Tuesday, July 31, 2007
If you are so inclined, you can also check out the artist's art projects (something that I feel is more of a cheap-and-easy way to make money).
Monday, July 30, 2007
Today is looking to be a "nice" day, although 85 F is not my personal idea of "nice." (Let the kvetching start up again!) Of course, some people might say that I should be happy that it isn't in the 90s F. To that I retort that the temperature in town even by tomorrow will be in the 90s F. (What do you think of that?) Of course, I could wait and see if I am vindicated or not. Or (as I choose to do at this time) I can kvetch.
On a completely different note: I finished the last Harry Potter book in the original English. Now, for all of you who still haven't read it, I'm not going to give away any spoilers as to plot. However, I will say that - like the other volumes before this one - the UK version differed from the US version in several ways:
- The pages aren't synchronous.
- The UK version physically smaller than the US version (much easier to carry around without looking like you are lugging around a copy of the King James).
- In the US version, each chapter has a little picture showing a highlight of the upcoming pages.
- The UK version has (IMHO) much better cover art than the US versions (and one can choose to purchase either the "Children's" cover version or an "Adult's" cover - there are no content differences between versions).
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Does it have something to do with the University of Michigan (a.k.a. "UM")?
Is it a name?
"Umlud" is apparently "reloaded" in German (from the word "Umladen"). Does it mean "reloaded"?
Yes, "umlud" means "reloaded" in German. While it is the only definition of my name that I have found on the Internet, it is not the meaning of my name.
Will you tell your readers what your name means?
Saturday, July 21, 2007
One of the many things that you might not see about the "UMMZ" is that it has the largest preserved fish collection (diversity and numbers) at a public institution in the country (and possibly the world).
Just after lunch, I took some photos of the crowds in the two places that I took photos for the past three days. As you can see, it is NOT completely crowded (as in, say Hong Kong crowded). There is still a lot of room to walk around in (if it was just possible for people to walk appropriately in a crowd).
I was talking with some friends yesterday, and they all agreed with my assessment of the average Art Fair crowd person/pod of people: once people come to Art Fair, they seem to forget how to walk and pay attention to anything happing around them. As they walk down the aisles of stalls, they move at a snail's pace, aimlessly drifting left or right (if they drove like this, any police officer would pull them over on suspicion of DUI).
People also agreed that there was a major similarity amongst Art Fair attendees, or more specifically, the attendees' mid-sections. (See if you can figure it out for yourselves. Go on, you're bright people.)
Friday, July 20, 2007
In related news, Art Fair is ready to launch itself into the day (again); ready for sun, rain, or tornado as yesterday proved. Mornings are quite nice and still quiet around the white tents of. Of course, just because all the artists are only just starting to open up their stalls at 9AM doesn't mean that the coffee houses aren't selling coffee to students, residents, visitors, and artists. The fact that the entire stretch of State Street in the UM area is closed down means that the coffee shops can have their seating spill out onto the streets.
This makes the city look more like a European city, with a pedestrianized core area, wide sidewalks and lots of cafe tables with people quietly sitting and going about their morning business. There is something fundamentally different from this picture and one that you would take when you go around this area during the rest of the year: seating crammed onto the sidewalk and cars whizzing by, both destroying any feeling of ease and leisure.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The buyers were also apparently unfazed by the weather, and many were looking around for some later shopping, before the stalls close up at 9PM.
I find it funny that so many people think that the Art Fair on Wednesday and Thursday are too crowded! Having traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Manila, Delhi, Kolkata, London, New York City, and other very crowded cities, I can say that the comment that Art Fair is too crowded is a little misguided. I would say that it is crowded with people who don't know how to deal with crowded situations. If you are in a crowded space:
- You cannot have your Midwest-required two-foot radius worth of personal space.
- Don't suddenly stop without first pulling out of the flow of pedestrian traffic.
- Much like when driving, walk in "lanes" of traffic; if you want to see something off the "other lane," overshoot your goal and backtrack to where you want to ultimately go.
- Don't get upset so easily that people might inadvertently jostle you.
- Watch out for children underfoot.
Of course, once I got on the streets, many people had been able to get shelter in stores and restaurants. Unfortunately, for many artists, this meant that there was a definite lull in people's buying/viewing of their stuff.
I felt a little sorry for the people who were running all the restaurants and beergardens. In these places of shelter, I doubt that servers were actually bringing more food and beer to people who didn't want to go back out in the rain.
The weather is supposed to be rainy through tonight, so it may continue to be slow for these people for some time... I wonder if the musical entertainers are having problems with all the humidity. (Or if the painters and photographers are also having a problem with all that dampness.)
Ah, well... All this rain will mean that our lab group will probably not be going out to have a fun-filled outing at the myriad art fairs. (All of the myriad art booths makes one wonder time and again, "Is there a difference between art, crafts, and schlock?")
Fish and other seafoods are increasingly being seen as a foodsource for the world's growing population. However, understanding where your food comes from is important. It is important because your fish may becoming endangered, contaminated, or unsustainably grown and harvested. I've recently seen a number of stories written by (who I feel are) credible sources about this topic.
- From Grist, Roz Cummings gives a story on how grilling certain fish may not be such a good idea.
- For all of you who are sushi aficionados, Peter Etnoyer reports on how contaminant levels in certain fishes help to make your sushi increasingly unsafe.
- Joseph from "Corpus Callosum" provides a link to a news article and his own reflections on increasing toxicity in Great Lakes fisheries.
- Jennifer Jaquet gives us three new disturbing stories on fish.
- The first story makes us wonder where the fish you eat actually comes from.
- The second story is forwarded from David Wilmot, and asks how sustainable the oceans fisheries are...
- The third story questions how good seafood is for you, health-wise and ecology-wise, and provides links to websites that can help you make decisions for buying seafood that is good for you and the environment.
- Josh Rosenau reminds us of the ecological differences between farmed and wild salmon.
- CR McClain provides the highlights of a report showing that fishermen have higher blood mercury levels than the average population.
- Jon Ryn from Grist provides a summary of a WSJ story on the serious declines in West African fisheries exacerbated by disenfranchising foreign subsidization of unsustainable practices.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I was hoping that it would be not too hot and sticky. It was not terribly hot, but quite warm. It definitely was sticky. Drenched in sweat as I walked in today.
The doors of this building have large signs on them stating: NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS. The war of passive-aggressiveness is ON!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
What I expect you to see in tomorrow's photos is a large number of people milling and moving slowly between the tents that will be sett up today. On Liberty St. (left), there should be a large number of craft-y types of things being sold, and Borders isn't going to miss the opportunity to sell books in a tent outside their store.
Meanwhile, at the intersection of State Street with North University, you should expect tomorrow to see a number of food tents as Red Hawk and Amer's take advantage of the masses' almost insatiable hunger for (not only art, but) food. The number of people milling around should be slightly less than on Liberty Street, if only because there is less art for sale, and I think that people will take less time to get food than look at art. (Of course, this may well not be the case once socially-induced mass-hunger occurs at around noon, when thousands of people, in a manner that would make Pavlov weak in the knees, match the time on their watches with a need to shove fried food into their mouths.) What this photo means to me is that I will have to bring my own lunch in tomorrow, as I don't want to wait an interminable time for food, nor do I want to have to pay significantly more for an item on the menu, only to find a smaller-than-normal serving arrive to greet me. (And I don't really find the presence of so many people shoving food into their mouths particularly appetizing.)
SUSHI FOR TWO
By TREVOR CORSON
WITH the depletion of bluefin tuna in our oceans now front-page news, people around the country have been sharing with me their confusions and fears about eating sushi. I think that we — and our fish — would benefit from a new deal for American sushi: a grand pact between chefs and customers to change the way we eat.
Lobbyists for the sushi and fishing industries insist that tuna is essential to sushi, and that controls on harvesting the fish would threaten traditional Japanese culture. But that’s nonsense. ...
...[T]he dirty little secret of American sushi is that from the beginning, many Japanese chefs assumed that we could never appreciate the wide-ranging experience the way their Japanese customers did, so they didn’t bother to educate us. Simple sushi took over, featuring the usual suspects: tuna, salmon, boiled shrimp.
What we need isn’t more tuna, but a renaissance in American sushi; to discover for ourselves — and perhaps to remind the Japanese — what sushi is all about. A trip to the neighborhood sushi bar should be a social exchange that celebrates, with a sense of balance and moderation, the wondrous variety of the sea....
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
- How much of one's peripheral vision is limited by the new helmet?
- Will they make a version that can work for people who wear/need glasses?
- How stifling will it be? I know it looks like there is a lot of space for aeration, but I have a tendency of overheating...
- Will they make a helmet large enough for my melon?
Friday, July 13, 2007
*UMMA, in this case, stands for "University of Michigan Museum of Art." It does not refer to the ancient Sumerian city of Umma, or the Arabic word for "community" or "nation": umma/ummah. This means that if you Googled "umma", on July 13, 2007, you would have had to have chosen the fourth option down.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I think that the way science informs us of the world is philosophically incompatible with the way through which religion informs us of the world. Scientific explanations and religious explanations are as different as two lines skewed from each other. They will not intersect. They are not parallel. However, they are both lines, with a set of coordinates that tell the "truth" of each line's condition. (To all you mathematicians out there, this is an analogy, and is not - by any means - perfect.) You cannot use (imho) scientific explanations to justify religious understandings. Similarly, you cannot use religious understandings to make scientific explanations. Using the previous example, the physical movement of any one salamander can be accurately described by science, however science cannot describe why salamanders choose to cause earthquakes. Similarly, having the religious understanding that salamanders cause earthquakes does not mean that you have any idea or ability to accurately describe any one salamander's physical movements.
Of course, you (the individual) can choose to believe whatever you want. You can even choose to fervently hold a religious belief in the face of scientific evidence running contrary to that belief. You might even be a person who believes what your religion tells you is "true" and also accept what scientific observation tell you is "true" without having a philosophical conundrum. This does not negate my stated position in the previous paragraphs. My statements above are that science (as a philosophy; a way of thinking/viewing the world) is fundamentally different than religion (as a philosophy). However, you can choose to believe two different things are "true", but each based on different philosophies of "truth."
One interesting thing that I have always considered, having grown up and traveled all over the world, was the lengths to which religious scientists go to scientifically prove the fundamental truths of their own religion. Since religion-based research bases its starting premises on articles of faith, the questions being asked may seem ludicrous, nonsensical, or meaningless to one that is “outside” that faith.
For example, would the average American scientist (who is heavily seated in a Christian social landscape) take seriously the work done in
1) Are sacred religious beliefs (of any religion) and mundane/material scientific understandings (of any branch of science) philosophically compatible?
2) Are scientists who pursue scientific research on doctrines of faith doing a service or disservice to others of their religion (since a scientific discovery disproving a religious certainty could not easily be met with objectivity)?
Based on my own understanding of the accuracy of scriveners in ancient times (poor); the great temptation of using turning translation to ideological ends (high); and the changing meaning of words through time (high), I wonder how scientifically useful it is to try and use any holy book as a reliable scientific compass against which to set future research goals. Similarly, I wonder how religiously valid the contention that any branch of science can fulfill the role of religion in humans while still remaining philosophically true to its scientific basis.
I could go on to discuss the different understandings of the material (mundane) world espoused by different branches of science, but that would be another, long-winded (and possibly very contentious) post, so I will not go down that road at this time.