Friday, February 29, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Now how can the golden ratio be rhetorical? First of all, it is literally EVERYWHERE. From the Mona Lisa to the Great Pyramid of Giza. We can even find it in music! The french composer Debussy used the golden ratio (which is roughly 1.618) to compose accords for his music.
But the most fascinating thing about the golden ratio is, that we can also find it in nature. The seeds of a sunflower are arranged based on the golden ratio. The nautilus shell looks almost exactly like the golden spirale, which again is based on the golden ratio. The golden ratio even appears in the proportions of the human body. Try it out yourself! Meassure the length of your leg and divide it by the length of your arm. You will see, it commes very very close to 1.618 !
So the golden ratio is one of the best number mankind has found so far to describe nature. Many artists used the golden ratio for the proportions of the face they were painting, to make it as close to reality as possible. Many things that we find aesthetic or beautiful relate to the golden ratio!
By making it possible for us to describe reality (the nature) with the golden ratio, it also creats knowledge. We can understand how things are constructed, why they appear beautiful to us.
Math can be more interesting than you would think, and I will show in my research paper that it is also rhetorical.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Most of the people who were asked by NPR if they belive America is in a recession, answered yes or that they weren't sure how to answer this question because they are not sure how exaclty a recession is defined. It turns out that a recession is very hard to define and that most of the time a recession is declared after it is already over. For example, in 2001 we had the last recession. It took 7 months until economists from Harvard declared it as a recession. By this time the economy was already doing much better.
But are we really in a recession? Or is all the talk about it causing the recession? Could it be that the fear of a recession is stoping us from buying ends up driving us really into a recession? With the housing market still being a mess, the first loss in jobs in years and gasoline prices continuing to rise it is evident that if we're not in a recession already we are going into one without short cuts.
We will have to see if the lower interst rates and the stimulus plan can save our economy- and how fast...
Friday, February 1, 2008
My heart is breaking when I see the horrifying pictures of Kenya. Having family in Zimbabwe, I was hoping that if things got worse there under the dictatorship of Mugabe my family could flee to what seemed to be one of the most stable and promising countries in Africa: Kenya. As the Newsweek Magazine puts it, the star of Africa is fading and with it my hopes for Africa.
Since the election on Dec 27. two tribes in Kenya , the Kikuyu and the Luo, have been fighting each other bitterly.Homes have been burned, women and children have been burned alive and the death toll has reached 1000 people in the last weeks. The election that made Mwai Kibaki President of Kenya has been called, not only by the oppostion but also by international leader, a flawed election and the outrage over this unfair election has caused the Luos (the ribe of the oppostiotion leader Raila Odinga) to massacre hundreds of Kikuyus (tribe of the elected President Mwai Kibaki).
More than 200.000 have been forced to leave ethnically-mixed areas. Jendayi E. Frazer calls it a "clear ethnical cleasing" and many feel reminded of the horrors that happened in Rwanda, where hundreds of thousands had been killed.
Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general has been brokering political negotiations between Odinga and Kibaki for the last week, but the riots don't seem to quiet down. Two oppostions leaders have been assasinated in the last days and the murdering in the slums of Nairobi and other parts of the country continues.
With the international eyes being on Kenya for the last weeks, and many experienced leaders supporting Mwai and Rodinga on their way to finding a solution, all I can do is hope for things to settle down fast so we don't have to count more deaths in Kenya.