方舟子 strikes again:

《后汉书·张衡传》认为它是管用的,记载了这么一个著名的故事:有一次地动仪的机关发动,但是人们并不觉得地在动,京师(洛阳)的学者都怪它乱报,几天后信使来了,果然在陇西发生了地震,于是大家都佩服它的巧妙,从那以后皇帝就让史官记载地动发生的方位。

但是这个记载很成问题。按《后汉书·张衡传》所说,地动仪建成于阳嘉元年(公元132年),张衡卒于永和四年(公元139年)。在此期间,《后汉书》只记载发生过一次陇西地震,那就是永和三年(公元138年)的地震。一般认为地动仪检测的就是这次地震。但是《后汉书·五行志》说得很清楚,这次的陇西地震在京师是有感的,破坏很严重,“裂城廓,室屋坏,压杀人”,京师学者不会对地动仪的机关发动感到奇怪,与《张衡传》的故事矛盾。可见地动仪检测的不可能是这次地震。

(Dumping ancient drafts.)

想写这篇东西是在看完《八十年代访谈录》以后。我一直有些羡慕那一代人,当然不是为他们受的苦,而是上山下乡得到的人生经验。不过仔细想想,我其实是在给自己的平庸无为找借口。我实在是彻底对不起我成长的环境。我有极为难得的家庭条件,可以再方便不过地在父母指导下学习几乎所有文化艺术领域的知识,但我完全没有利用这个机会,现在追悔莫及。我妈做学问很刻苦,时不常有意无意地给我讲她看的哲学、历史、音乐、文化各方面的书籍,我听的时候倒也感兴趣,可是自己不去继续看和思考,除了人名以外什么都忘了。因为我从小在音乐学院长大,加上学钢琴到10岁,免不了有一些古典音乐的基础知识,但从来没有系统地学习过,居然要等到清华才上了几节和声课。我爸非常忙,从来没有主动教我有关电影的东西,但如果我去问他肯定会很乐于回答。现在想起来真是觉得荒谬:我从来没和我妈一起认真听过一首曲子,也从来没和我爸一起仔细看过一部影片,听他们讲解、讨论自然就更不用说了。倒是最近打电话有时听他们说说最近看过、听过的作品,可是没法和当面比。所以我至今也没有听全过9贝,没看过伯格曼;即使听了、看了,也是会毫无头绪。

3 years is a long time. In life, and perhaps a bit more so in tennis.

3 years ago, Federer still looked pretty much invincible sans a gnarly kid from Majorca. I woke up our first kid while watching him beating Djokovich in the final.

Who would’ve thought that was the beginning of the end. Not the least Johnny Mac.

Last year he got a break from the knees of the gnarly kid from Majorca.

Come 2010. Oh boy. Even the Gods can’t bear not seeing him in US Open final. Only for a day, though, as tomorrow the sun will shine on a gnarly kid from Majorca, except that he’s not a kid any more, and he’s truly gnarly now.

Both J and I had the same thought as we witnessed the inevitable loss. It’s better than winning because he doesn’t stand a chance against the gnarly man from Majorca.

Still, at the 2nd-to-last game when Djoker hit it wide to yield 2 match points, I called “OUT!” in ecstasy.

It woke up our 3rd kid sleeping in the same bouncer at the same location.

That’s exactly what you call “deja vu all over again”.

Except that he’s not making any record this time.

And he’s not going to break Sampras’s total number of weeks at No. 1, even though he’s only one week short.

Unless he makes an Andre-esque comeback in another 3 years, after the gnarly man from Majorca and Djoker and Söderling and whoever else all burn out Borg-ishly.

Count on me being at the court side of Arthur Ashe when that happens.

For only one thing is absolutely certain: there won’t be any new infant in our family to be disturbed.

From his official results pages (bold – final, red – lost since his first Grand Slam):

Year

Australian

French

Wimbledon

US
1999

Rafter

Novak

1st

1st

2000

Clement

Corretja

Kafelnikov

Ferrero
3rd

4th

1st

3rd
2001

Clement

Corretja

Henman

Agassi
3rd

QF

QF (beat Sampras in 4th)

4th
2002

Haas

Arazi

Ancic

Mirnyi
4th

1st

1st

4th
2003

Nalbandian

Horna

Philippoussis

Nalbandian
4th

1st

3:0 (7-6, 6-2, 7-6)

4th
2004

Safin

Kuerten

Roddick

Hewitt
3:0 (7-6, 6-4, 6-2)

3rd

3:1 (4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-4)

3:0 (6-0, 7-6, 6-0)
2005

Safin

Nadal

Roddick

Agassi
SF 2:3 (7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 7-9)

SF 1:3 (3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6)

3:0 (6-2, 7-6, 6-4)

3:1 (6-3, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1)
2006

Baghdatis

Nadal

Nadal

Roddick
3:1 (5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2)

1:3 (1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6)

3:1 (6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3)

3:1 (6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1)
2007

Gonzalez

Nadal

Nadal

Djokovich
3:0 (7-6, 6-4, 6-4)

1:3 (6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4)

3:2 (7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2)

3:0 (7-6, 7-6, 6-4)
2008

Djokovic

Nadal

Nadal

Murray
SF 0:3 (5-7, 3-6, 6-7)

0:3 (6-1, 6-3, 6-0)

2:3 (6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 7-9)

3:0 (6-2, 7-5, 6-2)
2009

Nadal

Söderling

Roddick

del Potro
2:3 (7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2)

3:0 (6-1, 7-6, 6-4)

3:2 (4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14)

2:3 (6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7, 2-6)
2010

Murray

Söderling

Berdych

Djokovic
3:0 (6-3, 6-4, 7-6)

QF 1:3 (6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 4-6)

QF 1:3 (4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6)

SF 2:3 (7-5, 1-6, 7-5, 2-6, 5-7)

I used to think 韩寒 is just a grumpy young man. He’s now my hero (link):

我们只是站在这个舞台上被灯光照着的小人物。但是这个剧场归他们所有,他们可以随时让这个舞台落下帷幕,熄灭灯光,切断电闸,关门放狗,最后狗过天晴,一切都无迹可寻。我只是希望这些人,真正的善待自己的影响力,而我们每一个舞台上的人,甚至能有当年建造这个剧场的人,争取把四面的高墙和灯泡都慢慢拆除,当阳光洒进来的时候,那种光明,将再也没有人能摁灭。

I mentioned a few times that I’ve been working a lot harder than usual the past 6+ months. The project is a completely unplanned, unscheduled, unspecified, self-initiated makeover of our GUI application.

I’m not going to talk about the gory technical details because I can’t. The last couple of weeks were extra crazy because some sales people are going to a trade show and they want to show the new GUI. Last Friday I checked in close to 30,000 lines of code changes, and got this back from the sales guy:

… even at this ‘alpha’ stage, it genuinely looks brilliant. … Whilst it is a phase1 of the GUI enhancements I gotta say it’s a MASSIVE leap forward from the prod (old) GUI. Chalk and cheese comes to mind. … we have already had a couple of people, when stopping by our booth say, unprompted, that the GUI “looks really great”.

Keep in mind this is a sales guy, but this is an internal email so he’s likely 14% less boasting than he usually is.

Anyway I’m taking tomorrow off.

We ordered 30 boxes of laminate floor in a Home Depot store, and we’re supposed to pick it up ourselves. When we got home I saw their website sells it for exactly the same price with free shipping (usually things that heavy are priced a lot more than in-store). I called customer service and after a while someone from the store called me back and said they will deliver it for free as if I ordered online. Just like that.

We also ordered a 60″ double vanity from Costco.com. The package weights 280lbs. Today in a new Costco catalog the price will drop for $200 starting March 1st. I called customer service and they will credit my card once the sale starts. Just like that.

If there’s anything that makes me happier than spending money, it’s customer service like these.