Saturday, 28 November 2009

Why it's hard to be a moderate

I was playing basketball with a group of Chinese students in the other day. It was great and a lot of fun. We were playing half-court basketball and one end of the court was empty.
At the end of one of our match (about 10 people), around six non-Chinese (Lao Wai) students came and asked us whether we wanted to play full court. We got into a debate about playing one full court game vs. playing two half court games. I thought that the opinion among Chinese students might be diverse so I asked everyone to hold their hands up if they want to play full court (which was my preference). The vote didn't pass.
After the night ended, a few Chinese students half-jokingly / half-seriously accused me of siding with the foreigners. I merely tried to reach a democratic consensus without holding onto ethnic divisions. If a game of basketball can lead to ethnic hard-liners speaking out, no wonder racial genocide will still occur in the world. Not only that, I feel sympathy for those people who do not let their ideologies and decisions fall into racial groups. Such as the moderate Hutus. They are perceived to be extremists by the opposing group and traitors by their own group.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


今天早上听了几首晚期贝多芬作品 (第九交响乐, 后期弦乐四重奏), 好像能感觉出来音乐历史家议论的贝多芬“永久情人”。 老贝一辈子都没结婚。 在1805-1812 年 (晚年)时期他爱上了一位女士。 学者至今还搞不清楚这位女士的身份, 统称叫她“永久情人”。 可惜好像是单相思, 带给了这伟大的艺术家不可衡量的痛苦。
贝多芬第九交响乐前两个乐章很有报复, 激情,起伏, 我觉得是代表了他暗恋和得不到回应的感情。 几乎能体会到他当时的内心矛盾和在痛爱中欲哭无泪的迷失。
第九交响乐第三乐章听起来好像是表现了贝的爱情的抒情一面。 丰满的法国圆号现表示了他感情的纯真和伟大。 过几分钟弦乐朗诵着美丽的旋律。 但是不是那种年轻人热恋的感觉, 而是包含着一种成熟感,责任感, 还有付出的精神。

很快, 第三乐章结束了, 第四乐章开始了。马上对比很明显。 就像从一场甜蜜的梦醒来, 发现了现实是多么残酷。

还有给我印象很深的是四重奏作品号135, 第三乐章。 (Lento Assai). 整个乐章都标着“pp" (安静的)。 主旋很单薄, 简单, 朴实, 给人一种绝望的感觉。

可见老贝晚年挺惨的。 又失去了听力与失去了情人。

卡拉扬指挥的柏林爱乐 表演 第九交响曲可以在 youtube 上找到。

Funny Chinese names

Sorry this is untranslatable to English because the humour lies in all the homonyms.

据公安部姓名查询系统, 全国最爆笑的人名 :
刘产 赖月京 (还是个男的)
范剑 姬从良
范统 夏建仁
朱逸群 秦寿生 (亏他父母想得出)
庞光 杜琦燕
魏生津 矫厚根
沈京兵 杜子腾
排名第一的 : 史珍香
不准笑 ! 群发一下 , 大家捡捡牙(减减压) .Fu

Saturday, 14 November 2009

PhD vs. Undergrad+Masters / 博士 vs. 本科

Xingbo and I were discussing the difference between PhD and Undergrad/Masters. We reached the following analogy.
If you're a undergrad/masters student, and you're given a paper to read, all you're required is to comprehend the technical points in the paper and know how to reuse it. If you're a PhD student, you need to write a significantly improved paper.

我和师弟Xingbo 那天谈了谈 博士和本科的区别。 最后达到了此下比喻:
如果把一篇技术文章给他看, 他只需要理解里面的技术内容还有领会此技术的应用。 但是,一个博士生就需要创造出更好,更深的新技术。

Science vs. Engineering / 科学 vs. 工程

I was discussing with my friend Xingbo today about the difference between engineering and science. He gave a good definition. Engineering research results in immediate added value to society while science research requires engineering efforts before their fruits can be reaped by the society.
IEOR Department joke: "When does engineering become science? When it stops being useful"

Xingbo 和我讨论了一下科学和工程的区别。 他很英明的发表出一对很吻合的定义。 工程研究是可以直接产生社会价值, 而科学研究是须要工程研究的加工才能导致可用产品。 两个都一样重要, 往往科学更加难,名利少很多。

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Finite Simple Group

The path of love is never smooth
But mine's continuous for you
You're the upper bound in the chains of my heart
You're my Axiom of Choice, you know it's true

But lately our relation's not so well-defined
And I just can't function without you
I'll prove my proposition and I'm sure you'll find
We're a finite simple group of order two

I'm losing my identity
I'm getting tensor every day
And without loss of generality
I will assume that you feel the same way

Since every time I see you, you just quotient out
The faithful image that I map into
But when we're one-to-one you'll see what I'm about
'Cause we're a finite simple group of order two

Our equivalence was stable,
A principal love bundle sitting deep inside
But then you drove a wedge between our two-forms
Now everything is so complexified

When we first met, we simply connected
My heart was open but too dense
Our system was already directed
To have a finite limit, in some sense

I'm living in the kernel of a rank-one map
From my domain, its image looks so blue,
'Cause all I see are zeroes, it's a cruel trap
But we're a finite simple group of order two

I'm not the smoothest operator in my class,
But we're a mirror pair, me and you,
So let's apply forgetful functors to the past
And be a finite simple group, a finite simple group,
Let's be a finite simple group of order two
(Oughter: "Why not three?")

I've proved my proposition now, as you can see,
So let's both be associative and free
And by corollary, this shows you and I to be
Purely inseparable. Q. E. D.