29 May 2009

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Chinsagu No Hana

Chinsagu No Hana (てぃんさぐぬ花): The Balsam Flowers

by Ryūichi Sakamoto (坂本 龍)

chinsagu no hana ya chinsachi ni sumiti uya no yushi gututoya chimu ni sumire
red of balsam flower colour finger tips but parents' words colour one's mind

yoru harasu funiya nirufabushi miate wannacheru uyaya wando miate
sailing in the dark, one is in need of the starlight but old parents are in need of me

ten no muribusiya yumiba yumarisiga, uya no yushigutoya, yumin naran
one can count the number of stars, but one cannot count parents' love and wisdom

Chinsagu No Hana is an example of Ryukyuan Music, the traditional music of the Ryūkyū Kingdom (Okinawa). Music from the Ryukyu islands uses tonal structure that is different from that of the main islands of Japan: different scales and different intervals. Mainland Japan uses the major pentatonic scale Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La. Ryukyuan Music uses Do, Mi, Fa, Sol, Si. The composed version of the traditional okinawan folk song was written for the film "Japanese Story". The lyrics are traditional Confucian teachings.

11 May 2009

Texas School Board votes on the age of the Universe

Texas has decided: We should ignore scientific theory and observations and leave question of the age of the Universe open to debate in the classroom. After all, the Universe could be a few thousand years old because the Judeo-Christian Bible says so. This is what the Texas School Board member Barbara Cargill thinks and this is what the Texas School Board voted for (11:3).

The amazingly eloquent speech by Cargill can be watched here.

Interesting discussions on this appear on the Pharyngula blog.

Also, in a New Scientist article.


What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant