Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Sometimes it's hard to tell the ratio of irony to Chinglish in signs here in Beijing. I'm sitting in a cafe at the moment finishing off a talk for tomorrow and tidying up a paper. The cafe is very quiet with comfy chairs and tables and a few students sitting round working hard (we're next to Qinghua university - the top university in China). The sign on the stairs on the way up to the cafe states boldly that: "A climax a day keeps the doctor away". I'm not sure if this is a tongue in cheek statement talking of eureka moments, or simply the obvious interpretation. These days I simply don't know.

On the topic of language. Today's Wikipedia article (not viewable in China where Wikipedia has again been blocked) is on the Gwoyeu Romatzyh Latinisation of Chinese, in particular an alternative recipe for showing the tonal system. It looks far more complicated than Pinyin, which is relatively straight forward once you are able to reproduce the tones. I'll be discussing learning Mandarin soon as I've just reached a bit of a personal goal.

Over at the Scitalks blog I have given a series of suggestions for more advanced string theory lectures, mostly on AdS/CFT, but on other topics too. I've been watching lots of the TASI courses which are excellent.

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