Monday, April 02, 2012


In the past month, Lara and Gloria have learned to learn. They try to copy and repeat everything we do. Lara surprised me by grabbing a brush and pulling it through her hair and Gloria, still short on hair, tries to put on her shoes. They haven't yet learned to eat with a spoon, but they've tried to feed us.

They both understand simple sentences. If I ask where the second shoe is, they'll go and get it. If I tell them lunch is ready, they'll both come running and try to push the high chairs towards the table. If we tell them we'll go for a walk, they run to the door. If we do as much as mention cookies, they'll point at the bag and insist on having one.

Lara is still the more reserved one of the two. Faced with something new, she'll first watch from a distance. Gloria has no such hesitations. Last week, I childproofed the balcony. Lara, who was up first, saw the open door and froze. She stood motionless, staring at the balcony for a full 10 minutes. Then Gloria woke up, came running while yelling "Da,da" - and stumbled over the door sill, landing on her belly. Lara then followed her, very carefully.

Now that spring is coming and the girls are walking well, we've been to the playground several times. Initially Lara and Gloria just sat there, staring at the other children. But meanwhile they have both made some contacts with other children, though not without looking at me every other minute to see if I approve. Gloria, as you can guess, is the more social one. She'll walk around with her big red bucket and offer it to others, smiling brightly. She's 15 months and has at least 3 admirers already, all older boys who give her toys, help her to walk, or even carry her around. (The boys too look at me every other minute to see if I approve.) Lara and I, we watch our little social butterfly, and build sand castles.

From my perspective, the playground is a new arena too. Weekdays, the adult population is exclusively female and comes in two layers of generations, either the mothers or the grandmothers. They talk about their children and pretty much nothing but their children, unless you want to count pregnancies separately. After some initial mistakes, I now bring a book, paper, or a magazine with me to hide behind.

Another piece of news from the past month is that I finally finished the review on the minimal length in quantum gravity that I've been working on since last year. It's now on the arXiv. The first 10 pages should be understandable for pretty much everybody, and the first half should be accessible also for undergraduates. So if you were wondering what I'm doing these days besides running after my daughters, have a look at my review.


  1. Lara = Lil' Stefan
    Gloria = Lil' Bee


  2. fun to watch them learn, isn't it? Sometimes Evan really surprises us with what he knows or understands.

  3. Bravo Bee for the review...

    The topic is dispersed, with different realizations in various theories; such a review indeed was needed.

  4. Hi Bee,

    Gloria and Lara are looking great and it’s certainly nice that winter is at last ending so that they might now explore the greater world beyond. That last photo of them sitting in the sandbox I find particularly interesting, as it appears Lara is running sand through her fingers examining the grains while Gloria looks on. This has me to wonder if Lara herself is now beginning to wonder about what could possibly be considered a minimum length. I’m now going through your paper and truly like how you've run through the history of the matter as it is indeed relevant to the discussion as a whole.

    “Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.”

    -Albert Einstein



  5. Hi Phil,

    Lara is looking at a dried leaf. It's difficult to see in the small photo, but in the large version you can see it. (Sorry, link was broken.) I read that you guys have had a crazy warm Spring in Ontario this year, is that right? Here, it's been very average, ie much colder than last year. Cherry trees just begun blooming. Best,


  6. Hi Alyssa,

    Yes, definitely. And they're so persistent. I try to keep that in mind whenever I read my referee reports... Best,


  7. Mommy, daddy, gee moo noo. Perfect.

    p. 61 "The Planck mass is a large energy for what [where] particle physics is concerned, but in everyday units it is about 10^(-5) gram, a value that is easily exceeded by some large molecules."

    about 2x10^(-5) gram. "8^>)

    A large, covalently bonded, single molecule: The 2.7 million Planck mass, colorless and flawless Centenary diamond, 273.85 carats (54.77 grams).

    3.5 "Einstein-Hilbert action." Compare with arxiv:0811.0181, second paragraph. Einstein-Hilbert action by itself is apparently defective in quantum gravitation. Parity-violating correction is necessary. One then wonders if physical chirality will generate an anomaly when enantiomorphs are contrasted in Equivalence Principle experiments.

  8. Hi Bee,

    Thanks for having what had focused Lara’s attention made clear; so then perhaps she’s a budding botanists rather than a minimalist. Never the less that gaze looks pretty intense and critical, almost to hear her say “what’s this doing here mucking up my pristine sand” :-) As for the weather what you read was correct as in these parts the middle of March was actually more like early summer yet now things are coming back to be more seasonal; which I’m happy about as I actually like spring which is usually too short in this part of the country as it is. You might also be interested to learn our unusually mild winter in general as had the result of there being far less pot holes created, so as to have the oncoming road repair season hopefully abbreviated;-)

    “Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"”
    -Robin Williams



    P.S. I'm also happy to see the email follow up comment option to have returned.

  9. Hi Bee,
    I have been slowly processing your review and have been impressively struck with the accessible written style of it. It almost seems to be written in a way that explicitly refutes the current style of inserting non-necessary jargon, and then not defining terms where the jargon is required. Bravo!


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