Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

If you wanna plant a tree...

Then hurry up and grab the green report on this link and a tree will be planted for you if you are quick enough.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

In the singin' and dancin' mood.

If you locate the Great Lakes on this weather map you'll notice that Ontario is trapped by the clouds.

Unfortunately, while some rain was needed, the clouds over us do not want to leave anymore (you'll see better if you pick to animate the weather map). Consequently, with so much rain in the last few days I started to enjoy the rain and feel like singing and dancing with my friend Elli.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Discovering Ontario's Heritage.

I said in my Can Space be Discrete post that I was not able to compromise between the PI Black Hole session and discovering Hamilton's heritage. That was true for Saturday but not for Sunday. Since Hamilton's event was a two day event I was able to visit some very interesting heritage sites.

The first one visited was the St. Alban's Church in Rockton. Driving from Kitchener to Hamilton on highway 8, we almost missed Rockton after passing Cambridge.

Stopping in Rockton was rewarding. St. Alban's Church at 758 Old Highway 8 was built in 1869 of locally quarried limestone. The church story is quite interesting. We learned that the church was saved from demolition by the local residents that are quite proud of their heritage and Scottish ancestors.

Click on this link to see the Rockton story in pictures.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dividing and expanding a TV second.

Usually the guy on the street is not concerned with the problem of dividing a second. The only situation that I can imagine right now is in some sports (like swimming or running) when few milliseconds can decide who is the winner. I am excluding technicians, engineers and scientists from this discussion, since they are used to work with microseconds, nanoseconds and other time subdivisions.

I just found out though a situation when a second of TV watching can be divided, expanded and explored. My new friend Elli explains you how, if you click on this link.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Can space be discrete?

This weekend I had another dilemma, to choose between discovering Hamilton City's heritage or to find out if space can be discrete.

Since the city of Hamilton is not so close to the Kitchener-Waterloo area as Elmira, I could not compromise as I did last month. Even though I'm eager to learn about Ontario's heritage, this month subject of PI Black Hole Sessions was quite intriguing.

Mathematics tells us that real space is continuous i.e. it can be divided forever. Some of the physical world theories come though to contradict this.

Tomasz Konopka (PhD student at UW and PI) started the session with some examples of the difference between discreteness and continuity.

In the first example a bicycle wheel could behave in a discrete or continuous mode depending of its state. In an experiment when a ping-pong ball is thrown towards the bicycle we could think of the wheel as being discrete, if it is stationary. Assuming that the distance between spokes is large enough the ball will go through the wheel most of the times. Now if we spin the wheel all of the empty spaces will be "filled" (because the spokes are moving) and the ball will bounce off the wheel. The spinning wheel is an example of continuous space model.

The next example of discrete/continuous comparisons was about the nature of color. The spectrum of natural colors in a rainbow is continuous while any digitized color is discrete.

Currency exchange is another example of the difference between discrete and continuous. In real life we use a discrete number of coins and bills but when we do currency exchange a continuous function is used. To get the discrete amount in the new currency the rounding operation is used.

The last example given was about the water's nature. We all think of water as continuous but when we go at the molecular level we realize that it consists of discrete molecules. It is this discreteness that gives its interesting properties.

After all these examples Tomasz defined what are the research issues of the discrete space.

Then he presented three theories about space discreteness: discrete analysis and the Plank Scale, triangulation models and loop quantum gravity. The triangulation approach produces interesting Universe models that support the Big Bang theory.

The Spin networks use in space modeling yields a surprising result about the discrete properties of space.

It looks like that sometimes the nature can be described in discrete terms.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Eagles nest webcam.

OK, I'm late with this one. Just in case you are not among the millions web users that are watching live an eagles nest in Hornby Island, British Columbia, here it is a CTV link that "keeps an eye" on the eagles, or you can watch the action directly from the source.

FYI: Yoga in Toronto.