Monday, December 22, 2008

Body of ideas

I noticed I have this habit of not mentioning the names of the persons when I tell a story or talk about something. I somehow feel it is not the exact person who was the subject of the story that matters, but the story itself with the meaning it has for me. It is the same when I say a quote, many times I forget who initially said it, it is never my intention to become a fan of somebody who said something interesting, what matters is the idea she/he expressed. Any idea in fact becomes "open source" once it was uttered to the world. I think it is a body of ideas we are always talking about, isn't it, buddy?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hamlet's prolog without words

European House (Hamlet’s Prologue Without Words), Regia: Àlex Rigola, Compania de teatru Lliure, Spania, Festivalul Uniunii Teatrelor Europene, Teatrul National Bucuresti, Sala Mare, 2008-12-20

First of all, it was not in Spanish or Catalan, but without words (and it was not pantomime) which made it quite challenging to get the idea. It was not Shakespeare, but some parable with the characters from Hamlet and one needed to know well Hamlet in order to identify all the characters. I didn't know Hamlet that well, but in the discussion we had afterward many of the mysteries were elucidated. The acting was good, but you needed a lot of imagination to fill in the the blanks (i.e. the missing words), otherwise you could get easily bored and lost. And the scenography was very nice.

For a different opinion on this performance read Less is bore.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New book - letters to my son

I started a new book, Letters to My Son by Gabriel Liiceanu. It's the first book by Liiceanu I read, I felt he is kind of a fashionable writer (not at the same level as the trio Eliade, Cioran and Noica, but still...) and I usually avoid reading fashionable writers. But since I received this book as a gift, I said I'd give it a try. And I like it, although this is supposed to be some kind of philosophy, the story telling style of Mr. Liiceanu is captivating. A while ago somebody said about me that I read philosophy (as a compliment I suppose :) ), but I was very puzzled when I heard that. I don't remember reading a philosophical system (like the one of Kant for example), I rather like story reading/telling. And if it happens the story has a deeper meaning that's for the better. But what I don't like from such stories is when the author explains at the end what you are supposed to understand. That is plain stupid. That's why I stopped reading Coelho.

Monday, December 15, 2008

City FM

City FM is probably the only radio station in Bucharest where you can listen Iron Maiden at 8 o'clock in the morning. One of their jingles sounds like this: "Hey, pelican, did anybody say you are not allowed to listen rock music in the morning?" They totally rock most of my mornings :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mathematics is hard, even when it's fiction

I finished the novel about the murders in Oxford. The book was fine, but I got somehow disappointed about the mathematics story the author was telling. One of the main characters was a professor of mathematics and he was trying to somehow minimize the consequences of the incompleteness theorem of Godel. So his idea, as the author puts it, was to show that the statements that cannot be proved true or false in an axiomatic system will be somehow not-natural and at another level of detail, so they will be irrelevant for the work of a mathematician. But this is completely wrong and we have a famous and well known example of the Euclid's fifth axiom (parallel postulate). It took mankind almost 2000 years to prove it cannot be proved true or false based on the other axioms of geometry, but has to be considered as an axiom. And for sure the Euclid's axiom is not some obscure statement or at another level of detail, but a very intuitive and "obvious" statement. And in 1963 another not such obscure statement in mathematics, continuum hypothesis, was shown to be impossible to proof or disproof in the context of the standard axiomatic set theory. So Martinez's character was in an impossible quest, but luckily for him and the readers he got involved in a series of crimes just to entertain us :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Romanian stand-up comedy

I heard a while ago about this club in Bucharest, Cafe Deko, where there are stand-up comedy shows. I didn't have the chance (one wins the tickets at lotery of course :))to go there yet, but here is a very good piece from Teo (one of the comedians) found on YouTube. It is called "reflexive verbs and Eminescu". So in case you understand Romanian, enjoy!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New book - The Oxford Murders

I started reading a new book this week-end: The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez. So it is about some murders, finding their author and it also involves some mathematics. It should be fun to read, since I enjoyed other thematic mystery novels, like the ones of Arturo Perez-Revert and also novels about mathematics like Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture.