24 August 2012

Jupiter, Moon, Venus (and Aldebaran)

The night of  12 August 2012, there was a peak in the meteor shower of the Perseids. I happened to be in Santorini, so I set my alarm clock for 4:30. It was a perfect, cloudless night with almost no light pollution. So, not only did I enjoy a spectacular shower, but I also saw the rare alignment of 3 celestial bodies: Jupiter, the Moon and Venus. I turned my mobile phone camera to the sky and took a very reasonable photo:
The moon is the brightest spot. Jupiter is just above and to the right of the Moon. Venus is the dot at the bottom. Upon enlarging the photo near the Moon-Jupiter area, one can see, to the right of the two bodies, Aldebaran, a red giant star, 65 light years away, which, compared to our Sun, is 44 times larger (linear scale). It represents a small version of what our Sun will be like in about 5 billion years: it will increase in size by a linear factor of 200. Of course, all life (on Earth) will be extinct by then.

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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