17 July 2010

Mao feng tea

I am, at the moment, enjoying a cup of mao feng tea (), one of the top varieties of Chinese green teas,

 grown in Mount Huang (Huangshan) in the Anhui province of China.

I discovered the mao feng tea thanks to my ex-colleague Yuanhua Feng (who managed to escape from Heriot-Watt university some time ago, and is now professor in the University of Paderborn, Germany) who had given me a box of it a couple of years ago.

The shape of the processed leaves resembles the peak of a mountain. An ancient Chinese legend about the tea goes as follows:
It is said that young scholar and a beautiful woman who worked in a tea plantation were madly in love. One day a local landowner saw the woman and wanting her for his own, seized her and forced her to become her concubine. The woman escaped only to find that the landowner had killed the young scholar. When she found this out, she immediately went to his grave which was located high on a mountainside. She wept uncontrollably until she became the rain, and the young scholar became a tea tree. It is said this is why the area where Huangshan Mao Feng Tea grows is cloudy and humid all year.
As for the meaning of the name "mao feng", and the qualities of the tea, we note that
"Mao" means fluffy, and "Feng" means mountain peaks. Although it is not a scented tea, it has many properties similar to scented tea. The tea liquor has an apricot flavor, and a fragrance like magnolias. No apricot trees or magnolias grow in the area, so it is unknown how Huangshan Mao Feng gets its unique flavors. There is however wild peach trees that grow in close proximity to the tea plants, and that may be the cause. Huangshan Mao Feng Tea drinkers say that the first brewing is fragrant, the second brewing is sweet, and the third brewing is strong. The tea tastes clean and refreshing, and lasts a long time on the tongue.
I agree with the last two sentences.

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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