## 2008年4月30日星期三

### 人面獸滿街行走，火炬成政治庸酬

P.S. 1) Maybe Mr 林忌 (of 每日一膠 - 荒謬的香港) can create a cover version of the 'We are Ready' song and rename it to 'We are Cronies'. 2) 「真想打他們一身。」原來憤青症是會傳染的！好險，好險。

### 潛

「潛」作為俚語，解作「唔蒲頭」、「唔露面」，至少在八十年代末已開始，本來是大學內的活躍份子指摘其他學生只做書蟲，不參與活動的貶詞。現時網上的用法只是把「潛」局限在「因害怕被網民繼續指摘而暫時或永久從網上消失」這個特定情況使用，並沒有改變「潛」這個俚語固有的意義。

「潛」得有道理

（一）文灼非舊日的文筆，果然很屎 ^_^:
（二）我要讀書還是玩，干卿底事。看到二十年前，人們竟為著一個人該不該潛而頭巾氣地長篇大論一番，現在的人可能會覺得不可思議。但以前的大學就是這樣。這絕非現時極度崇尚個人主義的年青一輩所能想像。

## 2008年4月29日星期二

### Nude photos of high school girls who were born in the 90s

(WARNING: The following content contains hyperlinks to explicit adult material. Please leave this website or stop reading this blog entry if you are under 18 years of age.)

This is yet another example of news journalists' failure to verify the accuracies of their stories before they go to print. According to today's Ming Pao,

Using Google, one can easily locate the anonymous blogger who (by the way, according to Ming Pao, his name is 「君傲」) first leaked this information. In his weblog, there are indeed a number of photos of young girls who posed nude. But you know, speaking of nudity, erotica or pornography, there are many experts in mainland China. Yesterday, a person who identified himself/herself as 'sam' pointed out that except the first ten or so photos, all the rest of the 100+ photos actually come from the Japanese porn website やっぱり写メが好き. This 'sam' even listed the URLs of all the original photos.

Had the editor at Ming Pao ever tried to verify the accuracy of this news story, he or she would not have published another piece of fake news.

### 潮語呢…其實很土

At 3 a.m. this morning, the red phone rang. [Laughter] It was the damn wedding planner.

（一）忘了說，雖然 'damn' 和 'what the hell' 不是粗口，但閣下不是小布殊，所以在正式場合，還是少講為妙，更不用說 'fuck/fucking' 了。有次我在某小組會議中用了 fucking 一字，結果聽者全部 O 哂嘴……

（二）回心一想，其實「閃」也不算是「潮」語了。還記得周星馳 1998 年的電影《行運一條龍》嗎？那個時候已經在用「閃」字了。

## 2008年4月27日星期日

### 優質服務，致勝之道

（一）

「正確」答法：沒有問題，鬆了可以再調較的！

（二）

「正確」答法：對不起，沒問題，我立刻通知廚房替你做另一碟！

（三）

「正確」答法：對不起，我們這裡沒有，不過我可以替你查問其他分店有沒有！

（四）

「正確」答法：沒問題，我替你更改發票吧。

## 2008年4月26日星期六

### BBA's wrong usage of words

Never thought that the British Bankers' Association would mix up 'historic' with 'historical'... ;-D

## 2008年4月23日星期三

### 砌一部不能升級的機

• 處理器：AMD Athlon X2 BE-2400, $655 • 底板：Gigabyte GA-MA69VM-S2,$550
• 記憶體：2x2GB A-DATA Extreme CL4-4-4-12(DDR2 800 dual channel), $725 • 硬碟：Hitachi 320GB SATA2 HDD (16MB cache, 7200 rpm),$490
• 顯示卡：Gigabyte GV-NX86T512H or GV-NX86T256H-ZL (8600GT, PCI-E, DVI-I), $770 • 光碟機：Lite-On 20xDVD±RW(LightScribe LH20A1L),$220
• 火牛：牛魔王 SV350 ATX Power Supply (350W, max. 420W), $295 • 機殼：$200
• Windows XP: $640 總計：$4545，好貴……

## 2008年4月21日星期一

### 挑撥民族情緒，遂行政治目的

LIA 是甚麼組織呢？根據它的自述：
LIA成立于二〇〇七年八月，是一个致力于维护在美合法移民权益的非盈利性草根组织，目前在全美已有二十多个分会，两千多名会员，绝大部分为在美获得高等学位的华人。

「辱華」事件正在炒得熱哄哄，連較理性的本地報章最近都紛紛一口咬定 Cafferty 辱華，彷彿持反對意見就是西方的走狗，睜著眼睛說瞎話似的。有拉什迪的前車可鑑，我也明白說 Cafferty 沒有辱華是高危動作……

CNN 其實有把節目內容的原文放上網。我們在 YouTube 上看到的 Blitzer 和 Cafferty 的對答，已經相當斷章取義，只能約略看到該段問答的語境。至於一般內地和本地報章，索性連主持人 Wolf Blitzer 的問題都略過不提，甚至只炒作 "they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last fifty years" 這一句，絕對是 manipulating the fact。如果我們把對話的原文往回看多一點，便會發現當時 Cafferty 批評的其實是中國政府 (Chinese government)，而非華人 (Chinese)。譬如 Cafferty 在說出他的名句 'goons and thugs' 之前，他和主持人便曾有這樣的對答 (the emphases are mine)：
CAFFERTY: I can remember 1980 when Jimmy Carter said we weren't going to send the Olympic team to the Games in Moscow because of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and that had repercussions and implications.

But we didn't have the kind of instantaneous communication capability that we have now with the Internet and satellites. And all of a sudden, this thing just grows right up out of the ground and becomes this huge event. And the people in -- in Beijing, I mean, this is a preview of the kind of thing that they're going to have to deal with on some level, when these Games happen later this summer. I mean, memories of Tiananmen Square come to mind when we had the military finally crack down on those pro-democracy demonstrators.

What's the Chinese government going to do when people who are sympathetic to the folks in Darfur or Tibet dare to venture out into Red Square or one of those main thoroughfares with a Tibetan flag or something?

The Chinese government is going to be in a very, very difficult position. And I have never seen anything quite like this. And it's interesting to think what might be lying ahead in the summertime.

## 2008年4月20日星期日

### 從前有條友叫拉什迪

Reference: The Satanic Verses controversy, Wikipedia.

## 2008年4月19日星期六

### China's Nationwide Nonsense (CNN)

WOLF BLITZER: (a point or an argument) ... that some of the pro-China elements is making, Jack, is that this is a very different China today than existed ten years ago, certainly twenty or thirty years ago. This communist regime today is almost like a capitalist regime. They're a huge economic superpower and that we have a lot at stake in maintaining this economic relationship with China.

JACK CAFFERTY: Well, I don't know if China is any different, but our relationship with China is certainly different. We're in hock to the Chinese up to our eyeballs because of the war in Iraq, for one thing. They're holding hundreds of billions of dollars worth of our paper. We also are running hundred of billions of dollars worth of trade deficits with them, as we continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart. So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed. I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last fifty years.

…CNN節目主持人卡弗蒂辱罵「中國人為蠢才和惡棍」，前文後理明明是辱罵全體中國人…
Goon 的確可以解蠢才，但這是舊日的用法。如果查英文字典（像 Cambridge, Oxford 和 Webster），你會發現 goon 現在多解作 a violent criminal who is paid to hurt or threaten people，亦即打手。中國大陸多官商勾結，公安甚至是一些親近當權者而無執法資格的人，很多時都充當打手，鎮壓各類平民，如收地或工傷的受害人、上訪者、要求罷免貪官污吏的人民等等。說中共和它的嘍囉在過去五十年都一直是惡棍和打手，雖然並不全對，但也有一定道理。

## 2008年4月17日星期四

### 性與暴力

A. 被劈開的頭。
B. 一男一女在做愛。
C. 不時講粗話。
D. 兩個男人在接吻。

A. 26%B. 37%C. 10%D. 27%

A. 65.8%B.  5.2%C.  4.1%D. 24.9%

## 2008年4月16日星期三

### 惠勒

Reference: John A. Wheeler, 96; physicist coined the term 'black hole', Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2008.

P.S. 1) 很喜歡惠勒的這張黑白照。大學課堂是要用黑板才有味道的！現在的大學，不幫助學生獨立思考，反而鼓勵他們使用本來是推銷員才用的 PowerPoint，算是學者的沉淪了。
2) 寫這篇文章的時候，可能不自覺地想得太浪漫了，以至忘了惠勒是相當親近美國的鷹派的。不過一個世紀真的是很長的時間呢！即使政見不同，他應該還有很多其他故事可以說吧。

## 2008年4月15日星期二

### 九鐵故事

C 大的某教授昨日在九鐵的車廂上，同車的還有貌似一家人的偉大同胞。

## 2008年4月13日星期日

### 對高考「破英文」的一點補充

The researchers looked at 58 people who had recently started a relationship and compared their neutrophin protein levels with those in both the same number of people in long-term relationships and the same number of single people. In those who had just started a relationship, levels of the NGF protein, which causes well-known signs of uneasiness such as sweaty palms and the feeling of having 'butterflies in the stomach', were significantly higher. Of the 39 people from the original sample who were still in the same new relationship after a year, the levels of NGF had returned to normal.

They looked at 58 people who had recently started a relationship and compared the protein levels in the same number of people in long-term relationships and single people.

In those who had just started a relationship, levels of a protein called nerve growth factors, which causes tell-tale signs such as sweaty palms and the butterflies, were significantly higher.

Of the 39 people who were still in the same new relationship after a year, the levels of NGF had been reduced to normal levels.

Plasma levels of NGF, BDNF, NT-3 and NT-4 were measured in a total of 58 subjects who had recently fallen in love and compared with those of two control groups, consisting of subjects who were either single or were already engaged in a long-lasting relationship. NGF level was significantly higher (p<0.001) in the subjects in love [mean (SEM): 227 (14) pg/ml] than in either the subjects with a long-lasting relationship [123 (10) pg/ml] or the subjects with no relationship [149 (12) pg/ml]. Notably, there was also a significant positive correlation between levels of NGF and the intensity of romantic love as assessed with the passionate love scale (r=0.34; p=0.007). No differences in the concentrations of other NTs were detected. In 39 subjects in love who—after 12–24 months—maintained the same relationship but were no longer in the same mental state to which they had referred during the initial evaluation, plasma NGF levels decreased and became indistinguishable from those of the control groups.

... compared their neutrophin protein levels with those in both the same number of people in long-term relationships and the same number of single people.

The researchers studied the neutrophin protein levels of 58 people who had recently started a relationship, and then compared the result with two other groups of the same size: people in long-term relationships and single people.

## 2008年4月11日星期五

### 輕鐵故事

「條女？搞掂咗啦。」青年沒好氣地說。「好貴呀，使咗我好多錢。」
「唉，總之好貴啦。」

「使咗幾千蚊囉！吓？唔係香港，喺上高落。」
「落仔梗係唔使咁多錢啦！我都有預早叫佢開返張單畀我。」
「有呀，佢真係有畀張單我，點知我一睇，×，係牙醫單來的！」
「我點知係咪真㗎，間診所又唔喺香港。」
「我咪問佢呢張單點來囉，佢話牙痛，去咗睇牙，重杜埋牙根o咼。」
「咁我咪畀囉，唔係點唧。」

## 2008年4月10日星期四

### Wednesday (勁無聊短篇抄襲小說）

（寫這篇小說的時候，星期三才過了不久。天下文章一大抄，且看閣下知否我抄自何處。）

「呢款 MRI scanner 厲害的地方在於佢結合埋 PET scan，咁就免除o左 CAT o既壞處……MRI……即係 magnetic resonance imaging……」

「喂，盧先生！」鄰居阿陳叫停他。
「可唔可以幫你本書戴返個口罩呀，佢平時吠到我地好煩。」
「乜o野書？？？」
「你隻『黑仔』呀，由朝吠到晚……」
「啊，真係唔好意思，我識做o架啦，真係對唔住。」

「老公，阿仔依然發梗燒呀，食o左醫生D藥都無用……」

「再睇多兩日先啦，或者D燒要耐D先退呢。」
「嗯。阿仔訓o左，我地食屎先啦。」
「？？？」
「黑仔！來啦，開屎啦！」

「媽咪唔知係咪真係聽日返呢？」
「係呀，頭先佢打過電話返來。佢會搭甘泉航空，聽晚十點返到香港。」
「咁我去接佢啦，你睇住阿仔。重有呀，老婆，我出手機o個度，最平o個間公司堅持要用水費單做住址證明。」
「嗯，不過我地已經成半年無收過水費單咯o番。」
「咁我再問問。」

"And we are proud to introduce our new scanner, which is considered state-of-the-art in magnetic resonance imaging."

「嘩哈哈哈哈哈！呀，我頂唔順了，哈哈哈！」阿標的同事笑彎了腰。
「大佬呀，你做乜×野呀！背唔屬D名詞就讀簡稱啦！講乜×野 magnetic resonance imaging？ 係 majestic renaissance imagining! 你讀咁多狗，讀飯片呀？」
「……但係個 spec 明明係咁寫……咦？」產品說明書上的確寫著 majestic renaissance imagining。
「你未訓醒呀，醒D啦！」

「媽咪，點呀，甘泉D座位舒唔舒服？」
「乜野甘泉？」
「……間航空公司呀。」
「咩呀，你講畢馬域航空呀嗎？邊有航空公司個名會叫甘泉？一開張就甘泉，咁鬼難聽。」

「啊，奶奶。老公！阿仔D春天重未來呀……老公？」
「春……天？」
「重變o左一百零三羅漢呀，我打電腦去你屋企又無人聽。不如送佢去差館啦！」
「乜蝦米仔o既春天重未來咩？阿仔你重企嚮度？快D打電腦叫外賣啦！」
「……」霎時間，阿標不知所措。
「你做乜唧？！」阿花流著淚，情緒開始失控。
「唔好嘈，唔好嘈！阿花，你打電腦先啦！」婆婆緊張地喝道。

「喂？係！我想叫外賣！我個仔思春呀。係，地址係…」

「你做乜唧？同你講野又唔應，電腦又唔打！」

「我唔知你嗡乜就真！打去你屋企又無人聽，又唔出返部手提電腦！」
「……我都話o左出電話要水費單o架啦，咁我地收唔到單，有乜辦法！」
「今朝郵差上過來派水費單！」
「o下？」
「佢話你填錯o左個中文地址！好彩水務處搵郵局幫手，搵返o岩個英文地址。」
「痴線，我點會寫錯。我話佢地個電腦有事就真。」
「阿仔，你唔可以咁強政勵治o架。明明係你唔o岩…」
「阿媽呀，乜連你都講野咁奇怪o架。唉，我唔想嘈啦。你頻撲o左成晚，都係食屎先啦。」
「阿仔！！！」
「老公！你對我發神經就好啦，做乜要叫奶奶食屎？奶奶，唔好嬲，你過隔離房休息下，我一陣摘D草過你食。」
「我已經跟足你地講食屎啦，你地發乜×野神經！」
「痴線！」阿花走入廚房，不再理他。婆婆也躲進自己房間。

「星期三，星期三……」

「主啊，教我們禱告！」

## 2008年4月7日星期一

### 蕭愷一錯評高考卷

The researchers looked at 58 people who had recently started a relationship and compared their neutrophin protein levels with those in both the same number of people in long-term relationships and the same numbers of single people. In those who had just started a relationship, levels of the NGF protein, which causes well-known signs of uneasiness such as sweaty palms and the feeling of having 'butterflies in the stomach', were significantly higher. Of the 39 people from the original sample who were still in the same new relationship after a year, the levels of NGF had returned to normal.
（上文 numbers 中的 s 為蕭的原文所有，當為他手民之誤。）文章的第一句，蕭認為「文句不通，詞序大亂」和「十分累贅」，並質疑「甚麼叫 with those in both the same number?」

The researchers looked at 58 people who had recently started a relationship. They compared their neutrophin protein levels with those (here 'those' means 'the neutrophin protein levels') in another two groups of people of the same size, namely the people in long-term relationships and the single people.

The researchers looked at the neutrophin protein levels of three groups of people (each of size 58), namely, the people who had recently started a relationship, the single people and the people in long-term relationships.

## 2008年4月5日星期六

### 張國榮走了，河國榮還會留嗎？

Gregory 之所以叫國榮，是因為他的偶像張國榮的關係。哥哥唱歌咁掂，Gregory 又如何？在他的網站內，有幾首他唱的歌。其中，我覺得唱得最好的是《該不該》，真的有職業水準。另外也有一首我的 all-time favourite，For Once in My Life。這首歌最經典的版本是 Tony Bennett 和 Stevie Wonder 分別在 1967 和 1968 年錄製的版本（可從 YouTube 收聽），尤其是後者，唱得好正。以下是兩人合作的 Live 版本：

For Once in My Life 還有個近期的版本，由 Vonda Shepard 演繹。這版本幾年前推出時備受批評，原因是沒有新意，不夠 ground breaking 云云。但我卻最喜歡這個版本。在 YouTube 上，只有兩套片有這個版本的完整歌曲。由於兩套片都被人混合了女同志電視劇 The L Word 的片段，所以未滿十八歲的或者覺得女同志很 offensive 的請勿觀看：

Related website(s):

### 域陀‧雨果如是說

Every one is aware that the variously inclined undulations of the plains, where the engagement between Napoleon and Wellington took place, are no longer what they were on June 18, 1815. By taking from this mournful field the wherewithal to make a monument to it, its real relief has been taken away, and history, disconcerted, no longer finds her bearings there. It has been disfigured for the sake of glorifying it. Wellington, when he beheld Waterloo once more, two years later, exclaimed, "They have altered my field of battle!"

— Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, vol. II, book 1st, ch. 7
Reference: Wikipedia - Battle of Waterloo.

(The above photo:
Lions' Hillock, Waterloo, Belgium — commemorative monument of the Battle of Waterloo standing on the spot where the Prince of Orange was wounded during the fight. Photographer and lisensor: Jean-Pol Grandmont. The photo is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)

## 2008年4月4日星期五

### 正讀與正寫

－－－看電視節目《妙趣廣州話》後有感

## 2008年4月3日星期四

### More on yield curves

Yesterday I ranted on the decision of the U.S. Treasury to make public only the pay yield curves but not the zero curves. On a second thought, I realise that I have made a mistake.

You cannot (perfectly) back out zero rates from par yields, and vice versa
I claimed that it is not possible to back out the zero rates from the 11 par yields. This is correct. What I haven't realised, however, is that it is also impossible to back out these par yields from the zero rates that correspond to the same 11 maturities. This is simply because the Treasury's par yields are quoted on the basis of semi-annual interest payments, but given those 11 discount factors D(t), many of the discount factors D(n/2) are still unknown.

Yet if we know D(t) for t=1/12, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20 and 30, we can still compute the par yield c(t) for t=1/12, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, provided that annual interest payments are assumed for bonds with maturities >= 1 year. So, in this sense, the zero rates are still more informative than the par yields.

There is another benefit of looking at the zero curve, namely, you can compare different yields directly. Commentators on newspapers used to talk about inverted yield curves, but they don't seem to realise that the yield curves they observe are par yield curves rather than zero curves. Now imagine that the zero curve is currently flat. For maturities of 1 month or 3 months, since the par yields are exactly the zero rates but with respectively monthly or quarterly compounding, they should be smaller than the 6-month par yield. Therefore the par yield curve will appear to have an upward slope, i.e. it will appear 'normal'.

By the same reasoning, if one day you are told that the (par) yield curve is inverted, then it is likely that the zero curve has already become inverted for some time.

Backing out zero rates from par yields, though, is numerically more stable
That said, there may be some merits for stating the par yields. Recall that when D(t) denotes the discount factor over [0,t], and c(t) denotes the par yield, we have

(c(n/2)/2)*[D(1/2) + D(1) + ... + D(n/2)] + 100*D(n/2) = 100.

Now suppose we know only D(t) for 11 different values of t, and we want to determine c(n/2) for n=1, 2,... . Since

c(n/2) = 200*[1-D(n/2)]/[D(1/2) + D(1) + ... + D(n/2)] ...... (C)

and we don't know all values of D(t), we may first interpolate the whole zero curve D(t) using the 11 given values and then find c(n/2) using the formula (C). Unfortunately, by using interpolation we will introduce some noises in the values of D(t). The relative error in c(n/2) can be broken into two parts. The first part is contributed by the relative errors in D(t) in the denominator of the right hand side of formula (C). Given that the maximum relative error in D(t) is small, this should be less of a problem. The second part of the overall error comes from the relative error in D(n/2) in the numerator. This is more problematic. When D(n/2) is close to 1 (which is case when n is not large), a small relative error in D(n/2) will be magnified to a large relative error in the numerator of the right hand side of (C). To see this, let the relative error in D(n/2) be e. Then the relative error in 1-D(n/2) is given by

{[1-(1+e)*D(n/2)] / (1-D(n/2))} - 1 = -e*D(n/2)/(1-D(n/2)) ~ -e/(1-D(n/2)).

So, if only a few zero rates are given, backing out the par yield c(n/2) from the interpolated zero curve would become a numerically unstable procedure when n is small.

In contrast, suppose only a few par yields are given, and we want to back out D(n/2) from the interpolated par yield curve. Then we have

D(n/2) = {100 - (c(n/2)/2)*[D(1/2) + D(1) + ... + D((n-1)/2)] } / (100 + c(n/2)/2).

Again, the error contributed by the noise in the denominator is less of a problem, as c(n/2) is typically much smaller than 100. For the numerator, unless n is very large, the value D(1/2) + D(1) + ... + D((n-1)/2) and hence its product with c(n/2)/2 are both relatively small when compared to 100. Hence backing out the zero rates from the interpolated par yields seems to be a more stable operation than backing out par yields from the interpolated zero rates.

Still, why not offer the best of the two worlds?
So it seems that both yield curves have their own merits. As stating any one of them will result in some loss of information in the other, why doesn't the U.S. Treasury just announces both curves, or even simply make public the coefficients of the cubic splines that is used to generate the par yields? Any explanations on the Treasury's rationale are welcomed.

## 2008年4月2日星期三

### Fed up with the U.S. Treasury, long live ECB!

These days I have been doing some research on equity indexed annuities. For experiment purposes, I need U.S. zero rates for various maturities. Like many people, I am too lazy to bookmark the relevant web pages. So I googled 'us treasury yield' and found this 'Daily Treasury yield curve rates' page. Without suspicion, I thought they are the zero curves. I was wrong.

The U.S. Treasury actually does not make it clear what these yield rates mean. The only explanation that I can find is buried inside an FAQ web page that isn't linked from the above-mentioned yield curves page. Worse still, the explanation is not entirely clear, but to my understanding the following is what it means by the term 'yield curve'.

Put it simply, the yield curves the U.S. Treasury prepares are not zero curves but par yield curves. Also, it assumes semi-annual compounding. For maturities under six months, the Treasury hasn't stated what compounding convention is used, but judging from one of its answers to the FAQs, it seems that simple compounding is used for all maturities.

In other words, if we denote by D(t) the discount factor for a zero coupon bond with t years of maturity, and c(t) the par yield for maturity t, then for t = 1/n (n>=2) year, we have

c(t)*t*D(t) + 100*D(t) = 100 ...... (A)

meaning that we can calculate D(t) easily as 100/(c(t)*t+100). That is, the par yield is the zero rate in this case, albeit with various (monthly, quarterly or semi-annually) compounding conventions. For t=n/2 (where n is an integer), however, since semi-annual compounding is used, we have

(c(n/2)/2)*[D(1/2) + D(1) + ... + D(n/2)] + 100*D(n/2) = 100 ...... (B)

Note that the U.S. Treasury announces yield rates only for 11 different maturities, namely, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20 and 30 years. So an important implication of equations (A) and (B) is that for t>1, one cannot back out the discount factor D(t) from the par yields, because the number of unknowns would become larger than the number of equations (D(1) though can still be inferred). In other words, in reporting the par yields instead of the zero rates, there is loss of information.

So, for those who need to know the zero rates, the U.S. Treasury website is pretty useless. Frankly, I don't see why the U.S. Treasury opts to provide the par yield curve but not the zero curves (one can derive the former from the latter but not conversely) . In contrast, the European Central Bank provides data for both the zero curve, the par yield curve as well as the forward curve.

U.S. Treasury sucks. ECB rocks!!!

(Updated on Apr 3: there are more reflections in the next blog entry.)