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Monday, March 24, 2014

hiking the Appalachian Trail -a walk in the woods

A walk in the woods. 

God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail.

The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.

with 2015 plans to be made into a film

quotes from ― Bill BrysonA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Quote 1. “But I got a great deal else from the experience. I learned to pitch a tent and sleep beneath the stars. For a brief, proud period I was slender and fit. I gained a profound respect for the wilderness and nature and the benign dark power of woods. I understand now, in a way I never did before, the colossal scale of the world. I found patience and fortitude that I didn't know I had. I discovered an America that millions of people scarcely know exists. I made a friend. I came home.” 

Quote 2. “I know a man who drives 600 yards to work. I know a woman who gets in her car to go a quarter of a mile to a college gymnasium to walk on a treadmill, then complains passionately about the difficulty of finding a parking space. 
When I asked her once why she didn't walk to the gym and do five minutes less on the treadmill, she looked at me as if I were being willfully provocative. 
'Because I have a program for the treadmill,' she explained. 'It records my distance and speed, and I can adjust it for degree of difficulty.' 
It hadn't occurred to me how thoughtlessly deficient nature is in this regard.” 

Quote 3. “Woods are not like other spaces. To begin with, they are cubic. Their trees surround you, loom over you, press in from all sides. Woods choke off views & leave you muddled & without bearings. They make you feel small & confused & vulnerable, like a small child lost in a crowd of strange legs. Stand in a desert or prairie & you know you are in a big space. Stand in the woods and you only sense it. They are vast, featureless nowhere. And they are alive.” 

Quote 4.   There is no point in hurrying because you are not actually going anywhere. However far or long you plod, you are always in the same place: in the woods. It’s where you were yesterday, where you will be tomorrow. The woods is one boundless singularity. Every bend in the path presents a prospect indistinguishable from every other, every glimpse into the trees the same tangled mass. For all you know, your route could describe a very large, pointless circle. In a way, it would hardly matter.
At times, you become almost certain that you slabbed this hillside three days ago, crossed this stream yesterday, clambered over this fallen tree at least twice today already. But most of the time you don’t think. No point. Instead, you exist in a kind of mobile Zen mode, your brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below. Walking for hours and miles becomes as automatic, as unremarkable, as breathing.”  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Forgetful anecdotes in the scatterbrained science of absentmindedness

Eurekas and Euphorias he collects anecdotes about scientists, mostly famous ones of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, so most of the expected names are here: 
Crick, Darwin, Einstein, Feynman, Haldane, Kelvin, Pasteur, Pauling and many others, including, from earlier centuries, Aristotle, Newton and Pythagoras.

Eurekas and Euphorias will confirm all they thought they knew about crazy scientists with their heads in the clouds. 
Did not Plato write about Thales of Miletus, philosopher and mathematician, who fell into a well while gazing at the sky. 

The mathematician Norbert Wiener illustrates the idea. 
He "was noted for his absence of mind". 
Once he was lost after moving house, and, "accosting a small girl who was approaching in the opposite direction, he inquired whether she might not be able to direct towards Brattle Street. The child giggled: 'Yes daddy', she said, 'I'll take you home.'"
absentminded cartoons, absentminded cartoon, funny, absentminded picture, absentminded pictures, absentminded image, absentminded images, absentminded illustration, absentminded illustrations

“Geometry is the science of correct reasoning on incorrect figures.”
"Theories are lies that help us to see the truth"

Absent Minded Professor Stories

It’s hard to tell from the evidence if scientists (all trades of the game: physicists, geneticists, matematicians, and so on) were absent minded, many of the stories told about them could be fabrications to perpetuate that stereotype, but nevertheless some of them are true. 

People who tried to do mathematics in the past risked being killed in war, dying from accidents, wandering off and getting lost, falling off cliffs, and so forth. 
1. Witold Hurewicz was a mathematician noted for work in topology and being distracted.

While on the faculty at MIT he once gave a colloquium lecture at Penn State. Several colleagues from Boston schools decided to attend the talk and they took the train to Pennsylvania for the lecture. Afterward, as usual, they went to dinner had a nice discussion, then all boarded the train and returned to Boston. Hurewicz could not find his car at the train station. So he reported it stolen.
A few days later the police called and said that they had located his car. It was in a parking garage in .............. Philadelphia (500 km away!!).

2.  Guess who?
Someone called  and asked for his address. When the receptionist said that she was unable to give out that information, the caller admitted that he was Einstein and had forgotten where he lived.
  (quoted in one Einstein's biography, confirmed by the university at which Einstein was working at the time)

3. Norbert Wiener  (mathematician - earned  his BA  and his PhD at 14 and 18, respectively)

Wiener once reported the theft of his car to the police, only to discover that he had driven it to Providence for a talk and taken the train back; the conversation in an MIT hallway that he concluded by asking his interlocutor which way he had been heading when he stopped to chat, greeting the answer with “Good! That means I’ve already had lunch.”
Professor Jay Ball, recalled sitting at a Cambridge coffee shop with a Chinese friend and inviting Wiener to join their table. Wiener addressed the friend in fluent Mandarin, but the friend turned out to speak only Cantonese. So Wiener simply switched dialects. “My father spoke 17 languages fluently,” he told them, “but I’m a dope. I can only speak 12.”

4. Paul Erdös is portrayed as a hilarious mathematical genius.  Essentially homeless and jobless, he was so absent minded that...
... Bell Laboratories kept track of his expenses and paid his bills as he traversed the globe lecturing and proving theorems. 

on a Saturday morning, a cold Saturday morning in November, were walking around the Bowl when Lightbody’s car was parked outside the library. And his young daughter was in it. And she was crying and obviously cold and upset. And her dad had gone into the library to pick up something. We went into the library and found him engrossed, totally oblivious to the fact that he’d left his little daughter out in the car on a cold November day.

6. E. L. Harrington, a professor of physics (1920–52)
He would bring his wife up to the university and, at least on one occasion, he asked her to wait in the office while he did something else. Then he went out the back door to where his car was parked and drove away home. Left her sitting there. After a couple of hours she got a little bit worried and phoned home. It was a very—that guy, he wasn’t profane—he wouldn’t say, “Oh, my God,” or anything like that. He’d say some mild expletive: “Did I do that again?” And often he would.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Afterdeath experiences: the high cost of post-living

today we deal with shared experiences:

“It always ends. That's what gives it value.”

How much is a funeral or cremation going to cost?
Funeral cost-cutting are killing the trade to a dead-end.

The booming Industry  say people are opting for simpler services to bring down overall death expenses.

The question of how much a funeral should cost is one that we often ask Online nowasays.  The question of cost is sometimes an issue that people feel uncomfortable asking a funeral director, believing that asking “how much” does not seem dignified. 
This demonstrates just how much of a ‘distressed purchase’ a funeral is, and how culturally we still feel uneasy about the ritual of dying.
Yet, with tougher economic times hitting all of us, the cost of dying has become a very important one. 

There are so many considerations related to:
 the type of casket, casket liner, vault, cemetery plot, grave marker, etc, etc. 
 In the case of a burial, 
embalming is an additional cost,
plus dressing, a viewing, vehicles required,
services of a celebrant and the list goes on.  

At a stressful time, all these questions and choices can be deadly daunting

Historically the funeral industry has not openly disclosed funeral prices, and you hesitantly receive a published price list.  
These days you can find more funeral homes providing open disclosure of funeral package prices.  However, the cost of a funeral can still vary significantly depending on where you live and which funeral services provider you use.  
Be sure to check what kind of funeral business you are dealing with.  
VIDEO: Why Funeral Costs in the U.K. Are on the Rise 

Mind you,weddings and funerals have a lot in common:
 everyone’s dressed up, families get together, some people are crying, and the guests of honor ride off in fancy vehicle to an uncertain future
why not ....

Save Money: Get Married In A Funeral Home

It is HIGHLY recommended that you investigate prices from more than one funeral home.


Check some letters to the editor from our sources:

Friday, March 14, 2014

EEOOII -FAQ for B1/B2__anywhere with test samples for our Examens Lliures?

Aquí puede verse un cuadro que resume la situación con respecto a las pruebas unificadas de certificación en las distintas comunidades autónomas. 

Sería deseable y conveniente la creación de un banco centralizado de pruebas de certificación. Ya en los modelos de pruebas de certificación que encontramos en los espacios web de distintas comunidades, observamos diferencias:
blog andalucia  -EEOOII  Pilar Torres

FAQ for B1/B2____ Exàmens Lliures

Preparing for the exam.
1. To familiarize with the type of tasks, specially the Writing and Oral production, observe the link below, from the Generalitat de Catalunya
2. To prepare Basic/B1/B2 exams, some TESTING material, from other EEOOII
Euskadi (Nivel Básico, Intermedio e Avanzado)
Navarra (Nivel Básico, Intermedio e Avanzado)

Valencia (Nivel Básico, Intermedio e Avanzado)

Galicia (Nivel Básico, Intermedio e Avanzado)
Murcia (Nivel Básico, Intermedio e Avanzado)

Asturies (Nivel Básico, Intermedio e Avanzado)

B3. And for similar comments on the Common European Framework and ALTE levels browse this link:

Monday, March 3, 2014

icons -JAWS Spielberg

TWO pieces of info
the production schedule was supposed to take place over 55 days,
 but instead, it took 159 days. 
Disgruntled members of the crew walked up to Spielberg 
and testily asked him, “When are we going to finish this movie?”

And it is still in our imagination. Wasn't Alien sold as Jaws into Space?

Image Credit: Everett Collection

Jaws’ budget may have ballooned to $9 million
– more than double its original estimate – 
but the movie became a phenomenon, 
making more than $430 million worldwide. 

From the chaos of production, Spielberg and his filmmakers
had assembled a masterpiece of precisely controlled suspense, 
and audiences found it irresistible.

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis, which had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. 
Only 316 out of 1,196 men survived the sinking and shark-infested waters.
Sincere kudos to those brave soldiers who did (and did not) make it out of the water.

When it came time to shoot the infamous USS Indianapolis Scene, Shaw attempted to do the monologue while intoxicated as it called for the men to be drinking late at night. Nothing in the take could be used. 
A remorseful Shaw called Steven Spielberg late that night and asked if he could have another try. The next day of shooting, Shaw's electrifying performance was done in one take.

 Indianapolis speech written by uncredited writers Howard Sackler, John Milius, and Robert Shaw
Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss): You were on the Indianapolis?
Brody (Roy Scheider): What happened?
 Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief. It was comin' back, from the island of Tinian to Laytee, just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb.
Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know how you know that when you're in the water, chief? You tell by lookin' from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn't know... was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. Huh huh. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, chief.
The sharks come cruisin'. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know it's... kinda like ol' squares in battle like a, you see on a calendar, like the battle of Waterloo. And the idea was, the shark comes to the nearest man and that man, he'd start poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark would go away. Sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes.
You know the thing about a shark, he's got...lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be livin'. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitch screamin' and the ocean turns red and spite of all the poundin' and the hollerin' they all come in and rip you to pieces.
Y'know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men! I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand! I don't know how many men, they averaged six an hour.
On Thursday mornin' chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player, boson's mate. I thought he was asleep, reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up and down in the water, just like a kinda top. Up ended. Well... he'd been bitten in half below the waist.
Noon the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us, he swung in low and he saw us. He's a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper, anyway he saw us and come in low.
And three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and start to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29, 1945.
Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

Quint's tale of the USS Indianapolis was conceived by playwright Howard Sackler, lengthened by screenwriter John Milius and rewritten by Robert Shaw following a disagreement between screenwriters Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb. Shaw presented his text, and Benchley and Gottlieb agreed that this was exactly what was needed.