Should we ban poetry writing?

Hi,
so I was reading a lot of books for my school lately, roughly one a week which was quite a marathon for me. Of course since it is for literature, there are all kinds of books which I read. They were usually published in 19th century because my Czech class is learning about romanticism, naturalism and all kinds of Czech stuff (I do not want to say “weird shit” because that might be simply too offensive :D).


There were certainly good books and I do not even have time to review them (it would be quite boring), for example Pride and Prejudice (I had quite a prejudice against this one), Cosmic songs (best representative of poetry (Písně kosmické)), Wuthering heights and Boule de Suif were quite good.

What I want to get to, is poetry. From my perspective poetry does not really have much of a value, which should probably teach me something when I think that.

You know, when I read poetry I feel kinda dumb. My Czech is on quite fine level (as a native speaker) but it can so easily happen that I do not understand the poets, why would anyone write that if they can just tell the story in novel? Then, next level comes with poems in English that are FILLED with non-existing words, you will quickly accustom to “thou” and “thee” even though people probably seriously used it few decades back, but then it will step quickly on next level. I bet that if you copied them to Word and tried to check for grammar mistakes, your computer would break down.

Now lets go back to the lesson. I am pragmatic person, of course I would reduce it, so that it becomes more easily understandable but I know that for some reason lot of people like to read that stuff, people that definitely understand languages more than I do.. maybe they are just sentimental!

The thing is that I would gladly reduce all grammar in any language, even better, make a global language that does not have any exceptions, has 3 tenses and no y/i (that is really annoying in Czech).

Again people who actually understand this stuff and have the feeling for languages disagree with me, I have tried more than once and always got skeptical looks saying basically “you are cancer, go home”.

So it seems I should be more skeptical of my radical approaches to things regarding simplifying languages, as of now I am not in the position to change it, when I will be there will be some need for education. As with the poetry, I am almost done with what I have to read anyway!

Dragallur

PS: It might happen that I do not post next week because I am going to Berlin (and then Czech Republic!)

Cassini + Huygens = Purpose of life

Hi,
today I will write about Cassini-Huygens spacecraft because lately there has been so much hype about its final destination (Saturn’s atmosphere).


Cassini was launched in 1997. Its flight towards Saturn itself was very interesting. The spacecraft did a flyby aroundImage result for cassini flight map Venus, two times, then did flyby around Earth.. if you have been paying attention in elementary school you might notice that this is a bit weird since Venus is closer to the Sun and one might one to rather fly in exactly opposite direction. Well first of all that would not neccesarily be the reason since the planets are not in a row all the time but the reason why one does not go directly towards the destination is that it takes high velocity to escape Sun. In all those flybys Cassini got few extra kilometers per second so that it was able to get to Saturn without extra fuel.

The probe made a flyby of Jupiter though at that time Galileo was already orbiting him. In 2004 it reached Saturn and succesfully started to orbit him. Throughout whole mission it did a lot of work of course, for example found new moons of Saturn, discovered water on the moon Enceladus, taught us about the nature of rings and much more. What I found most interesting though is the landing of Huygens spacecraft which was a part of Cassini until it landed on Titan. It was first ever landing on surface in outer solar system (only one so far), and brace yourselves.. it took pictures:

On the left you can actually see the surface. The lander was not functioning very long time, it had battery for 180 minutes and most of the time was spent in atmosphere.

Now Cassini’s mission is comming to an end. This is because it does not have much energy to power its instruments and there is risk that we would lost it completely and then it could fall on Enceladus for example and contaminate it. For that reason Cassini is taking very dangerous dives close to Saturn and its rings to provide some more info and in the end, it will burn up in the atmosphere of the giant planet.

Every single time it is possible that it will be destroyed by some piece of stone. Because of that it uses its antenna as protection but still, it is moving very quickly, so far it dived once, we will see how it goes in the future.

Saturn's north pole in color

North pole, blue color is actually there.

Dragallur

Titan picture: By ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; processed by Andrey Pivovarov https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5685589

North pole picture: Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Sophia Nasr

Map picture: http://38.110.37.8/faculty/~m_rulison/Astronomy/Group/Summer%2000/Cassini/ASTRONOMY%20PROJECT.htm

Knowing the future, brain twist?

Hi,
two weeks back I wrote about the movie Arrival. I did not really get into the problems that arise when somebody knows the future, I will try to settle this today.


Alright, lets say that you just acquired the ability to know what will happen in the future. Cool huh?

First problem, do you have free will (meaning if you can choose to do something or there is no way to actually choose anything)? Lets start with the answer: yes, you have free will. Basically two things can happen, if you truly know what will happen then you can not choose any other option which means that by knowing the future you and everybody else will lose free will if you could choose something else than what the ability tells you then it would not be telling the future. Something else could happen though, you could know all the possibilities that arise from your decisions and the decisions of others. Funny would be if you would see it for the decisions of others, then the ability would be useless for longterm predictions where people all across the globe would interconnect with their decisions (do animals have free will, which ones do and which ones do not?). You could for example see that in 40 years there are couple (a lot) of lines that go to Third World War but there would be so many people involved in changing couple of important people that you could hardly do anything with it. At the same time if your brain would be organized in the mess you would immediately know what option you need to take to optimize whatever you want to optimize. Much easier would be if everybody else lost their free will and you alone had it.

The real fun begins if you consider no free will aka determinism. You know exactly what will happen but you can not change it. Imagine standing on cross roads, you know you will turn to left, its the future and you can not decide otherwise but there does not seem to be anything that would actually prevent you from turning right. If you do it, it means that the ability was telling you exactly that from the beginning but then you would turn left…

Lets consider thought experiment:

There is a robot that has very strict type of thinking. It is standing in a hall way that splits into two corridors, left and right (it is driving towards the left). Nothing miraculous can happen there, nothing that would prevent the robot to go where it is programmed to go.

You are at the headquarters and know where the robot will turn or simply what will happen there. You tell this information to the robot and the robot will turn exactly the other way. For example you know that he will turn left. You send him the information and he according to his program turns right which means that your ability is not working and this simply can not happen, you can not tell him the direction because he would do the opposite. What will you tell him? What is the future?

There is one more line of code in the robot: if you get the information “you did not decide”, you will turn left. This is to make it harder, the future would switching between left and right indefinitely, meaning the robot would not do anything and we do not want it. The only solution that I came up with is that he will actually not decide, you will send him the information: “You will start going left but when you will get this information you will turn right. After hearing this you will turn left but when you hear this information you will turn right again…” it will continue and then it depends how the robot is made. If it waits until the stream of information halts then it wont ever decide and you will speak to him forever. If it will take the information and while it processes the next part it will start to act accordingly to it (meaning the opposite way), the robot will slowly move towards left or right. At some point it will be on the threshold which raises a problem of course and I guess there is nothing stable to tell him without destroying the ability that you gained, you know what he will do but you can not tell him.

The last part would be the same scenario as if the robot could teleport from the beginning but if you have to say the information then it will result in a paradox. In normal non-robot life you would probably run into more complicated scenarios where knowing the future would not alternate you decision which is the whole problem we are dealing with. But if you would not and your ability would HAVE TO work then… ???

BOOM!

Dragallur

Rant against Arrival

Hi,
my fellow blogger (Jitka unfortunately writes in Czech) reviewed in her last post the movie Arrival. Since I saw it yesterday I decided that I will continue with my own thoughts.


The movie is about linguist who is offered the chance to communicate with aliens that just landed on Earth on 12 different locations. Her job is to learn how they speak and ask them what is their purpose here.. thats what the movie is about.

Now if you have not seen the movie, there will be spoilers:

First I will comment on what she said on her blog:

So in the movie the aliens apparently know the future, now this puts into question ones free will of course but I do not think we have it anyway so yes, they simply know what will happen. Why do they send 12 vessels and not only one where Louisa would learn the language (which is the whole point of their Arrival). Well they needed the conflict to happen in more countries, how could she save general Shang from China if he was not going to attack? There would be a lot of differences in the story and who knows what would happen. If you know the future and you want it to happen again you will do exactly the same things and not risk small changes, yes you will act accordingly even to small details because of butterfly effect.

Now lets return to the problem of free will here. If you actually had a free will and knew the future you would have to know the future of all your decisions and combination of these decisions with other people’s decision, that would certainly be mess. Then you would choose the decision line that fits you best and would go with it… which also means that you would probably know what you will choose from the beginning, huh..

Then there is this theoretical physicist, alright his being there was completely random. Actually I think that he was there only to say the dumbest line ever in the beginning of the movie when Louisa and he (Ian) were in the helicopter and he was citing her work. It went something like “language is the cornerstone of civilisation” and he said that it is wrong that the cornerstone is science. Aha, ok really? Science would not even exist without language not speaking about the fact that if you do not learn language your mind capability is extremely reduced.. I am not saying that language is cornerstone of civilisation either, I am not really sure about it.

Jitka mentiones the idea of the heptods (aliens) to communicate via smells, that sounds interesting but I think that for animals (as we know them) it is much better to communicate with sound. This simply because sound is more reliable. If you are animal it is a matter of seconds before you and your family gets eaten and you move all the time. When monkey screams on the rest of the tribe to get away they will know it immediately, but if the monkey lets out some aggresive smell it might take minutes before it reaches the right destination.

I guess one of the aliens let himself be blasted away because he knew it was necessary for the future, though I would doubt they would have such a bad glass that would not be able to withstand the explosion.

Oh and it does not make sense how Louisa persuaded the general Shang, she only recited what his wife told him that would not probably impress him so much, there would also be pressure from other people and why would Russia and Saudi Arabia stop so suddenly?

Louisa starts to teach the language, that seems dangerous because anybody can then probably access memories from the future.. ouch, that could cause some problems. At the same time the future that she sees is not really a future since she speaks with general Shang without knowing the phone number but then in the future it can not happen since she knows it already.

Overall it was not very good movie. The amount of time left was decreasing lineary but the same was with thrill in the movie, which finally led me into seeing it whole, sadly.

Dragallur

Numeral systems

Hi,
today I will write a post about numeral systems and how they generally work. I already wrote about binary and decimal system, but in the last week I did some research on generally numeral systems.


So, just to recap. We normally use decimal system, this means that we use ten symbols to represent numbers, from 0 to 9. First place of number is the number itself, second position represents the number times 10 because we are in decimal system and 3rd represents number times 100 and so on. The general formula to transfer numbers to decimal system goes like this:

anbn + an − 1bn − 1 + an − 2bn − 2 + … + a0b0

a stands for the number that we see written, b stands for the system it is written in, n is the digit where a is –> 0 is the first place.

For example 1334 in the numeral system “7” would be:

4*1+3*7+3*49+1*343=515 in decimal system.

Note how you can represent easily any number in any system because of how the exponents rise in every single digit by one. If the numbers before the next digit are all full, like x9999 in decimal system or x4444 in base 5 system you always need to add only one to reach the next digit, this way there are no numbers left out.


What I really like is that if you had a machine that could change from any numeral system to other you could multiply numbers extremely easily. In decimal system if you multiply by 10 it is very easy because you just add one zero, why? Because all the numbers are “multiplied” by 10 with some exponent already and you just add one which moves all of the numbers to left. In binary system if you multiply by two you just move all the numbers by one digit:

101010111*10=1010101110      (10 is 2 in decimal) Or in 6 base system:
420351234*10=4203512340   (10 is 6 in decimal)

You are basically multiplying by “10” though you need to remember that the number is still in that system.


What about rational numbers? The stuff behind point?

I was really wondering about this and Wikipedia helped out! The exponents are simply negative as in the example below (binary number 10.11 to decimal system):

1×21 + 0×20 + 1×2−1 + 1×2−2 = 2.75

First place –> exponent 0
Second place –> exponent 1
First place behind point –> exponent -1Second place behind point –> exponent -2

Thats it for today.

Dragallur

Eating the spiciest natural chilli

Hi,
last Sunday I was at neighbors with my host family for dinner. We ate some pumpkin soup and then I noticed these nice small peppers piled up in the bowl. Already I heard that it is not good to put them in your food so I decided to take it as challenge and take one. People at the table noticed and warned me that I probably do not want to eat it. I was soon persuaded not to take it and rather wanted my host brother to try it and see how it goes.

Yup, this is what it looks like.

“These peppers are the spiciest natural growing peppers.”
“Oh, ok then.”

He said that he is going to split with me. I finally agreed and stuffed half of the pepper into my mouth with some milk next to me and bread with thick layer of “Philadelphia”

https://i2.wp.com/groceries.iceland.co.uk/medias/sys_master/root/h8e/h01/8830465802270.jpg

This is called lifesaver.

After few bites it started to burn a lot. It is quite nasty but the real pain came when I swallowed for the first time. When it hurts in the mouth you can just calm it with bread as it touches the sides of your mouth but when you throat starts to burn it is way more difficult. In something like 15 minutes it was over. Not so much because of pain but simply the pepper, I cried a lot but hey it was quite interesting.

If you decide to try it out, there is one thing to keep in mind. The pepper is going to burn more than one time, actually it might burn three times.. you will know what I mean after you eat it 😉


Anyway there is a chart called Scoville scale, I thought I already wrote about it but then could not find it so here you go.

Spicy peppers have inside neurotransmitter called capsaicin. It fakes your feeling as it bounds on the nerves that are responsible for you to experience heat. Capsaicin is not solluable in water which explains why it wont help you to drink it when you eat something spicy. Milk is better and dairy products generally help. HCl of course helps too.

Capsaicin itself has 16 million points on Scoville scale which is about 8 times as much as the spiciest pepper which is right now Carolina Reaper with individuals well over 2 million. The pepper that I was eating is 1.5 million almost (which is average) and it is called Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Pepper.

Dragallur

Solution to 12 coins balance problem

Hi,
in the last post I described this cool balance problem with 12 coins where one of them is false one (heavier or lighter than others). You are allowed to weight them 3 times to find out which one of them it is and if it lighter or heavier.


The hint that I gave you is to separate them on 3 groups of 4 coins. Otherwise it is not possible to solve it. For the first one there are two options as you weight 4 coins against 4 coins.

If the outcom is even it goes as follow:

  1. If nothing happens the 4 coins that you have not used must have the false one. Now this is quite tricky. You have probably come out to this part but you have to use all the facts that one weighting will get you as you will see. If something goes down, it is good to know it and vica versa.
    1. a) Now you know that the rest of the coins (4) have to have the false one since it was even. You take one away and put the three against 3 that you are sure about (you have 8 of those). If it is even you know that it is the last coin and you just weight it against one of those normal ones to see if it is lighet or heavier. If you find out that one of the three has to be false you will remember if they were heavier or ligher. Then you take two of them and weight them against each other. The one that did the same thing like in the last weighting is the false one. (If in the 3 vs 3 it was heavier you are searching for the heavier side again.) If they are even you know that it is the last one.
  2. Now it can also happen that one side from the first weighting is heavier than the other. All of the 8 coins are unknown but you can use the fact that one went down and the other up so you need to remember that fact. You also need the 4 coins that you know must be all ok. Put three of those on the “lighter” part. From the lighter part move three original to “heavier” part and from there away three.
    1. b) The easiest thing is when the heavier part is again heavier. Then it has to be one of the original coins from both side which are only 2. You weight one of them against any other coin to get the result.
    2. b) If the part that was heavy is lighter this time, one of the three coins that you moved from lighter to heavier last time must be the wrong one. It is also lighter as you know. Weight two of them against each other. If they balance it is the third one if they do not it is the lighter part.
    3. b) If they balance it must be one of the three coins that we removed completely. We use the procedure described in the last post to find the solution, it is heavy coin then.

Now that is for solution. It is not easy to come up with it and there are some even more difficult versions. Thanks for reading and thanks to Wikipedia for the solution.

Dragallur

12 coins balance problem

Hi,
today, in this short post I want to show you this cool puzzle that I first encountered on my summer camp. The problem goes like this:


You have got 12 coins. One of them may be false one. You can not know by looking but you have a balance weights. You are allowed to use it 3 times and find out which one of the coins is heavier or lighter (you do not know and it might happen that none is).

I really recommend you to try it out. I almost had a solution though when I checked it I saw that I had mistake in one of the scenarios. Try it out for yourself and in next post I will reveal the solution.

Dragallur

HINT BELOW:

 

Try to take first step of weighting 4 coins against 4 coins, it will help you 😉

 

XKCD

Hi,
again, it is kind of late so today I will only share with you some cool XKCD pictures and next post will probably be about our asteroid exploration which has 2 major news.


Meteorite Identification

Not the best one but surely up-to-date.

Superzoom

Yeah cameras are great 😉

Pyramid Honey

Thats how conspiracy is created.

To everyone who responds to everything by saying they've 'lost their faith in humanity': Thanks--I'll let humanity know. I'm sure they'll be crushed.

Dragallur

All comics are from XKCD site, thanks Randall

Book review 11) Secret diary of chinese empress

Výsledek obrázku

Czech edition of the book

Hi,
today in my week plan I finished this book above. It is called the Secret diary of chinese empress though I guess that this book does not even exist in english version.


Book: Secret diary of chinese empress

Author: Johannes Fabricius

Genre: Diary, historical

Pages: 231

Rating: 8.7/10


This book is simply diary of empress Cixi who lived from 1835 to 1908.[1]

Cixi was borned in lower class in China. She was lucky enough to be selected as a concubine for new emperor Xian Feng. Her friend was selected too and soon she was getting lot of attention from emperor.

After a while she was heavy with child and it was clear that emperor will die soon enough since he spent most of his time in brothels and opium dens. He was weak and sick.

After he died she and his wife took the role of regents before her son was 17 years old. That was huge turning point in her reign. She now got most power because her co-regent was not so strong. Of course problems soon appeared. Western fleets and armies took China by attack. With much better technology and tactics they soon overhelmed China that had to agree upon their terms.

There was huge amount of intrique before she was able to get rid of all her enemies which were for example Xian Feng’s brothers.

About 40 years later, again the court had to escape Forbidden City because of what is called Boxer Rebellion, event that was action against various western countries to stop their “expansion” in China. Boxer Rebellion stopped as a fiasco because again, western technology was far better than Chinese.

The painting by Katharine Carl of Cixi.

Cixi died at the age of 72 years and she was called the Old Buddha.


This book was great really. From her diary you do not get much of what is happening in the world. This I think nicely shows that she really did not care and even hated everything that was not traditional. Basically it was her who started the last unnecesarry war that had to lead to her defeat. In the book, though of course she does not say it, she lives very opulently. Rebuilding palaces when Chinese treasury is almost empty. At the same time, she was quite good in what she was doing, like it or not, she reigned for 47 years.

If you can find this book, read it. Quite good to get the idea of how it looked like in China before the WWI.

Dragallur

[1]I guess that the author, Johaness Fabricius only put the book together and made first transletion.