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


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