2008年11月30日 星期日

諸葛亮與怪物

新一期的《經濟學人》中,有兩篇關於美國政務的文章,內容頗有趣:


1. Off to work they go


奧巴馬的經濟主管小組,猛人雲集;除了經濟學博士,還有行內人敬仰的聯邦儲備銀行行長蓋特納。單看陣容,似乎抗衰退有望,但《經濟學人》提出了一個問題,就是團隊成員能否和衷共濟?


團隊工作,素來講求協調;但要一些響噹噹的人物妥協,並非易事,因為名譽要緊!萬一開會時各執一詞,互不相讓,到時可不妙了。且看奧巴馬這位魅力型領袖,如何讓一班諸葛亮合作無間。


2. Lexington: Head of State


奧巴馬提名希拉莉擔任國務卿,反對聲音不絕,有組織更以「怪物」(monster) 來形容這位前第一夫人。


不過《經濟學人》就認為,要重建「美國」這個國際品牌,還有處理與激進伊斯蘭派系之戰,以及要在國務院內推動政策,非得要像希拉莉這種「怪物」才能勝任。雖然讓她當國務卿有風險,但總好過讓一些不成氣候的人的來做,最後弄得一團糟。


個人見解,到底「怪物」做了國務卿後會否失控,全看奧巴馬能否駕馭。既然大家給奧巴馬投了信任一票,為何就不能信任他的管治能力和用人的眼光呢?


聖誕購物記

因為學生改了補習時間,所以昨晚去了逛商場買東西過聖誕。


家住觀塘,當然先去 apm




其實只想買【海角七號】的原聲大碟,誰知那間超貴的影音店竟然沒貨!誰說有錢能使鬼推磨?它要沒貨栗也沒奈何~~~


買不到心頭好,當然不會就此罷休,於是立即乘小巴過德福:




呵,皇天不負有心栗,最後在 HMV $110 成交!(敗家) 終於可以聽「愛你愛到死」了



但你若劈腿 就去死一死


2008年11月27日 星期四

公雞的早餐

因為喜歡德國電影,連帶對歐洲其他國家的電影也感興趣。碰巧聽別人提起斯洛文尼亞有一齣電影票房驚人,於是便找了來看。那齣電影有個奇怪的名字,叫做【公雞的早餐】(Rooster's Breakfast)


故事圍繞車房老板與工人發展,以愛情與性作主打 (歐洲人拍的嘛~),也淺談人生道理。不難看的一齣小品,但也不算很好看。不知是否文化差異,想不通為何此片能成為斯洛文尼亞 07 年本土收入最高的劇情片。


電影給栗留下最深印象的,應該是以下這首歌 Severina Gardelin,帶點哀怨的情歌,很動聽



至於甚麼是 rooster's breakfast 呢?請參看以下反白文字


rooster's breakfast = morning sex


海角七號

(未看【海角七號】的朋友,這篇請先跳過吧!)


如果說【海角七號】給栗子妹一種很溫暖的感覺,會不會有點奇怪呢?


但當我看見三個小頑皮騎在田雞身上,看見大大溫婉地安撫勞馬,看見代表跟太太手牽手漫步街頭時,確實有一股暖流流過心田。(想起小時候爬到別人屋門前看電視的情景......)


忘了那七封情書,忘了男女主角的纏綿,栗看見一班大時代的小人物,儘管對政局、際遇可能諸多不滿,但依然踏踏實實地過日子,期待雨後彩虹的出現。


吵鬧的台語,配上喧囂的搖滾音樂,確實是「一部熱鬧好看的音樂片」。電影的配樂,無論是舒情曲,還是搖滾樂,全都那麼動聽,絕對能在「最短的瞬間內煽動觀眾的心」。看完電影,栗想:幸好金融海嘯來遲了,不然讓這齣電影胎死腹中,豈非可惜?


誠如潘麗瓊所言,【海角七號】的成功,因為「它回歸到最基本,深深地打動了你」。 (當然還有羊群效應,咩~~~)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


一起來重溫一下演唱會中的三首歌吧!


無樂不作 (范逸臣拿著大聲公唱歌的樣子真有趣!)



國境之南 (范逸臣搖那個東西的樣子好趣怪!)



野玫塊 (當然是看國寶彈月琴)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


說起來,整齣電影中最搶鏡的三個角色,按次序該是國寶、馬拉桑和大大,沒有范逸臣的份兒呢!



2008年11月25日 星期二

老師,還給您

在補充練習中,看見以下填充題:


At the end of the year's work, we __________ everything we'd learned.
a) returned     b) revealed     c) revised     d) repaired


正確答案是 c,但栗子妹兩個學生,卻不約而同地選了 a,這只能說是期望與現實的落差。師長希望學生溫習學過的知識,並牢牢記著;但某些學生卻自知能力有限,待考試一過,便忙不迭地將學過的東西還給老師。


不過,管教育的,又豈容學生如此放恣?於是便出現了評估 (assessment) 這種怪物。所謂評估,只不過是考試的舊瓶新酒,但前者比後者來得兇猛,何解?因為考試一般只考一學年學過的知識,但評估卻評累計學問。以中三的系統性評估 (TSA) 為例,一評便是學生由小一至中三所學過的全部東西,共九年呢!試問有多少學生會全部記著?


栗子妹從小記性不賴,所以不明白為何學生會過目即忘,但事實既已擺在眼前,惟有想辦法應對。幸好坊間有充足的補充教料,不然叫我來作,何時了?


(後話:為何栗妹會如此感慨?皆因我讀中四的學生,竟然忘了中二時學過的畢氏定理……)


總統當選人?

近日電視新聞報導關於奧巴馬的消息時,以「總統當選人」來稱呼奧君,讓栗聽得很不舒服。為何不說「候任總統」?難道有人認為用「總統當選人」來翻譯 president-elect 會更為恰當?
唉,想不通。

2008年11月24日 星期一

補習點滴(二則)

一、放心,會考沒那麼難的


今年兩個學生升讀中四,適逢他們是最後一屆會考生(一商一理),身為補習老師的栗子妹,自是教得份外用神。


在補習這行打滾了那麼久,深諳補習跟正規上課的分別:學校老師要按課程指引,將所有內容傳授給學生;至於補習老師,則全力鑽研歷屆會考試題,跟學生操練最熱門題目。


雖然理論大致如此,但實行起來卻往往遇上問題。因為學生在考會考以前,得應付校內大大小小的測驗考試,由於校內試會出一些會考十年難得一遇的題目 (如常用對數的應用題),為免學生在校內試慘遭滑鐵盧,於是栗子妹惟有花時間教他們計那些數,且每次得補一句:「放心,會考沒那麼難的。」嗚呼!


 


二、通(通唔)識?


中二那個小頑皮,對通識一科簡直到了深痛惡絕的地步,教栗感到無可奈何。


學生:通識?咪即係通通唔識!
栗妹:如果你早出生十年,便不用讀通識啦!(按:其實早出生兩年已不用讀)
學生:當真?你從前不用讀通識的嗎?
栗妹:當然不用!


不過栗讀書的年代,課程比現在深和廣呢!小頑皮,你願意用通識一科來換取我當年的苦讀嗎?


Lightning kills 5 on school outing

Lightning struck down and killed two Australians and three Thais during a school trip to a waterfall in northeastern Thailand as torrential rain continued to batter Thailand and Vietnam.


Flash floods and landslides have killed 50 people in Vietname and Thailand, swept away thousands of homes and inundated farms.


Australian teacher Greg Crombie, 41, and two Thai girls aged 14 and 17 died instantly when a bolt of lightning hit the tree they were sheltering under after the storm began. Crombie is leading the group from Winthrop Baptist College, a secondary school in Perth.


One of the Australian students – 16-year-old Thomas McGuiness – and a 16-year-old Thai girl died later in hospital, police and hospital staff said. The incident happened at a waterfall in Mukdahan province, 600 kilometres northeast of Bangkok.


"The first bolt of lightning struck and 30 people retreated from the waterfall and sought shelter under a big tree nearby and bought some food to eat. The second bolt struck the tree," police captain Boonsri Dejchai said.


The Australian and Thai secondary students and teachers were visiting the waterfall as part of a cultural exchange program, police said.


An Australian foreign ministry spokesman said the group included 11 Australian students – three of whom were injured by the lightning – in their final year of high school.


In Vietnam, the death toll from typhoon Hagupit, which struck the Philippines, Hong Kong and the mainland last week, has jumped to 32 with another five people missing. Thousands of homes have been washed away or destroyed by heavy rains and the landslides in northern Vietnam, the government's storm and flood prevention committee said.


The death toll from flooding throughout Thailand has risen to 18, while nearly 190,000 people have fallen sick. Twenty-four of Thailand's 76 provinces have been deluged since 11 September, and the health ministry said that 18 people were swept away and drowned.
The Standard, 29 September 2008


2008年11月23日 星期日

食物是奢侈品?

某天深夜十一時,學生傳來作文,著栗修改。雖已呵欠連連,但還是打起精神,打開電腦,閱讀學生的「大()()」。


首先映入眼簾的是標題「What do you consider luxury?」,見 luxury 一字孤家寡人,立即猶豫是否該在其前加上 a,於是便去翻字典。據字典釋,若解作「奢華」(the enjoyment of special and expensive things)luxury 是不可數名詞,不用加 a;若解作「奢侈品」(a thing that is expensive and enjoyable but not essential),才要冠詞的幫忙。由於標題沒指明是奢侈品,所以不加 a 應沒問題。


看完標題便讀正文。學生在文中寫道,食物在發展較落後的國家屬奢侈品 (To people living in the less developed countries, food is a luxury)。起初栗不以為然,只著力替她修改錯漏百出的句子,但想深一層又好像有點不對勁──食物不是生活必需品嗎?雖然那些地方的人民三餐不繼,但這並不會讓食物變成奢侈品吧?


雖然已近午夜,但還是撥電話給學生,跟她查證。誰料她說那篇是作文改正來的!(竟然還錯了那麼多?) 若是那樣,問題便來了:到底是栗因太累而看錯題,還是學生的老師馬虎了事?


Mother always knows best

In the old days, women had to demonstrate exquisite skills in handicraft to marry into a good family. But this tradition died with the advent of machines.


This weekend at Olympian City, visitors can catch a glimpse of the fast-dying art through the exhibition Mothers' Art.


The exhibition is divided into the different stages of a Chinese woman's life – from the preparation of the wedding chest to the wedding itself and the birth of her first child.


The largest work is Papercutting of The Bride, a wall decoration created by renowned artist Ku Shu-lan. The three-metre piece features a bride in the foreground wearing an elaborate, colourful gown.


Another exhibit, The Lion Playing With Auspicious Balls, represents good fortune rolling in. Lions are guardians while the fabric balls mean money. The balls also represent a long marriage – girls used to toss it to choose their husbands. The exhibition runs form tomorrow until next Friday.


The Standard, 14 November 2008


五行欠水的年代

一向知道有很多美國人愛借貸度日,但看了今期的《經濟學人》,方知道原來企業曾一度視現金為洪水猛獸,要除之而後快!


為甚麼會有這種怪現象?因為首先有些公司靠槓桿 (leverage) 去營運賺錢,於是其他公司便照辦煮碗;久而久之,借貸度日便成了營商常規,囤積現金的倒是反常。(或是戇居!)


這種羊群心理,讓栗想起讀過一篇文章,提到在 2000 年時,信奉價值投資法的基金經理,表現全比進取的基金經理 (即買科網股的) 遜色。當年堅持不買科網股的都給人說笨;但科網股爆破後,同一班人卻搖身一變成了神。世事如棋,莫過於此。


說回現金,很多投資專家都曾教路,在甚麼環境要持多少現金,如曹仁超先生的三七論,但栗子妹卻堅持,無論在順境逆境,現金與投資的比例都應該是五五分賬。人生無常,如果不能確知明天便會死去,身邊最好還是留點錢應急。


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


經歷過 1974 年熊市打擊後,我老曹同妻子有一個協議:就係每月生活開支不得超過每月薪金收入 …… 有時諗番:有幾多人將生活所需與個人欲望混淆不清?例如美食唔一定係鵝肝、魚子醬,好多時餐蛋公仔亦好美味,尤其係肚餓之時。


(曹仁超〈投資者日記〉,二00八年十一月二十一日)


2008年11月21日 星期五

Greens plot better paper trail

A green group is calling on businesses and workers to start a consumer-led campaign for paper from sustainable sources.


Green Sense also called for the adoption of stricter guidelines on paper usage.


"If consumers demand environmental accountability from their paper sources, manufacturers will respond to the shift," vice president Jan Lai Ming-chuen said.


According to the green group, some 158 tonnes of paper are thrown away daily – 53 percent residential and 47 percent commercial and industrial – while a paltry three tones, or 1.8 percent, are recycle, based on 2007 government figures.


A Hong Kong University opinion poll in June and July found that 85 percent of 513 office staff were willing to adopt daily habits to combat climate change, such as making copies only when necessary and reducing the size of a document to save pages.


The study also found eco-friendly paper usage declined as convenience diminished. "More respondents were able to adopt habits which they can introduce right away that require no specialized knowledge and do not compromise convenience," Lai said.


Calling office staff's paper usage "cautious but shallow," he said people should try to have a better understanding of different types of paper products and opt for those that are environmentally sustainable.


Senior executive vice president of Double A Paper Thirawit Leetavorn said paper mills needed to play their part in finding sustainable production methods to keep up with growing demand while preserving natural forests.


Forecasting an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent until 2020 from about 60 million tonnes of printing and writing paper produced last year, he said the continued failure of the market to reflect the true cost of production, specifically the cost of environmental damage during harvesting, will continue to lead to such activities as illegal logging and unsound waste disposal.


His company's Thailand operations sell fast-growing seeding to farmers for roughly HK$4 which reach maturity at five-stories high in three years. The trees are repurchased at market rates after maturing.


According to consultancy studies, Double A's external or environmental costs are HK$0.26 per HK$25 ream of paper, compared with HK$0.58 at a UK recycled paper mill or HK$2.40 at an Indonesian paper mill. Leetavorn said sustainable paper is cheaper if environmental costs are factored into prices.


Timothy Chui
The Standard, 30 September 2008


2008年11月20日 星期四

親愛的R,你在何方?

親愛的R


今天打電話到你公司,得悉你要外出開會。呆了片刻,想起你會否是來我公司開會呢?於是便跑去問同事,想不到居然讓我猜中了!難度是上天知道我要找你,所以特意帶你來我身邊?


心不在焉地工作了個來小時,終於看見你的身影。你在大老板房間商談大計,那專注的表情,教栗看呆了。我暗暗跟自己立誓,只要你一踏出房門,我便要把你攔著,好好地跟你談一談。


可惜天意弄人,因為工作纏身,待我可以停下來喘一口氣時,你已離開了大老板的房間,不知所蹤。我跑遍公司每個角落,尋找你的蹤影,最終卻是失望而回。一顆本來踏實的心,現在懸了在半空,睡不安寧。


親愛的R,你現在身處何方?你可知道我曾找過你?你會給我回覆嗎?


心急栗上


 


(按:R是老板御用的程式設計師)


Shootings put YouTube in critics' sights

The deadly shooting at a Finnish school raises questions over policing of the internet after news the gunman posted menacing videos of himself on the web before killing 10 people.


Student Matti Juhani Saari, 22, also killed himself in Tuesday's incident, closely resembling a 2007 massacre at another Finnish school, where that gunman also published messages on internet video-sharing site YouTube.


Police were alerted to videos posted by Saari and even questioned him a day before the attack.


He was not detained because the videos "did not threaten anyone" directly, said Finland's police chief – highlighting the difficulty in judging the risk of postings on the internet.


Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said authorities need to look into what can be done to better protect citizens, including possible changes in internet monitoring and tougher gun laws.


Finnish President Tarja Halonen said, "The internet and YouTube forums are not another planet. This is part of our world and we adults have the responsibility to check what is happening, and create borders and safety there."


Several videos posted on YouTube by "Mr Saari" over the past month showed a dark-clad man firing a handgun at a shooting range. The videos were removed by YouTube, owned by US internet giant Google, shortly after the killings.


One video on a different website showed what appeared to be the same man saying directly into the lens: "You will die next," before firing toward a camera on the ground. In other footage, he emptied his pistol at an off-screen target.


Criminologists say video-sharing websites offer killers unprecedented scope to get their messages across. "This type of networking was not possible before the internet era," said Aarne Kinnunen, a trained criminologist. "The internet creates the image that there is a crowd of people that respect this type of behaviour and misrepresentation of reality."


Videos linked to killing sprees gained widespread attention last year when Cho Seung Hui killed 33 people, including himself, at Virginia Tech university in the United States and mailed a film explaining his actions to US broadcaster NBC.


Analysts say web monitoring for malicious intent would be difficult since threats are often vague, hoaxes commonplace and police resources limited.


Google said videos posted by the suspected gunmen on YouTube did not breach its "zero tolerance policy for threats and incitement to violence." It removes material largely through a system of "community policing" if users themselves report inappropriate videos.


Saari's profile on YouTube included a link to another content provider, Lovehetar, whose listed interests included serial killers, mass murderers and the Columbine high school shooting in the United States in 1999.


His school victims included eight women and two men.


Wojciech Moskwa
The Standard,
25 September 2008


2008年11月19日 星期三

追小說

給井兄一句留言,提醒自己已很久沒追看過小說了。栗所指的追小說,並不是單追看某個故事,而是追看一位作家的全部作品。


沒追看小說的原因有很多,譬如工作忙、口味變等,但最主要的原因,該是找不到心頭好。讀書年代看的幾位作家,現在都沒有新作了;新晉作家不是不好,但就是沒有讓栗追看的勁兒。


忘了是誰說的,一本小說若翻不過頭二十頁,便不用再花時間去讀,但栗卻偏愛對著幹。記得某次做閱讀報告,栗挑了一本叫Dangerous to Know的磚頭小說來看 (變態!),看了百來頁,呵欠連連,但還是堅持要看下去,結果過了一半竟漸入佳境,一段比一段精彩!看完書,高高興興地寫了一篇閱讀報告,最後還得了甲等呢!


有人覺得,讀小說浪費時間,不及讀炒股秘技來得實際。但栗卻以為,小說滋養了不少人的心靈。如果沒有讀過瓊瑤和金庸的小說,不知栗子妹今天會是怎麼樣的性格呢?冷酷果斷的女強人?唔,我不要。


Tai O suffers worst floods in 70 years

Popular tourist destination Tai O on Lantau Island was yesterday mopping up after Typhoon Hagupit caused the worst flooding in 70 years.


Members of the Civil Aid Service helped residents clear mud from their homes while workers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department removed debris and rubbish swept onto the streets.


The power company was also working to resume electricity supplies, which had been cut by the floods.


"Residents who have been affected by the flooding and who may have financial difficulties may apply to the Islands District Office for emergency relief funds," said a government spokeswoman. "The office also has a temporary shelter for needy residents."


The flooding, which between midnight and 4 a.m. reached up to the first floor of some buildings, was described by residents as the most serious in the past 60 to 70 years.


The Tai O Rural Committee yesterday received more than 200 requests for help from households in the village.


Some villagers complained about damage to home appliances, power failures, and mud inside their homes, according to district councillor assistant Chan Kit-wah.


Some were still unable to return home last night because their belongings were soaked.


Most businesses could not open yesterday and are likely to remain closed for several days, Chan added.


Sam Wong, who runs Wong Wah Kee noodle restaurant, estimated damage at HK$20,000. Refrigerators had been damaged and food ruined.


Wong blamed the flooding on the lack of pressure in the pump house.


"Whenever we have a typhoon that coincides with a high tide, it floods," he said.


The last storm in June also caused flooding and landslides, and water supplies were cut off for two days.


Carol Chung
The Standard,
25 September 2008


2008年11月18日 星期二

虛幻的故事,真實的情感

由於很喜歡【秒速五厘米】,所以上星期一口氣看了【星之聲】和【雲之彼端,約定的地方】兩齣動畫片。


 


雖然【星】和【雲】的科幻味道較濃,但情感卻十分真實,教栗動容──


住在這個城市裡,有三千萬人,
但沒有一個我想見面或傾談的對象。
對我來說,這個城市根本就沒有人。


有人會覺得這是挑剔,但相信寧缺勿濫的朋友,絕對會明白那份感覺。或許該這樣想,要歷盡千帆才能遇上的人,我們才會更懂得珍惜吧?


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【星之聲】預告片



【雲之彼端,約定的地方】預告片



就算約定的地方已經消失,只要約定的人還在,不就已經足夠了嗎?


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YouTube 找到新海誠幾個短篇,有閒不妨一看。

笑顏:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spW0y-lna0U&feature=related


她與她的貓:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srrNAfnzTRw&feature=related


貓的集會:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srghTDeNeVQ&feature=related


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同場加映


栗妹:喂,六婆,介紹你睇【雲之彼端,約定的地方】吖!
六婆:吓?你話乜嘢脾話?
栗妹:係【雲之彼端,約定的地方】呀!係套戲嚟架!
六婆:嘩,個名咁長你都記到,你係咪傻架?
栗妹:


病中記

上星期天氣轉冷,身子還挺壯健的;誰知天氣稍稍回暖,便立即病倒了。不知過兩天天氣再次轉冷,身體會否立即好起來呢?


生病的時候,心靈特別脆弱,好想找個肩膀靠著;不過這樣的好夢,恐怕難圓。猶幸有書相伴,才不致覺得寂寞無依。


現在每晚改了坐小輪回觀塘,多了數十分鐘時間看書,自是善加利用。今晚看畢 James Patterson Judge and Jury,栗的評語:精彩!追兇追到世界盡頭 (El Fin Del Mundo),多麼浪漫的情節!不過,看小說是一回事,在現實生活中,栗妹就不願意犯那樣的險了。


看完法律驚悚小說,換換口味看向達倫的《人狼島》。由於只看了二十頁,未知向生打甚麼主意,暫且靜觀其變。


打到這裡,開始鼻水連連,是時候關機去睡了。


Go with the grain (an extract)

We humans are funny about what we eat. Never mind what it tastes like, food must also look pretty. Recently, the European Union even came up with a rule stating that ugly fruit and vegetables should not be sold – so cauliflowers have to be more than 11 centimetres in diameter, carrots cannot be forked and onions must be two-thirds covered with skin.


The problem is, this quest for good-looking food is causing us plenty in terms of our health. Vegetables have to genetically modified and pumped full of chemicals to look perfect.


To get pearly white rice, for example, it has to be polished so thoroughly that it loses most of its vitamin B, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60 percent of the iron, and all dietary fibre and essential fatty acids.


This "cleaning-up" service is done for almost all the grains we eat. Wheat, rice, corn and oats have three parts: the outer bran layer, the inner germ and the endosperm.


When they are refined during food production, the bran and germ are removed, resulting in a loss of more than 50 percent of the fibre and up to 70 percent of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients.


In 2003, the World Health Organization produced a report, entitled "A Global Report on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases," endorsing the benefits of whole grains. The report recommended increasing the intake of fibre from whole grains to reduce total energy intakes and control obesity.


The benefits of whole grains include better weight management, reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, improved bowel health and regularity, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and low glycemic index so you stay full longer.


Said Cathy McDonald, an accredited practicing dietitian: "Whole grains are an excellent source of fibre, carbohydrates, protein, vitamin B, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. They are rich in antioxidants, natural plant substances that help maintain good health.


"They are also free of cholesterol, low in fat and saturated fat and naturally free of transfat. Starting your day with a good breakfast is one of the best decisions you can make."


A drawback of whole-grain products is that they can taste like cardboard. But once you get used to it, you'll find yourself craving the clean, nutty taste.


Ivy Ong
The Standard, 11 November 2008


餘式定理

(寫開有條癮……)

昨晚翻會考試題集,見到以下選擇題:

f(x) 可被 x - 1 整除,以下哪條是 f (2x + 1) 的因式?
A. x
B. x -
3
C. 2x - 1
D. 2x + 1

考試報告寫考生不熟習餘式定理 (Remainder Theorem),但我看來看去,似乎該用因式定理 (Factor Theorem) 吧?

首先,設 f(x) = (x - 1)Q [Q是商]
然後 f(2x + 1) = (2x + 1 - 1)Q = 2xQ
一看,答案自然是 A,計完

2008年11月17日 星期一

Mobile ban sought after train tragedy

California's top rail safety regulator said he would seek an emergency order banning train operators from using cell phones, as federal investigators sought to determine whether the engineer of a commuter train was text messaging before a crash that killed 25 people.


Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said some railroad operators have policies prohibiting the personal use of cell phones, but they are widely ignored.


"Our order would make it the law and we'll go after violators. We owe it to the public," he said.


The collision on Friday between the Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train was the deadliest rail disaster in the United States in 15 years. Metrolink has blamed its engineer for not heeding a red light signal.


Federal rail investigators said tests at the crash site showed the signals are working properly and there were no obstructions that may have prevented the engineer from seeing the red light.


The National Transportation Board Safety Board said it will now review whether engineer Robert Sanchez was text messaging. Investigators did not find a cell phone belonging to Sanchez in the wreckage, but two teenage train buffs said they received a text message from him a minute before the crash.


Associated Press
The Standard,
17 September 2008


2008年11月16日 星期日

玩死學生的次方

今天早上,教中四學生做常用對數 (common logarithm) 的題目,其中一條如下:


log 2x2 - 2 log 2x = ?


學生二話不說,便將 log 2x2 寫成 2 log 2x,頭頂即時給我敲了一記。


學生:做乜嘢呀,密斯?
栗妹:緊係你計錯數啦!


到底學生錯在何處?答案是:他把那個二次方移錯了。


謹記 n 次方必須屬於 log 之後的整條數式,才能使用 log Mn = n log M 這條公式。由於例題中的二次方只屬於 x 而不屬於 2,所以次方不能調動。如果你知道以下兩條數式的差別,便明白我在說甚麼 (答案反白)


-22 = -(2 x 2) = -4
(-2)2 = (-2)(-2) = 4


雖然不住提醒學生,他還是沒記牢。此乃栗妹的補習生意,為何長做長有之故也。


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題解:


log 2x2 - 2 log 2x
= log 2x2 - log (2x)
2
= log 2x2 - log 4x
2
= log (2x2 / 4x2)
= log 1/2


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