River Wissey Lovell Fuller

What Does The Doctor think this month?

October 2012

October 2012

Many thanks to all of you who have contributed to the 'enhanced naming of Management' discussion. As we discussed last time, Deannie had taken on the job of Tour Hostess on the cruise line for which I work. The sight of her walking away from the ship, wooden lollipop raised aloft, first-aid kit and clipboard under her other arm, followed by a trail of passengers, made me wonder whether we should add the title “Tour Hostess” or “Lollipop” to her other titles (“Management” or “Head Office”). The overwhelming reader response was virtually unanimous; you found “Tour Hostess” really boring but thought “Lollipop” was brilliant so, by popular acclaim, Deannie now has three titles.

One day during the Summer, we had a heat wave and I was sitting with Lollipop watching the TV news. The railway overhead electric cables in Essex were described as “stretching and sagging”. I looked at her and she looked at me – we both agreed that those adjectives could be equally well applied to us and that our condition had nothing to do with a heatwave.

Test yourself for Alzheimer's Disease: If you are over 45 years old, you should take this test. Allow 20 seconds to fill in the blanks and then check your answers with those at the bottom of the article:

a) - - NDOM     b) F - - K      c) P – N – S     d) PU – S –      e) S – X

f) BOO - S

My new best friend, TOM TOM**:** I discussed last month how my TomTom communicates with a Great TomTom in the sky, knows where the car is at any time and, through a Google facility, can find me the nearest supermarket, hospital, Chinese restaurant and so on. It knows every road and speed limit in Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UK and Vatican City. All this information is stored on a tiny card the same size as the one which goes into our digital camera! If anyone can offer me a half sensible explanation about how that is achieved, I would be grateful.

Fancy a car which drives itself? I have just read a series of articles  about what will happen to our motor cars over the next few years. In the recent past, experimental driverless cars have pulled off some remarkable feats, from racing to the top of the Pikes Peak Rally Course to driving from Italy to China, but they have never been road-legal. Google (not just a search engine) has developed and patented the first road-legal driverless car and it has just been granted an autonomous vehicle licence by Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles who describe an autonomous vehicle as follows : “A motor vehicle that uses 'artificial intelligence, sensors and global positioning system coordinates' to drive itself without the active intervention of a human operator”. Google's autonomous vehicle system drives to speed limits and uses its sensors to keep its distance from other traffic. The system can be overridden by a human driver by applying the brake or turning the steering wheel. The company's test fleet include six Toyota Prius, an Audi TT and a Lexus 450h. Without human driver input, these cars have already travelled 300.000 miles around the US. Audi and Mercedes will be bringing out production driverless cars in 2013 – for use in slow driving areas.

The idea of climbing into the car and telling it to take me to Liverpool is superficially attractive. Much as I love my Renault Espace (currently on number 8), the electrics do tend to go a bit wonky after 6 years or so, so one could visualise problems with older models, like arriving at the wrong end of the country because the car has gone a bit deaf and misheard the instructions! No doubt, being female, it would then tell  me  I had mumbled the instructions.

A man retired and took a Caribbean Cruise. The ship sank and he ended up on an island, all alone, no supplies and only coconuts and bananas to eat. One day, after four months, he was lying on the beach when a gorgeous young woman rowed up to his beach in a beautiful metal rowing boat. It transpired that she had been on the same cruise ship and had been washed up on the other side of the island. The narrative was roughly as follows:

Him: You were lucky to be washed up with a rowing boat

Her: Oh,no – I made it. On my side of the island, there is a seam of rock. I heated it in my kiln, made some sheets of metal and some tools and then constructed my boat. Let's row over to my place.

The man is amazed. They row around the island, moor up at a stone wharf she has constructed and then walk up to her bungalow, where the lights are shining and there is a fire in the hearth. They sit down.

Her: Would you like a drink?    Him: Oh, no thanks, I am really fed up with coconut juice,

Her: Oh, it's not coconut juice. I have a still. Would you like a Tropical Spritz? I'm just going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave?

The bathroom is amazing. The shower has hot water and the razor is carved from tortoise shell. The man is totally fascinated by all of this and, when he returns, she is sitting on the settee wearing nothing but some small flowers and smelling of gardenias. She slithers up to him suggestively and says We have both been here for 4 months, without any company and we have been lonely. When was the last time you played around? He stared into her beautiful eyes, not quite sure where to put his hands, unable to believe his good luck. You mean, he swallowed excitedly, tears coming to his eyes, Don't tell me - You've actually built a golf course!

The answers to the Alzheimer's Test are as follows : RANDOM, FORK, PANTS, PULSE, SIX, BOOKS. Did you get any wrong?                                                                                                                                                          Best wishes,   Ian Nisbet

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