Poetry is a good reason

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April 17th, 2011

09:00 pm - today is the day
To every Tel Avivian, there comes a day where one says to oneself, “I shall never be cold again*”. This is it.

* At least until October, that is.

(see my 3 | call my bluff)

April 8th, 2011

12:34 pm - Projection distortion
The Mercator projection is named after... Gerard de Kremer. “Mercator” is the Latinized version of his name, not the one he was born with.

(see my 2 | call my bluff)

April 2nd, 2011

11:52 pm - seeing Jesus in things
Yet another story about someone thinking they saw the face of Jesus... this time on a pizza.

Folks, why do you assume you know what Jesus (or the Virgin Mary) looked like?

(see my 5 | call my bluff)

07:11 pm - IDT is here
Yay for light at 7pm!

(call my bluff)

06:24 pm - oh, oh!
There’s often an obvious explanation for things. The strange tack in vocal style apparent in the third book was actually not a tack at all, but a different ship, so to say. That audiobook was read by someone else! Back to Patrick Tull in book 4, The Mauritius Command, and all’s well.

(call my bluff)

March 25th, 2011

10:46 pm - displaced
The solar system barycenter can sometimes be outside the body of the Sun, up to about a solar diameter from its center.

(see my 1 | call my bluff)

12:20 pm - Dan Shechtman
Pretty interesting piece in HaAretz about Danny Shechtman, who nearly thirty years ago discovered a form of crystal that was believed to be impossible at the time. For a while he was thought to be a crank and his career was in danger; Linus Pauling at a conference reportedly harshly attacked his research with “there are no quasi-crystals, only quasi-scientists”. There’s a funny understated anecdote there, though: the article claims that despite this attack, Pauling and Shechtman were on cordial terms and that this was the only thing they disagreed on. They were both strong supporters of vitamin C, which is something that gave Pauling himself and iffy aspect of reputation (though I don’t know that anyone said this to his face).

Perhaps the article is guilty of a little bit of hype (there are mentions of a deserved Nobel prize sprinkled here and there) but it has some worthwhile notions and reportage. Shechtman describes receiving a copy of Thomas Kuhn’s book and having strong feelings of personal recognition. This is refreshing for me because although Kuhn thought of himself as a sociologist of science his work has overwhelmingly been appropriated for more total relativist epistemological / cultural purposes, and this instance sort of brings it back to topic.

Anyway, good read for a Friday morning, too bad it wasn’t translated to the English edition.

(call my bluff)

March 19th, 2011

09:47 pm - Patrick x2
I’m “rereading” the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. The quotes are there because this time, I’m using the audiobook version, narrated by Patrick Tull. This rendition has received praises, and I thought it just the thing for a long plane ride (I was right). I’ve reached book three, H.M.S. Surprise, and noticed something peculiar.

For the first two volumes, Tull didn’t do a lot of voice acting. He used a slight Irish accent for Steven, and a little bit of the cockney where it was needed, but the entire thing was understated, yet wonderfully successful at carrying the nuance of the original text. If I had any complaint at all, it was that the reading was a little bit slow, not that I was in any hurry. But other people apparently were, because in this book, the narration is sped up significantly, really quite rushed, to the degree where pregnant pauses sometimes miscarry. Also, there’s a lot more voice acting, which wouldn’t bother me much except he changed Jack’s accent—after two books! That’s like, I don’t know, watching a show on TV and have them switch the guy who plays a main character while pretending nothing ever happened. This is a bit disappointing, and if book 4 is in this style too I might continue “on foot”, i.e., reading the rest myself.

By the way, if you haven’t read any of this series, you should give it a try, it’s fantastic. It begins with Master and Commander and goes on a ways.

(see my 2 | call my bluff)

March 8th, 2011

06:53 pm - judging a book by its cover

Japanese books are bound differently depending on how the text inside them is laid out. Horizontal layout books are bound on the left; vertical layout books are bound on the right.

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February 10th, 2011

11:21 pm - look on the bright side
Can't all be fascists, I tell myself after the kid asks where Tel Hee street is.
Current Location: 32.077279, 34.775186

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