Archive for March, 2005

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

Happy Easter!

Our easter sunday started with getting up later than intended because daylight saving time started today. After some nice weather at the beginning of the week it was cool and overcast today. Since I also have a cold we decided to just go for a short walk. A colleague had told me about an old railway track that’s been converted into a bike/footpath near Andernach that’s also suitable for inline-skating, and we decided to check that out. It’s really nice, and I’m sure I’ll go back there for some skating once I get rid of my cold.

Radfahren und Inline-Skaten in Rheinland-Pfalz

Ein Kollege hatte mir erzählt, dass es ganz in unserer Nähe eine gute Strecke zum Inline-Skaten gibt, nämlich die ehemalige Bahnstrecke Ochtendung-Polch, die in einen Rad-/Fußweg umgewandelt wurde. Auf der Suche nach näheren Informationen stieß ich auf skater-land.de, eine Info-Site über Inliner-geeignete Strecken im ganzen Bundesland Rheinland-Pfalz. Die besagte Strecke ist die Y-Strecke in Polch und Umgebung; die hauptsächlich geeignete Strecke mit nur geringen Steigungen und Gefälle führt von Ochtendung nach Polch und von dort nach Münstermaifeld; jeder Teil der Strecke ist 10 km lang. Ab Polch führt noch eine Abzweigung nach Mayen, die etwas mehr Kondition erfordert, aber dafür gleich hinter Polch sehr interessant mit zwei Tunneln und Viadukten beginnt. Dort sind André und ich heute spazieren gegangen, und zwar auf dem Hinweg durch die Tunnel und auf dem Rückweg um die Berge herum, unten an der Nette. Die Wege dort waren zwar noch etwas matschig, aber mit festen Schuhen gut zu bewältigen.

Mit dem Fahrrad ist man ja nicht wie auf Inlinern auf glatte Oberflächen und wenige Steigungen angewiesen; Vorschläge für Radtouren durch die Eifel bietet eifel-radtouren.de; die Site entpuppt sich auf den zweiten Blick als Teil von radwanderland.de, einer Site über Radwege und -touren in ganz Rheinland-Pfalz. Allein hier in der Nähe gibt es jede Menge interessanter Strecken und Ziele, die wir uns mal der Reihe nach vornehmen werden. Und wenn einem die ganzen Radwege immer noch nicht reichen, bleibt noch die Möglichkeit, zu bestimmten Terminen auf die Straße auszuweichen, z. B. bei Tal toTal am Rhein von Bingen bis Bad Salzig bzw. Rüdesheim bis Lahnstein. Ähnliche Aktionen gibt es auch an der Mosel, der Ahr, der Lahn…

Mathematik

Passend zu Ostern gab es heute bei den Mathematischen Kleinigkeiten einen Link zu Chickscope: “EggMath […], a collection of web modules (including many interactive applets) covering different topics in mathematics related to eggs; it is intended for use in K-12 classrooms”.

Auch der Schockwellenreiter hatte in letzter Zeit wieder einiges für mich: Cinderella2-Vorstellung auf der CeBIT und einen Link zu Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Section mit allem, was man so zu Fibonacci-Zahlen wissen möchte.

In der Zeit

Endlich komme ich jetzt in den Ferien auch mal wieder dazu, die Zeit zeitnah zu lesen, d. h. schon in der Woche, in der sie erscheint. Trotzdem hier für mich zum Wiederfinden nur der Link zu einem Artikel aus der Vorwoche:

Medizin: Sonde im Kopf. “Die Geschichte eines anonymen Parkinson-Kranken, von ihm selbst erzählt.” (Das Seitenformat ist etwas eigenwillig, daher hier noch ein Link auf die übersichtlichere Druckversion.)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Monday, March 21st, 2005

Official first day of spring

Today is the first day of spring, says the calendar. The weather was a little early this year. The weather is great again, it’s 15°C at the moment, but I think it will get a little warmer still. The weather is perfect for a walk at the Rhine – and I think that’s exactly what my parents (who are due to arrive for a visit any minute now) and I are going to do this afternoon.

Weblogger Meeting

Yesterday André and I went to Bonn to meet and have brunch with Oliver Breidenbach, who was one of the early adopters here at EditThisPage.com. Being the geeks and webloggers that we are, we mostly talked about computers, weblogs and computers in education, since Oliver’s company makes iStopMotion, a software for stop motion animation and time lapse recording. I knew about the software, but was not aware of its uses in education (see also here at Apple.co.uk), so I’ll have a closer look now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

First day of spring

Ah, today was the first day that felt like spring. We last had snow on Friday (quite a bit, but nothing like this, Garret!), but today it was sunny and up to 14°C! A great day to go to the zoo (Zoo Neuwied, German), which coincidentally I did today with my fifth-graders. They are all looking forward to spring, and I’m especially looking forward to two weeks of easter break, starting on Saturday.

Am I crazy?

This afternoon, it being all sunny and almost warm, I had to try the new inline skates I bought last weekend. I’ve been skating for the past nine years or so, but my old skates were a bit too small and not up to date any more. The new ones have bigger wheels and are more comfortable all around.

I went down to the Rhine because it’s too hilly around where we live, but in order to get onto the bike/walk/inline path next to the river, I had to skate up a small incline with a sharp bend. Unfortunately I didn’t take into consideration that I had to come back down somehown… I tried to brake, but ended up on my behind. Ouch! But it’s a good thing I also purchased protective gear for wrists, elbows and knees, so at least I didn’t scrape my hands in the process.

It was the first time I ever fell down while inline-skating, too, so I guess my ego is hurt even more than my derrière.

I guess I’ll have to look around for a good area to inline-skate some more. Bonn is much less hilly than the area we now live in, but there have to be some good paved paths around here somewhere, probably near the Rhine. And meanwhile, I’m going to start jogging again, as it is much less dangerous and can also be done around here.

My goal? I’m going to participate in the Mittelrhein-Marathon (available in English and German) this year as an inline-skater, on the day after my 30th birthday. I mulled over posting about it here, but figured that I could well use all the encouragement I can get. (Here’s my registration info, in case you’re interested.)

The marathon is being held here in the upper middle Rhine valley for the first time, and I think it’s a wonderful idea to have a marathon in a beautiful landscape like this. The start is near the Loreley, and the finish line is at the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz. The Mittelrheintal is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, by the way (siehe auch Mittelrheintal, deutschsprachig, Flash).

Mathematik

Mal wieder auf Suche nach Themen für Facharbeiten o. ä., habe mich dabei an die hyperbolische Geometrie und andere schöne Dinge erinnert. Beim Rückert-Gymnasium Düsseldorf (bzw. auf deren alter Site) findet man eine wunderschöne Arbeit zum Thema Von der Perspektive in der Kunst zur Relativitätstheorie, u. a. mit Ausführungen zur projektiven und zur hyperbolischen Geometrie. (Und letztere ist mir aus meiner ersten Staatsexamensarbeit noch in guter Erinnerung…)

Ergänzend gibt es hier noch eine schöne Seite zu hyperbolischen Pflasterungen.

Außerdem hatte der Schockwellenreiter mal wieder ein paar schöne Mathematiklinks, die ich mir nicht entgehen lassen konnte.

Cooking

Well, not cooking exactly, but this Ask MeFi thread contains lots of yummy-sounding recipes for dips. Now I’m hungry!

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Sunday, March 6th, 2005

Around the World

While searching for countries that are difficult to visit (for a school project) I looked for info on Tannu Tuva (see Friends of Tuva). I discovered an interesting site called Ethnopoetics which has sections on soundings, visuals, poems and discourses. The first one contains samples of Tuvan throat singing (ram or mp3), but also Celtic mouth music, Inuit throat music and much more.

I thought I had posted about Tuva and throat singing before, but I can’t find anything on my site. Well, here goes:

Tannu Tuva and Throat Singing

Reading Tuva or Bust – Richard Feynman’S Last Journey by Ralph Leighton inspired me to read more about throat singing, which is also called harmonic or overtone singing because you amplify harmonic overtones in a way that makes it sound like you sing two different notes at the same time. It’s hard to explain in words, but the resulting sound is quite amazing.

A good source of links is the Music of Tuva section of Friends of Tuva.

Check out Khoomei.com, Steve Sklar‘s site about overtone singing. Sklar is an American who is capable of several different styles of overtone singing. He offers lots of free videos on his site (Quicktime required) and also has an overview of the types of throat singing with more sound and video examples. (Sklar also offers Tuvan throat singing lessons online, but you have to pay for them.) If you want to listen to differnt types of singing, I recommend Kombu (mp3): “Kaigal-ool of Huun-Huur-Tu (accompanying himself on doshpuluur) demonstrates perfectly the characteristic sound of the Xorekteer voice, with its hard, bright tone, and he uses it as a launching pad to sing khoomei, sygyt, and kargyraa.

Surprisingly, overtone singing was also “invented” independently by an American cowboy in the 1920ies: (Quote from khoomei.com/types.)

“The legendary and obscure Arthur Miles was an American cowboy singer who, apparently, also independently developed his own overtone singing style. He also sang in normal voice, yodeled, and played guitar. Almost nothing is know of him or his influences, but the dates of his recordings, believed to be about 1928-29, make him one of the earliest overtone singers ever recorded! Lonely Cowboy Part 1, Lonely Cowboy Part 2.”

And last but not least the Scientific American had an article on throat singing a couple of years ago: The Throat Singers of Tuva. “Testing the limits of vocal ingenuity, throat-singers can create sounds unlike anything in ordinary speech and song – carrying two musical lines simultaneously, say, or harmonizing with a waterfall.” By Theodore C. Levin and Michael E. Edgerton.

Cooking and Baking

This Tarte au citron looks and sounds yummy. I’ll have to try it some time.

Exploratorium: The Science of Cooking has sections about eggs, picles, candy, bread, seasoning and meat.

Link via MetaFilter.

Are they moving?

You can see plants in motion in these (Quicktime) movies, some of which are time-lapse films. The movies are sorted by categories such as tropisms, nastic movements etc.

Link via MetaFilter.

Lesen

Die Arno-Schmidt-Referenzbibliothek enthält 121 Titel als PDF-Dokumente, u. a. Werke von Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe.

Link via Schockwellenreiter.

Names

The Baby name wizard‘s Name Voyager is a cool Java applet that visualizes the commonness of names during the last 100 years in the USA. Looks like my name was popular there as well as here during the seventies, when I was born.

Link via rushme.

School

I can’t seem to get around to posting here more often. School has kept me very busy during the past weeks, the main reason being the Abitur. I taught a physics course in grade thirteen, and four of my students chose to take an oral exam in physics, which I had to direct. Now that the exams are over, I’m looking very forward to two weeks of easter break, which starts in two weeks. Let’s hope the weather gets a little warmer until then – we’ve had lots of snow and temperatures below zero (degrees Celsius) for long enough now. I’m looking forward to spring!