Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tribute to Darwin

In many National Geographic programs I watch, carnivores kill and eat herbivores and sometimes steal other carnivores' prey. Although eating another animal while it is still alive (in one of the documentaries hyenas started eating a buffalo's behind while it was still alive) seems very cruel with my human eyes, that's how nature works. Carnivores have to eat other animals to survive, they can't eat grass.
On the bicentennial of Darwin's birth, we should reconsider telling childrens' stories that present carnivores as bad guys who eat the good guys. This stupid personification turns children judgemental, where no judgement needs to be applied. Wild animals just do what millions of years of evolution programmed them.
The birds on the treetop are programmed to soil my car parked underneath . Luckily cows can't fly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Have you noticed my new tagline?

I changed the background color of the title to orange to draw attention to my new tagline.
Got to the end of the phrase and have to think about it? Here is the translation: nothing is constant, everything changes all the time. To notice the change, you just have to look long enough. How long is long enough? Depends what you want to observe.
To observe the decay of radioactive elements at the end of Mendeleyev's periodic table you only need a few seconds. To observe social changes, you need hundreds of years. For changes of rock formations, hundreds of thousands of years. So what if some observations take longer than a lifetime? Use fossils, archeology, written records, assumptions, predictions and simulations.
Just like time matters for observing change, mass matters for understanding the physical laws governing matter. Quarks behave differently from objects on Earth or from planets and solar systems.
Will one day be one theory to explain it all?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Caesar's Revenge

Years ago, while studying towards my BBA, one of the students, Michael, an accountant for Ceasar Stone, makers of artificial marble for countertops and alike, told me they've developed new glittering colors that include little pieces of mirror. 'But they don't fit your refined taste', he added. He was right. Not only didn't I like glitter, but I also didn't like artificial materials. Years later, as if they heard me, they developed the Concetto collection from semi-precious stones that look wonderful backlit.

With time, me and my taste became less conservative. Instead of dismissing glitter, I learned to combine it with opaques to get great design effects. So, when planning my new kitchen, I decided to go for white cupboards and red Ceasarstone countertop. Last week, when the man came to take measurements before cutting, he asked me what color I ordered. 'Red', I told him. 'The glittering red?' he asked in disbelief. 'Yes', I replied. 'What are you, Georgian or Bukharan?' came the "tactful" question. (The subtext for my non-Israeli readers: only Georgian and Bukharan immigrants like tasteless glittering colors, in this person's view.)
I wonder why people who don't even know me expect me to have what they call refined taste. They don't even know I'm a Virgo...