, 2021

Episode 10 - The one where we upgrade our eyes, add diamonds to the soles of our shoes and reveal the psychological crisis in 100 Acre Wood

We compensate for our rubbishy gelatinous orbs in our skull and use astrophotography to reveal that the night skies above our heads to be full of dramatic colour, shapes and jewel like stars. Talking of which, we calculate that adding diamonds to the soles of your shoes, as first suggested by Paul Simon, can be a highly cost effective shoe construction technology compared with normal leather shoe resoling. It also stops Paul Simon from Slip Sliding Away. 
We examine the scandalous under treatment of psychological pathologies in Hundred Acre Wood and, helpfully in our view, suggest some interventions. We subject 'Yesterday' by the Beatles to our anagram treatment and much more.


Episode 10

Hello and welcome to Episode 10 of Frenzied and Sustained.

In this week’s podcast for a post-stupid society, our brainy lecture looks above our heads and finds it covered in enormous galaxies, nebulae and enormous gas clouds just waiting for a little application of technology to allow us to see them. In songs under the microscope we look at the business case for putting diamonds on the sole of your shoes as a way to stop slip sliding away. It is more cost effective than you imagine. In this tenth anniversary edition we have a special pull out feature of a brief roundup of local news across the Frenzied and Sustained diaspora, 

In A Sauce a sauce, my kingdom for a sauce we have the recipe for Lindy’s favourite sauce and in Literally the Last Section we examine the scandalous under treatment of psychological pathologies in Hundred Acre Wood and I need you to adopt the brace position as we will be revealing that Winnie The Pooh is demonstrating signs of Prader-Willi syndrome.

You are listening to frenzied and sustained and I  am Ian Spector and this is a

Brainy Lecture

Deep Space Astrophotography

In Season 4 of Ronald Moore’s 2003 series of Battlestar Galactica model Number 1 is grumpy with his human sensing equipment.

He says:”In all your travels, have you ever seen a star go supernova?

No? Well, I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the Universe. Other stars, other planets and eventually other life. A supernova! Creation itself! I was there. I wanted to see it and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull! With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. With ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air.

I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I - I want to - I want to smell dark matter! 

And frankly skin job Number 1 has a point. There is a stunning. colourful, exciting night sky above our heads with features many times the size of the moon covering the entire night sky and our rubbish gelatinous orbs are not sensitive enough to perceive them. We just see the pin pricks of light that are the stars and planets and Elon Musk’s satellites.

So these fabulous photons spend millions of years travelling to us and when they enter our eyes and hit our retinas they are too faint to be recognised.

You might think that a solution would be to get a telescope. One of the most disappointing thing I ever saw was the view through a powerful telescope. The little smudges in the sky were a little bigger but the galaxies and nebulas were still unimpressive smudges.

Telescopes for visual viewing are really solving the wrong problem, they make the smudges a little bigger but they are not solving the problem that we are no receiving enough photons.

We know the technology that allows the correct number of photons to be captured, it is a camera. You set the exposure such as  a sixtieth of a second, and that means that the camera will light light in for a sixtieth of a second. The darker it is outside the longer you need to be harvesting your photons. 

And that is exactly how we solve the problem of our puny human eyes. But as the objects are really really dim, our exposures can be up to  10 minutes or even longer. Now the trouble is that the stars do not stand still. In the northern hemisphere The Sun, Moon and stars all appear to rise in the East and set in the West, because the Earth revolves on its axis in the opposite direction from West to East every 24 hours. The movement we therefore observe is not their movement, but our own as we go zipping along on the surface of the Earth towards the East, and these celestial objects pass us overhead.

The North Star (Polaris) in Ursa Minor is useful for illustrating this point, as it is a pivot around which the entire northern sky revolves. If you stand facing North, your right hand-side will point due East, and your left hand-side due West, with the ground beneath you and everything on it is moving from your left to right. Therefore, if you look up at Polaris you will see the stars rotating in the opposite direction from right to left (counter-clockwise) once every 24 hours. In the same way, if you were to face due South the stars would naturally appear to rotate from left to right in a clockwise direction.

In other words, while the Sun, Moon and stars travel from East to West the direction we see them moving depends entirely on which direction we are facing at the time:

Facing North: Stars rotate counter-clockwise (right to left)

Facing South: Stars rotate clockwise (left to right)

Facing East: Stars rise in front, and set behind

Facing West: Stars rise behind, and set in front

The problem to solve is how to keep your object stationary in the camera as it flies through the sky. Thankfully, technology is our friend. There are computerised go to mounts that have a database of the skies which, if you tell it where it is starting from, it can follow an object. The simplest of these mounts are called Altitude Azimuth mounts, or Alt-Azimuth. The big problem with these is that they can follow an abject but ignore the fact that the object itself is rotating as it goes across the sky. 

What we use for astrophotography is a German Equitorial mount. This is accurately aligned with the earth’s rotational axis (roughly in line with the Pole Star) and then a motor rotates it at the same speed the earth rotates with extreme accuracy.

As I said, many of these objects are huge so we do not need a huge magnification, something like a 400mm focal length is great. Whilst not essential I do use a dedicated astrophotography camera. And the reason comes down to the constant war we fight and that is against noise.  By noise, I mean visual grain on the images. There are several methods we use to reduce noise, but reducing temperature is a key tool. The camera is a digital camera without a lens as the telescope is the lens. It has a sensor like any phone or camera. The sensor has photo sites that can receive the exhausted photons. Remember that the photons are not really exhausted because they travel at the speed of light so they do not know they have just completed a 20 million year schlep, they think that they just popped around the corner, if you travel at the speed of light time does not pass. The photocells on my camera can hold 50 000 electrons. My camera is extremely efficient and has a quantum efficiency of 80% so 80% of the photons are converted into electrons. But look at the minuscule numbers we are talking about. 50 000 electrons is just about nothing. And my 50 000 is considered a really deep well. 

So my camera has a built in cooler and will cool the sensor to 35C below ambient. As I use the clear summer nights in southern France that often only gets me to -5C where I really like to be at -15C. And cooling something so far below ambient can cause condensation on the glass cover so that needs to be heated. Also the from lens of the telescope also is a dew magnet so I have to heat that as well. There is a lot of heating and cooling going on.

But essentially that is the equipment, although I do strap a computer to the telescope to run the tracking application and control all the photographing.

But the technology works so well together. I tell it what I want to photograph and the mount slews across the sky, takes a photograph, plate solves to interpret the stars to determine if it is properly centred on my target, it will make any adjustments then start my session. I may have it take 20 images at 10 seconds, 20 at 30 seconds and 20 at a minute and 20 at 2 minute exposures. This will give me 80 images. Of course I am not outside in this heat with the mosquitos, I am inside in the cool with an armagnac watching each image appear on my iPad as it arrives. When that is finished I will tell it to go after another target and spend another couple of hours on it. If I wake up at 4am and it is still dark I will see what nebulae have risen and send it off for another project. This is such a great use of technology. The computers are analysing the stars to find what I am interested in, the mount will track a guide star with incredible accuracy making tiny adjustments to keep the scope pointing in exactly the right position. The computer controls the mount, camera, heaters, coolers, focusser.

The reason e take many different photographs is to later combine them all into one. This allows the software to differentiate between genuine celestial objects and noise and gamma ray bursts and satellites and aircraft. It uses mathematical averaging techniques to remove items that do not appear on the majority of the images. By taking images of different exposure lengths give me higher dynamic range. The shorter exposures allow me to capture the brightest objects without overflowing my photosites with more than 50 000 electrons, the long ones give me the faintest objects and the software works out what pixels from which image should be used in the final image.

But with some equipment and only a modest amount of knowledge you get rewarded by some of the most astonishing objects you can imagine. And they are just hanging out covering your night skies with bright red clouds of ionised hydrogen, eerie blue clouds of dust being illuminated from bright young stars behind them, turquoise from oxygen. But these items are huge and literally cover our night sky. Don’t blame me for your puny gelatinous orbs.

Songs under the microscope

This weeks songs under the microscope are both by Paul Simon. We have Slip Sliding Away, and then the solution to this lack of adhesion, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes.

Now this may seem like an extravagance but it is in fact a very cost effective and practical shoe construction methodology.

Nice shoes have leather soles and heels. These feel wonderful but have the disadvantage of having very poor grip, especially in any condition other than a dry pavement. They also wear out depressingly quickly.

The cost of raw black diamonds is £10 per carat, that will be around a 5mm diamond. For complete coverage I am anticipating five diamonds in the heel and 10 on the sole. That will cost £300 for both shoes.

For me to send my pair of Church’s shoes back to Church’s in Northampton is £290 for the Crown Collection and £140 for a Goodyear Welt. Plus postage and packing both ways.  The heels may last six months and the soles maybe a year if rotated. I called Shirley Bassey in the week and asked her how long diamonds tend to last, on average and she calculated, ‘Forever’.

Now let’s turn to Paul Simon’s particular observation. The nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away. This is a reference to most cities’ snow clearing policies. They give priorities to the main arterial routes, and then the smaller roads but by the time you approach your destination, the roads around housing developments perhaps, they may very well not have been cleared at all. So literally, and this is something that I have personally observed, the nearer your destination the more you’re slip sliding away. In fact, what is implied but experience also supports this, the nearer your start of your journey, the more you’re slip sliding away. But, with our new diamond soles we can leave the car and walk up the ice covered pavements.

Of course this bejewelled footwear is nothing new. Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from the 1939 film of the Wizard of Oz sold for $2million in 2016, and the rubies’ position were all on the top surfaces of the shoes and did nothing to improve the adhesion, but they made up for this by allowing the wearer to travel anywhere they wished, presumably without any slipping or sliding, particularly as they neared their destination (typically Kansas).

Stuart Weitzman added 1 420 diamonds to a pair of sandals worn to the 2007 Oscars by Anika Noni Rose (me neither) and sold them for $500 000

Another Stuart Weitzman show was worn to the 2005 Oscars, the $1million Marilyn Monroe shoe. After the Oscars Weitzman replaced the diamonds with replicas and sold the shoes for $1m. I doubt the replacement will have the long wearing practicalities of my £300 diamonds on the soles of her shoes, shoes.

In my research it turned out that Stuart Weitzman seems to spend all his time pebble dashing women’s shoes with diamonds. He slathered 1800 diamonds onto Diablo Cody’s pumps in 2008 and she refused to wear them  (too common?)

He schmeared 464 onto his Platinum Guild Stiletto in 2002 and in 2003 Stuart diamond geezer Weitzman made his own ruby slippers with 643 burmese rubies and are values at £1.6m. Again, no magic or improved traction.

Next we have Stewie’s Cinderella Slippers worn by Alison Krauss to the 2004 Oscars with 565 diamonds plus a 5-carat amaretto diamond that by itself is valued for more than $1 million.

Next we have the diamond shoe designed by New Zealand designer Kathryn Wilson with 21.8 carats of diamonds and they were sold for $418 415 in 2013, the lower price presumably based on their inability to transport you anywhere magically.

In fact I am now looking at loads of jewel be speckled shoes, each one more grotesque than the last. Apparently you can get any woman’s shoe, dip it in honey then dip it in a vat of diamonds and slap it on the foot of a country singer singing about poverty, a simple life and a profound sense of irony. The only jewelled based footwear for you to consider are my 30 carat £300 ultra hard wearing, ultra high grip shoes. Talking of shoes, check out this week’s advert…..


Do you love pounding the treadmill at the gym but hate turning up to work sweaty, new treadmill roller-skates. Tired of the person next to you always setting his speed faster than yours, with new Treadmill Roller skates you can mash that speed up to 11 whilst threading a needle and mixing a Martini. From the company that brought you barbell helium balloons and static electric bikes is the all new freewheeling gymnasium rocking treadmill roller-skates. For the first 500 purchasers we are throwing in a stay damp gym towel to keep in your bag impregnated with the concentrated sweat scraped for the armpit of a Ukranian shot-putter so no one at work will guess your secret. Skate your way to greatness with treadmill roller-skates. 

Now a quick round up of local news across the Frenzied and Sustained Diaspora.

In Malmo Sweden Varnhems Falafel has been voted best falafel in Malmo. In Malta Daniella Yachting require an experienced deckhand so if you have all your STCW certification email admin@mydaniella.eu

New South Wales, Australia, has been hit by its worst plague of mice in decades after a bumper grain harvest. 

German police have solved a nine-year-old burglary after DNA found on a half-eaten sausage matched that of a man detained in France.

Police in the western town of Schwelm said the snack belonged to the victim, and the suspect, a 30-year-old Albanian, appeared to have helped himself to a bite during the March 2012 break-in.

But Schwelm police said the suspect remains free and he may yet escape punishment as the statute of limitations on the burglary has expired.

Matt Lewallen was packing his groceries into his car in the parking lot of an Anchorage Costco when ravens swooped in to steal a short rib from his cart. Often running the scam in pairs, one raven will distract the shopper whilst the other steals 

Lewallen said the piece of meat was about 4-by-7 inches but did not mention if any sauce was stolen. Naturally we would recommend the Sauce Albert with fresh horseradish.

Margaret Mary Macleod Maclean is applying to the Crofting Commission to assign the tenancy of the croft at 19B Breasclete, Isle of Lewis Scotland to Elaine Macleod of Leurbost. Extra marks awarded of course to the most scottish name ever.

Alfamart announced today that all of its Minimarts across the Philippines will remain open during Holy Week.

The Finnish Association of Interior Architects, SIO, has elected Yuki Abe as the 2021 Furniture Designer. 

According to the jury, furniture designed by Yuki Abe is sympathetic and playful with an emphasis on polished details and usability.

Looks like it is going to be an especially hot summer in Hyderabad, with temperatures already having breached 40C before the end of March. So the Hyderabad Times has the world exclusive scoop that it is going to be hot in Hyderabad.

A poll in New Zealand asked if all of Aukland’s shops should be allowed to trade on Easter. 58% said ‘yes’, 39% said no but the people I most want to sit down to discuss matters are the 28 respondents who answered ‘unsure - it’s too complex’ What aspects are too complex, if the shop is on the event horizon of a black hole will that mean from our perspective it will never close and is thus exploiting a loophole to remain open on Christmas Day? 

A Sauce a sauce, my kingdom for a sauce

Sweet Chilli Sauce - Lindy’s Favourite 

No cooking needed for this sauce so just strap in and hang on as this is going to resuscitate your fish.

2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped 

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 

Pinch of salt 

1 tbsp caster sugar 

2 tbsp fish sauce 

1 tbsp rice vinegar 

3 tbsp olive oil 

3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped 

Handful of coriander, leaves chopped 

Juice of 1 lime 1. 

Place the chillies in a mortar with the garlic, salt and sugar. Pound until smooth. Add the fish sauce, rice vinegar and olive oil, and mix with a spoon. Stir in the spring onions, coriander leaves and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar if necessary. Pour into a serving bowl.

Literally the Last Section

Scandalous under treatment of psychological pathologies in Hundred Acre Wood

We begin with Pooh. He is demonstrating signs of Prader-Willi syndrome. According to the NHS website typical symptoms will include

An excessive appetite and overeating

Restricted growth

Learning difficulties

Lack of sexual development

Behavioural problems such as stubbornness.

Prader-Willi is caused by some missing genetic material on chromosome 15 and this causes changes to the hypothalamus which regulates growth and appetite.

Pooh clearly demonstrates these symptoms, obsessively eating honey with no self-regulation. He wears no trousers yet there are no obvious gentialia (hypogonadism), self-admitted ‘bear of very little brain’, 

Pooh's obsession on honey and his repetitive counting behaviours raise the diagnostic possibility of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 

Pooh is also repeatedly described as being a bear of Very Little Brain. It is hard to diagnose microcephaly as his head size appears normal for a  brown bear and one must wonder if he has had a hemispherectomy. As we have discussed hemispherectomies at an early age lead to minimal developmental problems, but those done later can cause deficits. The entire A. A. Milne catalogue was silent on hemispherectomies. 

We have seen a number of drawings of Christopher Robin dragging Winnie downstairs headfirst and a traumatic head injury cannot be ruled out. As you will recall from our Essay on Tintin, repeated head traumas can cause pituitary damage leading to hypogonadism and lack of sexual development. 

Tigger displays all 5 criteria for for ADHD in DSM-5 with 7 out of 9 symptoms of inattention and 8 out of 9 of the Hyperactivity/ Impulsivity symptoms. He should be started on Adderall XR 10 mg in the mornings and should be adjusted up to 20 mg/day if ADHD symptoms are not adequately controlled.

And what of little Piglet? Poor, anxious, blushing, flustered little Piglet. He clearly suffers from a Generalised Anxiety Disorder characterised by his catastrophising and jumping to conclusions. Had he been appropriately assessed and his condition diagnosed when he was young, he might have been placed on an antipanic agent, such as paroxetine, and been saved from the emotional trauma he experienced while attempting to trap heffalumps.

Eeyore has a major depressive disorder characterised by his psychomotor retardation, anhedonia, consistently depressed mood, low energy and sad affect. Eeyore is clearly based on Shakepeare’s Jaques from As You Like It and in turn Shakespeare clearly got the idea for Jaques from Douglas Adams’s Marvin, the paranoid Android from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. In fact this is obvious if you read Jaques’ Act II scene 7 speech as Marvin:

All the world's a stage, 

And all the men and women merely players; 

They have their exits and their entrances, 

And one man in his time plays many parts, 

His acts being seven ages. 

At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. 

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel 

And shining morning face, creeping like snail 

Unwillingly to school. 

And then the lover, 

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad 

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. 

Then a soldier, 

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, 

Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, 

Seeking the bubble reputation 

Even in the cannon's mouth. 

And then the justice, 

In fair round belly with good capon lined, 

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, 

Full of wise saws and modern instances; 

And so he plays his part. 

The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, 

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; 

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide 

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, 

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes 

And whistles in his sound. 

Last scene of all, 

That ends this strange eventful history, 

Is second childishness and mere oblivion, 

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Life - don’t talk to me about life.

“I'd say thistles, but nobody listens to me, anyway.” 

Eeyore would benefit greatly from an antidepressant, although it is hard to imagine that Prozac is the only thing standing between him and a sunny disposition.

Owl is obviously of high intelligence and has an advanced vocabulary. In spite of that he has terrible spelling and one must wonder about dyslexia.

In view of the above under treatment of the neurodevelopment issues in Hundred Acre Wood, I suggest some new adventures.

  1. Now we are on 6mg Paroxetine
  2. Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the psychotherapist
  3. Piglet meets a heffalump, but then remembers to take his Thorazine and it disappears
  4. Pooh goes visiting and gets some cognitive behavioural therapy

Anagram Poetry - Perhaps the most popular Beatles song ever - Yeasty Red

Yeasty red

Yells a trembled mouse say raw oaf

Here A Ghoulish Wonk Toots yeasty hotter

Shine bereaved oily yeti

Ends duly

Fabled shit in enema mouth

Seaward he shot Mange Riven Hog

Reached Meaty Soy ends duly

Honky toothed widow hanged

Heady slow nuts 

missing goatherd wino

Freeloading Snowy Tory

That is the end of Literally the last section, it is also the end of this week’s podcast. In next week’s Frenzied and Sustained our Brainy Lecture looks at the Fermi Paradox that asks where are all the super intelligent aliens, why have they not made contact yet;  especially as they may have had a 4 billion year head start on us.

 A Sauce A Sauce My Kingdom for a Sauce gives you a foolproof way of creating your own fabulous mayonnaise and thus freeing you from the tyranny of Hellmann’s.

In Literally the Last section we look at the world’s longest shampoo commercial otherwise known as the film Out of Africa. We introduce a new section on sports that definitely should be in the olympics that we are calling Sports that Definitely should be in the olympics.

And finally I wanted to thank you all for listening. Even though as I record this only eight episodes have been aired you have transported this podcast into the top 15% of all podcasts in the world. There are currently around 2 million podcasts available and I am so delighted that you have found this one. Please let’s have a big push and see if we can launch this into the world’s top ten percent. Just recommend this to one new person this week and threaten to turn of their life support if they refuse.

In return, the usual currency you get a Joke

What do we want?

Time Travel

When do we want it