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.
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 峠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 峠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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, I went to the second Google movie outing, to see the Movie “The Golden Compass”. I have not read the book the film is based on, nor did I even know of its existence. The movie itself is clearly a kid’s movie with all the appropriate elements, a fantasy world, multiple people races including bears and witches, a plot around a young girl and lots of cute magical pets. In that respect, I suppose the movie fits the same category than “the Chronicles of Narnia”.
Graphically, the movie was in my opinion well done, the fantasy universe has a distinct steam-punk atmosphere and graphical elements that reminded me of movies done by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, like The City of Lost Children, alas, the movie is only a kids movie, nothing more, but with the added frustration that the story does not really get to any satisfying state at the end of the movie, I suppose the era of movies that did not require a trilogy is over.
The only element that stuck me somehow was the fact the bad guys were russian-like, and I wondered to what extent this is related to the current situation. One of my colleagues had read the books and told me that the adaptation was disappointing. This in itself was not really a surprise, as movie adaptations are generally disappointing. What surprised me when I looked up information about the movie on the net was the fact there is even a controversy about the book, and even the movie. It seems the book was written by an atheist (as a response to the Narnia books) and the oppressive organization of the imaginary world modelled after the catholic church. This has in my opinion been very seriously watered down in the movie, and is maybe the reason the narrative appears so weak.
In conclusion, while the movie might be entertaining for kids and is graphically enjoyable, the story is in my opinion weak, and having to go thru at least two movies to get to the end seems an expensive proposition if you actually have to pay to see the movie.