Friday, June 29, 2007
Both possibilities are attractive. The Japanese case is the most interesting from a personal point of view and the American case would be challenging and kind of a dream. In the last half a year I have been getting contacts and getting information. In the case of Japan, last Xmas, I visited the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in concrete, Prof Ando's antenna laboratory. They are doing very interesting stuff and I would be really motivated for the projects he presented to me. I will start the application next fall, for an eventual starting date of September 2008.
The American case is a bit more complex. To apply for a scholarship to go study in the US, it is necessary to start in spring the previous year. For that, I applied for the Fulbright Scholarship in Spain last March. I took the TOEFL exam and I scored 115 out of 120 in TOEFL iBT. Thanks to a good application and this good result in TOEFL, I was contacted in early May by the people from the Fulbright Commision in Madrid to urge me on applying for an international scholarship. This one is more serious and it is given directly by the US government. This year, there will be 25 scholarships for people all over the world and they mean full funding of the PhD up to 5 years and the warranty of studying in one of the most prestigious universities. To apply for this scholarship, I had to take some medical check-ups and the GRE test. Actually, I took the GRE yesterday morning in Amsterdam! And now I am really happy! This test is composed of 3 parts: analytical writing, verbal ability and quantitative analysis. The first one consists of analyzing one topic giving your opinion on it and trying to make your essay logically sound and later, you are provided with a logical reasoning and you have to analyze if it makes sense and detect all the possible flaws. The verbal part consists of a test of 40 questions in 30 minutes such as anthonyms, relations between pairs of words, filling in the gaps and text analysis. This section is specially famous amongst foreigners for being particularly difficult: it is an English test for English speakers! It is said not to be really considered by universities in the selection process. Anyway, I scored 640 out of 800 in this part, which is actually quite nice! The last part, the quantitative section is mathematics and there i did really well! 800 out of 800! That's why I am happy. Now I have to wait for the essay grades and the application is over.
My idea is I will try to go to the best universities in Microwave Engineering and Electromagnetics: California Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, University of California- Los Angeles or MIT. If I cannot enter one of those, I will go to Japan.
Well, those are my plans for the long or middle term. For these next weeks it is simpler. Day after tomorrow, I will go to Assen, to the Cathedral of motorcycling, to see the MotoGP races. I hope Pedrosa can finally win for the first time this year!! And next week, I will go to the US to make a 12-day tour in the East Coast together with Naoko. We will visit New York, Chicago and Washington, and if possible, some friends from ISU (Gayle and Zack). I can't wait!!!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
In case you want to read these maybe interesting papers instead of your favourite thriller, here is the link to the documents.
Now, a funnier piece of news I bumped into a few minutes ago: Australian traffic authorities have started a traffic campaign based on the slogan "Speeding. No one thinks big of you". They clearly refer to the masculine sexual organs ;-) Like this, they try young aussies forget about the idea "speeding makes me cooler". Maybe they succeed, at least, it is funny. Enjoy the official video below.
Monday, June 25, 2007
I was just watching House and one of the secondary argumental lines of the plot was that he was treating somebody whose face he had seen before in one dream. That struck me very much!
Do you think we can remember somebody's face from dreams?
Of course we can only dream about faces and places we know or we have been to. However, do you think we really see those faces and places? In my opinion, dreaming is just about ideas, nothing to do with images... Sometimes we can have the feeling that we have been watching our dream, but in my opinion it is just a delusion.
So, do you think we think our dreams or watch them? Somebody is an expert on Freud? ;-)
Sunday, June 24, 2007
El caso de Poncho-K me parecio muy particular e interesante: un tio con una guitarra y buenas letras haciendo canciones increibles. La fusion de estilos es otra de las cosas que lo hacen interesante. No es extraño que mezcle el rock con el flamenco u otros estilos. Y siempre con el denominador comun de sus grandes letras. Vamos, un crack. Esperemos que no se venda...
Yo me enganche a su musica cuando saco su segundo disco, Destino de Pluma y Mano. Lo escuche y acto seguido no paraba de sonar en mi ordenador. El siguiente paso fue conseguir el primero y descubrir con gran sorpresa lo bueno que era.
El primer disco, No Quiero Empates, me sorprendio muy gratamente. La frescura de las letras y el sonido y canciones con mucha rabia como Revancha. Increible... En el se encuentran algunas de sus mejores canciones (en mi opinion). Despues, la improvisacion ha dado paso a la produccion y se ha perdido algo de la frescura y espontaneidad que le dan tanta fuerza a su primer disco.
Cuando saco su tercer disco, Cuantovaquere, me senti algo desilusionado al escucharlo y pronto lo abandone al no encontrar al Poncho-K, principalmente, de ese primer disco. Sin embargo, hace unos meses, Rikel publico un post sobre este genial personaje y comento que habia sacado un cuarto disco y que estaba bastante bien. Hace alrededor de un mes, lo consegui y no puedo dejar de escucharlo. Por supuesto, le di una segunda oportunidad al disco anterior y curiosamente me gusto muchisimo! Ahora no entiendo como pudo no gustarme en su dia... quiza mi gusto estaba muy en el hardcore en aquel entonces... maybe...
Bueno, en fin, que este tio es un crack y si no lo habeis escuchado nunca, pues eso, que no se a que estais esperando!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Therefore, I considered those times deserve a homage and started looking for pictures in the old folders... I would have had to remove the dust if they were real ;-) Not having looked at them for so long made me enjoy them much more! Photos are like memories, if checked many times they finally wear off, but if we don't see them for a while, they can awake the nicest feelings and memories of good past times.
So, here come the pictures as promised!
At the 3rd floor in "our building": Teleco
From left to right: some intruder, mif, Donis, me, Marcos, Roberto (Catarroja) y Gerard. This was during a "botellon" next to the river
From left to right: Antonio, Parras, me, Aquilino, Toni and Rikel
Aitor and me at some random party at Galileo
I tried to show photos with as many of you as possible but some people were missing in the archives... Sorry...
Thursday, June 21, 2007
And to finish, this is us, the spanish trainees who enjoyed the nouvelle cuisine dinner.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Another nice element in this beautiful World Heritage site is a stone called the Tsukubai. It is a very simple stone which has some letters which perfectly sum up zen philosophy:
"I learnt to be contented"
Quite a laconic sentence!
Monday, June 18, 2007
And here, the celebration just after the referee decided the end of the match and they actually became champions.
The last matches have been incredible. The last 3 or 4 years I didn't support Real Madrid because I strongly disagreed with the former president's vision of the club as a company. However, these last matches, I have seen something which had been missing in the last years: capacity of suffering and overcoming difficult situations with a great effort. They have not played the best football during this season but they have been quite regular and finally got the championship. Congratulations!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
The shape is different if the pictures are taken at different lattitudes and at different times. Check how the inclination of the analemma changes when it is obtained at different times in this website.
The characteristic 8-shaped figure is determined by the inclination of the Earth rotation axis with respect to the movement plane around the Sun as well as the eccentricity of the elliptical orbit around the Sun. If so, it is easy to understand that in other planets the analemma must be differently shaped. For example, in Mars it is teardrop-like.
Other celestial bodies can also follow nice analemmas on the sky. For example the Moon. This case is quite nice since the different lunar phases are also visible in the diagram.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
His legacy is quite a lot of good songs (Blowin' in the wind, Like a Rolling Stone, Knocking on Heavens Doors...), and that mythical image of him singing with his harmonica next to his mouth, and playing his guitar at the same time... Thanx for all the good times, Bob! ;-)
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
There was quite a lot of people running, but as the race was quite long, not many people were together at the end and I could not get a photo with a lot of runners...
I arrived so late than even the musicians playing near the finish line got tired and stopped playing. By the way, leaving the instruments in the middle of the street on the ground to drink beers they brought with a shopping trolley is quite Dutch... hehe...
At the end of the marathon there were many athletes all around the city centre, sweating and very tired... There were showers and massages for them, but the panels were simple paper sheets quite scarce and randomly distributed, so I don't think many people could find them ;-)
I think I will buy a pair of proper running shoes and start preparing for next year! See you in Leiden!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
This is one of the largest shrines in Tokyo and that day there was a lot going on: weddings, bonsai exhibition, many tourists...
That's all for today!
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Well, all this wishful thinking was just coz this weekend last year it was the second time I went to Tokyo. Naoko had organized a nice weekend for me and I was meeting some of her friends on Friday and some others on Saturday. Additionally, that night was the first match of the football world championship. To begin with, I met Kayochan, Take and Yamachan in Roppongi, one of the several city centres in Tokyo. This place is especially known for the unusual quantity of foreigners in the restaurants and clubs. I had already been here with Mic, Paolo and Havard the first weekend in Japan, but now, with local people everything looked different and they actually knew where to go and where the nice places were!
We started the night meeting up in the Hard Rock Cafe in Roppongi and going to an izakaya (traditional Japanese bar) for dinner. We were there for quite a long time and then moved to a club to watch football. That night I learnt several things:
1. Going with friends to an izakaya can be so much fun!
2. Japan is much safer than Europe. Yamachan dropped his mobile phone in a bar, went to look for it one hour later and came back with it!! If I drop mine in any country in Europe, do you think people I don't know would keep it for me until I come back? Definitely not.
That night we went to some other pubs and I went to sleep to a manga cafe... also my first time in something which would become so usual in the future ;-) Next day, on Saturday, I went around to walk the streets of the area and try to grasp the esence of Roppongi. Later I moved to Harajuku by metro to meet another of Naoko's friend there. I will tell you tomorrow about that!
To wrap this post up, some pictures of Roppongi (I think Akasaka area can also appear here) I took with Naoko from floor 37th of ANA hotel in Roppongi last christmas.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Last Summer in Japan, Professor Ito invited me, Paolo and Mic to go to Nikko, a nice city around 150 km North of Tokyo, in the middle of the mountains and which houses some temples, incluiding the mausoleum of one Shogun, Ieyasu, and his grandson Iemitsu. Once there, I found out one of the most famous things in Nikko where the 3 wise monkeys! They are just 3 tiny monkeys carved in the wood at the entrance of a small house... I was surprised something so small in size can be so meaningful, so I looked a bit into the topic.
Now, let's get down to the history behind. The three actions performed by the monkeys (don't see, don't hear, don't speak) in Japanese are Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru. The word "saru" 猿 means monkey. This play on words materialized in the 3 carved monkeys in Nikko. Like this, additionally, the monkey has become a symbol of negation in Japan.
The philosophy behind is as follows:
This explanation sounds good to me... if you have some comments or if you find some flaw in it, please tell me!!
To become wise, don't see anything evil, don't listen to anything evil and don't say anything evil.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Well, let's go...
My last books:
- 1984, George Orwell (English). I read this book some months ago and it is one of the best I have ever read. Who is Big Brother? What would our world be like if World War II had ended up differently? This book gives a possible scary possibility... Great Classic!! Strongly recommended!!
- La Tregua, Mario Benedetti (Spanish). Impressive novel by one of the best writers in Spanish of the last half century.
- El Guardian entre el Centeno, J.D. Salinger (Spanish). The original name is The Catcher in the Rye. I re-read this classic last January. I read it at once... so addictive!
- An English Guide to History of Japan (English). This book was useful to learn more about Japanese history. I think the history we are taught at school is very western biased. Therefore, I wanted to know more about Asian history (Japanese history in concrete)
- Japanese Children's Favorite Stories (English). This one has been good to get some background on Japanese culture. Did you know Japanese kids think there is a rabbit on the Moon?
Currently being read:
- For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway (English). I am about to finish this book and I am quite happy I chose it. A great story within a milicia in the Spanish Civil War.
- The Undutchables (English). To learn a bit more and in a funny way about this strange people called Dutch ;-)
Future Projects (already in my bedroom):
- Ensayo sobre la Lucidez, Jose Saramago (Spanish)
- Tokio Blues, Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami (Spanish)
- Nieve de Primavera, El Mar de la Fertilidad(I), Yukio Mishima (Spanish)
As you can notice, I have been reading too much in English and now I feel like reading some books in Spanish for a change ;-)
Monday, June 4, 2007
Sometimes, when the weather is good, it is nice to take your bike and go to take some photographs of the landscape here. As there are many windmills all around, I have taken photographs of most of them near Leiden downtown. I like them quite a lot and I think you can get and idea of what they look like.
Windmill De Put/ Some people call this one Rembrandt's windmill
because is near Rembrandt's birthplace.
Windmill at the end of Noordeinde
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Just now, there is kind of a party in front of my house, in Rappenburg. They've brought a medium sized boat in front of a house, put a lot of chairs and tables and they are now playing some music... These Dutch people know how to enjoy life in their country.
These sunny and nice days make you forget a bit about the crude winter in this land... So, my recommendation is that if you plan to travel to the Netherlands, do it from April to July, especially in April when Keukenhoff is open.
Today I came accross an interesting study. It is about the peace index of the countries of the world. For this ranking, many elements have been considered ranging from internal security to military expenditure, relationship with neighbouring countries or respect to human rights. Besides, the education levels, welfare, democracy and transparency have also been taken into account. The complete report can be found here. These are the first 25 countries in terms of peace:
As expected, the first positions are occupied by the Scandinavian countries (led by Norway), New Zealand and Japan. Ireland (to my surprise) is in the 4th position... in spite of traditional IRA terrorism... The Netherlands and Spain are around the 20th position, which means I don't have nothing to complain about. Both countries are peaceful and safe. Spanish cultural note: Ademas estamos por delante de los gabachos, que se jodan y sigan quemando coches... jeje...
It is also interesting to notice some "civilized" countries such as the US and the UK appear in the 96th and 49th position respectively. This clearly shows that economical superiority doesn't translate into inhabitants' welfare.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Anyway, it is very nice to watch the pictures of Jupiter, Saturn or Mars published by them.
Jupiter was visited in the early ages of space exploration by the Voyager and Pioneer missions. However, the first really breathtaking images of the planet were provided by the NASA/ESA Cassini Huygens mission in 2000. This mission was bounded for Saturn but was also useful to study Jupiter and its system (Europa, Io...). Some nice shots now:
They are so beautiful than look more like a drawing than like the real pictures they are! (even though they must be colour compositions...)
Jupiter has been recently visited by the New Horizons probe on its way to Pluto. This probe has oriented its cameras towards this planet and its moons and taken breathtaking images... Have a look at this one. It is a volcanic eruption on Io. Beautiful!
The Cassini-Huygens reached Saturn and its moons in 2004 and will be working there until at least 2009. From time to time, some nice pictures of the system are published and some nice news are released. For example, last March, NASA made public that liquid water might have been found on Enceladus, one of Saturn moons. More pictures... Saturn and its rings now...
However, the most outstanding missions have been the ones to Mars, with all these nice landers and rovers developed by JPL; Mars Pathfinder in 97 and Spirit and Opportunity in 2004. Have a look at this nice sunset or sunrise in Mars... Cool...