Trashcan Miracle

Do you believe miracle?
Yes I do. Indeed I have seen ones so often.
This morning I had another one. Let me tell you:

I have bought a new plastic trashcan a week ago.
Recently I found it so annoying, because it fell down very easily.
Today, looking at the trashcan, I understood the reason of its instability.
It had a geometry that its diameter was larger at the top than at the bottom.

I said, “No doubt it’s unstable with such a shape that…that…”
How is this shape called (in English)?

I made a search with such keywords as “cone cut tip.”
It was easy. Soon I found the word “frustum,” which are used both cones and pyramids whose tips have been cut. I also found one could say “truncated cone,” more exactly “circular truncated cone,” because “truncate” is used to cut out an object with any angle.

Now I could tell…maybe… my trashcan had a shape of “reverse cone frustum.”

Anyway what I wanted to know is, why many trashcans are made in its shape? It may very well to take the normal frustum, whose bottom is wider than the top, which must be more stable.

So I made a search again, this time to know whether there would be a special reason for the unstable shape of many trashcans. If there were one, I would not complain on this issue any more…

Then something led me to input as keywords a sentence (in Japanese), “trash can fell down easily “, instead of words on the shape.

The third item hit through the search took my attention. It was a document of a baptist church somewhere in Japan.

What the church had to do with the unstable trash can?

I clicked the link and found an essay by the preacher of the church:


One day I met a trash can in the room of a hotel I stayed. It was really unstable without the placeholder….

…The Bible is a placeholder of your belief. If you are apart from the Bible, your belief will easily fall down, like that trashcan.

(The Essay on the Blog of Kokura Baptist Church. Surprising, the author is from the US, so skilled in Japanese!)

The essay let me find that the my trashcan should reflect my belief. From now on I will not get angry at it, but look back into my attitude towards God. But for Him, who could have lead me from a trashcan to the church!?

Dash into the Prime

I recently learned a symbol called “dash” in English should be one like

– (hyphen)

or

though it is not the same, mere hyphen is used for it for convenience in key typing.

Astonishing!

In Japan most of us would take “dash” as

which I also learned recently it should be called in English “prime.”

Yes, we often call

f’

as “f-dash”, and

f”

as “f-two-dash (we also often ignore plurality ).”

We would have much difficulty in a worldwide discussion on mathematics…

Referring to symbols are so difficult. As we don’t have a sound of weak “e”, we pronounce “tilde” for

~

more like “tilda,” which sounds to me like a woman’s name. Hence whenever I search for a key to input this symbol, I sing “Oh Tilda, my honey, where are you gone,” with some happy-going-lucky melody for that day.

By the way we have the two-byte

I guess this symbol is originally used in Japanese documents, to express a range. For example, 50〜100 means “ranging from 50 to 100.” Nowadays, however, we make more use of it to express the feeling in sounding a word, like below:

To hold the tone of the last word for a second, and then make it fade out, to avoid a strong talking.

For example,

できない。

would mean, “I can’t!”

On the other hand,

できないー

With dash, yeah, two-byte dash? hyphen? at the end is also use to express the tone, which also lasts for a second, but break away suddenly. It would not express a strong talking, either. Rather mean a pitiful feeling like “I caaaan’t…”

And,

できない〜

Means like “Well, I can’t do it. It might be my fault. I’d like to someone help me.”

Well, I can’t express about 〜 enough. It might be my fault. May some Japanese correct it, saying “You’re wrong!” or, for most Japanese are gentle, saying “You’re wro〜ng.”

Vio….

Walking on the street I often find a tiny bunch of flowers, purple or yellow…

Yes, violet.

One day I was going to write about it. Then my Twitter up showed some new post of whom I followed. Among which a news tweet picked my attention. “Violence in ( some country, to our regret there would be many example) … getting worse”

Violence….violet…

Why do the two words look so alike?

I searched for the etymological answer. Though I could not get anything clear, but there were some hints, that “vio…” or “vi…” might mean some active behavior, derived from a latin-favord expression for “go.” (Je vais…Yo voy…) in English there are such words as vehicle, and vital, vivid…

So what about violin? Is it because the instrument sound very loud?

I looked at Wikipedia for “violin.” There it was written that the word violin was from “vitula,” meaning stringed instrument.

…..

What part of the word “vitula” would mean “stringed” or “instrument”?

OK, Wikipedia is not to be blamed. It isn’t Wikitionary or Etymology dictionary. Its mission is to explain what that instrument is and how to use it.

I googled then with the word “vitula”. But there were little to hit…instead many sites with the word “virtual” came up. Thanks, not at this time, though I am interested in anything virtual, too.

At last I went to Online Etymology Dictionary. There ist was written that the word vitula was from “joyful.”

Now I see. Both joy and anger are raised emotion of human. If it went in a peaceful way, it will express a flower and a musical instrument. In a hateful way, it will express cruel actions. Let’s make our excitement bloom or sing, not hurt someone.

Turtle

It’s a turtledove.

I wondered why it is called “turtle”.

Is it because of the pattern of its feather, with clear-colored boundaries?

Mmmm, it’s rather like scales of a fish than hexagonal patterns on a turtle’s shell.

Then my german friend told me they call it Turteltaube, because we say turteln to mean whisper.

Oh I see! It’s a German origin!?…..later I found, however, the etymology was not limited in German. The sound of this species’ song – tue tue – had been extracted to many countries as its name.

Especially in English (or more originally in French), there is a word tortoise which indeed to call the corresponding reptile, and it sounds much like turtle. Hence turtle is used together to call that reptile.

It’s lucky in German a word to indicate the reptile is Schildkröte ( a shelled toad….yes, a frog in the shell…)

So the meaning of turtle might have been clearer in my German friend.

In Japan, it is called like a pheasant dove. I was wondering why, for the species didn’t seem to me so colorful as a pheasant. But it had also a reason – people in old time took it to look like a female pheasant. What a sharp aspect of them at that time!

Here in Japan turtledoves are thought as “birds singing a strange song.” As one uploaded in YouTube a short movie of a turtledove singing, many comments were added. Most of them said “It was you!”

One more thing I leaned was, It would be rarely called turtle pigeon – When I made a web search with keywords “turtle pigeon” the top hit was the title of a YouTube movie “Shock! a turtle eats a pigeon”…I have never clicked the link.

French Revolution

Yesterday I was busy – you might say I had rather pretty of time. Because I was occupied with a trivial matter, to make such a graph with MS-Excel.

It’s a timeline using a series of affairs in French Revolution, in the 18th century – ah- yes. as the years 19XX were in the 20th century, the years 17xx were in the 18th.

The reason I used this historical event as an example was, the revolution was so drastic, that the affairs occurred month by month. Namely, the items were not only in a function of year, but of month, too.

If we input data of date in Excel, it will express them in a form of year and month.

It would be too complicated. I wanted to hide the description of the year, which would be added as separate textboxes…

There was another problem. Computer can treat, in general, date as numerical data only from a day around 1900(updated in June 17, 2012). The data in 1790’s were to old to calculate. So I input data in the spreadsheet all with extra 200 years – 1989 instead of 1789, etc. If French people looked at my crazy spreadsheet, they might fall down.

The purpose of the attempt was to learn various operations for Excel graph through solving various trivial problems. But I was not satisfied in my findings. I wanted to find easier ways, with less manual works.
Artistic works like painting or drawing would need elaborate and tenacious accumulation of small manual tasks even on a computer. On the contrary, calculative or analytical works must find as easy way as possible. Yesterday I wanted the latter.

By the way it was interesting to learn again about French Revolution – though I should imagine agony and bloodshed through the event – the progress of changes one after another made me excited.

Moreover was it to learn how to say each affair in English. For example, I learned such a long name as The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen should correspond to a simple four-kanji word of 人権宣言 in Japanese. Ah…the strokes of such kanji as 権 might be complicated, though. Of course I can write those kanjis with my own hand.

Oh! No!

Indeed “word processors perish the ability to write…” Beware, beware.

It would be more interesting to learn the French history in French. I wish I had more time in my life to learn… Yes, I know, time is to spare by myself. I need more effort.

Dot Matrix Display

The terrible aliens from the space have at last entered to the big city at the midnight. Breaking news was running on the…the…

How do you say this board, on which news or massages are streamed, each word of which is composed of an arrangement of electric bulbs, in English?

Yesterday I was trapped in this expression. In Japanese we write it as “電光掲示板”, quite simple.

電…electric
光…light
掲示…display
板…board

, though the meaning of “streaming” is not included in this word.

“Electric message board” or “News board”?…I couldn’t get the word which would express exactly what I wanted.

At last I found the word “Dot matrix display”


(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dotmatrixani.gif)

Oh yes, that’s exactly what I had imagined. But…but.. there are no words which reminds me of “news” or “electric” or “midnight” or “At the wall of a building in the big city” or “Martians attack”…

It’s yet really difficult to express detailed feeling in a language which is not my mother tongue. In other words, it’s so interesting a quest for it.

Webcast

Yesterday evening I got a mail from my editor, to tell me that a famous IT company in US would give an “Webcast” tomorrow morning. “We got an announcement Fax from them. If you are interested in it, it’s free.”

Of course I was. A “Webcast” is, as it is written, broadcasting service on the web. In most cases a lecturer talks in the studio or stage, which we can see through internet in real time.
Years ago, when video data was so heavy to send, the screen of the webcast was so small and frequently freezer, but now we can see one as smoothly as if we were watching TV.
The company to give the webcast was an IT giant and the CEO was a charisma with many fans. Indeed he has many skills, in speech or performance, to invoke people’s attention.

The editor said “tomorrow morning.” Yes, in the US it was “this afternoon.” Indeed it was 5AM here.

This morning, 4AM, I woke up, started computers and opened the page for the webcast. There was already a screen, which yet played an advertising movie endlessly.
I served me the coffee and watched the tweet timeline shown on the same page, which streamed out tweets of the people who were waiting for the webcasts one after another.

It was fun. Though I am not so enthusiastic for the event itself, but a feeling of “waiting something in an unusually early hours” made me somewhat exiting, as if it were an Olympic or World Cup game.

The speech of the CEO was given for about one hour. He talked about their new products and development strategies, and made a short demo for their new beautiful business application.

His speech was very clear and practical, but sometimes I missed some words he told. Then the tweets flowing in the timeline window helped me. The audience frequently quoted every his words and discussed about it. Looking at them time to time, I managed to understand the summary of his speech.

I wrote a 2-page report to my editor. I don’t care how he would treat it, but with it I would like to thank him to let me know about that event and show him I had not overslept nor drift off to miss it.