From the recent short trip to the west coast of Norway.
I grew up using the storey system in China and North America. So for a long time, I couldn’t think of any logic behind the European system. See illustration of the two systems below.
I had always thought since it is natural to count from 1, 1st floor must be the most accessible storey, not the one above it. However, it is not until recently when I thought more about it that I discovered that the European system is certainly superior when storeys below ground are involved.
If I walked 2 storeys up from 1st floor, I’d end up on 3rd floor no matter if I’m in Europe or North America. And I can calculate in this way: 1+2=3.
If I walked 2 storeys up from underground 1st floor (or negative 1st floor), I’d end up on 1st floor in Europe. And I can still calculate it in the same way as above: -1+2=1 . In North America, I’d end up on 2nd floor. But to calculate it, I’d have to add 1 to the sum to get to the right answer, in other words -1+2+1=2. Similarly when calculating the number of storeys between a floor below the ground and a floor above the ground in North America, one has to subtract 1 from the difference. All this adding-or-subtracting-one-business is caused by the lack of 0th floor in the North American storey system.
The non-existence of the 0th floor (ground floor) in the North American storey system can be compared to the non-existence of year 0 in our commonly used calendar system (the Anno Domini system). When calculating the number of years between a B.C. year and a A.D. year, we have to subtract 1 from the difference between the years. For example, the number of years from 10 B.C. (year -10) to 10 A.D. (year 10) is calculated as 10-(-10)-1=19.
Came across a neat site Goodreads, where I can track the books I have read, the ones I am reading, and the ones I would like to read. I can rate books and add friends and see their list of books. My favourite feature is comparing my ratings to friends’ ratings of the same books. This can generate some fun discussions next time we meet.
So much modern art is ugly for the sake of being ugly.
- Mike Adams, artist
Read twenty or so articles on a certain subject, pick out bits and pieces, and then glue them together. This is how we are expected to write mini-papers at teachers’ college. This past semester is the first time I have done this, and also the first time I fully understood what Robert Pirsig meant in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
Schools teach you to imitate. If you don’t imitate as the teacher wants, you get a bad grade. Here in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in a way to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A’s. Originality on the other hand, could get you anything – from A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.
Anyone still wonder why inspiring teachers are hard to come by?
Historical city with castles, churches, and stunning architecture, some dating back to the 12th century. Other features include strong wind, lots of bikers, and good pastries.