Sunday, October 26, 2008


Went out with the family today, this time just around Pudong. Here's some things I noticed:

  • The new building with a Bakerzin on the first floor across from Babaiban and caty-corner from Times Square is calling itself "Erdos" (Chinese name 上海湾 or something like that). This calls to mind the Erdős number, but I'm pretty sure there's no connection.
  • Our taxi driver coming home from Babaiban took advantage of several red lights to sneak peaks at a pigeon-raising magazine he stashed in the door pocket of his taxi. Apparently the eye color a pigeon tells you a lot because many pages had unnervingly large blow-ups of pigeon eyes next to pictures of the pigeons they represented.
  • A girl on the subway was reading Neil Gaiman in translation in some magazine.

At the neighborhood grocery store this evening, I got this RMB 5 bill:

Mao with a Hitler mustache.


At Oct 27, 2008, 9:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Erdos brings to my mind that region of Inner Mongolia immediately north of Ningxia and Shaanxi within the northern loop of the Yellow River, the "homeland" of both the Xiongnu and the Mongols.

As for a connection with your Hungarian mathematician- In the Eastern Han the Xiongnu split between South and North, North wanting to preserve the nomadic, horseback, herding, marauding ways of the ancients, the South getting all Hanified. The South Xiongnu moved south into Shaanxi proper, thence east into southern Shanxi, settling around Linfen, in particular Hongtong County (brick kiln slaves, the Great Scholar Tree, my wife's and boss's ancestral hometown (see Great Scholar Tree)). The North Xiongnu resisted the Han and were eventually pursued by the Eastern Han army as far west as the Caspian Sea (the farthest west a Han Chinese army has travelled (ignorning those sent to the Western Front in WW1 and the Mongols). So far as anyone can tell, the North Xiongnu then became the infamous Hun and invaded Europe. Hence Hungary. Hence your mathematician.

At Oct 28, 2008, 8:27:00 AM, Blogger Micah Sittig said:

Fascinating! The world is a small, but complicated place.

At Nov 4, 2008, 1:04:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said:

you should look at the at textbook graffiti for elementary school and middle school.


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