Saturday, May 29, 2010

Interna

This weekend, I'll be on my way back to Sweden. My time here at Perimeter Institute turned out to be busier than expected, but it has also been very productive. It is somewhat sad that every time I come back more people I knew have left. Those postdocs who I spent my years with here have either left already, sit on packed bags about to start a new job, or are due to apply for a new job this fall.

The weather here in Waterloo has been brilliant the last two weeks, and the construction at PI has proceeded rapidly. On the risk of boring you to death, here's more photos of the building extension. Meanwhile, one can imagine how the result will look. The photo below is from the back of the building. To the right, you see the old part of the building, the glass boxes are the researchers' offices.



This is a close-up of the new part of the building, with the goldish shimmering glass front:



And this is again the view from the parking lot, compare to three weeks ago. If I recall correctly, that's where the new main entrance will be.



So, now I have to pack my bag. You'll hear from me once I'm back in Stockholm. Meanwhile, a great weekend to all of you!

19 comments:

Steven Colyer said...

You know what's funny about Canada? it looks alot like America, but with cooler architecture.

Safe journeys, Bee.

Thomas Larsson said...

I once attended a trade fair in Detroit, but our hotel was located in Windsor. We were urged by the fair organizers not to bring our firearms, since such are prohibited in Canada. A request that is rather amusing to someone who is traveling from Europe.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Bon voyage, yet this is one person who is hoping that Perimeter might one day offer you a faculty position where you’ll be able to attach your own label to it, while perhaps Steven could work in Public outreach. No better yet perhaps he should apply at RIM as I’ve heard a rumour the pay scale may be better :-) All levity aside despite what you say about the faces changing I hope that no matter where you may end up there still remains a part of you that finds themselves at home in Canada. Actually as you depart many of the world leaders are set to assemble here with the G8 and G20 conferences. I think you know where my sentiments rest as hoping someday such distinctions will hold absolutely no meaning.

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

Yes on the superficial level our two nations are largely the same and yet from a fundamental level one is revolutionary, while the other evolutionary; not that I would claim that has either as being better, I just thought to mark the distinction:-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Thomas,

Now you should know that the worst thing you can do in respect to America is to present as being armed, since what has a nation deemed to be a legitimate threat is a bit of a moving target:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Steven,

Thanks, I meanwhile arrived in Stockholm, Lufthansa did a good job, both flights perfectly in time + my bag arrived.

Hi Phil,

The one single fact that I find funny about Canada is that they still have a queen. I find it very difficult taking seriously a nation that hasn't gotten rid of their monarchy. Same goes for Sweden btw. But yes, I think we have discovered earlier that we have similar thoughts on what the future of the nation state is concerned. Let me add though traveling from Canada to the EU is very pleasant (in contrast to, say, traveling from Europe to the USA, which is one annoying experience). They do check passports upon arrival, but at least the airports I've been are quite efficient. Also, traveling to the EU one doesn't have to fill out any forms. (If I recall correctly, you have to fill out a customs form for the UK though.)

Hi Thomas,

That's funny indeed :-) When I moved to Canada, the customs person didn't even look at my imported goods. (In fact, she couldn't, because the stuff was several kilometers away). She didn't look at the inventory list either. She just asked if I'm bringing any weapons. I said "No" (after a brief hesitation whether my pocket knive counts as a weapon), and she stamped my forms and said "Welcome to Canada." I did, in fact, never read the Canadian import regulations till recently when I coincidentally came across a respective website. It turned out then, that I evidently illegally imported a used mattress to Canada. To legally import it, I would have had to first sterilize it and bring a certificate that I had done so. You never know what those immigrants carry around, eh? Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...
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Phil Warnell said...
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Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I think what is failed to be realized with countries having constitutional monarchies is it stands as a change (growth) consistent with one’s past, rather than a break with it. In a way it’s to show the nation has transformed from one where their rulers now are allowed to exist only to serve the people, instead of the other way around. You might find it interesting that when it became the task of Douglas MacArthur to democratize Japan after WW2 that he opted for the constitutional monarchy model over his own country’s republic in recognition of the same as being better in such a case and the good result I don’t think can be disputed. That’s what I related to Steven as the difference between nations born of revolution as opposed to evolution.

As for the EU model compared to NAFTA, the EU is a union acknowledging common bonds, while NAFTA is solely a business agreement that attempts to exploit differences rather than recognize commonalities. Like I said before America has lots that it would like have to be sold and yet when it comes to its identity this it will neither have sold nor shared.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Wise words, Phil. Thanks for that on MacArthur, it's nice to see he did something so right before Truman had to can him for hyper-egoism.

America's founding fathers had good hearts, but they erroneously ignored the possibility of the two-party system, created a bicameral rather than a unicameral legislature (the US Senate is useless, unfortunately very powerful), Supreme Court Justices should have to resign at age 80, it's high time we trashed the antiquated Electoral College System for electing our Presidents based in favor of popular vote, and neither should Congress be allowed to vote its own salary, nor should it not have limited terms, say 18 years for Senators, and 20 years (10 terms) for Representatives, to start.

Other than those flaws, our founding fathers were spot on, and I dearly hope that the people of India read what I and Phil wrote, for it would be terrible if the world's largest democracy repeated our errors.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

I didn’t mean for this commentary to move to the political side of things, yet more as a response to both yours and Bee’s own comments. So then just to be brief, I would agree with many of your suggested changes to America’s political structure and yet how could the electoral college be eliminated for replacement by popular vote, if your nation is to remain as a union of states, with the aspects of their own sovereignty as being held as so important. This dilemma can be implicated best in the form of a question, as to ask how can a land be considered as a nation, if it depends on what part of it you finding yourself in would have you able to be executed or not. One would think for a nation to be considered as being such, the rights involving each individual’s very life should stand as being both fundamental and universal. Therefore so much to believing you actually have a supreme court capable of upholding universal justice, other than the powers retained by your executive that serve instead only to decide as to when justice can be ignored in its suspension .

However, I agree with you that all nations of the world should learn by the mistakes of others, yet rather so as to be able come to understand things can be made better, only if their common roots and interests are first understood to be recognized, as then to be accepted and shared by all that are to be served in governance. Unfortunately like NAFTA, I’ve always found America itself as being primarily founded on a business agreement, to have maintained the ability to exploit its differences as opposed to having its common higher qualities of humanity recognized as being the most important to both individual and collective success.

That is I would contend that until a method is found to square the individual’s right to the pursuit of happiness, with the rights empathetic of individual freedom, it stands little chance of ever having realized the vision held to have first inspired some of its founders. Bee would say that science holds the key as representing such a method, yet I would say that would require the mission of science be extended from its own primarily exploitive self image, to one to enable a greater benefit by way of increased understanding. Anyway I’ll get off my soap box for know as I require its contents to do my laundry:-)

Best,,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

yet how could the electoral college be eliminated for replacement by popular vote, if your nation is to remain as a union of states,

In 1776 that was a perfectly fine way of the crowded temperate-latitude British colonies to look at each other Phil, as well as for most of our history right up until nearly our present day.

Presently though, the I(nternet changes everything. What telegraph started, and what radio and telephone continued, are merged in the present time, such that the sooner we lose all this nationality junk and start looking at ourselves as The Seven Billion Humans Of Earth, the better.

Regardless of what politicians wish us to believe, the net will dominate in the end. Which means the people will. 'Tis transitional times, my friend.

Arun said...

I meanwhile arrived in Stockholm, Lufthansa did a good job, both flights perfectly in time + my bag arrived.

Since that seems as unlikely as finding the right vacuum in the string theory landscape! it must be a really blessed weekend!

:)

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

I don't understand why one's interest in history would go so far to chose those who serve the people by their ancestry rather than by vote. In some of today's monarchies, like the UK/Canadian and also the Belgian, the king/queen does actually have political influence. I'm not sure about Sweden, it somehow seems to me the king serves mostly as an amusement. The monarchy doesn't have a lot of approval here as I read recently (50-60% or so), but it seems most people just like the guy. And now one of his daughters is getting married. There is actually a big sign at the airport that proclaims Arlanda (Stockholm's airport) as "The official love airport 2010," no kidding. It is somewhat bizarre though the contrast between the oh-so-progressive Sweden and their politics that seems even to a German damned close to communism, and then they're cheering the royal family. Best,

B.

Luke said...

Bee,

It was a pleasure to meet you last week. Hope to see you next time when you're back at PI.

Robert L. Oldershaw said...

Arun: "Since that seems as unlikely as finding the right vacuum in the string theory landscape!..."
------------------------

Miele makes a very good vacuum, and it is a tangible asset, if you know what I mean.

Furthermore, you do not have to search through "10^500 universes" to find one.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Well I won’t deny the way it’s looked upon today is rapidly changing, even by those within the nations that have constitutional monarchies. The thing is once your rulers are subjugated and yet maintained only for the rituals of governance it leaves no room for new ones to replace them or have an ambition to. I guess eventually they will have to be discarded, if only for humanitarian reasons, as although their cages are gilded they still are caged. I’ll tell you one thing I wouldn’t sign up for the job as it’s the closest a person can come to being a pet even if one is loved.

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...
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Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

One thing about monarchies it still allows for the knighting of the everyday citizens like Penrose for example. So imagine if you were British and became a renown scientist people might one day come to refer to you as Lady Bee:-) Then again I have a feeling you might refuse the tap of the sword on ypur shoulders as Michael Faraday did twice in his lifetime.

Best,

Phil