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The Boy on the Plane by Cole Parker

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On 8/7/2020 at 7:11 PM, Cole Parker said:

The gram equivalents seem right.  A pound is 454 grams.  At least it was when I was in school in the middle of last century, and I doubt it's changed much since then. 

The oz. equivalents are way, way off.  One cup equals 8 ounces.  I have no idea how they came up with what they did.  But, I'd totally ignore their oz. amounts.  Use them and you'll be scratching your head with the results.

C

 

I just caught this misnomer. A U.S. cup is eight fluid ounces. A fluid ounce is the volume occupied by an amount of water weighing an ounce, much as the original definition of a gram was based on the mass of one ml of water. As such, the actual weight of a fluid ounce depends on the density of what is being measured, which for powders may be affected by settling. It’s much better to measure by weight in the first place.

Although we have very precise definitions of all S.I. units, the original definition of the metre in 1789, at the time of the French Revolution,  was one ten-millionth the distance from the North Pole to the equator as measured along a circumferential line passing through Paris, assuming earth’s flattening to be 1/334. It didn’t take long into the nineteenth century to realize that the definition was influenced by earth’s wobble. Later, it was found that many things influence the original definition of the meter, including the distance of the moon from earth, which is increasing by 3.8 cm per year, the changing speed of earth’s rotation, which is slowing by 1.7 ms per century, and of course continental drift - not that all of those were known until the late 20th century. The current definition of the meter is based on the speed of light, which we believe is constant, my story, CWM not withstanding. That is in and of itself dependent on a precise measurement of time. Of course the definition of the kilogram as the mass of a liter of water is influenced by its density, which changes with temperature and pressure. The S.I. unit definition of the kilogram is based on Plank’s constant, which the reader is welcome to look up if interested. 

I somehow doubt most recipes require such a degree of precision, however.

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The thing is, recipes used by Americans and published in American cookbooks for the most part use standard volume measures instead of weights for the ingredients.  I understand weights are more common in England.

But the fact we use volumes for everything independent of their specific gravity or density makes no difference.  The recipe amounts are based on volumes, and were derived from using volume measures.  So changing these volumes to weights would give incorrect values.

We don't need to overthink these things.

C

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Aww.... And to follow the lead from the photo:

Greetings! I'm a new forum member, who's been reading here for quite a while and finally decided it was time to get involved. I'm immensely enjoying The Boy on the Plane, as I have pretty much all of Cole Parker's work, and I'd like to say: thank you very much.

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There were at least half a dozen Robins in my high school who were all girls.  Only one boy named Robin, who I didn't really know or hang around with.  I think he was on the football team, so presumably no one bothered him about his name.

R

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Indeed - patience is rewarded. Many thanks!

It's nice to see Robin and Terry's friendship progressing - I think they're going to be good for each other. And good to see Daniel starting to settle into his first teaching job too.

Some thoughts on the name "Robin" from a British perspective... I think all the "Robins" I've known have been male; it could be used here as a female name as well, but I think it's more likely to be spelt as "Robyn" in that case. Also, it also recalls the bird of the same name. The European robin is rather smaller than the American one (typically about 5 inches long rather than 10 or so), so for me there's an implication of something small and apparently fragile, but often brave and determined out of proportion to its size. And also, of course, a flash of colour most often spotted amidst a dull grey winter. So I think our young protagonist may well be aptly named. I'm looking forward to watching him spread his wings.

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On 8/21/2020 at 1:54 PM, Wandering Pom said:

Aww.... And to follow the lead from the photo:

Greetings! I'm a new forum member, who's been reading here for quite a while and finally decided it was time to get involved. I'm immensely enjoying The Boy on the Plane, as I have pretty much all of Cole Parker's work, and I'd like to say: thank you very much.

Don't know how I missed this, but I did.  Computer glitch, I'm sure.  Anyway, thanks, and glad to have another denizen here.  We've lost so many!  That just means we have lots of room for more.  Welcome!

 

C

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2 hours ago, Wandering Pom said:

Indeed - patience is rewarded. Many thanks!

It's nice to see Robin and Terry's friendship progressing - I think they're going to be good for each other. And good to see Daniel starting to settle into his first teaching job too.

Some thoughts on the name "Robin" from a British perspective... I think all the "Robins" I've known have been male; it could be used here as a female name as well, but I think it's more likely to be spelt as "Robyn" in that case. Also, it also recalls the bird of the same name. The European robin is rather smaller than the American one (typically about 5 inches long rather than 10 or so), so for me there's an implication of something small and apparently fragile, but often brave and determined out of proportion to its size. And also, of course, a flash of colour most often spotted amidst a dull grey winter. So I think our young protagonist may well be aptly named. I'm looking forward to watching him spread his wings.

I might hazard a guess that in England, Christopher Robin had and probably still has such a presence that Robin might remain mostly a boy's name.  But here, it's mostly used for girls.  Without the y.  I'd guess a boy named that here would hear taunts.

C

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3 hours ago, Cole Parker said:

I might hazard a guess that in England, Christopher Robin had and probably still has such a presence that Robin might remain mostly a boy's name.  But here, it's mostly used for girls.  Without the y.  I'd guess a boy named that here would hear taunts.

... unless they're on the football team.

R

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23 hours ago, Cole Parker said:

I might hazard a guess that in England, Christopher Robin had and probably still has such a presence that Robin might remain mostly a boy's name.

"Had" - yes, almost certainly. Plus the fact that 'Robin' had a long history as a boy's name even before A. A. Milne named his son and wrote the Pooh books. "Still has" - I'm doubtful, alas; the youngest Robin I know is about 35, and I suspect the name has gone out of fashion.

Another take on the gender distribution of the name, or at least a related one: the male protagonist Robinette Broadhead of Frederik Pohl's Gateway series. Almost the opening line of the first book is Broadhead's psychiatrist asking him, "Why do you care if some people think it's a girl's name, Bob?"

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