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Quantum of Action

It's wonderful when a writer takes you back to a turning point in history and points his or her finger at the very first mention of a fundamental concept. I'm reading Thomas Kuhn's "Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity" and here on page 130 the book mentions the very first time when the word 'quantum' was mentioned. What a great adventure humanity have started with the introduction of this new concept!

page 130

A Couplet

Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

                                                     - John Dryden

My Beautiful Kurdish Language!

I never really knew how special I'm, until they started attacking and forbidding my beautiful Kurdish language! Long live Kurdish language! The language of love and poetry!

The Ecstasy of Discovery!

“A discovery is like falling in love and reaching the top of a mountain after a hard climb all in one, an ecstasy not induced by drugs but by the revelation of a face of nature that no one has seen before and that often turns out to be more subtle and wonderful than anyone had imagined.”

                                                      ― Max F. Perutz

The happiest thought of my life

On page 110 of James Hartle's book "Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity":

glücklichste Gedanke meines Lebens = the happiest thought of my life

They Got Cranky!

In this recent interview and at time 12:10, Gorbachev talks about the change in West's attitude towards Russia:

"Under Yeltsin, Russia was on its back. It was a broken economy. People were not getting paid, there were no jobs. Everybody came here and applauded Yeltsin. That's when Russians realized what everybody wanted from them: to keep them on the leash, like a bunch of nobodies. But this can not happen to Russia. And now, when Russia begins to make declarations, they get cranky, because they used to telling Russia what to do."

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The Russian Side of the Story

It is very refreshing to see that, unlike most other Western media, The Guardian gives a glimpse of the Russian side of the story. Here are few points from the article:

- Russian speakers are understandably alarmed after the new Kiev authorities scrapped a law allowing Russian as an official language in their areas.

- At the back of Pentagon minds, no doubt, is the dream that a US navy will one day replace the Russian Black Sea fleet in the Crimean ports of Sevastopol and Balaclava.

- Since independence, every poll in Ukraine has shown a majority against Nato membership, yet one after another the elites who ran the country until 2010 and who are now back in charge ignored the popular will.

- The deposed Viktor Yanukovych ... persuaded parliament to make non-alignment the cornerstone of the country's security strategy, on the pattern of Finland, Ireland and Sweden.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/02/not-too-late-for-ukraine-nato-should-back-off

Creation and Annihilation Operators

Still remember the difficulty I had in learning the formalism of creation and annihilation operators in quantum mechanics from Landau's book written in Russian. Therefore I had to learn it from other sources in English. That was about 11 years ago and now, with a second reading, not only I understand it but can also say with confidence that Landau's way of introducing this formalism is one of the best pedagogically

Page 301:

Creation operator.

Dressed in Concrete

Yes, Sergei Yesenin was right, we dressed nature in concrete, like in a straightjacket:

Как в смирительную рубашку,
Мы природу берем в бетон.

The Value of Total Independence in Thinking

Alan Sokal, of the Sokal affair fame, comes to rescue again in dismantling the results of a "mental fart", as he puts it:

"The Lorenz equation Losada used was from fluid dynamics," says Sokal, "which is not the field that I'm specialised in, but it's elementary enough that any mathematician or physicist knows enough. In 10 seconds I could see it was total bullshit."

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jan/19/mathematics-of-happiness-debunked-nick-brown