Thursday, March 22, 2018

book, A short history of nearly everything

A short history of nearly everything, 2013
by Bill Bryson. spent 3 years in reading and writing.
He attended Drake University for 2 years before dropping out in 1972. Then backpack around Europe for 4 months. First visited Britain in 1973 then got a job in a psychiatric hospital. Met a nurse there and married her in 1975. Moved back to hometown in Iowa and completed his college degree. Settled in Britain in 1977.
His most books are on travel.


For you to be here now, trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. it’s an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once. For the next many years, these tiny particles will uncomplainingly engage in all the billions of deft, cooperative efforts necessary to keep you intact and let you experience the supremely agreeable but generally underappreciated state known as existence.
Why atoms take this trouble is a bit of a puzzle. Being you is not a gratifying experience at the atomic level. For all their devoted attention, your atoms don’t actually care about you— indeed, don’t even know that you are there.
The bad news is that atoms are fickle and their time of devotion is fleeting. Even a long human life adds up to only about 650, 000 hours (72 years).And when that modest milestone flashes past, for reasons unknown your atoms will shut you down, silently disassemble, and go off to be other things.
To get from atoms to sentient upright modern human has required you to mutate new traits over and over in a precisely timely manner for an exceedingly long while. … The tiniest deviation from any of these evolutionary shifts, and you might now be licking algae from cave walls, or lolling walruslike on some stony shore, or disgorging air through a blowhole in the top of your head before diving 60 feet for a mouthful of delicious sandworms.
some science writers who pen the most lucid and thrilling prose:
  • Timothy Ferris
  • Richard Fortey
  • Im Flannery
  • Richard Feynman

1. How to build a universe: big bang

In 1965, Arno Penzia and Robert Wilson tried to make use of a large communications antenna owned by Bell Lab but were troubled by a persistent background noise. They described the problem to Princeton researchers, who were actively searching for some cosmic background radiation. The results are published in Astrophysical Journal and the two engineers won the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics though they knew very little about the theory.
Alan Guth, who pioneered the theory of cosmic inflation, said,
Although the creation of a universe might be very unlikely, Tryon emphasized that on one had counted the failed attempts.
Martin Rees makes an analogy with a very large clothing store.
Goldilocks principle. Originally from the children’s story, the three bears. A little girl sneaked into the three bears’ house and tried their porridge. One is too hot, one is too cold, and the third one is just right. In astrobiology, the Goldilocks zone refers to the habitable zone around a star.
The universe is boundless but finite. The closest analogy is a sphere that you will never reach the edge or stand at the center. Anywhere could be the center.

2. welcome to the solar system: how Pluto was spotted

Clark Chapman:
most people think that astronomers get out at night in observatories and scan the skies. That’s not true. Almost all the telescopes we have in the world are designed to peer at very tiny little pieces of the sky way off in the distance to see a quasar or hunt for black holes or look at a distant galaxy.
Pluto was first found in 1930 by Pervival Lowell’s Observatory in Flagstaff. He came from one of the oldest and wealthiest Boston families. Lowell died in 1916 and they resumed the search by hiring a young man from Kansas named Clyde Tombaugh. He had no formal training as an astronomer, but he was diligent and astute. After a year’s patient searching, he somehow spotted Pluto.

3. the Reverend Evans’s universe: he hunts supernovae

“I just seem to have a knack for memorizing star fields” Evans told me, with a frankly apologetic look. “ I’m not particularly good at other things,” he added. “I don’t remember names well.”
The term supernova was coined in 1930s by an odd astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky. He has an abrasive personality and erratic talents. He was notoriously aggressive, his manner eventually becoming so intimidating that his closest collaborator, a gentleman named Walter Baade, refused to be left alone with him. Anyway, he was capable of insights of the most startling brilliance. In 1934, Physical Review published their concise abstract about the idea of a neutron star.
Interestingly, Zwicky had almost no understanding of why any of this would happen. He did not understand the laws of physics well enough to be able to substantiate his ideas. His talent was for big ideas.
One of his favorite insults was to refer to people he did not approve of as “spherical bastards”, because, he explained, they were bastards no matter which way one looked at them.

4. The measure of things: earth’s size and mass

In 1683, Wren offered a couple of weeks’ay to people who can provide a solution why planets orbits in the ellipse.
Hooke was well known for taking credit for ideas that weren’t necessarily his own, claimed that he had solved the problem already but declined now to share it on the interesting and inventive grounds that it would rob others of the satisfaction of discovering the answer for themselves.
Halley tried hard to get Newton’s work published, even using his own pocket money.
The transit of Venus can be used to calculate the distance to the Sun. But the transit only happened in 1761, 1769, 1874,1882,2004, 2012.
Michell has designed a machine for measuring the mass of the Earth. He died before he can conduct the experiments and both the idea and the necessary equipment were passed on to Henry Cavendish.
Cavendish is a book in himself. He was born into a rich family. His grandfather ere dukes. He was the most gifted English scientist of his age, but also the strangest. Any human contact was for him a source of the deepest discomfort. Even his housekeeper communicated with him by letter.
Because of his asocial and secretive behavior, Cavendish often avoided publishing his work, and much of his findings were not even told to his fellow scientists.

5, the stone breakers: the birth of geology

the members met twice a month from winter to early summer, then went off to spend the summer doing fieldwork. These weren’t people with a pecuniary interest in minerals, you understand, or even academics for the most part, but simply gentlemen with the wealth and time to indulge a hobby at a professional level.

6, Science red in tooth and claw: fossil animals

7, elemental matters: Chemistry

8, Einstein’s universe: relativity

26, the stuff of life: DNA

29, the restless Ape: ax stone, fossil and mitochondrial DNA

p 465:
When I asked Harding about the book (The seven daughters of Eve), she smiled broadly but carefully, as if not quite certain where to go with her answer.
Well, I suppose you must give him some credit for helping to popularize a difficult subject.
And there remains the remote possibility that he’s right.
Data from any single gene cannot really tell you anything so definitive. If you follow the mitochondrial DNA backward, it will take you to a certain place — to an Ursula or Tara or whatever. But if you take any other bit of DNA, any gene at all, and trace it back, it will take you someplace else altogether.
They might have come from there, of course, but equally, they could have arrived from any of hundreds of other places. In this sense, according to Harding, every gene is a different highway, and we have only barely begun to map the routes.
she said,
No single gene is ever going to tell you the whole story.
so genetic studies aren’t to be trusted?
oh, you can trust the studies well enough, generally speaking. what you can’t trust are the sweeping conclusions that people often attach to them.
out-of-Africa is probably 95% correct. I think both sides have done a bit of a disservice to the science by insisting that it must be one thing or the other. Things are likely to turn out to be not so straightforward as eighter camp would have you believe. The evidence is clearly starting to suggest that there were multiple migrations and dispersals in different parts of the world going in all kinds of directions and generally mixing up the gene pool. that’s never going to be easy to sort out.

30, Good-bye: animal extinction by human

my summary: The book is an interesting read. It goes to the very beginning of each science branch: physics, geology, chemistry, biology, …. It is filled with many less-known personal stories of well-known professionals. I am amazed by how the author can include so many things in a single book and how broad the knowledge scope is.
The only drawback is that it is covering too much that I lost my focus several times. That’s why I tried to assign keywords to each chapter, and that’s why I could not finish the whole book right now.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Japanese for busy people 1

Japanese for busy people I, Romanized, revised 3rd ed. 2006
by AJALT (American for JApanese Language Teaching, a nonprofit organization by the Ministry of Education in 1977)
Many degrees of politeness are expressible in Japanese. In this book the style is one that anyone may use without being rude.

Useful daily expressions

おはよう 御座います:ござ
すみません:sorry, Excuse me
どうも ありがとうございます: thank you
どういたしまして:You are welcome
いただきます : please (eat)
ごちそうさまでした: thank you for the meal

1 introduction

xxx, こちらわ、x です
はじめまして: How do you do
よろしく お願いします: Nice to meet you. 願い:ねがい

2 exchanging business cards

私のめいし です。どうぞ
名前: なまえ、name
会社 かいしや

3 asking about business hours

すみません、いま (何)なんじ ですが?
くじ ごじゅっぷn です
9: 50
==は なんじ から ですが?几点开始
==は なんじ まで ですが?几点结束
女の人:おんな の ひと

4+5, shopping

それを (見)みせて ください 那个看看
それを ください 那个要了
これわ いくら ですが? 这个多少钱?
それわ いくら ですが?
どれ ですが? 哪个?
あの 青い
あれは 1000円 です

6, confirming schedules

そちらに いきます
失礼します しつれいします

7, visiting another company

車で くるまで きましたが?

8, going to nikko

何が 有りますか?なにが ありますか?
大(おおきい)おてら big temple

9, looking for a parking lot

コンビニ: convenience store

10, making plans for the weekend

週末に:しゅうまつに 何をしますか:なに
土曜日に: どようびに

11, At a tempura restaurant

どうぞ こちらへ
いい 店ですね:みせ
美味しいですから: おい

12, receiving hospitality

お茶を どうぞ:ちゃ
お菓子は 如何ですか:かし,いかが
綺麗な お菓子ですね:きれい,かし
けつこうです:no thank you

13, Giving compliments

綺麗な 花瓶ですね:かびん
好きな 色です:す,いろ

14, expressing gratitude

とても 楽しかったです:かの
どうぞ また 来てください:き?

15, invitations

浅草で お祭りか 有ります:あさくさ,まつ,あ
一緒に 行きませんか:いっしょに
何処で 会いましょうか:どこ,あ
浅草駅の 改札口で 会いませんが:あさくさ えき,かいさつぐちで

16, Participating in a festival

お神輿を 担ぎませんか:おみこし,かつ
法被が 有りません:はっぴ
私のを 貸しましょうか:か
私は 二枚 有りますから:にまい

17, Talking about plans

ちょっと 宜しいですか:よろ
明日 北海道で 販売会議が 有りますから
あした ほっかいどうで はんばいかいぎが ありますから
札幌に 行きます:さっぱろ
会議の 後で 札幌支社に 行って 佐藤さんに 会います
かいぎの あとで さっぽろ ししゃに いっと さとうさんに あいます
明後日 函館市のchocolate 工場を
あさって はこだての チョコレート こうじょうを
1じの 飛行機で 東京に 帰ります
ひこうきで とうきょうに かえります
わかりました では きを つけて

18, making a request

メールで 新しい 商品の カタログ すぐ 送ってください
emailあたらしい しょうひんの catalog soon おくって
会議で 使いますから:かいぎ,つか
サンプル、 sample

19, going to an art museum

明日 仕事の後で さくら美術館に 行きませんか:
あした しごとのあとで びじゅつかん
会社を 出ましょうか:かいしゃ,で
此処から 桜美術館まで どのぐらい かかりますか
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
ぜろ いち に さん よん ご ろく なな はち きゅ じゅ

20, At an art museum

綺麗な 浮世絵ですね:きれい,うきよえ
本当に 綺麗ですね:ほんとう
浮世絵の 写真を とっても 良いですか:うきよえ,しゃしん,い
此処に 英語の pamphlet 有りますよ:ここ,えいご
此の pamphlet を もらっても 良いですか?

21, being warned or advised

この富士山の 絵はとても 綺麗ですな
此の絵の 前で 私の 写真を 取って ください
わかりました. 取りますよ:と

22, busy at the moment


23, responding to an inquiry

何処で 売っていますか:どこ,う
私は 名古屋に 住んでいます:なごや,す
申し訳 ございません:もう,わけ

24, being introduced to someone

テニスを しています.
テニスが とても 上手です:じょうず
テニスが 好きです:す
今週の 土曜日に 小川さんも 一緒に テニスを しませんか
こんしゅうの どようびに おがわさん いっしょに

25, at a party

毎週水曜日に ぎんざの クッキング スクールで 日本料理を 習っています
まいしゅう すいようびに cooking school ,ならっています