14 November 2015

Are all neurosurgeons crazy?

Reposted from http://recursed.blogspot.com

I'm beginning to think so, what with Ben Carson claiming that the pyramids were used to store grain, not to bury rulers and that he had a violent past.

So it's not really a surprise to see that walking Dunning-Kruger effect-man, Michael Egnor, claiming that humans can't be apes because "Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking" and "Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not".

I'm really curious to know how Dr. Egnor knows with certainty that nonhuman animals cannot think abstractly. I guess he is just egnoring all the research that suggests just the opposite. It's not like this is hidden stuff; Egnor could read, for example, the books of Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal.
Maybe not all neurosurgeons are this batshit loony. After all, another thing that Carson and Egnor have in common is that they are both creationists. Maybe that's the real problem. Maybe you have to be immersed in jeebus-juice to believe, like Egnor does, that "Human rationality is different because it is immaterial." I guess our thinking powers are just magic; all that neurocircuitry is just there for show.

1. Egypt’s pyramids were built by the biblical Joseph to store grain and were not, as archaeologists believe, tombs for pharaohs, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson, a neuroscientist, has said.
2. Michael Egnor is a neurosurgeon and creationist. He writes articles for the Discovery Institute (also known as Dishonesty Institute).

22 October 2015

Harassment and dissemination of pornography in a scientific conference?

I just became aware of an astronomy conference organized at Uppsala whose topic is Cool Stars. The home page looks pretty nice
but once we click on "about" we find a page that has two parts. The first part describes the subject of the conference.  But the second part,  which is more lengthy, is very strange.
Cool Stars gathers approximately 400 international experts on brown dwarfs, low-mass stars (from the pre-main-sequence through the asymptotic giant branch), solar physics, circumstellar environments, extrasolar planets, and astrobiology....
Cool Stars 19 is dedicated to a harassment-free workshop experience for everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of workshop participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate in any workshop venue, including talks, poster sessions, and organized social activities. Workshop participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the workshop without refund at the discretion of the workshop organizers.  Click here to read our full anti-harassment policy.
What? Is this a conference in astronomy or on harassment/gender/sexual issues? Are they expecting participants to harass and be harassed? Are they expecting participants who insult others? Participants going around using sexual language? Sexual imagery? (Really? Are they expecting dissemination of pornographic material?) Something very very fishy is going on, otherwise why, on the front page of the conference, spend more space to talk about possible offenses rather than the topic per se.

But the situation becomes even worse. If we click on the anti-harassment policy we find a 3 page document that is clearly prepared in anticipation of a lot of trouble. Here are some excerpts.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to:      Verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion      Sexual images in public spaces      Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following      Harassing photography or recording      Sustained disruption of talks or other events      Inappropriate physical contact      Unwelcome sexual attention      Advocating for, or encourage, any of the above behavior.
Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Exhibitors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material. Booth staff, including volunteers, should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

If someone makes you or anyone else feel unsafe or unwelcome, please report it as soon as possible.

You can file an anonymous report using this form: http://goo.gl/forms/03OCO6CGMq  

You can make a personal report by:  Calling or messaging this number: (TBA). This phone number will be continuously monitored for the duration of the event. Contacting a staff member identified by colored LOC badges and workshop t-shirts labeled STAFF or LOC.
This report is clearly prepared with the mindset that there will be lots of trouble. Conference people are probably going to harass and be harassed, exhibit sexual imagery, insult, etc. What KIND of conference is this, I wonder? Filing anonymous reports is something that was done during some dark times, like the McCarthyist era, or during Hitler's reign, among others. I'm really surprised that some people are encouraging this. Of course, if there is, indeed, a problem, then actions should be taken.

But I wonder: Is there a problem? If yes, again I ask: what KIND of conference is this? Why do they expect so much trouble?

I'm closing this posting with a screenshot showing the format of the anonymous report:
In summary, there are three alternatives:
  1. Either this is a practical joke.
  2. Or this is a conference where lots of trouble (harassment, sexual abuse, pornography) is expected.
  3. Or this is just a normal conference and these pages were created amidst paranoia. 
Options 1 and 3 seem unlikely because they both (especially 3) convey extreme irrationality and we're in a university so we don't expect this. So option 2 seems to be the more likely one.

Or is it not?

1 October 2015

Christmas is already in the air: the funeral office magazine and julmust are here!

The summer vacations are barely over, but Christmas is already in the air. Quite early this year in fact. But how do I know that Christmas has already arrived in Sweden? Well, there are two things that give it away:

First, it's the Julmust.
The other day I went to the supermarket and saw that they were already selling Julmust, i.e., "Christmas Sap" or Christmas Drink. Basically, it's like coca cola, but much sweeter. Like coca cola, it also comes in diet version, with nutra sweet. Wikipedia thinks that  "Julmust is mainly consumed in Sweden around Christmas". So, this is indication no. 1 that Christmas is already here.

Second, it's the funeral office magazine.
Around Christmas time, the Funeral Office Association of Sweden sends us their magazine called "Memento". As I wrote before, several funeral offices in Sweden are uniquely interesting because they advertise their funeral products. Last year, the magazine came around Christmas time. This year it came to us a week ago. Summer vacations are barely over, but Christmas has began. Dying in Sweden is also quite unique. First of all, dying during the summer should be avoided at all costs. Second, people like to talk about death. Third, committing suicide is fine, people won't talk about it anyway. Nobody cares.

The magazine is promoting death and death culture. Let's look at some its contents a bit more closely.

Here is the cover. Below the title "Memento" you see the subject of its main article: "When sick children die". You can also see that the magazine is not free. It costs 70 Swedish crowns (about 8.50 US dollars)--it's not cheap! It is sent to us for free (lucky us!) well in advance the festive season. Come to think of it, however, there must be people who do buy the magazine!

On page 4 we see the photo of a luxurious coffin surrounded by flowers. The caption below says "the feeling of a summer meadow".

Page 6 has the photo of a Mohammedan cleric with spooky looks and then a vast graveyard full of Christian crosses. I guess this says that the magazine is politically correct. It's ok for both Mohammedans and Christians to but the magazine.

On page 7, here is again "Eulogica", a death management operations software. We also saw it in last year's issue. "A new generation program and services for the funeral industry". I wonder if it exists as an app so I can download it on my mobile and have some fun.

The article on page 8 is titled  "Some children may die but not mine""In barely six months a  four-year old developed cancer. Not until the very end could Jenny believe that her daughter could actually die". In this way, I guess, the magazine tells parents to support the funeral office industry financially because their children may die. Makes sense, in a business world.

Pages 14-15 are devoted to a "Graveyard for dreamers and cat lovers". It talks about a cemetery that you can visit when you're feeling romantic. And if you're a cat (not a dog!) lover, take your cat along, and have fun thinking about your burial place.

The article on pages 18-19 is an impressively original idea. It's an idea for a party. A party where you invite your friends to talk about death and how they would like to be buried. The article's author asks:
Isn't it a good idea to invite people to a party and talk about death and how they like to have their funeral?
What a great idea indeed! How come nobody had thought about it before? This magazine is a real treasure. This is why I can't find people to come to my parties. My themes are not good enough. But if we talk about death then I'll get many people over. A caption of a photo in the article says:
Sandwich with herring is good, but we would like to have real food for our funerals.
Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Would you like to be buried with only a sandwich? I have a further idea for the party! We could rent coffins and play dead. For example, we could place a bottle of vodka in a coffin and wait for one of our guests to be lured. When he/she (or it) gets in, we slam the cover down and nail them inside. We then enjoy having the person beg for his/her release. It's a real simulation of what a burial is. In the very spirit of the magazine!

Page 24 has a full-page picture of urns in many colors. An urn is a vase where you stuff the ashes after you bury a dead body. But these urns advertised here are called "NatureUrns" and they are approved by the "Green Burial Council". That is, they are ecological urns, they're good for the environment. Good to know, eh?

Page 26. Article about the burial of an 8-year old girl. 

Pages 13 and 29 contain advertisements of the hearses of Mr. Nilsson. Their unique feature is that they are environmentally friendly. We are informed that they emit only 117 grams of Carbon Dioxide per Kilometer and so they are Europe's best. But Page 28 advertises the hearses of Mr. Eriksson that are classified as "extra long". They burn 149 grams of Carbon Dioxide per Kilometer. That's bad. Sorry Mr. Eriksson, you lose.

Then there is a cartoon about various characters talking about their death wishes.

All in all, an excellent magazine, given to us for free, just in time for Christmas. I will enjoy reading it while drinking Julmust.

27 September 2015

Saudi Arabia's new law says that atheists are terrorists

Article one of the new law defines terrorism as "calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based".

Domestic “terrorism” is defined in the decree as “any act” (expressly including non-violent acts) which among other things is intended to “insult the reputation of the state,” “harm public order,” or “shake the security of society”. The terms are very broad, and and could be used to prosecute any criticism of the state, its king or officials, or the state conception of Islam.

Another article prohibits all protest, without qualification as to its message or intent, by outlawing “calling, participating, promoting, or inciting sit-ins, protests, meetings, or group statements in any form”.

Source: IHEU

Recall that Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy and laws are whatever the king or the Sharia dictates.
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz whose decrees equate atheism with "terrorism" and ban criticism of the state
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz whose royal decrees equate atheism with “terrorism” and ban all criticism of the state

26 July 2015

Grooming tribal monarchs

When institutions (states,  businesses,  etc.) need cash they forget their principles.  My French friends are upset at the recent decision of the state to forget the principle of equality of all citizens and close a beach in Vallauris for the pleasure of a tribal king and his entourage of 1000 people. They've even constructed a lift (=elevator) for the use of the monarch.
● Story in French here.
● Story in English here.
Sucking up to Arabs has been around for a while.  But, now,  financial circumstances will make the presence of oil money (and private beaches and elevators) welcome in tourist areas,  in businesses,  in education, and many other sectors.  And if women have to walk a meter behind men or not allowed to drive cars or stoned in case they do something "bad", well,  Europe will temporarily forget its principles because money, be it tribal or not, is above principles or laws.

P.S. 100 thousand people have complained in writing against this. But the income brought by the tribal king will be greater than 100 thousand euro.  So the complaints don't count.

8 July 2015

Tabloids in Sweden

One thing that upsets me in Sweden is the kind of "newspapers" around. The two most popular "newspapers" are called Expressen and Aftonbladet. Typically, they are the only ones that can be found in small shops. Why do I care? For two reasons. First and foremost is because the sight of them hurts my eyes. They are so awful looking that it causes me distress. Sometimes I feel like vomiting. Second because I can't imagine why would anyone look at this total nonsense. Aren't people offended? (Look at the 7 July 2015 issue: the front page announces that the American actor Cosby was involved in sex scandals. This isn't even Swedish news! Why would anyone care?) The situation is similar in the UK. The most horrible tabloid there is called the Sun. The difference is that small shops in the UK also carry the serious newspapers. But I live in Sweden. So what I have to face, each and every time I go to the supermarket or to the petrol station, is disgusting. Like this:

Front pages of the "newspaper" Expressen are a visual pollution and a source of disgust
Front pages of the "newspaper" Aftonbladet make my eyes hurt and my bowels move

18 June 2015

Citation nonsense

We're at the era of the Internet. So, for many, knowledge and research evaluation has been translated to counting citations: the more citations you have, the better you are. So they think.

But, of course, they're wrong. I won't insult anybody's intelligence by presenting obvious arguments that show how faulty the process above is. I leave it as an exercise for the reader.

Cui bono, however, one should ask. Well, again the answer is obvious.

But something worse is happening now. Publishers don't leave me alone. They *force* me to look at every instance a paper of mine is cited.
From: Elsevier CiteAlert [citealert@mail.elsevier.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 5:48 PM
To: Takis Konstantopoulos
Subject: Dr. T. Konstantopoulos, your work has been cited.
Dear T. Konstantopoulos,
It is our pleasure to inform you that your publication has been cited in a journal published by Elsevier.
Through this unique service we hope we can offer you valuable information, and make you aware of publications in your research area.
Best regards,
The CiteAlert team
Damn Internet and email. I don't care to be reminded. I'll look it up myself if and when I need to. I don't need some robot telling me my cited papers. Cui bono, in this case? Well, obviously Elsevier. They want me to click at the paper citing my paper and then, in return cite their paper, etc. This is beneficial for the profits of Elsevier and they think that this is beneficial for me too. I don't care Elsevier. Leave me alone.

And, yes, I did try to unsubscribe, but it didn't work.

Lately, I published a paper in an Elsevier journal. I must have received 100 emails or so related to that paper: "Your paper is about to appear" "One week before the appearance of your paper." "Your paper appeared on out site." "Your paper is about to appear in the printed version." "Your paper appeared in the printed version, send us money  and we'll send you hard copies." And then: "Someone clicked and checked your paper" "Here are some new papers that are related to your work." And so on.

I don't want to be misunderstood: of course I'm interested for further research but not when a robot decides, on the basis of some stupid algorithm, that someone's work is close to mine. I want to talk to human beings, not to your spamming robots Elsevier!

16 June 2015

Ramadan in places where the sun does not set

Ramadan is a period, around this time of the year, when Muslims are supposed to fast during daylight and eat when the sun sets. (And fasting means eating nothing and drinking nothing, not even water or beer.) That's supposed to be a religious duty commanded by god. The issue is this however: In Uppsala, the sun hardly sets these days and further north it does not set at all.

So there is a problem. Clearly,  if they eat nothing at all they'll get sick or die. So they came up with new rules. See here and here:
Mohammed Kharaki, a spokesman for Sweden's Islamic Association, said the organisation had this week issued guidelines that said Muslims should fast between the times that the sun was last clearly seen to rise and fall - despite this concession, this could well amount to a 19-hour fast.
Sure, one would argue, they had to come up with something. But could they not come up with the obvious fact that there is a contradiction?

Clearly, the author of the "holy" books that tell people to fast during daylight and eat when it's dark did not know that there were places on the planet where the sun does not set. (For all I know, he could very well be under the impression that the Earth was flat.) The claim is that the author of these books is supposed to be god, who, by the way, is omniscient. So we have a contradiction.

So, instead of realizing that this contradiction leads to the obvious conclusion that the author of the books is not omniscient, they decided to change the rules.

But this is the nature of religion: regardless of the amount of evidence against its tenets, religion will not accept any contradictions. In fact, the larger the amount of contradictions religious folk are faced with, the stronger their belief. This, in my opinion, is the most fundamental aspect (perhaps the defining aspect) of religion.

The Uppsala mosque, picture taken from the Independent

15 June 2015

Vatican priest abuses children

Is this news, you'd ask. No, of course not. It is well-known that off a guy had a desire to molest children then all he had to do was to become a priest in the Catholic church. But, here we are again:

Vatican ex-envoy Wesolowski faces child sex abuse trial
Jozef Wesolowski is accused of sexually abusing children in the Dominican Republic from 2008 to 2013. He is under house arrest in the Vatican. The trial is to begin on 11 July. Wesolowski, 66, is also charged with possession of child pornography, dating from his return to Rome in 2013. Last year, the Pope compared the actions of those who commit such crimes to a "satanic mass".
What's the difference between a "satanic mass" and a "regular mass"? Well, in the former case everyone recognizes it as evil; but in the latter case, it takes several decades for the evil to come out.
The Vatican also accepted the resignations of an archbishop in the United States and his deputy following accusations that their archdiocese covered up the sexual abuse of children. They are Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
John Nienstedt said in a statement that his leadership had drawn attention away from the good works of the church but stressed he was leaving "with a clear conscience".
Bullshit, of course. The previous pope, Joseph Ratzinger, and the Vatican, and the whole establishment called Catholic church have been covering up, for decades, their pedophile priests. For them, it was more important to save face rather than face reality. When the shit hit the fan, they had to do something. And, very very reluctantly, they started the process of sending some of their holy priests to justice.

Read The Case of the Pope, by the distinguished human rights lawyer and judge Geoffrey Robertson to find out what real evil means.
Their resignation [of the US Catholic priests mentioned above] comes after prosecutors charged their archdiocese with "turning a blind eye" to repeated reports of inappropriate behaviour by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.
Neither man was named in the indictment.
Prosecutors accuse the archdiocese of failing to respond to "numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct" by Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest currently serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting two boys.
Five years for molesting two boys? What about  Joseph Ratzinger who knowingly supported and helped hide others who molested dozens and dozens of children? The usual reply is that he cannot be indicted because he was the head of a State.

Bullshit, again. According to international law, Vatican is not a state.

8 June 2015

Guns laws: from bad to worse

Back in the 90's when Dubya (George W Bush) was running for governor of Texas he promised to pass a law stating that people can carry guns as long as they were hidden inside their jacket or trousers or skirts. It was the so-called concealed weapons law. Soon after he became governor, the law was passed and everybody rejoiced. Now you could have a pistol or two as long as you kept it out of sight.

My ex-colleague Gary Wise, for instance, had a dozen or more guns so well-concealed that the police failed to find them when we reported that he was threatening to shoot us (faculty members at the University of Texas, Austin). Perhaps they did not want to find them because he was a man of faith: he was conducting Bible study classes and, according to the Texas mentality, this automatically meant that everything he said was true. When he used his guns against University administrators he was arrested and put to prison.

And then there was the following debate: Should guns be allowed in churches or not? It was soon decided that, yes, guns should be allowed in churches, as long as the church is ok with it, because, guns protect against the Satan.

And recently, a new law was proposed and is about to be signed: anyone can now carry guns openly and in full view. In fact, the ex-governor of Texas (successor of Dubya), Rick Perry, has been exhibiting guns for long time now:
The current law will prohibit police for stopping anyone carrying guns openly. Now Texas will be added to the list of the worst and most intimidating gun states. Congratulations Texas!

Over the last 30 years or so, guns have been spreading fast in the US. It looks like the US is going back to that it was 200 years ago, when  Lucky Luke was roaming...  The following animated gif map shows the spread of the epidemic.

And let's see an incident of guns use by the police: yesterday, police raided a teens party and stopped the loud teens by the use of guns. Sweet, isn't it?

10 May 2015

Japanese cinema

When I lived in other places, e.g., in Edinburgh, I used to go to the cinema regularly, actually mostly to the legendary Filmhouse and to the Cameo. Unfortunately, around here (Uppsala, Sweden) most cinemas, besides being very expensive, just show very low quality films. This restriction forced me to seek alternative venues. And so I discovered Japanese cinema. For long time now, I've been watching free Japanese films of bygone times, those films that are, of course, available for free on the Internet. And so I compiled a list which I would like to share:

My Japanese cinema list

In it, one can find films by Kenji Mizoguchi (such as Ugetsu Monogatari, Sansho the Bailiff and the Crucified Lovers, all highly recommended), by Hiroshi Simizu (such as Mr Thank You, a real must) and by Yasujiro Ozu (such as Late Spring, Ohayo [Good Morning], which one should watch at least twice). Unfortunately, Tokyo Story, one of the greatest films ever made, is not available with English subtitles.

Japan has a long history in film, starting from 1897. Most people know Akira Kurosawa and, more recently, Takeshi Kitano, but the films in my list go back to the roots of the Japanese cinema. Perhaps the reason that Japan has had such a stunning cinematic production can be traced to its long tradition in theatre that produced the genres of Gagaku, Noh, Bunraku and Kabuki. But I can't say for sure because I'm neither an expert nor I have much knowledge about the these genres other than a cursory one. Nevertheless, last year, I did manage to visit the great exhibition of 19th-century Japanese Kabuki theatre woodblock prints at the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

7 May 2015

John Lennox at Waterloo

John Lennox strikes again! This time at the University of Waterloo. I'm reblogging comments of Jeff Shallit who, having had the patience to attend his lectures, only found out that they are void of content. And I found out that Lennox keeps saying the same thing, month after month, year after year, supporting irrational beliefs and preaching to those who are impressed by the fact that he has a PhD and that he is a mathematician. (Wow!)

It's Pascal Lecture Time Again -- John Lennox at Waterloo 

John Lennox - Talk #1: "Do Science and God Mix?" 

John Lennox Hoist by His Own Petard

John Lennox Talk #2: Miracles 

6 May 2015

Japanese monkeys

From BBC news:
A Japanese zoo has apologised after naming a baby monkey Charlotte in honour of the newborn British princess, it's reported.
The Takasakiyama Zoo, in southern Japan, was inundated with complaints after announcing the female macaque monkey's name on Wednesday, the Kyodo news agency reports. The zoo says the name was chosen after a public vote, a tradition for their first newborn macaque
monkey each year. Charlotte received the most votes, although it wasn't exactly a runaway winner, with 59 out of 853 people choosing it.
But other members of the public felt that it was disrespectful to the British royal family to name a monkey after a princess. The zoo faced a "barrage" of complaints from people wanting them to re-name the macaque, with some noting that the Japanese people might not be best pleased if a British monkey were named after one of their own royal family, Kyodo reports. The zoo has apologised in a statement on its website. It says it takes people's concerns seriously and is discussing a potential name change for the newborn animal.
Well, I just came back from Japan,  and did have encounters with some Japanese monkeys out in the wild, in Kamikochi. I didn't know that one of their relatives would be named in honour of a British princess and neither that this would be considered scandalous. The question is why? Why should a princess' name not be useable by a monkey? Is a princess better than a monkey? On what grounds? Just because she happened to be born in a so-to-speak royal family? This is one of the irrationalities/absurdities of humans, a mere remnant of eras when people thought of royals as representatives of their gods. In any case, I find the monkeys more attractive than the princess. To wit, take a look:

11 April 2015

The Armenian genocide

As I was driving on the Bay Bridge from Oakland to San Francisco, I saw the following
So I clicked on http://www.rememberanddemand.org/ and saw the announcement of a variety of events for April 2015, in commemoration of the genocide.
Between 1915 and 1923, over 1.5 million Christian Armenians were forcibly uprooted from their homeland and systematically slaughtered by the Ottoman Turkish government under the cover of World War I.
This mass murder is considered the first documented genocide of modern times and included crucifixions, torture of women and children, sexual slavery, mass executions, forced labor, enslavement of children and purposeful starvation.
To this day, the Turkish government denies the truth about the Armenian Genocide. It has criminalized discussion of it by its own citizens and built a powerful coalition of lobbyists who use political influence all over the world to prevent international recognition of this crime.
In 2015, Armenian Americans and the international community will unite to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and to honor its victims by demanding the proper recognition of this horrendous event.

More on this, to follow...

19 February 2015

Coulomb's law

About a year ago, I discovered a very interesting short video by Richard Feynman responding to the question of what happens when we hold two magnets next to one another. His answer was brilliant.

Recently, I came across a video from the 50s where a physicist is conducting experiments trying to explain electrostatics and, more precisely, Coulomb's force. What is very interesting is that he doesn't merely present facts, but also argues, from various points of view, trying to convince the listener that the force must depend on the distance r between two charges as a linear function of 1/r2 (and linearly on each charge). The argument, especially towards the end, is not dissimilar from that of a mathematician who is trying to explain Potential Theory and Laplace's equation. In the end (skip to 17'22'' if you wish), we realize, with a bit of thinking, that a lot of the things we see in the experiment are merely outcomes of geometry and the fact that we live in a 3 dimensional space (this is an experimental observation that works well!) where distances obey the Pythagorean theorem.

I found out that the physicist is Eric Rogers. The video was intended to be for secondary schools. These days, one can find students of electrical engineering who do not understand electrostatics, students of mathematics who do not understand what potential theory has to do with physics, and educators (they are called pedagogues--and, as I have explained, they form a modern type of plague) who insist that education is independent of the discipline. Not that there aren't universities that teach properly and students who understand a lot, but this species (those who strive to understand and, hence, to explain) is becoming rarer and rarer.


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