Monday, June 21, 2010

Flight of the Neurons

Hayaang mag-kamikaze ang brain cells ngayong gabi
Kasabay ng indak ng dragon

Isa isa silang ubusin

Gisahin sa sariling pawis

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Streets of Diliman

My classmate from physics once asked me why we don't write poetry with the images of fire trees and the beautiful narra flowers during summer, when people from all over Japan and much of the north write so much on the cherry blossoms and the orange and bronze colors of fall.

Well I don't recall any Filipino writer describing love or struggle with the beauty of the fire trees (maybe you can help me find one or write something about it). I have here photos taken from all over UP.

along CP Garcia (2009)

Fire trees along the University Avenue (2010)

Narra flowers scatter around the Physics Pavilion every March (2010)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grokking Molo

Grok was first used in the novel Stranger in a Strange Land. The novel is about a human brought up by martians when both of his scientist-parents died on a mission to the red planet. The story begins with his coming to Earth and the chaos that erupts politically.

Grokking is understanding, contemplating, learning something, the superlative of all of those terms. When you have grokked something, you understand how it works, how it thinks (if it has consciousness), understands it's essence, as if being one with that material or abstraction. (Just read the wiki for grok, haven't visited it though).

Over the past years, I've been grokking this photo taken from Molo Plaza. This structure is common to all plazas around the Philippines and is usually ignored by pedestrians. When I visited Iloilo with family back in 2008, I was immediately captivated by this ordinary looking gazebo of some sort.

Stephen Hawking in Leaky Cauldron

The Brief History of Time might be the most (popular) popular science book ever. With 9 million copies sold worldwide, Stephen Hawking's discussion of cosmological phenomenons is widely read outside the scientific community. Who would think that someone from the non-muggle world would be interested in light cones, black holes and the curvature of space?

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), is my favorite theatrical adaptation of the series. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, he added subtle details to the movie that were never used before by Chris Columbus (director of The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets). Alfonso Cuaron added crows to the scenes outside Hagrid's hut. As Harry, Hermione and Ron hid behind pumpkins, crows appeared to fly freely around them and resting on the pumpkins. Aside from crows, bats and the shrunken head, The Brief History of Time also made a cameo on HP.

Harry accidentally blows up Aunt Marge at the Dursleys and runs away. He then rides the Knight Bus to the only wizarding place he knows he could stay. As Harry entered the Leaky Cauldron, a guy with a charmed spoon is reading A Brief History of Time.

A Brief History of Time appears in the Leaky Cauldron

Reading the books, I've always had the impression that witches and wizards in Rowling's world
are ignorant and uninterested in the affairs of Muggles (save for Mr. Weasley). The appearance of TBHoT is a comic relief and gives a continuity from the muggle to the wizarding world.

On a side note, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), also makes a physics reference with Schrodinger's Cat, complete with the poison, Geiger counter and hammer in a box.

Schrodinger's Cat appears as Chiaki explains his travel through time