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Posters in the streets of Zurich

Birds by the lake in Zurich

“Food angels” in a restaurant in downtown Zurich

The old part of Zurich

Hamburg, with its grandiose city hall in the background

The warehouse district in Hamburg

In the Miniatur Wonderland in Hamburg

lily in Travel on December 18 2012 » 0 comments

Norwegian fjord

From the recent short trip to the west coast of Norway.

The one day of the year they take pictures for the travel brochures

Starting point of the glacier walk

Glacier lake

Another glacier walking team

Norwegian national dish – smalahove (sheep’s head)


Norwegian fjord

lily in Photography,Travel on June 16 2012 » 0 comments

Building storeys

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.

lily in Math on May 13 2012 » 0 comments

Crazy lilies

lily in Home on April 04 2012 » 0 comments


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.

lily in Books on March 14 2012 » 0 comments

Modern art

So much modern art is ugly for the sake of being ugly.
– Mike Adams, artist

lily in Quotes on February 09 2012 » 1 comment

Uphill, fish bone style

lily in Home on January 29 2012 » 0 comments

Under compulsion to imitate

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?

lily in Books,Quotes on December 24 2011 » 0 comments

Norwegian autumn

lily in Home,Photography on October 08 2011 » 0 comments

Copenhagen, Denmark

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.

Rosenborg Castle, which houses most Danish royal treasures

Bikers at the square outside Christiansborg Castle

Reflection of National Museum

A 16th-century house in the historical town of Helsingør

Helsingør Castle

Little Mermaid by the sea

Copenhagen castles, churches, and rooftops

The Church of Our Saviour

lily in Photography,Travel on August 21 2011 » 1 comment
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