Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Две фотки с Cliff Walk в Ньюпорте



Вот на этом месте, если уж быть совсем точным (фотки кликабельны для улучшения качества). Очень приятно провели там время с гостившей у нас на выходных Дашей Ф. Еще и Breakers посетили, снова убедившись, что у Эллочки-людоедки, увы, не было никаких шансов в борьбе с дочерью Вандербильта.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Из наблюдений над студентками

1. На инженерном потоке студенток раз-два и обчелся. Но те, что есть - среди самых сильных в группе (по математике).

2. Если встречаешь на кампусе студентку из текущей группы, она одаривает тебя обворожительной улыбкой и приветливо здоровается. После окончания курса та же студентка при встрече смотрит сквозь тебя, не замечая в упор. Юноши куда более простодушны.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Willow the Cat Makes History

Willow the Cat has covered 1,600 miles in five years, traveling from Boulder, Colo., to New York City ...

Красавица какая! В статье по ссылке целый гимн кошкам, включая набор цитат из известных всем культурным людям исторических личностей: Leonardo Da Vinci, Rosemary Nisbet, John R.F. Breen ... (вот так и осознаёшь свое невежество).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hochschild on affirmative action

Nice memorial articles on Gerhard Hochschild (1915–2010), one of the giants of our trade. Here is an interesting episode:

At some point in the 1970s Gerhard was put on the committee to select the new instructors at Berkeley and given literature from the administration for guidance, which included affirmative action policies. He called the dean and told him he couldn’t do this because ethnic and racial criteria have no place in mathematics. Having seen Nazis up close and personal and having had the difference between “Jewish” and “Aryan” mathematics made clear to him, he could not, in turn, consider racial/ethnic criteria in selecting new instructors. The dean then argued that there is a difference between “negative racism”, which the Nazis practiced, and the current policy, whose purpose was to have a positive outcome. Gerhard did not regard this as adequate and resigned from the committee.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pictures from recent camping trip to New Hampshire



Benjamin Franklin on human communication

"I continu'd this [Socratic] method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or ,I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire."

ППКС (как тут принято выражаться). Не устаю поражаться, какое слабое распространение получили эти, в-общем то нехитрые, истины.

Benjamin Franklin on female education

"In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charleston, South Carolina, where a printer was wanting. I furnish'd him with a press and letters, on an agreement of partnership, by which I was to receive one-third of the profits of the business, paying one-third of the expense. He was a man of learning, and honest but ignorant in matters of account; and, tho' he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no account from him, nor any satisfactory state of our partnership while he lived. On his decease, the business was continued by his widow, who, being born and bred in Holland, where, as I have been inform'd, the knowledge of accounts makes a part of female education, she not only sent me as clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but continued to account with the greatest regularity and exactness every quarter afterwards, and managed the business with such success, that she not only brought up reputably a family of children, but, at the expiration of the term, was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and establish her son in it.

I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommending that branch of education for our young females, as likely to be of more use to them and their children, in case of widowhood, than either music or dancing, by preserving them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and enabling them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, with establish'd correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to undertake and go on with it, to the lasting advantage and enriching of the family."

Чрезвычайно, по-видимому, прогрессивное суждение по тем временам. Крамольная мысль: при всем глубочайшем уважении к Отцам-Основателям (среди которых Франклин, несомненно, является одним из наиболее замечательных), может быть, всё-таки не все их установления надо воспринимать как истину в последней инстанции? Just a thought.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

С наслаждением читаю

автобиографию Бенджамина Франклина. Вот, к примеру, замечательное суждение о спорах:

We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by reading my father's books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough.

Завтра начало семестра

Не могу не похвастаться новыми коллегами по факультету. По-моему, мы молодцы!

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Хорошая картинка от Abstruse Goose для преподающих или изучающих элементарную топологию (не забудьте курсор навести).