Archive for the ‘general’ Category

first snow

November 17, 2007

daemmerung-kappelle_l.jpg
It’s early in the morning now, about 5 am, and whole night it was snowing here in Belgrade. To be quite frank, yesterday’s evening I had no idea that it was going to snow. And you know what – we believe that when there is first snow outside, well, one has to make a wish!

And what to wish now? I wish that my friends are now with me so that we can all enjoy beautiful sight – not just I alone. I cannot see the snowflakes, it is dark outside, but I can see them around the street lights. They are falling down in thick clouds, but look at their peace and elegance! What is there more beautiful than the snowy morning – it is too early for the cars in small streets around, and everything is so pure and white and silent, even parking space has new august garments.

I see some people walking. Someone is joyful, and jumping around in the street. And there is one lady, walking very nervously – but I don’t believe that even she does not feel joy somewhere deep inside – it is just cold and I guess she wants to go home as soon as possible, yet whole neighbourhood looks so beautiful, like from a fairytale.

Peace of these snowflakes is leaving me speechless. Snow blanket is fairly thick now. I may try to make little snowman later on my balcony. Now there are no more people in the streets, and everything is returning to perfect calmness.

And you can do two things now to get a joy of snow – make a snowflake, if you are in creative mood or enjoy in good ole snowball warefare. Or you can make a wish!

(Photo above I found on internet, it is how snow in the morning looks like in Swiss)

the bookfair

October 29, 2007

pete’s book
Well, today is the last day of the bookfair in my city. It always takes place in October – and it is always a great joy for me. And always the same story, I feel I never have enough money to buy everything that I would like to have…huh. When it comes to books my appetites are constantly growing – now I have less than 1.5K books in my library but I like to hear that people have more than 10 thousand books at home (I hope I will join that club somewhere in the future). To put it simply, books are like a chocolate – you can never have it enough.

This year, I am totally into reading children books. I bought two books by Pete Johnson, modern writer from Great Britain. Yesterday I read this book ‘Trust Me, I’m a Troublemaker’, and it was a lot of fun. Here is a little description from the site.

Archie is a very mature child – some would say far too mature! Having grown up with his gran, he seems to have acquired some adult ways – and the kids at his new school find them unbearable. Especially Miranda – the class troublemaker. At first she absolutely can’t stand Archie but then she starts to see him as a bit of a project- could she really make Archie into a Troublemaker Extraordinaire? Their unlikely friendship really gets going when Archie needs help to scare off his dad’s new girlfriend . . .

Corgi Children’s Books | 169-page paperback
ISBN: 044086626X

I enjoyed it so much, I was similar kid like Archie in my primary school, perhaps not so serious – but I also enjoyed to clean schoolyard :) After I read the other book, I plan to find books by Sue Townsend about Adrian Mole – I did not read them when I was younger, so I want to do it now.

Among other books I bought book about life and work of Tarkovsky, the famous Soviet movie director, and antology of humouristic poetry from the States. My sister bought book about Che Guevara, and she got autograph from Che’s daughter who was the visitor of the fair. I am so happy about that because I have very, very deep respect for Che.

board games

October 28, 2007

go board
I must say I love board games. After all it is the nice way to spend an afternoon with your monopoly-playing friends. But interesting thing is….why are board games good for? I read that there is more than a century long study on psychologic aspects of such games going on…impressive. So what do they say.

In nice article Wanna Play in Psychology Today by Jay Tietel he mentions

It is impossible to calculate how much people benefit from games:

o Games are primers on turntaking, the basis of all relationships.

o They can solve major crises in industry and teach people not to pilfer pencils from the company storeroom; in fact, companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on them for that.

o They can be training grounds for legendary generals and make the difference between winning and losing wars.

o Finally, and most important, games can reopen doors into the world of pretending and childhood, reminding us of unadulterated fun, sparking creativity.

So, what is your favourite game? I always liked chess, since my early childhood when I first saw on the photo that my uncle plays that unusual game. I asked my father to explain the rules to me, and he also bought a chess set very soon for me, and one illustrated book, so I was delighted to ponder about pawns and other figures as medieval armies in my imagination. At school I played sea battle on piece of paper with my friends, shoot invisible submarines with invisible torpedoes – it was fun. Later on I learned Go, and that game took my breath away with its infinite variety of possible moves. It is like painting your character and inner world with black and white stones on wooden table.

But I liked also to play Monopoly game, recently I played it with my little cousin, but he was constantly trying to steal monopoly money (he thought I do not see it). At first I acted as if I do not notice, but then I said stop – it is very important to play by the rules. Such is the life and everyday situations also, you have to know inner rules to get the joy in your victory and in your defeat. And very important thing that board games and sports are teaching us is fair-play.

Card games are also very nice. I like the idea of bluffing in Poker, but I never played it seriously – though I like to hear stories about card players very much and to watch such movies, as the one with Matt Damon.

But the game I would like to learn to play is Diplomacy. Several reasons for that. First, I want to learn more about history in Napoleonic wars, and WWI and WWII (game starts in 1901, so it is best for learning about WWI). And learning history without paying attention to diplomatic intricacies is incomplete. So, somehow I want to feel the history of Europe – not just to learn dates mechanically. I have a feeling that would be very challenging and interesting thing to do.

beauty

March 1, 2007

What is Beauty? Is it individual or universal? Why are some faces more beautiful than the others? Why some people who have no physical beauty still radiate and shine beauty in opinion of many? Is beauty just in the eye of the beholder, or there is more to that definition? Where shall we start…I searched in Wikipedia first.

Beauty is a quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (such as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (such as personality)

Interesting how they said it. Intense pleasure or deep satisfaction. And I agree, there are satisfactions of subtler kind that are not pleasure, so hence the distinction. But why just to the mind? As if there is no other instrument in us to perceive beauty, like heart. But I guess it is from rational heritage of western philosophy. As if the whole world is just on the west. Oh well.

golden ratio line

But this definition does not explain why beauty is beautiful. I know that painters and sculptors speak about Sectio Aurea. That is proportion -> a:b=(a+b):a They found beauty and harmony in that proportion. It has something to do with human anatomy too. For example your belly button should be located according to this proportion, meaning on 61.8% of your body height. I actually measured height with the tape in my case, and interestingly it is so.

Luca Pacioli and Leonardo Da Vinci were among the first to notice golden ratio in human anatomy and apply it to art. The Pythagorean school in ancient Greece noticed that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive. That would never occur to me to think about geometry law in aesthetics. It is genius who discovered such phenomena.

But what is the connection between beauty and culture? Is it different when you are born in Norway where everybody is blonde with blue eyes, and in Turkey where everybody is black haired with black eyes, for example? How much are we conditioned to perceive the beauty in this or in that way by civilization we live in? Remember those african women with rings around their necks. And what about social and political system? And what about time factor, century we live in? Does consumer society affect aesthetic sense? Unfortunately, it does.

A friend of mine told me -I want to put silicone in my lips- I was surprised since I think there is nothing wrong with her lips at all. -Yes I know- replied she -but I want them to look like as if they were stung by the bees- :-) Oh my!

Is physical beauty so important issue? Today I wrote about beauty in physical world, but there are other types of beauty, so in next posts I will pay attention more to questions like connection between beauty and ethics, mental and inner aspects of beauty.

Be what it may, I was told that I was very cute when I was lets say in primary school. But ever since I grew up, I seriously consider pressing charges on Ugly Duckling for theft of part of my life story and using it to film cartoon, in..umm…reversed way. Uh huh :-) (J/K)

What do you think about outer beauty, what is your definition? Be sure to check out Face Research too. Interesting site.

lung cancer early diagnosis

February 27, 2007

Dr. Peter Mazzone and his team invented a senzor that will help diagnozing lung cancer in early stadium (when it can be still treated successfully), using cheap and non-invasive method. And it diagnoses it just by examining breath.

Rather than determine the exact chemicals and their concentrations, this sensor changes color depending on the pattern of chemicals. The device is about the size of a nickel and has 36 dots, each made up of a different chemical.

“The color of that dot changes based on what chemicals are absorbed into it,” Mazzone explained. “So, the pattern of chemicals in the breath is represented by patterns of color changes on the sensor.”


A type of X-ray called spiral computed tomography or CT can find lung cancer early, but it is expensive and also finds non-cancerous lesions that are expensive and risky to test.

You can read more about this in good articles at

News-Medical.net

HealthCentral.com

Happy Birthday, George!

February 24, 2007

It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.

George Harrison
(1943-2001)

I heard The Beatles’ music for the first time in my life when I was 15 (too late, I guess), it was my neighbour who borrowed me the cassette, and I liked music so much that I did not return it for months. There are people who love Stones more, but I am not among them. Beatles will always remain my favourites; and though Paul and John are much more famous, still by far my favourite is the youngest among them, mr. George Harrison (1943-2001) – the “silent beatle” as he was called, due to being very introspective person.

Some people say that his birthday is on 25th February, but in Wikipedia article we can read that he was actually born on 24th February at 11:40pm. So, today is the day – Happy Birthday, George!

If my destiny was to become so famous I would want to have similar attitude as him. He always said that he wanted to be successful, not famous, and I feel that music was his instrument to search for deeper meaning in his life. Many other musicians unfortunately find drugs when they become famous, and when that fame is over, they take the needle, and they are finished. But George was not interested in fame, but he was all the time seeker for the true joy and fulness of life. I found this clip, it is interview with him and famous sitar player Ravi Shankar. There he speaks how he does not want to produce meaningless songs, but is interested in writing songs that have deep values and that can last through years. Such is for example his song All things must pass.

And I wrote before how much I like reading books. but I have to admit now, I especially like to read book written by people who were searching for the deeper meaning of their own life. I enjoy in diversity, I do not believe in uniformity. I even enjoyed reading Ayn Rand’s books very much, though I am completely of different temperament, and my life philosophy values are generally totally different. But you know what, when someone believes in what he or she writes, such books become very attractive to read. Complete sincerity in one’s deeds is always very attractive (do what you preach) in every philosophy, and in every religion.

Over the years I have read many books about different world religions and spiritual paths and systems of values, in Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism etc. and though some of such books sometimes can be dry and preachy, I very often found very nice ones from different cultures and backgrounds that literally lit my heart with divine love, while I was reading them. And one day, God willing, if I have enough money I will invest it in printing books that brought me so much joy. Books are not transitory as other world pleasures, and if they contain intense sincere inner cry in them, they are really something.

George was so selfless in that aspect, he gave much money for printing books, he even donated a temple in London. He could do drugs, or spend money on fancy cars or something, but he was so unlike many other music stars, and therefore I appreciate him so much. If some book brought me much joy (there are many like that, starting with Quo Vadis by Sienkiewicz, which was my introduction to deeper meaning of Christianity) I would like to print many of them in nice covers, so perhaps other people will also feel joy. That attitude gives me so much inspiration and hope for the future. I hope my dreams one day will come true, but that depends on me too! :)

In previous clip George explained why he likes to compose on Sanskrit verses, and I guess it was actually him who composed the music for Govindam Adi Purusham chant (although I am not sure, to be frank). Nevertheless, it is very nice chant, and I managed to find nice clip of it to post here.

George, thanks for everything, and thank you for being sincere seeker in your music art. It means much. It gives hope.

envoys of beauty

February 22, 2007

To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Nature

I am into astronomy these days. Downloaded and installed free Astro Planner on my PC, and also installed Planetarium on my handheld. But nights are cloudy in Belgrade, I have no luck. As soon as stars become visible again I am determined to find Orion Nebula on the sky. Approximately I know where it should be located.

For those who are not accustomed with using telescopes, good start is to observe the sky with binoculars. And if you watch through telescope, first thing you should see is the surface of the Moon (it always takes my breath away), then you can try to find Jupiter and see its 4 bigger satelites (if you draw down their positions over time axis you will get sinusoidal waves). Of course, never ever watch directly to the Sun, do not try that even with special filters either. If you want to see spots on Sun surface, project the image from telescope to paper, and there you will see it very well. And you can try to see Saturn rings too.

I have at home some older russian telescope, I think that diameter of mirror is about 6 cm. But let me tell you these modern computerised telescopes are really something. They have so called GoTo option, which means that there are memorized coordinates of stellar objects and computer controlls moving mechanism which directs the telescope right to the desired object. All you have to do is just look and enjoy.

Problem with using telescopes in cities is light pollution. I wonder if Suburbia likes to watch the stars since she lives in the suburban area of the big city, and I guess the night sky is much more clear there. Nowdays there are many telescopes on the market, I saw even those with 10 inches diameter (I think that with them you can see even that red spot on Jupiter’s surface). Actually I found very nice booklet from Meade telescopes and you can download it here. There are interesting stories in it, like one when a man found new supernova (exploded star) with his home telescope.

I remember I liked to read in my primary school about comet hunters. That is so cool to try to find new comet.

Astrophotography is also something breathtaking. That art combines calculation and photography. You have to be very precise if you want to catch the photo of “diamond ring” in total solar eclipse.

We always stand in awe under the starry sky. I hope tonight there will be no clouds in Belgrade. I am already browsing the catalogs in software to choose what I will (and can) observe. Wish me good luck with the weather. And you can join me with exploring the space.

favourite magazine

February 18, 2007

Ah yes, I like to read magazines. In early 80ties I was a still a kid, and in those times computers were much expensive, but I was so obsessed with computers – so you guess, I was not merely reading, but learning computer magazines by heart :)

Even today I like to read computer magazines, but they are much different now. The best ones are business oriented, and frankly I don’t care about business. For me science was always like a poetry, and I am always more eager to read interesting article about something theoretical or even about good computer game, than to read boring article about some database or something that will help someone improve his business, and earn a lot of money.

This is the reason, perhaps, why I am always silently quarreling with my wallet. But I remain a poet.

And today, it is so difficult to find good scientific magazine. Back in 80ties in Yugoslavia there was famous magazine Galaksija (Galaxy). It was about popular science. You could read there how to solve Rubik’s cube or how to build a solar house or a wind turbine. And articles about cosmos, which were so not business related. Remember the TV series about Cosmos by famous Carl Sagan. We loved to watch him here.

I bought few days ago National Geographic in serbian language. And it is great. Articles are well written. And on NG site you can find video material related to those articles. I wish to see good magazine about science here one day. Some of the articles in National Geographic Magazine you can read here, they are in section Features.

In the meantime I read Nature and New Scientist sometimes, in English. They are really good.

And I like to read about expensive things I cannot buy – like magazines about yachts, or good hi-fi and hi-end magazines.

What is your favourite magazine and what do you like to read?

Happy St. Valentine’s Day Everybody!!!

February 14, 2007

I gotta a girl who’s always late
Anytime we have a date
But I love her
Yes I love her

I’m gonna walk up to her gate
And see if I can get it straight
‘Cause I want her
I’m gonna ask her
Is you is, or is you ain’t, my baby
The way you’re acting lately makes me doubt
You is still my baby, baby
Seems my flame in your heart’s done gone out

A woman is a creature
That has always been strange
Just when you’re sure of one you find
She’s gone and made a change

Is you is, or is you ain’t my baby
Maybe baby’s found somebody new
Or is my baby still my baby true

Love knows no fear. Tom is not afraid of a big dog (with various dental prostheses :) when he is in love. I wish you all, dear friends, lots of love in following year (and in all those years after that, too!)

Love is a greatest power in Universe. We are beings of habit, but love does not let us form a habit – it is ever new opening of visions and unexpected horizons. Love is showing us our cosmic dimension, for true love is always selfless.

Love is not success, and it is not failure (Tom doesn’t have to worry because of the end of the cartoon) – it is far above both. Love has nothing to do with mathematics and combinatorics. Love does not count with numbers but with fulness. Love is beyond intellect.

Love is unspeakable, it is often beyond words, but it is not beyond deeds. I know you cannot always tell people who you love what you feel, but you can show them your love, and you can pray for their happiness.

Even if your love is not returned, do not expect anything. Love dresses us in garments of emperors of the universe. So we must act generously like true princes or princesses, and leave expectation to those who want to act like beggars.

I heartily recommend all of you to read Quo Vadis (by Henryk Sienkiewicz) which is in my humble opinion the greatest love story ever written (and it won Nobel prize in 1905). Dear friends, please find time to read that book – only a deeply inspired person can write like that.

Happy holiday dear friends! Let us offer our gratitude for Love that transforms our human hearts, and shows us Infinite in our finiteness, and Eternal in our transitoriness. Let us always be grateful for that cosmic dimension. Let us sing and dance with planets and the stars!

Let us write poetry (with our paintbrushes and musical instruments too!). If Angels have their language, I believe it is spoken in verses.

mahna mahna – just for Tracey :)

February 12, 2007

The question is: What is a Mahna Mahna?
The question is: Who cares? :)))

Particularly cute is the way they shake their heads to correct the guy in singing :)

There is one commercial made based on these characters by CanTeen – The Australian Organization for Young People Living with Cancer. You can see it here

PSA commercial from New Zealand (trying to create an awareness of cancer amongst teenagers) that aired in October 2005.

Featuring the Muppet characters Ma Nah Ma Nah, the Snowths, Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, Janice, Kermit the Frog and Rizzo the Rat.