Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website,

Monday 4 July 2011

Happy Loss of the Petty Colonies We Never Really Wanted Day !

It's 4th July, and to my delight, Astronomy Picture of the Day has declared the existence of the Southern Ocean. Huzzah ! Congratulations, America, all is forgiven. I think I'll celebrate with a nice cup of tea and an episode of Sharpe on blu-ray. That's a very American thing to do, right ?

Independence Day must be very confusing for Puerto Ricans. After all, it was captured from Spain by the Americans in 1898. Not until 1947 were Puerto Ricans given the right to elect their own governor. How then, does this tiny island react on such an occasion ? As far as I can tell, by having a damn good clean. That's what my street appears to be doing anyway. The only other difference is a tenfold increase in the number of extremely obnoxious quad bikes.

On an unrelated note, it's well-known that Americans can't spell, preferring as they do to more often than not omit the "u" from most words, thereby making the spelling more logical, intuitive and wholly wrong. For some reason metallurgy offers particularly strange examples. First, they insist on "aluminum" but at least they have the decency to spell it the way they mispronounce it.

Secondly, and much more bizarrely, Americans can't do soldering. Oh, sure, they spell solder, but pronounce it sodder, which is just baffling. I've never heard of a soddering iron before, but it sounds damn dodgy to me. Good thing I'm not an engineer or I could be in real trouble. Being paid for soddering is surely illegal and likely to get you stoned to death in certain less inclusive countries.

I'll never look at this in the same way again...


  1. Your blog is highly funny but I fear you may be mental.

  2. It's entirely possible, wibble wibble wibble.

  3. I am constantly mispronouncing 'solder' and get teased mercilessly by my best friend. Why does the 'L' become silent? Infuriating!

    1. Well, it depends. If you are pronouncing it "solder" then you are using the correct British pronunciation. You can look down on your colonial friend with scorn and chide them for their degenerate ways. Remind them that what they get up to in their own time is their business, but soddering isn't for everyone and they should learn to respect your lifestyle choices.

      If instead you are pronouncing it "sodder" then.... why ? Where did the L go ? You can't have a silent L in the middle of a word ! That makes as much sense as a silent P at the start of psausage ! It's one of very few examples of American English being completely at odds with spelling, but it's a particularly ridiculous one and should be mocked at every opportunity.


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