The case of the mystery virus, cont’d
25 minutes ago
In 1935, everything seems in place, a single spark is needed for the fireworks to begin. That spark happens to be a man named Kyomaro Takeuchi, posing as the heir of the Takeuchi family (the family of the Documents), and also claiming to be an oracle. He came to Shingo that year and met Sasaki. One of his claims was that he had found inside the archives of his family ancient documents relating to events dating back to up to 317 billion years in the past (stronger than Ron Hubbard!) and enjoyed a crowd of fantastic archeology loving followers.
On october 10th, after he left Shingo, the discovery of Jesus Christ's tomb was announced. By a strange coincidence, as soon as he came back home, Takeuchi digged up the testament of Jesus Christ from his archives!
If two opposing people guess each other’s intentions correctly, each moving to one side and allowing the other past, then they are likely to choose to move the same way the next time they need to avoid a collision. The probability of a successful manoeuvre increases as more and more people adopt a bias in one direction, until the tendency sticks. Whether it’s right or left does not matter; what does is that it is the unspoken will of the majority.As the article points out, the cognitive ability of people in crowds limits the accuracy of purely particle based (like the above video) simulations of crowd movement. Of course, this difference really comes into play when considering emergency evacuations:
That is at odds with most people’s idea of being a pedestrian. More than any other way of getting around—such as being crushed into a train or stuck in a traffic jam—walking appears to offer freedom of choice. Reality is more complicated. Whether stepping aside to avoid a collision, following the person in front through a crowd or navigating busy streets, pedestrians are autonomous yet constrained by others. They are both highly mobile and very predictable. “These are particles with a will,” says Dirk Helbing of ETH Zurich, a technology-focused university.
Mr Moussaid’s solution to such complexity has been to build a model based less on the analogy between humans and particles and more on cognitive science. Agents in this new model are allowed to “see” what’s in front of them; they then try to carve a free path through the masses to get to their destination. This approach produces the same effects of lane-formation in crowds as the physics-based models, but with some added advantages.Finally, what discussion of walking would be complete without an example of Japanese Precision Walking?
In particular, boffins think it could help make emergency evacuations safer. Simulating evacuations is a big part of what pedestrian modellers do—the King’s Cross underground fire in London in 1987 gave the field one of its starting shoves. One big danger in an emergency is that people will follow the crowd and all herd towards a single exit. That in turn means that the crowd may jam as too many people try to force their way through a single doorway.
The physics-based models do have an answer to this problem of “arching” (so called for the shape of the crowd that builds up around the exit). Their simulations suggest the flow of pedestrians through a narrow doorway can be smoothed by plonking an obstacle such as a pillar just in front of the exit. In theory, that should have the effect of splitting people into more efficient lanes. In practice, however, the idea of putting a barrier in front of an emergency exit is too counter-intuitive for planners to have tried.
The cognitive-science model offers a more palatable option, that of experimenting with the effects of changes in people’s visual fields. Mr Moussaid speculates that adaptable lighting systems, which use darkness to repel people and light to attract them, could be used to direct them in emergencies, for example.
|"You’ll remember me, I’m telling you truly."|
Gauguin returning precipitately, 4 days ago, and the news about Vincent in the hospital. I rushed to see Gauguin, who told me this. On the eve of my departure (because he was about to leave Arles) Vincent ran after me (he went out, it was at night). I turned round, because for some time he had become very strange, but I mistrusted him.
Then he said: You are silent, but I shall be so too. Ever since I had been going to leave Arles he was so odd, I couldn’t live any longer. He had even said to me: “Are you going to leave?” And since I had said “Yes” he tore this sentence out of a newspaper and put it into my hand: “the murderer fled”.
I went to sleep at the hotel, and when I returned the whole of Arles was outside our house. Then the gendarmes arrested me, because the house was covered in blood.
This is what had happened. Vincent had returned after I left, taken his razor and clean sliced his ear. Then he had covered his head with a tall beret and had gone to a brothel to bring his ear to an unfortunate creature, saying to her: You’ll remember me, I’m telling you truly. This young woman fainted on the spot.
The gendarmes set out, and they all came to the house. Vincent was put in the hospital. His condition is worse, he wants to sleep with the patients, chases after the Sister and washes himself in the coal bunker. In other words, he is performing biblical mortifications. They were compelled to put him in a private room.
I found Vincent in the hospital in Arles. The people around him realized from his agitation that for the past few days he had been showing symptoms of that most dreadful illness, of madness, and an attack of fièvre chaude, when he injured himself with a knife, was the reason he was taken to hospital.
Will he remain insane? The doctors think it possible, but daren’t yet say for certain. It should be apparent in a few days’ time when he is rested; then we will see whether he is lucid again. He seemed to be all right for a few minutes when I was with him, but lapsed shortly afterwards into his brooding about philosophy and theology.
It was terribly sad being there, because from time to time all his grief would well up inside and he would try to weep, but couldn’t. Poor fighter and poor, poor sufferer. Nothing can be done to relieve his anguish now, but it is deep and hard for him to bear.
Had he just once found someone to whom he could pour his heart out, it might never have come to this. In the next few days they will decide whether he is to be transferred to a special institution and as I don’t yet know how much I shall have to do in all this, I dare not make any plans.
|The Obumbler stealthily buys his daughters a Christmas present|
|I come in pieces|
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In the courtyard, nearly three thousand students and faculty were lined up in formation, ranked by their year, major, and dormitory affiliation. The sun beat down with full force, and they were sweating in their short-sleeved summer uniforms. At noon a disembodied female voice, tremulous and sorrowful, came booming through the loudspeakers. The loudspeakers were old and produced scratchy sounds that Jun-sang could barely understand, but he picked up a few words -- "passed away" and "illness" -- and he grasped the meaning of them from the murmur going through the crowd. There were gasps and moans. One student collapsed in a heap. Nobody quite knew what to do. So one by one each of the three thousand students sat down on the pavement, heads in hands.
Jun-sang sat down too, unsure of what else to do. Keeping his head down so nobody could read the confusion on his face, he listened to the rhythm of the sobbing around him. He stole glances at his grief-stricken classmates. He found it curious that for once the wasn't the one crying. To his great embarrassment, he often felt tears welling up in his eyes at the end of movies or novels, which provoked no end of teasing from his younger brother, as well as criticism from his father, who always told him he was "soft like a girl." He rubbed his eyes just to make sure. They were dry. He wasn't crying. What was wrong with him? Why wasn't he sad that Kim Il-sung was dead? Didn't he love Kim Il-sung?
As a twenty-one year old university student Jun-sang was naturally skeptical of all authority, including the North Korean government. He prided himself in his questioning intellect. But he didn't think of himself as seditious or in any way an enemy of the state. He believed in communism, or at least believed that whatever its faults, it was a more equitable and humane system than capitalism. He had imagined he would eventually join the Worker's Party and dedicate his life to the betterment of the fatherland. That was what was expected of all those who graduated from the top universities.
Now, surrounded by sobbing students, Jun-sang wondered: If everybody else felt such genuine love for Kim Il-sung and he did not, how would he possibly fit in? He had been contemplating his own reaction, or lack thereof, with an intellectual detachment, but suddenly he was gripped with fear. He was alone, completely alone in his indifference. He always thought he had close friends at the university, but now he realized he didn't know them at all. And certainly they didn't know him. If they did, he would be in trouble.
This revelation was followed by another, equally momentous: his entire future depended on his ability to cry. Not just his career and his membership in the Worker's Party, his very survival was at stake. It was a matter of life and death. Jun-sang was terrified.
At first he kept his head down so nobody could see his eyes. Then he figured out that if he kept his eyes open long enough, they would burn and tear up. It was like a staring contest. Stare. Cry. Stare. Cry. Eventually it became mechanical. The body took over where the mind left off and suddenly he was really crying. He felt himself falling to his knees, rocking back and forth, sobbing just like everyone else. Nobody would be the wiser.
In the waste fields strung with barbed wire where the thistles grow over hidden mine fields there exists a curious freedom. Between the guns of the deployed powers, between the march of patrols and policing dogs there is an uncultivated strip of land from which law and man himself have retreated. Along this uneasy border the old life of the wild has come back into its own. Weeds grow and animals slip about in the night where no man dares to hunt them. A thin uncertain line fringes the edge of oppression. The freedom it contains is fit only for birds and floating thistledown or a wandering fox. Nevertheless there must be men who look upon it with envy.
The imagination can grasp this faint underscoring of freedom but there are few who realize that precisely similar lines run in delicate tracery along every civilized road in the West, or that these hedges of thorn apple and osage orange are the last refuge of wild life between the cultivated fields of civilization. It takes a refugee at heart, a wistful glancer over fences, to sense this one dimensional world, but it is there. I can attest to it for I myself am such a fugitive...
"This day, the eighteenth July, 1573. Called to the Holy Office before the Sacred Tribunal, Paolo Galliari Veronese, residing in the parish of S. Samuel, and being asked his name and surname, replied as above.
Being asked as to his profession:
Answer: I paint and make figures.
Question: Do you know the reasons why you have been called here?
Q. Can you imagine what these reasons may be?
A. I can well imagine
Q. Say what you think about them.
A. I fancy that it concerns what was said to me by the reverend fathers, or rather by the prior of the monastery of San Giovanni e Paolo, whose name I did not know, but who informed me, that he had been here, and that your Most illustrious Lordships had ordered him to cause to be placed in the picture a Magdalen instead of the dog; and I answered him that very readily I would do all that was needful for my reputation and for the advantage of the picture; but that I did not understand what this figure of the Magdalen could be doing here.
Q. What picture is that which you have named?
A. It is the picture representing the last supper that Jesus took with his disciples in the house of Simon.
Q. In this supper of Our Lord, have you painted any attendants?
A. Yes, my lord
Q. Say how many attendants and what each is doing.
A. First, the master of the house, Simon; besides, I have placed below him a server, who I have supposed to have come for his own amusement to see the arrangement of the table. There are besides several others, which as there are so many figures in the picture, I do not recollect.
Q. What is the meaning of the men dressed in the German fashion each with a halberd in his hand?
A. It is now necessary I should say a few words.
Q. Say on.
A. We painters use the same license that is permitted to poets and jesters. I have placed these two halberdiers, one of them eating, the other drinking, by the staircase, but both ready to perform any duty that may be required of them: it seemed to me quite fitting that the master of such a house, who was as rich and as great as I have been told, should have such attendants.
Q. And the one who is dressed like a buffoon with a parrot on his wrist - why did you introduce him into the canvas?
A. For ornament, as is usually done.
Q. Who are the people at the table of Our Lord?
A. The twelve Apostles.
Q. What is St. Peter doing, who is the first?
A. He is carving a lamb to send to the other end of the table.
Q. What is the one doing who comes next?
A. He is holding a plate to see what St. Peter will give him?
Q. What is he doing who is next to this last?
A. He is picking his teeth with a fork.
Q. Who do you really think were present at this supper?
A. I believe Christ and his Apostles were present; but in the foreground of the picture I have placed figures as ornaments, of my own invention.
Q. Were you commissioned to paint Germans and buffoons and such like figures in this picture?
A. No, my lord: but I was commissioned to ornament the picture as I thought best, which, being large, to my mind requires many figures. . .
Q. Does it not appear to you that. . . you have [not] done right in painting the picture in this manner, and that it can [not] be proved right and decent?
A. illustrious lord, I do not defend it; but I thought I was doing right.
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