Thursday, February 13, 2014
F. Hollande and B. Obama Went for a Ride
ContextFrench President F. Hollande made a visit to Unitedstatesian (or should I write Unitedstatesofamerican?) President B. Obama this week. A few photos from the first day were published by the Elysée (French president's staff), including this one below and others taken on Air Force One. In another shot taken just before this one, Hollande appears to be speaking (back to camera) arms outstretched and hands spread, while Obama shows amusement. There has been some speculation as to the context, what was being said. Some joke that Hollande is describing his amorous escapades; I suspect not.
What ifWhat if F. Hollande were saying something like, "You know that bugged conversation that has Merkel upset, the one some claim the Russians leaked, of Vicky Nuland saying "f### the EU"? Well, it wasn't the Russians! There are lots of bugs in diplomatic systems these days!"
Just "what if?"
StimulusA news bulletin about a prototype device surprised me today, describing the device as a "handheld cell counter the size of a Rubik’s Cube," then as "a simple, solid-white cube measuring 2x2x3 inches". (my emphasis).
It is dismaying to observe that cube may be following literally in the path to uselessness, if a cube no longer has to be cubic. That is, as every schooled person ought to know, a "regular polyhedron having six identical square faces."
What should have been said is a block, or a cuboid, or--my preference--a square cylinder.
- A block, I think most would agree, is rectangular but not necessarily square on any side. It may be a bit oblong, like a brick. It may be, as Wiktionary notes, "approximately cuboid." But what is cuboid?
- A cuboid is a rectangular parallelepiped, of which the cube is the special case where the rectangular faces are congruent squares. The cuboid generalizes the cube by allowing the edges to lengthen or shorten as long as the opposing faces remain parallel to each other. The cube might be flattened and stretched to become brick-like: a little longer than twice the width, and wider than it is high (240 × 115 × 71 mm, e.g.). Or, it might extend a two inch cube to a 2x2x3 inch cuboid.
- Whereas a cylinder may usually be circular (and right) in non-mathematical usage, it may be any "surface created by projecting a closed two-dimensional curve along an axis intersecting the plane of the curve." (source: Wiktionary). A dowel is a cylinder and, yes, one can buy square dowels (ask your search engine).
ConclusionIf the three-dimensional rectangle has edges of more than one length, i.e. one cannot say it is a some length cube but must say it is a width by depth by height something, it is not a cube.
ReferencesA 'game-changer' for HIV/AIDS -- UC Berkeley College of Engineering
Friday, February 07, 2014
Ms. Kagan-Nuland's Day Off?
I do not know why people are always finding things to publish to show Ms. Kagan-Nuland in an unfavorable way; does she worry them so much? Here she is across the globe encouraging political protesters in a foreign country, a sort of humanitarian activist thing, right? Not in an official capacity, as far as I know; what she does on her day off should be none of our business unless she wants it to be.
The VideoOriginal title of the video: Victoria Nuland (Mrs. Robert Kagan), Assistant Secretary State of Ukraine
Update: This article initially had a YouTube video embedded; in fact, it was initiated in YouTube via a "share" function. I do not know why the video was no longer embedded, nor when exactly it disappeared. Hopefully it will stay embedded this time.