TUM

I’m currently at the TUM demoscene party in Karlsruhe-Durlach, along with friends from the Calodox team. The weather’s cold, but the setting is nice, currently the executable music competition is taking place, there are some really nice pieces, and the sounds bring back memories from the C64 times. We were hoping of having something to present, alas, the real-time ray tracer is far from finished, it will be for another party.
Angel has a more complete entry about the party.

Tōge

峠

Si la majorité des kanjis ont été inventés en Chine, comme toujours quand on parle de langues humaines, ce n’est pas une règle absolue, il y a des exceptions. Le kanji Tōge fait partie de cette catégorie. C’est une invention japonaise, comme en témoigne l’absence de lecture ON. C’est un kanji assez logique puis qu’il comporte le radical de montagne (山) à gauche, et les éléments supérieur (上) et inférieur (下) à droite, une manière élégante de représenter un col, qui est un minimum (pour la montagne) et un maximum (pour la route).
Chose amusante, le mot tōge est en usage limité en anglais, ou il signifie un type de course automobile qui a lieu dans un col, et qui semble être apparu au Japon.

While the majority of kanjis have been invented in Japan, this is no rule. As with all things related to human languages, there are exceptions. The kanji Tōge falls into this category. It is a japanese invention and has therefore no ON reading. It is quite a logical kanji, le left radical is mountain (山) and the right part is composed by the upper (上) and lower elements (下) on the right side. An elegant way to express a pass, which is both a minimum point (of the mountain range), and a maximum point (of the road). The amusing thing is, the word tōge is in limited use in english. It means a type of car racing which takes place in a mountain pass and seems to have appeared in Japan.

Les kanjis d’aujourd’hui:
Kanji Prononciation Kun Prononciation ON Signification Note Henshall
とうげtōge
Col, Crète, Crise, Apogée 1663

I am Legend

Poster for «I am Legend»

So I went to see “I am Legend” with Will Smith. While the plot can be summarized in a few lines, it was in my opinion well done, the views of New York city devoid of human live are impressive and the scenes with the monsters scary.

While the movie certainly works and has a certain message abound pandemics: it has the usual Hollywood quirks, the scientific lab in a basement used by the last survivor is speck clean. The hero tells people to hide behind a “plexiglas” wall that shatters like glass. I was also annoyed by the very hollywoodian ending, where the hero sacrifices himself basically for redemption, completely forgetting that the monster would first feed on the cured one tied in the chamber, but I suppose a movie where the atheist hero does not discover faith in the most kitsch way in the last moment and die for somebody’s sins will not do…

Fraumünster

Vitraux Fraumünster de Zürich – Marc Chagall

友達がスイスへ来るとチューリッヒのフラウムンッターを見に行きました。この教会の中で戸手も奇麗なシャガール マルクで作ったのスタインドグラスの窓が有ります。見っている時は教会の中で歌の稽古有って感動しました。

Together with a friend visiting Switzerland, we went to see the Fraumünster of Zürich. This church has very beautiful stained glass windows done by Marc Chagall. While we were looking, there were some singing exercices, it was very moving.

Avec une amie qui visitait la Suisse, nous sommes allé voir le Fraumünster de Zürich. Cette église contient de très beaux vitraux fait par Marc Chagall. Pendant que nous regardions, une répétition de chant avait lieu, c’était très émouvant.

La chose amusante dans ces trois versions du texte, c’est que dans la version japonaise, j’omets le nombre des amis me rendant visite, et en anglais j’omets le genre.

Les kanjis d’aujourd’hui:
Kanji Prononciation Kun Prononciation ON Signification Note Henshall
おし.えるoshi.eru
キョウKYŌ
Enseigner, Doctrine, Foi Piété filiale 孝 (KŌ)
Frapper 攵 (HOKU)
101
かんが.えるkanga.eru
ケイKEI
Penser, Considérer, Disputer

Stone

Adam Robert - Stone - Cover

Stone is the third book by Adam Roberts that Antoine lent me. This time, the book is in the galactic empire utopia theme, with a utopian society from the far future with nano-technology, faster than light travel and no crime. As with polystom, the core issue of the book is exposed in the introduction, the only criminal from that society is freed from his prison to commit a mass murder on a planet. The book’s story center around this criminal’s story, how he tries to find out who would request such a crime while wandering around the galaxy.

In my opinion, the books has the same strengths and weaknesses than the others Adam Roberts books I have read so far. The plot is intriguing, and ripe with interesting ideas, and the general writing style rich, but the characters I still find flat. This is partly hidden in this book by the fact that the narration is centered on a the solipsistic protagonist, and the galatic utopia genre seems to be the realm of poor character development in general, but still, this weakens seriously the book.

I found Stone less imaginative than Polystom, but still there a quite a few interesting ideas. The authors deserves some credit for creating a galactic society that does not use either spaceships or teleportation for interstellar travel. In particular there are many interesting reflexions on quantum physics and how it relates (or does not) with our world. This is also telling a the general level, quantum physics is quite old, but is slowly reshaping many ideas, from the way the brain works to the science-fiction genre. I found very interesting some of the book’s ideas of the evolution of religious belief to integrate quantum physics elements.

Gifted children…

The word gift exists in both in English and German, but it has a very different meaning: in German it means poison. The american scientific has an interesting article about the influence of the mind-set of kids on their school performance. Unsurprisingly the kids that were considered gifted in the early stages of school did not learn to work and ended up having trouble coping with failures and problems.

I have always been wary of the notion of gifted people, while there is no doubt some people have more affinity than other for certain things, the people around me that are skilled are so because of practice.