Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wagner Shows How It's Done!

I just have to comment on this. My apologies to all the Finnish guys who've already seen this in the paper. Viivi ja Wagner is a Finnish cartoon about a woman called Viivi and a pig called Wagner. They live togeather. Check out last Saturdays strip.

The translation goes as follows:

Wagner: I finished my PhD Thesis.
Viivi: What?!

Wagner: I've been working on it secretly so as not to depress you with my mental superiority.
Viivi: Let's see that stack.

Viivi: Naughty drawings, a shopping list and a couple of lotto coupons!
Wagner: It's interdisciplinary.

And now you tell me! Apparently I've had a totally wrong approach to my Thesis all this time.

Besides, I'm disappointed with my blog: It was supposed to be partly in English jand osittain suomeksi. But now it's turned out to be a bloody translation exercise!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Agit Prop: Oppimisen ylistys - What Every Math Studet Should Know

Lately I've been listening a lot of Agit Prop. I bought a CD just before I left Finland. It seemed like a perfect idea to have it on my mp3 while going through the customs. One of the songs is called Olen kommunisti (I am a communist).

Agit Prop is a Finnish revolutionary left-wing band from the 70's. The name Agit Prop comes from the words agitation and propaganda (yes the words are almost the same in Finnish (actually propaganda is exactly the same)). And yes, we should actually be considering what they are in Russian. Since the real origin was of course the Department for Agitation and Propaganda in the Soviet Union. (And yes, I didn't know all this before a bit of googling just a moment ago.)

One of my favourites is Oppimisen ylistys. It just simply tells what every math student should know. Here is a part of the lyrics in Finnish and then my attempt at a translation into English. Let me know if you have better suggestions.

Oppimisen ylistys

Opi perusasiat.
Niille, joiden aika on tullut,
se ei koskaan ole liian myöhäistä.
Opi kaikki aakkoset.
Se ei riitä, mutta opi ne.
Älä anna sen harmittaa, vaan ala jo.
Sinun täytyy tietää kaikki.
Sinun täytyy astua johtoon!

Älä pelkää kysyä, toveri.
Älä usko kuulopuheisiin, ota selvää.
Mitä itse et tiedä, sitä et tiedä.
Tarkista lasku;
sinun täytyy se maksaa.
Laske sormesi joka erälle ja kysy:
Miksi tämä on näin?
Miksi tämä on näin?
Sinun täytyy astua johtoon!

Hymn to Learning

Learn the basics!
It's never too late
for those whose time has come.
Learn all the alphabet,
it's not enough, but learn them!
Don't let it bother you, just start.
You have to know everything.
You have to step in the lead!
Don't fear to ask, comrade.
Don't believe in hearsay, check it.
What you don't know yourself, you don't know.
Check the count;
you have to pay it.
Point at each installment and ask:
Why is this like this?
Why is this like this?
You have to step in the lead!

Although I have to say that the goal setting would need a bit more work: Step 1: Learn all the aplhabet, Step 2: You have to know everything. Tough!

Thanks to Punainen nörtti for the help with socialistic vocabulary!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Snow in Michigan

They can do snow here as well. Sort of. This was taken from under the bus stop shelter while waiting for a bus.

Currently I have so many things to write about that doing all those things takes up all my time from writing. Just thought I'd cheer you up with this picture.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mythological creatures

Today was Jana's birthday. Or actually yesterday. But I only found out about it on Friday so I didn't have time to find a big birthday present. So to cover up for the small present I'd bought I drew a bigger card.

I was inspired by the movie we saw on Friday: Pan's Labyrinth. It was really good. And there was a faun. So somehow I got the idea that I should draw all of us as fantasy creatures. Here is the card. It features Jana the Fairy, Daniel the Centaur and Bär the Bär. And on the sides you can find Pekka the Unicorn, Kai the Cerberus, Mario the Dragon, Juha the Troll and me: Saara the Sphinx.

I'm not exactly sure if everybody got exactly the right character but it shouldn't be taken that seriously anyway. I'm especially proud of Bär, he looks just like himself. And why didn't he get a fantasy charecter, then? Well, because he really is one alredy.

So is this the crowd I hang around with? Yes and no. This is the upper class. I'm actually not upper class. But last time I was here I lived with Jana. And I'm a visitor. I'm sort of in between. The upper class refers of course to Faculty. And the lower class are the grad students. I haven't really figured out the rules yet. So far it seems to me that the upper class keeps complaining about the fact that the lower class won't hang around with them enough. And the lower class is a bit scared to be left alone with the upper class and thinks that the upper class must need some time alone once in a while without them running around in their feet.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

About Snow / Lumesta

This morning I looked out of the window and noticed that: "sataa lunta". Even though I guess that here it really is "snow" and not "lunta", I couldn't have thought that "it's snowing". Just like my mother could never be my "mother" but only my "äiti". I was experiencing snow in Ann Arbor for the first time. And when I saw the white snowflakes dancing slowly downwards outside the window, I was tranferred back to Finland to an autumn day when as a small child I saw the first snowfall of the winter. Even though I can't remember any such particular experience from my childhood.

And another thing: A "snowflake" for me is much more a Koch snowflake than an actual snowflake whereas "lumihiutale" is much more an actual lumihiutale than Kochin lumihiutale.

Friday, January 19, 2007

From Ice to Ideas

Almost all of the ice has now disappeared.

But the funny wide doorhandles that you push to open the doors at the staircases at the math department still make the same loud sound, and the soap at the math departement bathrooms still smells the same, and the really bad tasting chocolate with almonds still tastes as bad and the earl grey from Espresso Royale still comes in paper mugs looking exactly the same as last year.

I don't think that I have yet realized that I'm here. It feels like being home. It will come though, the feeling of being far away from home. My hypothesis is that it will have something to do with cats. I realized too late that I picked my place to stay with all the wrong reasons. I should have picked a place that comes with a cat, or two cats prefarably.

Kevin asked me today if I have already solved the problem with rectifiable curves and doubling measures (he knew that it was still open when I came here on Tuesday). I had to admit that I have not solved it yet. But I do have an old/new idea for the conjecture of the blue cubes. I'd better not talk about it, though, since it will in all probability come to nothing in the end as most ideas do (you see, not so smart people have ideas as well as the really smart ones, just not as good ones).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ann Arbor, here I am!

I was thinking of posting already from Amsterdam airport - you know, since Amsterdam comes before Ann Arbor - but the wireless would have cost way too much. And anyway, it turned out that the three hours that I had in between my flights was just enough to walk to the other gate, visit the bathroom and go through the security control.

It's colder here than it was in Helsinki. And there has been an ice storm, was it yesterday? And the sun is shining through all the ice in all the trees. All just for me.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Helsinki. Why am I here?

Actually I'm right where I should be. But in one weeks time I'll quite probably still be here while I should already be in Ann Arbor. I'm waiting for my visa. But today I'm very hopeful and will say that in two weeks time I'll start this blog from Ann Arbor as is alphabetically appropriate. (This post does not count, I'm merely testing.)